Design contest unfolds
We are grateful to our members for their passionate involvement in the 2018 NatureWise Design Contest, which concluded on April 1st with the awarding of $5,000 to back the entry by Tao Orion to construct integrated Water Harvesting Earthworks at Aprovecho Institute, a venerable permaculture establishment in Cottage Grove, Oregon. The Institute has been a center of dissemination for appropriate technologies, including natural building and permaculture, for over 30 years, and manages 40 acres of forest on a sustained yield and regenerative basis. The project, which PINA’s members have supported, was awarded a nearly unprecedented new water right by the Oregon State Water Master, for its innovative design and multiple benefits.

The first of two workshops supporting the project installation was held on June 14th, and a second session to finish the earthworks will be held July 7th. Contact Tao Orion at Resilience Design if you are interested in participating.

Earthworks video “in the works”
Benefits from the Contest continue to flow. PINA has arranged to film the earthworks installation and expects to have a instructional video and other documentation of the design available by fall 2019.

Gallery of winners
We were astonished to receive 42 entries from 39 Contestants spread 20 states, 3 Canadian provinces, plus Mexico, Guatemala, and Puerto Rico, and we were impressed by the high quality of so many of them. We have featured a number of the finalist and semi-finalist entries at, and will continue posting about more of the top contestants throughout the summer, leading up to announcements about the 2019 Design Contest specifications. We encourage you to check out this exceptional array of talent on display at our website and to prepare yourselves for another round of creative endeavor.

Funding earth repair
In response to the manifold opportunities presented by our members to regenerate communities and landscapes, PINA has established the Fund for Regeneration. We would like to support more of the best projects identified by our Contest, and are seeking to back comparable work of strategic importance across North America. At least 20 of our Contest entries are ready to roll now, so consider donating and encouraging others to do so. These funds can go right to work.

In search of partners and ways to expand our regeneration efforts, PINA sent staff and board members to the Global Earth Repair Conference at Fort Worden State Park in Port Townsend, Washington May 3-5. On this former military base in a magnificent natural setting we held down a booth, organized a permaculture panel, participated in conference sessions, and met with PINA members and diplomates, PDC graduates, our 2018 Contest winner Tao Orion, and many old friends and colleagues. An upshot of the Conference was a proposal offered to the closing circle to kick-start climate mitigation by planting trees.

Million Tree Challenge – a Vision for 2020 and Beyond
With the hopes that it will put a downpayment on a decade of climate action, PINA pledged to the GERC to organize the planting of a million trees in North America. We would like to accomplish this by the end of next year, and in doing so build capacity in thousands of communities to continue planting woodlands and new forests at the ever greater rate which will be needed to mitigate climate disruption. We are actively seeking funding to plan and launch this effort, and welcome the assistance and support of our members and the public. Please contact Peter Bane at

As part of the MTC, we envision establishing tree nurseries in every region, even as we have learned that the venerable tree nursery Lawyers in Montana and Washington, once a supplier of millions of young trees and shrubs, have recently closed. We cannot assume the economic landscape in which we have operated will continue to function, so as with all things permacultural, we must be prepared to provide for our own needs and those of our communities for planting stock to restore a stable climate.

Trees and all green cover on earth help cool the land surface and reduce radiative heat forcing to the atmosphere. They also actively make rain by generating clouds of droplet-forming bacteria from their leaf stomata. And of course, photosynthesis captures carbon, which healthy soils and durable vegetation sequester. These processes nurture repair of the small water cycle and can have large regional effects long in advance of changes in the curve of CO2. By cooling the atmosphere, we reduce the danger of extreme weather events which pose the greatest threat to human survival. We do not have the luxury of waiting on political processes or the economic retrenchment of the fossil fuel industry to address the global crisis, and even more importantly, we have the knowledge to safely and effectively rebalance the global heat equation in the way that nature has always done, by expanding the area and duration of green cover on the earth. Roof gardens, street trees, prairie windbreaks, new village forests, and a hundred other variations are urgently needed.

We see PINA’s role as inspiring, organizing, supporting with technical information and channeling funding to ensure that new woodlands are planted, new regional strengths are nurtured, and that these efforts continue. We will develop the capacity to monitor and report progress and to advance efforts both numerically and geographically.

PINA is also interested in generating Tree Tax or Carbon Credit funding for community tree plantings, which means organizing ongoing stewardship of the new groves and forests to ensure that carbon stays rooted in the ground.

All this will mean paid work, which we intend will benefit PINA members, particularly those with demonstrated skills. If you have proposals for contributing effort to the Million Tree Challenge, we welcome detailed descriptions by email.

Continuing Education webinar to be offered on Mutual Aid
On other fronts, PINA is pleased to announce the first webinar in our Continuing Education series for diplomates, also open to members and the public. Permaculture teacher and designer Zev Friedman, creative director with, and resident of Earthaven Ecovillage in Black Mountain, North Carolina will lead a 4-session webinar on Mutual Aid September 19th, 26th, October 3rd and 24th. The four 90-minute sessions will review the history of this powerful people’s movement, alive today, exploring its implications for economic and social empowerment. Zev will help us develop a pattern language for using Mutual Aid, and will assist participants to apply these means to their own communities.

Tuition for the webinar includes reference access to the broadcast materials, and will cost $20 for diplomates, $30 for other PINA members, and $45 for the general public. The completed webinar meets the requirement that diplomates obtain continuing education credit at least every three years. Enroll early for the webinar; places are limited.

Calendar now online
In April, PINA established an online calendar listing events led or sponsored by our diplomates, with PDCs and other localized courses in a regional roster of programs, and events of continental reach as well as online activities in a parallel grouping. Diplomates are invited to submit their entries, while the public can view the calendar here.

Action Learning Network and Jobs Board planned
Our next project, for which planning has commenced, is a web-based listing of learning opportunities, work-trade, internships, and paid employment for and with PINA members. Stay tuned for more details to come soon.

College credit available for your PINA-recognized PDC
We remind our members, and especially our Education diplomates, that PINA has a partnership with Goddard College whereby any certificate holder from a PDC taught since 2010 by a PINA-recognized instructor may secure advanced placement and tuition credit from Goddard toward any Bachelors degree they offer. The tuition credit is $1,000; two hours of academic credit are offered, so long as the PDC was at least 80 hours long. In the case of courses that followed the minimum 72-hour curriculum, PINA has an 8-hour supplementary module that can be taken inexpensively to qualify the PDC graduate for Goddard’s offer. Contact the PINA office for further information:

Diplomas expand
PINA’s board recently approved a new diploma specialization in Media and Communications, expanding to five the number of specialities in the PINA diploma portfolio. The Diploma Program Committee is now working up the administrative details to inaugurate the Media diploma on Regular, Experienced, and Fast Tracks. We expect to have this in place in early August.

In the meantime, new diplomas have been granted in Site Design to Daniel Halsey of Minnesota and Jesse Watson of Maine with our congratulations. This brings to 39 the total number of diplomates in North America maintaining active membership with PINA, among 45 whom the Institute has recognized.

PINA’s membership, which stood at 129 last Labor Day, had more than doubled to 272 by the conclusion of the Design Contest on April 1, an historic increase, which we hope portends further growth of your trade guild. If you are already a member, please renew when your anniversary comes around, sign up for automatic renewals if you haven’t, and encourage your friends who hold the permaculture certificate to join. First-year membership still carries with it a one-year subscription to Permaculture Design magazine, a US$25 value, making a new sign-up a real bargain.

Hub Activity
At the beginning of the year, Permaculture Association of the Northeast joined PINA as a regional affiliate or hub for New York and New England. PAN joins Great Rivers and Lakes Permaculture Institute, serving Wisconsin, Michigan, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, and Kentucky, affiliated from 2016, to provide PINA educational support and public outreach across a quarter of US states representing more than a quarter of the US population. PINA is in active conversation with several other regional groups about forming or affiliating as hubs. Could your region be next? If you would like to be put in touch with others working toward hub formation near you, please contact PINA’s Administrator Melanie Mindlin,

Our Hub Committee has compiled a lengthy document revising PINA’s Hub policy and offering an extensive review of best practices for organizing groups. We envision hubs as centers of mutual aid for their regional communities bringing together the many petals of the Permaculture Flower, particularly in social and economic development. If you want PINA to succeed in lifting us all up together, begin working now on organizing your region. If you belong to a local guild, there may be other guilds around you with which you could cooperate to create a hub. Whatever your collective situation, PINA would benefit from learning about your aims and needs. This area of PINA work and outreach continues to develop, and we welcome member volunteers to join the Hub Committee which meets on 2nd Mondays for an hour by Zoom conference call. To be included, write the Exec. Director, Peter Bane,