April Sampson-Kelly

A Permaculture Elder with over 30 years of research, writing, implementing, designing and living with Permaculture principles. Her work has been published in international articles and books.


April is a creative being with a background in the performing and visual arts and a passion for sustainable living. She has created music, writing, dance and film as well as Permaculture designs, texts, artworks and videos.

Before and After

2004 then 2021 regeneration by capturing rainwater and encouraging worms – our site, Mt Kembla.

“On the left, I stand in an orange hat with a good friend Sister Mary Darcy in 2004. At first we covered an area of compacted subsoil with a layer of cardboard. And we created a border of reused bricks and covered the cardboard with grass clippings and fallen leaves. We made little pockets of soil to hold pioneering plants such as parsley, garlic chives, flax, bromeliads native raspberries and strawberries. After a couple of years, the cardboard broke down. We added new elements such as a tyre pond which is now covered in plants and protects frogs. We also added quick growing shrubs such as native raspberries, Tamarillo, Jaboticaba, passionfruit vines, chilli bushes and a few trees such as jelly palm and lemon tree.

Sr. Mary is gone now but her legacy lives on. Decades later I stand on the right in a red hat with our son’s dog who visits to keep eagles away from the chickens who are hidden by the bushes. Most notably, the edges have moved back to allow more room for people to use the space. Yet the growing area is more productive because the initial flat area has become a complex vertical space with many layers.”

April Sampson-Kelly

After her masters in Music performance and analysis, she studied Biomedical science because she wanted to understand how the brain works to acquire and refine skills. So, how did her training in music and arts lead her to develop an interest in Permaculture Design?

Her popular Permaculture Design for Callala Bay
This permaculture design was created by April
and has been popular around the world.

HER MIND FULL OF STEAM:
ScienceTechnologyEngineeringArts, and Mathematics 

April is a big picture thinker. She had politically active parents. And she was often sickly as a child and knows the joy of staying well and active. And she always had a strong love of nature and conservation.

April and Wes around a campfire at one of the International Permaculture Conference

For April, Permaculture is not separate from her creative life, it is a lifestyle.
The Permaculture principles fit her core values.

Her enthusiasm for research lead her to write the first international online permaculture course in 1993. It was designed especially for participants in remote areas. Some were in prison, another was on a boat in the Timor sea. But most were working parents who enjoyed the mentorship.

April [left] empowered Flo to build a combined rocket stove/Fagao

Through her teaching, she has mentored people in more than 62 countries. And over the years she still develops music, graphics and artworks as well tending the family’s food forest.

making-steel-fibre-cement-pond
April enjoys making stuff especially building in Earth.

The Short Permaculture History of a Little Woman

She did her Permaculture Design Course in 1994 with Jude and Michel Fanton of Seedsavers. In addition, Rosemary Morrow was a guest teacher on the course. Afterwards, she wrote the comprehensive plain English text to run a course online.

Her course notes were approved by Bill Mollison. And she became the 2nd certified teacher in from Bill Mollison’s accreditation system around 2000. Since then, she was certified by Ross Mars for a Certificate 3 in Permaculture through recognition of prior learning. She taught Permaculture at the local TAFE.
Today, she teaches online and at the Permaculture Sydney Institute and facilitates Advanced Permaculture Field Days to develop permaculture design processes.

logo permaculturevisions

April has created numerous permaculture designs. And as part of her teaching online has created artworks and infographics to develop the art and science of design.

Leading from Behind

She has spent decades quietly helping Permaculture communities. She works on the communication team for Permaculture Australia. In 2015 at APC in Tasmania she was awarded recognition as a Permaculture Elder.

Photo by Robyn Francis https://permaculture.com.au/ipc11-cuba-report/
April at IPC11 in Cuba assisting the Indian bid to host International Conference

The gregarious Emeritus Professor Stuart B. Hill has been a mentor for April.

Furthermore, you can see her numerous interviews of Permaculture leaders on our PermacultureVisions Youtube channel.