Permaculturist Paul Wheaton just sent me a link to this new video featuring the extremely fuel-efficient build-it-yourself rocket stove / mass heater. It offers, in Paul’s words, “A compilation of 12 rocket heaters, 8 video clips of rocket mass heaters, 2 video clips of pocket rockets, 1 picture from the cover of the book on rocket mass heaters and one drawing from me making a feeble attempt to explain what these look like. And look! A peek at the author Ianto Evans!”

You can watch several other rocket stove videos on YouTube here.

The history of the Congresses has been rich and storied. Here we can see the amazing myriad of cultural traditions that weave together to form the biorgional conversation.

Wildlife film maker Rebecca Hosking investigates how to transform her family’s farm in Devon into a low energy farm for the future, and discovers that nature holds the key. With her father close to retirement, Rebecca returns to her family’s wildlife-friendly farm in Devon, to become the next generation to farm the land.

But last year’s high fuel prices were a wake-up call for Rebecca. Realising that all food production in the UK is completely dependent on abundant cheap fossil fuel, particularly oil, she sets out to discover just how secure this oil supply is. Alarmed by the answers, she explores ways of farming without using fossil fuel. With the help of pioneering farmers and growers, Rebecca learns that it is actually nature that holds the key to farming in a low-energy future.

The following from Tree Hugger:

Film Maker Explores Post-Oil Farming
Last week I wrote about a BBC documentary which I hadn’t seen, but the green scene in the UK was all a flutter over. A Farm for the Future explores nature film maker Rebecca Hosking’s return to her small family farm and her search for a post-fossil fuel agriculture. I’ve since seen the film, and would recommend it to anyone with an interest in food and farming – come to think of it, I’d recommend it to anyone who eats. But for those without the time or means to watch it, Rebecca has also written an excellent article in the Daily Mail newspaper about her quest for truly sustainable agriculture.

Rebecca’s work (who incidentally is also responsible for a plastic bag ban in her home town!) is not just remarkable for the content she is covering – but the venues in which it is being aired too. To have a half-hour documentary devoted to peak oil, agriculture and alternatives like forest gardening and permaculture appear on prime time BBC is a telling sign of the times. But to also have an article in the Daily Mail – hardly the bastion of environmental radicalism – is dynamite.

There is no doubt in my mind that Rebecca is opening a lot of eyes to the unsustainability of our present food system. Take this excerpt from Rebecca’s conversation with permaculture guru Patrick Whitefield [Disclaimer: Patrick is a former teacher and friend of mine]:

But it will work only if we have a lot more growers. Some reports estimate it’s going to take as many as 12 million, although currently we have 11million gardeners. A food-growing system based on natural ecology appeals to my naturalist side. But the farmer’s daughter in me needed a bit more convincing. Could permaculture feed Britain? I asked Patrick Whitefield, Britain’s leading expert in permaculture.

‘Good question,’ he said. ‘A better question would be, “Can present methods go on feeding Britain?” In the long term, it is certain that present methods can’t because they are so entirely dependent on fossil-fuel energy. So we haven’t got any choice other than to find something different.’

The more permaculture people I met, the more hopeful I became that we can find a way out of this mess if we start preparing for peak oil now.

Along the way, Rebecca also meets Ben and Charlotte Hollins – the brother and sister team who now run the innovative Fordhall Farm in Shropshire – and talks about their nature-based no-till pasture system; she talks with peak oil experts Richard Heinberg and Colin Campbell; visits Martin Crawford of the Agroforestry Research Trust and explores the small holding of Chris and Lynn Dixon – who have pioneered their low input, biodiverse permaculture-based land management techniques in the hills of Wales for years.

For folks like me who have long followed permaculture and other sustainable, but often marginalized, food movements, it’s really incredible to see voices like this getting a wide and receptive audience. Now we just have to see how many folks are willing to roll up their sleeves, get their hands dirty, and start planting.

Transition Town training answers the question: How can our community respond to the challenges, and opportunities, of Peak Oil and Climate Change?

Four Key Assumptions of the Transition Initiative Process:

  • That life with dramatically lower energy consumption is inevitable, and that it’s better to plan for it than be taken by surprise.
  • That our communities presently lack the resilience to enable them to weather the severe energy shocks that will accompany peak oil.
  • That we have to act collectively, and we have to act now.
  • That by unleashing the collective genius of those around us to creatively and proactively design our energy future, we can build ways of living that are more connected, more enriching and that recognize the biological limits of our planet.

Learn from experienced trainers Michael Brownlee and Lynette Marie Hanthorn, certified Transition Trainers and co-founders of the first official Transition Initiative in North America.

Saturday & Sunday, April 18 & 19, 2009
City Hall Council Chambers, Bloomington City Hall, Bloomington

This workshop fulfills the training requirement for initiating local Transition groups.

Learn now, apply your skills here, take it with you. Be ready to foster Transition wherever you go.

Cost $225. Deadline April 6. If extra space is available, late registrations will be $250. Some partial scholarships.

For registration or information: 812-339-0383

Join us for a free viewing of these films at Monroe Co Public Library Auditorium:

Tuesday March 24, 7 pm: “A Crude Awakening: The Oil Crash”
Thursday April 9, 7 pm: “The Power of Community: How Cuba Survived Peak Oil”

Good news from friend and colleague (once long-term editor of Communities Magazine and author of Creating A Life Together and Finding Community) Diana Christian (and previously fellow ecovillager at Earthaven) who writes (at her excellent new website, Ecovillage News):

I’m publishing Ecovillages as a free, bimonthly newsletter in order to encourage and inspire ecovillage projects with news about what ecovillages are doing worldwide. People seem to love photos and stories about how others are succeeding in good work. Ecovillages will bring you stories about successful projects in every issue, and practical, how-to information, too.

From six to eight articles will appear in each issue, in a variety of topics. Here are the kinds of articles and ongoing columns you’ll find:

  1. The ecovillage movement
  2. News about individual ecovillages worldwide
  3. Practical ecovillage tools:
  4. “Ecovillagers Write” (letters to the editor)
  5. “Book & Video Reviews”

I’m especially keen on stimulating more interest in ecovillages in North America, ideally with news of what people are doing elsewhere. You’ll find stories about ecovillage projects in Africa, the Middle East, Europe, Russia, South America, Australia and New Zealand, southern Asia, China, and Japan. (We’re everywhere!)

Financial Permaculture WIKI

Collected Documents from the Financial Permaculture Course in Hohenwald TN

Team Documents and Presentations

General Financial Permaculture Documents

Other Financial Permaculture Resource Sites

Creating Currency For A Resilient Local Economy
from Financial Permaculture

By Crystal Arnold

Imagine a world of sufficiency where needs are met through a web of local relationships, where meaningful exchanges circulate goods and services independent of the availability of national dollars.

One of society’s most common misunderstandings about money is that it is an object, when it is actually an agreement of trust. According to Lewis Lapham, author of Money and Class in America, “Money ranks as one of the primary materials with which mankind builds the architecture of civilization.” Economic textbooks describe money according to its functions—a store of value, a medium of exchange, and a standard of valuation. Money itself is actually a symbol of exchange that carries value through agreement only. What would the numbers in our bank account be worth if no one would agree to accept them in exchange for goods or services?

In my view money is a social interface of provision, a tool for engaging with others to satisfy needs. As many people uncover their own behaviors and attitudes about money, they realize the way they relate with money is often the way they relate with most everything in life. Lyn Twist, in her book Soul of Money, writes, “Money is a current, a carrier, a conduit for our intentions.”

In dozens of communities across the United States, complementary currencies (CCs) have become powerful tools that generate resilience in local economies. CCs are created in a variety of forms including time hours, mutual credit systems, precious metals, and even seed or energy-backed coupons. Like national currency these new CCs are not mere coinage, they are a whole system of value transaction, exchange of credit, and agreement of mutual trust.

Complementary currencies exist parallel to the national currency, and, by design, fulfill a different role. CCs enable relationships and behavior to develop to match unmet needs with under-utilized resources, providing a way for people to engage in the local economy that is not limited by their access to dollars. Because diversity is a key element in resilient systems, which are able to adapt to change and reorganize wisely, these new exchange mechanisms reflect an evolving economic strategy of regions to encourage trade of local goods and services. New avenues of transaction open as latent human energy is accessed. Southern Oregon has a large elderly population and high unemployment rates, a CC would provide these populations with a means to plug into the local economy. Jeff Golden, local author and radio host, said recently, “Complementary currencies are at the heart of a localization movement.”

Read the rest of the article…


Oct 4-11, 2009 for the 10th Continental Congress at The Farm

The Farm logo

Welcome Home

Across the planet, people recognize that we must become guardians of our life-places.  Human beings have long understood that security is found in acting responsibly at home – in our neighborhoods and watersheds, our bioregions.

Bioregions are living systems where every being is connected to, and interdependent with every other; bioregions are not by property lines, states, or nations, but by rock, soil, weather, water, terrain, plants, animals, human cultures and human settlements.

Bioregionalism calls for active citizenship in the whole of life, yet its key understanding is cultural: attention to place, to local history, natural history, and to how a community’s hopes, wounds, and dreams can inform enduring ways of life that will heal the planet’s bioregions and their inhabitants.

Bioregionalism cultivates learning the natural history of all our relations in order to craft diverse human societies respectful of place and planet.

Bioregionalism means working to satisfy basic needs locally, relying on renewable energy and sustainable agriculture, developing local enterprises based on local skills and strengths.

Bioregionalism challenges and is an alternative to nationalism, corporate rule, and top-down globalization of our lives.

Bioregionalism embraces the struggle around the world to preserve, restore and enhance the life of the distinct places that constitute the planet.

Since 1984 bioregionalists have been gathering semi-annually at camps throughout continental North America.  You, too, may be a bioregionalist, in fact probably are, if you’ve received this invitation.   Continental bioregional gatherings are meetings of peers and kindred spirits, open to all ecology-minded persons that offer unparalleled opportunities to envision and develop a realistic, restorative way of life in your bioregion.  We set their own agendas, operate by consensus and build a common commitment.  Grand times and good friendships are only the first fruits.  At bioregional congresses, we live in community, concern ourselves with the things that matter, and return home informed and inspired.  We also spend time talking in depth, sharing technical knowledge and processes, in areas related to community and ecological restoration: water, forestry, health, education, prairie management, the arts, energy, etc.  We earnestly invite the participation of all, especially those involved in the work necessary for the human species to reinhabit the bioregions of the Americas and of the whole Earth.

The survival of humanity and of the planet’s bioregions depends on our advocacy of ecological design in all branches of human endeavors: economics and auditing, technology, agriculture and forestry; planning and industry; education, culture and art; philosophy, psychology, and metaphysics; law and justice; healthy and environmental defense; politics and land tenure. Any and all activists and practitioners in these fields are strongly urged to attend, to share their passions, lore, successes and learning experiences; to find new friends, mentors, or fellow travelers while participating in plenary discussions and spontaneous conversations.

If we are to avoid ecological and social collapse or  global monoculture, we need to begin to listen to the planet, to learn our places.  Home is the ground for honest hope.  Only in our life-places can begin anew, in the timeless way of Earth’s ecologies.        — By Stephanie Mills, ratified by the CBC Coordinating Council and the Congress.

Stephanie Mills is a long-time bioregional author whose articles have appeared in Whole Earth Review and many other publications.  Her books include Whatever Happened to Ecology, In Praise of Nature, and the forthcoming, Epicurian Simplicity.  She has been active in the bioregional movement for over twenty years.

Click here for more info


Congress Site

Continental Congress gatheringProposed Program


Pre- and Post- Congress Offerings


Planning for the Congress

Registration, Costs, and Contact Info


More Information?

A Renaissance of Local

The 2007 “A Renaissance of Local” was the first annual Boulder county-wide community festival, conference and expo. This uplifting celebration of local food, local energy, local economy, local culture, and local community was an energizing focus for Boulder County Going Local! in their campaign to build community self-sufficiency and strengthen the local economy through partnership, collaboration, and engagement. Presented by Boulder County Going Local, co-sponsored by Post Carbon Institute.

The 6-DVD set includes the following presentations. Each DVD can be ordered separately. [Add the online link for each presentation on Google video]. Reduced price: individual DVDs $15, or six-DVD set or $70

Disc 1: Local Business and Economy

1 Local Living Economies: Green, Fair and Fun, Judy Wicks, White Dog Café (Philadelphia, PA)
2 Independent Business Alliances: A Movement Born in Boulder, Jeff Milchen, American Independent Business Alliance (Boseman, MT)
3 Earth, Economy, Equity: Integrating Green Principles in Small Business, Michael Johnson, ReDirect Guide (Portland, OR)
4 Local Sustainability: Economics from the Inside Out, Mark Wilding, Marpa Center for Business and Economics, Naropa University (Boulder, CO)
5 Going Green: Good for Business, Dan King, Ambassador of Cool, Boulder Outlook Hotel & Suites (Boulder, CO)
6 Challenges of a Locally-Owned Independent Business, David Hight, McGuckin Hardware (Boulder, CO)

Disc 2: Peak Energy

7 Peak Oil: When and Then What? Steve Andrews, Association for the Study of Peak Oil-USA (Denver)
8 Peak Everything: Waking Up to the Century of Declines, Richard Heinberg, Post Carbon Institute (Santa Rosa, CA)
9 The Truth About Everything, Richard Brenne (Boulder, CO)

Disc 3: Communities Preparing for Peak Oil

10 Preparing Our Communities for Climate and Energy Change, Julian Darley, Post Carbon Institute (Sebastopol, CA)
11 Post Carbon Cities: Planning for Energy and Climate Uncertainty — Guidelines for Local Governments, Daniel Lerch, Post Carbon Institute (Portland, OR)
12 Envisioning the Post Fossil Fuel World, Leslie Glustrom, Clean Energy Action (Boulder, CO)

Disc 4: Energy and Resources

13 Colorado’s New Energy Economy, Tom Plant, Governor’s Energy Office, State of Colorado
14 Sustainable Energy: Going Local and Regional to Power the New Energy Economy, Aaron Perry, Rocky Mountain Sustainable Enterprises (Boulder, CO)
15 The Technical and Human Dimensions of Going Local, Mark Sardella, Local Energy (Santa Fe, NM)
16 The Nexus of Food, Energy and Water, Michael Bowman, (Wray, CO)

Disc 5: Living Locally

17 Relocalization: Making Friends with an Unthinkable Future, Michael Brownlee, Boulder Valley Relocalization, Boulder County Going Local!
18 Resources, Religion and War—Ethical Living in a World in Decline, Marshall Vian Summers, The Society for the Greater Community Way of Knowledge (Boulder, CO)
19 Waking Up to Humanity’s Greatest Challenge, John Feeney, Growth is Madness! (Boulder, CO)
20 A Permaculture Perspective: Living in Authenticity During Energy Descent, Bill Wilson, Midwest Permaculture (Stelle, IL)

Disc 6: Local Media

21 Whole Systems Sensing: Defibrillating Possibility, Brook Le Van, Sustainable Settings (Carbondale, CO)
22 Blending Local Art with Local Agriculture in Placer County, Joanne Neft, Placer County Agricultural Marketing Program (Auburn, CA)
23 A Video Buffet of Local, Janaia Donaldson, Peak Moment Television (Nevada City, CA)
24 The LOCAL as Transformative Tool, Bob Banner, HopeDance Magazine (San Luis Obispo, CA)

24 presentations: 25 to 70 minutes each.

6-DVD Set: $100.00 Sale price $70.00 Single DVD: $20.00 Sale price $15.00 Disc 1 Disc 2 Disc 3 Disc 4 Disc 5 Disc 6

Communities Preparing for Energy and Climate Change

These five presentations from “A Renaissance of Local” provide a conceptual framework for responding to climate change and declining energy resources, with examples of communities working toward self-reliance and strengthening their local economies.

  • Peak Everything: Waking Up to the Century of Declines, Richard Heinberg, Post Carbon Institute
  • Preparing Our Communities for Climate and Energy Change, Julian Darley, Post Carbon Institute
  • Post Carbon Cities: Planning for Energy and Climate Uncertainty — Guidelines for Local Governments, Daniel Lerch, Post Carbon Institute
  • Relocalization: Making Friends with an Unthinkable Future, Michael Brownlee, Boulder Valley Relocalization, Boulder County Going Local!
  • A Video Buffet of Local, Janaia Donaldson, Peak Moment Television

5 presentations: 30 to 70 minutes each.

2-DVD set: Introductory price $25.00

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