[permaculture] (off-list) semi-capitulation on national pc conference

Udan Farm udanfarm at yahoo.com
Fri Dec 18 13:12:52 EST 2009

Sorry it's taken me a bit to get back to this topic.
I was thinking along the same lines as what Michael said:
"I suggest that each 2010 regional pc gathering have a short discussion about a national gathering. Does any region want to host a national event at some point in the future? Who would like to go? Perhaps there could be a think tank of one person each from the various regions. I will bring it up at the Washington State Permaculture Convergence next Sept."....
I think that if we had a North American Permaculture CONGRESS  with one to two delegates from each of 11 regions of the US, that a lot could be discussed without hundreds of people hopping on airplanes, and without a lot of "eco-tourists" showing up to dilute the work that needs to be done.. Nice thing about this is it could be hosted at someone's farm, rather than get pricey and end up at a conference center or ??
Since I do graphics, I made a map...http://www.georgiapermaculture.com/NationalCongressMap.html
So, 2011? Find a region that is willing to host a delegation of about 22 people?  Talk to our regional gatherings about this?  Maybe every OTHER year would be good. I plan to bring it to our gathering and discuss. I also plan to talk to folks about anyone interested in working on the wikis, and other web/computer/diploma things that need doing if we are to keep some national cohesion into the future...

'dohi' (peace)Isabel

--- On Wed, 12/9/09, Jono Neiger <neiger at csld.edu> wrote:

From: Jono Neiger <neiger at csld.edu>
Subject: Re: semi-capitulation on national pc conference
To: "Michael Pilarski" <friendsofthetrees at yahoo.com>
Cc: "christy pc" <fieldofgreens at earthlink.net>, bwaldrop at cox.net, scott at permaculture.org, michael at fingerlakespermaculture.org, davej at edibleforestgardens.com, earthsurfing at yahoo.com, hibernia33 at yahoo.com, slowfoodguy at yahoo.com, venaurafarm at bellsouth.net, chromatophore at gmail.com, udanfarm at yahoo.com, info at permacultureactivist.net
Date: Wednesday, December 9, 2009, 10:23 AM

Michael- Thanks for your note and even bringing up the possibility of a national gathering. The Northeast is gaining a lot of momentum. We've been organizing heavily and weaving together the network for the last 6 years. We've had 5 very successful regional gatherings kicked off by David Holmgrens visit in 2005. Each convergence has been in different parts of the region and this has generated great momentum for local groups and brought the excitement of pc to these areas.   

We've had winter strategy meetings to refine how we reach new folks and strengthen ties.

I believe a national gathering/convergence would be beneficial at some point. Maybe, as we began here in the NE, smaller strategy meetings could be held to begin to make the interconnections we need. I think growing the movement steadily versus big splashes is best.

Michael-Skeeter- Thanks also for introducing me to permaculture in 1995 by having a copy of the Intro on your table at the Okanagan barter fest. Remember I bartered for the copy helping you with some seed collection? Its been a great ride since then...

For the Earth


Jono Neiger
Regenerative Design Group
308 Main St, Suite 2C
Greenfield, Massachusetts 01301

Conway School of Landscape Design
Graduate Program in Sustainable Landscape Planning & Design

PINE; Permaculture Institute of the Northeast

On Tue, Dec 8, 2009 at 3:02 AM, Michael Pilarski <friendsofthetrees at yahoo.com> wrote:

Hello Scott Pittman, Isabel at Udan Farm, David Jacke, Keith Morris, Michael Burns, Lisa Fernandes, Bob Waldrop, christophe mckeon gonzalez de leon, and Tripp Tibbetts.

Thank you for responding to my email on a national permaculture convergence.  Your responses have given me a lot of food for thought. I recognize that there is a lot of carbon footprint in a national gathering and so it should aim to be a really good one to be worth it.  Something not to be rushed off lightly with. I admit to temporary insanity in offering the Washington State Permaculture Convergence as a national gathering in 2010. Our state convergence team doesn’t have the capacity to take something like this on with only 9 months lead time.  Similarly the NorthEast permaculture convergence would be hard pressed to do it in this time frame.  

Scales in
 permaculture gatherings.

A. The individual permaculturists and small groups such as communities, cooperatives,businesses. Each has its story. 
B. Local permaculture clubs at the neighborhood and town level.

C. larger permaculture organizations (formal and informal) at the metropolitan level and, county or sub-state level.
D. Statewide or regional convergences, such as the Northeastern North American Convergence, the Southeastern Permaculture Gathering, and the Washington State Permaculture Convergence. 

E. National gatherings. For instance, the Australians have had a national pc gathering every two years since about 1985. I attended one in Adelaide, South Australia and it was big, well organized and a great time.  
F. Continental permaculture convergences. Sort of like the North American Bioregional Congress. You are probably all aware that permaculture and the bioregional congresses have always gone hand in hand.  

 International Permaculture Conference and Convergence.  They have been held periodically since 1984. They have been at longer frequencies the last couple decades. I  participated in IPC II, III and IV and they were wonderful events with a lot of cross pollination, (Washington State, New Zealand, and Nepal respectively).

Each of these scales has its place and purpose. Of course people will get together more frequently at the lower ends of the scale.  Each scale up people have to travel further.  There is more carbon footprint. Fewer people can go. They happen less often.  

Gatherings and festivals are one of the most important parts of being human. Particularly when it is a gathering of your own “culture” or subculture. You feel safe there and belong. People from the same profession getting together is inspiring, and empowering as well as it offers a way to exchange information and make connections that can
 never be achieved via internet or technology. 

I am thrilled by every local and regional permaculture gathering in the US, or elsewhere in the world. That is where the main action is. But some national and international gatherings are good too. Permaculture is about localization and decentralization, but we can still talk to one another. If we ever have a national US permaculture gathering (or better yet North American) I will encourage our region’s representatives to go by train.  

Email and the internet are not benign. Technology has a footprint as well. I do use the internet some and find it useful. But I am not putting all my eggs in that basket. I applaud every permaculture listserve, website, facebook, meetup group, twitter, ning, etc. It is all great, but just remember it could all disappear one day, or parts of it piecemeal, or access. 

This is one reason I believe it is good and necessary for permaculture gatherings to
 happen at all scales. Face to face encounters, building lines of communication that can be strengthened by technology, but that are not dependent on it.  Always have multiple elements for single functions, eg. communication. 

Okay, so while I do agree that a US national pc gathering doesn’t seem like a good idea for 2010. I’d still like to make a positive suggestion for what to do next. 

I suggest that each 2010 regional pc gathering have a short discussion about a national gathering. Does any region want to host a national event at some point in the future? Who would like to go? Perhaps there could be a think tank of one person each from the various regions. I will bring it up at the Washington State Permaculture Convergence next Sept.  

Scott mentioned the interpersonal difficulties at the NAP (North American Permaculture) meeting he organized in New Mexico.  I was there and one of the difficult ones. Putting on
 a national event would require a very good team (in fact it is required at all scales) . Event organizers who are very capable, very friendly, very tactful and not full of ego.  Every movement has its difficult personalities.  There are even some nice people who don’t get along. All in all, my experience has been that permaculture is full of (mainly) really nice people. It is usually possible to integrate a few egotists or combative people into a group event, but you don’t want the event run by any of them. (PS. This is not meant as a jab at Scott. He did a great job at the NAP event, the fractionous wasn’t his fault).

Who knows how long cheap, fast transportation will be available. An economic collapse or suchlike would drastically affect our running around going to gatherings; however even if travel gets harder I expect a lot of human ingenuity and we will continue to have gatherings.  

This conversation got started
 when Isabel at Udan Farm inquired if there has ever been a national pc conference. 

One good thing that might come out of this conversation is that Tripp Tibbetts has offered to help pull together the roster of regional permaculture events held in the US to date.  

I guess I will send this to the Activist.  And am willing to follow this conversation if anyone wants. Let me know if anyone wants to organize a national or a west coast convergence.  

Blah, blah, blah.

Have a good time at all your permaculture events. 


Michael Pilarski
Michael at friendsofthetrees.net


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