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 beautiful slideshows of our Guest Houses, Meeting Hall, Kitchen, Garden, Wildlands 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.
Resilient Community Design is a methodology that developed out of our 20 years of experience researching, modeling and teaching ecological principals at our 80-acre demonstration site and intentional community where we have certified thousands of students from across the world in Permaculture Design. We use Resilient Community Design with place-based communities and organizations as well as individual farmers, ranchers, and landowners to integrate ecological design principles and practices into their land, systems and cultures.
In the face of global ecological and social crises, building community resilience – the ability of whole communities to thrive in place over time with dignity, justice, and ecological sanity – is OAEC’s ultimate goal.
This video is a brief introduction to the steps that we use here at OAEC to facilitate groups in creating their own thriving, restorative ecological homes, neighborhoods and communities. Over our 20+year history stewarding land/ water / wilderness, teaching permaculture design, living in intentional community, and participating in community-based organizing, we’ve developed a theoretical framework paired with down-to-earth, hands-on techniques that can be used by any group of land-based people according to their needs and their place. User-driven participatory methods are at the root of our approach because we believe all people have the right, the knowledge, and the ability to best determine an ecologically regenerative, economically viable and socially just future for themselves.
Click below to see more examples of OAEC’s Resilient Community Design in action!
Resilient Community Design is a facilitated design process formatted into an accessible curriculum that can be used by groups of people in diverse cultures and locations. The curriculum follows a predictable pathway but is flexible in duration of process, frequency of engagements, techniques, languages, literacy, numeracy, numbers of participants and more. Each engagement is tailored to the community to fit their particular needs, desires, issues, and opportunities.
When invited to facilitate a cooperative design process, our job is to help the group identify their assets, determine what they want, define their own decision-making processes, and fit these together into an elegant design to meet their needs in the near and distant future.
Outcomes of Resilient Community Design
The explicit goal of a design process is for a land-based community to create an ecologically and culturally regenerative design map for their site that can be implemented overtime.
Additional goals embedded in the process:
Community resilience is the ability of human groups to adapt to changing conditions over time by developing social and physical infrastructure that can withstand external shocks. In Resilient Community Design (RCD) – OAEC’s adaptation of the permaculture design process – groups follow a set of steps to address their cultural, ecological and economic needs by 1) deepening ecological understanding of their place, 2) strengthening practices of self-governance through collaborative decision-making, and 3) increasing social cohesion and personal welfare through collective work. Thus, the three pillars of RCD – ecoliteracy, self-governance, and social/personal wellbeing – enhance a community’s long-term resilience capacity.
Resilience Depends on Bio-cultural Diversity. Resilient Community Design provides a learning platform for communities to work towards greater resilience by recognizing that biological and cultural diversity are linked systems. Bio-cultural diversity at the local or landscape level can also be understood as, “the causal relationship between ecosystem, species and genetics on the one hand and the richness and ecological knowledge, cultural values and practices, institutions, and language on the other hand” (Maffi, 2010, p. 5) which is essential for resilience – especially in these times of rapid environmental and social change at the local and global levels.