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Page history last edited by Stella 14 years, 2 months ago

Andy Langford






(article about Gaia University in PC Activist)


Permaculture pioneer in Europe,

helped set up the British Permaculture Association

now coordinating Gaia University http://www.gaiauniversity.org






Born 1949, Totnes, England.




Master of Science: Organisation Analysis and Development, University of Bath, 1977


Postgraduate Diploma in Management Studies, Bristol Polytechnic, 1976


Diploma of Applied Permaculture Design, Permaculture Institute of Australia, 1993


Member, Institute of Management Services, Manchester, 1975



Additional practitioner trainings:


Re-evaluation Counseling, Meeting and Event Facilitation, Spiral Dynamics, Planning for Real, Permaculture Teacher Training, Future Search.





Permaculture Community Service Award, Permaculture Institute of Australia, 1993 - for outstanding services to the international permaculture community.



Trustee roles and achievements:


GEN-Europe (Global Ecovillage Network): Council member 2004 to present - with brief to engender economic self-reliance within the movement and release organisation from dependency on funding sources.


LETSystem,Oxford, England (Local Exhange/Trading System): Council member 1992 to 1996 - general participant in leadership team developing local LETSystem network.


Permaculture Association of Britain: Chair of Committee of Management 1990 to 1993 and Trustee 1986 to 1990. Leadership role establishing policy and practice for non-governmental organisation (NGO).


Totnes Housing Group (England): Chair of Trustees 1986 to 1989. Initiator, organiser, financial manager of self-build, community group converting redundant school buildings into low cost residential accomodation.

Totnes Ambling Band - 1980 to 1990, initiator, stalwart trombonist in eclectic 'street' band playing.

LETS System pioneer 1983-89, Totnes, England - first LETS system in Europe - husbanded concept in nursery stages including foclizing open source software efforts and the emergence of LETSLink UK as specialist support agency.





Designing Productive Meetings and Events - 1997, publisher S. Oxon District Council


Action Learning Manual - 1996, publisher Permaculture Academy of Britain


Make up your mind - self-help study skills 1975, publisher Clark's Ltd Training Department.



Work roles (present day first):


•Joint Founder and Joint President of Gaia University, October 2004 to date:


•Founder and lead foclizer of The Permaculture Academy of Britain, May 1993 to 2005: an independent enterprise engaged in a 12 year experimental learning framework exploring the validity of action learning for learners of permaculture design seeking tutorial support and accreditation. Spawned derivative systems in Germany, Italy, Austria, Spain, Israel, Scotland. Roles: - Organisation designer to originating work-group and International Reference Person.

•Braziers Park School of Integrative Research: April 2000 to January 2005 Ecovillage resident responsible for land-use matters on 15 hectare farm and woodland, joint operator of living and learning centre, activist in organisation transformation process, integrative research developer.


•Founder and Partner of Designed Visions, September 1990 to May 2000: an independent permaculture design consultancy working for private clients, local and regional government.


Notable outputs:


Springfield Community Gardens, Bradford. A 3 hectare site within a decayed 3000 household social housing project of the 1960's - commended as 'best practice' in UK Government's national sustianable development strategy 1995. Sponsors; Bradford Metropolitan Council, Bradford City Challenge.


Blackdown Hills Sustainable Development Initiative, Devon. A feasibility study over 100 square kilometres of economically depressed rural, upland country. Query was: how could sustainable development reverse the downward spiral in the area. An action learning enquiry which focussed on both practical and conceptual strategies - commended as 'best practice' in UK Government's 1996 publication 'Our Common Inheritance'. Sponsors; Devon County Council, European Union.


Oxford City Council and South Oxfordshire District Council - training of teams of local facilitators drawn mostly from local business people capable of designing and faciltating action search gatherings of local people seeking to participate in Agenda 21 activities.


Developing Permaculture and Agenda 21 capacity through training in Basque Country, Balerieac Islands and Catelelonia (Spain).


• Coordinator and administrator, Permaculture Association of Britain, October 1985 to May 1990: National non-governmental organisation (NGO) for the development of permaculture design and teaching capacity both within the country and internationally.


Notable outputs:


Convening first UK permaculture design courses.


Training and activation of first British cohort of permaculture designers and teachers including self;


Liasion with previously unknown UK pioneers of forest gardening (Robert de AJ Hart), foggage farming (Arthur Hollins), soil reconditioning and acid uplands reclamation with the effect of establishing a UK based case study base for permaculture.



• Founder , Designer and Partner, Conker Shoe Company, September 1977 to May 1986: innovative, local scale, shoe manufacturing workshop using new, appropriate technology based construction and making techniques designed for loclization of manufacturing essential products. First deep, conscious opportunity to engage with pioneering, action learning based, visionary project in contradiction to mainstream economy. Intergation of all aspects of business and manufacture.



• Work Study Officer, Clarks Ltd (Shoemakers), September 1970 to September 1975 - Work Study practitioner, with special skills in pre-determined motion/time systems, advancing to teach Work Study in corporate training department.


Search phase: -


• Mermaid Forge 1969-1970 - first attempts at self-employment - converted town barn to artisans workshops, café and gallery,  furniture making.


• Various: - 1968 to 1970 - Head Barman, Cott Inn (in preparation for catering college); Agricultural laborer (in preparation for agricultural college) Shift worker in Paper Mill; Timber yard worker (ship unloading and tally man's mate); Student at Brighton College of Education (President of Students Union).








Appreciations and References


from Stella:


Andy has been a great inspirations for me both as a person of deep integrity, bright intelligence, humour, generosity and kindness, as well as a trail-blazing permaculture practitioner, forward thinker and patient teacher, constantly questioning and learning on the many varied fronts that concern the progress of humankind and Gaia. 


I am grateful to have had him as one of my teachers: after hearing of his innovative people-care work in the early nineties, I took my second PDC course with him, bringing with me a small group of colleagues. 


The important people-care insights we learned there and in an additional workshop (about the radical inclusion and meeting design tools he had developed with his partner and permaculture teacher Jane Hera - which are still the most radical tools around today!), I believe were an important basis of the success of our community permaculture organization, Green Adventure:  as many of us who've sailed those choppy waters know all too well - when it comes down to it, it’s really not that difficult to grow trees ... but to grow people or organizations ... phew!


He is definitely one of our great pioneers & it makes me feel very proud of our movement to know that we stand on such kind, wise, very knowledgeable and also daring, adventurous shoulders (very tall shoulders that may be a struggle to reach onto sometimes, and that we have to also take care of and thank).  


I will never forget the very funny, wise and timely presentation he did in IPC7, where, in between snatches of a rap-song he'd invented for the occasion, he listed, with his usual fresh and insightful precision, 5 reasons why the 'old guard' in our permaculture community appears to be reluctant to hand over the reins to the newer generations: “go back and study the bloody Manual and learn to be thoughtful of your Elders!” (unfair summary)  But said in a very kind, gentle way, with lots of laughter.


His own action-learning never stops, and seems to gallop at speed: I always look forward to hearing what Andy has gone and discovered lately (also because his excitement is so infectious), even if it might take me an uncomfortable while to make much sense of it for myself.    Am amazed at his capacity to take in apparently massive amounts of very new and complex concepts and information,  make original and meaningful connections between them and use them creatively in his permaculture work, for the benefit of us all.  He has opened my eyes to wonderful new landscapes on many occasions.


He's a man on the cutting-edge of progressive thinking in our culture, in a movement that's always been ahead of the times: quite a challenging & massively fertile edge.   Thanks so much for risking your neck surfing there, and for sharing so generously what you discover :)



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