Stephan Gehrels

Stephan Gehrels

Eco schools project manager, course tutor

About Stephan:
Found in our Stanmer Home Farm Orchard (during a pruning course), living in a nook in an apple tree, Stephan had been abandoned by his Pixie parents, and was immediately adopted by Brighton Permaculture Trust. Having been fed for several years on our organic apples, he grew tall enough to attend our Design Course in 2003, and has worked with us ever since. He completed his Permaculture Diploma in 2009 and despite retaining his original elven-like features, he is now a big green giant, which makes him very popular with children in local schools where he runs Eco clubs/projects and implements permaculture design.

Stephan teaches on the following courses:

Name your permaculture hero? Why them?

Today, my permaculture hero is Toby Hemenway. He recently passed away and he is the most inspirational author of Permaculture City and Gaia's Garden. Has a really good way of breaking down science and research into understandable soulfull ways. He has some great videos on YouTube.

Which permaculture principle do you have to remind yourself of the most?

Applying self regulation and accepting feedback, probably because I’m not very good at it. Its about, for example, being desciplined in time keeping, being strategic in applying ones energy and also in taking time out and making sure I have time with family, friends etc. and not burning out.

This is all linked in with the feedback of my own body, my work and my loved ones!

Which permaculture principle is always popping up in unlikely places? Such as?

The Mollison principle (vs Holmgren principles) of Many elements should fulfill each important function or each element should have many functions. That makes for very useful and resilient design.

And directly linked, the Creating beneficial relationships principle which is always there and is one of, or even THE most powerful strengths of permaculture. This is usually defined when using the input/ output tool in design. Or is just obvious in all resilient and strong systems.

Best example of permaculture in action?

I’ll be self-centered and say the school permaculture design and forest garden at Hertford Junior School. Not just because it was my first proper permaculture design but because it taught me so much. It was really powerful in demonstrating the power of community, because it was created by the school (children and teachers) and the local community.