Happy Saturday, everyone! I'm Patricia, and I'm so happy to be here. I'm a public health professional who has also spent time working in public schools, and decades parenting and volunteering. When my first child was born, it unleashed a flood of anxiety in me about all the systems and forces beyond my control in the world that could potentially harm my children and imperil their future. To balance and manage those feelings, I turned to the lessons my late father taught me about gardening, preparedness, and compassionate community care, looking for opportunities to effect change at its most local - in myself and my own home, where I felt more in control. It's been hugely comforting.
Around 2010 or so, I started noticing the word "permaculture" everywhere, and subsequently began a long course of self study. In 2019, I was privileged to spend 2 weeks in an eco village in British Columbia, in community and learning from amazing mentors, and completing a permaculture design certificate. At the time it was tempting to lean into feelings of "we just need to move to the Northwest, where people are actually doing this stuff," but I came away feeling more strongly that what I really needed to do was begin implementing these concepts at home in DeKalb County. And during the pandemic, I started following Roots Down, and have been thrilled to see their initiatives blossoming and gaining traction. Membership and volunteerism with this crew is, for me, a no-brainer.
One of my biggest takeaways from the PDC course was from the segment focusing on urban permaculture, where our teacher spoke of "ReVillaging" our cities and towns. This is micro local action, smaller than a county our a city or even a whole neighborhood. I view it as: whose yards touch mine? Whose homes can I see from mine? Do I know all of those neighbors' names? Do we have contact info for each other? What tools and skills and talents do each of us have - what's our village asset map look like? When individuals speak of preparedness for whatever may come in the future, it's often without the understanding that our "plan" is only as good as the plans of the other humans immediately around us, and that there is so much more strength in numbers.
ReVillaging is more than disaster preparedness -- it is establishing a micro local system of compassionate community care and self-sufficiency, where we grow and share food together, play and make art together, share in child care and elder care and respite care, help each other with projects, enable co-housing and build public gathering spaces, focusing positive energy of all kinds into our village. It's taking principles of intentional community from the stereotypically remote "commune" setting and applying them right here where we live. It's inter generational and intersectional. This is what regeneration and resilience of our communities can look like.
Thanks for reading, if you've gotten this far! I look forward to engaging with this group and co-creating this virtual village!