— Peter Bane

PINA’s North American Leadership Summit concluded three seasons of intense planning and problem solving on August 23rd with a four-day extravaganza of online talks, workshops, and networking. Nearly 200 registrants from across the continent took part in over 30 hours of programming that directly addressed the most urgent issues of our historical moment: climate crises, community disruption and healing, energy transition, mutual aid for new local economies, regenerative agriculture, and social mobilization. 

Two highlights of the Summit were the debut of a beautiful short film by Mitchel Davidovitz documenting PINA’s first land regeneration project,  Integrated Water Harvesting Earthworks, and a call for planting a million trees across North America. Part of a worldwide movement to reforest the planet, PINA’s Million Tree Challenge has the specific goal of sketching the limits and solving the problems of community-based reforestation in multiple climate zones and varied social conditions.

Key to the success of the summit were seven working groups which laid out approaches to the multiple fronts of action required today. These groups, which were reflected in the Summit program outlined above, continue meeting and will resurface publicly in two further summits in 2021. We plan adding groups on media and on education to the roster which includes Mutual Aid/Regional Hubs/Resilient Economies, Regenerative Agriculture, Energy Transition and the Green New Deal, Mainstream Action, Trauma and Deep Adaptation, Water for Climate Cooling, and of course, The Million Tree Challenge. To participate, contact NALSResearch@pina.in. Our administrator Elizabeth Lynch can enroll you in one or more of the working groups and provide access to our online working space.

Truly a peer-to-peer experience, the Summit revealed great depth of leadership in the permaculture community and showcased talent from many regions.

Those who purchased regular tickets to the Summit will gain access to the recorded plenary materials, which are available post-Summit by paid access. PINA plans to make selected materials accessible for free to illustrate the high caliber of thought leadership we have organized.

Plans are underway for the next summit January 23-24 and 30-31, to focus on Trauma, Community Adaptation, and Mutual Aid. In addition, we are organizing a Spanish-language workshop (for April 2021) on Seed Saving and Genetic Conservation, to be led by our newest board member, Kitzia Kokopelmana, of Baja California del Sur. Kitzia stewards Buenafortuna Gardens, a botanical sanctuary that hosts over 3,000 species of economic plants.

In the outwash of the pandemic, PINA’s board has grown to 10 members, adding geographic and cultural diversity, and we find ourselves delighted with a contingent of three Spanish-language directors resident in Mexico from this autumn: President Monica Ibacache, a US citizen born in Chile and on sabbatical from here long-time home in Manhattan, Kitzia Kokopelmana, a Mexican native, and Liora Adler, principal of Gaia University, a US citizen and long-time Mexican ecovillage resident. All will be contributing to our organizing efforts and outreach to Hispanic communities.

This year we have also welcomed to the PINA board Kimberly Daugherty of Seattle, Washington, whose leadership and heroic efforts leading up to and during the Summit made our online debut a resounding success.

The NALS surfaced important trends in permaculture organizing, to which PINA is contributing, including mapping for bioregional organizing. With the assistance of Ontario-based permaculture designers Jane Hayes, Adrian Hodgson, and others, PINA is supporting the creation of working manuals, software access, and organizing guidance to help permaculture communities gain access to their own resources through interactive maps. An example of the kind of work the Ontario group has done can be viewed here: Permaculture-in-Ontario.

PINA’s members are its greatest resource, and we encourage you to share your needs, interests, and successes with us. In order to serve the community and public better, we need to showcase the extraordinary talent available within the permaculture movement, mobilize resources for action, and empower communities to step up their efforts at regeneration and resilience. Please contact me at ed@pina.in with any questions or offers.