A RetroProgressive Practicum
Tuesday May 27th thru Sunday June 1st, 2014
a hands-on continuation of The Age of Limits
“It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives.
It is the one that is the most adaptable to change.” – Charles Darwin.
When thinking about Collapse, and what adaptations we may make in our lives to mitigate its effects, Darwin’s quote provides an excellent point of view. Collapse Mitigation is local and individual. It’s about acquiring the human and technical skills that allow a quick pivot in response to new situations. It is about maximizing one’s ability to adapt. It’s about starting now.
Last year we offered, with the capable help of Patricia Alison, a short course in the principles of Permaculture, as a way to hold the dates in our schedule and “get our feet wet” in offering a week-long intensive focused on collapse mitigation. This year we have arranged for the intensive to follow The Age of Limits, and with the help of Albert Bates, provide a way of tapering those deep discussions into a follow-on week of practical tactics for collapse mitigation.
What do we propose? That’s a good question! Adaptability is about playing to one’s strengths, and over the course of this winter we, the permanent residents of Four Quarters, took inventory of what we think we are particularly good at; and of those things, the ones that are worth your time to share. It’s a short list.
First, we have been at it a while.
Since our founding in 1994 we have lived close to the Land and in conscious simplicity, to the degree we are able. In 2003, our Board of Directors was presented with a formal plan for implementing Collapse Mitigation as a core value. Since that time every decision we made has been through that lens. We feel we have come a long way and would like to share with you the dirty, doin’ it, down in the trenches experiences of the past twenty years.
We are really good at building things. Really. Good.
Living at a level of tech that we can design, build and repair is a core value. From our small machine shop and meadery businesses to building and repairing our heavy agricultural equipment, we would like to show you our dirty hands, and get your hands dirty too.
Sourcing food is not an abstraction.
The fraction of our food that we raise and preserve ourselves, source locally or buy in bulk from the factory system is an exercise in applied ethics and practical compromises. And it is serious business for us, feeding a household that can seasonally vary from six to twentyfour people, and feeding hundreds of guests for days at a time.
Most important of all, Community.
We believe we can provide real, practical insight into that most important and misunderstood mitigation of collapse. As a community we function on many levels, from the intimacy of a small group of communitarians practicing income sharing, to a membership organization of 300+ people, to the larger world that we invite to our home for The Age of Limits Conference. We have developed a toolkit of pragmatic group skills that works for us and we are pretty sure some of those tools will work for you.
We propose to invite you into an immersive experience of our world for six days.
• Share our living spaces, share our meals, share our morning meeting and share our work for the week.
• Late May is a busy time for us, and you will have a chance to see and do the “chop wood, carry water” everyday of a functioning rural community.
• Albert Bates will launch our practicum Tuesday with a one day seminar focusing on the pragmatic applications of biochar.
• We have scheduled a major spring project in finishing the construction of a bio-char kiln during the practicum and conducting our first test runs. If you want an introduction to metal working, small machine shop operations, and bio-char, this is your chance.
• We will be making an all-day field trip to our friends at Goodness Grows, a working collapse-aware farm family that pays the bills and raises their children by working the soil. Not to be missed.
• Another visit is planned to our good city friends who drank the KoolAid, moved to the country and began development of their permaculture inspired doomstead. What happens when you dig in and do it on a small budget.
• After our evening meal in the Farm House, a circle of conversation. What is Community and what are practical skills in maintaining it? What are the likely metrics and timeline of Collapse? How do you rebuild a 1976 dump truck from scratch? How much food do we raise, how much do we buy, and why? What has our history as a community been, and how do we see our next twenty years unfolding within the context of collapse?
That’s the plan, and no, we will not be giving you a certificate.
We will be giving you a week of our lives, face-to-face conversation,
dirt under your fingernails, and some exceptionally good food.
Oh, Albert’s book* too!
A RetroProgressive Practicum