Last week’s 35th annual EcoFarm Conference gathered nearly 2000 sustainable agriculture experts and allies for education, rejuvenation and celebration with a new twist: the Permaculture Track! Thanks to EFA’s Executive Director (and former OAEC Garden Intern) Ken Dickerson and the visionary support of the EcoFarm planning committee, OAEC supported the integration of Permaculture Design Methodology from Pre-Conference to closing plenary.
Permaculture is a scale–independent design tool applicable to EcoFarm Conference participants from row crop farmers to cattle ranchers, orchard managers to urban homesteaders, and educators to policy makers. Permaculture Design is a system that builds the capacity of civic and social movement leaders to guide their communities toward an ecologically regenerative, economically viable, and socially just future.
Here were the highlights for OAEC:
- Brock Dolman’s Opening Session Plenary session – invoking a reconnection with reverential relationship for and with all life on Planet Water – inspired the only standing ovation to an over-capacity audience spilling out of Asilomar’s Merrill Hall into the Chapel.
- OAEC’s sold-out On-Farm Permaculture Design Pre-Conference Workshop led 85 intergenerational farmers through a community design process allowing for fresh perspectives of their own properties as we moved through site assessment, visioning and design. We’ll be tracking their implementation over time with report backs on the blog. Check out these enthusiastic testimonials:
- “This workshop opened me up to new ways of working with the land.”
- “What a thorough crash course! Exceeded my expectations. Thank you!”
- “Completely changed my ideas about how to create and maintain a farming operation.”
- “Brock’s Design in a Nutshell. WOW!”
- “Now I want to incorporate my Vision Statement into my business plan.”
- “I came in pondering ways I could bring beauty and produce to the community. I left pondering ways to generate community buy-in and partnership.”
- “This workshop opened up a whole new world!”
- “Today renewed my attention to permacultural thought and reinvigorated my enthusiasm for modeling designs for agricultural systems in concert with nature.”
- “This workshop helped me focus on some key first steps to transition a monocrop apple orchard into a more dynamic system.”
- Standing room only at Managing Mimicry: The Art & Science of Restoring Rangeland with Byron Palmer & Nate Chisolm from Sonoma Mountain Institute and Doniga Markegard from Markegard Farms, moderated by Brock Dolman.
- Learning as if Whole Systems Mattered: Permaculture in Education with OAEC’s Vanessa Carter, UCSC’s Common Ground Director David Shaw & Cabrillo College’s Permaculture Program Director, Ken Foster. 140 participants engaged in an interactive pedagogy of practice, exploring how we are collectively committing to integrating communities and schools to weave a more just, thriving and sustainable world for the next generation to approach the reality of climate disruption.
- Productive Perennial Polyculture drew the crowds with John Valenzuela, Timo Granzotti and Kendall Dunnigan paired with Christopher Shein’s Food Forest 101. Abundance by design is possible!
- The Annual Seed Swap (stewarded by Michelle Vesser and Doug Gosling of OAEC’s Garden Biodiversity Program) and EcoFarm’s 1st Scion Exchange filled the halls.
Thanks to all of our collaborators and permaculture colleagues: Ken Dickerson, Kevin Bayuk, Ken Foster, Joey Smith, David Shaw, John Valenzuela, Timo Granzotti, Byron Palmer, Doniga Markegard, Nate Chisolm, Chistropher Shein, Starhawk, Sashwa Burrous and all of the OAEC staff.
If you met us at EcoFarm:
- Check out our upcoming courses if you are interested in learning with OAEC,
- or contact us if your community is looking for long-term engagement with Resilient Community Design.
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