Founder & Program Director
"We are part of the ecosystem, not apart from it, and once you understand the difference you make decisions from an entirely new perspective."
Kate Tirion grew up on a small farm in West Wales. She attended the Center for AgroEcology and Sustainable Food Systems at the University of California at Santa Cruz where she was certified in Eco-Horticulture. Since 1990, Kate has applied permaculture principles in a diverse array of climate zones and scales throughout the Western hemisphere. She began teaching permaculture in 1994.
Since 2005, Kate has overseen the development of Deep Dirt Farm Institute, a 34-acre teaching center near Patagonia, AZ. What was once a heavily grazed, eroded grassland is now a productive, resilient eco-system that inspires students and volunteers from throughout the world through workshops and internships that support regional habitat development and restoration.
Today, Kate Tirion is a renowned permaculturist with over 25 years of experience in permaculture design and teaching. Read Kate Tirion's full bio.
"It is my dream to help teach the next generation of blacksmiths; to pass on the skills and respect for this
trade and art to individuals who will carry it forward far into the future."
Richard Connolly, Co-Founder, grew up in southern Arizona and has been a blacksmith for over 40 years. He has trained and worked with several of the best-known blacksmiths in the country.
The work he creates ranges from the practical—such as wagons, carriages, tools, hardware, gates and fixtures—to the artistic and whimsical, as well as items that are a blend of both. He is very passionate about his craft, and wakes up every day excited about what he is going to tackle next.
Richard's focus right now is to build Red Mountain Forge, a school for new blacksmiths, so that he can share his enthusiasm and skills with others.
Anita Budhraja joined our team as executive director in June 2019. Anita believes that for survival and success in today's world, we need to let go of the attitude of competition and embrace cooperation.
Anita brings over 8 years of experience living and breathing cooperation in intentional communities, where people live together in pursuit of a meaningful common purpose. In her career with volunteer-driven nonprofits, Anita managed a farm to pantry program at Bread for the City that engaged over 1,800 volunteers to grow 17,000 pounds of produce per year for Washington, DC residents. She also led 1,000 volunteers in dryland reforestation at Sadhana Forest in southern India.
Anita is trained in Permaculture Design, Organizational Development, Nonviolent Communication, Conflict Resolution Skills, and Rethinking Anti-Racism. She lives in the Tucson/Patagonia, AZ area.
Permaculture in Action Intern
Mackenzie Martin joined us as an Intern in April 2019 and stayed for three months. She then returned to Canada to finalize her visa and was with Deep Dirt until March 2020, when she had to return home early due to coronavirus restrictions.
Mackenzie has a Bachelor of Arts in Anthropology and Linguistics from the University of Victoria, British-Columbia. Her passion for sustainable food systems, food security, and eating good food drove her to seek an opportunity to learn alongside Kate Tirion. She learned everything from permaculture techniques and facilitation skills, to marketing and fundraising.
During her internship, Mackenzie also began an informal partnership with the local Patagonia Youth Enrichment Center.