- About Us
- Courses & Events
- Get Involved
- Give to RDI
- Contact Us
Commonweal Garden Blog
This short but powerful video by the Global Oneness Project, filmed at Commonweal Garden and featuring Penny Livingston-Stark, shows permaculture in action. "What we're holding," Penny explains, "are practical, on-the ground solutions that we can do on any scale."
We are gearing up for a brand new year of learning, growth and joy here at RDI. Whether your New Year's Resolution is to connect with your "inner garden" and the natural world, learn permaculture design, explore a fun, practical skill like weaving, or take steps toward becoming a leader in your life and community, chances are we have a class that can help you achieve it!
Some classes are already open for registration. We will be adding a multitude of courses in January, especially in the Re-Skilling Series. Explore the possibilities...
Ecology of Leadership
Free introductory workshops on Sun, Jan. 9 (Bolinas) and Sun, Jan. 23 (Los Angeles)
Multiple courses, including Four Seasons Permaculture Design, a two-week design intensive in Maui, and advanced teacher training with Robyn Francis
AshEl Eldridge, an educator with the Alliance for Climate Education, features prominently in this parody video made with the Bay Area environmental group Green Sangha ("Inspiring Awakened Action"). The video plays off the Jaz-Z / Alicia Keys song "Empire State of Mind" to expose the harmful impact of single-use plastics. Released on Nov. 16, the video has already accumulated over 100,000 views on YouTube. Eldridge is one of the members of the Intergenerational Peacemaking Council that RDI has been fostering with the help of the Kalliopeia Foundation. In addition to his work with ACP, he is on the board of Transition US and United Roots: Oakland Green Youth Arts & Media Center.
2012: Time for Change
"2012: Time for Change" presents an optimistic alternative to apocalyptic doom and gloom. Directed by Emmy Award nominee João Amorim, the film follows journalist Daniel Pinchbeck, author of the bestselling book 2012: The Return of Quetzalcoatl, on a quest for a new paradigm that integrates the archaic wisdom of tribal cultures with the scientific method. BBC World called it a "how to save the world documentary."
Visit the "2012: Time for Change" website
Permaculture: The Growing Edge
"Permaculture: The Growing Edge," made by author/activist Starhawk and filmmaker Donna Read, is an antidote to environmental despair, a hopeful and practical look at a path to a viable, flourishing future. The film introduces us to inspiring examples of projects, including a visit David Holmgren’s own homestead, tracking deer with naturalist Jon Young, sheet mulching an inner-city garden with Hunters Point Family, transforming an intersection into a gathering place with City Repair and joining mycologist Paul Stamets as he cleans up an oil spill with mushrooms. Key figures featured include David Holmgren, Penny Livingston-Stark, James Stark, Paul Stamets, Mark Lakeman, Dr. Elaine Ingham and Maddy Harland.
Visit the "Permaculture: The Growing Edge" website
From September 3-18, 80 people gathered at D-Q University in Davis, Calif. for the Regenerative Design Institute’s Peacemaking and Permaculture course – a two-week permaculture design certificate program aimed at healing the land.
The Regenerative Design Institute held the course at the invitation of the university's board of directors. More than $10,000 in scholarship money poured in from RDI donors to allow as many Native American students as possible to attend the course.
"My hopes were that the course would help enliven the community around D-Q University and bring new energy and awareness to the site,” Penny Livingston-Stark said. For more than a year, Penny had worked with the D-Q University Board of Directors to find ways of revitalizing the campus.
Traditionally, RDI has held its permaculture courses at sites that inspire participants with their beauty and abundance. The inspiration for the D-Q University course came from the participants, the starkness of the landscape, and the clear need to care for land that meant so much to so many.
With no warm running water, hot days and mosquito-bitten nights, personal comfort was not part of the agenda. Great community was. Each day, participants shared communal meals and dove into the day's activities. Topics ranged from basic permaculture skills to peacemaking to advanced permaculture design. The course included powerful ceremonies, a sacred fire, and numerous "natural synchronicities."
"Like, Jake Swamp would mention an eagle and then an eagle would fly over," Livingston-Stark said.
Honored guest instructor Jake Swamp founded the Tree of Peace Society, was a former Sub-Chief of the Mohawk Nation, and had served on the Grand Council of the Haudenosaunee (Iroquois) for 30 years. Swamp said before the course that his work would "address our disconnection from the natural world and from each other." Swamp passed away on Oct. 15, 2010.
"We are thankful to have been inspired over and over again by this amazing elder with his unwavering commitment to sharing and role modeling a message of peace and unity," wrote Jon Young, another instructor at the D-Q course, in a message that went out to the 8 Shields mentoring network. "Through his work at the Tree of Peace Society and other endeavors, Jake brought a good message and guidance to thousands of people around the world."
RDI joins a community of people celebrating Jake Swamp's life and mourning his passing. Fires and vigils are being held around the world. Our deep condolences go to his family and loved ones.
Other instructors at the D-Q course included Judy Swamp (Jake Swamp's wife and a lifelong activist for Native rights), Brock Dolman, Carla Perez and James Stark.
For some who attended the course, it was life-transforming. “It was without question, one of the richest two weeks of my life," course participant Paul Beich said. "I don't think I've ever before been immersed in such a rich mix of extraordinary people, diverse and transformative information and ideas, and a culturally challenging and rich environment... I said to a friend, 'You know you're at something good when you realize that it will take the rest of your life to fully implement what you're learning.'"
Follow or join the honoring of Jake Swamp through Facebook: Jake Swamp Honoring Fire
Many thanks to current Regenerative Design & Nature Awareness (RDNA) program participant Eden Trenor for sharing this photo slideshow. Learn more about Eden here.
We at RDI join the worldwide community of people celebrating the life of elder Jake Swamp (pictured here with his wife Judy). We were honored by the presence and wisdom of Jake and Judy Swamp at the "Peacemaking and Permaculture" course at D-Q University this September and were deeply saddened to hear of Jake's passing. Our condolences go to his family and loved ones.
Fires and vigils honoring his transition and life are being held around the world. As Jon Young wrote, "We are thankful to have been inspired over and over again by this amazing elder with his unwavering commitment to sharing and role modeling a message of peace and unity. Through his work at the Tree of Peace Society and other endeavors, Jake brought a good message and guidance to thousands of people around the world."
Follow or join the honoring of Jake Swamp through Facebook: Jake Swamp Honoring Fire
Some of the 80 participants who attended the recent RDI permaculture course "Peacemaking and Permaculture at D-Q University" described it as a powerful, even transformative experience. We will post a more detailed account of the course soon. For now, please enjoy these photos taken throughout the course.
Many thanks to Eden Trenor, one of our current Regenerative Design & Nature Awareness (RDNA) Program participants, for sharing this slideshow. Learn more about Eden here.
Design by Nature: Creative Solutions With Biomimicry, Permaculture & Sustainable Design
October 15 - 17, 2010
Penny has been asked to be part of the faculty for a professional training course at the Omega Institute in New York. Founded in 1977, Omega Institute for Holistic Studies is the nation's most trusted source for wellness and personal growth. As a nonprofit organization, Omega offers diverse and innovative educational experiences that inspire an integrated approach to personal and social change. Located on 195 acres in the beautiful Hudson Valley, Omega welcomes more than 23,000 people to its workshops, conferences, and retreats in Rhinebeck, New York and at exceptional locations around the world.
Despite the urgency of the environmental crises we are facing, there are real reasons for hope. Some of the best solutions are nature-based designs from the fields of biomimicry, permaculture, and sustainable architecture. Design by Nature brings together some of the nation’s leaders in these fields to explore the creative potential of these promising technologies.
POSITION CURRENTLY OPEN:
Farm Manager Position: Posted 9/8/10
The Regenerative Design Institute seeks an enthusiastic, flexible, experienced individual with good people management skills to manage our permaculture demonstration farm. Located on a bio-diverse seventeen acres within the Point Reyes National Seashore and three miles from the coastal town of Bolinas, Commonweal Garden is a place where education, social and environmental responsibility, nature awareness and permaculture powerfully converge. Responsibilities include:
* Managing one acre of cultivated beds and several acres of orchard, including sowing and planting schedules, greenhouse and water supply management, compost building and ensuring organic certification via record keeping.
* Hiring, teaching and management of 5-8 farm work traders and facilitation of healthy group dynamic and individual personal growth.
* Create and maintain a small market ($5,000/yr) for food sales in order to move from registered organic to certified organic.
* Prepare for and support classes and events.
* Facilitate value added product creation such as cheese making, freezing, preserving, canning.
* Management of animal systems: seven goats, 20-40 chickens, several bee hives.
Several of these responsibilities are or could be held in collaboration with the Site Manager. One year commitment minimum. Food and housing provided. Salary commensurate on experience level. Position can start immediately; training to be in the first two weeks of November.
Send a resume and cover letter to:
Or call 415.868.9671