I grew up gardening and composting in a second-growth forest in the semi-rural western part of Connecticut. Because the eastern part of the United States has so many people and diminishing space and resources recycling, planning for open space, and conservation was a part of the lifestyle and a part of my youth. It was shocking to me when I left the east coast to find that many other areas of the country (and indeed the world) did not consider these important things not only to talk about, but to engage in.
I came to permaculture while I was serving as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Haiti. The ideas of permaculture were so sensible and logical it was hard not to understand them. The promise of hope that they provided was one that I wanted to share and spread to others. I began my work with permaculture by reading and trying to help the communities I worked with in Haiti incorporate some of the ideas into their planning and lives. After I left the Peace Corps I didn't have space or time to do much work with permaculture as I was an itinerant archaeologist. But the fire of permaculture burned within me and I looked forward to a day when I had a piece of land to call my own and sink my shovel into.
After I finished graduate school I was offered a job and moved up to Boise, Idaho. I bought a house with a small piece of land and set to work transforming my half an acre in the city into and example of a more sustainable way to live. I am proud to say that after a couple of years I have an orchard, vineyard, food forest, lots of growing beds (part of which I have devoted to being a community garden), and a semi-subterranean, earth-sheltered, passive solar, four season greenhouse (built out of mostly recycled materials). I have been working to make my house more sustainable and efficient. In addition, I started a community within my house (small though it is) of others who embrace the permaculture ethic (even if a few of them didn't know it when they moved in). We have linked our small community into the larger one by helping to found a Boise Permaculture Guild. In addition, we spread the ideas of permaculture by hosting people from all around the world through couchsurfing.org and making sure to show them our projects.