Sunday, May 31, 2009

Gearing up for the next Financial Permaculture Summit

The Financial Permaculture Institute is gearing up for the next Financial Permaculture Summit to be held in Hohenwald, TN September 22-26, 2009. Registration for the event is now up and running on

Just like last year, we're making our preparation a participatory community process. For the past four months the Sonnenschein Green Initiative has held bi-monthly meetings with 20-60 minutes at each meeting devoted to break out groups on local economic development. We've been harvesting these conversations and those from our monthly Green Evening Cafes to determine the focus of the next Summit.

On Tuesday May 26 the Financial Permaculture Institute Team met for our monthly design day. We've decided that we'll likely have the following threads throughout the September Summit: food and farming, building and housing, energy and fuel, solid waste and recycling, green business, community development and mapping financial ecosystems.

Later that day, we had a Green Evening Cafe on Green Business. At the Cafe we did a short breakout on topics for the September Summit. We asked people what instructors they would most likely want to have attend and what conversations they would like to have - click here to read a full report.

Our goal is to continue this conversation with local residents and have our content instructors confirmed and proposed itinerary released on by the end of June. We'll spend the rest of the summer preparing content and organizing the Financial Permaculture Certificate and Green Business Degree Pathway.

Reflecting on the 2008 Summit:
The two greatest success of the 2008 Summit were that it: 1. Ignited the interest of our local residents, thus catalyzing our transition efforts, and 2. Brought together an interdisciplinary coalition of individuals from the government, business, non-profit and education sectors.

Local catalysts: Firstly, we had about 14 local residents, aside from the organizers, attend the Summit and that we secondly, did well in our documentation of the event and post event process. This was like a mycelium effect. As these 14 people went back into the community, just two months later the word Permaculture and Transition Towns had permeated the culture and my friend heard people using the words as she got her hair cut at the local beauty salon. Overhearing conversations like these are a telltale sign of cross-pollination. On documentation, we had about 12 people live blogging the Summit, Byron Palmer graciously volunteered to make a 30 minute documentary about the event and after the Summit I and others have been blogging about our local Transition efforts. This documentation toolbox has really helped catalyze our local transition efforts. We’ve given about 200 copies of the documentary to local residents and have shown it several times at public events. The documentary which can be viewed on has been like a huge business card or portfolio that locals are using to gauge our worth. The results are in and folks who see the documentary generally want to either get involved or find out more.

Interdisciplinary Coalition: We know that many people have different opinions on core issues like politics, religion, climate change and the economy. To us, diversity of opinion is very welcome and encouraged. We appreciate working with diverse demographics of age, gender, level of education and income – plus a wide dissimilarity in our shades of green. Our aim is to collaborate with as many types of people as possible. We also seek to bring as many conversations to the table as needed to move forward with our own unique transition efforts, while looking for key crosscutting patterns applicable to other communities. We are very humbled by the diversity in the people who attended our last Summit and who are involved with our local initiative. I always tell people that this is one of the most rewarding aspects to our work - bringing diverse people together who may not usually share conversations. I love the dynamics when green meets business and business meets green! I'm certain that we will continue to bring together an interdisciplinary coalition of individuals from the government, business, non-profit and education sectors and people from the full spectrum - representing the different shades of green.

It continues to be a very exciting participatory process and we hope that you'll get involved!

Financial Permaculture from Greg Landua on Vimeo.