Social Permaculture | Spring 2018

Group Leadership and Empowerment: Social Permaculture Training

Taught by Starhawk and Pandora Thomas
Black Mountain Preserve, Sonoma County, Cazadero, CA
April 9th – 13th, 2018: five-day intensive residential course
Sliding scale $725-$875 (includes lodging, accommodations, and instruction)
Work-trade positions ($375) and Diversity Scholarships for people of color working in the fields of environmental, food, and/or social justice, are available on a limited basis, please apply within the registration form.

*Registration open through 3/30/18: Online Registration

In this time of environmental and social meltdowns, we need one another to make positive changes and plant the seeds of a new world. But to work together, and to embrace diversity and challenge the ‘isms’ that divide us, we need the skills of building group bonds, establishing clear communication, resolving conflict creatively, and bringing forth each individual’s greatest gifts.

Even collaborative, horizontal groups benefit from leadership—visionaries who can move the group into new directions, facilitators who can help the group bond and make decisions, mediators who can help the group move through conflict, mentors who can help each member find their growing edge.

This five-day intensive explores social permaculture—looking at how we can design groups, structures and new patterns that further beneficial human relationships. Together we’ll create a truly welcoming environment, where we can each be seen in the fullness and complexity of who we are. We’ll explore how to structure our groups for maximum group health, how to share power fairly, mediate conflicts and facilitate group processes. And we’ll share tools for decision making and constructive critique. Starhawk’s latest book, The Empowerment Manual: A Guide for Collaborative Groups, will be our foundation.

We’ll balance the process work with time outdoors in nature, including hands-on work on the land, and with rituals and personal practice to further our own sustainability. Insights from both permaculture and magic will help us learn to be more effective and joyful as we work together to regenerate our world.

Read more about our instructors, Starhawk and Pandora Thomas, here: EAT Instructors

This course is for you if you belong to :

  • A group or organization seeking to make change.
  • A nonprofit or NGO that seeks to work collaboratively.
  • A spiritual circle, ritual group, or faith community.
  • A community group, Transition Town, collective, or worker-run cooperative.
  • An intentional community or household, or hope to start one.
  • A collaborative arts, theater, or music group. A band!
  • A family or a community of friends that want to improve communications and ways of handling conflict.

Topics include:

Permaculture principles for social permaculture:

    • Design beneficial relationships.
    • Value diversity and edge.
    • Stack functions.
    • Design the physical to support the social.

Working with diversity–race, gender, class, sexual orientation, etc.
Group vision: picture of the world, mission, goals and governance.
Norms and Rules.
Effective group structure.
Power: Power over, power from within, earned and unearned social power
Communication: Text and subtext, nonviolent communication, ladder of inference
Effective feedback.
Conflict—embracing, mediating and resolving group conflict.
Dealing with difficult people (starting with ourselves!)

About our Northern California course location

Black Mountain Preserve is in the Cazadero hills area of northern California, in west Sonoma County. The Preserve centers around a complex of dorms, dining room and kitchen, classroom and offices, and is surrounded by 485-acres of forest and coastal hills. Expect a wide variety of natural beauty. Walking trails and unused dirt roads lead off in several adventurous directions, through ecosystems of redwood/fir, oak/madrone, and coastal prairie. You can see the ocean from high points on the property, while a couple of creeks run through in low spots.

We have held Earth Activist Training  sessions at Black Mountain since 2001; it is currently owned and operated by the Padmasambhava Peace Institute, a Tibetan Buddhist group. At one time Black Mountain was a state camp for petty offenders, but renovations have made it a cozy and comfortable conference center, a real-life swords-into-ploughshares example. There is a Peace Garden and a Rain Garden designed by students from our Permaculture Design Certificate program. Across from our classroom is a beautiful and authentic Buddhist altar room, which is open to registrants for quiet meditation.

Black Mountain is primarily accessible by car, and we strongly encourage carpooling. The region is well-served by public and private transit options and we will assist with organizing carpools from regional transit hubs for folks flying in or taking the bus. We will send out a complete welcome packet with plenty of detailed information six weeks prior to the beginning of the course.

Read more about Black Mountain on their website: Black Mountain Retreat Center

Our standard housing is included with tuition: several comfortable dorms with beds, for which you can bring your own bedding or rent some from Black Mountain at extra fee. A small number of private single or double rooms are available for an additional fee. Please use your registration form to indicate your preference.

Our standard is local, organic, globally-inspired vegetarian-friendly meals, served three times a day, plus afternoon and evening snacks. All food is fresh, plentiful, and substantial. Teas and coffee are available at all times.

Please use your registration form to request special meal choices. Meat is served one meal/day for omnivores, while vegan variations are available at every meal. Options such as no-dairy, gluten-free, and avoidance of common allergens are also possible if requested in advance. While we make every effort to accommodate food needs, those with highly specialized diets may need to bring some of their own food. Please indicate on your registration if you have any concerns about the food or to make special arrangements, and our Coordinator will work with you.

Almanac for Spring 2018
April is a wonderful month to visit this region. It is the tail end of the rainy season in this part of the world, with native wildflowers in bloom and lush green hills. The evenings can be cool before the real warmth of spring settles in. We advise all students to prepare to dress warmly and bring rain gear, as we will spend ample time together outdoors! Your welcome packet will include a detailed packing list.

Sunrise over Cazadero hills, site of January EAT session
Sunrise over Cazadero hills

Group Leadership and Empowerment – Spring 2018

April 9th – April 13th, 2018

Black Mountain Preserve, Cazadero, CA United States | + Google Map

Please fill out our online registration form here: Online Registration
Then continue below to hold your space with a deposit or payment in full.

A $375.00 deposit is due with registration in order to secure your space. We accept payment by check, money order, or credit/debit/Paypal. Checks and money orders should be made payable to Earth Activist Training and mailed to:

Earth Activist Training, P.O. Box 6, Cazadero, CA, United States, 95421

To pay online, please select your payment option below:

Cost: Sliding scale $375-875