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, as she was finishing up her second stint in graduate school, she stumbled into a Permaculture Design Course with Peter Bane and Keith Johnson. She 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, and became the board president of a local non-profit, The Center for Sustainable Living, in order to transform it into a bioregional permaculture institute.  

She has an active design practice through Sheltering Hills Design, LLC. In 2010 she was awarded a Hellbender Award from Heartwood. 



Penny Krebiehl, Traverse City, Michigan. Artist, Garden-Farmer, Directress, Little Artshram and O’k CSA Cooperative

Penny Krebiehl picPenny Krebiehl was born and raised in a small farming town of Laingsburg, Michigan.  Through the hands-on and up-close personal training as a parental unit, and the caring of two beautiful human beings, she has lived and developed art and environmental workshops, programs and community projects throughout Michigan—both the upper and lower peninsulas, and many places in the Midwest.  Blending parenting tasks and responsibilities, helped her reach a multi-functional approach to her life-
work and has for 20 years of outreach and offerings, developed curriculum and created numerous programs, including intern/apprentice and teacher trainings.

After receiving certification in permaculture design and teaching, she became a cataylst for further development of nature awareness and permaculture based children, youth and family educational programming in Lansing and Traverse City, Michigan, through The Greater Lansing ARTSPACE and Little Artshram, and presently O’k CSA Cooperative.

Penny initiated and contributed to the organization of the first Michigan Permaculture Convergence, and continues to support the development of state-wide permaculture networks to lay a stronger foundation and take root.  She works full-time, sharing and educating through permaculture design, garden-farming and landscape: installation, tending and consultation. She is a Member/Grower, of the Bionutrient Food Association and working alongside of others to create BFA Chapters focused on food quality, food security and sovereignty.

Penny is trained and skilled in a variety of artistic realms, including Graphic Facilitation/recording, lettering, illustration, painting, drawing and storytelling through puppet and mask theater. 30 + years of art and illustration training and teaching, all ages.  She is in a on-going mentorship and part-time staff-member of, and works locally in NW Michigan region developing meaningful, story-telling performances with people of all ages, through the O’k Puppet Theater and Pretty Good Players.


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.

Though most of Braden’s teaching work has built the permaculture community in Cincinnati, he has taught in places as varied as the Earthship Academy and for the Haitian Ministry of Agriculture via USAID. He was appointed by the City Manager as Chairman of Cincinnati’s Urban Agriculture Advisory Board in 2014, and has been the Executive Director of the Cincinnati Permaculture Institute (formerly since its inception in 2011. Adjunct Professor of Horticulture at University of Cincinnati and Adjunct professor for Xavier University’s Land, Farming & Community Degree. He is also owner and principal designer for the consulting firm O.M. Valley Permaculture.

Kate Heiber-Cobb, Madison, Wisconsin.

Kate in Peru with ScarfKate Heiber-Cobb founded the Madison Area Permaculture Guild in 2008. The Guild thrives in the wider community with meetings, networking and educating on Permaculture. In 2014 MAPG hosted the first Wisconsin Permaculture Convergence with 70 people attending.  In 2015 in attendance and this year expect 200 folks to attend the Convergence. Through Kate’s business, Sustainability on Stilts, she educates, designs and consults on Permaculture. A leader in the movement to establish Permaculture as a foundation for urban design, Kate has training in Transition Towns, Radical Urban Sustainability, Art of Hosting, and served on the Advisory Board of Edgewood College’s Sustainability Leadership Graduate Program for five years, and teaches at Madison College.  She received her Permaculture Design Certificate Training through Midwest Permaculture in 2007, her Advanced Permaculture Certificate in 2008 and her Permaculture Teacher’s Training in 2014 with Peter Bane and Sandy Cruz.


Kate has worked with homeowners, businesses, non-profit organizations and public projects. She collaborated to bring PDC’s to the Madison area, and has been the lead teacher/organizer in the Permaculture Design Certificate training for four years.  She has also taught PDC’s at Kinstone in Fountain City, WI and will be teaching in Traverse City, MI in 2016.  Just recently the 2 Madison 2016  PDC’s have been approved for graduate program accreditation with Edgewood College in Madison, WI.

She was the recipient of the Badgers Bioneers award in 2010 and was the Woman Community Leader for OxFam in 2012.



Whitney Sewell, Louisville, Kentucky.

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.

Whitney relocated to Louisville, KY in May of 2016 to continue her urban permaculture practice in developing a 7 acre reclaimed property, once public housing, near Churchill Downs to establish her second agriculture training program for new Americans. Whitney intends to also use this space as a community practice and demonstration space for permaculture principles in the urban environment.