Consultant, Regenerative Landscape Designer, Landscape Installation, Teacher, Fermentation, Permaculture
Pro Planet People: Who are you and what do you do, where do you do it, how do you do it?
Bridget: As a caring steward of life I strive to explore resilience through many pathways. My studies and work focus on self-care, social, and land-use design. While using my diverse skills, experiences, and trainings in horticulture, floristry, fermentation, Permaculture, Yoga (RYT), nutrition, education & marketing to provide a holistic approach to culture repair. I share my passion for impactful loving service through work as an educator and designer with Resilient Spirals LLC & Sacred Places PL. I spend much of my time in southeastern Michigan raising my brilliant son, while frequently traveling with my partner Charlie Brennan offering design, consultation & a range of workshops. Another area of work I make time for is to write and cultivate teaching tools like the design game ‘Adapt’.
PPP: What would you would like people to know about in terms of sustainability, permaculture, water management, energy or whatever topic you would like to show/teach?
Bridget: To cultivate a brighter future for the planet and its creatures I strive to educate and inspire people to CARE MORE and use their skills to live life by design. What if we all cared more? What if we all knew the power and possibly of design? One of the main points I hope to help bring to the mainstream is – ‘life-by-design’, caring for life, verses ‘life-by-default’, which destroys life. Caring is to create, maintain and turn your attention toward life and life sustaining systems.
PPP: What is your favorite project that you want to share that you had a hand in?
Bridget: Right now I have two favorite projects I’m working on. Number one is the design game Adapt! – www.PlayAdapt.com
I have been collaborating globally for the last 3 years to bring this dream to reality. Over the last year we have used the game to facilitate the design of a business, a political campaign, a small housing community, a few gardens and events. We are excited to be releasing a collection of tools and services in the coming months…stay tuned in!
The second is a 140-acre private property in New South Wales, Australia. A large team of us have designed, installed and maintained many gardens and hardscapes, while restoring walking tracks, and considering how the house systems work within the landscape. What makes this project different is our focus on restoration and regeneration of the ecological systems of this important part of the Great Eastern Ranges. We’ve planted rainforest restoration berms to protect the pristine river, food forest beams to feed the owner and care takers of the land, and we’re working on a full property plan for the detailed installation and maintenance of the property over the years to come. It has been thrilling to be one of many teammates collaboratively bringing this project to life. Our main focus is to care for the land and all the beings that dwell there.
PPP: What is your philosophy on life with reference to the interconnectedness of nature, humans and the creatures?
Bridget: My life philosophy is to care. Care for all life. Care more each day. Be caring and compassionate with deep gratitude and respect for life. This gratitude is for all, the easy and the challenging. My aim is to be diligently exploring, learning and sharing my experiences and knowledge, while cooperatively working with all beings. Building and boosting up my fellow humans so we can all thrive.
PPP: The Future! Can you paint a picture of the future if we all worked together using permaculture, sustainability, regenerative practices, and…?
Bridget: The future is something I think about often and design toward always. In these turbulent and rapidly changing times where in a bright future seems like a long way away. Especially after driving through the fire ravaged landscape of Portugal, then hearing from one the largest banks in the world that we are running through resources faster than ever and the situation is unsustainable by even their standards, and to top it off am a citizen of a country that is turning back the clock on environmental protections and human rights by decades. Some days are hard to be positive but that is where Permaculture, the Great Turning, a deeply held belief in love and the power of community come into play. I sit on this day at the European Permaculture Convergence in the gorgeous Wicklow National Park in Ireland surround by my comrades in the race against time and carbon footprints. We plant trees, we eat locally & we design for all beings and the future.
We and all those millions of like-minded people out in the world today are working to tip the scales back toward life, toward a world that cares a whole hell of a lot more.
In the world of my dreams I see thriving people, bees, eagles, salmon and wolves. I see healthy trees full of fruits, meadows bursting with flowers and soil that is rich with health. I see clean water we can all drink freely with out any cost. In a brighter world we would be using current sunlight, wind and water to power our days. And last but not least in this bright future I see humans living in community, collaborating with each other, the land and all its plants and creatures. This world is attainable with the application of the indigenous wisdom and appropriate technology. It is attainable if we all care more.
This future is possible, I know this to be true, that is why I do what I do each day.
PPP: Give some advice for people on how to get started, why you got started, reflect on how your personal experiences got you where you are today.
Bridget: What do you love? What skills do you have? What do you want to learn more about? Get started here. Within sustainability and Permaculture work there is room for everyone. Everyone is needed to cultivate a thriving world. We need the musician, the farmer, the scientist, the cartoonist, elder caregiver and everyone in-between. A village – global or local needs more than landscape designers to sustain themselves. And this is where I hope everyone who finds there way into Permaculture can find a way to apply their genius to a permaculture way of life.
PPP: List your top people worldwide that have inspired you. Share some books and/or websites you think people should check out and why they should (if you want to say why).
Bridget: I love projects, books and people that walk their talk with passion and skill, executing what they are doing in a considerate way. Here are few examples:
Projects that inspire me –
Brisbane QLD, AUS – Northey Street City Farm – Food, education, community out reach and a stellar demonstration site
Detroit MI, USA – Keep Growing Detroit – Community gardens, education and resources
Basalt CO, USA – CRMPI – Central Rocky Mountain Permaculture Institute – Education, resources and an innovative demonstration site
Brighton, England – Brighton Permaculture Trust – Fruit Factory and Heirloom Orchards – They are skillfully making value added products from local resources to help sustain their groups mission
People – Keeping it quick, the short list…to many to really share them all here.
Dan Palmer & MakingPermaculutreStronger.net
The whole team at the Permaculture Action Network
Charlie Brennan Phd – www.CharlieBrennan.info
The SCOPE and programs – Malawi
Books – Just going to stick with recent reads…don’t want to go to deep down the rabbit hole!
Braiding Sweetgrass – Robin Wall Kimmer
The Mushroom at the End of the World – Anna Tsing
Dark Emu – Bruce Pasco
All these books are must-reads for ecological designers and caring hearts. In their own ways they tell important stories of our past and current cultural traditions with a focus on the call for restorative practices.
Emergent Strategies – Adrian Marie Brown – A brilliant handbook for new strategies of working with our skills and passions in this rapidly changing world.
PPP: Thank you!
Bridget O’Brien Bio:
Bridget is an international Designer, Educator and Explorer – Specializing in Permaculture inspired regenerative self-care and landscape design, research, coaching & workshops
How many years have you been involved in sustainability?
I have been passionate about sustainability my whole life…I’m a child of the Reduce, Reuse, Recycle era! In the last 10 years the main intention of my work and life has been to walk my talk, cultivating a more caring world that we can all thrive in.
Skills I use in my sustainability work include landscape design and installation, facilitation of workshops and design sessions and the various other writing, fermenting, and yoga skills I’ve acquired that help care for earth and all beings.
Permaculture Design Certification with Bill & Becky Wilson & Milton Dixon @Midwest Permaculture Institute
Permaculture Teacher Training with Peter Bane & Sandy Cruz
Forest Garden Design Training with Dave Jacke
Dynamic Group Facilitation Training with Robin Clayfield
I love to teach and do so mainly in the USA, Australia and England…though I’m always looking to go new places to learn and share. I often teach with Charlie Brennan Phd and we love to pull in other peers to share their skills with our students.
Our next workshops will be in Michigan at the Ann Arbor District Library and the Riverside Art Center this September thru October. You can find out more about those classes along with the other workshops we facilitate at GardenJujuCollective.com.
Or you can find me with friend, Claire Maitre, presenting ‘Gleaning, Foraging, Gardening for Survival & Joy’ at the Great Lakes Bioneers Detroit Conference November 2 & 3 of 2018. glbd.org
Ypsilanti, Michigan, United States
Check out his Pro Planet People Profile