2008: 4th Annual Northeastern Permaculture Convergence

Summer Gathering 2008 - July 4-6

At Nuestras Raices Farm, Holyoke, MA




[Photos: Permaculture Olympics - Gold Medal Winners and Dale Swigging Event]

Hosted by the Western Mass Permaculture Guild The Western Massachusetts Permaculture Guild will hosted the 2008 Summer Permaculture Gathering July 4-6 in Holyoke, MA at Nuestras Raices, Tierra de Opportunidades Farm. Sliding scale of $45 - $100 for camping and meals. For more information as it develops, please refer to this site.
To find out more about our host site, visit: http://www.nuestras-raices.org

Photos, Videos, and Notes from the Gathering!!!

Background information located at the end of the page.

Keith and Abigail explain the awesomeness of contour-swales laid out and dug as part of the PERMACULTURE OLYMPICS.

[Add your session notes here!!!]

Scaling Up: Permaculture Design for Farms, Developments, and Planning

Saturday 9:00 - Ethan Roland - www.appleseedpermaculture.com - eroland@gmail.com

Main Goal: Accelerate succession of the permaculture design community towards larger-scale, more professional design work with greater leverage for positive systemic change.

Sustainable is not enough!
We need to go beyond sustainability. Permaculture design is regenerative design.
Regenerative development = human development as much as (maybe more than!) landscape development.
How do we heal the landscape? By healing ourselves. The two are not separate. Internal design work - both internal-personal and internal-interpersonal (relationships, community) is by far our greatest challenge.

Core Functionalities of AppleSeed Permaculture (www.appleseedpermaculture.com)
1. Active Mentoring - a supportive family and vibrant permaculture community including internal/external design mentors
2. Confidence & Experimentation - everything is a draft. get it done - it will be good - it is very hard to do worse than what's currently being done.
3. Computer-Aided Drafting (CAD) - VectorWorks as a useful but not esssential tool
4. Spreadsheets - uber-useful for design work. Excel or OpenOffice (free open source software). Contact Ethan if you're interested in using the spreadsheet design templates that AppleSeed Permaculture has developed.
5. COLLABORATION - absolutely essential - building networks of functionally interconnected designers, mentors, and co-mentors - mimicking natural network patterns to catch and store energy in our movement

[did not cover in the talk...]
Patterns & Principles -- a distillation of the most useful patterns + principles for large scale design work
Permaculture Planning -- the birth of a new field
Connections & Outlook -- what's next? Permaculture Across Borders: www.permacultureacrossborders.org -- seeking interns and support for a new project in uganda!

What do we need to accelerate succesion? (ideas and needs harvested directly from the community)
• Searchable database of available internships, trainings, and all permaculture opportunities in the northeast. [P.I.N.E. is working on this -- contact them to lend your support!]
• Continued exchange and sharing of practical business experiences
• Advanced permaculture design courses [Check out www.appleseedpermaculture.com for advanced courses early next year]
• Specific trainings for digital skills [AppleSeed Permaculture will work on putting something like this together]
• Affordable certificate programs
• Worker-friendly permaculture courses - weekend + modular.
• A trade-guild / professional permaculture designer's association with supportive/cooperative economic strategies
• Create more local permaculture nodes
• Educate the larger community AND include communities in the process of design
• Internal happenings can support the external work
• More volunteer efforts

Urban Permaculture: Applying Systems Thinking to the Social Sphere.

Sunday 9:15 - Adam Brock.
- How does this work play out in larger organizations?
- how does pc/eco design work out in larger orgs - beuracracy etc.
- Why Permaculture in Cities?
- why not?
- most need
- resource separation
- denser population => greater impact
- opportunity for education
- What makes cities different?
- resource separation
- physical - microclimate - urban heat islannd - species selection
- soils - huge part - compaction - pollution - contamination - higher pH based on lime, concrete, bricks
- water - stormwater - water supply
- vegetation + wildlife - biomass is mostly homosapiens (?)
- Patterns in Nature
- how information flows in nature
- dendrite - branching
- neurons
- trees
- (overall) traffic patterns
- circulatory + respiratory
- evolution
- water
- conclusion: grow quickly - more homogenous - flow of information: some information goes one way - other information goes another way. - concentrating and dispersing resources.
- network
- brain
- mycelia
- roads
- evolution of bacteria - network b/c of horizontal gene transfer
- conclusion: more resilient - model this.
- social systems
- always nested within each other - complex - 'classification' depends on scale
- example: grid of manhattan or any city - hierarchical - similar to dendrite - corporation - business - government
- hierarchys of function and hierarchys of domnination - need to differentiate
- hierarchies are efficient... which is why they currently dominant
- Structure to disseminate pc within cities
- how do we train lots of people quickly?
- we need a design process to work with
- pattern language for this work (check out Liberating Voices! A Pattern Language for Communication Revolution)
- develop more urban-rural connections - info out here - cities
are centers of capital resources
- city sustainability departments - how to interact
- cultivate perennial polycultures of people - neighborhood
- city repair

PERMACULTURE OLYMPICS [post your photos here!!!]


Gold Medal: Clan Oarcea/Team Transylvania (Hudson River Valley Bioregion)

• Silver Medal: Finger Lake Foolz (Finger Lakes Bioregeion)
• Bronze Medal: Seriously Sirius/Fermentation Nation

Judging the final Permaculture Olympics event -- Gathered Saladathalon. The gold medal winners collected 18 edible species in 10 minutes!

Preparing to participate in the permaculture olympics.... watch out....


What is the 2008 NEPC convergence?

Our mission for the 2008 NEPC Convergence is to stimulate the network by focusing on local and regional connections and sharing resources.
We intend to continue the NEPC tradition of an open and inclusive atmosphere that is a well balanced experience of hands on learning, skill sharing and interactive presentations, mixed with healthy local food, music, and ample social time.
These gatherings are made by the participants. (YOU!) The steering committee is focused on ensuring that the logistics and mechanisms to achieve our stated goals (above) are functional, and we are asking everyone to read below and get involved!

Registration Update as of July 4:

Registration is closed. We have reached capacity. Thanks to all who have registered! See you soon!
Questions about your existing registration? Contact wmasspermies@gmail.com 413-774-0600.

The full Schedule will be available in a printed program upon your arrival at the Gathering on Friday*

Preliminary Schedule: Subject to (minor) changes

Friday, July 4
3:00– 6:00 Arrival & registration/check-in
5:30 - 7:00 Dinner
6:45 Welcome; Overview
7:30 Keynote Speaker
8:00 - 10:00 Community Music, social...
Saturday, July 5
6:00 – 8:00 Morning Activities
7:00 - 8:30 Breakfast
8:00 Morning Announcements
9:00 – 10:15 Session One
10:30 – 12:00 Session Two
12:00 – 1:30 Lunch
1:30 - 2:15 Permaculture Olympics Events
2:30 – 3:30 Session Three
3:30 – 5:00 Session Four
6:30 - 7:30 Dinner
8:00 - Dance Party, music, social...
Sunday, July 6
6:00 – 8:00 Morning Activities
7:30-9:00 Breakfast
8:30 - Morning Announcements
9:15 -10:30 Session One
11:00-12:00 Permaculture Olympics Events
12:00-1:00 Lunch
1:15-2:30 Session Two
3:00 - Closing
3:30-5:00 Volunteer cleanup

Share Your Designs!
A permaculture exposition, in the Nuestras Raices Barn, will provide a space for exhibition of designer's work. Struggling with some thorny challenges? Would you like feedback or suggestions from other designers? Have a design you are proud of? We’re interested in seeing unusual sites as well as traditional ones, at any stage of design from goals articulation to ready-for-harvest. The 2007 selection of designs provided inspirational examples of accomplished work, so get excited to share your new projects again this year! Present your project's goals, design, success and failure through your own creative maps, photos, and narrative. During the weekend, workshops exhibitors are encouraged to participate in a design review workshop where you can present and discuss with other designers;
If you would like to exhibit your design or be the facilitator of the design review workshop, please contact Benneth, bphelps2@gmail.com

Bring your musical instruments!
Show us yer chops!!!! We will have plenty of time for musical collaboration and enjoyment, on both Friday and Saturday night. Plan ahead and come ready to sing and play!

There will be several camping areas designated. Please bring reasonably sized tents to minimize impact. Some indoor floor space may be available. You can set up your tent space anytime after 3:00 pm on Friday, July 4. There are no showers on site, please prepare to live simply for the weekend.

We will have Meat, Veggie, and Vegan options. Please contact the cook at meredithwecker@riseup.net, if you have special needs.
FRIDAY - Dinner is included with your registration.
SATURDAY - Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner are included with your registration.
SUNDAY - Breakfast and Lunch are included with your registration.

FRIDAY: The focus is on getting everyone settled in and on making connections. We will have dinner, community music (bring your instruments!), and a fire.
SATURDAY and SUNDAY: The focus will be on Skill Shares, Presentations, Area Tours, and On-site Work Projects. Saturday evening we hope to have music provided from local musicians.

*No alcohol or illegal substances
*NO Fires
*SMOKING only in Designated Areas
*PLEASE Stay on the Trails, poison ivy is common on site

Childcare Info
Children’s Programming
We would like to offer some childcare and children’s activities to make it easier for parents to attend events at the convergence. We are offering free or discounted registration for adults and teens who help out with our children’s program. In addition, many of the workshops, skill shares, tours, and work projects are appropriate for children to addend with their parents/caregivers.
Please contact Benneth (bphelps2@gmail.com 978.290.2220) as soon as possible if you:
- would like to run a children’s activity (please describe)
- would like to help with childcare or children’s activities
- are bringing children who would participate (list names, ages)

Updated stories, pictures and information from: Summer Gathering 2007, which took place at Finger Lakes Permaculture Institute in New York

Summer Gathering 2006, which took place at D Acres in New Hampshire