Forest Garden Convergence 2015 Panels and Presenters

Panel A – The Deep Roots of Forest Gardening

  • Lorenna Bousquet-Kacera
  • Jayme Cannon
  • Shantree Kacera
  • Brad Peterson
  • Moderator – Rob Read

Panel B – Regeneration through Forest Gardening

  • Gillian Baker
  • Natalie Howard
  • Jessica Robertson
  • Moderator – Tracey Ogilvie McDonald

Panel C – From Deep Roots to the Future of Forest Gardening

  • Becky Ellis
  • Elijah Richardson
  • Paul Wartman
  • Moderator – Ingrid Vanderschot

Gillian Barker (Panelist) is a philosopher with interests shaped by her interdisciplinary training in the history, philosophy and social studies of science. She works on questions about the origin and role of the conceptual models that shape scientific thought, especially in biology. She is an Professor in the Department of Philosophy at Western University, and a leading member of the Rotman Institute of Philosophy.

Bio: Lorenna Bousquet-Kacera (Panelist)
Is a Certified Permaculture Educator with a specialty in evolutionary regeneration at the personal, ecological and spiritual levels. She is the founder of Shamanu: Earth Wisdom Teachings, practices that support an earth-based cosmology, teaching visionary and practical solutions for personal and social change. Her 35 years of training in the field of inner permaculture and deep ecology provides individuals with the skills to reconnect with the ‘original instructions’ revealed to us from nature. These empowerment practices call us forward into our full potential, and the ability to actively participate in creating sustainable personal, community and environmental solutions. Lorenna is the co-director with her husband Shantree of The Living Centre and Living Arts Institute, eco-spiritual education sanctuary.

Jayme Cannon Burdock photo 2BioJayme Cannon (Panelist) didn’t fully understand what she was getting herself into when she signed up for the Traditional Herbalist program at The Living Earth School of Herbalism in the year 2000…little did she know that her decision would forever change the way she saw and experienced her world.

While researching the medicinal properties of an every day cuppa tea, she was excited by the history and mythology that she found interspersed amidst her research.  She went on to share her discoveries through teaching at the Royal Ontario Museum, as well as colleges, libraries and cafes (and wherever she has an audience).  Jayme has an engaging teaching style that stems from her desire to educate and entertain.  

Having returned to school in 2013, she is about to become an RMT and is very excited to blend her knowledge of herbs with her massage practice to encourage deeper healing for those in need.

Jayme’s herbal training began with a strong focus on local, sustainably wildcrafted medicine.  Much of her dispensary has been harvested from forests, so when she discovered Permaculture and Food Forests, she knew she had found a path that would further deepen her connection with the plant world.

Bio: Becky Ellis (Panelist, All Ages Progamming)
runs the Sprouts Children’s Garden Program for the London Community Resource Centre, helping to connect children and families to nature and food. She received her M.A. in Sociocultural Anthropology from Western University, with a focus on the social impacts of urban community gardens. In January 2010, Becky completed the Earth Activist Training Permaculture Certification in Cazadero, California. Becky also works for the London Public Library where she is a Literacy Facilitator and she is the Environmental Coordinator for the Mantis Arts & Eco Festival. In her spare time, she loves to be with her family, play the banjo, take care of her backyard forest garden (complete with bee hives!), and organize community/activist events.


 Bio: Sheila Horrel (Drumming Circle Leader for evening activities)

Sheila Horrell has been drumming for the last 25 years, ever since being introduced to the primal magic of the drum by master percussionist Ubaka Hill.

After studying percussion with various drummers here and internationally, she has been facilitating workshops and Drum Circles for many groups  in Southwestern Ontario, including schools, universities, camps, nursing homes, conferences and agencies.

The experience of introducing new drummers to the ease and joy of music making with the drum has been a prime motivator for Sheila’s continued success.  There is nothing like witnessing someone relaxing into their own rhythm and having fun contributing to the music of the whole drumming community.

As well as facilitating drumming, Sheila is also a member of  percussion groups in London – including “The London Groove Collective”, a group which weaves melody (sax and keyboard) with various percussion instruments to create everything from jazz fusion to ambient sound scapes.   As well she sings and plays with WomenSpiritSong choir, and Joyful Noise choir.  Sheila is a proud volunteer at My Sister’s Place where weekly drumming on a Monday morning gets the week of to a fine start,  and also volunteers with the Grand Theatre, the Women’s Circle at Brescia and Heart-Links, a small London NGO which walks in solidarity with a community of women and children in the desert regions of Northern Peru.

Bio: Natalie Howard (Panelist) is the creator of rawllygood, founder of the Realign Ranch- home of the Mandala Garden, documentary photographer, and a HOPE Activist. Natalie supports the realignment of body, mind and soul through a variety of workshops such as Living Raw Food Nutrition and Mandala Garden Design. Natalie’s intention is to be of service through the process of self-transformation that leads to environmental and personal awareness, self-sustainability and spiritual growth. Natalie feels that by offering workshops that can be used as tools for living more authentically & sustainably, tools for healing, tools for liberation, tools for self-evolution, tools to connect with our ancient wisdom, we can become the activist in our own lives.

As a HOPE activist, Natalie is one of the co-founders of the HOPE (Homesteading Organically to Produce Eco-systems) Permaculture Tour, an annual local Permaculture Tour, which aims to inspire and provide others with the tools needed to take self responsibility over our health, the food we eat, the importance of our relationship to the earth and our deep ecology, as well as, the importance of increasing our awareness of being local in our choices.Natalie feels that by offering workshops that can be used as tools for living more authentically and sustainably, tools for healing, tools for liberation, tools for self-evolution, tools to connect with our ancient wisdom, we can become the activist in our own lives.

Natalie feels that by offering workshops that can be used as tools for living more authentically & sustainably, tools for healing, tools for liberation, tools for self-evolution, tools to connect with our ancient wisdom, we can become the activist in our own lives.

Bio: Shantree Kacera, D.N., Ph.D (Panelist)
Shantree is a Permaculture Educator, Nutritionist, Therapeutic Herbalist, Ecological Consultant & Forest Garden Practitioner with 40 years experience in the Organic Natural Healing Arts. He is an expert on the medicinal and nutritional properties of herbs and trees of Carolinian Canada. His primary focus these days are on research, demonstration and education. He is the founder and co-director of The Living Centre (1983), and Living Arts Institute. Shantree received his doctorate in Nutritional Medicine and Herbalism in the 70’s.

Shantree has studied useful edible, nutritional and medicinal plants and organic gardening for 40 years. The Living Centre maintains about 5-acres of forest gardens which has around 1,000 useful perennial foods and medicinal plants or self-seeding species. 

Bio: Tracey Ogilvie McDonald (Moderator)
For Tracey, attending a general interest course in Aromatherapy through the Institute of Aromatherapy (Toronto), in 2003 was her ‘ah ha’ moment. While learning about the oils – and the plants and flowers that provide them – Tracey realized that we were always part of Earth. This realization has changed the course of her life. 

As well as being a 2nd Level Usui ReiKi practitioner, Tracey is an accomplished dowser, and Qi Stone Massage practitioner. Yet it was the desire to bring natural ingredient products to her family and friends that brought Tracey to herbal healthcare. 

In 2009, she started her formal education in herbalism through The Living Centre (London). In 2010, she and her husband spent an awkward but incredible three day weekend exploring the unfamiliar world of green through a Forest Gardening workshop. That weekend brought new awareness and passion, and today Tracey is a strong voice for Earth. 

Tracey has brought herbal healthcare to her family and friends, but her focus remains on holistic healthcare, of which our green friends are a major part. 

Bio: Brad Peterson (Panelist) is an ecologist, farmer and environmental landscape architect with over 25 years of experience in sustainable land management, environmental design and landscape architecture. Mr. Peterson has particular strength in application of permaculture principles, design and management of sustainable landscapes and organic production systems with application to smart growth, planning policy and organic standards.  

Bio: Rob Read (Moderator) spends his time outside his day-job as Administrative Assistant in the Rotman Institute of Philosophy at Western University between permaculture, writing, and spending time with his family. He is a co-founder of the Carolinian Canada Forest Garden Guild, and co-owner of Artemisia’s Forest Garden Nursery and Heartnut Forest. Rob’s passion for forest gardening and permaculture began when he came across Robert Hart’s book about his forest garden at a used book fair. This dovetailed nicely with his concern over our current food production system, and made perfect sense based on his many years as a naturalist and amateur ecologist. Over the past six years he has been actively converting his half-acre property from a lawn to a forest garden and edible landscape. Prior to pursuing permaculture, Rob trained in creative writing at York University, and his poetry appears in O Spam, Poams (2005, BookThug) as well as in numerous magazines and small press publications. He is currently working on a science fiction novel for young adults with permaculture as a central theme. 

jeremiahBio: Jeremiah Riehl (All Ages Programming)
Jeremiah is an outdoor programmer and Permaculture Gardener at Circle R Ranch, a camp and outdoor facility just 20 minutes SW of London. He has been teaching and facilitating children’s groups for four years now and has developed an acre sized forest garden to show future generations what is possible.  This year he has begun the structural building of an Earthship Greenhouse.  He has also recently become inspired by the work of Jon Young, the Art of Mentoring and the Coyote’s Guide to creating Connections in Nature.  For more information about Circle R and summer camp visit

Bio: Elijah Richardson (Panelist, All Ages Programming) at an early age was introduced to the importance and connectedness to the earth by his grandfather! Through out Elijah’s life has been connected to horticulture in some capacity , from landscaping to nursery work to horticulture therapy to organic farming !

For the past 15 years Elijah has been interested in sustainable agriculture and this has influenced his passions! He has been working with the environment since the early nineties! And in 2000 attained a Environmental Engineering diploma in waste management! And in 2005 received a child and youth worker diploma and has been connecting the two together ever since!

Elijah has been exploring, observing , building and maintaining small forest gardens wherever he lives! And believes building healthy sustainable communities is paramount which in-turn parallels the intricate relationships between nature!

Jessica Robertson (Panelist) is the owner of Wild Craft Permaculture. She has been working with permaculture principles for several years at a variety of scales, from the home garden to the neighbourhood. She integrates her backgrounds in biology, education, and urban planning into her work. Jessie is an engaging teacher who instils passion and practical knowledge in her students and believes firmly in experiential learning. Jessie is on the steering committee of Transition London Ontario, and she loves riding her bicycle and howling, usually simultaneously.

Bio: Ingrid Vanderschot (Moderator)

Ingrid is co-steward of Red Mill Farm – a budding restoration agriculture style farm and community education/retreat facility.  Together with her spouse Paul, she co-parents 6 children. Ingrid grew up on a farm and has spent her life striving for a balanced walk with agriculture and environment. She completed an MSc in environment and resource management in 1997 focusing on stewardship. Since then Ingrid has worked on the farm and in various off-farm jobs for Conservation Authorities and Ontario Soil and Crop Improvement Association, always relating to environmental stewardship in southwestern Ontario in some way. In 2012, she took the Four-Season Permaculture Design Course at the Living Centre and was thrilled to fall into that natural next step of blending the principles of Permaculture into her life. She is happiest playing with the herbs in her gardens and finding ways to support connection in her children with their food/medicine, the earth and themselves.

julie walterBio: Julie Walter (All Ages Programming)
Julie is a homeschooling mom of three awesome kids, and brings permaculture into her ‘classroom’ every day.  She combines her background as an elementary school teacher with her research into permaculture, RIE, and the work of Jon Young to work with children in unique, supportive and enriching ways. She is the author of the thought-provoking blog Family Yields.

Bio: Paul Wartman (Panelist)
“Imagine walking down the street and being surrounded by rhubarb plants, cherry trees, and raspberry bushes. Imagine all the jam!” Paul Wartman likes to create space to imagine what’s possible when communities are grown from good, accessible food systems. Bringing that vision into reality is his mission. Paul has founded the group Many Rivers Permaculture that is working to create a healthy, environmentally-protective, politically-engaged, food-loving, “I-wanna-grow-that-in-my-backyard” community. He is currently researching Edible Forest Gardens as a Master Student at the University of Guelph and collaborating with community groups to bring healthy food to everyone in the Guelph and Mississauga communities.

Paul’s understory consists of being a board member and vo-livin-teer with Transition Guelph, a grass roots community organization working and playing towards a thriving resilient community. His character is built from experiences in organic farming, permaculture design, appropriate technology development, eco-camp counselling, and many potlucks! Go ahead and ask him about it.


Main Forest Garden Convergence 2015 page.