About the Network

Since January 2005, permaculture activists throughout the Northeast have been meeting and actively creating a network for mutually supporting each other and advancing permaculture solutions among the wider public in our area.

As permaculture designers we strive to recognize existing resources and create beneficial relationships between them. Farmers, teachers, designers, authors, researchers, extension agents, and other pc enthusiasts have all met face-to-face or otherwise communicated to collectively envision a complex symbiosis where we share experiences, information, and resources, identify and meet each other’s needs, and recognize and advance permaculture skills and ethics as a new cultural paradigm.

Our discussions have involved members of the ‘Western Massachusetts Permaculture Guild’, ‘Hudson Valley Permaculture’, and ‘Finger Lakes Permaculture Guild’; permaculturalists from Vermont, New Hampshire, New York City, Maine, and Quebec; and students and staff from UMass, Marlboro College, UNH, Dartmouth, UVM, Yestermorrow, Sterling College, and other institutions.

In addition to the new friendships forged and better awareness of what’s happening in the region, we've been meeting needs with others' yields, had an organizing weekend with David Holmgren, created this 'Northeastern Permaculture Wiki', and are having another permaculture activist’s gathering this summer.

At an initial meeting, we employed a consensus-oriented visual voting scheme to determine our goals and priorities. Standing out among an impressive list of objectives were six things:

--- 1. Increase connection among people practicing, teaching, or otherwise active in permaculture in the Northeast.
--- 2. Support, create, and inform the public and each other of permaculture demonstration projects.
--- 3. Spread "bio and brain matter"! That is, establish plant and seed banks or databases to share plant knowledge and genetics. We wanted to know who has what where, and who needs what; to develop a system for barter, collaboration on breeding and improving appropriate varieties for the region, and for advancing awareness and knowledge about under-acknowledged multifunction plants.
--- 4. Support and advance permaculture and forest gardening through research, scientific trials, and case studies.
--- 5. Develop and organize regional conferences and events.
--- 6. Last, but not least, reach out to the broader sustainability movement, marginalized groups, and a "mainstream" audience, to share and further develop permaculture knowledge and skills.

Since the initial meeting, we’ve been congregating in different locations to meet more people, and to bring the energy, inspiration, and ideas generated by a gathering of permaculturalists to new places.
We have formed working groups to discuss and create permaculture curricula for different demographics (i.e. grade schools, experienced farmers, urban dwellers, ethnic groups, religious organizations, seniors, etc), and develop alternative course formats to the conventional full-time 2-3 week certification course format.
(If you are a teacher and have been developing alternative curricula, please post to the wiki or email the address below.)

An important tool that has surfaced for our networking and outreach is a 'wiki'. A 'wiki' is a living document or web page specifically designed for collaborative creation, it is co-created and grows organically.
After laying out a basic framework for a web page, anyone can add to or edit it, from any computer, without having to know any code. After trying a few other hosts that didn't work as well, we created: ‘www.northeasternpermaculture.wikispaces.com’. Within a few weeks, local regions posted their courses, and we continue to flesh out content and organization.
Feel free to make changes, add your events, comments, or even whole new branches and links!

Every day more people contribute, and we are beginning to amass the databank we needed to know where we are and stay in touch, without constantly traveling. As it grows, the pc community can post articles, share research, and offer designs for peer review and feedback.

While it is no substitute for real human relationships and face-to-face communication with our neighbors, the wiki provides a forum for networking and dialog across a greater area. It is also evolving into an excellent resource for people new to permaculture and those looking for information, designs, or to locate classes and workshops, designers, plants, or course graduates in their area.

We invite the Permaculture community, and those in the Northeast or New England in particular, to view and contribute to this ‘wiki’, add yourselves to the database, and help us generate this collaborative body of knowledge.

Please be in touch if you are interested in helping to organize the regional network, or would like to be kept informed of meetings and events.

If you are an active practitioner, teacher, researcher, designer, or permaculture enthusiast in the Northeast, please join us for networking, skill-sharing, mutual support, and bioregional celebration!

We are also interested to hear from permaculture organizations in other areas about your experiences in creating larger regional networks, and look forward to collaborating and communicating with you as the need to provide permaculture skills and solutions becomes greater and apparent to more people every day.

To join the network or find out about meetings and events in the Northeast, send an email to: northeasternpermaculture (at) yahoo.com.
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Feel free to email with any questions.

In solidarity,
Keith Morris