The INPG was formed in 2011 to organize the first Inland Northwest Permaculture Conference that took place at Spokane Falls Community College in November 2011.
Since 2011, the INPG has grown into an organization that has gone on to host a total of nine more gatherings (now called ‘Convergences’) in various locations throughout the Inland Northwest. In 2020, we will celebrate our tenth INPG Convergence in the Sandpoint area. Stay tuned for details.
Permaculture Design Courses
In 2012, 2013 and 2015, the INPG offered Permaculture Design Courses (PDCs), taught by longtime permaculture organizer and educator Michael “Skeeter” Pilarski. The courses were very well attended. More could be scheduled. Watch our website for news.
Annual Seed Swaps
Each year, the INPG puts on seed swaps in late winter/early spring. It's another part of our encouraging folks to learn and practice skills to become selfreliant. Our seed swaps are free and open to the public. Folks can walk around and trade seed and some are for sale. Optional tables are available for participants who wish to display their goods. A $10 per table donation is suggested as is donating 15% of gross sales to the INPG. For INPG seed swaps, we encourage people to bring strong and pure seed. This means no GMO; no treated seed. We are hoping for heirloom & organic-- by this we mean varieties that have been grown regeneratively and are adapted to our climate as well as varieties that have been passed down generations. Seed swaps are a good way to meet other local gardeners, which helps to foster a sense of community while saving you money. Contact us to organize one in your town.
Annual Tree Sales
Over the years, the Inland Northwest Permaculture Guild has hosted Tree Sales in Spokane, Kettle Falls and Hot Springs. We're not sure about doing another set this year, but we've talked about organizing sales where we exchange mostly stuff that Guild members and supporters have grown or porpagated rather than buying from nurseries to resell. We'll let you know what we come up with. The Tree Sales have focused on useful trees and shrubs, but also any perennial start, or any start, or whatever folks grew and thought to bring to the sale to trade or vend individually. We want to promote home propagation and the establishment of numerous food forests both public and private. Contact us to learn how you can put on an INPG Tree and Plant Sale in your town.
The Inland Northwest Permaculture Guild is one branch in a vigorous tree planted more than 40 years ago.
John Chapman, better known as Johnny Appleseed, was a nurseryman and conservationist who introduced apple trees and the lore of apples to large parts of the eastern U.S. in the years just after the country's birth. In the Pacific Northwest today, we can boast of a similar Johnny Appleseed, except that instead of orchards that changed the way people thought about apples (although there have been those), our Johnny Appleseed has been tirelessly altering the landscape of ecological co-existence by convening a steady barrage gatherings, spawning a fleet of organizations and continually presenting educational forums on a wide variety of topics since 1972. Michael Pilarski, affectionately known by his friends as Skeeter, has brought together generations of curious and active cultural creatives to learn and to help others learn how to be better stewards of the Earth through the understanding and practice of Permaculture.
Some of Skeeter's groups might last no more than a day-- a workshop on medicinal herb micro-farming, for example-- but can have lasting impacts on the folks attending because of the comprehensive permaculture perspective Michael infuses in all his pedagogy. It's not just about planting and harvesting-- it's about living in balance with nature. Some groups Michael has been instrumental in convening have lasted for decades and have affected regional culture fundamentally. These include the famous Okanogan Family Barter Faire in Tonasket that draws over 10,000 attendees each fall and the Tilth organization that pioneered organic agriculture in the Pacific Northwest, helped make organic foods more readily available and fostered a thriving organic farm economy. Add to these a couple Michael's own organizations, Friends of the Trees Society (since 1978) and the Global Earth Repair Foundation (est. 2019).
As chronicled in the winter 2019/2020 edition of Permaculture Design Magazine, Michael Pilarski has been at it for a while. After attending the 2nd International Permaculture Convergence at Evergreen State College in 1986, Michael helped organize the International Permaculture Convergence in South Island, New Zealand in 1988, five “NW Permaculture Rendezvous” from 1988-1992, the International Permaculture Convergence in Nepal in 1991, the first Northwest Permaculture Convergence in 2007, the first “WA State Convergence” in 2008, the first Inland Northwest Permaculture Conference held in Spokane in 2011 and the North American Permaculture Convergence in Minnesota in 2014. These as well as countless other conferences, workshops, Permaculture Design Courses (PDCs), plant walks, books and articles Michael has contributed to the movement.
One of the groups that Michael assisted in convening and has taken root is the Inland Northwest Permaculture Guild. "The Inland Northwest Permaculture Conference was conceived of at the 2010 Northwest Permaculture Convergence (the 4th NWPC) held at the South Seattle Community College with 500 people in attendance. We held an Inland Northwest caucus and at our meeting decided to start the INPC. The meeting included Bud Papin, Kelly Ware, Richard Kuhnel and myself, among others. I was the overall coordinator of that first INPC and the next three," Michael wrote in a recent account of the birth of the Inland Northwest Permaculture Guild.
The Guild grew out of the organizing committee which had come together to put on the 2011 Inland Northwest Permaculture Conference in Spokane. Subsequently, the Guild offered the first Permaculture Design Course (PDC) ever held in Spokane during the winter 2011/2012. Since then, the Inland Northwest Permaculture Guild has hosted Convergences (initially called conferences) each year. The Convergences have been in Spokane, WA, Missoula, MT, Hayden Lake, ID, Tumtum, WA and Hot Springs, MT-- consistently pulling in between 175 and 250 participants. The tenth annual Inland Northwest Permaculture Guild Permaculture Convergence will take place at Bountiful Adventures, Clark Fork, Idaho in the fall of 2020.
The Guild has also sponsored three PDCs and numerous tree sales and seed swaps in various communities throughout the region.
The Guild is grateful to Michael Pilarski for perennially bringing people together in love for the Earth. It's as if each new group he convenes, each new heart he inspires, is another sapling planted in a forest that he knows someday will achieve a magnificent canopy-- a society of people co-existing with deep respect for the Earth, for other humans and for all living things-- Permaculture.
2011. Spokane Falls Community College, Spokane, WA. 250 attended.
2012. University of Montana Convention Center, Missoula, MT. 200 attended.
2013: Camp MiVoden, Hayden Lake, ID. 200 attended.
2014; Heartsong, Tumtum, WA. 175 attended.
2015: Heartsong, Tumtum, WA. 200 attended.
2016: Heartsong, Tumtum, WA, 175 attended.
2017: At 4 venues, Hot Springs, MT, 200 attended.
2018: Shady Grove Campground. Hot Springs, MT, 125 attended.
2019: Shady Grove Campground. Hot Springs, MT, 175 attended.
Fall 2020: Bountiful Adventures, Clark Fork, ID.
INPG Permaculture Design Courses:
Spokane, WA, every other weekend, Jan. 2011 - April 2012. 30 attended.
Missoula, MT, 6-Weekend Course, Feb. - April 2013. 35 attended.
Tumtum, WA, residential course, May 23 - June 7, 2015. 35 attended.