by Jillian Hovey, EPT delegate
At the International Permaculture Convergence in Cuba this past December, an Open Session group met to discuss a possible “U.S.” convergence. I showed up, as I thought it was important to have the event include Canada, as we are often “eclipsed” by the “Americans”: we are very aware of them, but they often “forget” that we exist (a strong social ecosystem dynamic). A “North American” convergence (which also includes Mexico) was quickly agreed to, and a group of people from the state of Minnesota stepped forward to host it, and the North American Permaculture Convergence was underway. They had about 8 months to pull it off, and August 29 – 31 we met as almost 400 permaculturalists in the American Mid-West. It was the first meeting of its kind in 30 years – the last one took place in 1984!
I flew in straight from Schweibenalp, carrying a jar of “Alpine Pesto” as a present for my permie host in Minnesota. We held a panel session at the “Tiny Urban Farm” which included Jude Hobbs, Penny Livingston. Before the convergence, there were some workshops, including one I attended on Patterns which Toby Hemenway offered for the first time.
At the convergence, I spoke on the opening plenary panel “The State of the Movement”, with Scott Pittman, Albert Bates, Jude Hobbs, Penny Livingston, Pandora Thomas, and Gerardo Goncales (of Mexico). I shared some info about what is happening in Europe, and talked about the need for a more wholistic understanding and practices as permaculture matures, which was very well received. Other sessions I participated in included “Patterns of Women in Permaculture”, “International Permaculture”, and “Pushing the Edges of the PDC.” We also had time to meet with Bioregional Groups, and we also launched Working Groups, such as Permaculture Standards, and Financial Permaculture, which will continue to meet.
After the convergence, there was a two-day tour, where we saw a research site on chestnuts, hazel nuts, and hickory; whole site design and implementation work by Wayne Weisman and crew at Kinstone; a long-term cold temperate perennial polyculture farm by new author Mark Shepard; and the Seed Saver’s Exchange.
- Research site on chestnuts, hazel nuts, and hickory: www.badgersett.com
- Whole site design and implementation work by Wayne Weisman and crew at Kinstone: www.kinstonecircle.com
- A long-term cold temperate perennial polyculture farm by new author Mark Shepard: www.newforestfarm.net
- The Seed Saver’s Exchange: www.seedsavers.org
Mark Shepard – Tour of New Forest Farm, Wisconsin
There are already plans underway to host the next convergence. For more info about the NAPC you can see www.northamericanpermaculture.org.