Meet Your Verge Teaching Team – Fall 2021


We pride ourselves on the caliber of our teaching team! Read about our core teaching team below and stay tuned as we announce guest speakers 😉

Your Lead Teaching Team …

  • Rob Avis Lead Instructor / Engineer

    After pursuing international training and certifications in renewable energy and regenerative design Rob, along with his wife and business partner Michelle, began Verge Permaculture, now a globally-recognized and award-winning design, consulting, and education company. In the last decade, they’ve helped more than 3000 students and a growing number of clients to design and/or create integrated systems for shelter, energy, water, waste and food, all while supporting local economy and regenerating the land.

  • Carmen Lamoureux
    Carmen Lamoureux Lead Instructor

    The lead instructor for the Verge PDC, Carmen has had a varied career, working for the Alberta government in the fields of sustainable resource management, forestry and privately in silviculture, soils and horticulture. As founder and owner of Calgary’s URBAN FARM SCHOOL, as well as the Urban Farm Permaculture Project, she is dedicated to helping emerging gardeners and permaculture enthusiasts gain the freedom, confidence and skills they need to live more abundant, sustainable and resilient lives. Having grown food organically for over 4 decades, Carmen gets excited about helping others cultivate great food, and in turn, great selves.  (Verge PDC Grad 2013)

  • Takota Coen Guest Instructor

    Takota is a 4th generation farmer who helps steward Coen Farm, a 250 acre award winning organic farm in Central Alberta that produces nutrient dense milk fed pork, grass fed beef, and forest garden fruits. In addition to farming, Takota works with famers, ranchers, and acreage owners across Canada to help them design for healthier land, healthier profits and the time to enjoy both. He holds a Permaculture Design Certificate from The Permaculture Research Institute, a Holistic Management Certificate from Holistic Management International, and a Red Seal Journeyman Certificate for Carpentry. (Verge PDC Grad 2016)

  • Jen Nobel
    Jen Nobel Course Coordinator / Design Mentor

    Initially an architectural graduate, Jen first heard of permaculture on a trip to Sierra Leone with Earthship Biotecture in 2011, but wasn’t formally introduced to it until she took a few introductory workshops with Jardins sans Frontières in Montreal. Everything seemed new yet was so basic; permaculture struck such a chord with Jen that she felt like her brain was being rewired. After taking the Verge’s Professional Development PDC with 1-on-1 mentoring, Jen moved away from architecture and interior design to launch her own company so she can merge her love for design, technical skills, and health. (Verge PDC Grad 2017).

  • Kalista Pruden
    Kalista Pruden Teaching Assistant / Design Mentor

    Kalista has a diploma in Renewable Resource Management and has been working in the field as an environmental field technician, environmental educator and environmental program coordinator for more than a decade. She has taken a variety of courses and certificates in topics such as wetland and stream health and restoration, aquaponics, passive solar greenhouse design, sustainable building, beekeeping, and more. Through Avalily Permaculture and The EarthSkills Institute she helps people create holistic human habitats and aims to equip people with the knowledge and tools necessary to be self-sufficient, resilient and healthy. (Verge PDC Grad 2016)

  • Ben Dunn
    Ben Dunn Course Coordinator / Design Mentor

    Ben is a UBC graduate with a B.A. double major in Psychology and Anthropology. Ever curious about our cultural connection to natural environments, he took our online Permaculture Design Course and soon after made the trip from his home in Toronto to volunteer with us at our new farm. Two months later we brought him on as an Environmental Technologist and he’s been with us ever since. Ben plays a big role in planning + executing our courses and he might be the one taking care of you when you reach out via email! (Verge PDC Grad 2020)


Confirmed Guest Instructors …

We will be adding more confirmed guest speakers over the coming month. Stay tuned…

  • Alla Guelber
    Alla Guelber Guest Instructor

    Alla is the founder/director of the Meaningful Work Project (MWP), offering a variety of programs, ranging from weekend retreats, to one-on-one coaching and group courses. Initially based on Alla’s graduate research, MWP offers inspiring learning programs that guide participants on the quest toward meaningful work of service to people and the planet. Alla is a facilitator, education and communications professional and leadership coach with 15 years of interdisciplinary experience in the nonprofit and public sectors. (Verge PDC Grad 2012)

  • Tad Hargrave
    Tad Hargrave Guest Instructor

    Tad is a hippy who developed a knack for marketing (and then learned how to be a hippy again.) For almost a decade, he has been touring his marketing workshops around Canada, bringing refreshing and unorthodox ideas to conscious entrepreneurs and green businesses that help them grow their organizations and businesses (without selling their souls). Learn more about Tad at Marketing For Hippies.

  • Shauna Fidler
    Shauna Fidler Guest Instructor

    Shauna is the owner, business consultant and creative designer at Design Farm. Not only is Shauna a foodie and grower, but she knows what it’s like to run a food business; she has pounded the pavement in the natural food sector across the country, crafted recipes by the hundreds, packaged dozens and dozens of unique products, spent many a day with my back to the sun tending to tender greens, raised farm animals from birth and has hunted for the queen bee in buzzing hives. (Verge PDC Grad 2013)

  • Barb Hazenveld
    Barb Hazenveld Guest Instructor

    Barb completed a Horticulture diploma which started her food growing passion. She then moved to Australia to mentor under Bill Mollison (one of the founding fathers of Permaculture) and lived in an eco-village for 9 years.  During that time, she taught, designed, implemented and co-created a video about Permaculture.  She has practiced/taught Permaculture in Canada, Australia, Palestine, Spain, China and studied Permaculture systems in Nepal.  Barb is currently a middle-school teacher with the Calgary Board of Education specializing in online learning.

  • Mitch Rawlyk
    Mitch Rawlyk Environmental Technologist / Design Mentor

    Mitch comes to us with a BSc. in physical geography with a concentration in Earth Systems from the University of Victoria (BC, Canada), and an MSc. in physical geography (applied meteorology) from the University of Otago in New Zealand where he researched the utilization of machine learning for frost prediction in complex terrain, and the controlling meteorological variables of frost events.

    In his spare time you can catch him outside taking photos, reading, running around or cycling, dipping in some cold water, going for walks with his cat, Smokey, or working on his latest funky sauerkraut recipe (Verge PDC Grad 2021)

Also here to help pull this off!…

  • Katlin Robinson
    Katlin Robinson Marketing & Customer Care

    If you reach out to us with any administrative questions, concerns or issues, Katlin is likely to be the one responding and taking care of you. You can reach her directly at or through the contact form on our website.

  • Michelle Avis
    Michelle Avis Owner / Co-Instructor

    Although normally on the Verge PDC teaching roster, Michelle Avis is going to be moving into more of a support and behind the scenes role with the online course (plus she’s now got kids at home with the school closures!). Read her full bio here.

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