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.
Renata is the co-founder and Executive Director of the California Climate and Agriculture Network (CalCAN). She has two decades of experience in sustainable agriculture policy and food systems projects and has held numerous non-profit administrative positions since 1992. Prior to CalCAN, she was Program Director at the Climate Protection Campaign, focused on renewable energy and on agriculture. For seven years she served as the Director of Californians for GE-Free Agriculture, a coalition of sustainable agriculture and environmental organizations that provided education on genetic engineering in agriculture. She serves on the steering committee of the Center for Sustainability at CalPoly University in San Luis Obispo and the advisory board of UC Davis Agricultural Sustainability Institute.
Carla Maria Pérez is a Movement Generation Staff Collective Member and Planning Committee Member, and leads MG’s Resiliency and Permaculture work--including the Earth Skills Training Program. She is a dedicated mother and community organizer of Native Mezo American and Spanish heritage residing in Oakland, California. She graduated from UC Berkeley in 1999 with a BS in Conservation & Resource Studies with an emphasis on Environmental Racism. She has worked on issues of environmental justice and sustainable agriculture with community groups from Yucatán, Mexico to Bay Area environmental justice communities such as Richmond, East Oakland and Bay View Hunters Point in San Francisco. Prior to joining MG in 2007 as a Planning Committee member and co-founder of the Justice & Ecology Project, Carla spent 8 years as staff at Communities for a Better Environment (CBE) as a Leadership Training Coordinator, grassroots organizer and most recently as CBE’s Northern California Program Director. Carla is certified in Popular Education Training and Permaculture/Indigenous Permaculture Design. She was also a co-founder and organizer of the Mobilization for Climate Justice West while it was active from 2008-2011.
Email: Website: www.movementgeneration.org
Christina has spent a lifetime playing with water, from creekwalking as a kid to being the first woman admitted to a plumbing union apprenticeship in CA to building fountains for community gardens and public spaces. Having created with glass and then stone, she focuses now on playful functional art that sparks awareness about our relationship to water. As a contractor, she has plumbed many alternative strawbale and rammed earth residences, and personally designed and built a passive-solar rammed earth house demonstrating the feasibility of earth-building as inner city infill in Oakland. In 2007 she joined the Greywater Guerrillas (now Greywater Action), participating in the crafting of an improved state greywater code, and regularly lecturing and teaching hands-on workshops about greywater and rainwater re-use. Human waste/resource recapture through urine diverting compost toilets is a particular interest. She feels fortunate to have helped install innovative high tech rainwater and greywater systems throughout the San Francisco Bay Area. A certified Permaculture Designer and Harner Method Shamanic Counselor, she is committed to dancing with the Mystery and inviting others to do the same.
Email: Website: http://greywateraction.org
Erik Ohlsen is a licensed contractor, founder and owner of Permaculture Artisans, an ecological farm and landscape company. He is a renowned Certified Permaculture designer and Certified Permaculture teacher, and has been practicing permaculture and ecological design since 1998. In the field of ecological land development and management, Erik has extensive experience with projects that range from small urban lots to 100+ broad acre design and implementation. His many years of experience, observation and listening of landscape patterns, managing installation crews and design teams, and his understanding of ecology make Erik a leader in the field of ecological landscape development. Erik’s design and field experience comprise of a huge variety of skills including farm design and implementation, water harvesting/storm water management, erosion control, extensive earthwork operations, heavy machine operating, irrigation systems, ponds, native plant systems, wildlife habitat enhancement, integrated pest management, microclimate moderation, roof water catchment systems, sustainable forestry, soil building, hardscape design and implementation, and much more. Erik has taught courses in Permaculture design and implementation since 2001 throughout the US, Canada, and the UK. He currently teaches with the Earth Activist Training, the Regenerative Design Institute and with The Occidental Arts and Ecology Center.
Email: Website: www.permacultureartisans.com
Eric Toensmeier is the award-winning author of Paradise Lot and Perennial Vegetables, and the co-author of Edible Forest Gardens. Eric is an appointed lecturer at Yale University, and an international trainer, presenting in English and Spanish in the US, Canada, Mexico, Guatemala, and the Caribbean. He is currently writing Carbon Farming: a Global Toolkit for Stabilizing the Climate with Tree Crops and Regenerative Agriculture Practices. Eric has studied permaculture and useful plants of the world for over two decades.
Email: Website: www.perennialsolutions.org
Janine Björnson is a natural builder, educator, and consultant who has a specialty in natural paints and plasters. She began her career in natural building in 1996 when she studied with Cob Cottage. Since then, she has taught over 90 workshops in Canada and the United States. Her passion for building with natural materials bloomed out of her love for the earth, in conjunction with her concern for diminishing ecological resources and toxic buildings. Since then, she has devoted the last 2 decades to immersing herself in the world of natural materials and the knowledge of how we can shape dwellings that are healthy, healing, inspiring, and beautiful. Janine co-created the Woodshop for Women course held at OAEC for many years. She loves teaching and particularly loves to inspire and teach women how to build, and this is evident in her enthusiastic teaching style. Janine has presented at various Natural Building Colloquia. She has taught the natural building component of Dominican University EcoDwelling program, and is the “natural materials” cyber panelist at www.greenhomebuilding.com. She is a Co-Active Coach (BustOutCoaching.com) and artist. She lives and builds in Sebastopol, California.
Email: Website: www.claybonesandstones.com
Kaelyn is a farmer and educator dedicated to making learning come alive in the outdoor classroom. As a graduate of the Community Studies and Political Science programs at UC Santa Cruz, her work since---both in the nonprofit sector and on organic farms---has been deeply rooted in building the strength and resilience of her local communities through education. Currently the School Garden Coordinator at Salmon Creek School, Kaelyn weaves together her passions for community organizing and storytelling with her commitment to re-connecting children to their food and watersheds.
Kerry Brady, MA is a deep ecologist who focuses on supporting the shift in consciousness needed to create a truly regenerative culture, for people and the planet. She is the co-founder and director of Ecology of Awakening, which offers programs that facilitate individual and collective awakening, beyond the story of separation into the realization of our inherent place within the larger unfolding web of Life. Kerry has more than 25 years of experience in transformational modalities including non-dual wisdom approaches, psychotherapy, Somatic Experiencing trauma work, deep ecology, permaculture, nature-based retreats and vision quests. Kerry and mathematical cosmologist Brian Swimme co-created Nature and Eros, a celebrated course which they have continuously co-taught for 16 years to graduate students at the California Institute of Integral Studies, where she obtained a Masters in Integral Counseling Psychology. She specialized in the field of trauma through the Somatic Experiencing Trauma Institute. Kerry created and teaches Living Resiliency workshops, integrating biologically based trauma work with permaculture principles and practices in order to increase our adaptive capacity as we navigate this momentous time. Currently she teaches Living Resiliency for the Occidental Arts and Ecology Center and the Permaculture Skills Center. Previously she served as faculty at Animas Valley Institute as a mentee and co-guide with depth psychologist Bill Plotkin.
Email: Website: www.ecologyofawakening.org
Laurel Anderson worked as the Garden Teacher at Salmon Creek School for 13 years, sharing her love of the natural world and teaching students how to cook from the garden. Laurel is a founding member of the School Garden Network of Sonoma County. She has taught at workshops and conferences including “Growing Greener Schoolyards” in San Francisco. Laurel is also a school garden consultant and offers field trips and workshops at the Salmon Creek Garden, which was recognized in 2009 as one of the top four school gardens in the state by the California School Garden Network.
Matt Every is a licensed solar contractor in California. He earned a Bachelor's degree in Anthropology and Appropriate Technology from Appalachian State University. Since 2000, Matt has been working in California's renewable energy industry. His business Integrated Elements focuses on custom design and installation of renewable energy systems. Matt has extensive experience with grid-intertie and off-grid solar electric, as well as solar thermal. He's also worked with wind turbine technology, micro-hyrdro electric, off-grid water pumping, filtration and storage.
Email: Website: www.inelements.com
Tamara has been learning, researching, experimenting with and teaching ancient living skills since 1989. She currently offers a 4-hour to 1-day hands-on Ancient Living Skills Overview Programs for schools and home school groups all around Northern California. Tamara originally began sharing skills with others by assisting Margaret Mathewson and teaching for the Santa Cruz Mountains Natural History Association (SCMNHA) Old Ways Seminar Series in Felton and MAPOM California Indian Living Skills Seminar Series at Pt. Reyes National Seashore in 1990. She continues to regularly offer workshops for a variety of organizations, individuals and groups. Tamara demonstrates many of these skills at a variety of fairs and for groups, schools, museums and "living pre-history" events. These skills often include replicating artifacts so that the public can better understand the processes by which they were produced as well as have the opportunity to handle and touch a particular item.
Email: Website: www.paleotechnics.com
Timo Granzotti has over 10 years of experience in California native ecology and botany. He fuses indigenous skills and nature awareness with whole system’s ecology. He currently works as a teacher, designer, consultant, and field specialist for small farms, schools, and residences. He also organizes skills workshops, lectures and intensives. He teaches Permaculture and Indigenous Skills at the Occidental Arts & Ecology Center and collaborates with the design and consulting firm Permacopia. He has also taught at Petaluma City High Schools, the California School of Herbal Studies, Movement Generation, the Woolman’s Center, Pathways to Resilience, Acta non Verba, the Northern California Permaculture Convergence, Lightening in a Bottle, Symbiosis Gathering, the Solar Living Institute, the Buckeye Ancestral Skills Gathering, and various other groups. His passion lies in the creative use of his hands, the relationship with the wild, and the preservation of lost knowledge, tradition, and history. His goal is to re-integrate the skills, technologies, and understandings of our ancestors, utilizing the simplest of means, to help foster regenerative cultures that work in communion with nature.
Email: Website: www.Timogranzotti.com
Since 2007, Tina Poles has taught lower school science and environmental science at Sonoma Country Day School (SCDS) in Santa Rosa, CA. She is the Director of Sustainability at SCDS and is on the faculty advisory committee, which works on long-term systemic change in the school culture and practices. Tina’s main habitat is at SCDS’s outdoor garden classroom. Tina feels that students learn best when the teaching of basic skills is linked to complex analytical skills and thinking creatively about applying information to real world issues. Before SCDS and for eight years, Tina was the Director of School Garden Program at Occidental Arts & Ecology Center. In that capacity, she was able to visit hundreds of school gardens around the state, seeing best practices in a wide range of schools. She wrote the curriculum A Handful of Seeds, Seed-Saving and Seed Study for Educators and was part of the team that wrote A Child's Garden of Standards, Linking School to California Education Standards, California Department of Education, 2002. Tina has been working in the school garden movement since 1984, when she worked for Life Lab teaching daylong workshops to educators.
Email: Website: www.tinapoles.com
Vanessa Tavernetti feels passionately about people being deeply nourished and remembering their connection to the Earth. As a credentialed teacher, she has been in the school garden movement since 1998 and been inspiring participants of the OAEC School Garden Teacher Training since 2003. She was instrumental in developing the garden program at Valley Vista School, Petaluma, and coordinated multiple school garden programs for the Petaluma City School District. Vanessa is a founding member of the School Garden Network of Sonoma County and a recipient of the Jack London Teacher of the Year Award. As a curriculum specialist, she has served as a school garden consultant for the San Francisco Bay and Chicago Areas and has taught Eco-Literacy at Sonoma State University and the New College of California. Vanessa currently assists mothers and their preteen and teenage daughters with their connection and communication through creating gardens at their homes that focus on holistic nutrition, herbal medicines, and natural beauty care with Mother Daughter Gardens. She is dedicated to shifting food production from conventional agribusiness to small community food systems through inspiring people to enliven their relationships with themselves, others, and the Earth.
Email: Website: www.motherdaughtergardens.com