Susan Cousineau grew up in northern BC in the picturesque Robson Valley on a 300-acre family farm and woodland. Surrounded by organic gardeners and small woodlot foresters, her early years were steeped in discussions, often heated, between environmentalists, farmers, and loggers. Driven to straddle the fence between these disparate perspectives, Susan started off in ecotourism, then ran away to university and completed a B.Sc. in ecology and M.Sc. in ecology and evolution. This allowed her opportunities for research on ecosystems in Amazonian Peru, Kenya, the B.C. west coast and islands, and the Alberta Rockies. Looking to unite human habitat, food security, and natural ecology led Susan to complete a Permaculture Design Certificate in Jordan (fall 2012) with Geoff and Nadia Lawton.
Susan works from the perspectives of ecologist, farmer, and systems designer, connecting land remediation and food production with current scientific understanding of ecosystems, microbes, plants, climate and human health. Variously these are informed by the fields of permaculture, holistic management, whole systems design, regenerative and restorative agriculture, storytelling and individual histories, and academic research. She actively incorporates a social permaculture aspect into this work, integrating land use with community development and individual restorative work.
For the Meaningful Work Project, Susan has been a blogger and volunteer. Currently, she is actively pilot testing the integration of MWP research and concepts in a permaculture context. In the spring of 2014, she will be a guest instructor in the Elements Eco-design Permaculture Design Certificate in the Okanagan.