My partner, Wayne, and I attended North American Permaculture Convergence last Wed. – Sun. at Hopland’s Solar Living Institute, a sort of paradise where you share mostly vegan food with a food ticket or potluck at the Community Kitchen, while working out solutions to climate and cultural challenges – a vertiable cheering section for activists in a place where social justice meets organic farms, where rainwater harvesting is a close second to harvesting fruits and vegetables and where the food served is so tasty I can’t leave a spec on my plate though its pretty much vegetables! How DOES she make that red pepper compote? I’ll try this at home!
Trying to memorize the beauty of the Solar Living Institute, all the nooks and meeting spaces, the great dome with amazing accoustcs erected during the convergence, the graceful, quiet, meditative, peaceful places like napping on the clover by the heart pond, the Hops Tipi with it tree limbs growing in a circle out of cob walls, meeting in its own convergence at the sky combined with trumpet vine! Walk outside the Solor Living store and hold still – THREE hummingbirds of two varieties and you can’t possibly count all the bees! Must have some Twinkle Toes lights (or whatever those are called – will have to call and find out!) Weekend music by Royal Jelly Jive and The Luminaries got us dancing with delight while drum circle and yoga stretches in the am moved us to focused action. Healthy combination!
Full moon Sat. night was a firepit replete with call and response campfire songs from the Waldorf tradition morphing into what we could remember of Simon and Garfunkal and Creedence Clearwater Revival songs; during the days, the loveliness of little children playing non-stop in sand with water courses all around the large sand pit designed for them and walked through by their adults. Amazing how in this land of little water, there was always water enough!
The workshops and music were also deeply satisfying. From interactions with an Intentional Communities group to serious interaction with Native Americas who were angry that they have no power in a culture that took theirs away and makes no restitutions. One was extoling the benefits of selling buffalo while another said this was a sacred animal and should not be for sale. I said why not get left brained and go seeking grant money earmarked for causes such as yours where they are obliged to give their money to such a cause. Beats being so deeply frustrated!
Bridges built included politics. A panel with Daily Acts founder and Board Chair of Transition US, Trathen Heckman, included California Senator, Mike Maguire and Sonoma County Supervisor, James Gore, speaking our language on issues we can work on together. What will cannabis laws look like? Our California government has done more for us than we know – $150 million set aside for urban forests, $500 million for green job training; we need to fix our Russian River, our water source for drinking! Disrupt but do not destroy. Clean power and community choice aggregation are in place so there is, somewhat, a rise of the commons. Getting involved in local politics DOES matter if we want to build models of resilience. Oscar Chavez called for participation of the poor; Ellen Bauer boosts self-healing communities. All good stuff we can support!
Was grateful for the good work offered by this combination celebration of life and dedication to saving the planet. Because we attended the whole convergence, there were working groups to join in, and I chose media. A small group, it contained both young guys convinced their podcasts were important (who will they reach? where will they be?) and an excellent facilitator, Rhonda Baird, producer these last eight years of the magazine now names Permaculture Design. With her talents and organizational experience, we’ll create a website to capture those podcasts, articles, radio and TV – whatever relevant Permaculture media is out there – and hopefully, create more of the same. We’ll keep in touch with quarterly phone calls – and I’ve offered to pitch David Remnick, Editor, The New Yorker, for a full hour on his newish The New Yorker Radio Hour on NPR. Well educated people like Remnick’s audience should much appreciate the permaculture convergences, keep the info. in their archives, and, hopefully, engage in the work.
If you’re a North Bay resident reading this, think Daily Acts’ Trethen Heckman, Erin Axelrod, Starhawk, and everyone creative in Oakland in music and culture. Representatives of each were engaged in this 2nd North American Permaculture Convergence. Hope you’ll join us next time – in 2018. The banner: Fair Share, Earth Care, People Care