Meet the ‘Finding Our Way’ team

Rachel Geary: Teacher, facilitator

I am a practising acupuncturist and have been running my own multi-bed clinic in Torbay for the last sixteen years. This has given me first-hand experience of the rich diversity of talent and potential held within my local community as well as the challenges of harnessing it.

I have also been practising meditation in the Buddhist tradition since 1995. Buddhism and Chinese Medicine have been instrumental in shaping and deepening my understanding of the natural cycles and intricacies of the living world, lessons that I personally try to integrate into the way I live my life. This desire to ‘Be the change’ led to my decision to study Sustainability and Behavior Change at CAT and to develop this into the shared journey of exploration that has manifested in this course.

Rosie Trevillion: Teacher, facilitator

I have recently completed an MSc in Sustainability and Behaviour Change at the Centre for Alternative Technology. I have a varied background, ranging from working as a frontline NHS paramedic, youth drug and alcohol rehabilitation, climate change community engagement, and 22 years practising mindfulness and compassion. I’ve organised medical camps in remote villages in India with no road access and lived and worked on an off-grid, non-mechanised community food project in Ecuador. I am now co-founding a tech company to help solve the issue of women’s safety on public transport and hoping to revolutionise current perceptions and therefore up-take of public transport.
Such life experiences have forged a deep love and care for this marvel of a planet and all the beings, human or otherwise that we share it with. 

Being a part of this course will be a learning journey for me too, I do not purport to be a teacher, firmly placing myself in the position of fellow participant/facilitator, as I know it is only together that we can grow resilience.

Daryl Geary: Facilitator, cook, webmaster

Rachel & I met in 2009 and were married soon after. Of that time, I remember: living in engagement bliss, planning our wedding, seeing all our families and friends, the wedding, and the amazing two-week honeymoon in the Scottish highlands, before, reality struck! The 2008 recession had hit the construction industry hard and my modular building system was floundering. I was in for three years of effort and over 10K of debt. During my time in London, I learnt the art of marketing, & before I met Rachel I thought the only way I could earn real money was to carry on inventing ideas, with the obligatory trips to venture capitalists to finance them. I’d been down that road so many times before, it was all I knew.

With the honeymoon over, winter setting in and debt mounting, we needed to make a plan …

Rachel had discovered permaculture some years previously. Permaculture, is the name coined by Phil Morrison back in the 70s, which basically means permanent agriculture. Permaculture looks at nature’s evolution for guidance. With a set of principles at hand, a design process, some zones to work with, a proven track record of 4.6 billion years and a wealth of knowledge, anything is possible! To Rachel this looked like the place to start to make a plan; I wasn’t convinced. To me is sounded like a bunch of hippies learning to live together in a field!

With the design book in hand Rachel wrote the following list;- what are our assets, what are our skills, what are our passions, what do we like doing for fun, who do we know, what are our overheads, where does all our money go, how much do we need?

Working in Zones
Zones can manage and order the spaces you go to often and/or, work within. Zones help make sense of where and why we go anywhere. Normally you would be working with five zones. As a simple example, if your house is zone one, then zone two could be your village/town. Zone three could be the area between your village/town and your work place, and zone four could be the areas of your county outside all these. Basically in this instance you would make all the areas you visit infrequently, beyond this, zone five. Using the design process and incorporate a couple of our favourite permaculture principles ‘observe and interact’ and ‘minimum effort maximum yield’ you plan ahead so that if you need to go to zone four, you only have to visit there once and accomplish as many tasks as possible. Zones can be used for lots of things, for example if you were to use the above scenario to plan for where you would like to be in five years time, then maybe your work place could be moved close, say to zone two, so it’s possible to walk; zone three gets visited once a month in your car and zone four becomes the rest of the UK, and zone five becomes everywhere else. This all sounds like common sense doesn’t it, well yes it does!

With our new-found permaculture design tools at hand, we embarked on creating a perfect sustainable life.

One of the cars was the first things to go; we kept the smaller more efficient one. We signed up to Pay plan. A free service which helps with managing debts and creditors, and we cancelled all the direct debits, so we controlled when we paid the bills, we took on two allotments and started planting. Oh, and we also brought half a pallet of dried food.

We crammed maximum efficiency into the use of the car, which use was mainly all on a Friday. Other use of the car was limited to only essentials like weekly visits to Rachel’s other acupuncture clinic’s, which she hired by the half or full day.

Here is a snippet of one of our average Friday’s;
Changeover day
Go to laundrette
Visits allotments
Gardening jobs
Visit tip
Cash & carry
Treat acupuncture clients
Collect manure

In Torquay, it seems everyone is either a builder, plumber or was some kind of tradesman. Everyone who could help me did help me. In an average week I could be a roofer, gardener, yacht rigger, decorator, labourer, designer, builder, driver; all this on top of the interior and retro fitter at home. In addition, Rachel had her own gardening round, budding mineral make-up upstart and acupuncture clients to contend with. We are all truly resourceful when we have to be.

We like meeting people, we like travelling, we like new challenges and I love cooking.