Permaculture, spirit, and activism - three very potent tools to regenerate our world. I'm Starhawk, and I’m the author of twelve books on the intersections of earth-based spirituality and social change organizing, including my visionary novel The Fifth Sacred Thing. But I don’t just write about them, I try to practice them in my life and in what I teach.
I started Earth Activist Training because I wanted a program that could combine them all. Permaculture is a holistic ecological design system that includes powerful tools that can help us heal damaged land, rebuild communities, and create truly sustainable abundance. We teach it with a grounding in spirit—personal regeneration--and a focus on organizing and activism. In our permaculture design course, students learn how to heal damaged soil, grow food organically, bioremediate toxins, harvest water and re-use graywater, build low-cost, low-carbon housing, and so many other skills. And most of all, they learn how all the aspects of sustainability can fit together so that we can meet our human needs while caring for the natural systems around us. Permaculture offers solutions to some of our most grave ecological problems.
The communities that most need these tools are those who are on the front lines of environmental and social struggles – our depressed inner cities, indigenous reserves where jobs and resources are scarce, desertifying drylands and war-torn lands in the developing world. To share this knowledge, we need to train people who come from those communities. They are the best ambassadors and most effective teachers!
So Earth Activist Training offers Diversity Scholarships to people of color who are working in environmental and food justice. From the urban food deserts to the deserts of African, our students are doing amazing work! They’re people like Menhuam Ayele, an architecture student who is training former gang members to build a greenhouse in San Francisco’s most depressed neighborhood. Or Brandy Mack, who works with young girls who live in public housing and helps them grow both food and self-esteem. Or Tesfaye Johanson, who was born in the Afar region of Ethiopia and now works to bring land and water programs in his ancestral village. Or David Ortiz, a Blackfoot Nation permaculture designer who works for tribal water rights. Carmen Shorter helps women make the transition from addiction and homelessness to treatment and next steps. Eighteen-year-old Ruby Avila is developing gardens in her community. Rushelle Frazier is an accomplished poet who is developing a permaculture retreat center for Veterans.
You can meet them all in the video, and by contributing to our campaign you can be part of their work, and others like them.
These are the leaders and visionaries who give me hope. I feel so honored to have skills and tools to share that I know can boost their efforts, help them regenerate their spirit and enthusiasm after hard times, and empower communities.
If you could do something to help heal the world, would you plant rain gardens on the Paiute reserve in Nevada, or camp out in the path of an oil pipeline, or inspire inner city youth to make environmental art, or research the potential to sequester carbon with compost, or start rooftop gardens in the South Bronx? No one of us can do it all, but all of us can be part of weaving this network of support for all the visionaries who are turning problems into solutions.
Earth Activist Training offers two-week residential permaculture design certificate courses, which are the gateway into the global permaculture movement and a strong foundation for a career in sustainability. We hope to raise $10,000 or more with this campaign, to cover our costs for ten or more Diversity Scholarship recipients. Any additional money we raise will seed scholarships and work trade opportunities for upcoming short courses in natural building, a Spring Equinox retreat, and a second permaculture design course in May.
In 2013, we were able to offer Diversity Scholarships to nineteen students over three courses, and to mentor two African American women as assistant teachers. In 2014, we hope to do even more!
One-third to one-half of our students are on work trade or scholarships. We offer work trade and fee reductions to activists of all backgrounds. In addition, we actively support three inner-city gardens in San Francisco’s most stressed neighborhood of Bayview Hunters Point, providing mentoring and training for the Girls2000 gardens and the Emerald City Green Jobs Programs run by Hunters Point Family, which serves at-risk youth. And we’ve helped support the Marda Permaculture Farm in Palestine, where Starhawk taught a permaculture design course in October. We have a strong track record of building trust in a wide spectrum of communities.
A small investment in Earth Activist Training has a huge ripple effect. Any amount you can donate will help diversify the environmental justice movement, bring new perspectives and insights into the permaculture movement, and give activists and community leaders the tools they need to build that beautiful world of the future we know is possible!
Other ways to help:
Even small amounts of money add up, so please feel free to donate whatever you can! But there are many other ways to help:
Share this campaign with your friends and social networks. Help us spread it far and wide! You can use the Share tools here on this page.
Come take our course yourself! There’s no better way to launch a career in sustainability, or discover a new life direction, or deepen your own spiritual connection to the earth, or learn how to organize and make changes on a wide scale! You can find all the information on our courses and organization at http://www.earthactivisttraining.org/.
We’re so thankful for all the help we’ve gotten from the community of those who share the permaculture ethics: care for the earth, care for the people and care for the future! And we're deeply grateful for your support!
Special thanks to Antibalas for letting us use their piece “Nesta” as the music in our video! http://www.antibalas.com/
And thanks to producer Philip Wood of The Fifth Sacred Thing movie project for making the video look and sound good! http://thefifthsacredthing.comTo view the video with closed captions, please visit the following link:
Our Teaching Team:
Starhawk is the author of twelve books on Goddess religion, earth based spirituality and activism, including The Spiral Dance, The Fifth Sacred Thing, The Earth Path and The Empowerment Manual: A Guide for Collaborative Groups, on power, process and group dynamics. She is currently working with Yerba Buena Films on a feature production of her novel, The Fifth Sacred Thing. http://fifthsacredthing.com/
Starhawk directs Earth Activist Training and has been teaching permaculture since 2001. Her website is www.starhawk.org/
Charles Williams is a permaculture designer, teacher, skilled facilitator and mediator who brings to the work a love of the wild and experience as an instructor and guide in wilderness skills, tracking and primitive skills. He is the land manager of Golden Rabbit Ranch in the Cazadero Hills, implementing a permaculture design including holistic management rotational grazing of sheep and goats, carbon farming, sustainable forestry, and Mediterranean forest gardens.
Pandora Thomas Pandora co-founded Earthseed Consulting LLC, a holistic consulting firm whose work expands the opportunities for sustainable living for diverse communities. Her clients include Toyota and UC Berkeley. She has worked with groups as diverse as Iraqi and Indonesian youth to men serving in San Quentin creating inspiring and hands on programs around permaculture, sustainability, and outdoor and environmental education. She is the founder of the Black Permaculture Network.
Guest Teacher Erik Ohlsen is a licensed contractor and founder/owner of Permaculture Artisans, an ecological farm and landscape company. Erik has extensive experience with design and implementation of projects that range from small urban lots to 100+ broad acres. His understanding of ecology and his many years of observation, listening, and experience with landscape patterns and design teams make Erik a leader in the field. Erik’s design and field experience comprise of a huge variety of skills, including: farm design and implementation, water harvesting/storm water management, erosion control, extensive earthwork operations, heavy machine operation, irrigation systems, ponds, food forests/orchard systems, native plant systems, wildlife habitat enhancement, integrated pest management, microclimate moderation, roof water catchment systems, sustainable forestry, soil building, vermiculture, hardscape design and implementation, client relations, project management, and much more.
Erik has taught courses in permaculture and related subjects throughout the US, Canada, and the UK. He is the founder of the Permaculture Skill Center in Sebastopol, CA. His website is www.permacultureartisans.com