Quaker meets Permaculture: community designing by the community

The conference is being held at Friends House, home of Quakers in Britain, the national umbrella body for 480 local Quaker Meetings attended by about 22,000 people.

We will explain how British Quakers "design” themselves, with decision-making practices developed over 360 years. We will focus in particular on how Quakerism has evolved recently to include action on sustainability and climate change as a core commitment.

Laurie says: "Members of a community are all designers. Much of Quaker practice is about developing individual and shared responsibility/agency, working with our different visions, worldviews and comfort zones, answering that of God in each other and finding unity in a way forward."

We will explore ways in which Quaker and Permaculture thinking can be mutually enriching and beneficial, particularly in the areas of community design, ethics, principles and testimonies.


Current - Co-ordinator at Living Witness, a Quaker charity supporting sustainable living.

Past - Director of Research, Oxford Commission on Sustainable Consumption; environment policy analyst at OECD; lead author on several reports of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

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I teach permaculture in Glasgow, Scotland, and am co-creating my local bioregion of West Argyll and the islands of Arran, Islay and Jura, also in Scotland. I am also a diploma tutor. We have recently started Transition Kintyre as a way of growing awareness of our bioregion and are in the process of setting up community woodlands. We already have a network of community gardens across the region.

What I am most looking forward to

I am hoping to meet up with other attendees who are exploring and co-creating their own bioregions in other parts of the world, particularly those countries in which bioregional awareness is already strong e.g. USA. Likewise I would like to meet up with those who believe there is a spiritual side to permaculture (spirituality in its widest sense).

I am really excited about the conference at The Light as I am a Quaker and The Light is at Friends House, home of Britain Yearly Quaker Meeting. I am excited about meeting up with Quaker Permaculturists, to explore ways the two movements can work together.

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Conference session: