2011 Northwest Permaculture Convergence
October 13 to 16
Portland Oregon and the Columbia County Fairgrounds, St. Helens, Oregon
Link to Suburban Permaculture home page
The First parts of the Convergence were Permaculture site visits in Portland. Most were via bicycle and one of them was to the home of Connie Van Dyke, who has been creating Tabor Tilth Farm for over ten years. She has a small property which contains an impressive variety of home economics projects for taking care of more needs on site.
Connie, left, shows and tells her Portland property - edible landscaping and many examples of home economics.
Just down the street from Connie, one finds a wonderful place where neighbors come together,,,,,,,,
Natasha checks out the pizza oven.
Pizza? Placemaking creates a point of interest for socializing and meeting neighbors. Civic minded neighbors Erin and Mark host this place making site in their front "yard" for many to enjoy.
Another Thursday tour destination was Shareit Square in SE Portland. Shareit Square is the first of Portland's Intersection Repair sites and has inspired dozens of other intersection repair sites in dozens of other cities and towns.
There are whimiscal and practical features on each corner that bring people together.
The next day was the 2011 Convergence, located at the Columbia County Fairgrounds
This is a map of the Convergence site. The Pavillion was the center of activity. Presentations and various goings on were arranged all over the fairgrounds.
Permaculture gatherings have taken place in the Northwest going back at least 20 years. Lost Valley Education Center, 20 miles southeast of Eugene, hosted a number of regional permaculture gatherings in the mid and late 90's. About ten years ago, these events moved into Eugene and several were hosted at Dharmalaya Center in the River Road Neighborhood and also at Maitreya Eco Village. Then, two Convergences took place at River's Turn Farm, Near Coberg, just north of Eugene.
There was a lapse of a couple years around 2005, untill Permaculture enthusiasts in Washington State restarted a NWPC event, four years ago. There were three Convergences in Washington State, both urban and rural. More recently, an agreement was made that the Convergence sites would alternate between Washington and Oregon. This year's event has restarted PC Convergences for Oregon and this year's Convergence was substantially larger than previous Oregon gatherings.
Next year's Convergence will be in Washington State. If you would like to help out with the 2012 Convergence, please contact Skeeter Pilarski.
The fotos and descriptions below will provide an idea of what the Convergence was like.
Convergence "Mainstreet" from near registration towards the Pavillion with the pointed roof. Much of the intent of the Convergence was to create a sense of a "Permaculture Village." What might a walkable, cozy, sociable Permaculture Village be like where great opportunities for learning, mix and mingling, dining, after hours activities, "residential area" were all close at hand. Once one arrived at the Convergence, all these great amenities were a short walk away. Mobility made way for accessibility.
The Pavillion - main meeting space, kitchen, dining, displays, ecstatic dance.
Making a circle inside the Pavillion.
Making a circle inside the Pavillion.
Information board. Presenters and schedule. Located between the Pavillion and Earth Skills Village.
Earth Skills Village. There was a sense of a Neolithic community. Basket making, the clang of metal working,,,,,,
Explanation of obsidian, knapping, beer bottle arrow points. Fascinating,,,,,
Across a side street from Earth Village was Hands on Skills. Dr. John Kallas of Portland, explains edible wild plants.
There were seven Educational Tracks - Transforming Cities, Suburbia and Neighborhoods; Rural Permaculture; Permaculture and Education; Communing With Nature; Common Cause; Permaculture In Action and Social Permaculture. In this foto, Jude Hobbs from Cottage Grove, explains hedgerows. All together, there were over 35 presentations within Educational Tracks.
There was a great interest in Social Permaculture. Melanie Rios from Eugene, explains Sociocracy.
Kids Village included an extensive program of learning skills, play, story telling and singing.
Kelda Miller of Sumner, WA, uses chalk, plastic containers and cardboard boxes to explain transforming the urban landscape.
The Convergence provided several locations for use of composting toilets.
The Gazebo was a popular location for show and tell. Jan Spencer, of Eugene, uses one of his self produced posters - "Transforming a Suburban Property," to explain various hands on skills, such as turning grass to garden, taking out a driveway/reclaiming automobile space, rain water catchment, vertical landscaping and more.
Just down the street from the Gazebo was the Tea Lounge - a place to socialize, have tea or a cookie, snuggle up with blankets and piles of pillows, have a massage or just hang out. This was a popular late night scene.
Waking up and bit bleary eyed. Looking out into the "neighborhood".
Dinner is served. Serving food for close to 500 people required a skilled team of experienced workers, many volunteers, both donated and purchased food and a mobile commerical kitchen, loaned to the Convergence.
There were many meal options. Very nice!
A quiet moment in front of the stage. Matt Bibeau and Skeeter Pilarski chat. Mural on the stage painted by Jan Spencer.
Ravi Logan of Eugene browses the book store.
Sunday morning was Open Space where everyone could share what they know and skillfully facilitated by Bill Aal and Jenny Leis.
Open Space schedule was made on site
An Open Space group meets and learns from each other.
This Open Space Group discusses ideas and strategies for next year's Convergence in Washington State.
The Convergence was a wonderful experience! Thanks to all who attended and thanks to those who organized it, took on important roles and volunteered.
A friend who did not attend the Convergence, asked me what was the take home message. The quick reply would be that we are part of a growing movement that has diverse membership. That movement sees the global market economy and consumer culture it has created as inappropriate and in need of replacement. Many in that movement have never heard of Permaculture yet many in that movement have common cause - similar views, ideals and goals for a peaceful, uplifted and healthy world.
The take home message is that Permaculture, with its timely, holistic, thoughtful, people and planet friendly ideals and principals; has a great deal to offer the broader movement and we have a responsibility to share what PC has to offer.
Amber Peoples, Convergence Registrar, has asked presenters to send to her links regarding presentations made at the Convergence so presentation related info can be posted on the Convergence website.