I took part in a Permaculture Design Course – Urban Edge Permaculture Design Course – organised by Naturewise at Hackney Community Tree Nursery, London, 28 April–2 May and 23–27th May 2008, headed by Tomas Remiarz and Mark Warner with Adrian Leaman, Graham Burnett and Nicole Freris. This was a turning point for me, as it was for my partner, who also had been taking part in a PDC with the Brighton Permaculture Trust over several weekends. This was, for me, a positive and active approach to life. I had studied politics and philosophy at university and then become involved with human rights organisations. I was aware of social, political and environmental issues and permaculture was a path which acknowledged these issues and provided a positive vision of the future and the practical steps to get there.

I was actively engaged in Transition Town Lewes in its inception and first year, gaining experience of the development of small organisations from the initial core group to establishing working groups of about one hundred volunteers, putting on a programme of events, documenting the process on a wiki website, involved in the Energy Descent Action Plan group.

After some time travelling with my family, we decided to join a community. My aim is to engage in community life, in our community and in the wider community. This provides the setting for much of the work I do.

The decision to do the diploma came after looking to gain further understanding and experience of social and ecological themes with a view to working in those fields. The diploma allows me the flexibility to carry out the projects I wish to do, when and where I am able to do them, provides me with a framework, best practice models and support from other people working in similar fields. It allows me to play to my strengths in my learning styles and challenges me to develop other skills. It has at its core, social and ecological ethics and principles and takes its inspiration from nature, all of which I hold dear. It enables me to work towards my aim of a livelihood firmly grounded in earth care, people care and fair shares.