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Faculty

We currently have three members of faculty here at The Permaculture Institute of Chicago, Matthew Stephens, Jacqueline Smith, and Pancho McFarland. Below you can find bios for each member.



Matthew Stephens

Matthew is founder of the Earth Reforestation Project, Permaculture America, and Permaculture Chicago, and the creator of a global permaculture network on Facebook, designed to facilitate communication between permaculture designers across the world. Matthew is a certified permacuture designer and teacher, having received his Permaculture Design Certification from Permaculture Institute founders Bill Mollison and Geoff Lawton, in Melbourne, Australia in 2009. Matthew has an abundance of international experience - which includes Terrace Design and farming study in both Vietnam and the Philippines, Rice Farming in Thailand, Terrace Garden Building for Moon River Lodge in Malaysia; and Garden Path Construction at Bill Mollison’s Tagari Farms in Tasmania - and is passionate about bringing this to local settings. Since 2011, he has worked with Chicago’s oldest community garden, Xochiquetzal (1986), as both a mentor and permaculture design consultant and educator, and as a local community organizer in Chicago’s historic Hyde Park neighborhood on the city’s South Side. He has taught Introduction to Permaculture courses in Chicago since 2012, and has done forums for students at his alma mater, Whitney M. Young Magnet High School, and conducted after school mentoring programs about sustainability, design, and permaculture. Matthew is also one of the founders and the designer of Hales Franciscan Food Forest, Chicago’s First Urban Food Forest which was created in 2014. He is an archivist of the work of Lee Porter Butler, creator of the double envelope passive solar house design, and America’s pioneering passive solar architect.

Matthew's Personal Website is here


Jacqueline Smith


Jacqueline holds a B.S. in agricultural economics from the University of Minnesota and an M.S. in public service from DePaul University. She has written for a number of online publications on the topics of permaculture, homesteading, food justice/autonomy, health and related issues. Jacqueline is a certified permaculture designer and teacher having earned her permaculture design certificate from The Black Oaks Center in 2017. She teaches and practices indigenous and ancestral food cultivation methods in community gardens, on her homestead in Chicago and online. Her work in food autonomy and permaculture includes being project coordinator for the Green Lots Project (an organization educating and inspiring far south side Chicago community residents to garden and build alternative food economies) and assisting the Black Oaks Center for Sustainable and Renewable Living in Pembroke, IL. She is owner and lead consultant of GrowAsis Urban Garden Consulting, Inc. She has extensive experience teaching children STEM, gardening, Math and related subject matter.

Jaqueline's Personal Website is here


Pancho McFarland


Pancho McFarland is a father,son, Professor of Sociology at Chicago State University, Executive Director of The Green Lots Project and author of three books and more than twenty academic articles, co-editor of the award-winning book, Mexican-Origin Foods, Foodways and Social Movements: Decolonial Perspectives. He earned a permaculture design certificate in 2017 from The Black Oaks Center for Sustainable Renewable Living and a second in 2020 from Matthew Stephens. He has grown food in Chicago for 15 years and taught hundreds about food inequality, permaculture, and agroecology.

Pancho's Personal Website is here



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