Lo­cal eco-pow­ers— ac­ti­vate

Home - Santa Fe Real Estate Guide - - PERMACULTUREINPRACTICE - NATE DOWNEY Col­lect­edWorks Book­store on Oc­to­ber 8 at 11 a.m. for a Jour­ney Santa Fe event

Con­fer­ence sea­son is upon us. And this is an au­tumn of rich con­tent.

If you can pos­si­bly get to the far side of the Golden Gate Bridge, I rec­om­mend the mother of all eco-con­fer­ences, Bioneers (Oct. 20-22). Santa Feans Nina Si­mons and Kenny Ausubel started Bioneers on the St. John’s Col­lege cam­pus 28 years ago, and growth came fast. Their head­quar­ters re­main on the sec­ond floor of the Santa Fe Farm­ers Mar­ket build­ing, so you get to sup­port a lo­cal busi­ness in an ironic — yet in­spir­ing— twist that in­cludes get­ting out of Dodge.

Events abound closer to home, too. An­other sea­soned sym­po­sium that started in Santa Fe is theQuivira Coali­tion’s an­nual feed-the-world-with-re­spon­si­ble-restora­tion-tech­niques-while-think­ing-out­side-the-box fes­ti­val. I re­mem­ber the first one, fea­tur­ing po­et­Wen­dell Berry, in the old Fire­stone Build­ing on Guadalupe and Alameda. This pop­u­lar an­nual event had to move to Al­bu­querque al­most im­me­di­ately be­cause ranch­ing and ecol­ogy can work to­gether in co­op­er­a­tion. If you’re not clear on this, you prob­a­bly haven’t been to a Quivira con­fer­ence. The next one starts on the Ides ofNovem­ber.

New to the eco-con­fer­ence ta­ble is Re­con­nect To­day, a fledg­ling non­profit with a mis­sion “to sup­port ini­tia­tives that re­con­nect us to our­selves, to each other, and to the com­mu­nity around us.” But don’t think it’s just a load of Santa Fe woowoo. It’s real.

Speak­ers in­clude pow­er­ful, so­cio-eco­log­i­cal thinkers likeWi­nona LaDuke, JudyWicks, and Charles Eisen­stein. Top­ics will range from wa­ter, food, and jobs to pub­lic bank­ing, biore­gional man­u­fac­tur­ing, and al­ter­na­tive eco­nom­ics. “At a time when things are re­ally in­se­cure in the world,” the group’s ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor, Melissa Pick­ett, told me dur­ing her fam­ily’s road-trip to­ward to­tal­ity, “we­want to help con­nect peo­ple lo­cally in the con­text of some pretty pro­found na­tional, in­ter­na­tional, and in­dige­nous per­spec­tives.”

Opt in and you’ll get to con­nectwith lo­cals jug­gling so­lu­tions on the ground. I’ll be on a panel with aquapon­ics mas­ter R. Char­lie Shutlz, HOPE di­rec­tor Mar­ian Naranjo, and philoso­pher-farmer Don Bus­tos. Lo­cal­iza­tion guru Vicki Pozzen­bon is mod­er­at­ing a cou­ple of pan­els, and pub­lic-bank ad­vo­cate Elaine Sul­li­van will be there in full force. For­mer gu­ber­na­to­rial can­di­date AlanWeb­ber, Te­suque Pue­blo’s seed-saver ex­traor­di­naire Emigdio Bal­lon, Re­take Our Democ­racy’s PaulGib­son, bio­fu­els ex­pert Luke Span­gen­berg, Ni­cholas Mang from the Story of Place, and many other lo­cal lu­mi­nar­ies are all part of the ac­tion.

Re­con­nect To­day is work­ing in col­lab­o­ra­tion with Lo­cal Fu­tures, a Los An­ge­les-based non­profit with strong ties to the per­ma­cul­ture com­mu­nity. (“Lo­cal Fu­tures” is the new name for the four­decades-old In­ter­na­tional So­ci­ety for Ecol­ogy and Cul­ture). Among many other good works, the or­ga­ni­za­tion has a long his­tory of pro­duc­ing suc­cess­ful con­fer­ences around the world. In fact, don’t be sur­prised if the King­dom of Bhutan sends a high-up rep­re­sen­ta­tive to boast about his coun­try’s hap­pi­ness quo­tient. Af­ter all, the theme of this con­fer­ence is “The Eco­nom­ics of Hap­pi­ness,” which is bor­rowed from a Lo­cal Fu­tures-spon­sored docu- men­tary by the same name. De­tails about this youth friendly event (Oct. 12-14) at the James A. Lit­tle The­ater are at www. re­con­nect-to­day.org.

Nate Downey, the author of Har­vest the Rain and Roof-Re­liant Land­scap­ing, has been writ­ing this col­umn since 1999. He started his lo­cal land­scape-con­tract­ing busi­ness, Santa Fe Per­ma­cul­ture, in 1993 and Per­maDe­sign, a land­scape-ar­chi­tec­ture firm, in 2010. Please join him at

in­tended, in part, to pre­view the Eco­nom­ics of Hap­pi­ness con­fer­ence.

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