Rhonda Baird

Secretary: Rhonda Baird

Rhonda headRhonda Baird is a seventh generation Hoosier with particular roots in the forested hills of southern Indiana. Throughout her childhood and early adulthood, Rhonda searched out opportunities to commune with the natural world—and did so as a forager and creative person. Inspired in undergraduate courses such as “Utopian Dreams and Radical Realities” and “1960’s Counter-Culture and Protest,” she took up the work of organizing for change. Her 20’s were a mix of advocacy in a wide variety of contexts: labor, poor urban neighborhoods, forest protection, domestic violence, housing and homelessness with stints in graduate school and raising a family mixed in liberally.

In the next decade she has anchored herself in permaculture work. Today she is a permaculture teacher, principal of Sheltering Hills Design, on the editorial staff for the Permaculture Design magazine, has served for two years as Director Indiana Forest Alliance, has been involved in Heartwood, has been the originator and lead facilitator of the Bloomington Permaculture Guild, participating in Transition Bloomington, a coordinator of the Simply Living Fair and Midwest Permaculture Convergence, president of the Center for Sustainable Living, and a teacher in many venues introducing people to permaculture and skills associated with it. She, along with William Faith and Milton Dixon, taught in the first permaculture design course within Chicago city limits.

In 2016, she was awarded both the Site Design and Education diplomas from Permaculture Institute of North America.


Born in Seymour, IN

Attended Indiana State University on full scholarship and began organizing around environmental and social justice issues.

Worked as a field organizer for the AFL-CIO

Worked as a field organizer for ACORN

Returned to Indiana State University as a Eugene V. Debs Fellow.

Helped to found Indiana Forest Alliance as a formal organization

Worked for six years in the Domestic Violence field-with a focus on community disaster preparedness and housing issues.

Returned to graduate school as a fellow (Indiana University-Religious Studies)

2005 Permaculture Course; began a teaching apprenticeship with Peter Bane

2006 originated the Permaculture Guild


Editing and Fiber Arts

Children’s permaculture

2010 Simply Living Fair and Midwest Permaculture Convergence

2014 Co-orginated Great Rivers and Lakes Permaculture Institute; presented at the North American Permaculture Convergence, Harmony Park, MN; began serving as president of the Center for Sustainable Living

2016 Diplomas in Education and Site Design awarded by PINA; helped to coordinate the second North American Permaculture Convergence