Jessica Roder, from London, Ontario, had been studying permaculture for years before taking the Permaculture Design Certificate (PDC) course with Verge. Deciding to not wait until she had vacation days stored up, she took time off work without pay so that she could attend the PDC in August 2010. Though Jessica understood the basic principles of permaculture from years of study, she said “the first day of my PDC Rob presented it in such a way that it seemed like the simplest, most logical, and effective way to make the positive change I had been striving to effect in the world. It was a powerful, emotional moment for me.”
The single biggest impact of taking the PDC course was that Jessica left her job in Edmonton and is now starting her own company, working as a permaculture designer and landscaper in London, Ontario. Prior to becoming a permaculture designer, she earned a B. Sc.H, B. Ed, MCP, and LEED AP and worked as a river guide, camp counselor, tree planter, and community and urban planner. Taking immediate action from the bottom up, Jessica will mainly focus on residential projects for now, but plans to start working with local design firms, developers and municipalities at the community scale in a few years.
Some of the more influential PDC topics that now guide Jessica’s permaculture designs are: design priorities (water, access, structures), zone and sector analysis, and the use of swales. She notes that “a lot of permaculture people in Ontario don’t seem to employ swales (or employ them well…).”
Integrating permaculture into her daily life, Jessica uses the principles to guide the design for her own yard, as well as to structure her business and cash flow. In the next few years, she hopes to financially support herself, continue working with residential clients, and work on building larger community level projects.
Jessica is now running her business WildCraft Permaculture where she does education, design, consultation and installation of permaculture projects in London, Ontario.