by Justin “Hood” Young, Swan Lake, NY (on right)
The other week, I got lucky enough to find out about the PINE leadership retreat. I had heard of PINE before, but I am new to the region. I had trepidations – but the personal invite I received was so warming, and I knew I couldn’t not be a part of this region’s permaculture group. So, off I went on a 6 hour drive, when there is work to do on the farm, to spend a weekend with the folks of PINE at D Acres of New Hampshire.
I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. I only knew one person, I wasn’t on the Board, and I had never inputted anything into the system yet.
That being said, I cannot tell you how amazing this weekend was! And even more than that, I cannot express how important this organization is. The organization isn’t about forcing a way on others; it isn’t about control. It is about People Care, Earth Care, and Fair Share.
PINE is all about being a helping structure for the Northeast as a whole by means of supporting permaculture in the Northeast. As Josh Trought of D Acres said it best in his response to “What is permaculture?” – “That’s easy. It’s the answer to everything.” So, how do we create an abundance of truly sustainable and real foods and medicine? – It is by supporting permaculture everywhere, but first at home. For us, that is the Northeast.
At this retreat, there was no limit on the conversations. There were about 15 of us present – yet the schedule was filled with diverse topics, filled with plans for the future. The main discussion I took part in was the Power and Privilege working group and associated topics. There was so much care for people… that I finally witnessed People Care in action! This year there have been a few documents generated regarding power and privilege in permaculture:
In addition, the Women in Permaculture group also came out with a statement, that sadly I cannot find at the time of this writing.
PINE took initiative to take these requests and statements and make them a priority. The organization is drafting best practices to include these for PINE events. What a beautiful place, watching People Care grow in front of my eyes.
As a gay man, I felt so welcomed in this space. No judgments, and when I asked if I could help start up an LGBTQ working group, everyone was so eager to see it happen. Uma – one of the attendees – jumped right in the boat and hopefully there will be momentum in our group in the very near future. In the spirit of what PINE is working towards, perhaps the working group should discuss an official name? Maybe GSD: Gender and Sexual Diversities?
Then came the part I was worried about – the Board meeting. Should I go for a walk in the woods, or should I stay and listen. I definitely can’t participate, right? Wrong. Wrong on it all. PINE is so open to transparency and wants this to be an organization for the entire region, that Laura encouraged me to stay, and when I asked questions or made suggestions, everyone was attentive, and welcoming to input. I have never met such a warm and welcoming experience.
I am glad to be a member of PINE, I hope you join this group of beautiful spirits, brains and souls.