NE Permaculture Teachers Gathering Report Back

PAN 2016 October Teachers Gathering: Report Back

This past October the Permaculture Association of the Northeast (PAN) organized a deep

and vibrant gathering of 27 teachers from up and down the Northeast United States and

Canada at the Omega Institute in Rhinebeck, New York. We gathered over many meals, fires

and facilitated spaces to support permaculture teachers to continue improving the quality

and outcomes of educational offerings and experiences, and to continue building a

culture of mutual aid and reciprocity . Below you will find an brief report back from the



Image Dan Schenk

The goal for this event was to increase the resilience of the Northeast region by strengthening

the regional permaculture network and facilitating access to relevant education and resources.

We recalled at the 2014 North American Permaculture Convergence (NAPC) there emerged

requests from the People of Color Caucus to center the topics of social justice, racial justice,

anti-oppression and equity within our work. During the first day of this capacity building

and professional development gathering we responded to those requests with a day long

diversity training with Relational Uprising . Through unpacking dominant narratives, physical

movement and sharing our own stories we learned that we don’t gain justice by merely

increasing representation through tokenism, or shaming individuals for systemic problems. We

gain justice from learning how to cultivate a culture shift in our community, deconstructing

oppressive beliefs and stories and coming to embody our shared values. You can view a copy of

the slides from the training here.

A delegation from this one day training is going to continue building on what we learned and

network with other activists, organizers, movement builders and changemakers from diverse

fields to build healthy, interdependent, relational culture in a four day training this December.

We spent the second day exploring more connectivity and alignment between permaculture

teachers in our region by brainstorming community-derived standards for permaculture

educational quality. We did this by first getting an overview of what processes other

countries and regions use to decide who can be permaculture teachers . We also heard a report

back from a board member who was a part of a conversation around teacher qualifications at the

recent NAPC (North American Permaculture Convergence). We then built on earlier

conversations on how our region could take a bottom-up collaborative approach to defining

quality standards for teachers in our region.

We broke up into small groups and brainstormed

answers to four questions: 1) Why is a system of standards important or useful 2)

What content considerations should be included in a quality standard? 3) What

pedagogical (how we teach) or ethical considerations should be part of a standard?

4) How might PAN best implement and maintain a voluntary community-created


During our February organizers retreat at D Acres in

New Hampshire (February 24th and 25th) we will

continue to winnow and come up with a draft round of

voluntary standards that teachers will be able to pilot

in 2017. We would love your feedback and input on

these questions. You can see the results of the

questions and add your own feedback here.

The remaining part of the gathering was reserved for

creating space for professional level peer-to-peer

sharing and cross-training on quality educational

and organizational practices for the permaculture community.

Topics included:

● retelling the permaculture origin narrative from a social justice perspective

● tips on how the Resilience Hub organizes successful events

● playing the new-to-print social permaculture principles card game

● how to tie in social permaculture by co-creating a problems mind map

● …and many others.

We closed our gathering with several announcements including that PAN is hiring a part time

virtual assistant and is looking for new board members. Information and a job description is

available on our website.

We thank everyone who was able to devote their time and resources to this event. For PAN

members who could not attend, we invite feedback on community standards for quality

permaculture education in our region.

If you are not yet a member, please join PAN today to keep supporting our network with events

like these and our upcoming winter retreat at D Acres.

We hope to see you in February,

PAN Board,