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.
Our 100% Certified Organic plant nursery specializes in open-pollinated perennials including edible landscaping plants, rare and endangered food crops, drought tolerant ornamentals and habitat plants - all tested in our onsite gardens and appropriate for our bioregion.
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.
Samara Seibel has a B.A. in English literature and poetry from Sonoma State University. In 2011, when Samara became an administrative intern in the OAEC office, she formed a strong bond to the place and the community, and since that time she has sought to deepen this relationship. Her work at the Center has been an amazing learning process and still continues to provide new challenges and new opportunities. To her position in the OAEC office, she brings her enthusiasm for keeping track of minutiae, her desire to support colleagues in their work and guests in their visitor experience, and her gift for saying less and listening more.
On Staff Since: 2014 Phone: 103
My work at OAEC is to collaborate with the other office staff to manage the day-to-day life of the organization as we interact with visitors and guests, support all of our programs in their work, and strive to maintain an organized and efficient administrative core. My job can be both interactive and variable, while also being very detail oriented and routinized. What I appreciate most about this work is the way it combines and balances both social and solitary types of work.
I grew up in Sonoma County and never quite managed to get away. I have lived all over the county, but rural Sebastopol and Occidental feel most like home. I studied art history at the Santa Rosa Junior College and received my B.A. in English from Sonoma State University. I had been an intern at the Center and worked there in various capacities before I was invited to become a staff member.
When trying to make a choice—if you ask yourself a pressing and important question, and your entire body does not say “YES” in a powerful, physical way, then the answer is “NO.”
Language—proper and improper usage.
Poetry—both reading and writing—is the way I understand the world, and writing is my attempt to create beauty and gratitude out of fear and grief.
And I am pretty fond of taking care of people and things. I like to support others, have an eye always on the details, and keep the life of the day-to-day running smooth and easy.
I am currently the happiest I have ever been. There are two reasons for this: one, because I generally don’t look back to the past for better times; and two, because my life is at this moment blessed on so many levels, and most of all in love and partnership.
Late night dancing. Writing poetry. Hugging the people I love. Organizing desks, closets, cupboards, drawers, and email inboxes.
A book: Poetry as Survival by Gregory Orr. Because poetry can feed and mend the heart. And resiliency of heart is where all other forms of resilience begin.