13th International Permaculture Conference and Convergence – Part I
The 13th International Permaculture Conference and Convergence (IPC) was such an awesome and inspiring event. It was attended by over 1,000 delegates from 60 countries including local farmers, permaculture teachers, practitioners, students, and nature lovers. The conference took place at Telangana State Agricultural University in Hyderabad and was hosted by Aranya Agricultural Alternatives. When we arrived there was already a big crowd of international permies*, many who had just arrived and many volunteers who were still working out last details of preparation for the event. They took us on a big old bus to the different hostels and guesthouses where all of the attendees were to stay near the university.
We had a very full schedule ahead of us for the entire week, starting with two days of the conference (Nov 25-26) followed by five days of the convergence (Nov 27-Dec 2) spent at Polam farm about two hours away in the countryside. The conference had more of a formal structure, with presentations in a main hall and breakout sessions in smaller classrooms.
I must admit, the absolute highlight of the conference for me was having my idol Vandana Shiva attend and be the keynote speaker. If you don't know her, you must!! She is an environmental activist, food sovereignty advocate, and anti-globalization author. She's so full of knowledge, prestige, inspiration, and optimism that she leaves one feeling hopeful, enraged, and empowered to do greater things in life to combat the poison industrial agriculture complex. She pushes people to think in ecological terms about how we can create a new farming paradigm that respects the people, planet and justice for all. I loved seeing her and the confidence and approval she brought to the permaculture movement.
Other highlights of the conference for me included attending talks on:
How to apply Ayurvedic principles to taking care of trees
Organic farming in India vs. U.S. and their respective impacts on climate change
Soil Health as Human Health (Dr. Sultan Ahmed Ismail)
Microfarms, agroecology, and neo-peasant farmers in France (François Léger)
Permaculture activism and climate change (Starhawk)
A well-established permaculture farm in Belize (Maya Mountain Research Farm)
Climate change adaptation and food security in Bangladesh
The theme of the convergence was “Women as Agents of Change.” That being, some of the notable and brilliant women who attended included Starhawk, Robyn Francis, Rosemary Marrow, and Robina McCurdy. A key message I left with was for us feminine beauties to feel empowered and free to fulfill our desires, and to find solutions to our problems by coming together and helping one another, listening to each other’s stories, and creating community.
It was such a wonderful feeling to have over 60 countries represented and coming together for a common vision of creating a better world where we could live in harmony with one another, with nature, and with abundance for all.
And next on to the convergence (part II)...
*Short for permaculturalists (i.e. those who practice permaculture)