How do we bring the skills and tools of ecological design and permaculture into the communities that most need them? That’s the question we ask ourselves at Earth Activist Training—then we do two basic things. First, we support organizations within those communities that are already working on issues of social, environmental and food justice, sharing resources and building relationships. Then, we go out and fundraise like hell to offer scholarships to our residential trainings to people from those communities.
This last January was our second year of offering Diversity Scholarships, and thanks to the generous support we received from individual donors and from the Dougherty Foundation, we were able to offer ten full scholarships! We also had another nine work traders, and all together we had an amazing course, rich, diverse, and fun!
We’re also seeing the synergy of both our approaches, with students from last year volunteering with one another’s programs and supporting each others’ efforts.
And we’ve been mentoring two African American women to step into teaching and leadership roles in the permaculture movement. Pandora Thomas is already an accomplished presenter, organizer, and teacher who works introducing concepts around sustainability in black colleges across the US and with the Green Life program for prisoners in San Quentin. She founded the Black Permaculture Network last year to provide support for permaculturalists of color, and student taught both our Social Permaculture course and our Earth Activist Training.
Rushelle Frazier has worked with veterans, started her own permaculture farm and will be directing a community garden in Chatanooga. She student taught at our Vermont Earth Activist Training, will apprentice teach again this summer at Prospect Rock Permaculture Center in Vermont, and is also a very fine poet!
So, enjoy the pictures! I hope to write more about some of the excitement and challenges of facilitating diverse groups, and how we can effectively address issues of power and privilege in our movements. But for now, I just want to express my deep gratitude for all of you who contributed to our campaign. Your support means so much! And your gifts have had a huge ripple effect!