About Koreen Brennan
Koreen has extensive experience in both permaculture design and in education. She has taught permaculture design at Pine Ridge Lakota reservation, Miami, Los Angeles, the first Florida Earthship, Tampa Bay, Sarasota, Gulf Coast University, Cuba. Costa Rica, and Tuskegee University.
She is a sought after public speaker, and has given hundreds of hours of lectures on permaculture. Her areas of expertise and passion are food forestry, small farms and food security, designing for resiliency, community building, and regenerative economics.
She has been involved in alternative education for 20 years and has been teaching permaculture regularly since 2006. She uses a variety of creative techniques and approaches to address different learning styles. She focuses on isolating the most important aspects of the subject - the ones that will create a context for understanding the entire subject and give students concrete tools they can and will think with and use. In a society with information overload, she believes that it is not the amount of information one has, but the context, relevance and quality of it that creates competence and understanding. Her goal is to assist students to achieve a deep understanding of the fundamentals of the subject that will allow them to apply the techniques in a broad array of situations, and to make that learning process enjoyable.
As a designer, her focus is on helping people create abundant edible landscapes, self-sufficienct urban or rural homesteads, resilient and high yield small farms, and successful intentional communities. Specialties include soil building and remediation, water catchment and use, edible landscaping, planning urban and rural integrated farming, reducing energy needs, and building more resilient finances and communities. She deeply appreciates the value of both beauty and utility, and so strives to meld aesthetics and practicality together to create designs that last, that work, that minimize care and expense, that produce abundantly, and are beautiful.
Koreen has a wide range of experience and expertise, including master planning, growing hundreds of species of edibles in a variety of conditions and climates, running an edible nursery, business incubation and holistic economics, whole systems strategy and design, community development and facilitation, organizing events, and life coaching, so finds herself taking on diverse projects at times. She organized permaculture style disaster relief for thousands of Haitians living in camps after the earthquake in 2010, has planted thousands of trees in different locations in the US, created dozens of gardens, coordinated the formation of the Sustainable Urban Agriculture Coalition St Petersburg, has organized natural building projects (straw bale, earth berm walipini) at Pine Ridge Lakota reservation and is a founding co-organizer for the North American Permaculture Convergence.
She has advised on public projects at schools, universities and on the Florida House "Green Home" project in Sarasota and is currently working on the strategy project "The Next Big Step" for the upcoming International Permaculture Convergence. For larger design projects, she is a partner with Permaculture Design International, a full service design and installation firm.
Koreen has studied permaculture with Larry Santoyo, Toby Hemenway, Scott Pittman, Robyn Francis, Darren Doherty, Eric Toensneier, Wayne Weisman, and Warren Brush and has trained in aquaponics and urban food systems with Growing Power. She has also studied tracking (via Tom Brown Tracking School), alternative education (George Wythe College), conflict resolution and non-violent communication, and a host of related subjects. She is an avid life long learner and continues to expand her knowledge and experience with continuing education in botany, hydrology, environmental science, natural building, regenerative agriculture, systems science, alternative economics and organization.
Koreen is an engaging and inspirational speaker who speaks on a wide variety of topics such as What is Permaculture?, Practical Sustainability, Creating Resilient Opportunity From Disaster, Regenerative Economics, Changing the World with Permaculture Principles, Creating Abundance in Your Own Backyard, Successful Urban Agriculture and Small Farming, and more.
Sample speaking engagements:
Going Green kick-off event, San Fernando Valley Business Alliance/Green Leadership Coalition, 2008
Tuskegee University, 2010
Keynote, Beyond Sustainability Conference, Hillsborough Community College, Tampa, 2011
Keynote, First Annual Meeting, Sustainable Urban Agriculture Coalition, St Petersburg, 2013
Keynote, Florida Permaculture Convergence, 2013, 2014
Florida Small Farms Conference, 2013
International Permaculture Convergence Cuba, 2013
Florida Gulf Coast University, 2014
Florida State University St Petersburg, 2014
International Permaculture Convergence UK, 2015
Body, Mind, Spirit Conference Tampa, 2015
Food and Thought Health Freedom Summit, Naples, FL 2016
Florida Small Farms Conference, 2016
North American Permaculture Convergence, Solar LIving Institute, California, 2016
It is often said that the mark of a good teacher is illustrated by the success of his or her students. Eric Toensmeier once said, "Your students do more with permaculture than just about anybody I know." Our students make us proud!
Read these following articles about our graduate's achievements...
It’s been a while since we’ve updated about Haiti – below is a summary of what occurred from the time of the earthquake forward. We’re in planning stages now on the next phase and will post information about that as soon as plans are implemented. Our main focus currently is getting education out about how to prevent and treat cholera, using low tech methods and inexpensive or free resources. We’ll post that here too, in the next couple of days. We are deeply grateful to all of you who donated and made this journey possible – your donations did save many lives and they continue to do so. Here is the summary report...
People in the Poorest County in the U.S. Take on Permaculture
Pine Ridge suffers from up to 90% unemployment and 60% diabetes. It is the poorest county in the United States. Shelter is a major issue with much of the housing being inadequate for the severe weather – people freeze to death in the coldest nights of winter. Food is substandard; many are still on government rations which are highly processed and lacking in nutrition; dependency is still encouraged.
Cory Brennan, a new contributor to HopeDance, writes about a stunning and awe-inspiring individual, Adonijah Miyamura, who has been teaching food forestry for 25 years and is aiding others in transforming minds and lots into lush yards of food and nutrition and empowerment.
Imagine walking into a high school yard in South Central Los Angeles and finding ... a jungle: Tall, thick banana trees overflowing with bananas, ten varieties of mango trees from ten different countries, guava, cheramoya, zapote, blackberries from Central America, mulberries from Afghanistan, persimmons, peaches, cherries, all flourishing under fast growing Chinese fire dragon trees acting as the jungle canopy. Interspersed amongst the trees and the organic mass beneath one can find wild celery, lettuce, swiss chard, arugula, nasturtium, tropical flowers, and herbs. This is no ordinary jungle, but a food forest, growing on the campus of Crenshaw High School in Crenshaw, California.