[permaculture] INTERNATIONAL NATURAL BUILDING CONVERGENCE September 3rd-October 15th, 2002

Wesley Roe and Marjorie Lakin Erickson lakinroe at silcom.com
Tue Jul 30 13:12:32 EDT 2002

September 3rd-October 15th, 2002

An exciting event is in the works. In collaboration with a network of North 
American natural builders, Kleiwerks is organizing an International Natural 
Building Convergence. Grassroots activists and local leaders will be coming 
together from Argentina, Thailand, Kenya Brazil and Ghana for six weeks to 
focus on practical ecological solutions to basic housing needs. This is an 
opportunity for pioneers of the sustainable living movement to build 
relationships, share knowledge and establish support networks.

The Convergence will begin with the ‘10 Day Training in the Art of Natural 
Building’ in Asheville, North Carolina and conclude with the ‘Natural 
Building Colloquium’ in Oregon. Participants will visit sites that are on 
the cutting edge of the natural building and sustainable living movement. 
Affordable, durable and locally available natural materials such as mud, 
straw, bamboo and stone will be used in hands-on projects. Innovative and 
traditional techniques include adobe, strawclay, cob, earthen finishes and 
passive solar design.

The Convergence will empower participants to share and adapt these skills 
within their local communities. Upon returning to their respective 
countries participants will host trainings, reaching hundreds of people 
thanks to their involvement with existing grassroots networks. This group 
of visionaries and teachers have specifically been invited because they 
have already shown a remarkable ability to create positive change. Please 
see attached bios.

The time is ripe for more sustainable living. We wish to honor, support and 
connect the people who are helping this to become a reality. Each of them 
lives with very little money and they are rarely financially compensated 
for their commitment to improving the well-being of their communities as 
well as the Earth’s.  For this reason we are inspired to raise the 
scholarships to cover their airfare and all other expenses during the 
duration of the Convergence.

Please join us in supporting this important project by sending your 
contribution to ‘Janell Kapoor,’ I.N.B.C. Scholarship Fund, 80 ½ Cumberland 
Avenue, Asheville, NC 28801

Time is of the essence. We thank you in advance.

Janell Kapoor, janell at kleiwerks.com
Max Edleson, max at intermax.net
Co-organizers of the Convergence

For more information about the Convergence sponsors, participants, 
itinerary and budget please read on.

The hosting organizations include Kleiwerks Natural Building, Southeast 
Ecological Design, Cob Cottage Company, North American School of Natural 
Building, Earthaven Ecovillage, Sequatchie Valley Institute, Lama 
Foundation, The EcoVersity, City Repair Project, Builders Without Borders, 
Mountain Gardens, Aprovecho and Lost Valley Permaculture Institute.

September 3-5Arrival and Introductions in Asheville, North Carolina
September 6-15Kleiwerks 10 Day Training in the Art of Natural Building
September 16-24Tour of Sustainable Living and Natural Building Sites in the 
Asheville Area: Earthaven Ecovillage, Sequatchie Valley Institute, Mountain 
September 24 -October 1Tour of Sustainable Living and Natural Building 
Sites in Northern New Mexico: Lama Foundation, La Madera, Taos Pueblos, 
Earthships, The Ecoversity
October 1-6Tour of Sustainable Living and Natural Building Sites in Oregon: 
Cob Cottage Company, Lost Valley Permaculture Institute, Aprovecho, Rob 
Bolman, City Repair Project
October 6-11Natural Building Colloquium in Medford, Oregon
October 12-14Closing Evaluation
October 15Return Home

Budget (per person)
Funds needed to support this project:
International Flights                  $1200
Domestic Flights                        $400
Kleiwerks 10 Day Training               $600
Natural Building Colloquium             $100
Meals and Lodging ($15/day; 25 days)    $375
Van Rental and Gasoline                 $100
Translation and Logistical Support      $525

Total                                  $3300

Working List of Prospective Participants

ARGENTINA is in the throes of one of the most spectacular modern financial 
and political meltdowns. For this reason, permaculture, natural building 
techniques, and living from the land not only offer themselves as 
interesting options but increasingly are becoming an essential part of 
everyday life.

CARLOS STRAUB is a permaculturist and inventor extraordinaire. He has been 
a leading member of CIESA, a center for research and education of 
sustainable agriculture in El Bolson, for the last seven years. He gives 
many organic gardening workshops in Patagonia and throughout Argentina. He 
is a certified permaculture designer and is being called upon increasingly 
to give workshops on the subject. Carlos is rebuilding an old grain mill 
that will allow the people in his valley to cooperatively buy grain in bulk 
and mill it into flour at a much more affordable price. He also leads the 
seed saving initiative in his region, running a small home-business and 
sharing his knowledge through talks and personal interactions. He has 
extensive mechanic skills and has built many greenhouses, composting 
toilets and other structures.

JORGE BELANCO is a builder and mason.  His octagonal house is a marvel of 
permaculture design.  A greenhouse wraps around three sides.  He built and 
installed a small turbine in the canal that runs through its property to 
generate electricity, built a solar cooker, and several solar dryers. He 
recently built a small workshop in the wattle and daub style and a trout 
hatchery for his trout pond using a modified straw-clay technique. Two of 
his trademarks, which he has built and installed in many households in El 
Bolson, are the thermally efficient Russian heating stove and a similarly 
very efficient and affordable adobe oven built around a 55-gallon oil drum. 
Jorge is considered a permaculture maestro and is often collaborating on 
permaculture projects, teaching courses and always sharing his knowledge. 
He was an avid member of the local humanist party and has now become a 
charismatic leader in the evolving barter system which has become his 
valley's dominant social and economic structure.

CHILE is a country of extraordinary natural diversity whose riches- its 
forests, arable land, mountains and seas- are being mined at completely 
unsustainable rates. A healthier relationship with the earth, which Chile's 
indigenous people have practiced for millennia, is sorely needed and being 
sought for by activists and progressive leaders.

BLANCA ROSA brought together several families, 25 years ago, to form a 
community on a barren piece of land on the outskirts of Santiago. As a 
Waldorf teacher, she set up a small community school and led a revegetation 
effort, planting native trees, fruit trees, and gardens to grow the 
community's own food. More and more families came to join the community. 
The once barren land is now one of Santiago's most attractive 
neighborhood.  Blanca has spent the last decade working as a permaculture 
designer and consultant.  In the last two years, she has dedicated most of 
her time to the establishment of a permaculture institute in the Ecuadorian 
jungle. The center’s main goal is to help the local community to stop 
selling their trees for income. They are developing and demonstrating ways 
to grow food in the jungle as well as build shelters in a natural and 
sustainable way.

PAULINA AVILA is a musician, artist, and activist. She has worked 
extensively in her community of Con Con, Chile to establish community 
gardens. Over the last two years, she has worked with Blanca Rosa at her 
center in Ecuador. She teaches organic and has experimented in building 
with bamboo. She continues her efforts to explore and establish cottage 
industries for the Tikawasy community that would make them more independent 
from their lumber-related incomes. At the center, she also has a drum and 
didgeridoo-making workshop to raise funds for the organization.

THAILAND is experiencing many of the classic symptoms of modernization and 
globalization: large foreign debts, rampant prostitution, villagers leaving 
their origins to try their luck in the city and rapid environmental 
degradation. In response, communities and grassroots networks are 
increasingly organizing themselves to find human-scale solutions to these 
modern ills and returning to a more environmentally, as well as culturally, 
sustainable way of living.

JO JANDAI, inspired by his visit to the Taos Pueblos while bicycling 
through New Mexico, returned to his village in one of Thailand’s poorest 
regions to introduce friendlier, more affordable building techniques. In 
the past year, Jo has become Thailand’s leading advocate and educator of 
adobe construction. He has been busily running workshops throughout 
Thailand, training community groups to build with appropriate alternatives 
to costly concrete construction. Jo has dedicated his life to sharing such 
simple, small-scale solutions in order to demonstrate the possibility of 
independence from the ever-growing pressures of modernization and 
globalization. He reaches thousands, including a growing number of 
Westerners, through a widespread grassroots network he helped to get 
started. Jo has also helped to establish successful cooperative models 
amongst organic rice farmers. For many years he has run an educational 
permaculture farm where he teaches, as well as grows and harvests his 
entire food supply.

KENYA’s families are increasingly at risk of poverty, malnutrition and 
famine. More than a third of the people live in “absolute poverty,” 
surviving on less than one dollar per day. In the midst of these enormous 
obstacles, there have been some outstanding success stories which have 
helped thousands.

JOSHUA AMWAI MACHINGA is the project coordinator of Common Ground Program. 
Through gleaning produce, he has helped provide food for 10,000 people. 
Gleaning is an ancient practice that involves volunteers gathering and 
distributing crops that would otherwise be left in the fields to rot. This 
is one of numerous projects he has help to initiate. Joshua has years of 
experience with non-governmental organizations in the areas of food 
security, rural development and appropriate technology. He holds a diploma 
in Poverty, Relief and Development and an advanced certificate in 
BioIntensive Agriculture. He has taught Sustainable Architecture and 
Conflict Resolution at Wilson Community College in the US. He is one of the 
co-initiators of the straw bale house construction at the United Nations 
Headquarters in Nairobi and has worked as a consultant with the ODA/World 

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