Common Edge is Helen and Seb

Helen Pitel

Helen Pitel

I have had a life long love affair with food growing. I like best of all to be out of doors, growing food and flowers, enjoying nature and sharing these greatest of pleasures with other people. This is why I enjoy teaching Permaculture so much. Permaculture brings together into one set of systems thinking all different areas of study that I have enjoyed in my life. I continue to learn from our students who bring such a wealth of knowledge to the courses and from all the people I work with around Stroud.

With Tin Bath House I am grounded firmly on this little bit of Cotswold edge. It would never have fitted my idealistic vision of what my dream Permaculture project would look like, but it is simple and beautiful, grows lots of food and has unbelievable wildlife, so I feel very lucky. Tin bath House is a great place to learn about Permaculture and I enjoy sharing it with the PDC course students, and others who come to visit. Local groups including Stroud Permaculture group and the mini Woodcraft Folk (Woodchips) make regular visits here.

My degree is in Agricultural Science and I have a PGCE in Adult Continuing and Further Education. I took my PDC in 1999 at Naturewise in London. My work has been varied over the years, but with emphasis on teaching, environmental work and helping people discover easy ways to grow food in the community and at home.

Seb Buckton

Seb Buckton

I have been teaching environmental subjects since 2011. I spent 20 years working in conservation and ecology, where I gained experience of the diversity of approaches to designing sustainable systems, both in the UK and abroad. After completing a Permaculture Design Course in Bristol, I left my job in conservation to focus on living a Permaculture life and developing a sustainable livelihood, with my young family growing up in Stroud, Gloucestershire.

I love delivering practical sessions where students get hands on experience of skills that can help them live a more sustainable life. I teach on Permaculture Design Courses, and Introduction to Permaculture Weekends, and have designed and taught on several short practical courses (Veg Growing - the Basics, How to Build a Rain Garden and How to Install a Water Butt). I also work in schools with local partners, designing and delivering practical sessions, such as fruit tree and edible hedgerow planting. I manage to fit all this around my other job, as an Associate Lecturer with the Open Universty, teaching environmental science modules.

Since 2011 I've been involved with Transition Stroud, which supports local initiatives that build community resilience, and I am now one of the volunteer Directors. I am also a member and Director of Stroud Woodlands Cooperative, which cooperatively owns and manages a small woodland on the outskirts of Stroud. I grow most of my vegetables on a collective market garden project in the Slad Valley just outside Stroud, and also have an allotment in Rodborough.

In all these activities I try to use my experience of ecological systems to guide design and decision making.