Not only am I no stranger to seed swaps hosted in my own bioregion; I have also travelled, carrying seed to share freely. Here is the home page created around my cross-country seed-sharing adventures in 2001:
Two years later, one of my then co-travellers was sentenced to six months in federal penitentiary, in part, for her activities during that trip. "Peg's Prison Party and Seedswap" is a (longish) posting I forwarded to our local permaculture listserv at that time, which outlines the wherefores of Peg's imprisonment; and my hands-on experience of seedswapping as it relates to larger cultural concerns:
A 2005 article I wrote for Permaculture Activist, the foremost north American 'regenerative design' publication, included a section, Seeding the Seed Families, describing one example of how I promoted our major annual, local seedsharing event, the Eugene Permaculture Guild's Spring Bioregional Seedswap:
October 2006, marks the publication of Heather Coburn Flores' book, Food Not Lawns: How to Turn Your Yard into a Garden and Your Neighborhood Into a Community(Chelsea Green Publishing), which grew out of the visionary horticultural explorations of the Eugene-based avant-gardening collective of that name.
FNL's old website which I created, paints a picture of the collective's early efforts to nurture community interest in deep gardening and seed stewardship. (Here's a more recent website, managed by Heather, the passion behind, and one of the three original co-founders of the FNL collective. Our third founding member, Tobias Policha, now directs the Institute for Contemporary Ethnobotany.)
I live with, as David James Duncan might put it, 'the discretionary funding of the average American dog.' I spend my days pottering around my garden, which is nestled in an organic farm - the Food For Lane County Youth Farm - which I caretake, and where I volunteer-manage the nursery for the School Garden Project of Lane County (SGP):
I have long wrestled with the challenges of nurturing an ecological consciousness within a cultural ethos that often feels largely, unwittingly, opposed to such work. "School Gardens vs. School Schedules" (.pdf) appears in the SGP Spring 2007 newsletter:
You can 'google earth' my home.
Moving in. Early Spring 2005
I have a growing interest in the garden at Brattain Elementary School in Springfield. I also play a co-stewardship role in the activities of the Eugene-Springfield Permaculture Guild by, among other things, editing our newsletter, Permaculture News (now moving online).
Recent articles I have authored, include 'Tim's Quiet Triumph', a description of Tim Peters' pioneering breeding work with perennial grains:
and additional articles on Spring seeding strategies and tactics for vegetable growers in the S. Willamette Valley; the place of the Oregon White Oak as the defining keystone species for crossover foodshed and ecological restoration efforts in our bioregion:
'Healthcare as Peacemaking', a mongraph on Taraxacum officinale; a local gardener's materia medica (here are the relevant .pdf files for these articles) and my brief, first editorial, "Every Resurrection is Local":
Here's a small blog thread which grew up around efforts I jointly led to create a track devoted to the topic of "Sovereignty and Permaculture" at the Guild's 2004 Bioregional Permaculture Gathering:
The communion of wisdom and community has been an abiding interest for some time, hence an article I penned for the Eugene Zendo Newsletter in November of 2003, entitled "Nick considers Practice, Compassion and Justice":
Prior to stepping into the greenworld, I bounced around high tech. Among other efforts, I helped jumpstart the National Information Infostructure Awards, in its day the 'Oscars of the Information Superhighway' - which later morphed briefly into the the Global Information Infostructure Awards, before sinking without trace. By then I had moved on to co-found the National Computer Ethics & Responsibilities Campaign with Dr. Peter Tippett (then of Symantec). The Congressional Briefing on Computer Ethics we co-chaired, was responsible, I believe, for hosting the first ever web connection in the U.S. Congress.
Pressing on, I conceived and placed the website for the Save the Earth Artrock Auction; conceived and curated World 3, a metahypermedia exploration of website design which engaged the contributions of many of the world's leading hypertext philosophers:
After further pondering the implications of emerging technologies, I penned a technical white paper positing the creation of a server-based, dynamic node interaction protocol for the web, superdoubleplus-precised in the August 1996 issue of WIRED - a simple way to take the fabric of the web, now essentially static, interactive; in a sense, 'turning it on':
Other web-related articles included Barking Up The Wrong Hierachy, an early take on hypermedia design as it relates to the practice of business; State of Cyberspace, January 1st, 1996; and Web Economics, a tighter version of which ran in the now defunct Ziff Davis magazine, Interactive Week.
I concluded my singular fascination with cyberspace ontology by curating the Electronic Frontier Foundation's consiousness archive, A Space Without A Goal. ASWAG has been described as a "monumental exploration of the morality, and even the theology, of the internet." It's an old website, ported somewhat clunkily around the web through the intervening years, limping, but still fundamentally navigable:
Not long after concluding the build of ASWAG, I engaged in what hindsight reveals as a jawdroppingly self-destructive, brutally hamfisted effort to 'change the world', by hunger striking 'at' people. The immediate result of this solipsistic paroxysm of self-righteousness? I was forcibly admitted to the psychiatric ward of Saint John's hospital in Santa Monica where I wrote letters from the psych ward.
Tao of Slugs, Five Rivers, August 2005
In "Finding Work that Works" an autobiographical sketch I penned for a 2001 issue of Permaculture Activist devoted to the theme of "Right Livelihood", I described the context surrounding my evolving interest in deep gardening alongside the co-founders of the Food Not Lawns collective:
Holier-than-thou? I don't have a leg to stand on. Impetuousness of youth cannot explain the most egregious chapters of my life. The blindness of trauma, the bitter tanning acids of consequence, remorse, illness physical and mental, the purifying fires of anguish, the redemptive power of hindsight: these are some of the impulses that have fed and continue to nourish my deepening insights into avant-gardening. Here's the full text of the 2005 Permaculture Activist article I authored, "The Roots of Healing," which appeared in an issue devoted to the topic of 'Learning from Our Mistakes.'
A very large part of the impetus which has me where I am today, grew out of my experiences lurking, somewhat precociously, around the innermost sanctums of the international financial markets in the early- to mid-1980's, where I learned a very great deal about the realpolitik of international capitalism. My earliest major published piece made the cover of the February 1985 issue of Euromoney magazine and reflected a consuming investigative focus of the time: central bank regulation. It was co-authored with Will Ollard, and was titled, "How the Bank of England failed the JMB test." Among other structural constraints, Britain's draconian libel laws played a paramount role in limiting the terms of the piece.
Here's an article, Closing the Circle, in the July 13 2006 issue of the Eugene Weekly, describing a recent workshop I co-taught on winter gardening; and a Fall planting calendar I penned for the August 10, 2006 issue. Why am I currently growing 30 varieties of winter cabbage?
This article was precised and rehashed as "Deconstructing Civilization With Cabbage" for the January/February 2007 issue of In Good Tilth. "The Future of Farming" is a sister article, describing some insights into plant breeding in ecological context, garnered from my wanderings around local seed stewards in recent years. I penned a brief, highly concentrated synthesis of the two pieces, titled, "Reclaiming the Stolen Harvest" for the program for Seedy Sunday, the UK's largest seedswap, which took place on February 4, 2007. It summarizes the core purpose of the Seed Ambassadors Project.
The Last Call: Sustainable Winter Cropping in the maritime Pacific Northwest, penned in May of 2007, addresses very recent but little-noticed and foundational trends in the 'organic' seed industry and particularly, implications for the ecology of the bioregion of which I am a part. On a related note, I play an active role in attempting to nurture the uptake of winter cropping in the Pacific Northwest, orchestrating an annual workshop and seedswap around this theme.
Here's the 2007 winter-hardy crop table, V2.2, prepared for our June workshop, which reflects our most recent intelligence regarding crop types, varieties, sources, and seeding timing.
How does my work with seed relate to my unequivocal support for Open Source?
My father was a senior international executive with one of the world's largest pharmaceutical companies. How has the blessedly diverse cultural experience of a South-East Asian childhood profoundly touched my life through the years?
Even as I move among clinical and scientific herbalists, I am neither: I am simply a gardener looking to his health, a keen practitioner and exponent of lay healthcare. What is the evolving nature of my experiential interest in ecologically sustainable medicine, especially as it relates to my continuing research into the always-deepening, heartrending paradoxes and subtleties of pain management?
My localizing interest into ecologically sustainable pain management has recently embraced deepening academic research into phytomedicinal approaches, historical and contemporary, to local and general anaesthesia. I am especially interested in the contributions of other-than-western traditions, with an especial leaning toward a dialog with Islamo-Arabic experience.
I penned "Going Local? It's worth it!" for the adult-written page of the March-April 2007 issue of the international children's magazine, Skipping Stones. It's a brief piece intended to alert teenagers to the tangible steps they can take toward living a healthier life.
How is 'process art' manifesting in the social groups I am a part of:
An October 2005 art project: A New Deck of Cards for Lisa:
I have a deepening interest in native ecology and, more particularly, the ecologically-coherent integration of native plants and 'exotics' (the vast majority of our food plants are 'exotics') within the local landscape of which I am a part. I played a minor role in helping handhold the Native Plants and Permaculture Gathering at Lost Valley Education Center in May 2007. To our knowledge, this conference marks the first occasion in which the 'natives' and 'exotics' communities have come together, anywhere, to discuss our respective concerns and to explore the potential of common synergies. A working dialog such as this is necessarily rooted in the local.
Last updated, June 23, 2007