Green Gap Year

Green Gap Year is a seven-month program designed to connect you to a green career.

People gardening, looking happy

Green Gap Year is a seven-month program that provides a learning and work experience pathway to a green career. We have two program streams to enrol in:

  • Regenerative Agriculture
  • Social Enterprise and Green Entrepreneurism

The program is designed to connect people to their purpose, the Earth and a community of learners and peers wanting their next life and career steps to be greener. Green Gap Year equips people to LIVE, LEARN and EARN for the Earth.

Each participant will have a pathway guide that will help to tailor their learning, work experience and community project building journey to build the skills and knowledge they want for the next steps in life and career. The program will also connect individuals with mentors working in the green sector.

Program details

Commences: Mon 20th Feb

CERES Brunswick, corner of Roberts & Stewart Streets, Brunswick East, Victoria

Choose from two learning streams:

  • Regenerative Agriculture
  • Social Enterprise

$200* Subsidised course (Full fee >$2500)

Round 1 intake – now open

The Green Gap Year Program commences February 20th 2023 and runs across seven months, with the aim for all participants to continue the year in the next step on their green career path. The program will run 1-3 days a week depending on your selected electives, project stage and tailored timetable.

In the program you will be guided through the following four stages of deep learning:

  1. Heart: Connection to self, others, nature and a purpose
  2. Head: Learning and gaining knowledge through CORE courses and electives to match passions and goals
  3. Hands: Applied skills and real-world experiences through volunteering, mentor support and work experience
  4. Earth Service: Demonstrating initiative, innovation, self-management and professional practice through community projects, internships, business pitches & plans

Green Pathway guides help build your journey to match your purpose, and learning and career needs. Participants will start with Stage 1. activating their HEART and passions by defining their purpose, connecting to their core values, experiencing nature connection, and understanding how to build well-being and resilience. They will learn about green career skills and setting goals, systems thinking and community engagement.

When you register please select which stream you would like to be enrolled in. Read more to help your selection.

Participants will be given a choice of learning and volunteer placement electives unique to each program stream which best suit their passions and interests, these electives will range from daily workshops, guest speakers and business/farm tours to immersive longer length courses

Stream 1. Regenerative Agriculture

HEAD – Learning and building knowledge

CORE learning course:

  • The Complete Urban Farmer

The following electives and workshops are an example of what will be offered:

  • Introduction to Therapeutic Horticulture
  • Permaculture Demonstrator Skillset (Accredited)
  • Intro to Horticulture and Permaculture (Accredited Taster)
  • Landscape Restoration and Indigenous Ecology
  • Guest speakers to discuss careers and success stories

HAND – Applying your skills at CERES

Volunteer and gain work experience in Honey Lane Market Garden, propagation, Joe’s Garden and with our site horticulture and park management team. We have tailored this stage of the project to get the perfect blend of volunteer experiences at CERES from our working farm, permaculture and horticulture enterprises.

Earth Service and Professional Practice

This important part of the program may include working with or creating a community based project, and/or building on and using existing networks via a self devised activity. Participants may spend this time being an ‘apprentice’ farmer with one of our organic suppliers or interning with a local food business. We will help you connect with local community groups, local farmers, micro-ag businesses, community gardens and other agricultural and food systems based partners in our networks. Pathway guides will help you shape what professional practice project or experience works for you.

Stream 2. Social Enterprise and Green Entrepreneurism

HEAD – Learning and building knowledge

CORE Learning Course

  • Intro to Social Enterprise – Working for Purpose

Electives and ongoing learning opportunities will include

  • Social Enterprise in Action – Workshop Series
  • Environmental Education Course
  • Business and career skill-building sessions
  • On-demand learning courses
  • Access to our artisanal workshops that match your social enterprise ideas

HAND – Applying your skills at CERES

We have designed a multi-social enterprise volunteer and work experience program over two months. At CERES we have access to social enterprises in farm, nursery, food, service, retail, hospitality and ethical trade. Participants will choose the volunteer and work experience program that aligns most with their green business passions and goals.

Earth Service and Professional Practice

Real world application of the knowledge, skills and work experiences. The social enterprise stream will include devising business plans and pitches linked to the creation of new green enterprise ideas, supporting internships through our external social enterprise networks and linking up with SENVIC (Social Enterprise Network Victoria). We will also be providing spaces and events for market days and “business fairs” for people to share concepts and products with the community and your family and friends. Pathway guides will help you shape what professional practice project or experience works for you.

Lorna PettiferLorna Pettifer has been working in environmental education and presenting to community groups on sustainability for many years. At CERES, Lorna passionately directs CERES School of Nature and Climate. She is dedicated to deepening our response to the ecological and climate crisis through CERES’ learning experiences. Her background in sustainability stems from ecology and zoology and has broadened to community engagement, environmental management, behaviour change and farm and food programs. Lorna has worked with community groups, schools, organisations, households and individuals. As an environmental advocate she has worked in national parks, environmental consultancies, universities, NGOs and wildlife reserves as a conservationist, educator, tour guide, bush regenerator, GIS consultant, environmental modeler and researcher. Lorna proudly received the Environmental Educator of the Year for Victoria in 2018 and the Australian Environmental Educator of the Year in 2019.

Abigail JabinesAbi Jabines has volunteered and worked for the horticulture industry in different capacities and work environments. She started as a volunteer propagator at CERES in 2015 before studying horticulture. After studying, she became a horticulturist for a hydroponics company, which included working with its research and development team to improve the environmental and growing conditions of horticultural crops and medicinal plants. Abi started working at CERES in 2019 which gave her an opportunity to work at an organisation that matches her values and regard for nature. She is currently a Horticulture and Permaculture VET trainer, and a staff member at CERES’ permaculture and bush food nursery. She considers her experience and training as a volunteer propagator at CERES as an important factor in pursuing her current career path after transitioning from another vocation. As a horticulturist, she is able to apply her values in a more practical and tangible way. She enjoys encouraging people from different backgrounds, especially women and young people, to work with plants and help improve the connection between people and our natural environment. Observing and figuring out how to best grow healthy plants also satisfies her thirst to learn and interest in trying tested or new idea.

Justin CalverleyJustin Calverley is a horticulturalist and permaculturist with more than 20 years’ experience and will be the lead trainer for the Urban Farmer course. Justin has extensive knowledge and experience in permaculture, garden design, organic gardening and native bushfood plants. He specialises in edible gardens and is an expert in fruit tree cultivation and pruning.
For more than 10 years Justin has taught workshops at CERES in sustainable gardening and permaculture. Justin was a regular broadcaster on 3RRR’s ‘Dirty Deeds” and “Breakfasters”, is a presenter on Channel 31’s “The Garden Tap” and author of The Urban Farmer.

Anne GalbraithAnne Galbraith has a Social Sciences background and has studied conservation and land management and visual arts. Anne is currently completing a Master of Social Work. Her experience includes work with the elderly and people with dementia, children and teens in out of home care and people living with disability. She is currently working with women and children who have experienced family violence and or homelessness. Anne has recently had the opportunity to design and create a sensory garden in a crisis accommodation service where she runs a sensory garden program.

Belinda Kennedy Belinda Kennedy has been working within the horticulture industry for over 15 years, specialising in sustainable and organic garden design and management. She has worked in numerous fields within the industry alongside several key landscape designers throughout Melbourne; co-designing, implementing and maintaining landscapes on various scales both private and public. Belinda’s work is based upon sustainable garden practices and permaculture systems and includes indigenous garden design and development; wildlife corridors; native food and fibre gardens; closed loop garden design and implementation; compost systems; kitchen gardens and food forests.

Belinda has been employed as the Head Horticulturist and Volunteer Coordinator at CERES Environment Park since 2013, designing and implementing the on-site habitat gardens which include kitchen gardens; indigenous plantings; native food and fibre gardens; food forests and wildlife corridors. She also manages several on-site composting and soil building systems. The gardens are predominantly run on a closed loop system and maintained with the assistance of a large volunteer program. Along with managing the grounds at CERES, Belinda runs regular workshops on sustainable garden practices; landscape design and maintenance; native food and fibre gardens; wildlife gardens; indigenous flora; and composting systems.

Belinda has completed a Bachelor of Fine Art at RMIT, an Advanced Diploma in Horticulture at Melbourne University, and a Permaculture Design Course. Along with her work at CERES Environment Park, she also runs a sustainable garden design and maintenance business based in Melbourne’s inner north and can be found drawing or sculpting in her spare time.

Darren Tinker has a passion for plants and the way people interact with the natural environment. Coming from a horticulture and geography background, he discovered his passion for education and engaging people through environmental education while working as an educator at La Trobe Wildlife Sanctuary and also in his time as an Environmental Programs Assistant at a private college. Darren enjoys volunteering with humanitarian and environmental organisations, participates in community projects and has a keen interest in Permaculture. Outside of CERES he also works as a gardener with the Diggers Club.

Since 2011 Travis Heenan has been learning, working and teaching on various permaculture inspired projects and courses. He has a degree in psychology and has worked as life coach and group work facilitator. Travis is currently a teacher Certificate IV in Permaculture for TAFE NSW and
works for the NDIS providing support services for people with disabilities. Until only recently, Travis’s energy and efforts had been committed to the establishment of PEACE Farm in Yarra Junction and a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) farm business. This year Travis and his family left this initiative and have taken on a new permaculture inspired project “Spinebill Bend” in East Warburton, Victoria.
Over the years Travis has come to appreciate Permaculture as a journey rather then the destination often imagined as the “off the grid utopia”. Travis believes the journey of permaculture has the potential to completely transform our understanding of life and open up unlimited creative potential for how we can live harmoniously with our environment.

Pathway Guides:

Karen Mengell
Karen Mengell – VET Coordinator, Adult Learning Programs
Karen began her education career in Kenya teaching in disadvantaged community secondary schools. After further roles in the corporate, government and philanthropic sectors she has for the past 20 years worked in a variety of adult education settings primarily designing and coordinating the delivery of Vocational Education and Training (VET) programs.

Karen has a strong focus on supporting a diversity of clients, including youth at risk, those with disabilities, career changers and the long-term unemployed, to identify their goals and strengths and support the exploration of and transition to green career pathways. Karen holds tertiary qualifications in management, training and philosophy, politics and economics.

Luisa Cardamone
Luisa Cardamone – Relationships and Program Logistics Manager – Adult Learning
For more than 20 years, Luisa had visited the site as a nearby neighbour and for the past 12 years has been thrilled to call CERES her workplace. Luisa manages the adult learning programs encompassing sessional, deeper learning and accredited courses across all things sustainable for individuals and groups ranging from corporate to the marginalised. Across gardening, cooking and the creative, she has grown the program offerings over the years. Her aim is to draw expert, passionate presenters to pass on their knowledge and skills so we can continue to lighten our footprint.
Christine Pendleton – Administrative Assistant and Green Gap Year Coordinator
Growing up in a rural setting has led Christine to always feel a strong affinity with nature. After many years in retail, Christine decided to follow her heart and make a career change that aligned more with her values of caring for the environment. With a goal to work for an organisation that focused on making a difference through empowering the community and promoting sustainable education, CERES was a perfect fit!
Christine has tertiary qualifications in sustainability, community services and fine arts, and has a passion for social justice, food security and biodiversity. She loves nothing more than being able to spend her downtime searching for new bushwalking trails and just sitting and taking in the sights and sounds of the natural world.

To register your interest please fill out the Expression of Interest (EOI) form by clicking the ‘register now’ button. One of our ‘Green Pathway Guides’ will then be in touch with you to chat about what you want from the program and make sure it is the right fit for you. You will then be taken through the next steps to lock in your place.

For any enquiries about the Green Gap Year Program please email us at

PLEASE NOTE: Applicants must be permanent residents of Australia to be eligible for enrolment in the Green Gap Year Program.

CERES reserves the right to cancel courses or workshops due to insufficient numbers.

If we cancel the course or workshop you will be entitled to a 100 per cent refund, or you may choose to transfer to another date, subject to availability.

If you decide to withdraw seven or more days prior to the course or workshop date CERES will retain a 10 per cent administration fee.

If you decide to withdraw less than seven days prior to the course or workshop date CERES will retain 100 per cent of your workshop fee.

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