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
    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, ha has helped more than 3000 students and a hundreds 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)

  • Mark Krawczyk
    Mark Krawczyk Guest Instructor / Design Mentor

    Mark Krawczyk is an applied ecologist, educator, and grower with a background in permaculture design, agroforestry, natural building, traditional woodworking, and small-scale forestry. He co-owns and operates Keyline Vermont LLC, teaching, designing, and consulting for farmers, homeowners, and homesteaders.  Since 2008, Mark has taught over 30 Permaculture Design Courses and been a specialist guest instructor in dozens more.  He holds Diplomas in Permaculture Design and Education from the Permaculture Institute of North America.  He and his wife also co-manage Valley Clayplain Forest Farm – 52 acres of field and forest in New Haven, Vermont, USA.

  • 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)

  • Jessica Robertson Guest Instructor / Design Mentor

    Jessica Robertson is Owner, Designer, and Head Grunt at Wild Craft Permaculture and a Lead Designer at United Designers International. 

    Jessica has designed holistic permaculture systems for spaces from 200 sq. ft. to 200-acres and works on residential, commercial and public projects. She is often involved in the implementation of these designs and enjoys sharing her knowledge with clients as they work alongside each other. She brings a background in biology, education, silviculture and urban planning to her work. She enjoys playing outside bare foot with her three children in whatever wild spaces they can find around London, Ontario. (Verge PDC Grad 2010)

  • Mitch Rawlyk
    Mitch Rawlyk R&D Lead / 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)

Confirmed Guest Instructors …

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

  • Dan Chiras
    Dan Chiras

    Dan Chiras is a long-time practitioner of self-sufficiency and sustainability. He lives on a 60-acre, solar- and wind-powered farm where he and his wife have dedicated their lives to living by the principles and practices of Permaculture. Dan has published 40 books and hundreds of articles that cover a wide range of topics focused largely on self-sufficiency and sustainability. Dan’s most popular books are The Solar House, The Natural House, The Homeowner’s Guide to Renewable Energy, Power from the Sun, and Solar Electricity Basics. His most recent titles are The Chinese Greenhouse and Grow Beets in Your Bedroom, a guide on indoor LED gardening.

  • Stefan Sobkowiak
    Stefan Sobkowiak

    Biologist, landscape architect, educator, Film Maker, farm manager, husband, father of 3. Sobkowiak wears many hats and is a highly influential Permaculturalist in his region as a past lecturer with McGill University and the current director of Miracle Farms: the renowned Permaculture Orchard in Quebec.

  • 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.

And helping to pull this off and keep everyone supported!…

  • 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 Sales & Marketing Swiss Army Knife

    Ben is a UBC graduate with a B.A. double major in Psychology and Anthropology. Curious about our cultural connection to the natural world, he took our online Permaculture Design Course to learn how Permaculture could be used to foster more meaningful livelihoods and integrated urban communities. Ben comes to us with a diverse skillset, with a focus as of late on business automation, permaculture research, and growth marketing so we can expand our global student network. In his off time, Ben enjoys spending quality time with friends, playing basketball, and forest bathing. (Verge PDC Grad 2020)


  • Jen Nobel
    Jen Nobel PDC 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 Verge’s Professional Development PDC with 1-on-1 mentoring, Jen moved away from architecture and interior design to launch Northbound Bloom where she designs edible and naturalized landscapes and acreages (Verge PDC Grad 2017).

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