OAEC supports diverse communities to design their own regenerative systems at the regional and local scale.
Our cookbook is a collection of inventive recipes inspired by seasonal eating from our biodiverse Mother Garden, orchards and Wildlands Preserve.
Experience the Occidental Arts & Ecology Center through a video tour and beautiful photographs of our Guest Houses, Meeting Room, Bathhouse, Kitchen & Dining Room, Mother Garden and more.
New in 2017: Now open every weekend April-October, Saturdays & Sundays from 10am-5pm! Our nursery specializes in open-pollinated perennials including edible landscaping plants, rare and endangered food crops, drought tolerant ornamentals and habitat plants. Join us for our three special Plant Sale Events focused on annual plants for starting your seasonal vegetable gardens.
OAEC offers the longest consistently running two-week Permaculture Design Certification course in the West. Immerse yourself in information, ideas and inspiration on how to design sustainable, regenerative systems in balance with your home ecosystem.
Our School Garden Teacher Training supports schools to integrate the school garden into multiple subject areas using place-based, experiential learning.
Ecology means “study of home.” It examines the relationships between organisms and their environments — which includes people and their cultural environments. Because cultures and societies are born out of our interrelationship with the natural world, we understand the “sociosphere” to be part of the broader study of ecology.
Creativity, imagination, inspiration, and beauty are integral parts of human experiences and relationships, but they are often relegated to the discrete sphere of “the arts.” At the Occidental Arts & Ecology Center, we think about art as a process and approach — one that engages the whole being. We study nature knowing that we are part of nature, and aspire to come into whole relationship with place rather than to simply own, steward or study it. For these reasons, we embrace ecology as the study of whole systems — of life as an integration of science and art, creativity and emotion.
For humanity to adapt to the extraordinary challenges of our time, our communities must overcome fragmented thinking and become more integrated, interdependent and whole. Embracing the connection between art and ecology fosters integration in our thinking, our lived experience, our society and our relationship with the natural world. We believe that an essential part of healing and restoring our culture is reuniting ecology with art, knowledge with reverence, pragmatism with beauty, and observation with awe; furthermore, that when people apply themselves to a task as integrated human beings, their work is elevated to an art form.
By embracing the link between art and ecology, we hope to help weave a stronger, more integrated social and cultural fabric.
The ability to create and appreciate beauty can be an evolutionary result of comfort and safety in place. Because of disenfranchisement, isolation and other issues stemming from the global economic system, however, many of us are disconnected from the places our ancestors evolved to appreciate and understand. Creating art in place, then, is a form of “remembering our way.”
The more reconnected we are to natural systems, the more we are able to be right actors in relation to nature. Similarly, the more tapped in we are to our innate creativity — both culturally and personally — the happier and more resilient we are. Art, then, is key for building community resilience.