Board Members

We are grateful to our current board members for their dedication and vision to support the growth of permaculture throughout our region.

GRLPI Board 2016

Part of the GRLPI board visiting Moontree Lodge in Donaldson, Indiana at the 2016 retreat.


President: William Faith, Chicago, Illinois.

wf_picWilliam Faith is a long-standing activist in the fight for the rights of animals, care of the earth and social justice.
Upon encountering permaculture for the first time in 2005, the nature of his artistry and activism changed for the better, both finding a confluence in permaculture. Shortly after completing his certification in permaculture design at the Ecovillage Training Center at The Farm in Summertown, TN in 2006, he co-founded Ars Terra, a sustainable homestead project in Palmdale, CA, where he taught several permaculture courses and workshops before moving to Chicago, where he co-founded the Chicagoland Permaculture Guild in 2012, and completed an advanced permaculture design course at Kinstone Academy of Applied Permaculture in Fountain City, WI in 2014.
William has given many presentations on permaculture at colleges, universities, eco/green fairs and festivals and private events, also giving several radio interviews on the subject. 2015 heralded the birth of Genius Loci Permaculture — a full-service Design, Build and Education firm.


Vice President: Peter Bane, White Lake, Michigan.
Peter BanePeter Bane is publisher emeritus of Permaculture Activist magazine (now Permaculture Design), and the author of The Permaculture Handbook: Garden Farming for Town and Country ( A frequent speaker at conferences and public events and a permaculture teacher for 25 years, he serves as the Board Secretary of Permaculture Institute of North America (, as well as Co-Chair of its Diploma Program Committee. A co-founder of Earthaven Ecovillage and a consultant to universities, municipalities, and community groups across the country, he works with landowners to create ecologically sound and economically productive landscapes. He has
taught programs in all six states of the GRLPI region.



Secretary: Sabrena Schweyer, Akron, Ohio.

Sabrena picSabrena Schweyer grew up on a family farm and learned stewardship at an early age and was devastated when her childhood haunt at the creek was destroyed for agricultural tiling. She has degrees in horticulture and agriculture. She studied how history is reflected in the arts at Oxford University where she focused on gardens as the art of the land.

She is driven by studying how people connect with the Earth. She and her husband have a 20-year-old, award-winning business creating gardens that touch people’s souls–healing people, place, and planet. They also teach and lecture on sustainability. She regularly works with engineers and city planners to support sustainability.

She came to permaculture in 2010 and has been bridging between horticulture, biomimicry, permaculture, and cities ever since.




Treasurer: Rhonda Baird, Bloomington, Indiana.

IMG_2137Rhonda Baird is a seventh generation Hoosier, with deep ties to the forested hills and rivers of southern Indiana. Though permaculture practice began formally in 2005, she grew up in a working-class family that gardened and foraged. Within this context, she began asking: “What is going on in the world? And, what can I do about it?”

In her 20s, she became an organizer and carried her interests to community design, social justice (working with ACORN, the AFL-CIO, and a domestic violence program) and forest issues.

In 2005, while finishing up her second stint in graduate school, she stumbled into a Permaculture Design Course with Peter Bane and Keith Johnson and never looked back. From the end of that course, she began apprenticing as a teacher. In 2006 she co-originated the Bloomington Permaculture Guild. In 2008, she began working with Permaculture Design Magazine (formerly The Permaculture Activist). In 2010, she joined the board of the Association for Regenerative Culture. In 2014, she presented at the North American Permaculture Convergence on Permaculture and Children; co-originated the Great Rivers and Lakes Permaculture Institute with Peter Bane and Penny Krebiehl. 

Four years later, Rhonda has an active design and education practice through Sheltering Hills Design, LLC , serves as senior editor of Permaculture Design magazine, sits on the Diploma Committee for the Permaculture Institute of North America, helps to coordinate the North American Permaculture Convergence, and is pursuing a Master’s degree with Gaia University. In 2010 she was awarded a Hellbender Award from Heartwood

Braden Trauth, Cincinnati, Ohio.

Braden Trauth, a native of Cincinnati, has been studying sustainability for more than 15 years. He got his start in sustainable design interning at Earthship Biotecture in New Mexico and at the New England Aquarium. After graduating with a BS in Industrial Design from the University of Cincinnati in 2004, he moved to Taos, NM where he bought and remodeled an Earthship home.

Bio Pic PDC 15He took his first Permaculture Design Course in 2006 with Scott Pittman, his second with Bill Mollison and Geoff Lawton in 2007, and his teacher training in 2006 with Peter Bane at the Central Rocky Mountain Permaculture Institute. In 2007 Braden also worked at David Holmgren’s farm Melliodora in Hepburn Springs, Australia. Returning to Cincinnati later that year, he began teaching on his home turf. Since then, he has headed up and co-taught 13 PDCs serving more than 150 students.


Whitney Sewell, Paoli, Indiana.

whitneysewellRaised in the corn fields of rural Indiana, Whitney Sewell found that after completing a B.A. in design and French at Indiana University, she wanted the best of both worlds – community, art, and nature. Whitney arrived at permaculture seeking out the intersection of people and agriculture as an active life practice.

Whitney completed her PDC under the guidance of Peter Bane, Keith Johnson, and Rhonda Baird in 2009 at The Lazy Black Bear in Paoli, Indiana. Enamored with this holistic system, she immediately put her education into practice during an apprenticeship at Cooley Family Farm in Lafayette, Indiana. Whitney installed perennials and explored systems development for saving water on this 14 acre organic farm while learning the formal techniques of annual production for a 100 family CSA and market.

Whitney’s interest in developing urban permaculture systems for community use took her to St. Louis, where she spent 7 years turning acres of empty lots and a downtown rooftop into food producing and water saving systems. She provided support to both the city government and the community for citywide land use, agriculture re-zoning, sustainability, and recycling initiatives.  Whitney’s comprehensive efforts were recognized with St. Louis’s first sustainability award.


We have also been joined by Jessica True of Racine, Wisconsin…her information will be updated soon!