Thanks to all who attended The 2nd Annual Florida Permaculture Convergence at H.E.A.R.T. Village! The event gathered about 200 permaculturists from across the state. This year’s theme Cultivating Community was brilliantly expressed. It began with a wonderful collaboration between the H.E.A.R.T. family and the FPC organizing team. The event flourished with the help of many volunteers. We honored our local presenters and greatly appreciated their willingness to share their expertise with the regional community. The time spent networking and celebrating with one another was rich and full!
On Friday we had an informative and inspiring pre-convergence field trip to Roosevelt Farm. Thank you agriculture instructor, Ray Cruze for leading 20 permaculturists on the tour. Roosevelt Farm is an actual production farm run by Roosevelt Academy’s agriculture students. Students plant a variety of annual vegetables in vertical growing systems and coconut husk grow bags. The farm is the largest multi-crop production farm in the city limits! The produce is sold at the Lake Wales Farmer’s Market, Lake Wales Care Center and used by two local restaurants: The Seasoned Stone and Bok Tower’s Blue Palmetto Café’.
There was another field trip to Sandhill Farm. Owners Hunter Lilly and Linda Taylor graciously hosted 20 convergence attendees for a tour of their 2 acre property and tiny eco-home. This space is both unique to the area and to the general population, as it has been some 20 years in transition, with a wide assortment of edibles and fruit trees, an encouraging example of what can be accomplished with diligence. Our appreciation goes out to Hunter and Linda, who welcomed another group tour on Sunday, after the convergence!
On Saturday morning we officially began the event with a sense of place evocation by Johnny Dame and a stellar Keynote panel on Cultivating Community with Koreen Brennan, Don Hall, Tia Silvasy, Alex Ojeda and The Treehuggers. Then there was a diverse line up of presentations by some of the most respected permaculture designers and practitioners in the region. Throughout the weekend there were open space discussions, hands on activities, a plant/seed swap and fun for the children too.
Our host, H.E.A.R.T. provided healthy meals, predominately harvested from the gardens onsite and sourced from local farms. Folks were allowed to catch their own tilapia from one of the aquaponic tanks and cook their fish at the outdoor kitchen with rocket stoves. Josh Jamison, H.E.A.R.T.’s agriculture manager led two planting activities during the weekend that added new fruit trees and rare bamboo varieties to their collection. Paul Saucier led a pasture poultry workshop and a new chicken tractor was built for use on the site.
The Florida Permaculture email listserv on riseup.net has been updated. It exists to facilitate networking, for sharing news and opportunities with each other, including general announcements from the convergence organizing team. A professional video documentary of the convergence with interviews and more will be released within the year. Big thanks to Rodrigo Londono, Stephanie Power and Alain Ramos for their work on documenting the event. Thanks to photographer Rebecca Tolk who beautifully documented the event with additional images shot by Stephanie Power and Rodrigo Londono. All the professional photographs taken at the convergence are available in our Flickr group https://www.flickr.com/groups/flpermacultureconvergence2014/. Please join the group and add your pictures too.
There will be a short survey released in the coming weeks for those who attended the event. We welcome your feedback and look forward to hearing your suggestions for the 3rd Annual FL Permaculture Convergence. See you next year!