Permaculture Convergence


circle of people during workshopGathering the local permaculture community

Sponsored by Permaculture Institute of Eastern Ontario

The Event:  The Permaculture Institute of Eastern Ontario (PIEO) is holding a convergence to gather the local permaculture community.  This is an opportunity to learn from local permaculture teachers and students, to share about and start up permaculture-related projects in the community, and to create beneficial connections!

Register:  There are limited spaces available, so please register online and in advance to reserve your space!  Go to:

If you decide later that you CANNOT attend the convergence, please email us at to let us know, so we can free up that spot for another person.  Thank you!

Cost:  By donation at the door.  We request a donation of $10 to $20 for the event.  All profits will go to support local permaculture-related projects in the community.

Location:  The convergence will be held in Ottawa East.  You'll receive the address after you register.





and Tea


Douglas Barnes



Graeme O'Farrell

Sébastien Bacharach


Bonita Ford

Sean Butler




Next Steps for our Permaculture Community - Open Space Technology Conference


Douglas Barnes (PIEO Teaching Team)

10:00am, Room A

We Can't Get There From Here

We’ll be looking at the state of the world through the lens of sustainability. Then we will examine what are claimed to be our societal goals to try to unravel how we got where we are today. Finally, we will look at a methodology to put ourselves on a sustainable path along with a few examples of this methodology put into action, including permaculture designs implemented in India, Jordan, and Tweed, Ontario.

Douglas Barnes is a permaculture designer, consultant and teacher. He has designed and implemented permaculture systems in Japan and Canada as well as consulted on projects in Japan, Canada, India and Australia. He has taught permaculture seminars in Japan and Canada and is in the process of becoming a certified permaculture teacher qualified to teach the 72-hour design certificate course. He is co-founder and part of the teaching team for the Permaculture Institute of Eastern Ontario.

Douglas holds two Permaculture Design Course certificates: one from a course taught by Geoff and Danial Lawton in Brisbane, Australia in 2004 and one from a course taught by Geoff Lawton and permaculture founder Bill Mollison in Melbourne the following year. Douglas has been active in permaculture since 2004 and has been an educator for 16 years.


Graeme O'Farrell (Permaculture Design Certificate)

11:00am, Room A

Permaculture and Social Justice

A presentation on permaculture in relation to social justice, and how we can use permaculture to help create an ethical world. Moving away from a focus on food production and habitat, this discussion will focus on ways of thinking and social organizing that are developing through the practice of permaculture. The same design principals and ethics which allow us to create a sustainable civilization and feed the world can also help us create a society based in justice, freedom and peace for all.

Graeme is a permaculture designer, musician and spoken-word artist living and working in Ottawa. He walks and talks a life of progressive change and hopes to leave the world a place his grand-children will be happy to inherit.


Sébastien Bacharach (PIEO Teaching Team)

11:00am, Room B

Introduction to Permaculture, Ethics and Design Principles

Permaculture and its design principles come from observing natural systems.  Permaculture can be applied to physical things – like houses, gardens and landscapes – as well as to “social” things – like school curricula, organisational planning and business models.  We'll look at examples of the principles on the landscape and in the social realm.  In permaculture, we work with nature, start small and slow, emphasise multiple functions, create redundancy, promote beneficial relationships, use renewable resources, cycle resources, maximise diversity and edges, work with evolution, and are creative!

Sébastien Bacharach, originally from France, is an Eco-logical Educator, Community Builder and Web Architect. He is co-founder and part of the teaching team for the Permaculture Institute of Eastern Ontario. He is the former Education Director of the San Francisco League of Urban Gardeners (SLUG) and co-founder of the San Francisco Permaculture Guild. Sébastien became certified as a permaculture designer in the spring of 2001, at the Permaculture Research Institute, New South Wales, Australia, by internationally renowned PRI Director Geoff Lawton. He trained as a Permaculture Teacher in 2004 at Ocean Song, California. He has applied his knowledge in many different settings, in France and especially in San Francisco, California.

Sébastien is very involved in his local community of Perth, Ontario. Amongst other projects, he is a part of the steering group of Transition Perth. Sébastien strongly believes in holistic ways of thinking, whole systems design and applies these principles in his personal life and his work.


Bonita Ford (PIEO Teaching Team)

12:00pm, Room A

Experiential Permaculture Education on the Ground in Haiti

Bonita will share her recent experience training a women's group and community leaders in Haiti to teach the basics of permaculture in their own communities.  She'll explore experiential ways of teaching permaculture while maximising the rich diversity and edges of culture, language, socio-economic backgrounds and learning styles.  Come explore, move, doodle, sing and learn with us!

Bonita Ford has an M.A. in Holistic Health Education from John F. Kennedy University in California, and a B.Sc. in Biochemistry from Queen's University in Ontario. She is co-founder and part of the teaching team for the Permaculture Institute of Eastern Ontario. Bonita took her permaculture design course through Urban Permaculture Guild and Oakland Permaculture Institute in California, from 2005 to 2006. Shortly thereafter, she directed and co-facilitated one of the first Urban Permaculture Design Courses in the San Francisco Bay Area. She did work exchange with permaculture teachers Steve Read, Andy Darlington and Jessie Darlington in France. In 2010, she gave two introduction to permaculture courses through Transition Ottawa and co-founded Transition Perth. Bonita is currently enrolled in the Permaculture Diploma program with l'Université Populaire de Permaculture in France.

Bonita has led workshops and groups worldwide for over eight years, including in Budapest, Soweto, Port-au-Prince, San Francisco, Seattle, New Mexico, Vermont, Toronto, Ottawa and Perth. In her workshops and individual coaching, she blends permaculture, Nonviolent Communication, and body-centred learning. Bonita is passionate about personal, social and ecological transformation.


Sean Butler (Permaculture Design Certificate)

12:00pm, Room B

Putting the Theory into Practice: A Case Study for a Forest Garden Design
Permaculture literature and education often presents an excellent conceptual framework for designing systems that reintegrate humans with the natural world, but once we understand the theory, how do we actually do it? There is not a lot of guidence when it comes to the nuts and bolts of the design process, which can be quite complex. This presentation will take you step by step through a real life design process, using approaches outlined in Dave Jacke's Edible Forest Gardens, undertaken in the winter and spring of 2011. The design is currently being implemented on a 1/3 acre lot in the Alta Vista neighbourhood of Ottawa.
Sean Butler has been a gardener since 2003, and obtained his Permaculture Design Certificate in 2009. He has apprenticed on a permaculture farm, and has worked on several other farms. He designed and implemented a permaculture-inspired garden at a Waldorf preschool outside of Wakefield, where he continues to garden, and he designed the La Peche Organic Community Orchard at the Eco Echo Environmental Campus. He has taught permaculture and gardening to Katimavik groups. 


Open Space Technology Conference

Next Steps: How can we take the Eastern Ontario permaculture community from where it is now to where we dream it to be in the future?

2:00pm to 6:00pm

The afternoon will be dedicated to a conference using Open Space Technology. The theme we will work with is "Next Steps: How can we take the Eastern Ontario permaculture community from where it is now to where we dream it to be in the future?"

Open Space Technology (OST) is a highly democratic and self-managing meeting methodology. It draws forth the potential residing in all members of a group, thus enabling self-organizing groups of all sizes to deal with hugely complex issues in a very short period of time. Participants are welcome to propose sessions and are encouraged to follow the "Law of Two Feet" or "The Law of Mobility": if at any time during our time together you find yourself in any situation where you are neither learning nor contributing, use your two feet, go someplace else. In this way, all participants are given both the right and the responsibility to maximize their own learning and contribution.

More information on OST at

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