Permaculture Instructors

Living Ecology’s Master Team of Permaculture Instructors

Each of the permaculture instructors at Living Ecology brings a unique set of skills to the table. Collectively, Raya, Narsanna, and Padma equate to one of the most qualified groups providing permaculture education and application to-date. Interns at Living Ecology are fortunate to receive training from masters in the field.

Living Ecology - Permaculture Instructors for Internships in India

Volunteers are needed at Aranya Agriculture Alternatives, but require a long term commitment to be useful.

Raya Cole, Living Ecology Project Coordinator, USA

Raya Cole - Living Ecology Permaculture Internship Coordinator

Raya Cole

Raya Cole has been involved with organic agriculture, permaculture, and sustainable systems and social justice since 1996.  She developed two of her own farms with permaculture principles in California, and the farms were used as training centers.  She has provided permaculture consultancy and implementation on farms in the United States, Costa Rica and India.

She teaches wilderness, primitive and nature awareness skills at 4 Elements Earth Education.

She is an herbalist with a medicinal herb product business, Simply Being Botanicals for which she grows and wildcrafts the herbs.

In 1995, with the One World Global Education project, Raya had her first involvement in international development. It was a transformative experience to her perspective on the world and social justice. Since then she has focused on living gently on the Earth while giving equal respect to all living beings; human, plants and animals.   She contributes her knowledge of permaculture, group and community collaboration skills to the intern program at Living Ecology. Joyed to be working on a project that aids the work of an incredibly effective development organization, she provides advanced mentorship and training to permaculture students.

Raya is the contact person for volunteers and interns who wish to participate in the practical application permaculture programs in India through Living Ecology and Aranya Agriculture Alternatives.

Permaculture Instructor’s Qualifications

An extensive advanced education in permaculture makes Raya the cornerstone of Living Ecology project outcomes. Her Permaculture Design Course was completed in 2003 in the Earth Activist Training. She has worked with professionals and permaculture instructors all over the world. Educational highlights include a 10 week internship with Geoff Lawton at The Permaculture Research Institute in Australia and 8 months at The Regenerative Design Institute in the Cultural Mentoring Program where she helped train the first year students in the Regenerative Design and Nature Awareness program with Penny Livingston-Stark and Jon Young.   She also completed Aquaponics Design with Max Mayers, Holistic Management with Kurt Gadzia, Holistic Orchard Management with Michael Phillips, Keyline Design and Land Management with Darren Doherty, Advanced Permaculture Design Consultancy with Robyn Francis, and Soil Food Web training with Elaine Ingham. Her work and study have been remarkable.

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Narsanna Koppula, Permaculture Pioneer, India

Narsanna Koppula - one of Living Ecology's Permaculture Instructors

Narsanna Koppula

Narsanna Koppula is a permaculture pioneer in India. Bill Mollison visited him in 1987 and created a village permaculture project. He is cofounder of Aranya Agricultural Alternatives, host to the next International Permaculture Convergence in November 2017. He is a permaculture social activist whose focus for 25 years has been empowering poor rural communities. He educates and assists villagers in transforming their lands that grow GMO monocrops into food self sufficient permaculture farms.

He facilitates a large government watershed project that implements rain water harvesting and vegetative plantings on 37 500 acres of land. He has been responsible for planting millions of trees on government and private land. He is a strong advocate of tree based farming systems and rain water harvesting. His work brings much hope and knowledge to his drought affected state, as permaculture earthworks quickly make dry wells abundant. Their farm is a beautiful example of self sufficiency.

Permaculture Instructor’s Qualifications

He received his Permaculture Certificate from Permaculture International Institute, Australia and is a post graduate from Osmania University. Dr.Venkat has been his mentor and Bill Mollison and Robyn Francis, his permaculture instructors – learning from the most renowned in the field. Narsanna was on the Board of the Permaculture Association of India and served for 12 years (1986 to 1998) as Director and General Secretary of Deccan Development Society, a premier NGO working on sustainable agriculture.

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Padma Koppula, Co-Founder of Aranya Agricultural Alternatives, Living Ecology’s Parent Organization

Padma Koppula - Aranya Agricultural Alternatives Permaculture Instructor and CEO

Padma Koppula

Padma Koppula is the cofounder of Aranya Agricultural Alternatives, a 17 year old permaculture nonprofit organization in India.  Aranya is Living Ecology’s parent organization and the host of the next International Permaculture Convergence in November 2017.  Previously, Padma worked for 10 years with the Deccan Development Society, another grassroots permaculture organization.

India has a large government watershed program, in which Aranya has been responsible for facilitating the implementation of rainwater harvesting and vegetative plantings on 37 500 acres of land.  She works with small farmers in her state who grow GMO cotton monocrops, teaching them the benefits of diversified cropping systems, and supports them in changing over to permaculture practices.  She works with tribal communities who are displaced from the forest, and, helps them to develop food forests and do rainwater harvesting on the farm land the government has allocated them.

Padma gives trainings in and uses participatory rural development techniques to work with villagers.  She engages capacity building activities and education for rural people in water resource management, farm management, diversified annual crops and tree based farming systems.  She teaches seed preservation of local and native seeds and helps establish seed banks in many villages.  Padma does trainings for government employees in participatory irrigation management of canal systems from large community owned water tanks for many districts in her state.

In canal irrigation management services, Aranya is directly involved with 200 000 farmers in a democratic participatory approach.  Padma has done a lot of work with village women, helping to organize them into groups and federations. She teaches them to access the government resources available, links them to financial organizations to develop their own farms.  She supports underprivileged women’s motivation, strength and capacities.  Padma leads women in organizing cooperative fodder forests for animals, food forests for people, community herb gardens, and cooperative food preservation systems.  Padma has helped the landless poor to get access from the government to their own farmland and taught them permaculture practices for farming.  Padma Koppula’s work with small farmers and underprivileged people is wide reaching and has long term success.

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Join Living Ecology in India for Permaculture Education

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