Mari Jyväsjärvi Stuart (Ph.D.)

I’m an ecological landscape designer, teacher, and writer. Through all of my work, I help people connect with the landscapes they inhabit and the processes of making and growing things with their own hands.

I grew up roaming in the boreal woods of rural northern Finland. At age 20, I moved to the U.S. to study, and went on to spend many years spent traveling, studying, and volunteering on five continents. I hold a PhD in South Asian religions from Harvard University and in my former life taught religion and environmental ethics at Reed College and the University of South Carolina. My research focused on the history of the oldest and most radical traditions of simplicity and mindfulness.

During those same years, I also pursued an alternative education in permaculture design and building the skills of living close to the land. In 2016, I left my academic job, enrolled in a six-month ecological landscaping training in California, and never looked back. I’m a certified permaculture designer and teacher, a certified Ecological Landscaper, and have studied with some of the leading teachers and mentors in regenerative design and regenerative agriculture since 2010.

I design edible, ecologically intelligent landscapes for people who want to grow more of their own food. I teach homesteading and permaculture classes in my community, and regenerative design for SIT Graduate Institute’s Master’s in Sustainable Development and Regenerative Practice. As the co-founder of Project Grounded, I’m working on a collaborative pilot project for community-supported regenerative agriculture in Western North Carolina.

I live in Asheville, North Carolina, where I steward an urban homestead together with my husband and daughter.