Session Descriptions

View the Convergence Schedule.

Download a PDF of the Schedule and the Session Descriptions.

Pre- and Post-Convergence Events.

Gaia University NAPC Presentations – Taking place in the Gaia U tent

PROGRAM: ALL-WEEKEND ACTIVITIES

Working Groups

The NAPC will be creating space for a number of working groups that will be meeting throughout the weekend to discuss tangible, action-oriented topics that effect the whole movement. Anyone can propose a working group, and each one will set its own agenda, goals, facilitation and meeting schedule at their first get-together. The outcomes of each working group will become part of the official NAPC I Proceedings. Interested in starting a working group or joining an existing one? Email Michael Pilarski at friendsofthetrees@yahoo.com!

Seed Exchange

Please bring seeds from your garden to share at the North American Permaculture Convergence! The diverse community at the NAPC represents unique microclimates from all over the country. As permaculturalists, we cherish heirloom seed varieties and grow them in our gardens year after year. We have an affinity for useful and rare plants that can thrive and offer multiple functions to our home habitats. The seed exchange is an opportunity for us to share and expand the surplus from our gardens. We expect to have a diversity of varieties from permaculture gardens and farms around the country. Don’t miss your chance to share your seed and your stories of its reliability and remarkable nature. Please label all seed with the name, variety, and location harvested. May the seed be exhaustless…. For more information, contact Marisha at queenbee@herbnwisdom.com.

Designer’s Showcase

Do you have a permaculture design you’d like to show off? Looking for feedback on a design in progress? Bring copies of your designs to display at the Designer’s Showcase throughout the weekend!

Sunday Night Movie – “Adventures in Permaculture”

“Adventures in Permaculture” is a 45-minute documentary filmed in Australia last fall and features interviews with seasoned permies including David Holmgren. The purpose of the video is to help spread the word about permaculture, especially among environmentalists who may have heard about it but don’t really know what it is. The video starts in Australia, permaculture’s Ground Zero. The film makers interviewed and observed several successful farms there, including Melliodora, the home of permaculture co-founder David Holmgren. Trailer: http://youtu.be/6HIi_-d0CNM Website: http://the4thwave.net/

PermaQuests! A New Paradigm Educational Mass Cooperative Game for Kids

We are very excited to Present to you the opportunity to participate in a new paradigm educational mass cooperative Game! PermaQuests!! It will be a year long adventure quest which will start August 28th and will run until the closing ceremony of next year’s NAPC. Arriving at the Hive (children’s area), participants will connect to their Animal and Plant Totem, which will be their guiding energy and focus throughout the weekend. Activities in the Hive will Include: Seed Bomb creations! Cob Castle Building, Habitat Construction (mason bees, Bird houses, Bat houses), Mask Making Workshop, Living Permaculture Everyday! Discovering Your Spirit Totems, Natural Face Paint Experimentation And Play Time! We will also be facilitating a Council of all Beings which will be a collective connection and reflection activity bringing youth and adults together through costumes and play time! Culminating the weekend will be a mass collaborative Permaculture Mandala Creation where we will harvest the collective creativity for a once in a lifetime Experience! Bring your kids and Come play with us! Peace Love and Permaculture!

Kiddie Village

Does all the talk about dynamic accumulators make your kids roll their eyes? Not to worry! The Kiddie Village tent will have age-appropriate, permaculture-themed activities for youth of all ages for the duration of the NAPC.

Embody Permaculture: Morning Movement

Joel Glanzberg

Nurture health, awareness, and learn internal balance while gaining understanding of how to harmoniously integrate seemingly opposing forces externally and internally using gentle movements from various internal and martial arts, including Tai Chi, Ba Qua, and Yoga. All abilities welcome. Bring what you know to share!

A Whole Lot of Something: Permaculture Puppetry and Masks

Penny Krebiehl

A hands-on presentation through the use of storytelling w. puppets and masks, in a classroom-garden inspiring the integration of permaculture education into our everyday lives as everyday people, of all ages, from any background.

PROGRAM: SCHEDULED ACTIVITIES

FRIDAY, AUGUST 29TH

Opening Plenary: The State of Permaculture

Scott Pittman, Jude Hobbs, Albert Bates, Jillian Hovey, Pandora Thomas, Gerardo Gonzalez

Moderated by Penny Livingston-Stark

More than 30 years after its introduction as a discipline, the permaculture movement is more popular – and more relevant – than ever. As we continue to expand in numbers and scope, we are on the verge of a new set of opportunities and challenges. In this opening session, permaculture leaders from across the continent weigh in on how our movement got here, and new directions for its future.

Bioregional Caucuses

Feeling disconnected from the other permies in your area? Are there local conversations your permaculture community needs to have? Network and catch up with your neighbors during the Bioregional Caucuses on Friday after lunch!

PINA Showcase and Q+A

The Permaculture Institute of North America is an emerging professional organization designed to support students and experienced practitioners of permaculture in North America. Founded by permaculture professionals who have worked in the field for over two decades, PINA is being developed to help create and maintain quality standards for professional development in the field of permaculture. Join this roundtable discussion to hear more about PINA and offer your feedback to guide its design!

Showcase: Cold-Climate Permaculture

Bruce Blair, Chad Johnson and Benjamin Vidmar

In this showcase, you’ll hear from three experts in the field about how permaculture is being applied to the far northern latitudes. Case studies include: a two-acre homestead in southeastern Minnesota, a farm in northern Minnesota guided by extensive work with Sepp Holzer, and a social enterprise based in northern Norway. The presentations will be followed by a 30-minute roundtable discussion/Q+A session.

Peoplecare World Café: Inclusivity & Diversity in the Permaculture Movement

Kate Heiber-Cobb

How do you feel included or excluded from the permaculture movement on the basis of race, culture, gender, sexual preferences, economy or other factors? How can permaculturalists shift our methods and strategies to embrace the ethic of Peoplecare more deeply? In this participant-led session, we’ll use the World Café format to explore these questions in a safe space, brainstorm solutions, and network with others working around issues of inclusivity and diversity in permaculture.

Roundtable: Financial Permaculture

Mario Yanez, Jennifer English, Jacki Saorsail and friends

In this session, we will explore various areas related to Financial Permaculture such as the importance of mastering your own finances (zone 0), achieving and sustaining right livelihood, and designing regenerative enterprise.

Rewilding Design

Ben Weiss

Participants in this program will learn how to apply permaculture to Zones 4 & 5, semi-wild and wild ecosystems. A brief presentation on the Rewilding Design System developed by Benjamin Weiss & Wilson Alvarez will be offered, as well a look into advanced observation techniques for the outer Zones including the sit-spot, fox-walk, and wide-angle vision.

Urban Permaculture: Transformations at the Edge of Chaos

Toby Hemenway

With more than half the world’s people living in cities, they are a critical leverage point for applying ecological design and new models for decision-making and social justice. Cities are the new edge for permaculture design. In this presentation, we’ll explore how cities arose, why they decline, and how they can be transformed from resource-gobbling centers of congestion and state control to vibrant networks of villages and communities. We’ll also look at some of the inspiring work being done toward this new urban vision.

Performance Showcase: Permaculture Beats

Deva Presence, In Abundance, Hip Hop in Permaculture, Miami, FL

Eco Hiphop, Mike Wird of the Soul Pros, Denver, CO

78°13′N 15°33′E, DJ Set, Sprock3t, Norway

Film Screening: Ecological Consciousness

Andrew Faust

SATURDAY, AUGUST 30TH

Roundtable: Permaculture and the Media

Peter Bane and John Wages

Technology is changing the media landscape for permaculture as for all aspects of society. How can we, as producers and consumers of media, make appropriate choices that support community values? As blogging and social media proliferate, what is the role of permaculture journalism in documentation, public education, and disseminating news? Peter Bane and John Wages, publishers and editors of Permaculture Activist, will facilitate a roundtable on these issues. Join us if you work in media or care about its impact.

Showcase: Drylands Permaculture

Neil Bertrando, Jason Gerhardt and Jeremiah Kidd

Dryland permaculture experts Jason Gerhardt, Jeremiah Kidd and Neil Bertrando share their experiences with permaculture case studies and their visions of what drylands could be in the arid western United States. Examples will focus on patterns and strategies that enrich the water and nutrient cycles, how to rehydrate your site and create an edible landscape, and how all of the above can be supported by our infrastructure. The presentations will be followed by a 30-minute roundtable discussion/Q+A session.

Permaculture Credit Union: an Exciting Future for the Permaculture Community

Wes Roe and Bill Sommers

As Bill Mollison said well in the Designer’s Manual, “money is to the social fabric as water is to landscape.” With this understanding in mind, the Permaculture Credit Union was founded in 2000 with the goal of helping finance permaculture endeavors throughout North America. After 14 years, we’ve got some exciting news to share. Join us for this session as we explore the nature of money and the future of PCU in our community.

Roundtable: Women’s Leadership in Permaculture Design

Kelly Simmons, Karryn Olson-Ramanujan, Monica Ibacache, Penny Livingston-Stark, Marisha Auerbach, Jillian Hovey, and friends

In many PDCs the majority of students are women, yet women make up a fraction of leaders, authors, and teachers in the permaculture design movement in North America. This roundtable panel discussion features women who serve in leadership capacities in permaculture design discussing their experiences, challenges, pressures, successes and joys, as well as ideas for ways to support more women in assuming leadership roles.

Polyculture Design Strategies and Resources

Dan Halsey

Dan Halsey is a certified permaculture designer and teacher for multiple academic institutions and organizations, who has been experimenting with polyculture design since 2003. He lives with his partner on a twenty-five acre wetland savannah in Prior Lake, Minnesota where they manage self-sustaining forest gardens of fruiting trees, shrubs and nut crops. In this interactive session, Dan will share exercises and strategies for plant system design.

Roundtable: Pushing the PDC Edge

Marisha Auerbach, Toby Hemenway and Jillian Hovey

As permaculture design integrates itself into a broad array of communities, the original two-week format of the Permaculture Design Course is being complemented by new and innovative ways of delivering the PDC curriculum. In this panel, we’ll hear from practitioners leading PDCs during weekends, via online courses, and tailored to specific communities, and consider the question: how far can we stretch the PDC before it becomes something else?

Thirty years of Permaculture on Five Acres

Darrel Frey

In this presentation, Darrel will outline the development of Three Sisters Farm and Three Sisters Bioshelter – case studies of permaculture applied to a five-acre field. The presentation will explain the farm’s multiple goals of experimentation with permaculture, right livelihood development, biodiversity, soil restoration and reduction of the use of fossil fuels in farm management. Farrel will also explain how the site ecology has evolved as with new crops and enterprises.

Showcase: Children and Permaculture

Becky Ellis and Rhonda Baird

In this workshop Becky Ellis and Rhonda Baird will explore the many ways in which children can be engaged in permaculture. Using experience from their own permaculture education programs, they will explore how hands-on, fun, and experiential programming can teach children the philosophy and practice of permaculture. The presenters will give suggestions on how to develop children’s programs that nurture diversity, cooperation, and relationships. A variety of resource ideas will be shared and attendees will have the opportunity to participate in a fun, hands-on activity.

The Art of Permaculture

April Sampson-Kelly

An artist can go where no one else can go. Through art we can ingest, question, express and communicate ideas. Diverse media gives diverse results. Join April Sampson-Kelly, an Australian-based permaculture teacher for over 20 years, in exploring the power of art to dismantle, organize and explain the complex ideas that are part of permaculture design.

The Why and Wherefore of Biogas Systems

Robert “biogas bob” Allen Hamburg

Since Bob Hamburg’s introduction to anaerobic digestion during Peace Corps-Nepal in the mid 70s, he has envisioned biogas systems as more like domestic animals rather than technological constructs. While nearly all digestion efforts in the North America and Europe have gone toward large-scale, highly centralized systems, Hamburg advocates for the triple-bottom-line profits available through decentralized, small-and-medium-scale, highly integrated digesters. Join “Biogas Bob” for an enthusiastic presentation drawing on his four decades of experience working with this appropriate technology.

Roundtable: Permaculture Diploma Programs

Scott Pittman, Jude Hobbs, Andy Langford

While programs offering the Permaculture Design Certificate continue to grow in popularity and mainstream legitimacy, options in North America for advanced, long-term permaculture education are limited. The Diploma of Permaculture is a multi-year, mentorship-based learning pathway that is successfully training permaculture leaders throughout the world – and is starting to gain traction on this continent, as well. Join representatives from Permaculture Institute USA, Gaia University, and PINA to discuss the past, present and future of the Permaculture Diploma process in North America.

Showcase: Urban Permaculture

Will Hooker and Isabel Sanchez

As hot-spots of resource use, diverse populations, and innovation, urban centers are among the most important edges in the permaculture movement. In this showcase, we’ll hear from two very different examples of urban permaculture in action. In the first, landscape architect and longtime permaculture practitioner Will Hooker will be sharing the evolution of an urban permaculture homestead in the southeast US. In the second, Isabel Sanchez, a permaculture teacher at The GrowHaus, will be sharing her work in practicing permaculture in partnership with a marginalized immigrant community in Denver, Colorado. The presentations will be followed by a 30-minute roundtable discussion/Q+A session.

Social Patterns: Permaculture, Equity, and Growing the Movement

Dani Slabaugh and David Rodriguez

How do the principles of permaculture apply to our social structures? How can permaculture work towards an egalitarian vision? In this workshop participants and facilitators will work together to understand the intersections of race, class, gender, sexuality, and the work we do in the permaculture movement. Using facilitated discussion and the practice of Forum Theater, we will take a truly permaculture approach to social patterns. Workshop facilitators will guide us in identifying and examining social patterns in order to move beyond naming problems and begin engaging solutions using the permaculture principles.

Permaculture on Pine Ridge Reservation

Bryan Deans

Bryan Deans is a Lakota permaculture designer living on Pine Ridge reservation. He has been a cattle rancher and horse trainer for decades, he creates high-efficiency stoves and other fuel-efficient systems, has mentored and educated many Lakota on sustainable skill sets, and has been using permaculture principles to improve conditions for a good portion of his life. In this presentation, he’ll share opportunities, challenges, and solutions learned from his Pine Ridge reservation ranch, an experimental site using permaculture principles and design to address challenges on the reservation.

Wild Foraging as part of a Permaculture Lifestyle

Linda Conroy and John Holzwart

Join foragers Linda Conroy and John Holzwart for this fun exploration of the Wild Plants that grow around us! The wild plants have a place in the garden, and wildcrafting is one of the most energy-efficient ways to add food to your pantry and medicine to your cabinet. During this presentation we will meet wild plants and talk about eating fresh, in-season wild edibles, as well as putting them up in the pantry and medicine chest for later use. This presentation will include a virtual wild plant walk as well as a few tasty samples to inspire folks to go out and forage!

Performance Showcase: Land and Sea

AnOtheREvolution – Ydine Sandberg, Mike Hobbs, Mitchell Ruggles, Hawaii

Kaahele, Hawaii/NY

Kelly Fragale, NY, NY

The Hills and Rivers, Pittsburgh, PA

Film Screening: Open Sesame, The Story of Seeds

Sean Kaminsky

SUNDAY, AUGUST 31ST

Fishbowl: Elders’ Circle

One of the ongoing working groups at NAPC is an Elders’ Circle, comprised of permaculturalists who have been actively practicing for 20 years or more. During this session, the Elders’ Circle will have a meeting on the Movement Stage, which will open to observers in a “fishbowl”-style format. There will be time at the end of the session for Q+A/dialogue.

Showcase: Permaculture on Commercial Farms

Loren Luyendyk, Jan-Hendrik Cropp, Marie Bourgeois

How can existing farms begin to integrate permaculture principles while remaining financially viable? Find out during this showcase featuring examples from across the globe. Loren Luyendyk will discuss his experience converting commercial orchards to perennial polycultures, followed by a presentation by Jan-Hendrik Cropp about no-till and cover-cropping on vegetable farms in Germany. Finally, Marie Bourgeois will open a discussion about introducing permaculture to an organic grain farm in Montana. The presentations will be followed by a 30-minute roundtable discussion/Q+A session.

Climate Crisis and Resiliency

Mario Yanez, Keith D Johnson and Joel Glanzberg

With ever-rising carbon emissions starting to catalyze multiple feedback loops, our planet’s climate is all but certain to experience massive and unprecedented fluctuation over the next several centuries. What is the role of permaculture in responding to this climate crisis? Join these three permaculture leaders for a long, hard look at our rapidly-warming future, and a discussion about what we can do about it.

Roundtable: Permaculture for International Development and Aid

Chuck Marsh, Abigail Conrad, Rico Zook and Jeremiah Kidd

As more and more of the earth’s population suffers from the negative consequences of resource exploitation, globalization, and climate chaos, it’s our responsibility to heed the third ethic and use what we’ve learned as a movement to support those living closest to the edge. Come to this roundtable discussion to hear stories and strategies from several permaculturalists on the front lines – and share your own experiences, as well!

Practical Sustainable Kitchens

Cathe’ Fish

Join Cathe’ Fish, a drylands permaculture teacher for nearly 30 years, for this slideshow and hands-on demo about the most productive room in the permaculture homestead. We’ll cover worldwide kitchen problems, year-round under-utilized appropriate technologies, design considerations and stacking functions, three kinds of solar cookers, making it work for busy permaculturists, what to do when the clouds come, the latest in efficient cooking with small pieces of wood, water purification, water heating and more!

Roundtable: planning the next NAPC

Did you enjoy your NAPC experience? Got ideas for where to host the next one, or how to make it better? Interested in joining the planning committee for NAPC II? We’ll be keeping momentum going by planting the seeds of the next Convergence before the first one even ends!

Public Food Forests

Stephanie Syson, Fred Meyer and Steve Moring

Over the last several years, more and more municipalities have welcomed permaculture food forests in public parks and other city-owned land. What are the practical considerations for creating such spaces? What talking points are useful in convincing your elected officials to welcome one – and what are the complications and concerns that are arising from them? Hear answers to these questions and more from permaculturalists involved in developing public food forests in Basalt, CO, Iowa City, IA, and Lawrence, KS.

Navigating Permaculture Through Complex Mainstream Systems

Andrew MIllison and Jake Voit

Given the complicated and complex nature of permaculture, change management is necessary to help it succeed. How do we move old systems into new? What skills do we need to make change management work with numerous stakeholders simultaneously? What kinds of teams do we form, what mix of skills, and how are they effective in developing landscapes into permaculture? In this interactive session, you’ll hear case studies of integrating permaculture education into government and university systems, glean tips for presenting permaculture to skeptical bureaucrats, and learn the leverage points for mainstream institutions to embrace permaculture.

Roundtable: Science and Permaculture

Abigail Conrad, Deborah Berman

Are the claims made time and time again by permaculturalists actually grounded in science? How can permaculture designers engage as citizen scientists, and incorporate the latest scientific advances into our design? What kinds of changes does permaculture need to make for it to become accepted by the academic community and the general public? Join these three presenters, all of whom are working at the edge of permaculture and mainstream academia, for a discussion of these questions and more.

Why Old Lumberjacks Don’t Have All Their Fingers: a Tool Safety Demo

Phillip Rutter

The answer to the title is not, in fact, obvious. Fortunately, Phll Rutter of Badgersett Farms has long, long experience with “sharp things” – and he wants to share it. In this hands-on demonstration, Phil will show best practices for safety and efficiency of using axes, scythes, and more.

Closing Circle

Where do we go from here? As we wind down NAPC I, we’ll come together one last time to hear reportbacks from the Working Groups, lessons learned from the roundtables, and next steps for evolving the North American Permaculture Movement.

 

Open Mic and Talent Showcase

An event for all participants: sign up for your time slot and share a song, dance, talent, etc for 10- 15 minutes each!

 

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