I have much to share about an incredible journey South in early June. For almost two weeks I was focused on attending and actively participating in an
annual event in Portland, Oregon, co-created by local, grassroots organization
City Repair, called the Village Building Convergence. Each year, a congregation of
environmental and social activists in the Pacific Northwest, formally come together
to inspire and empower co-creative community development through ecological
education and awareness.
Throughout the week, many people living in the Portland area opened up
their home spaces to invite those interested in volunteering and working on various
small-scale projects with goals to transform a landscape or yard into an urban
oasis, adhering to the Permaculture ethics of supporting life in an ecological and
conscious way. With a diverse range of visions among the community, each day one
could choose from a plethora of creative activities around the city to participate in,
such as Permaculture landscape and sustainable home infrastructure design and
implementation, natural building, public art, and urban gardening projects.
In the evenings after working and playing all day, many of us came together
again at a local church, graciously donated as a venue space for the conference.
With the support from many open hearts, a large organic vegan meal was co-
created completely by donated food and resources in preparation for a full
evening of exciting lectures, workshops and engaging activities. Some nights were
dedicated toward the sharing of skills such as, flintknapping, traditional friction
fire cultivation, drop spindle and other fiber art techniques. Some nights consisted
of guest speakers sharing their stories of empowering community development
projects with children and communities in Portland. One special day was blessed
with the presence of well known environmental, community activist, and author,
Starhawk, who spoke of the our relationship to the Earth, powerful times we are
living in, what kinds issues we face, and problems to solve.
Many questions were brought to the surface, ideas opened, visions kindled.
What are we doing as a species? How are we taking responsibility with providing
our own needs and needs of our communities? What kinds of environmental
degradation must be brought to awareness? What are we teaching the next
generation? How can we take our relationships to the next level? Throughout my
experience at the VBC, I focused a substantial amount of energy into participating
in the kitchen. Each night as a team, we volunteered to prepare and serve over a
hundred people with the highest quality nourishment possible. This act of selfless
service gave me a powerful sense of inspiration and hope. We came together, not
only to educate one another, but to feed and take care of each other as a family. I am
called to deepen my research and exploration with serving people, and I feel called to start in the kitchen.