Registration is open…Look for all of the details here
Ben and Jerry’s Community Action Grant
written by Jessica Rubin, PAN Member
We were grateful to receive fiscal sponsorship from PAN in order to apply for a Ben and Jerry’s Community Action grant. Vermont Myconode is an inspired local offshoot of the greater Radical Mycology movement. As a network of friends, colleagues, mentors, scientists, amateur mycologists, ecological restorationists, educators, students, earth workers, and mentees, we cultivate mushrooms, ideas, and strategies to apply the healing power of the 5th Queendom (Fungi) for food and medicine as well as for remediating human – caused pollution to restore ecological balance in Vermont.
Our mission is applied through a spectrum of activities from inoculating woodchips or logs with spawn, restoring degraded ecosystems to decrease toxic levels in soil & water to non-toxic levels, providing educational workshops, and hosting work parties. In terms of applying mycoremediation to Vermont’s landscape, there is tremendous potential for remediating toxins currently threatening the health of Lake Champlain (Lake Bitawabok, Abenaki call it; translated as ‘Lake Between”) such as: excess phosphorus from fertilizers, hydrocarbons found in pesticides and herbicides and parking lot drains, pathogens from manure runoff, heavy metals in suburban, agricultural, and urban soils, and toxic chemical compounds in nonpoint source runoff.
With these funds and New England Grassroots Fund support we have been able to create a library for our growing collective while helping to provide mycological educational opportunities to our members, create a lab for upcoming projects which the group and two local businesses Infinity Soils and Mycoevolve can access, and purchase inoculation tools which we will use in offering edible and medicinal installation workshops later this summer. Once we fine tune the anteroom, ventilation and electrical systems, we plan to offer an indoor cultivation workshop in our lab and two fungal forays on the surrounding landscape before fall is in full swing.
We are dedicated to acknowledging that we are on stolen land of the Abenaki First Nation People who call this land N’dakinna, translated as ‘Dawnland’ and to decolonize ourselves. As we increase access of mycological information to people of all backgrounds, we remain egalitarian, all inclusive; not discriminating on basis of age, gender, ethnicity, religion, mental health status, education, race, culture, sexual orientation, general appearance, income level, living situation, experience in social or mycological work. While we enhance local living systems through appropriate use of technology & well designed mycological systems, we apply mycological information to support the independence and sovereignty of local communities; growing symbiotic bridges between local groups, non-profits, and volunteers through shared mycological skills, knowledge, and insights. As we emphasize the use of local, non-polluting, non-exploitative materials and practices whenever possible in mycological endeavors, we strongly discourage the exploitation of fungi, mycoremediation, and bioremediation by government and corporate interests. We continually acknowledge, harness, and honor the wisdom of our ancestors; human, fungal & beyond with humility, gratitude, and curiosity. Once our systems are a bit more in place we aim to follow up on expressed interest by Abenaki tribal garden folk and inner city garden communities to offer outdoor cultivation workshops before harvest season.
PAN Fiscal Sponsorship in Action:
Permaculture Apprenticeship and Cohort (PAC) Pilot Program
written by Stacey Doll, PAN Member
This summer, through the support of the Dorr Foundation grant and fiscal sponsorship provided by the Permaculture Association of the Northeast (PAN), Root to Rise is hosting a Permaculture Apprenticeship and Cohort (PAC) Pilot Program that provides students of permaculture a living classroom to apply their knowledge in the towns of Littleton, Bethlehem and Whitefield. The PAC Program requires students to actively engage with community leaders, organizations, and the general public to understand the practice of permaculture and apply that knowledge to projects that support community resiliency, ecosystem restoration, and strong social connections and bonds.
The students in the PAC program, with the guidance of their mentor, Stacey Doll, founder of Root to Rise, are specifically leading three community permaculture projects: A permaculture design and a series of implementation workshops at a local Brewery in Bethlehem, NH; the development of the Veterans Victory Garden Program with a demonstration garden that begins to explore the positive impact of gardening, earthworks, and food production on the psyche and comradery of veterans; and collaboration with the OAKS organization which provides a support network to promote Organizing Acts of Kindness for Seniors and sees the potential of permaculture projects to grow food and medicinals for our aging population.
In addition to these projects, the students have met with town managers, public works, business leaders, conservation organization, and regional planning commission leadership in an effort to bring permaculture into the conversation of how to revitalize and restore our communities and our natural environment. Root to Rise is very grateful to PAN for providing fiscal sponsorship so that this work could happen.
About Root to Rise: Root to Rise, a new permaculture nonprofit located in the North Country of New Hamsphire, formed with the purpose to provide permaculture education and empowerment programs through hands-on life experiences and training. Root to Rise provides a place for students of permaculture, sustainable agriculture, and environmental studies to practice and lead planning, design and implementation projects in the field. Root to Rise is working with local businesses, organizations and community leaders to identify projects in the field that can become living classrooms for students and organizes workshops and hands-on learning experiences where community and relationship building are at the core of permaculture design and installation. It is Root to Rise’s intent to provide a platform for tomorrow’s leaders and today’s community builders to deeply understand our ecological systems and create solutions to human needs by mimicking these systems.
Summer is a special time of abundance, harvest, celebrating community, and sharing in the joys of nature’s gifts. For this reason, we invite you to participate in the 6th New Hampshire Permaculture Day on Saturday, August 18th 2018. This event is spearheaded by the New Hampshire Permaculture Guild, hosted by Cite Ecologique of NH Ecovillage in Colebrook, NH, and supported by the Permaculture Association of the Northeast and Metallak Race. This event will also serve as the Northeast Permaculture Convergence for our permaculture community and PAN invites all to participate! The event will be held in the North Country at Cite Ecologique, an educational ecovillage in Colebrook whose goals include sustainable development and living harmoniously with nature and each other.The ecovillage resides on 315 acres of land with 3 acres of organic gardens, 4 high tunnels, chickens, a sugar bush, miles of trails, and more.
PAN is looking for a few members to volunteer for the event! Please contact our Board Coordinator, Patty Love for more volunteer information.
Growing Northeast Permaculture from a Network to a System of Influence
written by Lisa DePiano and Jesse Watson
Over 30 people, including PAN board members Jesse Watson, Liz Kelly and Lisa DePiano and former board members, Lisa Fernandes and Jono Neiger, gathered seaside on the coast of Maine over a blustery November weekend to attend the Art of Hosting Training, “The Art of Collaborative Leadership in Uncertain Times”, organized by the Resilience Hub. We learned a series of collaborative leadership facilitation techniques designed to tap into the collective intelligence of diverse groups to create strategies and actions for complex issues. These techniques have been successfully applied at the grassroots, governmental, NGO and corporate levels. These methodologies are for facilitating conversations in groups of all scales and have resulted in collective clarity, wise action, and sustainable workable solutions to the most complex problems.
From the art of hosting manual, Why Art of Hosting?
- New Solutions are needed
- New Solutions grow between Chaos and Order
- Conversations Matter
- Meaningful Conversations Lead to Wise Actions
- Organizations are Living Systems
The trainers modeled collaborative leadership by inviting attendees to join them in facilitation techniques such as Open Space Technology and World Cafe. We also explored theories of social change including the Two Loops model of systems change. Trainers modeled the Two Loops by scribing it out on the floor with painters’ tape. Attendees were able to place themselves along the two loops, one loop representing a system in decline and the other loop representing a new system emerging. We discussed the roles that networks can play in shifting to a new system. One example of evolution is how a group can evolve from a community of innovators to a community that learns together. In the first stage, the participants are innovative individuals learning side by side. In the next phase, those individual learners knit themselves together into a cohesive network of mutual aid in the learning process. Eventually this community that learns together becomes a community of practice. Once real life experiences and “dirt time” have informed the community of practice, it can then can make the next phase change into a system of influence on the larger society.
Our permaculture network in the Northeast has been organized for over a decade. In the early days when we were smaller, we met face to face in local groups and started to develop relationships of trust and mutual aid. Often these relationships resulted in shared knowledge and shared work to build demonstration sites. Those local groups and other interested individuals came together at an annual summer regional convergence. The summer convergence was rotationally hosted around the region and was located in emerging permaculture hubs. The convergence has been hosted in New Hampshire, Western MA, New York, Eastern MA, Maine and Quebec. Aside from being a social celebration, networking event and skills share, it was a strategy to support the growth of a new permaculture hub. In order to facilitate online region-wide communication, the Northeast Permaculture email listserve became the primary vehicle for people in our region to coalesce into a community that learns together. Now with social media, the opportunities for individuals to join networks that learn together are even more robust. We can find many examples of groups on different social media platforms that routinely share techniques, experiments and best practices whether we are talking about garden and land care techniques, agricultural trades or hosting and group facilitation practices.
Because PAN is a regional network steward we can take this high level perspective and see the overall landscape shifting. As we were reflecting on this Two Loops model, it occurred to us that this loose network and the people in it have helped transition Permaculture from a community of learners, to a network that learns together, to a community of practice. It also appears that we are showing the signs of changing into a system of influence as we can now see permaculture making an impact with award winning books and documentary films. Permaculture is also represented at universities, in cooperative extension agencies, at major conferences, land trusts and in larger food systems organizations. We can see the shift in language coming out of the technical bulletins from the National Agroforestry Center which is housed within the USDA. Not to mention the tremendous interest from farmers in diversifying production models into perennial cropping systems. We see permaculture influencing business models and new businesses emerging in municipal planning, landscape architecture and design firms as well as in the landscape design/build/land care industry. We are seeing a demographic shift in the populations of students that come through grassroots PDCs as well. PDC students used to be on the margins of society and we saw lots of back-to-the-land type homesteaders, gardeners and farmers. Now we are routinely seeing engineers, architects and other professionals seeking out this kind of whole systems design approach (in addition to as well as the usual radical suspects).
In the food sovereignty movement, we call this process “horizontal diffusion, resulting in vertical integration.” As an example in Maine, food sovereignty ordinances spread virally from town to town until the state government took notice and decided that it was time to recognize this wave of interest in designing locally responsible food systems. In 2017 the Maine legislature successfully passed legislation recognizing the authority of local municipalities to exempt small scale producers from industrial scale production and infrastructure requirements. The win in this case was the devolving of authority to the local level within a rights-based legal framework, and it all started with grassroots community organizing.
This is a pattern familiar to most of us as permaculture designers. It is the rhizome or the mycelial mat that quietly and humbly spreads under foot and unseen until just the right environmental conditions arrive and fruiting bodies emerge seemingly everywhere overnight. As a northeast network, we have nodes throughout the region, and PAN can help you connect to an educational resource near you. Join us today and become part of this system of influence to help make larger societal change for the better.
You asked – We listened! We have added a number of PAN Membership benefits. When would now be a good time to join and to support our work.