Alan is the founder of the Eldenbridge Institute and currently acts as its Executive Director and Lead Instructor.
After completing his B.S. in Electrical Engineering in 1990, Alan began working as a Systems Engineer and Systems Architect in the fields of computer systems and digital telecommunications. He
has over 25 years’ experience in designing and building large-scale systems across a wide range of technologies, including computer architecture, digital telecommunications, networking, and cloud computing infrastructure.
As Alan became more interested in sustainable design in the late 1990’s, he began researching areas such a Permaculture, tracking and wilderness survival, health and nutrition, and technologies for creating healthy cultures.
In 2001, Alan began traveling around the world learning from some of the best teachers he could find in each discipline. These experiences have included a mix of both formal and informal training covering a wide range of topics.
Alan has also taught dozens of classes over the past two decades, in settings ranging from short courses to graduate seminars to weekend workshops to week-long intensives. Topics have ranged from primitive skills and tracking to Permaculture, gardening, soil fertility, and regenerative community design.
Alan began studying Permaculture in-depth in 2002, working his way through Bill Mollison’s Permaculture: A Designer’s Manual, the textbook for the Permaculture Design Certification (PDC), on his own.
In 2007, Alan traveled to Portland to complete his PDC in a class taught by Geoff Lawton and Darren Doherty. He later completed the PRI PDC Teacher Training class with Geoff Lawton at Zaytuna Farm, NSW, Australia in 2012.
Alan’s background in the sciences and engineering, along with his many years of experience managing contractors in many trades, allow him to take on complex and demanding consulting jobs across the range of Permaculture design projects.
Advanced Permaculture classes that Alan has completed include:
- Natural Building Practicum at the Ecovillage Training Center, 2005
- Polyface Farms 3-day Intensive with Joel Salatin, 2007
- Water Harvesting Earthworks course at the Ecovillage Training Center, 2008
- Forest Gardening course at the Ecovillage Training Center, 2008
- Natural Beekeeping Hands-on classes (Basic and Advanced) with Corwin Bell, 2010
- Family Dairy Goat workshop at the Ploughshare Institute, 2012
- Mushroom Cultivation at the Ecovillage Training Center, 2012
- Greenhouse Intensive at the Central Rocky Mountain Permaculture Institute, 2012
- Barrel Oven Hands-on workshop with Eva Edleson, 2012
- Bio-intensive Gardening course with Kay Baxter of the Koanga Institute, 2012
- Seed Saving & Food Security course with Kay Baxter of the Koanga Institute, 2012
- High-Density Grazing & Holistic Management course with Ian-Mitchell Innes, 2012
- Life in the Soil, Compost, and Compost Tea classes with Dr. Elaine Ingham, 2012
- Holzer AgroEcology course with Sepp Holzer, 2013
- Soil Microscopy & Microscope Practicum with Dr. Elaine Ingham, 2013
- Keyline Design course with Owen Hablutzel, 2014
- Graphic Illustration for Permaculture Design with Dan Halsey, 2015
- Seed School Teacher Training with Bill McDorman, 2016
- Ecological Aquaculture with Dr. Wayne Dorband, 2017
- Aquaponics Training with Randy Campbell, 2017
- Certified Watershed Management Professional with the Watershed Management Group, 2017
Alan has also attended a number of Permaculture conferences and Sustainable Agriculture events to keep himself current. The latest include the Permaculture Voices Conference and the North American Permaculture Convergence in 2014, the Permaculture Voices 2 Conference in 2015, the Southern Sustainable Agriculture Working Group’s annual conference in 2016, and the ASAN Forum in 2017.
For more on Alan’s Permaculture background, see his profile page on the Worldwide Permaculture Network site.
In addition to a great deal of personal field experience, Alan has completed the following formal training classes in nature skills and wilderness survival:
- Various wilderness survival skills classes with Tom Brown Jr. of the Tracker School and Mark Warren of Medicine Bow, 2001-2007
- Primitive Fire Making course with Tim MacWelsch, 2001
- 4-class Ethnobotany & Plant Identification sequence with Mark Warren of Medicine Bow, 2001-2002
- Basic & Advanced Animal Tracking, Human Tracking intensives with Charles Worsham, 2002-2004
- Hide Tanning Workshop with Richard Cleveland, 2003
- Field Immersion Tracking course with Jon Young, 2004
- Bird Language Instructor’s workshop with Jon Young, 2012
- Intuitive Tracking workshop with Jon Young & Anna Breytenbach, 2013
Health & Nutrition
Alan’s interest in health and nutrition began early, as he started his study of martial arts in his early teens. After achieving his Black Belt and becoming a Certified Instructor, he soon realized that almost all of the martial arts as taught in the U.S. were brought over from their native countries without the systems of healing that had been taught alongside them for centuries.
Alan found that martial arts without the healing arts lacked balance, and so he began studying a number of traditional healing modalities that typically complemented the martial arts in their native cultures. This brought him to a study of several aspects of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Ayurveda, and the western traditions of herbalism.
Around, 1998, in trying to understand the epidemic of chronic, degenerative diseases that were arising in western cultures, Alan began to study the work of Dr. Weston A. Price in his book Nutrition and Physical Degeneration. This work, originally published in 1939, documented how many of the native cultures that existed in that period were almost completely free of the kinds of chronic diseases that were becoming increasingly common in western cultures, and convincingly linked the difference to the adoption of a modern, western diet.
Over the past 15 years, Alan has continued to study how nutrition and physical activity affect health. This information has played into his understanding of the importance of growing nutrient-dense local foods free from chemicals and biocides.
Alan began his formal study of herbalism in 2000 and has completed a number of on-line and in-person courses with a variety of herbal teachers since. These teachers have included John Gallagher, Rosalee de la Forêt, Tod Caldecott, Heather Nic an Fhleisdeir, 7Song, and K.P. Khalsa.
Alan has worked over the years with numerous churches and civic organizations, trying to help them understand the dynamics of what it takes to build and maintain a regenerative culture.
Alan began studying culture repair with Jon Young, one of the world’s leading experts in nature connection and mentoring, in 2003 after attending an Art of Mentoring workshop in Santa Barbara, California. Since then, Alan has completed numerous classes on numerous topics with Jon, including:
- The Principles of the Art of Mentoring
- Native peacemaking traditions
- The role of storytelling in community
- Creating strong communities
- Dealing with grief in community
- Music and culture