My main concerns with the new design are these:
1. The wood background and curved corners looks very old-fashioned, like the earliest websites (I was there). If Permaculture is to be taken seriously, we need something that looks current, not throwback.
2. Button fonts: I find these very hard to read, and I suspect they'd fail visual contrast tests.
3. 'Best of' - nice idea, but they'll get old very soon, unless they're randomly displayed so that we don't have to scroll down to be inspired by one we haven't read.
4. It's really nice to have images to break up the text - they could be larger, lose the white-space.
5. The alternate-colour list: the beige ones tend to disappear, perhaps need a border.
6. 'All Forums' - I had to work quite hard to find where the 'not top forums' were (a faint link at the base of the Top Forums list)
My credentials: BSc Hons Ergonomics, 1st for Human-Computer Interface Evaluation project.