When I was five years old, in 1976, my parents moved our family of five from our safe, stable and economically viable lives just outside Milwaukee, Wisconsin, to a 140 acre farm overlooking the rolling hills of Western Wisconsin's Driftless region where we threw safety, stability and economic viability out the barn door. What I got in return was a tremendous sense of self reliance, which is not self-sufficiency, a conversation we could have at the convergence coming up in September. My family also got to meet and learn from our new neighbors and others who recently moved to the area, because in those days, and in those parts, there was no Amazon and no one had every piece of equipment or every bit of knowledge required to cultivate the land and care for livestock. This is a long way to say that little did I know our move introduced me to my first permacuture community and principles and I didn't even know it.
Fast forward a couple of decades, when I started an oral history project to collect the stories of people I grew up with and people in the region who also moved to the Driftless area around the same time my family arrived. It was during one of these interviews when I first learned about the term "permaculture" and some of the principles the people in an intentional community were following. I was deeply moved by the stories I heard, and found myself morphing toward following permaculture principles even though I really hadn't studied what that meant. A few years after the oral history project concluded, I enrolled in a permaculture design certificate course in Madison, Wisconsin. It would not be an overstatement to say that this experience changed my life forever. It changed how I live in community with my husband and the people we intentionally share our home with. It changed how I think about energy and consumption and gardening and fruit trees and animals. It also put me on the path to look for a graduate school program aligned not necessarily with a career path or change, but to further my education and experience with personal, community and environmental sustainability.
So naturally when I heard about the Wisconsin Permaculture Convergence, I jumped in with both feet. I am now on the organizing committee, attend the entire convergence and think about it year-round. So whether you are ready to jump in with both feet as I did, just want to stick a toe in or throw a stone to see what kind of ripples you might make in your life, I think this year's convergence is the best way to spend a September weekend in Wisconsin. I'd love to see you there.
House Keeping Notes
SESSION LEADER PROPOSAL
We are still taking proposals from people interested in leading a session at the convergence in 2018. If you or someone you know are interested please fill out the form at the link below. Contact us if you have any questions not answered by the information in the form.
We are looking for businesses and organizations who would like to sponsor the convergence. We want to help you get the word out about your services and are pleased to provide an opportunity to reach people interested in all areas of Permaculture. Please check out the information by clicking on the link below if you are interested.
The convergence team is always looking to add additional team members to help with planning, outreach and day of duties. Please send us an email (firstname.lastname@example.org) if you would like to help the 2018 Convergence rock as hard as the past four!