This weekend: Permaculture festival at Camp Epworth in High Falls

Photo: Dave Jacke, author of the indispensable two-volume textbook Edible Forest Gardens and local hero of the permaculture movement, in action. Courtesy of the Northeast Permaculture Convergence.

This Saturday marks the high point of the year for local permaculture enthusiasts: The seventh annual Northeast Permaculture Convergence is taking over the grounds of Camp Epworth in High Falls for a day of workshops, demos, bartering and selling of tools and seeds, local organic food, music, art and celebration of all things permaculture.

"Permaculture" is a slippery word to define -- like "sustainable," another buzzword of the green-design movement, it means different things to different people. But the general consensus is that it entails designing ways to grow food that integrate with both natural ecological systems and human culture.

Keynote speaker Dave Jacke says it's bigger than agriculture:

Permaculture goes way way beyond just food production to redesigning our whole culture to mimic the principles, patterns, structures and functions of natural ecosystems.  That includes our social relationships, our economy, our resource use, and our inner landscapes—the whole kit and caboodle.

If you're interested in seeing local permaculture in action, the Convergence planners are also hosting Friday site tours of the homes and gardens of Lee Reich, Dina Falconi & Tim Allen, The Center for Bioregional Living, and Clove Valley CSA. Each site tour costs $20, and tickets are limited to between 20 and 30 visitors per site.

Seventh Annual Permaculture Convergence. Friday, July 22 through Sunday, July 24. Camp Epworth, 8 Epworth Lane, High Falls, NY. For more information, visit