Northeast Permaculture Summer Gathering Unites the Region

On July 7-9, 2006, D Acres of New Hampshire hosted the 2006 Northeast Permaculture Summer Gathering. Over 80 people attended the event. Folks of all ages, from pre-verbal to quite verbal, from RI, NY, NH, VT, MA, NJ and ME gathered to meet and exchange ideas. The enthusiasm generated by this assembly was contagious.
The weekend began on Friday evening as Permaculture practitioners, teachers and students streamed in from throughout New England. On Saturday morning the entire group assembled for a tour of the D Acres farm system and an introductory circle, where people shared their stories and ambitions under the grueling summer sun.
The afternoon was devoted to “ThinkWork” Sessions that encouraged folks to share their experiences explaining Permaculture, learning the basics and promoting the concepts on a local level. In the evening, a campfire was lit with elders of the movement talking about the history of Permaculture in our region. Matt Delores spun mad turntables in the barn until the pumpkin turned into a carriage.
On Sunday, the assembled attended their choice of three offerings during each of three sessions. Options included forest gardening with Dave Jacke, ecological building with D Acres’ Josh Trought, and three farm-based workshops (mushroom cultivation, no-till garden bed preparation, and working with oxen) with D Acres’ Abby Holm.
Breakfasts, lunches and dinners were prepared by the staff and learners at D Acres. Over the course of the weekend, the masses of Permies devoured 400 pancakes, 180 pieces of French Toast, 328 local eggs, 16 pounds of granola, 48 pounds of hummus, 65 pounds of fried rice, 140 pieces of flatbread, 80 buns, 60 veggie burgers, 50 pounds of salad, 92 loaves of bread, 3.5 gallons of salad dressing, 45 pounds of baked beans and many gallons of herbal tea.
All but breakfasts were prepared utilizing the wood-fired cob oven and cob cooktop in an effort to demonstrate the capacity of a small group of devoted folks to prepare a gargantuan amount of food without the use of fossil fuels.
To join the network or find out about meetings and events in the Northeast, e-mail, or visit our wiki at

NE Permaculture Summer Gathering
July 7-9, 2006
Location: D Acres of NH ****

Friday Nite---July 7

Feel free to arrive when you like. We will have a film showing that evening and light food (chips & dip). Time to mingle and get settled.
If you are coming in late (after 9pm) please let us know so we can plan where to sleep!!!

Saturday---july 8

Breakfast 8-9:30 Pancakes, Eggs
Introductions, Tour of Facilities and Orientation 9:30-12
Lunch 12-1 Soup, Bread, Salad

Afternoon ThinkWork Sessions
1-2pm Permaculture Brainstorm- How to introduce the topic in 2-45 minutes
2-3pm PC Teacher Tricks of the Trade
3-4pm How to promote Permaculture on the Local Level

4-6pm Prepare dinner and mingle---Bring pizza toppings!!

7:30ish Campfire and Dialog about history of Permaculture Movement
after 9pm Dance, Music, Drums etc…

Sunday---july 9

Breakfast 8-9:30
9:30-12 Design Practicums –Discuss design possibilities for three projects at D Acres in various stages of manifestation
1) Alternative Building incorporating clay/straw insulation, cob walls and sod roof for the purpose of greenhouse, dehydration and dwelling.
2) GreyH2O system utilizing the water produced from the D Acres Homestead
3) Field to Forest- Review the existing forest garden and plan future plantings

Lunch 12-1 Salad, Hummus, Bread

Sunday pm- Frisbee, Swim Hole, Relax, Mingle

The weekend costs $25 to defray food costs. Camping is available. Please no dogs. Events will take place at D Acres of NH, 218 Streeter Woods Rd., Dorchester. Please contact or 603.786.2366 to register.

Notes from meeting 2/12/06 attended by Keith Morris, Morgan Casella, John Woodward, and Josh Trought heres a list of where we are as far as planning the activities of the event

Summer Gathering- We came up with a list of events and activities we felt could happen this July 8-9th...they are in no particular order. We have an overall concern about booking Dave to anchor too many events (the oldtimers panel and the forest gardening practicum stand out) Heres the list with some thoughts...

A) 3 Separate Practicums---these are designed to provide a framework for discussion concerning specific ongoing design here at D Acres. They could last anywheres from 30 minutes to 3 hours depending on the detail and complexity we wish to undertake.
a)Combo Building- We are designing a greenhouse/living quarters/herb and wood dehydrator that will be constructed this season. The building will be a passive solar design with cob, strawbale and clay woodchip elements. Practicum includes site evaluation, sketches and discussion of action plan.
b) Grey Water--we currently have compost toilets but are designing urine diversion and greywater treatment. Site evaluation, design and implementation discussed
c) Field to Forest Garden--this is the theme of the gathering, we have existing plantings and wish to evaluate the possibilities of a recently cleared site. Evaluation, species discussion, design

B) We are prepared at D Acres to do some practical workshops in the following blocks that would give participants a choice between two or more options. We could give 45 minutes of Oxen Logging and Drip Irrigation Applications and also a separate 45 minute session on our experiences with Mushroom Logs and Weed Identification. These would provide options for knowledge and allow folks time for personal networking if so desired. Abby can lead the mushrooms and oxen while i can do the weed and drip discussion. An important note here for organizational purposes is who from this core group can give a definite on coming to the gathering. A second note on that is what you would want/be willing to teach in terms of a practical workshop.

C) Old Timers Panel - group of invitees will lead a discussion of PC history, experiences and lessons learned Q&A Dave and Dan Dunfey have agreed to be included. Lester Schwartz (motheclown) has schedule conflicts but might be able to make a campfire chat.Charles and Julia could give the Aussie perspective. Anyone else interested? Maybe schedule 1 hr?

D)Teacher and Organizers Sessions- Should this be a separate weekend?
a) Teacher tricks of the trade --a session on learning tools examples
b) Skills to promote PC locally (press releases, state directories, web listings, resources and experiences)
c) How to Intro PC---framework for presenting PC in an hour or less) Curriculum discussion-How to get PC into the schools and tools for farm visits

E) Events to be considered and scheduled
a) introductions of attendees
b) band/skits/open mike
c) group walk
d) tour of facilities 45minutes to 2 hours
e) am yoga
f) plant sale /swap
g) practicumsh) workshops (who, what, when)
i) meals
j) fun

Timing and Order of Events seems crucial so we need input in all areas if you guys want to give it. This weekend is only going to be what this core group can put together and make of it. We'd love as much participation from you all as possible on this one. We're hosting, but we're all going to be hosts.

Summary Notes from Summer Gathering Round Table
November, 2005, D Acres Meeting, Dave Jacke notetaker and summarizer

Sense of group:
1) Purpose
- in-house network/skill/community development tool
- significant minority felt should be a public event or integrate public to some degree
- idea of infiltrating NOFA excited many
- how to pronounce French words

2) Who
- Though most felt should be in-house event, no clear sense of how to vet/set boundaries on who comes
- some were ambitious enough to want 250 people, but many seemed to want smaller gathering
- keep it low cost

3) Length/Timing
- Not during black fly season
- summer dominant suggested time
- most wanted 2 day event

4) Where
- many suggested D Acres as a site
- good facilities key

5) What
- connection/learning about bioregion, host site, environs
- advanced workshops
- skills sharing
- hands-on projects
- social/fun/music/games
- slide share
- meetings/decisions on structure/organizing directions/ envision and build network
- disagreement re: keynote speaker or not
- french school

6) How and who to organize?

Dave Jacke Keith Zaltzberg
Tanya Balsley Molly McLeod
Chris Jackson Josh Trought
Matthew DeLorey Rachel Leisso