Executive Director’s Report to the Membership
Peter Bane, PINA E.D., Summer 2021
PINA is pleased to announce that it has received a grant of $169,000 to increase organizational capacity and to launch a research program into improved methods of fire risk mitigation in western forests. The is the fruit of a six-month process during which the PINA board and staff have been intently focused on crafting the message that permaculture has solutions to the most critical problems facing our societies.
The ideas behind it grew out of our North American Leadership Summit last August, to which many of you contributed. In a larger sense, our efforts engage relationships that have deepened over more than a decade.
We have been able to do this because of the steadfast support of our members, our diplomates, and a small but loyal group of donor supporters. PINA brought some of its own funds to match this grant, something which was only possible because you have stood in solidarity with us for so many years. Mention must also go to PINA’s volunteer board which, working across four time zones, donated tens of thousands of dollars of professional time to assemble, review, polish, and deliver the grant proposal, time that was wrested by sheer will from busy lives and pressing careers.
We are proud of this accomplishment, which has potential ramifications over a vast territory and for many people, but this is only the first dramatic expansion of PINA’s activity in support of its mission. By building on our design contests and the response they elicited, we have shown others that we know how to direct investment into crucial areas where it can drive major improvements in public welfare. We aim to do more.
The proposal we put forward offered two on-the-ground projects to the grantor, though only one of them, Fire Ecology Restoration, was funded in this cycle. We spent considerable time developing a proposal for a Perennial Corps for Regenerative Agriculture, an effort both to train Black, Indigenous, and People of Color in earth-based land management skills, and simultaneously to invest in perennial farming systems. This work needs to advance, and we will continue to seek funding for it.
The Fire Ecology Restoration model we will demonstrate and document combines forest fuel reduction with contour management of slash and pyrolysis of the smaller materials into biochar, which is then returned to the forest floor for long-term gains in water holding and nutrient accumulation. We aim to show that this can improve forest health and enable a new regime of low-intensity burns to take hold, one that can sustain healthy forests and safe communities for generations to come.
As part of its integrated program to promote permaculture ethics into mainstream action, PINA is also actively recruiting a development officer to support staff and board in raising money for the organization over both the short- and long-terms. Our society has few good choices but to repair landscapes and nurture communities if it is to address
the immense challenges of climate change. Our job, as we understand it, is both to demonstrate those solutions at scale, and to communicate the message that there are already answers to be had if we are willing to take them. Building a mass movement for earth repair and community empowerment requires us to show that good people can do amazing things if they are supported. Your faith in us has borne promising fruit: we ask that you keep leaning into our common work.
You can help us in these efforts by sharing this story through your networks. We don’t know where the right people may be who are needed now to join the PINA staff or to support our demonstrations, but you may. Opportunities are being created for diploma candidates to participate in research or regeneration work, some of it paid. In our hiring we will favor those seeking to develop careers in these areas.
It is not always obvious when you hear big numbers bruited about, but grant funding often leaves the receiving organization with big obligations to perform and still-limited means to fulfill them. Your gift to PINA can be tax-deductible and can make an outsize difference now that we have momentum. Your personal connections to forest management agencies like NRCS, BLM, and state and provincial forestry departments can open doors we need to walk through. We are especially interested in developing contacts in these fields in Oregon and Colorado, but also all across the western half of North America.
If you would like to support PINA’s efforts in this expansion, please contact our Administrator Elizabeth Lynch, firstname.lastname@example.org, 412-600-5783, or write me at email@example.com. We welcome your feedback.
We also ask that you share with us news of promising projects in your region and areas of work. In the coming months we intend to formalize and expand our outreach through the PINA network to ensure that communication flows both ways, and that we become aware of and can champion important developments in permaculture. You may be in touch with the next project we seek to fund. Stay in touch.