Founder & Director
A forager and permaculturist with roots in rural Nebraska, Jerome Osentowski lives in a passive solar home he built at 7200 feet above Colorado’s Roaring Fork Valley. Director and founder of Central Rocky Mountain Permaculture Institute and a permaculture designer for thirty years, he has built five greenhouses for himself and scores of others for private clients and public schools in the Rockies and beyond. He makes his living from an intensively cultivated one acre of indoor and outdoor forest garden and plant nursery, which he uses as a backdrop for intensive permaculture and greenhouse design courses. Among his accomplishments is hosting the longest-running Permaculture Design Course in the world, now at twenty-nine years running. Jerome and Michael have also been instrumental in identifying, conserving, and propagating heritage fruit trees that have survived and borne crops for over a century in the harsh environment of the Roaring Fork Valley. Jerome’s explorations of sustainable systems and his travels for development projects have taken him to Baja, Nicaragua, Patagonia, Finland, Australia, and the Caribbean.
Growing up in Durango, CO, Cuatro’s childhood included skiing, hiking, and was deeply surrounded by nature. He was introduced to the idea of permaculture as he was interning for the Solar Living Institute in California, where he continued to expand his knowledge of design and natural building, specifically working with cob and straw bail. Cuatro was able to work with these modalities while living in the Earth ships in Taos, New Mexico and traveled to South America where he worked and taught others how to utilize the elements of the Earth to create these nature based structures. Receiving his Permaculture Design Certification here at CRMPI in 2019, Cuatro’s in-depth knowledge and love for the site allowed him to make the mountain his home where he works full-time to maintain the forest and intricate permaculture operations. When he is not stewarding the land, Cuatro enjoys creating music, making jewelry, hiking, and generally finding any way to create that he can. He holds strong passions for bringing people back to Earth based living and realigning individuals with utilizing nature provided resources to provide all of our basic needs in a loving, gentle, non-harmful manner.
Taylor grew up on her family’s farm in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia. After receiving her degree in psychology at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, she began a career in providing therapeutic services and social-emotional education to children from impoverished and traumatic backgrounds, while returning to her family’s farm in order to extend her experience of tending to the land. She began a large vegetable garden, where she was self-taught through trial and error, gained knowledge of canning and preserving from the elders in her family, and continued her own education of social, healing, and food justices. Wanting to expand her understanding and experience in various farming practices, Taylor relocated to Colorado, where she participated in organic farming internships and provided environmental education for children and families from low-income backgrounds. She is currently living on site and is full-time staff here at CRMPI. Taylor holds a strong vision for combining her passions of working with children of oppressed backgrounds and healing the land in order to create a world where we are more connected to ourselves, our community, and to the Earth.
Growing up in northern California with a lineage coming from the Black Foot tribe, Erin’s upbringing was deeply rooted in nature based connection through all aspects of her life. She spent her younger years on her family’s homestead, tending to the land, sheep, chickens, and horses, gaining experience and education through the depth of these interactions. Erin’s family relocated to the Blue Ridge mountains of Virginia where she continued to live a lifestyle immersed in the outdoors. Wanting to expand her knowledge, she moved to Colorado and attended the Herbalism Roots program in Denver where she received a certificate in herbalism. Erin took the Permaculture Design Certification course here at CRMPI in 2019 and quickly found an immense connection to the mountain and site, deciding to make it her home in order to continue to contribute to the success of the landscape and organization. Erin has a passion for cooking vegan food, art, working plants as medicine and has a love for learning and teaching. She is full-time staff here at CRMPI and calls the mountain her home. She is looking forward to continuing to expand the knowledge and love for permaculture and the many gifts that it has to offer the progression and healing of the Earth and humanity.