The Finger Lakes Permaculture Institute (FLPCI) was founded by Michael Burns, Steve Gabriel and Karryn Olson Ramanujan in 2005. Since the beginning FLPCI has been sustained and nutured by the support of our alumni and volunteers for whom we are grateful. The board of FLPCI would also like to thank our supporters whose donations help us teach permaculture.

We offer opportunities to learn sustainable, ecological design methods including workshops, study groups, apprentice programs, and the intensive Permaculture Design Certification Course in upstate New York, USA.

Michael Burns spent years working in publishing (including the Guardian Newsweekly, Tenant/Inquilino, & Tikkun magazine) and within the peace and justice movement. He learned permaculture design in Guatemala, while working with Ronaldo Lec Ajcot of the Mesoamerican Permaculture Institute. Now he is building Cayuta Sun Farm based on permaculture principles when not devoting his energy to permaculture teaching,  and promoting permaculture in the Finger Lakes region and around New York State. Michael teaches Public Policy & Sustainable Economics at New Roots High School and is Chairman of the Town of Catharine planning board. He is a founder, instructor, PDC Administrator and member of the FLPCI Board of Directors.

Steve Gabriel is an ecologist, educator, author, and forest farmer who has lived most of his life in the Finger Lakes region of New York. His personal mission is to reconnect people of all ages to the natural world and provide the tools for good management of forest and farm landscapes. He currently works for cooperative extension in the Department of Horticulture at Cornell, focused on permaculture and agroforestry research and education. Along with fiance Liz, he operates Wellspring Forest Farm in Mecklenburg NY where they produce shiitake mushrooms, duck eggs, and maple syrup. He has co-authored a book called Farming the Woods with professor Ken Mudge, due for publication in Fall 2014. Steve is a founder, instructor and Secretary of the FLPCI Board of Directors.

Karryn Olson-Ramanujan lived and worked in Europe, Africa and India before settling with her multi-cultural family in an Ecovillage. As a result, she is dedicated to supporting women and other historically marginalized populations in their vital roles as leaders–she believes that together, we can create a future based on the ethics of Earth Care, People Care, and Fair Share. Read her article “A Pattern Language for Women in Permaculture” here.  Karryn has a Masters in Public Affairs and teaches sustainability-related courses at Ithaca College through Environmental Studies & Sciences and the Sustainability Leadership Certificate program.  Her business, SEED Sustainability Consulting, offers a strategic approach to permaculture design services and educational workshops to support people to move into sustainability leadership. Karryn is a founder, instructor and President of the FLPCI Board of Directors.

Becky Sims  first discovered permaculture with IPEC in Brazil in 2008.  She found the Institute through her second PDC course at Ithaca College taught by Karryn, and was the Institute’s intern during the 2009 season. Becky graduated Magna cum laude from Ithaca College in 2009 with a B.A. in Environmental Studies. She has since established Pure Calm True Designs – a edible landscaping business. Becky is now the Outreach/Volunteer Coordinator at the Community Science Institute, where she organizes volunteers to conduct stream monitoring and helps homeowners seeking to protect their private wells from hydrofracking contamination. She and her husband spend their free time working on their cabin, experimenting with swales and terraces, and building their very own edible forest gardens. Becky joined the FLPCI Board of Directors in 2012 and serves as the Treasurer.

Rebecca Cutter, encountered Permaculture with the Association Ija’tz in the highlands of Guatemala in 1996. Using Participatory Action Research and Popular Education, she was instrumental in incorporating women into the local permaculture movement and developing women’s leadership in many communities.  As a co-founder and board member of the Mesoamerican Permaculture Institute, (IMAP) she gained experience in organizational development, donor relations and strategic planning.  She also founded and operated the Community Supported Agriculture Initiative “Atikonelá” serving campesino families, members of IMAP and was a coordinator of the Central American Solar Energy Project (CASEP). From 2009 – 2012 Rebecca pursued her passion for Popular Education, as an independent consultant, providing services to numerous non-governmental organizations in Guatemala, Palestine and Egypt. Currently, Rebecca serves as the Community Learning and Outreach Coordinator at New Roots Charter School , a public school committed to education for sustainability and social justice located in Ithaca, NY.  Rebecca has an MA in Sustainable Development. She joined the Board of the Finger Lakes Permaculture Institute in January, 2014.


Please feel free to contact us via the web form below or through email at < >.

Finger Lakes Permaculture Institute

P.O. Box 64

Mecklenburg, NY 14863

(607) 527-0607

Send us your email if you would like to receive notice of our courses and events. Comments or questions are welcome.

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