Saturday, July 25
8:15 AM – 9:15 AM – Urban Ecosystem Justice, Scott Kellogg of the Radix Center for Ecological Sustainability, Albany NY
Description: Urban Ecosystem Justice is a framework that examines how issues of justice, fairness, access, race and class pertain to the biophysical dimensions of the urban ecosystem: soil, water, air, waste and biocultural diversity. In doing so, it addresses ecological alienation and equitable sustainability by encouraging human/non-human reciprocity in urban environments. We’ll discuss how Albany’s Radix Ecological Sustainability Center puts these ideas into practice through permaculture-aligned activities such as artificial floating islands, community-based composting, low-tech soil bioremediation, detached rain-harvesting, urban maple tapping, DIY air monitoring, vacant lot gardening, silkworms, dovecotes, and more. We’ll further explore how these systems are integrated into participatory eco-justice youth education programs.
Scott Kellogg is the Educational Director of the Radix Ecological Sustainability Center in Albany, New York, an urban environmental education non-profit that works to promote just sustainability and ecological literacy. While focused primarily on community-based programs, Scott also works on urban policy and teaches at SUNY Albany and Bard College.
9:30 AM – 10:30 AM – Nursery and Plant Producers Roundtable, Aaron Parker of Edgewood Nursery, Falmouth ME
Description: Permaculture focused plant nurseries are popping up all over the region at several different scales. Let’s get together to chat about the art and science of plant propagation and how we can move forward with our projects in a way that supports our community and environment, while maximizing cooperation and minimizing competition.
Aaron Parker is a father, partner, plant person, educator and proprietor of Edgewood Nursery in Falmouth Maine, which specializes in unusual edible plants.
10:45 – 11:45 AM – Building Network Connections with PAN’s New Membership Database: A How-To, Aaron Guman and Dan Boynton of PAN
Description: The Permaculture Association of the Northeast has invested in new membership software program to strengthen communication, collaboration, and connection between permaculture practitioners in the northeast. Join us for an introductory session into this program’s suite of online features for members including a membership directory, interactive map, and member profile. This program is designed to improve the ability for practitioners in our region to better connect with PAN and with each other about permaculture-related initiatives, projects, courses, and programs.
Dan Boynton of Campton, NH is a PAN Board Member, permaculture farmer, local official, and technological wizard. Aaron Guman is PAN’s Board Coordinator and resides in Barre, VT. He is currently involved in agroforestry work in Vermont and is deepening his work with the non-profit sector. Aaron and Dan spearheaded the establishment and launch of PAN’s new membership software program.
12:00 PM – 1:00 PM – Change is Constant: Emergent Strategy for Everyday Life, Madeline Charney of UMASS Amherst Libraries, Amherst MA
Description: The world is in a continual state of flux. We will dip into the 10 principles of the magical, sensual, nature-inspired world of Emergent Strategy: Shaping Change, Changing Worlds by Adrienne Maree Brown. We will explore (through dyad and discussion) how patterns — inspired by ferns, ants, starlings — can enliven our personal and professional lives as well as deepen our relationship to the systems that structure our lives.
Madeleine Charney received her PDC in Coldstream Scotland with Graham Bell in 1998. The experience inspired her studies at the Conway School of Landscape. She incorporates contemplative practices (including labyrinth walks) into her teaching and consulting as an academic librarian. Growing herbs and sharing plant-based remedies bring her great joy.
Sunday, July 26
8:15 AM – 9:15 AM – Revolutionary Permaculture Panel
Description: Permaculture promises a lot of things. One of those is “revolution disguised as gardening.” What is meant by revolution in the permaculture context? Is it a path to social, ecological, cultural and political change achieved with maximal harmony and minimal resources using nature’s power of transformation? Is it a way of creating a vision of “where we want to be” not just what we’re against? Does permaculture create the conditions for the end of the violence of the state and capitalism, or is it a way of obscuring structural problems by disguising libertarian property management as revolution? To answer these questions, the panelists will discuss the liberator potential of permaculture when its principles are expanded to include collective well-being in harmony with nature (“buen vivir”), democracy, solidarity, feminism, and decolonization, and its boundaries are permeated by social ecology, agroecology, and radical pedagogy. The speakers include:
Emet Değirmenci, based in Turkey, a founder of the Innermost Gardens with social and ecological principles in Wellıngton City of Aotearo/New Zealand, and co-editor of Social Ecology and the Right to the City; and
Lisa DePiano, lecturer at the Stockbridge School of Agriculture at UMass, Amherst. Lisa is grounded at the intersections of public art, ecology, participatory design and social justice and her projects have appeared at Occupy Wall Street, Times Square and the MIT Media Lab.
9:30 – 10:30 AM – The Answer to Climate Instability is Right Beneath our Feet, Toxtli Melloh of the Living Soil Project, Portland ME
Description: This session will focus on a different perspective on climate instability. Nature created and maintained a stable atmosphere and climate here on Earth for ages. Water governs 95% of the heat dynamics of the planet. Approximately ten thousand years ago humans began clearing forests and tilling the soil, which interrupted the soil food web and water cycle – rising CO2 is just a symptom. The good news is there are simple feasible steps we can take to restore the water cycle and rapidly reverse climate instability.
Toxtli Melloh is a former physician, now acupuncturist, energy worker and yoga teacher, with a love of nature, spirit, gardening and science. He was excited to find permaculture twelve years ago. It made sense; a path to healing our planet, community and selves, both physically and spiritually. He has been an avid permaculture student and practitioner ever since, and currently serves on the board of the Resilience Hub in Portland, Maine, Recently he joined the Living Soil Network and is eager to share their important message.
10:45 AM – 12:15 PM – Why and How to Grow Native Edibles and Add Them to Landscapes, Russ Cohen, Weston MA
Description: Native plants serve many important ecological functions, such as a food source for caterpillars, which in turn are relied upon by birds to feed their babies in the nest. That said: there are over 180 species of plants that are native to the ecoregions of the Northeast U.S. that are also edible by humans. Juneberries (Amelanchier spp.), for example, are equally edible by animals (songbirds, e.g.) and people alike. The taste of the ripe fruit is like a cross between cherries and almonds (they’re all related species in the Rose family). Adding native edible plants to a landscape can boost biodiversity as well as “spice it up” (literally as well as figuratively – i.e., we can have our acorn cake and eat it too). This webinar will cover about two dozen species of native edible wild plants suitable for adding to your own landscape, or nibbling on as you encounter them in other locales. The presenter will also share techniques for growing native edible plants from seed, and examples of where he has diversified landscapes with edible natives.
Until his retirement in June of 2015, Russ Cohen’s “day job” was serving as the Rivers Advocate for the Massachusetts Department of Fish and Game’s Division of Ecological Restoration, where one of his areas of expertise was in riparian vegetation. Now Russ has more time to pursue his passionate avocation, which is connecting to nature via his taste buds, and teaching others how to do the same. Russ is now playing the role of “Johnny Appleseed” for edible native species. He has set up a small nursery (in Weston, MA) where he grows/keeps over 1,000 plants that he propagates from seed (some of which he collected himself), as well as obtained from other sources, such as the Native Plant Trust. He is then partnering with land trusts, cities and towns, schools and colleges, state and federal agencies, organic farms, tribal groups and others to plant plants from his nursery in appropriate places on their properties. Russ has initiated over two dozen such projects in the past five years.