Reclaiming the Future: Lessons from Cuba and the 11th International Permaculture Convergence

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Adam Brock attended the 11th International Permaculture Convergence in Cuba from November 23rd to December 3rd, 2013. This slideshow contains highlights from his experience, interwoven with thoughts on how to apply lessons learned in Cuba to our own communities.

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  • IPCEvery two yearsThis year Cuba500 permaculturalists from around the worldGathered for 10 days
  • Presenting for 3 days in fancy hotel
  • 5 days on beach
  • Urban site visits
  • Rural site visitsExpecting to meet new people, explore new country, learn about cool things happeningBut what I wasn’t counting on was the magica really cool thing happensHelped me remember what’s possibleReconnect with our potential as communityLearn how to reclaim the future
  • Of course, the future starts with the presentSo before we get into the future, I want to talk about the times we’re living in now.Hard to get a grasp on times we’re inLike a fishCaught up in daily grindThe truth is the times are dire. They demand courage.Unflinching look at what our world looks like circa 2014.
  • We live in a time when unprecedented natural disaster is the new normal
  • It’s become a regular occurrence for our children to bring guns to school and kill each other
  • We live in a time when millions of young men are trapped in a cycle of violence, crime and incarceration that destroys families and neighborhoods
  • And millions more are forced to live lives in the shadows,in constantfear of being deported from their own homes
  • We live in a time where those of us who are paying attention have to fight desperately to keep our water from getting polluted with toxic chemicals, just so we can keep burning carbon for a few more years
  • Meanwhile most of us are too tethered to screens of various forms to notice.Our attention spans are shot to hell.We think in status updates.Begrudgingly accepted the fact everything we click, everything we text can be tracked by our government
  • We live in a time when barely making ends meet is a given.Where doing what you love, what you know is right, will never put food on the table
  • Somehow, we’ve managed to become overfed and undernourished
  • We are living in a time that’s long on quantity and short on qualityA time drowning in information and desperate for knowledge.Now I don’t know about you, but that sounds like a time of sickness to me.This is not normal.This is not the way we’re meant to live.This is not OK.I don’t know about you all, but I don’t consent to the present.And I hereby reclaim the future.
  • So if the first step of reclaiming our future is finding the courage to look our present in the face, the second step is envisioning the future we want
  • And cuba was a great place to do that.See, they’ve had lots of practice in the last couple generations rejecting their present and reclaiming their future.I’ve traveled but never in a noncapitalist country
  • No corporations, no advertisementsJust murals with socialism and revolution.
  • Proud of standing up to US imperialismExplain mural
  • HealthcareStipend of food rations, base salary
  • Relatively high standard of livingLow environmental footprintTypical street scene in the city
  • And in the country
  • Cuba and agWho has seen “power of community?”Special period  re-localization
  • Trained thousands of cubans in PC techniques
  • Instituting backyard gardens for food security
  • Demonstrate to surrounding communities
  • More impressive scaled upEconomics of food are completely differentNo gov subsidies keeping commodities cheap+ Embargo keeps oil-based products expensive+ Gov’t owned land is given to the people= People can actually make money growing organic foodWorker-owned co-op employing hundreds of people on 30 acresSelling mainly to institutions like hospitals and schoolsDon’t just farm…
  • Raise animals for meat and manure…
  • Massive vermicomposting
  • Added value processing
  • Special period made cubansthrify, and inventive
  • Sawdust stove
  • Solar cookers
  • Solar cooker
  • Simple dehydrator
  • More complex dehydrator
  • no utopia permaculture oversold People still going hungry bureaucracy Food suckeddifferent dysfunction
  • Speaking of valuing elders…The whole other half of what made the trip so exciting: the peopleLots of folks I’d heard about, read about, admired from afarStanding next to them in lunch lineHumbling to be in an environment where the stuff I did was just meh.Share some of the work that my peers are doing
  • Portland – built environment as artReclaim the intersection of the neighbor’s lives through painting a community square
  • 6 houses were built in 10 days during the village building convergence 4 (2004)
  • Joy, convivialityHow is all of this legal?
  • Got together and CHANGED THE LAWS
  • Mentor of mine – Eric ToenseierNuestrasRaices, EFG, Perennial VegetablesNew project – perennial staple cropsBeyond growing perennials for food, meeting all other needs
  • Plant geek – researching all over world
  • Best part – perennial ag as solution to climate changeRunning the numbers
  • Rafter: putting scientific rigor into PCholding ourselves accountable to overblown, overhyped claims.Edge does not always make more yieldneither do perennials.Science, but not academic sciencePeople’s science, starting with TEKThinking critically, testing claims
  • RockstarMost successful large-scale PC project on the planetChikukwa, Zimbabwe
  • Locals working with locals – embedded in a placeFor food security, not commodityMovie screening? Let me know
  • Julious – PC isn’t white dudesThese guys really threw down the gauntletToby storyPandora – black PC networkMovement generation Liberation PC with OAEC 3-part theory of change National climate justice organizing
  • Planting justiceProviding jobs through transforming yards
  • So if the first step of reclaiming our future is finding the courage to look our present in the face, the second step is envisioning the future we want
  • Andy goldring – Permaculture association UKEngaging thousands of people
  • PINA – just forming, look out for it in the next few years
  • 2014 – first N American Permaculture Convergence, Late aug/early sept Harmony Park in MNSo now we’re well on our way towards reclaiming the future, right? We’ve acknowledged the challenges the head-on, we’ve envisioned the world we want to see. To take that last step, I’m gonna need your guys’ help. Ask for volunteers.
  • So now we’re well on our way towards reclaiming the future, right? We’ve acknowledged the challenges the head-on, we’ve envisioned the world we want to see.To take that last step, I’m gonna need your guys’ help. Ask for volunteers.Perform lifting the heavy thing activity
  • It’s time to empower each other to break our destructive addictions – and I mean everything from breaking bad to gasoline.It’s time make corporations based thousands of miles away unnecessary for our well-being.It’s time to place the needs of our most marginalized brothers and sisters first, giving them opportunities for leadership and livelihood, and working to heal the centuries of injustice they’ve sufferedIt’s time to take the amazing solutions that already exist and tweak them, refine them and scale them up.It’s time to figure out how to heat our homes with the sun, growing our food with 16 inches of rainfall per year, to start teaching our youth wisdom instead of factsIt’s time to start small businesses that can implement these solutionsIt’s time to create an economy that doesn’t need dollars to feel wealthyTo create complementary currencies that allow our community to thrive in the midst of macro-economic uncertainty
  • The good news is that most of this stuff is already happening. And in a couple minutes, you’ll be hearing from a new organization with the aim of tying much of it together.I want to leave you with one story. The very last site we visited was the best. Windmill pumping water, oxen plowing the field, biogas stove, round buildings Only had 20 minutes hurried exit Pause at the threshold, savoring the feeling of harmony Walk back to the present Days and weeks since, visual mantra. And so, as we enter a new year, I’d like to extend you a wish. May we all find the courage to acknowledge the crises we face, may we all seek the inspiration to envision the world we know is possible, and may we all have the motivation and patience and compassion to join forces and build that world, together.
  • Reclaiming the Future: Lessons from Cuba and the 11th International Permaculture Convergence

    1. 1. reclaiming the future lessons from cuba and the 11th international permaculture convergence adam brock january 11th 2014
    2. 2. reclaiming the future step 1: face the present with courage
    3. 3. reclaiming the future step 2: envision the future we know is possible
    4. 4. reclaiming the future step 2.5: “expect a mess” - rafter sass ferguson
    5. 5. marisha auerbach permaculture in portland
    6. 6. Dignity Village QuickTime™ and a BMP decompressor are needed to see this picture. QuickTi me™ and a BMP decompressor are needed to see this picture. QuickTime™ and a BMP decompressor are needed to see this picture. QuickTime™ and a BMP decompressor are needed to see this picture. QuickTime™ and a BMP decom pressor are needed t o see t his picture. marisha auerbach permaculture in portland
    7. 7. marisha auerbach permaculture in portland
    8. 8. 24 hour Solar Cat Palace marisha auerbach permaculture in portland
    9. 9. Legal in Portland ~ Subsurface Greywater ~ Composting Toilets ~ Natural Building Construction marisha auerbach permaculture in portland
    10. 10. Perennial Staple Crops eric toensmeier perennial staple crops
    11. 11. • • • • • • • • • • CROP TYPES Grains Pulses Nuts Dry Pods Staple Fruits Oilseeds High-Protein Leaves Starch-Filled Trunks Aerial Tubers Sugary & Milky Saps eric toensmeier perennial staple crops
    12. 12. REDUCING EMISSIONS vs. SEQUESTERING CARBON eric toensmeier perennial staple crops
    13. 13. rafter sass ferguson permaculture and science
    14. 14. julious piti the chikukwa project
    15. 15. julious piti the chikukwa project
    16. 16. decolonizing permaculture
    17. 17. decolonizing permaculture www.plantingjustice.org
    18. 18. reclaiming the future step 4: get your community organized
    19. 19. organizing the movement www.permaculture.org.uk
    20. 20. organizing the movement www.permaculturenorthamerica.org
    21. 21. organizing the movement surveymonkey.com/s/napc2014
    22. 22. reclaiming the future step 5: make the present obsolete

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