Food and Farming: Organic Food and Ecological Agriculture

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PRE-CONFERENCE INTENSIVE: Thursday, October 16th

Three Sisters Farming: Indigenous Women, Plants, and Foodways
Presented by The Cultural Conservancy and Bioneers Indigenous Knowledge Program

In this full-day, hands-on workshop/immersion in Indigenous Traditional Ecological Knowledge (TEK), we explore plants as teachers and the science and philosophy of diverse indigenous foodways and ethnobotanical traditions, including: “Three Sisters” Agriculture, Pueblo farming, organic gardening and California Indian land management practices. We will harvest, collect seeds, and eat together from our Three Sisters Garden as an embodiment of botanical and social polyculture.

This historic workshop features a world-class line-up:

Robin Kimmerer (Potawatomie): scientist, award-winning writer (Braiding Sweetgrass; Gathering Moss), Distinguished Teaching Professor of Environmental Biology at NY’s SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry and founding Director of its Center for Native Peoples and the Environment for reconciling indigenous and Western science.

Roxanne Swentzell (Santa Clara Pueblo): co-founder/President of the Flowering Tree Permaculture Institute at New Mexico’s Santa Clara Pueblo and globally renowned Santa Clara Pueblo ceramic sculptor.

Sage LaPena (Wintu): Water Resources Coordinator at California’s Hopland Pomo Tribal EPA, working on watershed management, riparian restoration, botany, habitat restoration, Traditional (Tribal) Ecological Knowledge, and public education.

Wendy Johnson: author of Gardening at the Dragon’s Gate, renowned organic gardening elder-mentor, founder of the famed Organic Farm and Garden program at Green Gulch Zen Center in Marin County.

Lois Ellen Frank (Kiowa)-Menu TBD

Maria, Mayan Elder-tamales

Hosted by Melissa Nelson, President of the Cultural Conservancy, Wendy Johnson, and Cara Romero, Director of the Bioneers’ Indigenous Knowledge Program.

Location: Indian Valley Organic Farm and Garden, College of Marin, Novato, CA 

Price:  $195, includes transportation from Embassy Suites (101 McInnis Parkway San Rafael, CA) and lunch

Register: Click Here



Food System Resilience from Homestead to Community and Beyond
In this sustainability tour and skill-building workshop led by Trathen Heckman of Daily Acts, with Naomi Starkman of the award-winning website Civil Eats and Farm Guild organizer Evan Wiig, we will learn Permaculture skills and tour successful, mature models of local sustainability, including: gray water systems, community gardens, edible landscapes, food forests, water harvesting earthworks, and rain gardens. Discover strategies to: transform your backyard as the beginning of transforming your neighborhood, municipality, and region; build leadership and self-reliance in your community; promote family and community food security and a local food economy; organize your community; work with municipal government as an ally; and foster new farmer networks.

Trathen Heckman, founder of Daily Acts, helps transform water-thirsty lawns into productive edible gardens, supports the installation of home-scale gray water and rainwater harvesting systems, facilitates sustainability tours that have inspired over 600 garden installations, and educates Sonoma County residents to live a more ecologically sustainable lifestyle.

Naomi Starkman is a Founder and the Editor-in-Chief of Civil Eats named 2014 Publication of the Year by the James Beard Foundation. Naomi served as the Director of Communications & Policy at Slow Food Nation ’08 and has worked as a media consultant at The New Yorker, Vanity Fair, GQ and WIRED magazines.

Evan Wiig, from community garden in Brooklyn to cattle ranch in California, has spent the last few years immersed in the local food and farming movement, raising chickens and working to convene farmers around important issues as an organizer for the Farmers Guild, a network of new farmers, ranchers and chefs sharing ideas and skills.

Time: 9:00 am – 6:00 pm

Price: $175, including transportation from Embassy Suites hotel to the program site and cob oven pizza for lunch.



Millions of Acres: Young Agrarians Needed
Introduction by Travis Forgues, dairy farmer/board member, Organic Valley

In the next 20 years, farmland ownership will shift on a continental scale—400 million acres, yet 70% of American farmland is owned by people 65 and older. How can we help young, motivated agrarians survive daunting structural obstacles and become successful farmers to whom retiring organic farmers can transmit their wisdom? How can we invest in the democratization of our land base? These questions drive Agrarian Trust, started by by Greenhorns founder Severine v T Fleming, one of the most dynamic leaders in the young farmers’ movement.

How Mushrooms Can Help Us Survive “Extinction 6x”

Introduction by Kenny Ausubel
In this 6th Age of Extinctions, the biosphere’s life-support systems that have allowed humans to ascend are collapsing. Visionary mycological researcher/inventor Paul Stamets illuminates how fungi, particularly mushrooms, offer uniquely powerful, practical solutions we can implement now to boost the biosphere’s immune system and equip us with benign breakthrough mycotechnologies to accelerate the transition to a restored world.

Mishkos Kenomagwen: The Teachings of Grass
Introduction by Melissa Nelson, The Cultural Conservancy
Indigenous peoples worldwide honor plants, not only as our sustainers, but as our oldest teachers who share teachings of generosity, creativity, sustainability and joy. By their living examples, plants spur our imaginations of how we might live. By braiding indigenous Traditional Ecological Knowledge (TEK) with modern tools of botanical science, Robin Kimmerer, professor of Environmental Science and Forestry of Potawatomi ancestry, explores the question: “If plants are our teachers, what are their lessons, and how might we become better students?”



Re-Localizing the Food System
Three leading innovators show how to transform the food system to expand local economies and nurture vibrant community cultures. Hosted by Arty Mangan, Director, Bioneers Restorative Food Systems program. With: Michael H. Shuman, expert on community economics, author of Local Dollars, Local SenseSeverine v T Fleming, farmer, activist, filmmaker, founder of Greenhorns; Karen Brown, Creative Director of Center for Ecoliteracy.

Solutions from the Underground: Mushrooms as Planetary Healers
Visionary mycologist Paul Stamets, founder, Fungi Perfecti, author of landmark books including Mycelium Running, explores the leading edges of his research and current applications using fungi for restoring the biosphere and human health.

Intelligence in Nature: The Vegetable Mind
Contemporary science is validating traditional knowledge about the vast pervasive intelligence in nature, and in plants in particular. What is intelligence? How do we learn nature’s languages? Hosted by Melissa K. Nelson, President, The Cultural Conservancy. With: Robin Kimmerer, Director, Center for Native Peoples and the Environment at SUNY-ESF; Monica Gagliano, renowned Australian marine biologist and evolutionary ecologist whose research Michael Pollan reported in the New Yorker.

Labeling GMOs: Lessons Learned and Next Steps
GMO labeling initiatives in California and Washington State lost narrowly because a powerful alliance of Big Ag and Big Food spent millions to confuse the public. Find out how you can join the national campaign for your “Right to Know.” Hosted by Arty Mangan, Bioneers Food and Farming Director. With: John Roulac, founder/CEO, Nutiva; Stacy Malkan, a leader of the California and Washington GMO labeling campaigns; Gopal Dayaneni, Movement Generation Planning Committee Member.

City of Joy: Turning Pain to Planting and Power
How can farming and gardening help empower and heal one of the world’s most challenged populations? City of Joy Founder Eve Ensler and permaculturist Brock Dolman of Occidental Arts and Ecology Center are developing a farm cooperative in City of Joy, the world-renowned haven for women rape survivors in the Congo.

Food Literacy as a Catalyst for Social Change
Breakthrough food literacy initiatives are transforming communities, bringing people together in meaningful conversations. Learn how to design an effective food literacy program for your community, organization or school. With: Kirk Bergstrom, Executive Director, Nourish Initiative; Alyson Wylie, Health Education Specialist, Center for Nutrition and Activity Promotion, California State University, Chico; Jered Lawson, co-founder and Co-Director, Pie Ranch.

Watering Down: Water Management Strategies for Climate Change
Proven climate change mitigation strategies sequester CO2 in soils and plants, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and build ecological and economic resilience in local landscapes. From rangeland to metropolis, these brilliant innovators are watering down. Moderated by Ellie Cohen, President/CEO, Point Blue Conservation Science. With: Andy Lipkis, founder/President, TreePeople, biomimicking forest watersheds for climate-resilient cities and water supplies; Courtney White, co-founder, Quivira Coalition, building bridges among ranchers, conservationists, public land managers, scientists and citizens for economic and ecological resilience on working landscapes; Sarah Newkirk, Coastal Project Director, Nature Conservancy, developing natural infrastructure solutions for coastal resilience.

Citizen Science Ecology Walk
Participate in national climate change research by observing the seasons and tracking nature's pulse. With Brian Haggerty, California Phenology Project, USA National Phenology Network.

Eco-Regional Design: Place Is the Space
How do we align political governance with ecological realities rooted in watersheds, foodsheds, culturesheds and regional economies? Hosted by: Kirsten Schwind, Bay Localize. With: Kristen Sheeran, Ecotrust, co-founder/Director, Economics for Equity and Environment Network; David Orr, Distinguished Professor of Environmental Studies and Politics at Oberlin College; Louise Bedsworth, Deputy Director, California Governor's Office of Planning and Research; Greg Watson, Massachusetts Commissioner of Agriculture.

A New Vision for Marin County: Our Successes, Challenges and Opportunities
Co-sponsored by MarinLink, the Environmental Forum of Marin, and the
County of Marin.  Fifty years ago, Marin County residents led the nation in creating a bold
vision, resulting in 80% of the land being protected. Today we¹re ready for
the next new vision to meet the challenges of a radically changed world. Join leading Marin visionary change-makers for a dynamic discussion of
Marin's extraordinary, cutting-edge accomplishments in environmental and
agricultural sustainability, and how to meet current challenges and exciting
future opportunities. For the first time Bioneers joins with with Marin County leadership to present a panel discussion moderated by Marin County Supervisor Steve Kinsey. Panelists include Congressman Jared Huffman; Dana King, American Broadcast Journalist and Candidate for Oakland City Council; Jamison Watts, Executive Director, MALT; and Nona Dennis, Founder of the Marin Environmental Forum.

The Seed Exchange
Preserve biodiversity and learn from seed masters. Hosted by: Occidental Arts and Ecology Center, Tesuque Pueblo Farm, Richmond Grows Seed Lending Library, Living Seed Company, Sustainable Seed Company. (10/18 – 6:30pm)

With herbalists Kami McBride and Autumn Summers (Interactive, experiential)


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