Black, Indigenous, & people of color (BIPOC) are disproportionately affected by climate collapse and often barred from obtaining knowledge to mitigate the effects of a changing environment by institutional oppression. We recognize ways Audre Lorde’s words ring true, that “There is no such thing as a single-issue struggle because we do not live single-issue lives,” and we seek to open the door for knowledge of permaculture and sustainability to take root in communities where the ground has often been too rough and compacted for justice to grow.
We are seeking funds to offer BIPOC students scholarships to take part in our Holistic Sustainability Semester (HSS), a three-month education program offering knowledge of permaculture and sustainability. We are addressing equity within environmental education and actvism, inclusion in intentional community, and creative solutions to climate collapse by seeking to include marginalized perspectives. We only have one planet, and creating a more sustainable world means including all its voices in care for the environment. Help us by donating so that we can offer this critical knowledge to those on the frontlines of climate collapse!
A deeper look into this project:
The HSS is a transformational 12-week program that takes place at Lost Valley Education & Events Center, a 32-year-old intentional community focused on permaculture. The program introduces five spheres of sustainability — Personal, Social, Ecological, Economic, and Worldview — and integrates classroom learning with an immersion experience awarding students three internationally recognized certificates: the Permaculture Design Certificate (PDC), which is the global standard in permaculture education; the Ecovillage Design Education Certificate (EDE), a holistic sustainability standard anchored by Gaia Education and recognized by UNESCO; and the Intentional Community Immersion. The HSS has run each fall since 2016 as in-person experience for 8-15 students. The program features classes five days per week, taught by a total of 30 different instructors. The 2021 incarnation begins August 30th, and instructors include David Holmgren, one of the cofounders of the permaculture movement, and Diana Leafe Christian, who wrote the seminal book on intentional communities!
The HSS gives students tools to better model cooperation between people, connection to the Earth, and health within oneself in an intentional community of 60 adults and children. They learn such skills as permaculture design, alternative governance models, nonviolent communication, sustainable development, alternative economic indicators, sacred activism, and creative leadership — as well as courses in mindfulness, creative expression, and nature awareness. A critical part of the world of creating new worlds is rest, and the program balances rigorous study with space for inner processing in a forest environment. This intentional community immersion is a rich part of the experience, going far beyond what a university course would include and miles beyond an online class! The site consists of 87 acres outside Eugene, Oregon, with permaculture projects on site, woods with trails, a large meadow, creek, and extensive infrastructure.
Who are you helping?
Funding will be divided among accepted scholarship applicants:
Philemon Emukule Obetel was admitted into the fall 2021 Holistic Sustainability Semester and joins the HSS from Kenya, where he attended college at Manor House Agricultural center in Kitale. In 2006 he graduated with a degree in Bio-intensive Agriculture. He then received training from Vi Agroforestry, a Swedish development organization fighting poverty and climate change, to become a community facilitator teaching members of his village about savings and loans. In 2017, Philemon earned his Permaculture Design Certificate from the Permaculture Research Institute of Kenya. He is currently leading a visioning for community-based organization GROW BIOINTENSIVE FOR AFRICA, which strives to teach small scale sustainable agriculture and permaculture. He is the second last born in a family of ten members, eight surviving, and the only one to receive formal education. As a leader in his community, he dreams of growing future agrarian leaders by starting a training center to facilitate environmental education in Kenya and beyond. Without a full scholarship, Philemon will be unable to journey to the United States or take part in the Holistic Sustainability Semester.
What the money covers
The Holistic Sustainability Semester costs $5,495 per person. This includes all food, lodging, and education, and is comparable to the cost of a semester at a university semester. Capital collected from this fundraiser will be divided amongst BIPOC scholarship applicants to the HSS. If excess remains after paying each student’s tuition, money will be directed toward visa and travel expenses to aid in Philemon’s journey to the United States from Kenya, which is estimated at $2,500. Further contributions will fund future BIPOC scholarships.
We are grateful for your help funding BIPOC scholarships for permaculture and sustainability education! Your contribution helps create inclusion in a field that’s long experienced a drought of diverse perspectives. We are grateful for the care you offer to both the direct beneficiaries of these funds, and to their communities across the world that will benefit from the knowledge offered by the HSS. Thank you for helping others be the change!