Céline Jennison | Permaculture Specialist

Céline Jennison | Permaculture Specialist


First of all, what is Permaculture? It’s design system cantered on producing ample food supplies through self-sustaining, resilient, closed loop forms of agriculture that mimic existing ecosystems.  I believe that permaculture (based on agroecology principles) is the most productive form of agriculture and I foresee it being used worldwide to ensure food security. Permaculture takes us from ‘permanent agriculture’ to ‘permanent culture’ with three grounding ethics: earth-care, people-care and fair-share.

“The supreme reality of our time is… the vulnerability of our planet.” John F. Kennedy

With a growing global population and increased frequency and severity of weather patterns, food security has become an issue of increasing importance for humanity. I am convinced, following my experiences as an undergraduate, that permaculture is the solution to this global challenge, but frustrated with its lack of common knowledge and scientific proofs. I want to construct sustainable, viable, practical, and implementable evidentiary researchfor use in planned environments as a sustainable means of providing food and aiding the environment.

I hope to pursue studies in agroecology, using my knowledge and passion to advance the recognition of permaculture: a unique approach to system design, the better form of organic that needs to accumulate scientific evidence, institutionalization, and certification.

How do you think naturalists and scientists can use technology?

Permaculture is also a grassroots movement that started in the seventies, it is a way of living that seeks to be 100% sustainable, we refer to wearing the ‘permaculture goggles’. This environmental movement relies deeply the Internet to sustain the international network. In terms of specific technologies, the sustainable agriculture movement lacks a big database where scientists, farmers, consultants… can easily find out what has been researched, where and what methods can increase yields, decrease pests… If farmers could collect data and simply plug it into this database, the permaculture science would move forward and government officials would be willing to adopt principles that are supported by case-studies and scientific proof.

It is funny to think that the poorest famers in Africa don’t have running water, or electricity but they have cell-phones! I am seeing a surge of farmers use these devices for information exchange on agriculture: this is very promising!

What is your favorite…

Outdoor activity? I just don’t have a favorite! Windsurfing, mountaineering, skiing and sailing.

Nature-based memory from childhood? At nine years old I rock-climbed “the finger of fate” a ten-pitch mountain with my parents and brother on a four-day camping trip in the Sawtooth Mountains. The beauty of this trip is indescribable….

Animal? I am actually scared of many animals! I’m a plant girl! But I know very well that an ecosystem can’t function without animals. I’ve done horseback riding all my life, so I’ll pick horses.

Plant? Echinacea: an incredible immune-system booster.

Place to visit? The Glenans: an archipelago in Brittany, France where I teach sailing. We live on islands with no electricity, no Internet.  We camp out, dig pits for our composting toilets. We fish spider crab and eat seaweed: it’s paradise.

When you were little, what did you want to be when you grew up? I wanted to be an archeologist, then an herbalist. Indeed, at the age of 10 I had an immune deficiency. An herbalist my mother knows concocted a tincture that restored my balance within a year. This was an eye opener as to the power of plants in general.

What motivates you to work in nature? I’ve been fortunate to do all sorts of extreme sports in nature. But when I see the glacier level descending every year I return to the Alps and the ski-patrols have to add ladders built into the rock for people to get on the ice: I am worried. It is my responsibility to conserve the great outdoors I play in.

Hometown: London, England

Education:B.S. Plant Science, Cornell University 14’