2023 NW Permaculture Convergence

Down the Mountain

Course Correcting our (R)evolution





Marisha Auerbach • Tao OrioN • ABEL KLOSTER • Josh Fattal

Richard CLARKE • Kyle Kaszynski • ryan crist • Jahnavi & Galen

October 6th-8th, 2023

cottage grove, Oregon


Since March 2020, many seeds of (r)evolution have been sprouting. We've risen up against racial injustice, weathered intense climate change, battled a global pandemic, witnessed worldwide oppression, and experienced intense division, even between people and movements within the same political standpoints. Along the way, we've learned new lessons, skills, and conflicts, and if we're lucky, we've also experienced the beauty of repair.

This year's Permaculture Convergence focuses on exactly that.

What does it mean to "come down the mountain"? What does it look like to drop to our knees, humbly walk here and admit that we don't have all the answers? The theme of this year's Northwest Permaculture Convergence is accepting feedback and self-regulating, with the goal of course-correcting our (r)evolution.

How do we accept feedback from the people, culture, community, land, and relationships in our lives? How do we integrate and self-regulate with our own nervous systems within our relationships, communities, cultures, and the land to build solidarity? These questions and more will be explored at the 2023 Permaculture Convergence. We'll come down the mountain inspired and ready to take action to improve our own lives and the world.

Keynotes & Headliners


Starhawk is a permaculture designer, teacher, and founder of Earth Activist Training, which teaches regenerative design with a grounding in spirit and a focus on organizing and activism. She is the author of thirteen books on earth based spirituality and activism, including The Spiral Dance, The Earth Path, and The Empowerment Manual: A Guide for Collaborative Groups, on group dynamics and social permaculture, and her permaculture novels, The Fifth Sacred Thing and City of Refuge. Together with director Donna Read Cooper, she has worked on five major documentaries, including the Goddess Trilogy for the National Film Board of Canada and Permaculture: The Growing Edge. Starhawk holds a double diploma in design and teaching from the Permaculture Institute of North America. She presently directs Earth Activist Training, teaches internationally, and is a voice for incorporating Social Permaculture into our movement and training.

KEYNOTE: Building Regenerative Movements

We live in a time of social and environmental crisis. We are called to make enormous changes in our technologies, our economies, our land use practices and our culture. Permaculture offers tools and solutions for regenerating land and ecosystems, but how do we build the broad, diverse and powerful movement we need to see those tools put to use? Social permaculture can adapt the same ethics and principles that help us heal soil and water to design empowering collaborations. When we identify our core human needs, for safety, belonging, value, agency, and meaning, we can design our groups and organizations to meet them in healthy ways, and build a welcoming, empowering and resilient movement.

WORKSHOP: Social Permaculture for Regenerative Groups

In this workshop, Starhawk applies the ethics and principles of permaculture to the design of groups and organizations. Drawing on her book The Empowerment Manual: A Guide for Collaborative Groups, and her five decades of experience in groups of all kinds, she shares some key ideas around structure, communication, power relationships, and core needs to explore how we can collaborate in ways that are welcoming, creative and empowering for all.


Aaron Johnson (he/him) is an earth builder, teacher of closeness, and activist. He graduated from the California Institute of the Arts in 2007 with a Bachelor of Fine Arts. He has made a lifelong commitment to use the skills he possesses to end racism. In addition to using intimacy and closeness to blackness as a primary means to that end, the tools he frequently uses are speaking, teaching, singing, photography, filmmaking, and minimalism. Aaron leads a mentoring program called Turn It Up Now that focuses on elevating the power, talent, love, and work ethic of youth. He believes that deep connection is one of the most powerful tools one can use in dismantling racism.

KEYNOTE: Breaking Down Barriers

Being close to blackness is the deepest, most personal aspect of working with systematic racism. When guided by a facilitator, we can identify and root out our habits, biases, and histories that are holding us back from being close to African heritage people. We can transform the world around us by asking better questions of ourselves, our families, and our communities.

Many white-identified folks may not consider themselves racist and yet may have hidden or underlying biases creating a barrier between themselves and black people in their community. These barriers prevent us from truly seeing blackness, being close to blackness, and advocating for genuine change. Aaron Johnson will facilitate this group, helping white-identified folks to reflect and discover personal, community, and cultural barriers, mainly as they affect white-controlled spaces


This workshop is a place for people in the community to fellowship around finding and expressing our voices. It’s a song circle, a meditation, a place to slow down and connect, to rethink ways to share our stories, poems, chants, grief, and dreams. To notice what it takes to find your messages and to be heard. Holistic Resistance will facilitate songs, stories, and simple settling practices supporting your voice and expression.


Hazel is a long time resident of the Southern Oregon/Mount Shasta bioregion first settling here in the early 70’s, and has been advising farms, stewarding forests, and teaching Environmental Sciences for more than fifty years. Their focus for this 21st century has been Social Forestry, restoring Oak/Pine Savannah in Little Wolf Gulch near Ruch, OR, demonstrating natural building, fuel hazard materials utilization, multiple products woods-crafting, wildlife support and desert forest water management.

WORKSHOP: Shrink the Permaculture Design Course: A Rewrite of the Curriculum

Can we transmute “design” to assessment, systems mapping and culture tending? Can we learn what the Mollisonian education model actually has accomplished and look to an expanded approach? What to do about professionalism and the franchise model? Can we shrink grandiose design to quick fixes and triage through nimble solutions while holding a vision of ultimate culture of place? And can we learn to accept feedback in big ways from small interventions?



Lydia is an Iranian-Armenian-American folk multi-instrumentalist, revolution-bringer, culture-tender, grief-worker, and mischief-maker. In her performances, she weaves together her songwriting, folk standards, Iranian ballads, love of harmonies, fiddle, banjo, and collective singing into an altar of music to lay at our feet. She is the creator behind Singing the Bones, a course with Leah Song of Rising Appalachia, and a music project that brings American artists together to explore and share folk music from their ancestries, encouraging cultural revitalization and diasporic healing. She has engaged in vibrant collaborations with world-renowned artists Climbing PoeTree, Rising Appalachia, MaMuse, and Lyla June. Lydia has also studied dedicatedly with deep ecology elder and Buddhist scholar Joanna Macy for the past 15 years, learning how we can metabolize planetary despair, anxiety, and community traumas into energy for resilience, action, and community healing. She founded and runs The School for The Great Turning, which creates access to an education that will empower humanity's life-sustaining legacy. www.schoolforthegreatturning.com

WORKSHOP: Joanna Macy's "Work That Reconnects"

As each day we face the news of climate chaos, political warfare, species extinction, and ecological and social suffering, we are asked to reconcile these collective traumas with all that is breaking in our hearts. It is natural in our time to feel despair, overwhelm, and grief. Joanna Macy's "Work That Reconnects" is an incredibly powerful form of group work and teachings developed over these last 5 decades that help us meet these places of despair, disorientation, and overwhelm with compassionate connection, existential acuity, emotional intelligence, and an opportunity for a transformation in identity situated within an interrelated landscape. Climate anxiety and ecological despair are real, they are on behalf of a world desperate for our collaboration in remembering our dignity and grace. It is here that we nourish our compass for the times ahead. Lydia has studied dedicatedly with root teacher Joanna Macy for the past 15 years and will give a hearty introductory immersion in this work.


Weaving a Sonic Tapestry: It takes a Village

Sara Tone, based in Portland, is a musician, educator, and activist. She expresses her deep connection with nature through a variety of instruments, crafting soulful melodies that blend world folk with a hip-hop twist. Beyond songs, her music carries a collective intention, echoing environmental advocacy. Sara's performances have supported causes like intact forests, clean water, and indigenous rights. As an educator, she teaches percussion and voice, notably at the NW Singer Songwriter Soireé Retreat.


Torin Frost is a freestylist from the Pacific Northwest. His music consists of singing odes to the elderberries, rapping flows for the Lion’s Mane, and improvising rhymes off the top of the brain. Torin’s main goal through music is to discombobulate the system, connecting us with Mother Earth and the cosmos one song at a time. For Torin, freestyling has been the greatest form of medicine, and he wants to share this beautiful gift with the rest of the world.

Jahnavi Veronica and Galen Hefferman

Jahnavi Veronica and Galen Hefferman weave their songs together with haunting vocal harmonies, plucked and bowed strings, percussion, and the willing voices of those who show up – creating soundscapes rooted in dreams and communications with nature.

They seek to create songs that can be a balm for challenging times, to transform and revive, and to open to a full hearted life, twisting the fibers of the dream world and the living world into one, speaking from the underground rivers that feed the springs that jump forth from wild willed places.

They make music as a way to give gifts to all who hear them, to the land they stand on, and to the clear stars above.



Lux Gypsum (all pronouns) is a queer, non-binary community-builder and space-holder offering their gifts at the intersection of interpersonal and cultural liberation. Lux has been learning and teaching about communication, conflict, and consent for over 6 years, and has recently been diving deep into learning about how our trauma and attachment systems impact our relationships. You can follow Lux's work and offerings on Instagram @healing.rising and by signing up for their newsletter at www.healingrising.com.

WORKSHOP: Giving & Receiving the Gift of Feedback

Giving and receiving loving, honest feedback is a key practice for collective liberation. Feedback is information that connects us to the world around us. Without knowing and adjusting to how we impact each other, we cannot be in the practice of right relationship. Shared in the spirit of collective liberation, feedback is a gift that supports our growth and helps us live our values. However, most of us are not practiced in seeking feedback or responding to feedback with understanding and openness. As a result, we withhold feedback in order to avoid conflict, missing the opportunity to support each other in the growth we need, individually and collectively. In this workshop, we will break through this pattern together by discussing and practicing how to give and receive feedback with grace and gratitude.


Morgan Vanderpool, LICSW, is an elder millennial, queer, non-binary, white, neurospicy, ecologically and intersectionally-grounded: collective nervous system mechanic, collective trauma specialist, neuro-inclusive movement & restorative practice facilitator, choreographer and community builder, who has lived and worked across the Americas, y adora conectar en Español.

Morgan is dedicated to facilitating inclusive, accessible, mycelially-grounded and somatically abolitionist, restorative body-based practices, that strengthen our collective capacity to healthfully move with every neurospicy layer of our surviorship. So we may co-build thriving nervous and eco-systems- ONE BREATH AT A TIME.


"Mycelial Body-Based Approaches to Regenerative Relationships"

In our efforts to build communities who are in right-relationship with our ecology, we cannot bypass our biology. When at least 85% of our communication is non-verbal (aka. body language), let's get clearer about how to access our mycelial-like body as a regenerative resource for community connection & collaboration. This workshop centers our body as our primary resource for co-creating regenerative relationships. It'll offer an opportunity to learn about the power of our nervous systems' collective capacities, through focusing on our breath and movement, to more healthfully collaborate with our co-activated nervous systems.

Participants will receive:

- An immersion in body-based support, to better track their own nervous systems' patterns and capacities in relationships.

- Guided support of how to embody the restorative functions of mycelium in our nervous systems.

- Downloads about how to access consensual nervous system co-regulation to co-build a regenerative present & future.