2012 Schedule

2012 Convergence Schedule and Programming (read on for more details):

Full Kid’s Program Schedule and Description for Saturday July 14th added here!

  • Friday July 13th
    • 6 permaculture site tours
    • Tours of Soule Homestead
    • Opening Ceremony
    • Keynote presentation from Lisa DePiano of Mobile Design Lab
    • Music and entertainment
  • Saturday July 14th
    • 20+ Workshop Sessions throughout the day at 6 locations including: Introduction to Permaculture, Edible Forest Gardening, Polyculture Design, Permaculture and Community, Bioshelters, Resiliency, Social Permaculture, Beekeeping, Regenerative Real Estate and more
    • Presenters include Dave Jacke, Eric Toensmeier, Ethan Roland, Lisa Fernandes, Ryan Harb and many more
    • Hands-on Projects: Hugelkultur and a wild edibles walk
    • Keynote Presentation from Scott Kellogg of the Radix Center
    • Support local vendors on site or barter and gift throughout the day
    • Enjoy delicious food from Clover Food Truck; see a sample menu here
    • Family programming and permaculture for kids throughout the day
    • Gallery Walk through permaculture designs
    • Participate in the open mic, listen to live local folk music and dance to end the day
  • Sunday July 15th – Networking, discussion and next steps over brunch

Detailed Program Descriptions

Friday July 13th

Field Trip Tours  Morning/Early Afternoon across Eastern, MA and RI

  • 28 Rich Road, Woburn, MA3 members of the resident cooperative household will share about a sloped .9 acre suburban property redeveloped beginning in 2002 and still in the works. The Energy Star house was completed in 2003, followed immediately by a vegetable garden and DIY landscaping. In 2009, solar panels for electricity and hot water were added. Increasing food production and processing are the high priorities now.
  • Edible Ecosystem Teaching Garden at Wellesley College – Wellesley, MAVisit the Edible Ecosystem Teaching Garden at Wellesley College. Designed by Dave Jacke and Keith Zaltzberg, this permaculture garden in the middle of Wellesley’s campus has education and research goals in addition to being a productive landscape for people and its other inhabitants. Join Dave Jacke for a tour of the Edible Ecosystems Teaching Garden on July 13th from 10a-12p. Come see how we’re studying the garden as it develops, and help us brainstorm creative ways to enable people to learn from this and other permaculture gardens.
  • Edible Forest Garden at University of Rhode Island – Kingston, RITour the Urban Agriculture gardens at the University of Rhode Island, including the recently installed Edible Forest Garden and Community Garden at Roger Williams Park. Attendees will be given a tour of the Roger Williams Park Botanical Center ‘Food Garden Peninsula’, a former tree farm then large lawn recreation area where Providence’s largest community garden and first edible forest garden are now located.
  • Eva’s Garden and Round the Bend Farm – Southeastern MACome tour some of the Southeastcoast region’s most diverse and beautiful farms. Eva’s Garden is an organic herb, green and flower farm that has been in operation for over 30 years. Round the Bend Farm is a diverse project integrating animals and vegetables into permaculture systems. Come tour both properties, talk to the farmers, and enjoy a fantastic, farm-fresh lunch prepared by Chef and cookbook author Didi Emmons. Lunch will include wood-fired pizzas, herb-laden salads, wild-foraged goodies, beverages and dessert.
  • Groundwork Somerville – Somerville, MAGroundwork Somerville will present three facets of urban agriculture efforts in New England’s most densely populated city: an organic schoolyard garden; a new urban farm, designed and run by Somerville youth; and the Growing Center, a community-directed urban oasis full of fruits, flowers, trees and bees.
  • Land’s Sake – Weston, MAJoin Douglas Cook, Education Director and Permaculture Designer since 2007, on a tour of Land’s Sake farm to see and discuss the deep connection between this unique non-profit and the town. Examples of Permaculture Design will be found throughout the garden and farm systems, including rotational grazing of livestock, symbiotic plantings in the garden and more. Every year hundreds of students are provided with the opportunity to learn and practice techniques used on the farm that deepen their connection to the earth and community.

Register here for Friday Field Trips: http://neconvergencefieldtrips.eventbrite.com  – *Note: There is a separate registration ticket for Field Trips

Friday Afternoon – Register here for the full weekend (excluding Field Trips): http://2012neconvergence.eventbrite.com

  • Registration and Arrival at Soule Homestead  Beginning at 1:00pm

    Soule Homestead
  • Tour Soule Homestead  2:00pm – 4:00pm  Learn about this non-profit farm education center working to teach kids about where their food comes from and the “web of life.” Explore the nature trails and say hi to the sheep, ducks, chickens and view various cultivated plots shared by multiple farmers.
  • Opening Ceremony and Keynote Presentation 7:00 – 9:00pm. Reconnect with the permaculture community and meet new folks with the opening Keynote from Lisa DePiano and live music.
Friday Night Keynote – Lisa DePiano – Permaculture – Coming out of the Margins and into the Streets: Building a movement for ecological transformation and social justice.
Permaculture is more than just gardening. It is a vision, a design system and a movement. Over the last decade, we have seen the movement grow and expand in ways we never imagined. This past year permaculture made national news for its contributions to the Occupy Movement and was recognized by the White House.
This groundswell of activity puts permaculture at a tipping point.  How can we use our ethics, principles, design process and lessons learned from allied movements to guide us in the years to come?
Lisa DePiano is a certified permaculture designer, teacher and faculty member for the Yestermorrow Design/Build School and the University of Massachusetts. She is co-founder of the Montview Neighborhood Farm, a human powered urban-farm and edible forest garden in the Connecticut River Valley, and rode with the worker-owned collective Pedal People. She has a M.A. in Regional Planning and  studied permaculture with Starhawk, Penny Livingston Stark, and Dave Jacke. She loves working with communities to create the world they want to live in and has taught all over the United States – from the Menominee Nation to Alaska and New York City. She currently runs the Mobile Design Lab which focuses on participatory design and education and is the lead instructor for Permaculture f.e.a.s.t .

Saturday July 14th

All day workshops and demos to celebrate, connect, and share. When: 9:00am – 9:00pm. 4 Sessions at 5 locations.

  • Session 1: 9am – 10:15am
  • Session 2: 10:45am – 12:00pm
  • Keynote: 12:30pm – 1:30pm
  • Session 3: 2:00pm – 3:15pm
  • Session 4:  3:45pm – 5:00pm
  • Evening Program: 5:30 – 9:30pm

Saturday Mid-day Keynote – Scott Kellogg, Permaculture and Urban Regeneration

Healthy urban systems will become increasingly important as society transitions into sustainability.  Challenged with the converging trends of a faltering economy, energy depletion, and climate change, it will become critical for us to redesign cities so that they can meet their resident’s needs while simultaneously promoting ecological and social resilience.  

Permaculture is a vital component of this process.  Using it, we can build locally based ecological/economic systems that provide communities with employment, nourishing food, and that detoxify our city soils.  Permaculture systems, as a tool for environmental education, also can promote ecological literacy among youth, many of whom experience a disconnect from natural processes.  In a broader sense, we’ll look at how permaculture can be used as a means to achieve greater social equality in today’s world.
In this presentation, Scott Kellogg will give an overview of permaculture in use for urban regeneration, drawing from his own work and multiple examples around the country.
Scott Kellogg is the co-author of the book “Toolbox for Sustainable City Living: A Do-it-Ourselves Guide” (South End Press) and the primary teacher of R.U.S.T. – The Regenerative Urban Sustainability Training.

Scott is the educational director of Albany, NY’s Radix Ecological Sustainability Center, a demonstration of environmental technologies and sustainable micro industries applicable in today’s urban environment. www.radixcenter.org 

Scott was also a co-founder of Austin, Texas’ Rhizome Collective, an urban sustainability education project, and worked as the director of its sustainability program from 2000-2009.  He has a Masters in Environmental Science from Johns Hopkins University, and is currently an adjunct professor of environmental science at the Art Institute of New York City.

Saturday Workshop Descriptions (almost comprehensive, time/location TBA, all subject to change) Kid’s programming will be available all day in an indoor/outdoor space – TBA

Workshop Session 1: 9:00 – 10:15

Eden Arising: The Inner Landscape of Ecological Culture Design – Dave Jacke – Essentially, the goal of ecological design is to recreate the Garden of Eden—and why not?  In this age of high tech and information, we have the means to create food-producing ecosystems that work like healthy natural systems with minimal maintenance and diverse yields.  Yet, tools and techniques are nowhere near enough: we must redesign our whole culture, our resources, our technologies, our social and economic structures, and our inner landscapes.  In fact, it appears that we must redesign our deep internal structures to have any chance of succeeding in regenerating Eden.  Who do we think we are?  What role should or does our species play in the ecosystems of which we are a part?  How can the practice of ecological design teach us how to see, how to act, and how to be in our New Eden?  Let’s explore these questions together, and learn how to regenerate the Earth, our culture, and ourselves from the inside out.

Regenerative Real Estate – Ethan RolandDespite 30 years in the US, Permaculture is not being implemented on a large scale throughout the country. Regenerative Real Estate is a new eco-social enterprise that plans to change this radically through three simple steps: 1. We buy degraded farmland, 2. Repair it using permaculture farming practices, and 3. Return it to productive use. Founder and permaculture designer Ethan Roland  will share the underlying values, financial model, and integrated design of this revolutionary new venture. Based on the company’s Regenerative Land Manager selection process, Ethan will also offer specific job opportunities to permaculturists and farmers who attend.

Infiltrating Academia with Permaculture: Strategies for College Campuses Panel Discussion – Permaculture has long existed as a grassroots movement, avoiding much of academia along the way. This approach has had both positive and negative effects on developing the reach, scope, and integrity of both the philosophy and practices we preach. Join a panel of permie’s who’ve recently cracked into the university scene to discuss getting a foot in the door, the research integrity of permaculture, and successes working with faculty and administrators on the ground.

  • Rafter Sass – U of Illinois, UMV – grad and phD student
  • Keith Morris – UVM – teacher
  • Ryan Harb – UMass – sustainability coordinator
  • Abrah Desdale – Wesleyan University
  • Steve Gabriel – Cornell University – extension aide

From wallpaper to solidarity to action – reclaiming the commons and the wild – Felix Lufkin – Our perspectives of community shape our sense of responsibility to other beings and the land, and limit our creativity and potential for effecting change. We’ll discuss the importance of these perspectives, as well as the ethics and larger goals of the PC movement with a focus of the meaning of solidarity and support of other communities and living lands, beyond our own backyard gardens. After learning about existing community scaled PC projects, we’ll articulate  critical design goals on a community and bioregional scale, considering the connections between ecosystem health, human populations, and the risks posed by food and energy infrastructure. We’ll consider a full tool box of tactics to achieve them including social organizing, ‘culture jamming’, crowd funding, and merging with existing movements of resistance.

Workshop Session 2 – 10:45 – 12:00:

Infiltrating Academia with Permaculture: Strategies for College Campuses Panel Discussion – Continued

An Introduction to Permaculuture – Steve Whitman – Come and learn what Permaculture is all about, and why it is important to you! What could it mean to your community? How does Permaculture differ from other approaches to sustainability?  Topics covered will include:
-The History of Permaculture;
-Why Permaculture;
-An introduction to Permaculture ethics and principles;
-Examples from a range of projects; and
-Additional resources

Social Permaculture – Practices to Share – Elyssa SerrilliLearn new activities to share the social-emotional facet of Permaculture with your students and clients.  Deepen your practice in nourishing communication, self- awareness and trust.  We begin with a simple Zen Buddhist grounding.  Following check-ins, we flow into activities determined by group size, energy, and aspirations.  Depart with activity write ups.

Eat the Suburbs: A 1/3 Acre Permaculture Case Study – Lisa Fernandes – Lisa and her family have been converting a 1/3 acre suburban lot outside of Portland Maine into a permaculture neighborhood farm to illustrate how to live well while getting off fossil fuels and supporting the needs of their community.  This session will cover the goals of the permaculture design, key elements already implemented as well as lessons learned along the way.  Attendees can expect to take away some practical actions, realistic expectations and a sense of how permaculture will result in delightfully unexpected outcomes in their own neighborhoods.  Plant lists and design handouts provided.

Herbal Medicine, Locally Grown & Sustainably Wildcrafted – Emily French and Alex Slakie Local, plant-based medicine, and folks who know how to connect medicinal plants and people, are imperative for community resiliency. We will cover 3-5 locally abundant medicinal plants in detail, through the lenses of growing and/or wild-harvesting, in-depth medicinal uses, and various medicinal preparations for yourself and your community. Participants will receive seeds and/or seedlings of the plants we discuss.

What is Debt and What is Money? – Sue Peters – We can strengthen our perma-culture only if we understand what money is and how it functions in our society.  The key to understanding the issues we all face – environmental, financial, political, etc. – is to understand our banking system and why the private bankers decide who gets money — to buy land, to start a business, to build a nuclear power plant, to fund the large corporations and lobbyists stealing our government. The talk would include how the private banks create and control our money supply, and thus our economy and political system.  It will include the history of the Farmers’ Alliance Movement in the 1880’s and early 1890’s, a national grassroots movement of poor farmer who created an alternative culture, full of self-respect, and in the process identified the key issue to be the control of farmer credit at the national level. The audience will take away insights into the causes of the many problems in our world, and some ideas of what we can do to change it.

Workshop Session 3 – 2:00pm – 3:15pm:

Polyculture Design – Eric Toensmeier – I will share guidelines for designing effective perennial polycultures. I’ve grown a bunch and traveled some to see what is and isn’t working. This workshop will present the ever-evolving guidelines I’m developing and, talk about some examples of working polycultures, and break participants into small groups to do and present designs.

Bioshelters and Resilient Urban Ecologies – Scott Kellogg – The Radix Center’s bioshelter, based in Albany, NY, contains numerous ecologically sustainable systems, designed for both food production and for environmental education. These include: passive solar heating, aquaponics (fish+plants+ worms+microbes), microlivestock (chickens and rabbits), biothermal heating, mushroom production, vermicomposting, microgreens, and bioremediation research. We’ll discuss the successes and failures of its first year of operation, and discuss more generally the role that permaculture can play in the work of creating resilient urban environments.

Constructed Wetland Design- Tad Montgomery – The design, maintenance and regulatory issues of constructed wetlands (reed beds) to treat wastewater.  This will be a technical workshop using some engineering terms.

Hugelkultur Demo – James Kovaleski  Show how using brush  and grass with a swale on contour you can produce a yield of annual vegetables the first season while transitioning an open field into a perennial polyculture using only hand tools and no fossil fuels.

Supplanting the Modern World – Ecoystemic Succession & Cultural Engines – Frances Subbiondo Together, we will explore the rationale & strategic development behind the creation of a replicable pilot project, now growing in Philadeplphia, called a ‘Cultural Engine’. The model will be shared & analyzed — & a discussion with commence on & around the subject of cultural ecosystemic succession. Woven in will be a description of living systems architecture.


Chikukwa Ecological Land Trust Project – Julious PitiCome hear the story of how an ecological initiative in a small village in the Eastern Highlands of Zimbabwe grew into a community model of sustainable living. Along the way they have become masters of conflict resolution. The project has been about health, conflict resolution, and social improvement—as well as food.

Workshop Session 4 – 3:45pm – 5:00pm:

Polyculture Design – Eric Toensmeier Continued

Introduction to native bee and their habitat needs – Tom Sullivan – Pollinator habitat is critical to bringing large numbers of fruits and seeds to fruition. The trick is keeping native bees and other beneficial insects happy working for us. Tending to the needs of a wide variety of native bees will be the focus of this talk. We will look at the necessary elements of a native bee sanctuary, while also including bee life cycles, nesting behaviors, and forage requirements, along with the wide pallet of foraging plants. You will walk away with the keys to incorporating bee habitat into your designs, locating ground nests in and along swales, while also getting your hands on the materials for making your own tunnel and wood nests, thus being ready for next years spring emergence. 

Permaculture’s Place in Food Systems Planning – Abrah Dresdale – Food Systems planning is a burgeoning field, one that is highly relevant to an unforeseen future of peak oil, climate change, and economic (in)stability. Permaculture offers many solutions and can dovetail into any food systems plan. Abrah Dresdale will showcase Feed Northampton: First Steps Towards a Local Food System as a case study for how the design process can be applied to broad scale planning. We will also explore site-specific permaculture strategies that can boost the capacity for food cultivation in a range of landscape typologies.

Jumpstarting Autonomous Community Spaces: Philly Food Forests – Matthew Bennett – Philly Food Forests innoculates underserved urban urban neighborhoods with permacultural spores in the shape of edible parks.  We scatter these village seeds through celebratory work-parties featuring live music jams, free stores, gathered potlucks, story-telling around campfires, and an emphasis on curiosity-based learning.

The Useful Plants Around Us: Plant Walk – Iris Weaver – Our environment is rich with useful plants, for eating and medicine and fun, whether we are in the country or the middle of the city! We will take a ramble around Soule Homestead and meet some of the wonderful plants (many known as “just weeds”) that are used for food, medicine, crafts, and more. Many of these plants you may recognize from your lawn or city sidewalks, others may be new finds that will delight you. We’ll also talk about identification, safety, and ways to use these gifts from the Earth.

Simple Solar – George MokrayA description of the basic solar principles for heating, cooking, and electricity.  Some of these devices can be made out of recycled materials

Workshop Session 5: 5:30 – 6:45pm

Edible Forest Gardening – What It Is and How to Get Started – Aaron GumanCome explore edible forest gardening, from design to planting and maintenance. We’ll discover together how to create a garden which mimics the architecture of natural ecosystems, nourishing both humans and the environment. Come away with a grasp of the basic concepts and a toolkit to get you started.  

Coaching to Advance Permanent Culture – David Eggleton –

Permaculture could go only so far as an approach to settlement design and development.  It lost prospects to other approaches, lost contracts to less-comprehensive-lower-bidding competitors and lost goodwill whenever projects did not achieve all that was promised.  Permaculture could go only so far as a means of livelihood as long as teaching courses and writing about it were key components, dependent on who was first in and who either brought their own means to bear or were in the right place at the right time. With the biosphere and human systems in deepening crisis, it is the right place and time for Permaculture to go farther.  I believe a great opportunity for that is in adding roles for women and men dedicated to the ethics and principles.  In this session, we’ll focus on the residents of settlements, considering extended engagements with individuals and groups as a role to add in a deliberate manner.  By helping more people approach their own wholeness, we should be able to make the world safer, so to speak, for Permaculture.  That’s a win-win-win.

Saturday Evening Program

Sunday July 15th

When: 8:00am – 12:00pm

Bioregional Networking & Organizing, Permaculture Guild Breakouts – Clarify our yield from the event and articulate next steps.

Closing Ceremony

 We look forward to seeing you in July!



Social Permaculture – Practices to Share


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