Permaculture for the People
Rebecca Ellis is a teacher, community activist, and PhD candidate in the department of Geography at Western University. She received her Permaculture Design Certificate with Starhawk (Earth Activist Training) in January 2010, an experience that dramatically changed her life. Becky maintains the permaculture-activist blog Permaculture for the People and regularly conducts workshops and gives presentations in Southern Ontario on urban permaculture, social justice, and backyard beekeeping.
Becky’s PhD research project “Pollinator People: bees, weeds, and struggles for bee-friendly cities” examines the relationship between people and urban bees. She explores the question: how can we create a multi-species urban commons for people, bees, and even weeds? She received her BA in Anthropology from Western University in 2008. Her M.A., also in Anthropology at Western University, focused on the role of the HOPE community garden in the rapidly gentrifying neighbourhood of Parkdale in Toronto (please see this article for an example of her research).
Becky is an advocate for the creation of socially just and ecologically regenerative cities. She created and facilitated Sprouts, a children’s gardening program that engaged children and their parents in organic gardening in community gardens throughout London. She co-founded the non-profit Mantis Arts & Eco Festival which took place annually until 2016 and founded the Byron Community Organization. She has sat on the boards of the London Co-op Store, the London Environmental Network and London Cycle Link. She is a member of the London Community Garden Advisory group and is actively involved with Friends of Urban Agriculture and the Squeaky Wheel Bicycle Co-operative.
As a student researcher with Sustain Ontario, she helped to create a policy paper “Engaging Diversity in Community Gardens”, delivered at the Bring Food Home conference in October 2017. Becky is actively involved in feminist and anti-racist activism in her city.
Becky currently lives in a permaculture oasis in the middle of a suburban neighbourhood. Her aim is to help create an urban eco neighbourhood in her city, using her own space as a teaching tool to inspire radical imaginations of the possible. Her lively blended family includes six humans, two dogs, three cats, two bunnies, and thousands of bees.