Update: Permaculture Relief Corps in Haiti!

Haiti 2010 earthquake: collapse of port complex

Below is a great update from Nika Boyce (@nika7k) I want to thank everyone who has expressed interest and I am inspired that this idea IS HAPPENING!  Stuart Leiderman (Lakou Permaculture) is on the ground in Haiti right now calling out for help stateside with coordinating a long term Permaculture Relief Corps effort.  People working in Haiti have asks that folks do not send goods just yet as you can see from the photos the port is a total mess!  Below is a email list of key coordinators by region:

Stuart Leiderman   —Currently in Haiti right now was working on the Lakou-Permaculture project

leiderman(at)mindspring.com

Joni Zweig  –Currently in Haiti works with AMURTEL disaster relief

info(at)amurtel.org

Cory Brenna—Currently in FL coordinating funds and people in FL works with permacultureguild.us which has a donation site up now for the creation of a Permaculture Relief Corps

cory8570(at)yahoo.com

Kevin —-Currently in Hudson Valley NY coordinating fundraising

regenerationcsa(at)gmail.com

Rhonda—- Coordinating in the Bloomington IN region

rk.baird(at)yahoo.com

Marvin Warren —Coordinating for the Ithaca Finger lakes area

greenmansinger(at)gmail.com

If your not on this list and want to be or on this list and don’t want to be….

email

Evan Schoepke (@gaiapunk) Currently coordinating for the Olympia WA and Seattle area

thejulianeffect(at)gmail.com

From Nika Boyce (nika7k):

Like you, I have been simply swept away by the brutal earthquake that has subsumed Haiti into a hell that gets worse by the day.

I have been mostly learning about it via CNN and on twitter. I have been pouring over the satellite images of the destruction as seen in Google Earth.

As I write, Reuters says that more than 200,000 people have died and as of this evening, they have buried 40,000 dead. MANY more bodies lay in the streets and under endless tons of ruined buildings.

Thank goodness for twitter and the permaculture people I have gotten to know there because that is the only thing that is keeping me from feeling utterly lost in desolation over this apocalypse.

It is through @gaiapunk, who is something of a one-man permaculture media empire, that I have begun to learn about and really love the idea of Permaculture First Responders.

He posted several links to projects already either training Permaculture First Responders or projects on the ground in Haiti and other disaster struck places.

Permaculture First Responder – Permie Disaster Relief Training Course

Cegrane Camp Permaculture Rehabilitation Project

Cuba-Australia Permaculture Exchange

I have been wondering how I might be able to help nurture this idea here, tucked away in my small part of the world without actually going to Haiti myself.

I have been chatting with Cory at Permaculture.org and am happy to share this link that is very constructive in terms of the next steps.

Help for Haiti from Permaculture

(UPDATE: @gaiapunk will also be posting a Long term Permaculture Relief Corps project on kickstarter.com a crowd funding site look for that in the next day or two)

From that site you will see:

Some of the projects which permaculturists can design and implement are:

Short Term:

Building sewage systems, composting toilets, compost and recyclying centers, rocket and solar stoves, temporary shelters (perma-yurts), water catchment and filtering, and plant nurseries.

Rocket and solar stoves are key because the major ecological problem in Haiti which causes huge hardships from many angles is deforestation for fuel. Solar stoves use no wood and rocket stoves, which can be made out of old cans and pipes laying around, use almost no fuel and can cook with twigs.

Correct diversion of sewage, human waste, and water can substantially contribute to rebuilding farm land in the area – the idea is to create the conditions for long term self-sufficiency and abundance with even our short term handlings.

Long Term:

Permanent, low cost, earthquake resistant natural buildings, water storage, earth works, renewable energy, permaculture food forests, broad-scale reforestation, farms, aquaculture systems, and community buildings such as schools and health centers.

We are currently working via a worldwide network of permaculturists to bring resources to Haiti, and several permaculturists are interested in traveling to Haiti to help with the rescue and relief efforts, but need funding to do so. We are in contact with disaster handlers in the area who they can coordinate with for maximum effectiveness. There is a permaculture project existing in Haiti that we are working to connect with as well. If you have any questions, do not hesitate to contact me – I am also willing to meet with potential funders to answer questions personally.

If you want to donate now, please use the “Haiti Donations – Donate” Paypal button on the right hand side of this web page. For past projects we’ve funded, please see the Pine Ridge Lakota reservation article under “Projects.” We will use initial funding to get people there on the ground and most needed resources such as equipment for building the short term items needed. Whenever possible, we use existing resources in the area that are free or very inexpensive – permaculture is very effective at getting the maximum return for energy invested, so you will know your money is going to a good cause.

I know that the idea of surviving this disaster is like a miracle and then the idea of Haiti being able to climb up from a place so dark seems too distant to contemplate.

To this end, I have been graphing out what the needs would be over time for people living through such overwhelming disasters.

I think its extremely important to do this now and for Haitians, now, because these same ideas and strategies will be needed again and again as climate change progresses.

ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

In the graphic above, I try to illustrate the needs of a person immediately after surviving a catastrophe (earthquake, fire, flood, etc). The needs are pretty basic but inelastic in their being absolutely needed.

ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Once the person is out of immediate danger and is left standing with nothing, no assets, nothing but other survivors around them, they need to find a way to rebuild, regenerate, and boost their resilience so that they become embedded in a community that provides current and future needs.

ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

In this next graphic, I extend on the specific needs outlined in the second graphic with permaculture and no/lo-carbon and low cost strategies for coping and rebuilding.

Please take some time and explore these graphics and tell me what you think, whats missing? What would you add?

Please consider becoming involved in helping the Haitians, using permaculture or by other means, as where the Haitians are right now, that hell, could easily be ours, any of us.

We are, in many ways, their community.

We are each other’s community and it is through us banding together that we build resilience in every place.

Growing Power going to Africa!

allenWill Allen: Growing power—and gaining influence in development circles, too.

From Grist.com

At the Clinton Global Initiative wrap-up on Friday, ex-President Clinton made waves in the sustainable-ag world by declaring Will Allen of Milwaukee/Chicago-based based Growing Powerhis “hero.”

The real news was buried in the press release, though. Toward the bottom of a listing of verbal “commitments” from NGOs and foundations, we findthis:

Growing Power commits to strengthen food security for school children and their care givers in South Africa and Zimbabwe. Growing Power will build a new model of local food systems to ensure adequate nutrition in the short-term and build a long-term foundation for competitive African human capital in the global market place.

So Growing Power will be bringing its community-based, low-input style of agriculture to Africa—under the aegis of a group most known for its top-down, Big Solution way of development work.

I got Erika Allen, daughter of Growing Power founder Will and leader of the group’s Chicago operations, on the phone Monday to talk about the announcement.

She told me that in the current phase, Growing Power is hoping to raise $2 million to get its Africa initiative started. (The Clinton Global Initiative doesn’t so much fund specific projects as match funders with projects.)

Allen described the proposed initiative as a “cultural exchange”—Growing Power reps would be learning about how food production currently works in South Africa and Zimbabwe; looking closely at local assets, resources, gaps, and needs. And food-system actors from those places would visit Growing Power sites in the United States—not just at the flagship enterprises in Milwaukee and Chicago, but also at partner projects in Arkansas, Georgia, Kentucky, Massachusetts, and Mississippi.

From there, Growing Power and its partners in southern Africa would work on “modifying our production systems to local resources there.”

She stressed that what works in Milwaukee won’t necessarily fly in Zimbabwe. Here in the United States, Growing Power essentially siphons off some of the enormous food waste generated by a modern U.S. city and transforms it into fertile soil, which is then used to grow food. But African cities generate less compostable waste.

erikaErika Allen of Growing Power.“The challenge will be to find the systems that work in areas with less excess,” Allen told me. She cited Growing Power’s aquaculture setup, where waste from tilapia tanks is used to fertilize watercress, one example of a low-input system that could work in Africa.

“Overall, it’s about helping people use their resources to build soil and grow food,” she said.

In a single sentence, Allen had articulated a vision completely counter to the top-down model of development that has dominated U.S. policy since at least the Cold War—the agricultural model most famously promoted by the recently deceased Nobel laureate Norman Borlaug. In this model, imported agrichemicals and seed varieties provide the path to food security in the global south. And trade is venerated with an almost religious zeal—nations should only produce food insofar as they have a “comparative advantage” in a particular crop. “High-value” crops like fresh produce should be exported to the industrialized north, where consumers can pay top dollar for them; “low-value” staple crops should be imported when expedient.

Make no mistake—even though more than a billion people globally lack sufficient access to food and farmers in the global south operate in a state of permanent crisis, that model still dominates today. The“Millennium Villages” concept for Africa championed by Harvard’s Jeffrey Sachs hinges on “new advances in science and technology.” To help boost food security, these showcase villages receive subsidies for imported fertilizers and seeds.

And the Gates Foundation, which has been organizing a massive attempt to transform food production in Africa,  has made a game attempt to be open to new models of ag development. But as Annie Stattuck, Raj Patel, and Eric Holt-Gimenez show in an excellent recent article in The Nation, the overall thrust has been in the direction of high-tech “solutions” to the continent’s food problems.

Meanwhile, the Obama administration has recently taken a deep bow to the conventional ag-development gods, by putting agrichemical-industry stalwarts in charge of both agriculture negotiations at global trade talks and USDA-funded research. Analyzing the latter appointment, that of the Monsanto-affiliated Roger Beachy to lead the USDA’s new National Institute of Food and Agriculture, Science blog recently wrote that:

Beachy’s interests in biotechnology and the developing world closely match those of his new boss, USDA’s Under Secretary for Research Rajiv Shah. They also fit with President Barack Obama’s desire to increase agricultural assistance to developing countries.

The Growing Power initiative points to a new direction. In place of costly and often ecologically and socially ruinous high-tech methods, the Allens present a vision of appropriate technology: techniques that communities can own and manage themselves, without the perpetual need to commit precious resources to toxic agrichemicals and patent-protected seeds.

As debate rages about how to “feed the world” amid population growth, climate change, and fossil-fuel depletion, projects like this one are critical. I’ll be watching it closely.

The G20 Protesters and the new face of Pittsburgh

Pittsburgh, PA–

It seems as though Pittsburgh is either the De facto capital of the rust belt or a city in the midst of a revolutionary transformation.  In recent years Pittsburgh has become a epicenter for green building, bike paths, solar composites, and one of the professed launching pads of the new “green economy”.  This is fascinating because Pittsburgh could also be considered one of the many coal capitals of the world, and anyone who has studied the issue knows that there is absolutely no way to make coal “clean” as long as your using mining techniques such as “mountaintop removal”.  There is nothing like synthetic stench of two faced liberalism to hide the odious fact that the root of some very serious issues like housing, poverty, gentrification, and classism are not being addressed.  The city of Pittsburgh’s role during the current wholly undemocratic G20 summit is to act as a PR spin machine to distract the public from the main show of global power grabs behind the scenes and behind closed doors.

While the media is very focused on equating anarchists with terrorists, they’re also wholly ignoring the police harassment and abuse that has already taken place even before the summit.  The Seeds of Peace collective has been repeatedly attacked by the police solely because of the fact by that by bringing a bus to act as kitchen and medical support for the g20 resistance they’ve been made an obvious target.  Yesterday, the Landslide Community Farm and the Cyberpunk Apocalypse Writers Guild house were raided for no plausible reasons by swarms of cops trespassing without warrants or accurate justification.  The Landslide Community Farm and the Cyberpunk Apocalypse house are centers of different type transformation happening in Pittsburgh, that of radical culture.

These centers are the works of truly earnest folks, that divide up what free time they can muster into making art, hosting cultural gatherings, giving out free food, planting permaculture food forests, building bike co-ops, fighting all forms of oppression, and re-envisioning all that has been abandoned in the shadows of steel that is the forlorn rusty spine of Pittsburgh.  Some of them are even proud to be called anarchists.  These groups and many, many, others like them are true community builders something the G20 aristocrats will most likely never understand.  Perhaps the new face of Pittsburgh is not the gilded “green” skyline for the rich but the rainbow of diversity in an urban farm for everyone.

For more info about the Landslide Community Farm visit:  www.punkrockpermaculture.com

For real time updates on the G20 resistance visit: pittsburgh G-finity

Crime Thinc Convergence Pittsburgh

Pittsburgh PA July 20-26th

Permaculture and Anarchy

anarchopermaculturalist? f*%#k yeah!!!

This year’s CrimethInc. Convergence is a mere three weeks away. In Pittsburgh we are busy stock-piling foodstuffs and getting together a child-care collective, amongst other numerous tasks, but we wanted to announce a few things we’ve got in store for this year; rest assured that these are just the beginnings of the mad schemes and maniac plots we’re devising for the end of July. Our aim is that this year’s convergence opens up the space for new and exciting experiences, inspiring conversations, and connections with new and old friends alike. To facilitate this environment, we have a schedule of workshops and events, to which much more will be added in the coming weeks. Of course, every one of these workshops and events is contingent upon the active participation of those who attend.

Anyone with questions about what they need to bring or what items could be useful to our organizing can consult the list here, and those who want to share ideas beforehand or are looking for rides can coordinate on the Convergence forums. Any queries, concerns about the accessibility of the space, or offers of help can be sent to info@crimethincconvergence.com. Our website will be updated frequently in the next three weeks.

What follows is a initial list of some of the workshops that will be offered this year. Don’t think this gets you off the hook. We ask that everyone who plans to attend, in fact we demand, that each and every beautiful and unique individual coming to Pittsburgh doesn’t sit passively listening to others talk or perform; we couldn’t bear not being graced with your exceptional talents or insights as well.The convergence is like a giant potluck of epic proportions, and it requires that every single person bring something to share. If you are used to talking a lot in front of crowds and being in charge, challenge yourself further by supporting the efforts of others, or even presenting or performing something that goes beyond the limits of what you’ve done in the past. If you have a workshop to present please post on the forums or e-mail cwc.booking@gmail.com.

Pittsburgh Organizing Group’s Tactical Trainings
A locally based anarchist group will offer a series of workshops from their “tactical training initiative,” including Participating in a Mass Action 101, Lockboxes and Lockdown Devices, Beyond the Boardroom: A Workshop on Strategic Corporate Research, Working With The Media (for Anarchists), and An Introduction to the Global Political and Economic Frameworks. More info here.

The Organization and Benefits of Freeschools to Small Communities
An open discussion on Free Schools compared to other methods of organizing with a focus on small communities.

The GnuRadicals will offer a series of workshops on computer security, including: An “Introduction To Free Software,” which details the theory and history of Free Software and what that means for anarchists; a “Digital Security” workshop that outlines the state of the art in digital security, evading electronic surveillance, and communicating anonymously; an “Install-Fest” that walks participants through installing the necessary software on their computers; and a “Wireless Games” workshop that instructs participants on how to crack encrypted wireless networks, followed by a city-wide effort to crack and map as many as possible. All convergence attendees should bring their laptops if they have one and would like to participate.

Squat 2 Own
A workshop about political squatting, experiences organizing around housing issues in the South and how these topics relate to homeless solidarity, foreclosures, big banks, human rights, etc. A documentary may be shown if facilities are available, and more info can be found here.

Urban Permaculture/Guerrilla Gardening
Examining the concepts and principles of permaculture and its application to an urban setting. Hands on projects will be part of the workshop, as well as an exploration of the theme of blending anarchist direct action with permaculture. Depending on supplies and proximity to appropriate spaces, guerrilla planting, mushroom log placing and rainwater barrels can happen after the workshop takes place.

Story-Games: Collaborative Creativity, Entertaining Each Other & Abandoning the Media Machine.
What are Story-Games? They look like a handful of people sitting around talking. Some have you inventing the next part of the story, some have you speaking for one of the characters in the fiction. First we’ll have a guided discussion about story in our lives, then a very accessable lecture on Story-Jamming, learning to say Yes, and How To Make It Up As You Go Along. Then we’ll play a few story-games. It will be easy and fun.

Carnival of Solidarity: Tapping into the Radical Potential of New Orleans Mardi Gras
Next Year’s Olympic protests in Vancouver (Feb 10-15) will be happening at the same time as the culmination of Carnival in New Orleans. We are considering the possibilities of organizing solidarity actions in New Orleans during that timeframe. Also, there is discussion of staging radical actions/ outreach amidst the backdrop of Carnival/Mardi Gras every year from now on. This idea is still in the beginning stages; so, the workshop will be partially a brainstorm/thinktank session.

Intro to Botany and Plant Morphology
We will examine evolutionary development of vascular plants, plant nutrient uptake/nutrient deficiencies, some plant propagation, and maybe if time allows looking into flowers/seeds and a quick tutorial on plant breeding and germination. A plant walk in a nearby forested area will follow, if time allows, or be a separate additional workshop.

Trans 101
A workshop on gender as a social construction, transgender issues with healthcare, trans involvement in the LGBT community as a whole, and looking at ways to generally promote the visibility of the trans community.

Urban Hunting and Gathering
How to acquire and encourage wild and feral foods in an urban setting. We will cover animal processing (field dressing, using all parts of an animal, hide tanning, meat preservation), basic hunting and trapping strategies, medicinal and edible plants commonly found in urban areas, and whatever else folks want to discuss.

Herbalist Q & A
Come ask questions and I’ll do my best to answer them! Anything from abortions to headaches to medicine making.

Basic Medical Training
A workshop on basic emergency medicine, covering chemical burns, infection prevention, reduction of dislocations, blunt trauma and broken bones. Perspectives from alternative/holistic approaches will be given as well as from an experienced EMT.

Anti-Semitism in the Anarchist Millieu
Exploring and exposing the unfortunate propensity for anti-semitism in the anarchist milieu – presenting a few tenuous proposals for attacking this with more than just good intentions.

Convergence Reading Group
A contemporary yet classic anarchist text will be distributed to anyone interested at the beginning of the Convergence and near the end we will facilitate a discussion based on our reading. Feeling limited by the workshop format, this will be an attempt to give participants a common thread that extends beyond the alloted time. A discussion about people’s successes and failures in starting and continuing anarchist reading groups in their local communities will follow, or be a separate workshop altogether.

Community Autonomy: Building Networks and Infrastructure
A collective brainstorm on how we can build a network of communities that identify with the movement toward radical sustainability, and how we can build new infrastructure, both physical and social, that can move us toward greater autonomy from oppressive institutions. More info about the presenters here.

Musical Instrument Skillshare and Construction
A positive and encouraging space will be facilitated for folks to learn how to play instruments the want to learn about and teach about ones they know about. This workshop will also aim to create a marching band out of interested attendees to perform later on during the week.

Radical History Bike Tour
Local Pittsburghers will lead a bike tour through the city, visiting the many points of intense radical history that touched these streets. From the site of the Homestead strikes, to the tunnel that Emma Goldman and her comrades tried digging into the prison, to the armory that William Weisiss tried to raid, to the place where the knife that Alexander Berkman tried to stab Frick with is kept. We will have some bikes on hand, but please bring a bike with you if possible.

We’ve also got folks planning discussions on disability issues bringing their personals experiences, a Graffiti Walk, morning yoga, rewilding skills like sling-making, a workshop on basic vehicle mechanics, and a facilitated discussion on writing and editing.

In addition to the workshops there will be evening fun playing urban capture the flag, a radio powered treasure hunt adventure, an epic dance party, a puppet show, spontaneous games of all stripes and an inventive Hat Band that can hopefully expand upon this longstanding international tradition. Since we’ve chosen an urban location this year we’re planning a short swimming retreat out of town, and on Saturday July 25th the Convergence will help boost Pittsburgh’s new monthly Really Really Free Market (bring anything you can to give away!). Ambitious plotting is in the works for other activities, but remember that these can only succeed with the self-motivation and self-direction of the attendees. And so that is what we ask you to bring to Pittsburgh in three weeks time; we can hardly wait to see what you have in store.

Remember, meet at the Northside Commons (W. North Ave. and Brighton) by the pond, on Monday, July 20, anytime between 12 pm and sundown.

Next time, we’ll be able to announce more workshops!

Appendix: Another Tour to the Convergence

Froseph is going on yet another tour revolving around this summer’s convergence. The Wild Nettle Bookmobile, Winona, Minnesota’s anarchist literature distributer will also be along for the ride. Check out their new website! Along with the usual goods, The Wild Nettle Bookmobile hopes to raise some much needed legal funds for the RNC 8, the MKE 3 and Bash Back!. The dates are listed below. The ones marked “(help!)” are not confirmed. If you live in or around those places and would like to host this tour, please email froseph@crimethinc.com.

June:
23-Madison, WI at the Lothlorien Coop w/Thistle
25-Kalamazoo, MI
26-Detroit, MI at the Trumbellplex w/Ghost Mice and Heathers
27-Ann Arbor, MI (help!)
28-Toledo, OH
29-Cleveland, OH
30-Columbus, OH

July:
1-Dayton, OH (help!)
2-Athens, OH at Brown Town
3-Frederick, MD
4-Baltimore (help!)
5-9-Philadelphia July 5-9 (help!)
9-13-Punxsutawney, PA July 9-13
13-27-Pittsburgh, PA CrimethInc. Convergence
29-Lexington, KY benefit for Hugh
30-Louisville, KY (help!)
31-Bloomington, IN (help!)

August:
1-Evansville, IN
2-St. Louis, MO (help!)
3-Kansas City, MO (help!)
4-Lawrence, KS (help!)
5-Omaha, NE (help!)
6-Des Moines, IA

Landslide Community Urban Farm!

Radical Community Profile: Landslide Community Farm

Pittsburgh, PA

The history of the Landslide Community Farm is analogous to one of natures little accidents, a mutation if you will, that with in a certain given context becomes crucial if not startlingly beautiful.

Landslide has grown from a couple of fixed up “farm houses” to a non profit in control of multiple city plots used for urban farming.  Landsliders are using permaculture techniques, inclusive outreach, and smart campaigning to get strong rapport with city (even enough to fight off a unjust eviction attempt).   These permie punxs along with their equally amazing neighbors are making their urban environments more livable, more ecologically sound, and if dare say, all around more krunk.  Landsliders are truly stout folks with aspirations that include more than just themselves, but instead a desire to elevate the relationships around them, including the earth, and the greater Pittsburgh community as a whole.  Many Landsliders volunteer with collectives like Food NOT Bombs and most likely a dozen other awesome radical or progressive projects too numerous to mention here.

It is my view that permaculture is really 10 % physically oriented and 90 % percent community oriented because ultimately it is the community that will implement the work that is most needed.  The first rule for building community is just being inclusive by making what your doing accessible, affordable, and autonomously oriented.   Even when all the steel money is long gone it is the history of our relationship with the earth and others that will remain.  Landsliders are leaving a history in Pittsburgh that anyone would be proud of.

go Gaia punks go!

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