Margrit Kennedy passed away on Dec 29, 2013. She was one of the first generation of permaculture pioneers, and an important mentor and role model for me as a young permaculture teacher and designer in the 1980s. I write this in honour of her work and considerable influence in the formative years of the permaculture movement.
I first met Margrit and her husband Declan when they were in Australia for the first ever International Permaculture Convergence in 1984. They had taken one of Bills early PDCs and set up the Permaculture Institute of Europe. Margrit, at that time was a powerful voice for women in architecture and a leading innovator in eco-architecture and urban renewal in Berlin.
In 1986 I attended an advanced Urban Permaculture Design course with Margrit and Declan at PINA on Whitby Island, near Seattle, USA, just before the IPC2. This course was a powerful experience and opened new possibilities for urban applications of permaculture well beyond the scope of my original PDCs. Margrit invited Michael Linton from Vancouver, the inventor of LETS, to give a talk and introduce this new local trading system to us. This was the first connection of permaculture with LETS.
At the end of the urban course we were treated to another very special guest, the arrival of Masanoba Fukuoka in the USA as keynote speaker for the public IPC2 conference. We abandoned our course for a session and sat with Fukuoka and his translator Larry Korn on a patio next to meadow of flowering red clover.
I spent time visiting Margrit and Declan in Germany following IPC2. They had recently moved from Berlin to found the Lebensgarten community in north Germany. As their house guest, I was impressed by the many ways they practiced permaculture ethics in their daily lives as well as their professions, and the seamless integration of social and spiritual values into their personal and professional practice.
Margrit’s key passion and focus moved into the arena of sustainable economics, complimentary currencies and inflation-free money. She found it was “virtually impossible to carry out sound ecological concepts on the scale required today, without fundamentally altering the present money system or creating new complementary currencies” She devoted the rest of her life to this work as an author, presenter, consultant and activist.
In 1987 she published her most famous book—Interest and Inflation Free Money, Creating an Exchange Medium that Works for Everybody and Protects the Earth (1987) which has been revised several times and translated into 22 languages.
I last saw Margrit in 2012, when I stayed with her and Declan at Esherode during the European pc convergence in Northern Germany. She was training and mentoring the next generation of movers and shakers dedicated to creating monetary systems that support sustainable regeneration of the earth and human society.
Margrit Kenedy was a remarkable woman, pioneer and innovator who left her mark on the world and in the lives of many. Her legacy lives on and her dedication and achievements deserve a special place in permaculture history.
Robyn Francis, March 2014
For more information about her work: http://www.margritkennedy.de
Videos of some of her talks: