have just returned from the Tenth Continental Bioregional Congress at The Farm in Summertown, TN.

The Farm is an intentional living community which began in 1971 as an experiment in communal living when over 300 hippies, members of Stephen Gaskin’s Monday Night classes in San Francisco, formed a caravan and traveled across the country to settle in Southern Tennessee. You can read a fascinating history of The Farm here.

The Farm today is home to such organizations as the Ecovillage Training Center, Gaia University and Plenty International. It was a natural fit to locate the Tenth Continental Bioregional Congress there, since the Farm shares myriad goals and values with bioregionalism.

New Society Publishers’ roots are deep in the Bioregional Movement, and this was an exciting opportunity to meet old friends and new. I was especially thrilled to connect with a couple of our authors there. Albert Bates is the author of The Post-Petroleum Survival Guide and Cookbook and the director of the Ecovillage Training Center at the Farm, where he has lived since 1972. Albert has a formidable grasp of all things renewable and sustainable, and the distinction of having one of the friendliest smiles it has ever been my pleasure to encounter. Lately he has been focusing on biochar – watch this space next week for his article on using biochar in carbon farming which was recently published in Southern Tennessee’s Green Living Journal.

I was also very excited to finally meet Stephanie Mills in person – Stephanie wrote Whatever Happened to Ecology? and Turning Away from Technology, and is also the author of an upcoming biography of Bob Swann which we will be publishing in our Spring season. Stephanie was an incredible pleasure to spend time with – she is one of those people that feels like an old friend even though you’ve only just met. She recently received an honorary PhD from her Alma Mater in recognition of her lifetime body of work in the service of the environment and bioregionalism – exciting news!

The Congress itself was a cauldron of inspiration and ideas – people talking about permaculture, renewable energy, carbon farming, square foot gardening, foraging, wild farming, education, transportation, living in community, living in place, political revolution – a rich and vibrant tapestry of knowledge against a backdrop of song and celebration.

Interested? Bioregional events are regularly organized at the local and regional level. Check out the Congress Outreach Page and Links Page for ideas about contacting like-minded individuals or creating events in your area.

– Heather Nicholas, reprinted from New Society Publishers blog