Find out more about Foraging, Forest and Permaculture expert, Laura Williams
Laura is leading the Magic of Plants & Herbs retreat which is running from 4th to 10th May 2020. Get to know her a little more here.
Laura WilliamsLaura experienced a deep connection with wildlife and plants from as early as she could remember, spending much of her childhood in the woods around her home climbing and talking to the trees. As she grew up she was devastated and confused by the environmental destruction she saw on the news and was obsessed about environmental politics from the age of 11. With a burning desire to bring about change she went to University to study Ecology and immediately became involved in environmental direct action, campaigning against a range of issues including new roads, climate change and genetic engineering.
Moving to Wales to follow her passion for plants, while living and working on an organic vegetable farm, Laura came across the concept of Permaculture and realised she'd been trying to live like this for years without knowing it had a name. She’d spent my life observing nature and being awestruck by the perfection and efficiency of natural systems. It seems utterly intuitive to Laura that to live sustainably, happily and we should imitate natural systems, combining the intelligence of man with the wisdom of nature to care for ourselves and the planet. In search of a longer growing season, more experience and forest gardens she decided to WOOF abroad. She was really drawn to Portugal, without really knowing why.
In Portugal Laura met Pete and Cynthia Bampton who founded the Awakened Life Project (ALP) and she spent 5 years living, loving, learning and co-creating Quinta da Mizarela the hub of the ALP immersing in the values of the project and making them her own. Together with her now ex-husband, she conceived of the Awakened Forest Project to do everything they could to revive this beautiful area, involving as many people as possible to give something back to Nature. They started the reforesting by thinning the pines, planting new trees and creating a copse, then reconstructed the ruins and built a wooden house. There they ran courses and retreats and hosted volunteers. In October 2017 devastating wildfires hit the region and burnt Laura's home, the new forest and all the work they had done on the land.
Although her ex-husband chose not to, Laura decided to continue the Awakened Forest Project alone, feeling privileged to call this wild and life-affirming place home. She lives with two amazing dogs Missi and Balu and Connor the cat, who is really the one running the place! She is still a co-creator of ALP and involved in many ALP activities.
You can find out more about Laura on her website.