A Weekend in the Woods: The 2019 Mid-Atlantic Permaculture Convergence 

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A few months ago I was fortune to attend and participate in the 2019 Mid-Atlantic Permaculture Convergence which was held at the Permaculture Center at Claymont in Charles Town, West Virginia.

Last year my mother was introduced to Claymont when she met Emily Chiappinelli when she did a panel at the convergence. She then developed a deep relationship with Emily and was invited back this year to participate in the convergence again. So I came along to help and to attend the convergence myself and had a great time.

Starting on Friday June 28th, myself, my friend Valarie & my dad set out to Charles Town as my mom had went down earlier. Once we made the hour drive to Claymont we unpacked our stuff and got settled in our rooms. Later Valarie and myself took a tour with the volunteers who were there to help through out the weekend before we ate dinner in the dinning hall. After dinner, Valarie, one of her friends Elizabeth and Eric Joseph plant man extraordinary went on a plant walk around the property. We ate fresh apples off the tree, and ate fresh wineberries which were delicious.

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After our walk around the property we came back just in time for our orientation. Before the orientation began my mother & Grandma Wapejea did a opening ceremony to bless the convergence. They danced and sang and then myself, Valarie and a couple who lived on the property Marisa & Brian who helped to build the medicine wheel garden we were doing the ceremony on did a blessing for the gathering. Then we did a round dance to finish it off.

During orientation we all went around a circle and told a little bit about ourselves.

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Once orientation ended people either went to bed after getting in that day or they stayed up to hang out at the fire and play music. That night I hung out at the fire and also went on a quick walk with some cool people to see the fire flies light up the trees it was so incredible!

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On Saturday morning my mom did a sunrise walk.

 

After breakfast the first set of workshops started and there were a lot of incredible ones. I unfortunately didn’t get the chance to participate in any of them that morning as I was busy helping my mom sell her books. During these workshops there was one on rocket mass heating, the mathematics of electricity, and how to save money at home with saving energy. The next set of workshops were all about water from digging swales, to learning about riverkeeping, & a film screening. Lunch and some rest time came next then came last set of workshops for the day. These workshop were on how to make your own herbal remedies, self-healing strategies, healthy movement techniques and creating a medicinal polyculture.

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I participated in the last bit of Hilary Banachowski’s workshop from Sacred Roots Herbal Sanctuary. Her workshop was on herbal remedies that you can make at home. We learned about the plant plantain and all the incredible uses for it like how when you get a bee sting, or a cut. We also made something called a oxymel herbal drink. At its core, oxymels are simply an herbal extraction of apple cider vinegar and honey. It actually taste really good.

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Once our workshops were done for the day we all went and herd a panel of incredible folks on building community resilience. Our panelist were Juan Reid, Co-Founder of Tightshift Laboring Cooperative, Aleya Fraser, Co-Founder of Black Dirt Farm Collective, Jake Dougherty, Executive Director of Wheeling Heritage, and Grandmother Wapajea Walks on Waters of Mother’s Coalition for Healthy Children. All of these panelist were amazing and had a lot to say about community resiliency.

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Later that night after dinner a spoken word performance and classical music concert was held. A spoken word artist Crystal Good who is an affrilachia poet from North Carolina gave such a riveting performance. Afterwords the Warp Trio a classic music trio which gave a stealer performance of latin jazz and classical toons.

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That night after the performances a beautiful lighting storm happened and some of the participants danced in the rain. The next morning a guided meditation was held before breakfast and the next group of workshops.

The first group of workshops for the day were on food, soil and oil. Workshops on home food preservation, mushroom ID and exploration, the art of composting, perennial plant propagation and soil ecology. I spent this morning participating in the food preservation and canning workshop which we made sauerkraut.

After lunch was open hour where a few optional workshops were held. My mom did a workshop were she took people on intuitive walks through the woods to connect to Mother Earth, there was a tea ceremony held & a wild foraging walk.

The last workshops of the convergence dealt with heating and building. There was a natural basket weaving workshop, ancient fire skills & fire science, the second workshop of the rocket mass heater & a workshop on humaner system with Eric Joseph. I attended the humaner workshop and it was awesome. I learned a lot about how to make a humaner toilet and what saving our human wast for our crops is actually very beneficial to the planet and our sewer systems.

The last event of the convergence was the open mic where people things that made them happy and hi-lights about the convergence which were beautiful. We then all left & my dad, mom & Valerie went home. It was an incredible event and I loved being on Claymont for the first time & it was a great time reconnecting with nature and just living my best life in Mother Earth.

More Information on Oxymel:

How To Make An Oxymel

More Information About the Permaculture Center at Claymont:

Equipping people with practical frameworks to build a better world through permaculture events on 340 acres of beautiful and historical land.

https://www.midatlanticpermaculture.com/

More Information About Claymont:     

Nestled in the rolling hills of the Shenandoah Valley, Claymont is the ideal setting for your next spiritual retreat, business meeting, or special event. Situated on over 350 acres, your privacy and tranquility is guaranteed. Located only 50 minutes from the Dulles Airport, and 4 miles outside of Historic Charles Town, getting to your relaxing and enlightening weekend has never been easier. At Claymont you will find that our philosophy of balance, harmony, and responsibility towards nature affects everything that we do. From our fields & orchards, to green technology and cleaners, to our cuisine made from fresh, local produce you will find a centered philosophy that will benefit your retreat from the grounds up.

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Till Next Time…Love Our Mother! 

 

 

 

 

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