Many friends of Very Edible Gardens know that something called holistic management decision making floats our boat just as much as permaculture design.

Dan even wrote a series of articles about how we use holistic management decision making as VEG’s operating system.

Here we don’t want to focus on holistic management (which you can read about in the articles) so much as one of the best holistic management educators we are aware of – a fellow who goes by the name of Brian Wehlburg.

Alongside Helen Lewis, Brian co-directs Inside Out Management and was recommended to us and as a result a couple of us VEGetables have attended some of his workshops. Sometimes you happen across a teacher of such quality that you want to let others know. Especially when they are just quietly doing their thing without a great deal of fuss or promotion.

Brian is one of these. Sure, his expertise is on a topic that itself is valuable to anyone interested in permaculture, decision making, or land management. But his teaching style is about as good as we’ve seen. Brian goes the full hack in terms of preparation, props, interactive games and exercises, and is a master of leading you to reach the key insights for yourselves rather than just telling you about them.

We picked up a lot from Brian that we now use in our permaculture design courses and other places, and we continue to be inspired by his commitment to excellence in workshop facilitation. He sets a high bar and one that we’ll continue to strive for in our own educational offerings.

So, thumbs up Brian Wehlburg. Thanks for existing, and let it be known that VEG thinks you’re all right.

For any Victorians interested in a bit of holistic management action with Brian, check out his website and contact him (02 6587 4353 / 0408 704 431) for details or a chat about an 8-day, spread-out workshop starting in Seymour in September (yup – quite soon). Note this workshop covers not only holistic management decision making, but a holistic management approach to understanding ecosystems and livestock & business management. Here’s the course dates and content:


Session 1



1/2 September Introduction

History of Holistic Management

Paradigms and how we think

Ecosystem function – how nature functions holistically

Tools for making positive change to the environment

Holistic Diagnosis of environmental problems

Root cause

Biodiversity loss

The change process

Personal profiling

Conventional decision making


Session 2


14/15 October


Review ecosystem and tools

Holistic Context formation and goal setting

Time management

Testing questions

Testing decisions using a testing matrix

Testing decisions – personal examples

Improving communication

Generic non-growing grazing planning

Feed budgets and plant monitoring

Paddock walk and practical feed budgeting

Biological monitoring theory

Paddock walk – set up a bio-monitoring site


Session 3


11/12 November Review and photos

Introduction to Holistic Financial planning

Generic small business financial plan example

Review Individual non-growing grazing plan

Generic growing season grazing planning

Individual grazing planning for growing season

Bruce Ward’s computer aid for grazing planning

Review individual bio monitoring results


Session 4


15/16 December Review and photos

Financial planning actual individual plans

Review grazing plans and growth monitoring

Holistic Land planning process group exercise

Management groups, continued learning, learning contracts

Review, assessment, evaluation