Lydia Silva

Lydia is an Adjunct Faculty member at Suffolk University, Roger Williams University, and the University of MA, Dartmouth where she teaches Permaculture Design and Sustainability.  Lydia has guided over 800 students through their first permaculture design over the past decade, her process is streamlined yet invites students to deeply reflect on systems thinking, holistic goal setting, ecological analysis, and community resilience. 


Outside of academia, Lydia is passionately involved in conscious dance, meditation, and feminine reclamation work. She lives on a two acre homestead and permaculture demonstration site on the beautiful “FarmCoast” of Massachusetts with her husband and 4 year old son, where she strives to build community resilience and re-invent a place-based food system. 

Permaculture Projects

  • Cedar Dell Garden: at Umass Dartmouth: Students designed and installed a permaculture garden on campus that included perennial plants that are harvested in spring and fall when classes are in session. This project was a collaboration with the Umass Dartmouth Hunger Initiative, with the goal of supplying hyper-local, organic food to the campus food pantry. 
  • Oak Glen “Edible Classroom” at Umass Dartmouth: Students designed a permaculture garden adjacent to a campus residence hall, providing an educational space that supplies fruit, berries, herbs and greens. 
  • Suffolk University Permaculture Garden: A collaboration with the Rose Kennedy Greenway in Boston, students designed a permaculture garden that would create an urban edible ecosystem close to campus. 

Courses Taught

  1. Introduction to Permaculture (Suffolk University)
  2. Community Food Systems  (Suffolk University)
  3. Sustainable Food: Cultivating Resilience (Umass Dartmouth)
  4. Principles of Sustainability (Umass Dartmouth and Roger Williams)
  5. Backyard Homesteading: Feeding yourself, your family and your community (Umass Amherst)

Courses Taken

2010: PDC course with Kay Cafasso, Dave Jacke and Jono Neiger. 

2012: Social Permaculture Course with Abrah Dresdale and Connor Stedman. 

2013: Permaculture Teacher Training with Dave Jacke. 

2014: PPC (Permaculture Practitioners Course) with Ben Falk

Her background is in academia, however Lydia doesn’t necessarily consider herself an academic. Just so you can get the true picture of what “a day in the life” may look like: 

A few years back, she was on the way to University to teach and suddenly needs to round up 4 pigs that had escaped and were excitedly running down the street. (Marshmallows are the magic formula to get pigs home!)  

She hatched out some ducklings and a few weeks later gave them their first swim in the bathtub with her son in the bath with them. (What harm does a little duck poo do?) 

She has an umeboshi plum tree that flowers every January in the dead of winter. (She lived in Japan for a year and it’s a beautiful reminder) And if you’ve never heard of them, umeboshi are delicious pickled plums served as a condiment in Japan.

She hosted an “Autumn Olive Festival” inviting everyone in the neighborhood to see the beauty and juiciness in what’s all around, and it has become a yearly tradition.

There is always so much more to the story….so let’s get to it! 

Share this post