About Us

Siskiyou Permaculture is a collaboration of Melanie Mindlin, Karen Taylor and Tom Ward founded in 2010.  Based in Southern Oregon, Siskiyou Permaculture offers permaculture courses, workshops, counseling, walk-throughs and design services. Permaculture Design Courses are certified through Cascadia Permaculture Institute, a consortium of experienced permaculture teachers in the Pacific Northwest founded in 1999, as well as through PINA, the Permaculture Institute of North America. Click here for more about the services we offer. 

Hazel aka Tom Ward is a long time resident of the Southern Oregon bioregion first settling here in the early 70's, and has been advising farms and teaching Permaculture for over thirty years.  He has degrees in Forestry and Botany from Syracuse University and has taught at Laney College in Oakland CA., D-Q University in Davis CA, and at Thlolego Learning Centre in South Africa among many other institutes and communities.  He is presently managing a Social Forestry experimental station in Little Wolf Gulch near Ruch, OR, where he is demonstrating natural building, fuel hazard materials utilization, multiple products woods-crafting, wildlife enhancement and desert forest water management.  

Tom Ward has taught dozens of permaculture courses over the last 30 years, primarily in Southern Oregon and northern California, as well as occasional jaunts farther afield.  These include the PDC, permaculture teachers training, and advanced courses in Optical Surveying, Social Forestry and Design.  He is a frequent guest instructor for Toby Hemenway and other instructors at PDC's offered in the Northwest.  Tom holds permaculture diplomas from Bill Mollison's Institute, as well as from the Permaculture Institute of North America as of 2016.  In conjunction with Siskiyou Permaculture, he teaches a weekend PDC once every 1-2 years at various locations in Southern Oregon and advanced permaculture courses at his site in the Little Applegate.  He is the author of Greenward Ho! Herbal Home Remedies: An Ecological Approach to Sustainable Health.  Tom gives talks on all aspects of Permaculture with recent topics being Social Forestry, Ecological Opportunities and Constraints of the Upper Bear Creek Basin, Permaculture for the Masses, Becoming Indigenous to the Siskiyous and Envisioning a Permanent Culture in the Rogue Valley.  Recent storytelling events have centered around a vision of the Siskiyou region in the 22nd century.  You can find his writings on Tom's Blog.   More Information on Tom Ward.  Also sed the 2010 article about Tom in the Locals Guide.

"I am a student in Toby Hemenway's Permaculture PDC in Portland.  I thought that your presentation at our class was fantastic.  I was totally and completely inspired.  It drastically changed our site plan for the permaculture farm we are starting. This is my second PDC and I have been working as a permaculture designer for three years now and that is the first I had heard of much of your information!  I hope to have the time to come down and take a class with you in the future."   

 --Jen Henry, Siren Song Farm

Melanie Mindlin has worked with permaculture design, home design, group facilitation, land use planning and intentional communities for many years.  She was the founder, designer and project manager of Ashland Cohousing Community, a community of 13 passive solar homes with a common house and community garden.  She has been intimate with the process of creating community from the first discussion groups through completion of construction.  She has been doing group facilitation and consensus process for over 30 years.  Melanie was the founding chair of the Board of Directors of Recode, an Oregon nonprofit working to legalize sustainability, was a founding member of Transition Town Ashland, and has been on the Ashland Planning Commission since 2006, serving multiple terms as chair.

Melanie is the registrar and primary contact person for Siskiyou Permaculture.  She offers counseling and instruction in permaculture home and site design, sustainable land use planning, green building, group process and community organizing, as well as design services.  Melanie's ambition is to build an ecovillage in the Pacific NW.  More Information about Melanie Mindlin.  


A transplant to Oregon from central Arizona, Karen brings with her many years of experience as a permaculture practitioner and teacher, interior designer, ecological landscape designer, rainwater harvesting and greywater consultant, group facilitator and photographer.  She has a Bachelor's of Interior Design from Auburn University and certificates in Permaculture Design from the International Institute of Ecological Agriculture, Ecological Design from Ecosa Institute and advanced permaculture certificates from Sonoran Permaculture Guild, Regenerative Design Institute and Cascadia Permaculture Institute.  She has worked extensively in dryland water systems, natural building and permaculture site design.

Karen offers counseling in permaculture site design, rainwater harvesting and greywater system design, healthy home interior design, natural building and group facilitation.  gaiasgarden@earthlink.net