Open Seeds Network Seed Convergence and Celebration In a citizen-sponsored participatory people to people model, the goal of the OPEN SEEDS NETWORK CONVERGENCE AND CELEBRATION is to bring together like-minded seed stewards from across our region, to plan for continued seed stewardship and convergence, and to celebrate the seed! This is the Open Seeds Network organizing call and organizing year. Become a part of the solution for seed sovereignty! Come and plan for the seed legacy, heritage, and seed sovereignty of our region as members of a living seed bank. Participate! We welcome proposals of 20-minute to one-hour presentations such as the following:
on seed history, seed culture, seed saving, living seed banks, seed stewardship, organizations across the region, country, and the world involved in seed stewardship, etc. PLEASE SUBMIT YOUR PROPOSAL BY MAY 1, 2014! If you feel that seed saving and stewardship is a human right, join us! This weekend is to celebrate and connect as citizen seed stewards!
Thanks again to everyone that made the Rainwater Harvesting and Water Solutions Workshop with We Are All Farmers at the Rock Lake Presbyterian Church in South Charleston, WV a great success!
As promised, here are links to the presentations for that day. Please share these with people in your community. These presentations also list links to many other book, organization, and other resources.
Here is the link: http://www.slideshare.net/weareallfarmers
The three presentations there are on:
Active Rainwater Harvesting overview and with a focus on West Virginia with Jeremiah Kidd of San Isidro Permaculture
Biological Filtration with Brian Koser featuring sand filters and water emergency preparation
Passive Water Harvesting & Greywater Use with Christina Diamond
Local group in West Virginia working together to solve water harvesting issues: Facebook, search Charleston Rain Catchers
More brief info here on the Rainwater Harvesting and Water Solutions Workshop event:
and thanks also to WCHS & WVAH TV for getting the word out! — http://www.wchstv.com/newsroom/eyewitness/140222_23457.shtml
This happened in early January in 9 counties in West Virginia and is still happening.
With a mission of service to the Appalachian and Piedmont regions, the We Are All Farmers Permaculture Institute is humbled and glad to co-sponsor this Free Rainwater Harvesting and Water Solutions Workshop Feb. 22 at Rock Lake Community Life Center in South Charleston, WV.
10 – 10:15 Brief Welcome
10:15 – 12:15 Jeremiah Kidd, San Isidro Permaculture on Active Rainwater Harvesting per Skype
12: 15 – 1:15 Lunch Break
1:15 – 2:00 Brian Koser on Water Filtration, Water testing & Water Emergency Prep
2:00 – 2:30 Local WVians present on rainwater harvesting/filtering) they have been doing (Sir Justyn Marchese, Scott McMillian, Tomi Bergstrom, etc.)
2:30 – 4:00 Christina Diamond on Passive Rainwater Harvesting and Greywater Systems
4:00 Wrap Up and Thank You’s
When: Feb. 22, 10 – 4, with a break for lunch from 12:15 – 1:15
Where: Due to the size of the potential audience we have moved the event directly across the street from Rock Lake Community Life Center to
Rock Lake Presbyterian Church
905 Village Drive
South Charleston, West Virginia 25309 to their sanctuary.
For more info., call 704 592 2557 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
More about Jeremiah and water: Lots of great information on his deep experience here>>>http://www.permacultureglobal.com/users/3435-jeremiah-kidd
More about Christina and water: Christina Diamond has studied permaculture with Geoff Lawton and Andrew Leslie Phillips. She obtained a certification in Water Harvesting from the Watershed Management Group in Tucson, AZ. She studied horticulture and environmental science at the State University of New York at Cobleskill and holds an MA in Intercultural Studies from Nyack College. Christina has worked as an energy auditor and is certified by the Building Performance Institute as a Building Analyst and Envelope Professional. Christina has worked as an agricultural and environmental consultant for six years in New York’s Hudson Valley.
We did it. See these elephants?
through this mud, by the way:
But, we have also, through slow & protracted observation, noted this
So, this year, we
Views of where things now stand…. and some planning on where the 40 acre site is going…
Many more recent photos of permaculture progress and plans at We Are All Farmers can be seen here:
Sure a long way from the first years:
So, a few years ago when we decided we’d start the We Are All Farmers Permaculture Institute we were building on the great model taught to us by Andrew Leslie Phillips and Maria Grimaldi at Hancock Permaculture Center. Their model was based on, or at least followed, those listed here>>>> which favor a focus on community, require the design for the course be done in teams, require a talent show, must be 72 hours long, and must cover the 14 Chapters of Permaculture, A Designer’s Manual.
Building on We Are All Farmers’ Edward Marshall’s now 12+ years experience as an organic market garden and livestock farmer, he took advanced teacher training live, and was encouraged by his teachers to be a permaculture teacher. We also live out in big ag country here in North Carolina….and there is a real need for permaculture there. Not much permaculture up where I am from in West Virginia either, so we expanded our mission to include the Appalachian and Piedmont regions. Not our orthodox bioregion, but, it works for us. So, we decided, okay, an institute. Edward had tried to farm before, just him and one other person, and it almost killed them. But an institute, that is what where we live needs.
We knew community had to be key. We knew permaculture was the means, the ethics, the techniques + people of this dream, and through that, we could support other people, too, because…
In short, without the practice of permaculture in community, the techniques of permaculture don’t last. In our time as an institute, we have witnessed this again and again: without people participating and engaging with one another, the greatest design never gets implemented and the best implementation does not last (it does not get stewarded by the next generation). Know why those Food Forests in Morocco and Vietnam have lasted hundreds and hundreds of years? Not because people left them alone, but because a continuous community cared for and stewarded them. Permaculture = techniques + community.
And, it has been wildly amazing so far. We have run three solid, hands on, community building permaculture design certificate courses, which were life changing for the folks involved and certainly for us. We have given talks, made seed balls at fairs, been to a reclaimed mine site and to many a community garden… We also really really really love the live Permaculture Design Certificate Course (PDC) experience. We love what it did for us in terms of ethics and practice and making farming feasible for us, and we love organizing the teachers and then also organizing the free Permaculture Blasts we do to serve the community and which give our students a chance to teach.
Always so much to learn, but you can’t make experience any faster than time goes. So, slow, not fast…we now see that like the Slow Food Movement, we favor the Slow PDC, five weekends over several months, time to soak it in, live, sitting and engaging with others.
Like the Slow Food movement offers, we got an actual place for folks at our table.
We love our students and are in still in touch often with many many of them. In fact, two will be joining us at our site to live for a couple of years soon…and we love also that this arose organically, from slow and protracted observation, from mutual trust and benefit…and from a mutual vision. As Bill Mollison says,
A people without an agreed-upon common basis to their actions is neither a community nor a nation. A people with a common ethic is a nation wherever they live. Thus, the place of habitation is secondary to a shared belief in the establishment of an harmonious world community.
We swore not to be a golden finished permaculture palace up on the hill but to be out in the community and we have kept that promise. Nothing wrong with being a permaculture palace up on the hill, but that is not us, not yet anyway or maybe ever. We are slowly converting an old sharecropper’s shack into two full classrooms… certainly not a palace, but functional, useful, and with small changes for big effects.
The one thing constant in life is change… and we have been having an amazing (though of course challenging in all the ways we love) time with our PDCs. Large enough, small enough… for there to be diversity of people and ideas, and enough for us to pay teachers fairly, give work exchanges to people in need, cover our expenses, pay forward on structures and support of our WWOOFers, and support sizeable groups of our permies to participate in the facilitating the off site Permaculture Blasts.
Then the other shoe fell.
Suddenly, there is an even bigger explosion of PDCs, live weekend courses, online courses, this course, that course, college courses, more courses, morE, moRE, mORE, MORE!
Now, we have suddenly found ourselves fretting about stuff we don’t want to fret about. Okay, so we think a live class practicing the hard work of community and working with an actual live design client is better for a thousand and one reasons, but hey, people can do what they want, sorta. Heck, if Granpappy can hang with that, Mollison again…
…then we can.
We work very very very hard and do this out of love and because we have experienced hands on first hand that permaculture (techniques + community) works. Yes, we got to cover costs. But, if we stop feeling at some time like we can dance,
and practicing the PDC is becoming some kind of rat race, then we got to
Turn the problem into the solution! Less is MORE!
As of this moment, we are now giving up…
Go ahead. Hop into that wheel. Run, rat, run! (or is that always a hamster? You know what we mean.)
….in favor of focusing, we think, on one, small, intimate, hands on, live, community building and practicing, down and dirty, nitty gritty, no holds barred, high standards, mind blowing, PDC a year using our strengths of community building, animal systems in permaculture, revamping blown out land and spaces, all built on solid permaculture ethics, techniques, and practices and that makes a difference for a site in need. We plan to figure out a way to still host 13 teachers like we currently do, some way, some how. ‘Cause we know great people with great experience….and we think students should hear from a lot of voices, not just us, about permaculture (see Mollison quote above about dogma). Mollison also asks for us to get dirty, messy….and yes, working with real people over time in community can get that way, but there is no way through that but through.
That is the truly hardest work of permaculture.
Yes, we have other classes, courses, and more learning and sharing planned beyond the PDC. But, golly darnit, we love the PDC. We really do. We want to keep improving it, getting more in, getting more hands on, enlivening more theory…..and keeping the PDC central in our practice and for it to have the elements of the the PDC we experienced. So, get prepared. With our PDC,
You WILL do a talent show.
Why? Did you see that quote about dancing? Celebrating success and our own yield and learning is important.
So, rather than more more more, faster, faster, faster, PDC maybe we are the right fit for some. People who want to experience a homestead or farm emerging into permaculture, who want to see a place in its stages. People who understand that community is key and look forward to that experience as part of the PDC. People who want to learn to butcher an animal (yes, part of our PDC) and how to use animal systems. People who want their PDC to give back to the community. People who want to get up and go out to a farm and urban sites and show up for 80 hours over five weekends and maybe camp out in the woods or bunk down on the floor. People who think it would rock to stay in touch with other permies and maybe go and help each other out with projects. People who think they might want to start projects of their own. So, if that means less people rather than more people, then okay. A more intimate PDC it is.
So, stay tuned. This spring’s We Are All Farmers Permaculture Institute Certificate Design course plans to be awesome and we are building out more animal systems engagement and serving a site in need from start to finish, with PDC participants designing the site and getting a chance to facilitate the community learning how to create the site (see what we said above about community engagement. Yes, by all means, yes, design all you want, but if people are not around to keep it going, or implemented, there is not a permanent culture…). We are thinking that might be it. We’re gonna run one down home, hands on, etc. etc. etc. PDC a year. Less is more.
Minimize needs, minimize waste, apply small, slow solutions….
We hereby declare ourselves out of the rat race for more more more students.
We will still let people know about our courses ’cause without students there is no PDC, but we got other permaculture work to do, too: keeping the Permaculture Blasts going, getting our really local community involved (high school, community college, 4H), improving the design site, stewarding WWOOFers, building our permaculture principled farm enterprises, getting our permaculture zones 1 & 2 really really right, keeping our animals up to permaculture and Animal Welfare Approved standards and learning more there, getting structures built, enjoying our small community also starting on site, having gatherings with our friends, families, and permies, going to permie sites to help out with other permie projects, attending to permaculture land assessment clients, working other jobs to keep the permaculture institute going, working the site slowly off the grid, stewarding the Red Semillas Libres US branch, moving the pigs to a new pasture, attending to the chickens, finishing the plans for the goats, planting the garden, planting the trees, and, uh, one of us working on her dissertation and a start-up project connected to that.
So, bye-bye-bye to the PDC Rat Race. We savor the flavor of the Slow PDC. We are here. We are not leaving. We are committed to this community and to permaculture. We will be out and about, but you will also know where to find us. In Union Grove, NC. In and out and about in the Appalachian and Piedmont regions.
This is the point where we set ourselves free….. by committing to the land, to a place, to the day in and out of permaculture practice, techniques + community.
Pleased to announce our sister commercial business Pockerchicory Farms is now Animal Welfare Approved!
Our goal is for learning and animal systems on site to be of the highest ethics in permaculture and also as accepted by this well-esteemed non-profit certification.
We are excited to share this news and to share our animal systems learning with the greater community!
Order your 2014 PermaculcHER Calendar here!!
The We Are All Farmers Permaculture Institute gives back to the Appalachian and Piedmont communities through 3 free permaculture workshops each year open to the public and focused on improvement at a community-based site. We are very excited to announce the first ever PermaculcHER calendar as a fundraiser for these sites. After cost, all earnings from calendar sales will go to a a fund to give mini-grants to these sites to assist with improving site fertility or buying necessary tools for community gardening (more details far below).
These unique calendars inspire and teach about many fundamental permaculture practices and highlight female participation in permaculture in particular.
We stand by full accountability! Calendar earnings posted at the end of each month…
Calendar earnings so far: early Dec. 2014: $50
Missed the chance to contribute your photo & story about permaculture? Submit for the 2015 permaculcHER calendar! Details below!
Calling all female permies to contribute to the 2015 PermaculcHER Calendar to fundraise for sites in need!!!
Please circle this around to some lists you may have…and please contribute a photo and text of yourself!!
What we need from you!
BY Nov. 5, 2014 email to email@example.com
involved in actively doing something related to the 14 chapters of Permaculture A Designer’s Manual.
Feel free to make your photo as serious or as playful as you want…with a goal to engage people, females in particular, to take action.
More about the goals of the 2014 PermaculcHER Calendar!
In short, the We Are All Farmers Permaculture Institute gives three free permaculture workshops (we call them Permaculture Blasts) a year to community gardens, nonprofits, churches, school, colleges… more info about those and where to apply at this page >>>>> (We are still booking sites for 2014, so please pass this on to folks in the Appalachian and Piedmont regions of the United States in particular to apply).
The places the We Are All Farmers Permaculture Institute has worked with so far have struggled to buy supplies necessary to maintain their site, or in particular, to improve fertility at their sites. It takes being able to pay for a truck to bring in manure, for example, to improve fertility at urban sites in particular. In addition to the time, travel, training, and items we already donate by way of devoting some of our course money to these trainings, we’d like to raise some money to donate to sites for getting some permanent materials to have on hand (shovels, wheelbarrows, etc.) and to help jumpstart fertility (getting the initial rehabs done in terms of fertility import if needed).
This seems like a great way to combine two necessary things–get the word out about and to more females (biological and otherwise) about permaculture, raise the profile and pictures of women active in permaculture to inspire more action by females in permaculture, and to raise some money for some funds for our 2015 sites in need. The calendars will be available online at the end of November 2015 for $15 through Lulu. The more are ordered, the more money we raise off the top… up to $5.00 – 8.00 a calendar! For transparency, on our website, we will list money raised from the calendars.
Our estimate average need per site for materials/trucking etc. is about $200 – $300 (which they often really do not have), so selling a hundred calendars could really make a difference and also get more females (and all) engaged in permaculture!!
Please help us make this a yearly endeavour…
Some designs and photos from the We Are All Farmers Permaculture Design Certificate Course Fall 2013!!
–>Final Permaculture Design Certificate Course projects for the fall 2013 We Are All Farmers Permaculture Institute PDC. We Are All Farmers’ PDCs focus on sites in need and permaculture design certificate students devised designs and plans for this site, using our course instruction and Bill Mollison’s Permaculture, A Designer’s Manual, as guides. The designed represented the cumulation of their work on understanding the principles of permaculture designs and the techniques, but even more importantly, a chance to work together as community. This hard “we” work is essential for creating permanent and regenerative culture, and that is the hard work of creating and sustaining local and regional community.
In brief, people are the “culture” part of permaculture. “Permanent” is the goal of the technical practices. A culture of one is not a culture just as technical practices do not make permanent culture.
- See more at: http://weareallfarmers.org/#sthash.vZ08hKX2.dpuf
Permaculture: permaculture culture, permanent agriculture, we are all part of systems
We: all can participate, are all in this together, need technical proficiency & deep knowledge, practice & create together, cannot stand alone as nature does not stand alone and we are part of nature.
Permanent: land practices as the starting point of permanent resilience & regeneration, technical proficiency and problem-solving practiced in groups
The We Are All Farmers Permaculture Institute Permaculture Design Certificate course teaches the techniques of permaculture land and animals systems practice (permanent) within the context of community practice (culture).
The We Are All Farmers Permaculture Institute Permaculture Design Certificate is a starter kit and jumping off point of practical essential skills to sustain your own life, land, site and those of others. Participants gain a starter kit of skills towards their own food and energy regenerative practices.
There is just so much to know about creating a regenerative existence that we can easily become overwhelmed. However, the approaches, ethics, and practices of permaculture provide exceptionally well-considered plans and techniques for getting started.
Permaculture’s plans and techniques offer field-tested training for creating material and physical spaces that can become regenerative, sustaining, life-giving.
Yet, land design or management techniques are only one facet of permaculture and in and of themselves will not fulfill the goal of permaculture, which is to create permanent and regenerative culture.
Though there is no substitute for the hard learning and work involved in acquiring and honing the skills to become technically proficient in permaculture’s land design and management practices, this is not really the hardest work of permaculture. The hardest work of permaculture is so difficult many folks would rather ignore it or skip it altogether and that is the hard work of community…
Community AND Techniques
Again, the “we” gets overwhelmed and lost when permaculture only focuses on proficient land techniques.
This hard “we” work is essential for creating permanent and regenerative culture, and that is the hard work of creating and sustaining local and regional community.
In brief, people are the “culture” part of permaculture. “Permanent” is the goal of the technical practices. A culture of one is not a culture just as technical practices do not make permanent culture.
We did not name our institute, I am a Farmer, because the myth of self-sufficiency is exactly that (for how hard that is, see this article). Not only are we connected in systems to land, animals, water, soil, sun, plants, climate, mountains, rivers, etc. but we are connected in systems to each other.
Permaculture as Service to land and each other
Through permaculture as a technical and community practice, we can create the community systems (land, animals, water, soil, sun, plants, climate, mountains, rivers, people systems) we want for the future right now.
In fact, we are compelled to consider the impact of what we do not just for our generation, but on future generations. We are turning the tide from being the most destructive force on the planet toward practices of regeneration. We can only do this in connection.
Moreover, as part of the We Are All Farmers Permaculture Institute Permaculture Design Certificate course, course participants work together to provide a pro bono permaculture design for a site in need. This extends the land and animals systems practice to include practice at being in community and at being of service to the local and regional community.
It is essential to pay these permaculture practices forward as a means of sustaining permanent systems and community and providing for their regeneration as interconnected individuals and as groups.
Read more here about why we think an in-person permaculture certificate course is important: http://weareallfarmers.org/?p=1976
More about our upcoming courses in NC and WV here:
We Are All Farmers Permaculture Design Certificate Course at the We Are All Farmers Permaculture Institute in Union Grove, NC
Our standard complete course will be held in North Carolina over five weekends, Feb – May 2014 at our 35 acre emerging permaculture design site in Union Grove. See this link for more information and to register: http://weareallfarmers.org/?page_id=76
We Are All Farmers Permaculture Design Certificate Course at the Rock Lake Community Life Center in South Charleston, WV.
We are also pleased to announce a full permaculture design certificate course in South Charleston, WV over five weekends, Feb. – June. This course must secure 10 registrants by Jan. 20 to ensure viability. See http://weareallfarmers.org/?page_id=2105 for more info. and details.
Crystal of the We Are All Farmers Permaculture Institute wrote this article about Red Semillas Libres Chile and their great work. Permaculture Research International published it. Please take time to read about their great advice, steps, etc. in how to make seed saving central to community and permaculture: