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Last Year’s Action Day: a 2022 Sonic Bloom Permaculture Action Day report back

Tue, 06/13/2023 - 08:02

An Action Day of Indigenous Solidarity: 2022 Sonic Bloom Permaculture Action Day report back

by Cass McLaughlin; edited by Ryan Rising



Last year SONIC BLOOM Festival and Permaculture Action Network held an Action Day on the indigenous land project, Aztlan Cultural Center, on the other side of the mountain from where the festival is held. This day of action was an invitation to all festival attendees to join the community in restoration and right practice. Being held the day before festivities began on so-called Spanish Peak Mountain, people from all walks of life were able to join forces on some powerful intentions and kick-off the weekend doing something meaningful and enlightening. 

A congregation of eco-loving mountain dwellers gathered for an opening ceremony around the ceremony tree, a gorgeous Cottonwood. The caretakers of the land welcomed us with prayer, song, hugs, and an introduction to the land. The name “Aztlan” is an homage to the Mexicana peoples’ Aztec ancestors’ homeland. Anyone there that day was extended an invitation to their beloved SunDance ceremony to be held later that summer for eight days in July. It’s been happening since 2006, but only in recent years have they extended an invitation to non-indigenous friends to please come in peace. 

From there everyone broke off into teams to tackle the different tasks of the day. Some helped build the new arbor structure that surrounds the Cottonwood ceremony tree, which is harvested anew every year during SunDance. Others headed down by the creek to clean up the paths, trim trees, and tidy up the gathering spaces. This was all in the name of and in preparation for SunDance! A few first stopped at the dome, serving as a welcome center where friends played music all day, to grab breakfast from the kitchen, a meal of warm fresh fruit and oats. 

Through the activities of the day, history and personal stories were shared, a connection to nature was rooted deeper in all, and wisdom was spread from indigenous folks to open ears. It was an experience first hand of being in right relationship with the land and its people. 

Among many new skills and knowledge acquired throughout the day, one of the most important was learning how to properly approach trimming a tree, which is to say by listening to it and knowing which tools to use. Michael Alcazar went more in depth on this in his workshop at Sonic Bloom. Another resident of the land project shared the history of the bull with us and its significance to the indigenous people. That day we re-built the shade structure around the ceremony tree with 28 posts representing the number of ribs in a buffalo. All lumber was purchase by Sonic Bloom with ticket revenue. 

After all was said and done we shared a meal together in the welcome dome and caravanned over to the festival as a unit, where we would grow closer in friendship and expand further in knowledge throughout the weekend of festivities! 



“Permaculture” is a continuously evolving term, far surpassing the idea of simply ‘sustainability,’ that encapsulates the pursuit of regenerative agriculture grounded in the ethics of people and earth care, fair share, and honoring the source of liberation as by connection to the land. 

Last year the Permaculture department’s lineup of seminars and workshops at Sonic Bloom Music & Arts Festival were completely stacked. From 9am to 6pm every day the range of things covered was enthralling. From learning how to grow your own mushrooms, the power of mindfulness, practical ways you can mobilize ecological action, and of course lots of insight on indigenous agricultural practices that are essential to this concept; lots of pen to paper, needless to say. 

The workshops and seminars were broken down into the two main foci of permaculture; obviously earth care, and then the social part of things, people care. Here’s a breakdown of the key points from the weekend:


The indigenous folx of the Aztlan community would thoroughly bless the Sonic Bloom attendees by facilitating some empathetic conversations around reparations and being in right relationship with the earth, as well as sharing indigenous knowledge and practices that we can then adopt on our own and share with our other networks of community to create more sovereignty.

Among these informational workshops were Indigenous Agroforestry and Traditional Ecological Knowledge led by Michael “Bigfoot “Alcazar. He discussed many traditional ways in which to steward over cherished patches of land, including what types of tools to use, ways to channel more rain water, feeding and expanding the ecosystems, connecting with nature by giving offerings, having ceremony, and breathing with and listening to the trees. The trees tell us what they need, and they help us better understand ourselves. 

Water protection and seed saving are crucial now more than ever to be able to continue drinking fresh water and growing your own food. Frontline Farming, a BIPOC womxn-led food justice initiative, gave us the rundown on how food banks are being bombed and we need each other to preserve seed diversity and heirloom varieties (7 generations). 

Healthy soil is the answer to almost all environmental issues, including weeds, harvest quality, biodiversity, photosynthesis, the list goes on. As Shelby Kaminski said in her Soul of the Soil: Compost Tea workshop, “Soil is the womb of the Earth. If she is fertile, she is giving us plants.” Composting is a sure way to bring back much-needed nutrients into the soil you’re working with. 

The misunderstood dandelions will be a good sign of healthy soil, as they are some of the first foods for bees. Dandelion is also a superb herb (supherb superherb, if you will) to use for maintaining a healthy liver. After blending fresh leaves and pouring through a mesh cloth, you can make a healing green juice with the tea. 

There is a whole world of herbs to utilize for food and medicine. Courtney Cosgriff walked us through some herbalism essentials, starting with the wonders of lemon balm. She said, “What the bees do for the land, lemon balm does for the soul.” It’s great for anxiety, and super versatile; it could revitalize every aspect of the body. You can grow it, drink it in a tea, or use it as a tincture. Bee balm, or motherwort – the plant that made Courtney an herbalist, is also great for anxiety as it stabilizes the heart pulse, and is beneficial to women in general. 

Nettle leaf tea for the kidney, and rose herbs for the heart. Pine increases circulation and is a great winter medicine made with a honey tincture to break up mucus and a fever. Artemisia, a native local wild sage, is aromatic and can be used for cleansing and antiseptic purposes. There’s so many different ways in which you can utilize these medicinal plants, which exist everywhere, all around us! Once you know how to work with them sustainably, the world is your oyster.

Speaking of oysters… the workshops with some of the biggest turnouts were the mushroom talks, particularly Josh Voegler’s Oyster Mushroom Inoculation Demonstration. It was an overspilling audience, with members really engaged and asking lots of questions.



Eco-Social Design w Ryan Rising

Ryan Rising came forth with an approach to everything we design being eco-social-centric, going over several key definitions, methods, ethics, and principles of permaculture. If the source of liberation is by connection to the land, how do we approach food, water, shelter, fiber, and other necessities for everyday life in a way in which we are promoting regenerative ecosystems?

It’s all intrinsically connected. In the art of designing beneficial relations, the principles to consider are produce no waste, observe and interact, every element supports multiple functions, every function is supported by multiple elements, and relative location. 

How do we restore what’s lost and create life-affirming systems, question what’s appropriate with current circumstances, and come together to make future change? By showing up, figuring out where you fit in and asking yourself, “How can I be more regenerative?” 

Build Your Own Dreams w Mike Wird

Integral in “people care” is self care. Mike Wird facilitated a workshop on how to Build Your Own Dreams, leading attendees in exercises of mindfulness and learning how to wake up your mind, so to speak, to come Alive; be confident, create success, embody positive habits, and focus on intentions. By taking control of your thoughts, you can make smart goals and work on things that are developable: i.e. mindset, toolset, and skillset. Some golden nuggets of wisdom Mr. Wird left us with: There is Power is Ritual. Protect your Mind. Protect your Time. You are not promised Tomorrow. Establish your Non-Negotiables, Raise your Standards, and take Massive Action. Walking with Sensitivity results in having more Agency. Learn from the Past, Borrow from the Future, Focus on the Present. Where Intention Goes, Consciousness Grows. 

Social Ecology for Collective Liberation w Ryan Rising

Social Ecology is a Design Process set within an ethical framework following a set of Design Principles learned from nature that observes the land through a process of site analysis and assessment moving through different Design methods to map and design integrated systems that provide us yields while regenerating ecosystems and increasing biodiversity (affirming life) implemented in phases and being mindful of succession.

The space for most productivity lies in the edge spaces.

Bio-Regional Organization + Mutual Aid w Erin Anderson 

In the Bio-Regional Organization + Mutual Aid workshop with Erin Anderson, important questions were answered about how to responsibly organize mutual aid, especially in the heat of recent events the past few years. While the end goal is to abolish ICE and prisons altogether, until then it is crucial to know where you stand before entering a protest of any sort. Beforehand you should already have your roles established, and each person is responsible for knowing their rights and arrestability in any situation. It’s vital to be in solidarity; it’s known all too well that BIPOC are particularly vulnerable in these settings, with extreme results leading to murder and political imprisonment. A name you might have heard before, Leonard Peltier, is a political prisoner serving two life sentences for a supposed murder of which he did not commit, framed by the FBI. He has ties with Tomas, the main caretaker of the Aztlan Cultural Center land project; they helped organize “AIM,” the American Indian Movement together. 

Mobilizing Ecological Action w Jame 

One of the most interactive workshops was the conversation on Mobilizing Ecological Action, where we all discussed our points on the spectrum of earth care to people care, learning through each other’s testimonies where our individual passions and pursuits lay and how it all comes together as each of us doing our part to make positive impact on the greater whole. Prime reading materials were handed out, including the Farmer’s Almanacs written by Lobelia Commons, who works to establish things like front yard fruit, tree nurseries, and food/community hubs in New Orleans – @lobeliacommons on the socials.

“Some say there’s no ethical consumption under Capitalism. While voting with your dollar can feel like the only available option sometimes, it’s a valiant effort that only addresses the symptoms of Capitalism, which is destroying the planet with hopes of infinite growth. It’s not radical or attacking the system at its roots. This is where mobilizing ecological action comes into play; defending and protecting what we still have, as well as resisting, protesting, rioting, and attacking systems of power, extraction, and exploitation directly.

– Jame


POST FEST COMPOST + plans for next bloom

Permaculture Action Network started with musical artists and their fans in full support of permaculture teaming up for an Action Tour to make a rainwater irrigation system, grow a food forest, and connect with each other. More than 100 Action Days later, and here we are. Permaculture at Sonic Bloom started up in 2015. Last year was our first time on the Aztlan land project; we did tree work, nourished the garden with compost tea, held ceremony, and shared meals and stories. This year we’re rebuilding the community kitchen to feed the people. 


Wednesday, June 14th and Thursday, June 15th, 2023 @ 7102 CR 620 Gardner, CO 81040

Join Sonic Bloom and the Permaculture Action Network at the Aztlan Cultural Center both Wednesday and Thursday this year before the festival kicks off on Thursday evening for action days connected by overnight ceremony and camping on the land at Aztlan. June 14th and 15th we’re inviting all attendees of Sonic Bloom, alongside the general public, to come to Aztlan Cultural Center in Gardner, Colorado starting at 11am Wednesday, June 14th. We know it’s been a challenge in past years to have the action day on Thursday while festival gates are opening, so this year we’re welcoming people to come Wednesday and to stay overnight. Action Day participants will be welcome to stay overnight in your own camping setup at Aztlan Cultural Center and join for evening sweat lodge ceremony after Wednesday’s day of action, and either continue working with us on the land at Aztlan Thursday, or head to the Sonic Bloom site as early as 10am for early entry alongside VIP package holders. Many of us will continue to work with the land and the community on Thursday morning and early afternoon, and anyone arriving for Sonic Bloom Thursday morning is welcome join us for working and building on the land before going to the festival, alongside those who arrived Wednesday and slept over after sweat lodge. By 4pm Thursday, June 15th, we will all have moved over to Sonic Bloom for the festival and to hold space in the workshop hub. Action Day: Aztlan Cultural Center is located 40 minutes drive from Hummingbird Ranch and is one of Sonic Bloom’s closest community project neighbors. The center hosts weekly ceremonies and an annual Sun Dance on indigenous held land while welcoming all people to its free ceremonies. As we dance and connect in our own special way, we invite you to stand in solidarity with our indigenous neighbors who are holding their own connection to the land, spirit, and each other. Last year, we rebuilt the ceremonial arbor used for Sun Dance, trimmed trees and cut firewood for ceremony – aiding the forest ecosystem adjacent the stream, and worked on the gardens. We brewed and sprayed compost tea, and took all festival food scraps to build compost piles. This year, we will be rebuilding  the community kitchen that supports the ceremonies, continuing our tree work and work with the stream-adjacent forest ecosystem, and looking at installing a new water catchment tank and pumping system, alongside other ecological projects. Music: We’re always joined by a sound system, DJ’s and performing artists to accompany the day’s projects. Working alongside friends to build, plant, and grow while DJs play to the atmosphere. It’s a beautiful experience and we’re excited for you to join. We’ve had some headlining artists play in the past and you never know who might show up to accompany a day of action with song and rhythm. If you want to play, get in touch with us. We welcome it! Food: We’ll have community meals to share with folks throughout the event. However, it will be greatly supportive if you can bring something to share. Potluck style with us baselining some meals will make sure everyone’s fed and nourished. Bringing water and hydrating drinks, fruit, and snacks is encouraged and appreciated. What To Bring: In addition to some food and water if you want to contribute to potluck style meals and offerings, bring tools if you can – basic construction tools; close-toed shoes, a water bottle to stay hydrated, and, if you’re camping overnight, your tent, headlamp, and other camping gear. This is a rural site, so come prepared.

The post Last Year’s Action Day: a 2022 Sonic Bloom Permaculture Action Day report back appeared first on Permaculture Action Network.

Nashville Permaculture Action Day w/ Rising Appalachia at Grow Enrichment – Nov 11, 2019

Wed, 01/22/2020 - 16:09







Type content:

Nashville Permaculture Action Day
November 11th 2019

November 11, 2019, marked the 100th ever Permaculture Action Day since PAN was founded back in 2014, as well as the third in three years in Nashville, TN. The day was hosted at a 14-acre public park stewarded by local non-profit, GROW Enrichment. A larger and more ambitious site than most PAD’s have been hosted at, GROW has been planting a food forest, hosting educational programs for children in collaboration with the neighboring school and doing large-scale permaculture design including silvopasture since its recent founding. After mobilizing folks from the Rising Appalachia concert the evening prior, over 200 people showed up despite rain in the forecast, including a whole elementary class on a field trip as well as many parents with their children, to get hands-on experience in permaculture.

What makes a Permaculture Action Day so special? A full slate of live music, ongoing
hands-on permaculture projects, workshops and skillshares hosted by local experts
and a full hot lunch that many exclaimed to be “better than a meal that I pay for,”
and several kids activities throughout the day were provided for the participants at no
cost. Extra touches that made the day special included a hot tea elixir lounge,
myotonic fainting goats the kids could pet and play with and an impromptu afterparty
because of an early sunset and cold rain that featured local hip-hop artist,
The main hands-on projects included sheet-mulching and inoculating the existing
food forest with King Stropharia mushrooms, building a retaining wall that will be a
kids tea garden and planting native trees. While the music was great throughout the
day, The Keymasters stood out with their soulful blend of funk, r&b and jazz that fit
the cold wind and rain outside.
Overall, it turned out to be an exceptional day and a testament to why events like
these exist and why they are important in shaping a new cultural paradigm.
Permaculture Action Days provide a safe, family-friendly space for folks from all
walks of life to network, be entertained, fill their bellies, learn new skills, gain roots-
based education and expose themselves to a model society in which folks act directly
in collaboration with each other for a collective common good instead of from a place
of scarcity, self-interest and near-sightedness.
It takes a village to transform the world we live in. Join us and help plant hope and
seed change with us no matter where you are in the country. You can volunteer, find
out more and stay in touch with us by following these links and keying in your
Follow our work at

The main project for the day consisted of sheet-mulching the existing food forest. This technique is an effective way to suppress unwanted grass and weeds that compete for nutrients with the trees as well as add biomass to the rootbase of the trees; in this case, woodchips. Additionally, we inoculated the woodchips with mushrooms, resulting in food for us and an expedited decomposition of the woodchips for the soil.
Other projects included a retaining wall that was backfilled with soil with future plans to plant it out with a variety of teas for children to tend to, removing opportunistic species such as privet and honeysuckle from the park and planting more native trees and shrubs.
A group was formed to remove general trash and debris from the park as well that had collected over the year.

Workshops and skill shares

Jeremy Lekich of Nashville Foodscapes led the retaining wall project as well as an educational plant walk.

Julia Sickler led a captivating workshop on Environmental Economics.

Intern at GROW Enrichment, Caitlin Craig, led several of the kids activities throughout the day.

Christian Mangrum Alsider taught the participants about the category of plants labeled dynamic accumulators, those support species that make subsoil nutrients available to others.

Tracey Burks taught children how to make natural play-dough.

Sizwe Herring of Earth Matters TN and host of GROW Enrichment, Ginger-Rose Krueck, tell their stories.

Not pictured: David Hughes led a workshop on pollinators and trees.

It is important to keep action day participants fed! We had a feast of entirely locally-sourced food, including butternut squash soup, collard greens, chicken casserole, roasted sweet potatoes and potatoes, roasted brussel sprouts,
a big salad, baked apples as well as bread and fruit for the people.

Four main people collaborated to make the delicious food happen; Joana Amorim from the Mid- Appalachian BioRegional Crew of PAN, Ashley Masterson, Sheldon Diggs from Souls United and Stephanie from Alexander’s Catering. All spent several days prior to the action day preparing. Thank you!

One of the key elements to a Permaculture Action Day is the redirection of social energy. We partner with bands to harness the excitement that live music creates into direct on-the-ground action in communities that are vulnerable
and marginalized.
Leah from RA with her
new friend, Manifest.
Rising Appalachia has been a partner of ours for several years now and have helped us mobilize thousands of people to Permaculture Action Days over recent years. Thanks to Rising Appalachia band members for showing
up on the day and spending some time with us!

KidLandia was busy all day with nature-based education and crafts. Turnip Green
Creative Reuse did up-cycled crafts with the kids. With the help of Caitlin Craig and,
Tracey Burks, the littles made natural playdough and learned the art of stick weaving as
well as going on walks to learn about plants. I heard some of the adults even tried their
hands at the crafting! Additionally, we had the mini goats there for the kids to pet and
play with.

Performing Artists
Magic of Science and friends
Laura Reed
Joel Karabo Elliott of Roots Run Deep
The Keymasters
DJ Nexus
Ngawang Losel
Not pictured: Nashville recording
artist Laura Reed, local band The
KeyMasters, WXNA’s DJ Nexus who unfortunately could not finish his set as a result of rain and impending
darkness, and Foundation who performed at an indoor afterparty.
Magic of Science and friends putting spells on us.
Joel Karabo Elliott from Roots Grown Deep North Amerika/South Afrika grounds us with his South African-
inspired music.

Ngawang Losel hosted a singing bowl ceremony as well as a calm grounding to lead off the day.

Thank you to all who contributed
to make this day happen!
Partners: Sponsors:
Deep Culture
Permaculture Action Network
Grow Enrichment
Greenwood Nurseries
Spiral Ridge Permaculture
Brooklyn Heights Community Garden
Pig & Leaf
Tria Prima
New Earth Matters
Ozark Mountain Permaculture
Tennessee Women in Green
Souls United
Urban Ecovillage
Hip Donelson
Two Rivers Middle School
Nashville Metro Parks Dept.
Your Green Homestead
Turnip Green Creative Reuse
Tennessee Environmental Council
Lightning 100
TN Chapter of the Sierra Club, Middle
TN Group
Plant the Seed
Nahko and Medicine for the People
Marathon Music Works Deep Tropics
Rising Appalachia
Julie Martinson
Nashville Foodscapes
Gardens of Babylon
Harbin Hollow
Nectar Urban Cantina
Mountain Rose Herbs
Gaia Herbs
Twice Daily Thrive
Mid-TN Trees
Richland Park Farmers Market
Photos taken by Ashley
Williams/Beyond Pixels Photography
and Ashleigh Eve Newnes
Charles White, Ginger-Rose Krueck, Michael Beck, Joana
Amorim, Mage Brent, Sheldon Diggs, Ashley Masterson, Kaytlen
Cruz, Caitlin Craig, Joel Atchison, Blake Atchison, Cliff Davis,
Jeremy Lekich, David Wells, Christian Mangrum Alsider, Julia
Louise Sickler, Callie Solflower, Sizwe Herring, David Hughes,
Tracey Burks, Wil Hansen

The post Nashville Permaculture Action Day w/ Rising Appalachia at Grow Enrichment – Nov 11, 2019 appeared first on Permaculture Action Network.

Chicago Permaculture Action Day w/ Rising Appalachia at The Breathing Room – Nov 16, 2018

Tue, 08/13/2019 - 19:14

Steve Hughes, The Breathing Room’s urban farmer

On November 16th, 2018, friends and organizers of the Permaculture Action Network and Rising Appalachia gathered for a second consecutive Permaculture Action Day in the South Side of Chicago following Thursday’s action day at iGrow. This time we mobilized the concert audience from Wednesday’s show at SPACE in Evanston to The Breathing Room, the healing and organizing hub of the Let Us Breathe Collective on Chicago’s South Side. Dozens of attendees came out for another opportunity to participate in a day of regenerative action in direct solidarity with those creating their own spaces for collective liberation through their own self-determination.

The #LetUsBreathe Collective is an alliance of artists and activists organizing programs and projects through a creative lens to imagine a world without prisons and police.

“We organize artists to love and transform themselves, their families, their communities, and their cities through radical imagination and healing. The Collective produces cultural events and direct actions that disrupt oppressive systems, amplify marginalized voices, and serve people and communities most directly harmed by mass incarceration, police violence, and systemic injustice,”


“We believe that people and communities are able to govern themselves peacefully when they have access to and sovereignty over quality education, housing, art, healthcare, nutrition, useful and prosperous livelihood, and skills for nonviolently resolving harm and conflict.”

Across the street from The Breathing Room is a plot of land that has been stewarded by Steve Hughes, founder of OTIS Fresh Market and a director at Let Us Breathe Collective. Steve has been tending to this plot, a once empty urban lot, for the past few years, single-handedly for the most part. He turned 100 tons of organic matter into a rich layer of topsoil on which he has dry-farmed organic produce, utilized vermiculture techniques to produce food for restaurants, implemented and sustained a community farm, and, perhaps most impressively, dry-grown watermelon.

Steve harvesting

The morning of the Action Day opened with a group circle that was filled with introductions to community members, projects, project leads, and an introduction to The Breathing Room community agreements led by local organizer and nutrition enthusiast, Cherisse Jackson.

Morning circle at the action day

Projects for the day that took place in the garden plot maintained by Steve included building a street-facing farm stand designed with a rainwater catchment system. This system was primarily built with repurposed lumber from the community centric Chicago Rebuilding Exchange (Rx). The design will allow Steve to sell produce directly from his farmstand and will store rainwater for his farm. The water catchment farm stand was asked for in-part to further actualize the environmental justice and food justice aspects of the Breathing Room collective.

Several cold frame boxes were built with repurposed windows to let the sun shine in, veggies were harvested, pathways cleared, and Steve was presented with the workforce he had been waiting for. “I feel like its my birthday,” he said.

Cold frame build

A celebrated result of Permaculture Action Days are the tangible skills attendees can gain while learning in a community setting. Those who came out to The Breathing Room were able to learn and practice the process of bending conduit. Bent-conduit low-tunnels were implemented and covered with translucent plastic for seasonal extension. This skill can be applied to many trades including those that deal with electrical wiring such as installing and activating a solar panel array.

Inside the Breathing Room, an upstairs room was emptied and repurposed for an indoor food producing space, just down the hall from a music production room for neighborhood youth. Seeding and potting tables with mesh sifts and soil catchment features were constructed. Finally, a large store room was organized and inventoried by an incredibly motivated and detail-oriented attendee. (Thank you! You know who you are.)

Downstairs in the community room, free workshops took place throughout the duration of the day including, “Calling Police During Mental Health Crises” w/ Timmy Châu of Alternatives. “This workshop is a step to build our capacity to act,” said Châu. Participants were versed in the Do’s and Don’ts of how to be an active bystander with steps such as making your presence known, taking cues from victims, and not assuming someone else will take responsibility.

A workshop facilitator presents inside The Breathing Room

As the sunlight began to fade, a drum and dance workshop mobilized from the indoor Community space to the farm in an effort to keep spirits high and playful while building projects came to a close. The workshop was taught by active Breathing Room community member, E’a The Wholistic Artist. She has been drumming for 11 years as one of her many creative and healthful passions.

Drumming keeps the people moving in the cold weather

Special thanks again to Chef Mel and Nori, as well as to Cherisse for providing food as medicine to keep us nourished and energized. Thank you to Carrie Lierl for working with notable effort to acquire copious amounts of produce and dessert donations. Thank you to the Breathing Room Collective for inviting us to your insightful and tremendously creative recurring open mic which doubled as an after party to the day of action.

“The network of staffing and the openness of ALL has been an enlightened experience to say the least. It has been a revelatory experience about how others care,” Steve Hughes said in regard to the Permaculture Action Day.

Working with Steve and the Breathing Room community has been one of the highest honors our team has been graced with. The gratitude, inspiration, comradery, and humility we have felt in this partnership are unquantifiable. We are all better for it, and we thank you.

Written by Hillary Walton and Michael Beck, Permaculture Action Network organizers

Photos taken by Syd Woodward of Guayaki’s Come To Life Media Team

Read the article on the previous day of action at iGrow in Chicago.


The post Chicago Permaculture Action Day w/ Rising Appalachia at The Breathing Room – Nov 16, 2018 appeared first on Permaculture Action Network.

Detroit Permaculture Action Day w/ Rising Appalachia at Spirit Farm – Nov 10, 2018

Tue, 08/13/2019 - 18:59

Action Days draw all kinds of people together, some who know each other and others who create new, strong connections formed doing meaningful work while being immersed in the stimulating energy of learning, loving and acting in service and collectivism. Detroit, MI was the first stop on the Permaculture Action Network’s Solidarity Tour and remains a shining example of all the connection and networking that an Action Day can bring. 

A brave confluence of Detroiters and visitors showed up to Spirit Farm, neighbor to Spirit of Hope in North Corktown of Detroit, Michigan. People gathered on a cold morning with warm smiles for a full day of hands-on farm projects and potent, free workshops that offered education, resources and strategies from local experts. 

This particular Action Day was organized to directly address the very real consequences of gentrification locally. The projects chosen helped affirm the collective need to build awareness, skill and concepts required for increased autonomy and resiliency. Continue reading for more on this Action Day’s projects and workshops.

Detroit’s recent redevelopment, gentrification and inequities in city services have plagued a lot of long-time residents. These forces have been driving dividing change in historical neighborhoods. In the wake of all this, Cork Town, Detroit’s oldest neighborhood, has undergone significant redevelopment and Spirit Farm and Spirit of Hope have continued to be resources and bastions for those who are holding their ground and for all who seek a green space, community resiliency and refuge in the city. 

Spirit Farm has been occupied for 11 years, beginning when the city gave away land hand-over-fist to anyone who would steward it and take it from the city’s stagnant and overwhelming inventory of unused assets. 

“Spirit Farm was founded to address food security and social justice in the city of Detroit and in North Corktown, Woodbridge, and Core City in particular. A free and open space 24/7 to take a green break in the city. Watch the flowers grow, watch the butterflies or dragonflies, visit neighborhood pheasants, or plant a small plot of veggies. We have supplied tons of food for the food pantry at Spirit of Hope and to Food Not Bombs over the past years. All of our volunteers are able to grow and/or share in the harvest,” primary farm steward Tuka wrote. 

“Since August 5th, 2007, Spirit Farm has been a hub for a Sustainable Community Education Series. We have hosted Scott Kellogg, Sepp Holzer, Keith Johnson, Larry Santoyo, Edie Mukiibi, Heather Flores, Detroit Urban Farmers, Allied Media Cooks, US Social Forum Activities, Weekly Permaculture Study Group 2008-2010, and many classes of children from preschool to college.”

In exchange for showing up to the Action Day, attendees were provided a plethora of learning opportunities at the farm. The day began with an orientation to hands-on projects and commenced by reorganizing and repairing a 24×48 foot greenhouse, establishing and shaping new and old composting systems, grooming and putting a central medicine wheel garden to rest for the winter, constructing a 24×8 foot rainwater harvesting system for the sake of water autonomy and to move the farm off of its dependence on city water, and last but certainly not least, the build of a bona-fide pig house for the farm’s therapy pig.

“Urban agriculture has exploded in Detroit over the past dozen years. We acknowledge Detroit’s rich urban farming past and we see ourselves at Spirit Farm as an educational hub for sustainability long into the future. Like the Slow Foods Movement, and the Slow Arts Movement we are taking it Slow; we are a slow growth farm incorporating Native Michigan plants, flowers, herbs, heirloom vegetables, small fruit trees, and bees. We are visualizing a sweet future of continued community support, sustainable education, and features incorporated into the farm,” Tuka said.

Biko and David from Rising Appalachia, working in the garden

“As an older, well-established garden in the city, we often serve as a gathering place for community events and serve as an open classroom for workshops from Keep Growing Detroit, Greening of Detroit, DUST (Detroit Urban Sustainability Training) Workshops, along with other community groups. We believe in building Blue-Green Infrastructure in the city of Detroit for a healthier future city. We are grateful to be a part of the Urban Ag Movement here in Detroit.”

Leah Song of Rising Appalachia and Action Day attendees moving mulch

Music curated for the Action Day filled the farm space while the outdoors buzzed with community voices and the sounds of hand and power tools being put to good use. Throughout the day, announcements were made on the loudspeaker to call attention to the ongoing workshops taking place indoors. Participants were encouraged to move back and forth between the spaces as they so desired.

Workshops offered by locals covered pertinent topics for staying resilient through the changes driven by monied interests. Sessions began with an opening blessing from Rosebud Bear Schneider. Rosebud then went on to teach a session regarding Food Security, Revitalizing Indigenous foodways & An Introduction to Indigenous led Sacred Roots Farm. She was followed by Governance, Blockchain and Economic Security w/ Ingrid LaFleur who has recently run for Mayor as an outspoken afrofuturist; Housing Security & The Detroit Land Bank w/ Michelle Oberholtzer of United Community Housing Coalition and The Tricycle Collective; Water Security w/ Rebeka Larson, a recent winner of squatter’s rights in the city of Detroit and member of The People’s Water Board Coalition; Adapt: A Permaculture Game w/ Brigit O’Brien; Health, Wellness & The Remedy: Afrosonic Liberation Sessions w/ June and Sustainability in Detroit w/ Kyle Kentala, Detroit Sustainability Ambassador for district 2, working on behalf of the newly formed Office of Sustainability for the city of Detroit to engage the neighborhoods on the actions, agenda plans and overall sustainable practices of the city. Volunteer note-takers documented all of the workshops.
As workshops came to a close indoors, the pig house and rain catchment system were completed outside as the sun set and we began to transition into the after party.

Local business and farm-to-table food truck Pink Flamingo served gourmet food to those who stuck around and those just arriving. The night was turned on with Detroit artist, Peace to Mateo, a Detroit-based Young Heavy Souls artist, who was followed by Rising Appalachia taking the stage and providing a beautiful live experience in the ornate stained glass adorned sanctuary of Spirit of Hope. David Brown, of Rising Appalachia, performed remixes and more original material as Castanea after the full band’s performance and Leah Song’s gratitude, excitement and hope for the day’s work and the Solidarity Tour’s continuation to Chicago, Minneapolis and beyond. 

Ornate benefit concert in Spirit of Hope sanctuary

Rising Appalachia, similar to Spirit Farm, champions a slow music movement and encourages fan bases to root down, get with the earth and connect as community. The suggested-donation-based show raised funds to help continue the work.

Special thanks for Jessica Martin and crew for being powerhouses in the kitchen, keeping us nourished and energized with food as medicine and to the Spirit of Hope soup kitchen crew for sharing the space with us to patiently and graciously. Thank you to Honey Bee Market La Colmena, Justin Shinaustin of Imperial Fresh Market and everyone else who provided food donations for the cause. 

Big thanks to Ray and team at Brooks Lumber for donating building supplies for projects so last minute. When other tentative donations fell through, you showed up to actually save the day and not only that, but you brought humor, joy and were an absolute pleasure to connect with. 

Special thanks to Jessica Palace and Chrissie Bingham for collecting information from all workshop presenters and creating beautifully crafted resource binder and resource board that will be retained by Spirit of Hope and Spirit Farm into the future with intention to keep them active and growing. Those who steward the space were deeply moved by the work that went into creating these useful gifts. Spirit of Hope serves as a community center to various long-standing residents and your efforts have already made an impact by increasing access and awareness to needed (asked for) solutions and local allies. 

Thank you also to Anthony and the Crow Manner Anarchist Collective for project and material support. 

Thank you to everyone who helped out with sound and lighting for the benefit concert, to those who stuck around after the show to help us reset the space and to those who keep the community center and garden thriving on a daily basis. 

Thank you Pastor Lindsey, Tuka and Norm! Norm, you are the man. Thank you for welcoming us so graciously, for giving us a hard time in good fun, for sharing your wisdom, expertise and your story. We love you. 

For the full photo album from the day, visit

Written by Permaculture Action Network organizers Kammer Moss and Hillary Walton of the Great Lakes BioRegional Crew 

Photos taken by Alexa Levy and other Permaculture Action Network organizers

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Chicago Permaculture Action Day w/ Rising Appalachia at iGrow – Nov 15, 2018

Tue, 08/13/2019 - 18:36

Joana Amorim of Permaculture Action Network and team painting boarded houses.

On November 15th, 2018, as the first snowflakes of the season drifted to the ground, friends and organizers of Permaculture Action Network and Rising Appalachia gathered for an Action Day at the Peace Campus with the iGrow Chicago community.

iGrow Chicago is located in the South Side of Chicago at the intersection of W 64th Street and S Honore St. The mission of iGrow Chicago is to grow Englewood from surviving to thriving through community connection, skill building, and opportunity. Their slogan is #healingthehood.

“On what was previously one of the most violent blocks in Englewood, iGrow Chicago is planting the seeds of change and igniting collective hope and healing. By transforming abandoned homes and vacant lots into community-led resources, we are building skills, fostering connection, and promoting a safe and thriving community,” according to

In classic Action Day style, the morning opened with a group circle filled with introductions to community members, projects, project leads, and gratitude, song and mindfulness practices led by iGrow Director of Community Engagement, Peace Coleman.

Projects for the day included insulating and winterizing a coop for the “Chicks for Justice” chickens, hanging “Lights of Belonging” LED strands up stairways and railings and around the doorways of community elders’ homes, working in iGrow’s urban farm with lead gardener Erica Thronton to improve cold weather gardening systems, and painting inspirational images and messages on boards covering up windows and doors of abandoned homes in the neighborhood.

Leah Song and friend with iGrow’s “Chicks for Justice”

“The most beneficial project to me was painting the boarded up doors and windows. The project boosted community moral and we have neighbors from other blocks asking us to come paint on their street,” said Erin Vogel, Co-Executive Director of iGrow. “One of our kids said that he was proud to live on the 6400 block of South Honore. He loves walking down the block to go to school and seeing all of the beautiful artwork we created.”

Painter’s Creation

Rolling workshops and group activities took place inside the Peace House throughout the day. Such offerings included a splendidly aromatic herbal wreath workshop with Megan Musschoot, Garden, Art, Sound and Drum workshops with Consensus, a Reimagining Justice Workshop: Restorative Practice w/ Communities to confront systems of power and provide solutions for intra-communal and state violence w/ Alternatives.

“Restorative justice practices work to bring the broadest definition of community together to heal and connect. Through monthly peace circles and community dinners, we see each other as what we really are — humans. Finding common ground and doing critical work together heals community wounds and creates opportunities for collective action,” an iGrow Staff member wrote.

Restorative Justice Circle at iGrow

The latter half of the day was filled with musical engagement including a performance by Altruin, a drum circle with Biko Casini, and The Miseducation of Hip-Hop with Mother Nature Barz.

iGrow community youth drumming during the action day

This community event was one of snow and laughter, warmth and creativity, vulnerability and strength, friendship and increased resilience. In addition to those already mentioned, we at Permaculture Action Network would like to share a big thank you for all community members and attendees that came out, the elders, the youth and everyone in between. Big thanks to Chef Mel and Nori for filling the Peace House with mouth-watering smells and for filling our bellies with nourishment so that we could keep effectively building and learning together, to Robbin Carroll for initiating the Peace House and providing an incredible demonstration of the power of community, and to Quentin Mables and Erin Vogel for bringing the fun, for having all the answers to our questions and for welcoming us so warmly.

For the full photo album from the day, visit

Written by Hillary Walton, member of the Great Lakes BioRegional Crew of Permaculture Action Network 

Photos taken by Syd Woodward of Guayaki’s Come To Life Media Team, Alexa Levy, iGrow Team, and Alycia Grace of This is Perfect Harmony LLC

Read the article on our second Chicago Permaculture Action Day on the Solidarity Tour coming soon!

The post Chicago Permaculture Action Day w/ Rising Appalachia at iGrow – Nov 15, 2018 appeared first on Permaculture Action Network.

Sonic Bloom Permaculture Action Day 2019

Sun, 05/26/2019 - 08:13

Permaculture Action Day

at BUS – Building United Society
126 North Polk Avenue
Walsenburg, CO 81089

Thursday, June 20, 2019

BUS is a late 1800s school building being converted into a community center with free housing & food for people working the District ONE Farms.

Hands-On Projects ● Workshops  ● Music

Food  ● Art ● Community Building

For the fifth year in a row we mobilize the energy of the SONIC BLOOM Festival community into the nearby town of Walsenburg where District O.N.E. is Organizing New Economy. “Local food is the first economy of any society.” –

This year, we expand the District ONE project beyond its farms and pay-what-you-can farm-to-table restaurant to the BUS.

The BUS – Building United Society – is a late 1800s school building being converted into a place where food and housing is provided in reciprocity for work on the District ONE Farms growing organic, nutrient-rich food for the community.

Over the last 4 years we’ve watched the farms grow with trees, greenhouses, edible perennials, composting systems, murals, rainwater catchment, medicinal herbs, earthworks, mushrooms, vegetables, and other useful plants. This year, join us to demonstrate that permaculture is not just about farms and gardens – it’s about housing, community, economy, energy, the built environment, and how we organize our lives in relationship to the ecosystems around us and one another.

We need your support for this one! Have electrical skills? Construction tools? Building materials? Paint for murals?

Get in touch! Email us –

We’ll be mounting and installing solar, fixing plumbing, constructing a chicken coop, building a greenhouse, painting stairs, planting, repairing, and beautifying.

Music and Workshop Schedule to be announced soon!

Bring a potluck to add to the lunch spread. Wear close toed shoes. Bring a refillable water bottle, and even dishware if you like. We’ll wrap up just in time to guarantee you quick and easeful entry to festival – we’ve got you covered!

Please click going and share the facebook event page with your friends or download the flyer image and spread the word.

Interested in the three-day Permaculture Action Course we’re hosting on the festival site before the action day? Check out the Sonic Bloom Permaculture Academy and register today to reserve your seat. Course includes:

 – on-site creek-side camping
 – organic brunch and dinner every day
 – the most essential ecological design, sustainable living, community organizing, and social permaculture how to’s we can fit into three fun, community-filled days.

Past course graduates have gone on to start their own permaculture organizations, edible landscaping companies, regenerative farms, and work in movements across the country including for indigenous food sovereignty, regenerative agriculture, and clean energy. Visit the Sonic Bloom website to register.

Note: the Permaculture Action Day and the Academy are separate events. The action day is free and all are welcome to attend. Academy registration includes a fee to pay for catered meals, camping, skilled and trained facilitators, and other costs.

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7.16.16 Denver Permaculture Action Day

Sat, 08/20/2016 - 12:57

Synopsis by Eliot Kersgaard. Edited by Zac Fabian. Photos by Fabian Productions, LLC

On July 16, 2016, over 150 people converged at Sister Gardens for Denver’s 3rd Permaculture Action Day this summer. Over the last few years, this 1.25 acre plot managed by Urbiculture community farms, which merged this year with Groundwork Denver, has been coming to life as a community food hub.  It is a food-producing farm, classroom as well as personal sanctuary. Garden produce is sold at a pay-as-you-can farm stand, sold to restaurants and is distributed to Warren Village, a transitional housing facility that helps low income single parent families achieve sustainable personal and economic self- sufficiency.

Fatuma Emmad, UrbiCulture Community Farms

Fatuma Emmad, the Sister Gardens site manager, explains the mission of UrbiCulture Community Farms:

“We have a bunch of different sites throughout Denver. We grow food, we have pay what you can farm stands, and then we have a healing foods program. The healing foods program goes to places that are housing displaced women and children, which is a big problem in Denver. Rent prices are going up, its hard for people to meet up with the demand of expense here. So we donate there and we also donate to a place that has people that are receiving treatment for cancer.”

We started the day with an opening ceremony facilitated by Michelle and Ramon Gabrieloff-Parish. Confronting the dramatic violence of recent weeks, the two opened dialogue about healing social trauma through forgiveness and empowerment. Kendra Krueger from the Denver Permaculture Guild, explained the importance of highlighting social permaculture strategies:  “It’s about healing, and that’s healing land and also healing communities. We really work to figure out how to connect people to resources, to opportunities, to each other, to get that real sense of neighborhood, and community, and interdependence. Thats what I think permaculture is all about.” Six afternoon workshops built upon this dialogue and and also included soil building, laughter yoga, re-thinking wealth with time based currency, and the power of ritual.

We worked on several projects around the site while Dank Lloyd dropped a DJ set. The music was vibrant and soothing as we started to sweat in the hot Colorado sun. Our tasks for the day including: general upkeep of the farm, such as weeding and turning the compost, and a few infrastructure improvements. The foundation and draining trench were dug for a new washing station to serve the farm’s twice weekly farm stand; an herb spiral to grow new plants and aesthetically pleasing; and a cobb oven for wood fired pizza and more. An energetic group of young children painted, while we had a yoga class, and others enthusiastically mapped their visions of a better Denver with Boulder native permaculture teacher Robin Eden. Even more youth came out with Groundwork Denver and worked hard on our projects throughout the day.

Dinner catered by Caveman chefs featured ingredients sourced from the site such as kale, collards, and carrots. Potatoes and kale chips were roasted to perfection in the world’s largest mobile solar oven, brought by Solutions Craft. The music concluded after dinner with an activating lyrical adventure by Alais Clay.  After, 80 of us closed the day with a circle in which we shared sentiments and a giant group hug. Many stayed at the site chatting, cleaning, and lending an extra hand to break down and pack up.

This Action Day was the first Permaculture Action Day completely organized by a local, Bioregional Crew. The crew that put together the action day was a collaboration of the Permaculture Action Network, UrbiCulture Community Farms, the Musical Activist Alliance, and the Denver Permaculture Guild. The Front Range Permaculture Action Crew will be building from the success of this action day with more action days throughout the Denver metro area. For more information on what we’re up to or to help plan future action days, please reach out to Eliot Kersgaard at


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Sonic Bloom Festival hosts Permaculture Action Day at local Walsenburg Community Farm

Mon, 07/18/2016 - 14:27

(Event Date: Sunday, June 16th, 2016)

For the second year in a row Sonic Bloom Festival held a Permaculture Action Day at the new community farm in nearby Walsenburg, Colorado, the closest town to the music festival’s venue, Hummingbird Ranch.  On Thursday, June 16th, the day the festival begun, about 50 of the festival-goers came first to the District ONE Farm at John Mall High School to install a rainwater catchment system off the school’s roof and dig a series of rainwater catchment earthworks – depressions in the landscape that catch and store water in the ground for irrigating the farm’s plants.

Urban Farmer Nick Gruber from Produce Denver brought down dozens of tools that made the action day possible. Stephanie Syson, designer of the Basalt public food forest, brought a beautiful collection of trees and support-species from the nurseries of Central Rocky Mountain Permaculture Institute.

Three action day participants build an A-Frame to measure contour of the land for the exact route the swale will be taking. “On contour” refers to keeping everything level, such that the path of the swale moves along the contour – or the line made by connecting equal points in elevation along the landscape – of a slope so that the water absorbs evenly.

The farm, which was started during a Permaculture Action Day before Sonic Bloom Festival 2015, has not had water for the last year.  Now, after the festival’s community action day, water is flowing into the ground where the farm will be growing fresh, nutrient-rich produce for the people of Walsenburg.  Colorado-based permaculture designer and water systems expert Avery Ellis designed the water catchment system to bring the rain off the roof, beyond a 30-foot paved parking lot, and over a deep drainage ditch to reach the farm where it is needed.   Quite a design feat to reroute the water!  

Huerfano County has been ranked as one of the poorest counties in Colorado with some of the worst food nutrition on record, so this people-powered community farm is a significant step towards creating food access and food justice for the area.  

After the participants created swales on contour and installed a rainwater catchment system at the farm, we moved to the One Table restaurant in downtown Walsenburg where we enjoyed a free meal at this new farm-to-table, by donation food establishment.  The restaurant seeks to distribute the food grown at the farm and garden in conjunction with LiveWell Colorado, an organization that focuses on nutrition and health.  Now, that’s how it’s done! Right?

Participants digging earthworks on contour. You can see the blue 55 gallon drum in the background. The water will flow from there, where it is collecting rainwater from the roof, and travel underground in pipes to feed the farm!

After a day of hard work and enjoying a meal together, the festival participants continued on to the second farm site of District One where we planted fruit trees, berry bushes, and other plants with edible and medicinal uses and other beneficial outputs for neighboring plants.  The permaculture technique is called “guilds,” a “forest garden” assembly of plants in which the different species help each other by being interplanted while providing food, fiber, fuel, medicine, and other beneficial yields for people. Oh, the things we can do together!

The Permaculture Action Day was not the only sustainability effort Sonic Bloom Festival did this year.  The festival worked with us and GaiaCraft to host a three day Permaculture Academy Series on the festival site in the days before the event began.  This was an intensive course that people attended before the music festival started where they learned the permaculture design science of integrating people into the ecological web of life in a way that is mutually beneficial. We focused on soil building, perennial food systems, rainwater catchment, sustainable building, and community relationships.  This was the fourth “Permaculture Action Course” that the Permaculture Action Network has put on, teaching ecological design as well as community organizing skills.  

he rain barrel sits under the downspout of the gutter. As rainwater runs off the roof of the school, it will travel down the gutter directed into the 55 gallon drum where the water is stored. The red nozzle at the bottom of the drum allows you to release the 55 gallons of stored water when you choose to. The overflow pipe, above, sends any water above and beyond the 55 gallons that can be stored directly out to the farm whenever it rains.

Mike Wird teaching about natural building during our 3 day Permaculture Academy Series.

During Sonic Bloom we hosted a workshop space within the festival itself, the “Permaculture Action Hub,” where educators and practitioners held workshops and skill-shares throughout the event which were widely attended.  Teachers such as local Colorado experts Avery Ellis, Mike Wird, Robin Eden, TaraRae Kent, Stephanie Syson, Adam Brock, as well as our own Ryan Rising and GaiaCraft’s Keala Young, hosted workshops on edible and medicinal plants, composting and soil building, water catchment strategies, social permaculture and community organizing, reading a landscape for sustainable design, food forestry, and much more.

The week long events with Sonic Bloom Festival ended with power. More to come! Did someone say on the Road to Burning Man? … See the event page here:


Check out more photos from our Sonic Bloom Permaculture Action Series:


Want to get involved? Attend this year’s Sonic Bloom Permaculture Academy 2017: Come to the Sonic Bloom Permaculture Action Day 2017:

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July 16th | Denver Permaculture Action Day

Mon, 07/11/2016 - 10:43

This Saturday, July 16th | Denver Permaculture Action Day

Location: Sister Gardens: 2861 W. 52nd Avenue, Denver, CO 80221
Time: 9:30AM – 6 PM

The Denver Permaculture Action Day is a collaboration work party bringing music and food enthusiasts for a day of hard work, educational workshops, yoga, and good fun.

Groundwork Denver, Permaculture Action Network, Denver Permaculture Guild, Front Range Permaculture Action Crew, and Music Activist Alliance host a one day event at Sister Gardens in Denver to co-create a sustainable community by taking action together. In this blitz-style work day, we empower participants, teach gardening techniques, share passions, and create lasting connections. All our welcome and admission is free! There will be plenty of work with live music, culminating in a group dinner. The fresh garden produce pay-what-you farm stand will be open till 12PM. We will be outside getting dirty in the sun; dress appropriately and bring plenty of water, sun protection, and snacks!

On July 16, the day begins at Sister Gardens at 9:30 AM. At 10AM, breakout to work on few projects on the site, including plantings, starting a cob oven, farm maintenance, and art projects. We’ll be joined by music from the hip hop collective Souls in Action Entertainment, Diego Florez, and a community jam hosted by The People’s Party.  There will be plenty of Yerba Mate to drink donated by Guayaki. At 2:30PM, we transition from work to workshops, discussions, and yoga.  At 4pm, there will be food provided by Food Not Bombs and Johnny Hurley with Caveman Chefs. At 5:30 we will hold a closing ceremony.

Get all the details and invite your friends at the Facebook event page here. 

We’ll post live updates to the event page day of, as well as on Twitter – follow @PermaAction or search #PermacultureAction to get the latest.

Big thanks to Groundwork Denver, Music Activist Alliance, Denver Permaculture Guild, and the Front Range Permaculture Action Crew for the great support in making this all happen.

The post July 16th | Denver Permaculture Action Day appeared first on Permaculture Action Network.

Permaculture Action Skills Course Santa Cruz

Mon, 06/15/2015 - 10:50
Permaculture Action Skills Course Santa Cruz    August 14 – 20  2015    >> REGISTER NOW <<

The Permaculture Action Skills Course teaches both hands-on techniques and social methodologies to empower you in creating greater connection and sustainability in your life, today and for future generations. Permaculture is a design science for regenerative ecological and socio-economic systems that mimic nature. In addition to physical systems implementation, this course offers methods for community organizing to bring your visions and dreams of a better world into reality.








The Permaculture Action Skills Course will highlight:

  • Permaculture Principles, Ethics and Design methods
  • Reading patterns in the landscape
  • Sector and Zone Analysis
  • Seed Saving
  • Soil Science
  • Tree Grafting
  • Compost Building
  • Rocket Stoves
  • Site Assessment/Landscape Design
  • Rainwater Harvesting
  • Water Management
  • Irrigation
  • Renewable Energy Technology
  • Cob and Natural Building Methods
  • Alternative Economics
  • Collaborative Group Dynamics
  • Decision Making Processes
  • Conflict Resolution
  • Social Change Tools
  • Community Living Design
  • Bird Language
  • Nature Awareness Skills
  • 5 Element Qi Gong and Meditation

Several other aspects of whole systems design will be explored.  With a focus on catalyzing social transformation, you will learn techniques for regenerating ecology and community building through action-oriented organizing. You will also have the daily opportunity to enhance your awareness of the natural world and human interconnection through observation of ecological patterns and those of your inner ecosystem.

This course is for people living in any ecosystem from urban to rural – students, backyard gardeners, landowners, farmers, landscapers, builders, changemakers, and social justice advocates. The course is a launching pad for people bringing integrated design solutions to the challenges we face in life, work, and the dominant social and ecological models.


With experts in their respective fields teaching Rainwater Harvesting, Compost and Soil Building, Earthworks, Natural Building, Community Organizing, and much more, this course will leave you with the practical tools to actually start building the world you want to live in.


We will be learning, living, and eating together in a vibrant land-based community project. This beautiful land in the Santa Cruz mountains is home to 12 humans, 4 dogs, 6 chickens, and many plants, trees, birds, bees, and extended community that have been gathering and growing together here for 30 years. All homes are hand-built, primarily with natural and reused materials and are completely off-grid, running on solar power and propane. This land/community has hosted many spiritual teachers and sweat lodge ceremonies, dance, yoga and meditation workshops, mini music festivals, camps for boys and girls, and people needing a place to heal. Surrounded by forest, with a view of the ocean and Monterey Bay, it is a magical place to land, listen and learn.

  Learn more at



   Ryan Rising

Ryan Rising is a community organizer and permaculture educator based out of the San Francisco Bay Area. Ryan most recently organized the Permaculture Action Tour for music producer The Polish Ambassador in the fall of 2014. The tour visited 32 cities across the country, holding an Action Day in each one and bringing together up to 400 people at a time to implement projects including public food forests, edible gardens, natural buildings, and greenhouses.  Ryan focuses on creating community access to land for local food growing and regenerative living – connecting people to take direct action and transition to a resilient way of life; as well as social permaculture – the ways we make decisions, build resilience, resolve conflicts, and organize in community.

Following the Permaculture Action Tour, Ryan continues to organize Permaculture Action Days for festivals and other events, including an Action Day at the Alpha Resource Center that focused on productive, drought-tolerant landscapes, and an Action Day before Envision Festival that planted gardens & fruit trees at three elementary schools.  Ryan has taught numerous courses and workshops, including the Elemental Alchemy Permaculture Intensive before Symbiosis Gathering in 2013, the recent Permaculture Action Course in Santa Barbara, and a month-long Gaia Education certified Eco-Village Design training in Nicaragua. A certified permaculture designer with a degree in Peace and Social Justice Studies, he also co-founded a regenerative urban farm in the East Bay that distributes free produce, and now organizes with the Omni Commons – a community space and education center in Oakland, CA.



  Leiah Lauren Borowsky


Leiah Lauren Borowsky, L.Ac, LMT, CYT is passionate about connection between all beings, living in harmony with each other and all of nature, and holistic approaches to healing and living on the planet now, and for generations to come. She is a Licensed Acupuncturist, Massage Therapist and Craniosacral Therapist, as well as a Certified Yoga Instructor and Qi Gong Teacher. She has lived in intentional communities and worked on Permaculture farms/projects in both the United States and Israel, and she is passionate to learn more.

She is organizing this course because of her love of nature and people – the calling to be in service to something greater than herself, which is the land and the community where the course takes place, and every student and teacher who participates and brings this information and these skills out into the world and their communities.

Leiah will be facilitating daily morning Nature Awareness meditation and Five Element Qi Gong and Yoga practice, as well as shorter embodiment and movement practices throughout the day to facilitate awareness of our inner ecosystems.


  David Shaw

David Shaw is an educator, facilitator, ecological designer, farmer, and musician living in Santa Cruz, California. His focus is building connections – with ourselves, with each other, and with nature. David has been teaching sustainable living at UC Santa Cruz since 2004, and in 2012 founded the Common Ground Center, offering a suite of programs for social justice, economic resilience, and sustainable living. Additionally, he works for the Regenerative Design Institute as a core instructor for their 4 Seasons Permaculture Design Certificate Course. David is also active in the global World Cafe Community, a group dedicated to hosting inter-generational dialogue on questions that matter. David holds a MS in Integrative Eco Social Design from Gaia University, and continues his community based action-research on the theory and practice of social justice and sustainability. In order to meet the challenges of today, he is creating an urban farm and inter-generational learning center that fosters hands-on farm and wilderness skills, cultural competence, entrepreneurial spirit, conversational leadership, and collective action. He lives happily and humbly on a 2-acre homestead in Santa Cruz.


 Lydia Neilen
Lydia Neilsen is a gardener, educator, soil builder, and earth lover. She grew up near Cleveland, Ohio and in 1995 earned a BA in Studio Art and Biology from Carleton College in Northfield, Minnesota. In 1996 she moved to Santa Cruz where she earned a certificate in Natural Science Illustration from UCSC. From 1998 to 2008 she was the co-designer and manager of the Westside Permaculture House in Santa Cruz, a demonstration garden for the use of home-scale permaculture design. From 2008 – 2015 she was the Garden Teacher and Garden Manager of the one-acre permaculture and biodynamic garden and small orchard at the Santa Cruz Waldorf School, where she brought permaculture to the children, the campus, and the community.

Since 2007 Lydia has been working with Penny Livingston at the Regenerative Design Institute (RDI) at Commonweal Garden in Bolinas where she is the Program Manager and a core teacher for the Four Seasons Permaculture Course – a once a month year-long PDC. Lydia has also been a student of many RDI courses including the Ecology of Leadership and the Ecology of Awakening. Lydia is dedicated to the development and implementation of beautiful regenerative designs and practices on a do-it-yourself scale. She believes that animals and animal husbandry are a critical element in landscape, human, and planetary health. Lydia specializes in soil building, greywater, integrated poultry systems, water harvesting earthworks and productive water conserving landscapes, polyculture and efficient uses of limited space. Contact Lydia by email or phone: 831 247-5767


 Giovanni Marden
Apprenticing with European masons in the early 80’s, he was introduced to the natural building trade by old world craftsman, responsible for igniting his passion for stonework. With over 25 yrs experience in the Masonry & Hearth industry, coupled with a passion for all things aesthetic, Giovanni has been building and installing fireplaces, inserts, and stoves throughout the Bay Area. After many years in the construction industry, working in various mediums from block construction to brick work, from industrial to landscape, new construction to restoration, Giovanni found his niche in fireplaces. He is often heard saying, “the hearth is literally the heart of the home,” something given deep consideration when working on a design with a client.

Giovanni’s vast network of artisans, craftsman and hearth appliance vendors, along with a thirst for knowledge, has led him to study various old world techniques as well as modern state of the art applications. With a passion for green building and a strong emphasis on form, function and all things aesthetic, Giovanni loves what he does.


   Tali Weinberg

Tali hails originally from the flatlands of the Canadian prairies. Motivated by her passion for food justice, seed security, and a deep love and respect for life, Tali has spent much of the past 10 years with her hands in the earth.  She worked as the farm manager for the Adamah fellowship in the Berkshires in 2006 and 2007 and coordinated the Tel Sheva Desert medicine project in the Northern Negev desert, while working for environmental justice organization BUSTAN.  Working with a team of Bedouin women in the township of Tel Sheva, she helped to design and found a garden which demonstrates the richness of traditional knowledge that exists within the Bedouin community around local desert plants as food and medicine, as well as the traditional cob building techniques that stem from their community.   In 2008 she moved to Salt Spring Island, B.C. where she worked as field manager for the Salt Spring Center for Yoga and the Salt Spring Seed company. Developing an increased interest in permaculture, she spent 2 years living at the Bullocks Permaculture Homestead, as both intern and intern coordinator.  In 2011, She moved to the Bay area to work as farm manager for Urban Adamah, where she co-designed and founded the project’s food bank farm in West Berkeley in the initial year of the project.  Tali currently teaches workshops on sustainability and permaculture and is studying Chinese medicine at the Acupuncture Integrative Medicine College in Berkeley.


Participants have the options to camp outside or to sleep communally in a large yurt, which will also be our classroom space. If you sleep in the yurt, you will have to pack away all bedding when we have indoor learning sessions. There is ample camping space around the land, and also a large deck surrounding the yurt.

We will eat our meals on the upper part of the land, at the communal kitchen. Friday night will be a potluck, so please bring a meal and drinks to share. Breakfast, lunch and dinner will be provided, but please bring extra snacks and food for yourself during the day. Please also bring your own plate, bowl and cup. There will be vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free options at each meal. Please let us know if you have any specific food allergies.
The closest grocery store is about 7 minutes away. There will not be much time to go to the store, but if you decide to go, please carpool as much as possible, as we want to minimize traffic on and off the property.


The weather on the mountain is often foggy and somewhat chilly in the mornings and sunny and hotter in the afternoons. So, bring clothing for both!  Warm layers, clothes you can get dirty, solid walking shoes or hiking/work boots. Bring warm layers for sleeping too! The fog rolls in at night, so bring a rainfly to keep you dry!

Bring a headlamp or flashlight, a yoga mat if you have/want one, instruments you love to play for times around the fire, extra food/snacks for yourself, a potluck dish for Friday night, a bathing suit if you want to join us for our final day hike down to the creek.  Please bring a dish and/or bowl, utensils, a water bottle, and cup or mug.  Bring a notebook and pen/pencil, work gloves, and any bedding you need to stay comfortable and warm at night.


Limited to 25 participants!

Price for Registration:      $475 until July 20th  (Early Bird!)

$525 after July 20th, until August 10th

$25 off for every friend you refer.  Register now and receive a $25 back for each person who signs up and references you as how they found out about the course

Some work trade available.  Contact us to inquire.

Registration includes:
  • 3 Home-Cooked Local, Organic Meals a day!
  • 5 Days of Instruction, Implementation,  and Community Building!
  • 6 Nights Sleeping Under the Stars in the Majestic Santa Cruz Mountains
Weekend Only Course Intro $225.00

Registration includes:

  • 3 Home-Cooked Local, Organic Meals a day!
  • 2 Days of Instruction, Implementation,  and Intro to Permaculture Design
  • 3 Nights Sleeping Under the Stars in the Majestic Santa Cruz Mountains
    (You can arrive Friday night and stay through Sunday dinner, or sleep out Sunday evening and return home Mondaymorning, whichever you choose)

Get in touch!   We’re happy to answer any questions or concerns; or just drop us a line to let us know you’re coming and to tell us more about you!


Call:      Leiah at 510-816-8027




Email:   PermCourseSC @   
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Sonic Bloom Permaculture Action Day

Tue, 06/09/2015 - 00:51

The morning before Sonic Bloom starts, join the people of Huerfano County to initiate a local community farm that will produce healthy and accessible food for all.

Thursday, June 18th; 10am – 4pm
The new farm at John Mall High School
355 W Pine St; Walsenburg, CO 81089
Healthy, organic food is a matter of access! Come take direct action with Live Well at the 2 acres of John Mall High School campus land to start off an abundant farm! Live Well is practicing biodynamics to grow healthy food and make it available to the community.  Biodynamics is a regenerative agriculture system that looks at animal, plant, soil, and water stewardship as integrated pieces of a holistic approach to growing food.  Learn more about biodynamic farming here.

Lunch will be provided, as well as music and workshops.

Email info @ to RSVP!

Facebook Event Link: Click Here

The post Sonic Bloom Permaculture Action Day appeared first on Permaculture Action Network.