The creation of The PAN Permaculture Educators’ Pledge, was a 3+ year participatory process, convened by the Permaculture Association of the Northeast (PAN formally know as PINE). This 1- page document was distilled from many meetings, conversations, convergences, phone calls, scribbled notes, retreats and late night talks around the fire as our network grappled with how we, as a grassroots movement honor and embody our ethics as we grow and how we do this as a network for the network rather than a top down imposed set of rules and regulations from the outside. Read more about the pledge and how to adopt it here.
Business & Livelihood
Across the region PAN members are working on innovative projects on their properties, in their neighborhoods, and in their chosen communities. Moving from idea to implementation is dependent on many variables but one of the most limited is often funding. Over the past few years the PAN Board has been working closely with the New England Grassroots Environment Fund (NEGEF) to share funding opportunities with our members. Fortunately for us NEGEF as an organization shares many of the same ethics as PAN and the Permaculture community do! NEGEF is “dedicated to inspire, connect, and support community-based environmental projects throughout New England.”
So, how does this work? There are two initial grant sources at NEGEF that we encourage you to review. They are called Seed and Grow grants and are designed for groups that:
* are doing community-based environmental work in CT, ME, MA, NH, RI or VT;
* are volunteer-driven or have no more than 2 full-time paid staff (or equivalents);
* have an annual operating budget under $100,000.
It is important to note that NEGEF does not fund statewide, regional, national or international work. Their focus is specifically on community-based, local initiatives. More information on both grants is available at https://grassrootsfund.org/dollars.
Seed grants have a rolling application so you can apply anytime. Grow grants are accepted twice per year. There is also a Harvest grant round once per year for capacity building projects for groups empowering youth-led initiatives that allow young adults to design, lead, and engage a community-based effort from inception.
We hope that you will take a closer look at these funding opportunities for your projects. If you do move forward and need a fiscal sponsor at any point you can always look to PAN for that service!
Do you identify as a permaculture teacher, permaculture educator or designer of permaculture educational experiences?
This fall, the OMEGA Institute in Rhinebeck NY is once again generously offering their space in service to our regional network. PAN (Permaculture Association of the Northeast; formerly PINE), is organizing this event at OMEGA.
The overall goal of this professional development retreat is to continue to be a learning community that innovates and improves the entire field of permaculture together, collaboratively, in service to our whole region!
This is what we know so far:
- This will be a professional development retreat for permaculture teachers and persons who identify as earning some portion of their livelihood from permaculture education.
- DATES: Arrival at OMEGA will be afternoon of Sunday, October 16 (Opening Circle that night). Departure will be Wednesday, October 19 after lunch.
- There will be a limited number of spaces available due to the logistics of the site, etc.
- There will be a sliding-scale cost to attend to cover some of the costs of lodging and food. The balance is being donated by OMEGA.
- There will a request for your online feedback published in the next couple of weeks to determine your top priorities for the content of our professional development retreat.
- We will open up registration in August.
- In addition to what we hear from you, the retreat will very likely include topics such as 1) social justice and anti-oppression work in permaculture education, 2) peer-to-peer cross training on best practices for designing and delivering specific permaculture modules (content and pedagogy)** and 3) furthering the work of creating voluntary community-based standards of quality for permaculture work in our region. There will be pre-work on this last point prior to the retreat.
So please save the date and we look forward to seeing you in the fall!
** An example of this can be found in the “Permaculture Teachers’ Guide” assembled from the work of many European teachers sharing modules with one another.
by Marisol Maddox – Hudson Valley, NY
As a new member of the Northeast permaculture community I was grateful to have the experience of meeting other permaculture practitioners at the recent retreat at Omega. My partner, John and I recently launched a permaculture-envisioned mushroom business called MycoCulture Design. We produce tinctures, incorporate mushroom landscaping into backyards and farms, lead mushroom foraging walks, and produce spore print artwork. Since we both had limited experience with the logistics of starting and operating our own business it was a true blessing to get to connect with a group of people who were familiar with the process and who were guided by the same permaculture principles.
One of the most important aspects of the evolution of MycoCulture Design has been to constantly re-evaluate and ensure that we are staying true to our core principles of building strong communities, enhancing the local economy, increasing local food resilience, and being ecologically regenerative. There is a lot of fluidity in the identity of a business as it gets off the ground and getting business advice from any old source could easily start to navigate us towards an extractive economy model. This is where the value of the permaculture network comes in because John and I met several people at the retreat who had recently dealt with similar situations and were able to save us hours of research with their advice.
The aspect of permaculture that most impresses me is the bravery that is almost inherent upon its practitioners. In getting certified in a PDC you confront the most daunting issues of our time. It is easy to become paralyzed by pessimism so it takes a strong individual to recognize those issues, look them head on, and then step boldly towards a solutions-oriented path. To take this path you must be creative and innovative, which is another joy that I have found in my exposure to the permaculture community of the northeast. The ideas that people come up with and the ways they incorporate those ideas into the already existing skeleton of society, in an effective and meaningful way, is truly inspiring. Many people believe we have to completely restructure society in order for humanity to survive, and yes, there must be some substantial changes, but it is much easier to work from within the system that already exists. An example of this that stood out to me was the work that Abrah Dresdale is doing at Greenfield Community College in Massachusetts. The fact that she was able to get a permaculture design course accepted as a lab science course is one of the most inspiring actions I have heard in some time. Education and spreading awareness of the potential of permaculture are vital in effectively creating positive change. I foresee many other schools catching on to her wisdom and hope that such an offering becomes commonplace in the not-too-distant future.
Permaculture communities have strong futures because of their structurally sound foundations. Permaculture values and open-source attitudes are positively reinforced by the individuals who collaborate to turn the vision of a regenerative future into a reality. PINE, as it develops its membership base, will be a wonderful resource for further connecting members of the permaculture community. I eagerly look forward to my future involvement and encourage anyone who is interested to take a PDC, if you haven’t already (the one I took at Omega in Rhinebeck, NY was fabulous, in case anyone needs a recommendation). If you have already taken a PDC then please take the next step and engage the community and contribute your strengths. Synergy is a beautiful thing.
by Marisol Maddox – Hudson Valley, NY