Growing up farming in a remote mountain valley in British Columbia, Canada, Susan’s early years were influenced by an eclectic mix of gardeners, environmentalists, farmers, and loggers. She completed a BSc in ecology and MSc in evolutionary biology, with a focus on infectious diseases. These studies opened the gates to field research in Costa Rica, Amazonian Peru, western Canada, and East Africa — in addition to bioinformatics and mathematical modelling. Throughout, her goal has been to find ways to tie together ecological restoration, global health, and food security.
Her permaculture journey began in 2012 with a Permaculture Design Certificate in Jordan, after which she returned to Canada to work on farms (pastured pigs and poultry; organic fruit and berries); on design and installing edible landscapes; and in nature-based youth education. In 2015 she moved to her current site with husband Laine MacTague, where they currently raise a mix of small livestock, tend a ¼ acre food forest, and raise a toddler. Since completing multiple REX/Regrarians trainings with Darren Doherty (2016; online 2017, 2018) and becoming involved with Slow Food USA through the Microbiome Project (2017), she has focused on the intersections of nutrient density, soil and gut health and economics to support locally regenerative food systems. She has taught in several iterations of Quail Spring’s Resilience Development PDC, and is driven by learning and sharing practical approaches to addressing big world health problems.