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Convergence Presenters

Below are listed the generous and knowledgeable people who will be sharing their skills and experience with us at the Convergence. More presenters and more detail will be forthcoming.

Would you like to present at the Convergence? If so, go HERE.

Bezleel (BZ) Israel

Bezleel Israel is a long time farmer and homesteader in northern Stevens County, just 3 miles from the Canadian border. He has taught many workshops on seed cleaning and seed saving and has invented his own low cost cleaning equipment.BZ, just turned 67, is eager to teach someone to take over his farmstead. He has a wealth of knowledge and is a jack of all trades. Organic fardening, crop rotation, greenhouse gardening solar hot water, root cellars, just ask BZ.


Seed production and cleaning

Bill Harp
     Darién Information Systems, Inc., - Information Systems Technologist, Cultural Anthropologist and Geospatial Analyst
Information Systems Technologist, Cultural Anthropologist and Geospatial Analyst

Bill is a fifth generation Idahoan who has worked as a field archaeologist and cultural anthropologist in both North Idaho and Panama. During his time in Panama he did research among the Emberá people in eastern Panama and subsequently earned his MA in Anthropology from the University of Oregon where he specialized in the ecology and cosmology of tropical lowland, indigenous cultures of the new world.  

From 1986-2000 he worked for the Department of Defense, US Southern Command, specialized in technology, training and geospatial applications in defense and intelligence.  He was also a program manager for a large, national mapping project of land use and forest cover with the United Nations REDD (Reduction in Emissions, Degradation and Deforestation) program in collaboration with the Panamanian Ministry of the Environment.  He served as a Commissioner with the Panamanian Ministry of Tourism for sustainable heritage and eco-tourism.

From 2004-2011 he worked at Esri ( where he became the Defense and Intelligence Industry Manager.  For the last three plus years, Bill worked as the Director, Technology for Bonner County Government (Emeritus). He also writes popular articles on science and technology for the Sandpoint Reader weekly newpaper and serves as a Commissioner for Historic Preservation for the City of Sandpoint.  Bill and his wife Susan, also an archeologist, journalist, editor and anthropologist, alternate between their country homesteads in Coclé, Panama and Sagle, Idaho where they maintain subsistence gardens and orchards.


Native American Horticulture, Ecology, Ethnobotany and Cosmology

In Latin America a number of cultures still practice traditional subsistence horticulture. The Emberá of eastern Panama are one of these small-scale, egalitarian, lowland tropical rain forest cultures that not only practice traditional horticulture but speak their native language, hunt, gather and fish from the rain forest and still practice their traditional beliefs in spirits and practice associated rituals. They have an encyclopedic knowledge of plants and an extensive ethnobotany that includes the use of entheogenic plants.

Many of their subsistence agricultural concepts are in congruence with the ideas of Permaculture. This talk explores this convergence and how a traditional belief system or cosmology may inspire our understanding and relationship to our natural, cultural, geological and geographical landscapes. This understanding manifests itself as an integrated systems of complex, interacting relationships that build on the knowledge, practice and spirit of traditional cultures. This undeniable heritage energizes our commitment to sustainable living, energy efficiency and belief in the resilience and intentionality of the spirit of living systems.

Charlotte Anthony
     Victory Gardens for All
Charlotte Anthony

Charlotte has been gardening and farming for 50 years. She took her PDC at the time of Hurricane Katrina  (2005) and realized that permaculture was the language for what she had been doing for most of her life -- observing the earth, the weather and plants and adjusting what she did accordingly. Lifelong she has had a desire to serve and after learning about permaculture felt that permaculture had the answers for the most of the world’s problems. She and her team helped create more than 650 gardens in people’s yards with a pay it forward system. Permaculture was used to enhance the soil and great yields with minimum imputs were gotten in these first year gardens, especially with microbe innoculations. She helped people create food forests in Oregon and California. She was on the board of the Northwest Permaculture Association and helped put  on the Northwest Permaculture Convergence, twice.


Easy No-till Farming: enabling great productivity with no fertilizer and no irrigation even in low rainfall areas

We will present on the why and how of no-till without machinery.  We will include ways to do no till without bringing in off-site materials that will work in your first year.   it involves growing the plants with microbe partners which means in addition to no till, cover crops or multi crops, and can include inter-planting with trees. All of our farming and gardening practices that inhibit soil biology are the problem and the opportunity.   M. Fukuoka said that most of our farming work and problems are compensating for interfering with nature.   We have taken this to heart and want to expand on how this can make your gardening easier, your food healthier and even more how doing these techniques will lead to functioning ecosystems and reverse climate change. This is wu wei or non doing farming.

Workshop 2:

Ecological Farming

We are starting an initiative for the purpose of restoring ecosystems around the globe in order to reverse climate change.    This involves turning lawns, pastures, commercial agriculture and regenerating the forests.  We want this to be a self-organizing system and to go viral.

We will present the 10 points that need to be changed in our practice of farming and gardening.

Come and see what we have done so far and please contribute to how we can go forward with this.

Droughts, floods, and global warming are related to the damage we have done to our ecosystems. This comes with our way of farming and gardening.  The good news is changing how we garden and farm will mitigate climate change.

Workshop 3:

Living In Our Ecosystem

When I heard Toby Hemenway's video Why Agriculture Can Never Be Sustainable, it explained so much to me.  As a multigenerational farmer, I imbibed the lessons of living in the ecosystem early in my life.  I have participated in community with plants, soil biology, animals etc.   I did not really understand until this video what is blocking most people from participating in our ecosystem.  It is simply that we live in a culture where our minds are our masters, and one thing our minds seem to dictate is that we are outside of nature, separate from her and need to control her.   Our minds could be very good servants for a life in which we all participate together in creating opportunity for functioning ecosystems.

At this point in time, it is crucial that we learn how to work with what I call the community of all beings to live in and restore our ecosystems.

This workshop is about specific techniques to get connected in our gardening and in our lives in general with nature.

Cindy Santi

Cindy Santi has been helping folks connect with their Internal Landscape for 40 years. 


Bodies of Water Your Life

This workshop is for Children of all ages. From Water comes Life ...Life is in you. Come learn about your internal Eco System and how to take care of it. You are a Body of water. Let us explore the relationship of all Life and our connection to it.

David Max
     Valhalla Farm

Debbie Jakovac
     Blue Moon Herbs
Blue Moon Herbs - Essiac Tea "Good all over again"

Debbie Jakovac has been involved with producing and selling Essiac tea since 2007.  Her business, Blue Moon Herbs, is ‘on the ground’ creating a production-oriented permaculture model for growing sheep sorrel for the root, a niche market like no other. Our presentation will be all about Essiac – Creating a Model for local production from seed to cup of tea, Getting it Right.  The rest of the Essiac story that is not well known – Rene Caisse’s real secret. All we’ve learned in the past ten years about how to best grow/wildcraft  Sheep sorrel. The mission of keeping Essiac known and available and passing on a model for top shelf local organic Essiac production that will pay the bills while changing the world. Creating community by helping those in need to feel better in an inexpensive, simple, and positive way, one cup of tea at a time.


Essiac - Creating a Model for local production from seed to cup of tea, Getting it Right

Debbie Jakovac has been involved with producing and selling Essiac tea since 2007.  Her business, Blue Moon Herbs, is ‘on the ground’ creating a production-oriented permaculture model for growing sheep sorrel for the root, a niche market like no other. Our presentation will be all about Essiac – Creating a Model for local production from seed to cup of tea, Getting it Right.  The rest of the Essiac story that is not well known – Rene Caisse’s real secret. All we’ve learned in the past ten years about how to best grow/wildcraft  Sheep sorrel. The mission of keeping Essiac known and available and passing on a model for top shelf local organic Essiac production that will pay the bills while changing the world. Creating community by helping those in need to feel better in an inexpensive, simple, and positive way, one cup of tea at a time.

Delyla Wilson
     DIRT Center

Delyla lives on 7.4 acres of forested land outside of Stevensville, MT at the Diversified Integrated Resilience Training Center  (DIRT Center) in Stevensville Montana. Delyla is a co-founder of the DIRT Center where she works with multigenerational family and community members to build individual and community resilience in these challenging times. Prior to the founding of the DIRT Center, Delyla, with her family, founded the Skills Tour. The Skills Tour traveled around the U.S. from 2007 to 2010 in the Permibus (a permaculture demonstration bus and outfitted with solar power, grey water, chickens, worms, a tube garden, and a full sized kitchen) teaching homesteading skills (including permaculture design and technology), citizenship skills, and life skills. Delyla is also a dog trainer who specializes in the acquisition and integration of appropriate canine companions for permaculture homesteads and farms as well as individuals and families. Delyla has worked professionally with dogs since 1983 and is excited to bring together her love of dogs and permaculture! 



Integrating Dogs into Permaculture and Farm Systems

This workshop will focus on ways to incorporate dogs in your permaculture design systems including pest control, drafting work, animal protection, and livestock tending. We will discuss applications, best breeds, and training techniques. Come learn the many ways you can incorporate dogs into your permaculture systems and bring your questions! 


Elaine Sheff
     Green Path Herb School

The author of several books on herbal medicine and healing, clinical herbalist Elaine Sheff has been passionate about sharing herbal knowledge for over 28 years. Elaine is the Co-Director of Green Path Herb School, located in Missoula, MT, where she strives to inspire and empower students and clients to remember their connection to the earth, the plants and their own healing process. She has taught both nationally and internationally at conferences and events. Elaine is a professional member of the American Herbalist Guild. As a certified Instructor of the Natural Family Planning and Fertility Awareness Methods, Elaine has helped many couples to avoid or achieve pregnancy naturally. An artist and writer, Elaine has written numerous articles about her family’s journey with epilepsy and a special needs child. Her latest book is Naked: Botanical Recipes for Vibrant Skin and Healthy Hair. She has written for publications including the Journal of Medicinal Plants and their Applications, Mamalode and Aromaculture magazine. Elaine’s workshops have been featured at conferences including the Traditions in Western Herbalism Conference, Montana Herb Gathering, Northwest Herb Symposium, Midwest Women’s Herbal Conference, Spokane Herbal Faire, the Ecoexpo and the Mountain West Herb Gathering. You can often find her bent over an herb in her garden or marveling at small flowers in mountain meadows with her husband and sons. If you’d like to learn more about medicinal plants, you can connect with Elaine, and Green Path Herb School via the Green Path Website.


Ten Healing Garden Herbs

In this beautiful slideshow presentation, herbalist Elaine Sheff will explore a new twist on ten of our most popular healing herbs that are easily grown in your garden. Elaine will share her unique and inspiring recipes for each plant, including bee balm honey, calendula oil, herbal cough drops, healing garden salve, peppermint throat spray and more. Learn about bee balm, self heal, chamomile, plantain, calendula, comfrey, yarrow, marshmallow, echinacea and peppermint.

Workshop 2:

Rocky Mountain Herbs and Edibles

There is something deeply healing about using the medicinal plants that grow where we grow. Elaine will discuss both native herbs and common weeds that grow through the Rocky Mountains. Learn where they grow, which parts to harvest and their medicinal or edible properties. Elaine will also mention several poisonous plants to avoid when wildcrafting.

Workshop 3:

The Menstrual Map

Menstruation, typically a taboo subject in our culture, can be a rich source of information about health and wellbeing for women. But what is normal menstruation? Join herbalist Elaine Sheff to take a deeper look at how to interpret the fertility cycle by creating a menstrual map. This class will focus on hormonal balancing, but will also address herbal actions including reproductive antispasmodics, emmenagogues, hormone balancers, phyto-estrogens, progesterone encouraging herbs, uterine astringents, and reproductive tonics.

Gabe Gaul
     Fungi Permastead

Gloria Flora
     Sustainable Obtainable Solutions, TerraFlora Permaculture Learning Center

Gloria Flora founded and directed the U.S. Biochar Initiative (USBI) as a project of her non-profit, Sustainable Obtainable Solutions, to promote the sustainable production and use of biochar.  Biochar fits in the nexus of her work in large landscape conservation strategies, climate change action, forest health collaboratives, public land sustainability and as well as her permaculture passion. Last century she served 23 years in the U.S. Forest Service, including as Forest Supervisor on two national forests.  Gloria and her husband are growing TerraFlora Permaculture Learning Center focused on permaculture in forested environments. Flora’s won many awards for environmental leadership and action, including having a new species of a Tanzanian toad named after her.

Jacqueline Cramer
     Beacon Food Forest

Jeremy Cowan
     WSU Extension Spokane County, CHI Farms

Jeremy Cowan is the Regional Horticulture Specialist and Interim County Director for WSU Spokane County Extension. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Horticulture, an MBA in Marketing and New Venture Management, and a Ph.D. in Horticulture and a Graduate Certificate in Sustainable Agriculture from Washington State University. For the past three years, Jeremy has provided education, resources, and networking to commercial horticulture interests, small- to mid-scale farmers, and land owners in northeastern Washington. He is actively involved with the organizing committee for the Inland Northwest Small Farm Conference and currently serves on the boards of directors for LINC Foods and the Inland Northwest Food Network. Jeremy received his Permaculture Design Certificate from The Northern School in Scotland in 2015; he completed a course in Permaculture Research Design in southern Portugal in 2016; and most recently, completed Jude Hobbs' Permaculture Teacher Training at O.U.R. Ecovillage near Victoria, B.C. in March 2017.


High Tunnels for Season Extension

Have you ever contemplated installing a high tunnel (or hoop house) to stretch your growing season? Are you still trying to figure out just what a high tunnel can and will do for you? This presentation will help you understand the fundamental properties of, uses, benefits, and considerations for employing high tunnels for season extension.

Jesse Christian
     Founder of the Holy Vortex Foundation

Jesse Christian is a Master Herbalist and Holistic Healthcare Practitioner. She is the founder of the Holy Vortex Foundation which is a non-profit organization which purpose is to create a template for those interested in creating sustainable Ecovillages worldwide. She also owns her own business called White Buffalo Wildcrafts which specializes in wildcrafted herbs, foods, arts and crafts from Montana. Jesse will also be a vendor for the Holy Vortex Foundation and White Buffalo Wildcrafts.


Hot Springs Herb Walk and Workshop

Herb walk and workshop on how to make your own green drink using easily accessible herbs in Hot Springs.

Jessica Soza
     Exultant Gardens
Jessica Soza

Jessica has been working as a professional gardener using permaculture and french biointensive methods for 13 years.  She received her initial training and experience at Occidental Arts and Ecology Center and Permaculture Artisans in California, bringing it home to apply it in the much more challenging growing season of the Rockies as Exultant Gardens.  Retrofitting neglected gardens and landscapes with permaculture has taught her the subtleties of good design, sourcing materials creatively, and responding to an extremely diverse set of seasonal and climactic conditions,  and especially the importance of building resilient soil.  Her experience is  also informed by 25 years as a certified herbalist, commitment to wilderness conservation, and unabashed biophilia.


Building Soil in Hard Ground

Great soil is the foundation for resilience, stability, diversity and productivity. Ninety percent of what we see above ground is a reflection of the soil, and our biggest challenge and opportunity as permaculturists is to build beautiful soil from abused ground. The hardest ground requires creative and intelligent responses.  5 years ago, after 10 years of working as a permaculture gardener, I was given a massive challenge of creating a food forest on extremely compact, brome-dominant ground with limited top soil.   Employing the techniques of sheet mulching, hugelkultur, swales and double digging was important, but combining them creatively has been the most successful, and now the Low Bench Food Forest is thriving and wildly productive.  In this workshop you'll learn how to work with what is at hand to provide the foundations for a soil web that is self sustaining and productive.

Workshop 2:

Managing annuals in a perennial landscape

In a perennial landscape, the annuals we work with are unpredictable and inevitable, but they can also be immensely valuable in building soil, managing weeds, creating microclimates and tempering seasonal fluctuations.  In this workshop we'll talk about working WITH your local weeds by understanding their cycles; choosing self seeding and supportive annuals that can outcompete other weeds; and using all of it to manage complex and chaotic landscapes.

Jessica Spurr
     Earthly Apothecary
Jessica Spurr

I am passonate about plants, about connecting peope with them. My work includes being a bridger, I work with native and invasive species, harvesting through out the year to include the wild medicine in the herbal products that I make. 

I insist on wildcrafting in a gentle way that helps the enviornment, I am very interested in expressig the need to have ethics when harvesting.

The magic of plants combined with medicine is my path of herbalism. 


Wildcrafting Ethically & by the Lunar Cycle

Workshop 2:

Medicinals Oils and Salve Making

Jill Russell
     Valhalla Farm

Kareen Erbe
     Broken Ground

Kareen is the owner of Broken Ground, a Bozeman-based business that teaches people how to grow their own food. She has been teaching organic gardening, composting and permaculture workshops to people in the Bozeman area for 6 years as well as designing edible gardens for clients. She and her family live on a 3/4 acre lot that they are converting into a cold climate demonstration site with kitchen gardens, a pond, greenhouse, chickens, ducks, a food forest and a greywater system. An experienced permaculture practitioner, Kareen obtained her Permaculture Design Certificate in 2006 at the Taranaki Environment Centre in New Zealand and completed an advanced permaculture program taught by renowned designer Geoff Lawton, at the Permaculture Research Institute of Australia. This included specific training in earthworks, composting methods, soil biology, and urban permaculture design. Kareen was also trained in teaching permaculture by Rosemary Morrow, author of the Earth User's Guide to Permaculture. 

Kareen also has training in Ecology Action's Grow Biointensive methods and participated in a Food Forest Design Charrette for Helena's 6th Ward Garden Park with author, teacher and designer, Dave Jacke. She has also worked as a permaculture consultant for the sustainability organization, GoodtoChina, in Shanghai, China and volunteered on numerous organic farms in Australia, New Zealand, Western Massachusetts and Montana, including Gallatin Valley Botanical and Three Hearts Farm in Bozeman.  

She is a regular contributor to Rocky Mountain Gardening Magazine, having written several articles on permaculture-related topics and was featured in The New Pioneer. She is currently working with the Trust for Public Land and its design of an Edible Food Forest Trail that will be part of the Story Mill Community Park in Bozeman.



Keynote Address: Beyond the Backyard Garden - Expanding Permaculture's Reach

Karie Lee Knoke


Art of Sacred Living Project

Kelly Ware
     Permaculture Montana

Kevin Blue


The NuMundo experience – Networking the transformational ecosystem

Mmy experiences living and volunteering at NuMundo impact centers in Guatemala and Costa Rica.

Lori Parr
     Lavender Lori

Lynne Pulizzi

I have been a vegetarian/vegan for over forty four years. Eight years ago I started an amazing transformation to being a raw vegan. I enjoy sharing my new found knowledge of a plant based diet with others by teaching Un-cooking classes and having discussion groups. I have had my own sprouting business, been a stained glass artist, graphic designer, and swim coach. I am now sharing my passion for raw food and plant based diets in these Un-cooking classes. I also have a small business called Lynne’s Zenlicious Teas and Raw Food Treats which I sell around Coeur d Alene, ID.


So you think eating Raw Food is just eating salads and smoothies, think again!


In this workshop I will talk about transitioning to a raw plant based diet. I will share simple techniques of preparing delicious meals with recipes and samples. I will also talk about the difference between Raw Foods and Live Foods. This should be a fun and yummy workshop.

Mariah Cornwoman
     Heart of the Highlands Farm

Mariah Cornwoman, member of Heart of the Highlands, LLC is a graduate of U. C. Davis and a long-time resident of north central Washington.  She co-owns 40 acres of agricultural and forest land with a collaborative group, using alternative energy, water conservation techniques and sustainable cropping practices for both wildcrafted and cultivated crops.  The group direct markets herbal products and open-pollinated garden seeds as part of a strategy to increase farm gate value and sustainability for their operation. The group also hosts farm open house events, teaches workshops and offers internship experiences to share the knowledge and inspire others.


Managing Habitat for Beneficials

Beneficials are way more than just ladybugs. There are more than just insects that play an important role in a healthy ecosystem. Learn about both the macro and micro organisms and how we can provide a biodiverse environment in which they can thrive. 

Michael Pilarski
     Friends of the Trees Society

Michael Pilarski is a naturalist, farmer and educator with 45 years of experience. Michael has been commercially wildcrafting medicinal plants for 22 years in Washington State, north Idaho and Northwest Montana.  He farms a diversity of medicinal and food plants in complex, agroforestry systems and has expertise in seed collecting, propagation and nursery stock of many native and non-native species. He is the author of “Ethnobotany and Ethnoecology Resource Guide” and “Growing & Wildcrafting Medicinal Plants in the Pacific Northwest”. He blends permaculture, restortion ecoogy and ethnobotany to come up with restorative land practices.


Permaculture, restoration and ethnobotany. How they can inform land management practices.

Workshop 2:

Growing Medicinal herbs for home use or commercially through a permaculture lens.

Michael Sullivan


Cannabis and Permaculture

A presentation on the integration of cannabis in relation to permaculture gardening. The cannabis food forest: slide show, talk, ending with discussion on Rick Simpson oil-- CBD and THC.

Michelle Mahler
     Circle of Healing Essential Oils

Michelle Mahler has 15 years of experience as an Aromatherapist making custom blends for people and pets and 25 years of experience in professional home & office cleaning. She spent 12 years of her cleaning business testing green cleaning recipes and essential oil disinfectants and odor neutralisers. Circle of Healing is based in Snohomish, Wa. Michelle speaks and teaches workshops all over northwest at the Local Co-ops, herbal and holistic fairs and private events. Her passion is being an community advocate for self-care and wellness through prevention and strengthening the immune system by topical use of essential oil remedies.She has a drive to keep learning new ways to incorporate subtle aromatherapy into our lives for wellness, vitality & better quality of Life.

Michelle Mahler 425 210 2532


Herbs & Essential Oils for Home & Petcare

In this workshop you can learn about how to safely manage common pet wellness issues, and non-toxic ingredients to use for everyday cleaning. We will take home recipes and notes for disinfecting sprays that remove pet odors, repel fleas and ants and help everyone breath better while you clean with them. We will have demonstrations on cleaning powders & sprays, general pet health such as and ear and skincare, calming blends, for dogs and cats with non-toxic herbal infused olive oil, borage oil, rosewater and organic essential oils.

Ptery Lieght

I have been in the NW in the city working with Permaculture through systemic change through my work with houseless community there. I have also worked with the Social Justice movement in tandem with permaculture. I spent the winter at Standing Rock and have been further impressed that my work has been important to connect permaculture to social justice. 


Starting with Qi Gong

Stan Wilson
     Diversified Intergrated Resilency Training Center

Stan Wilson, co-founder of the Skills for the New Mellinnium Tour and the DIRT Center, received his PDC in 2007 and has been composting and raising chickens since the early 1990's. Stan has a BA in American History from the University of Montana. He is currently writing his first book "The History of Shit, Human Waste and Its Role in Agriculture Over Time." Stan was introduced to humanure through his PDC course and quickly became obsessed with composting human waste. Another love of Stan's is chickens. As a historian he has followed the movement of people across the globe through the movement of chickens. While on the two and a half year long Skills Tour he and his family harkened back through the history of migration with chickens by taking three hens on the road with them. 



Stan's Simple Steps to Successful Composting

The Lasagna Method of composting affords the practitioner a simple method of composting that is as hands off can be. Stan was introduced to this method as part of his PDC and uses for both his household compost and his humanure. Stan's workshop introduces the Lasagna Method and discusses problems with compost including how to solve them. Stan also touches on humanure, the composting of human waste for agricultural purposes. This portion of the workshop includes examples of what finished humanure should look and smell like.


Workshop 2:

Chickens, Chickens, Chickens

The Marvels of the Backyard Chicken: Stan's approach to raising chickens is simple, simple, simple. "People and chickens have been raising each other for nearly 8,000 years. It just isn't hard." Chicken breeds, their health, "Why hen's need roosters (and so do you)" letting your hens sit their own nest and raise their own young, are all subjects Stan covers in this workshop. Let chickens come alive for you and enter into the fun and frolics of the barnyard chicken.

William Aal


Social Permaculture / Social Ecology

Workshop 2:

Decolonizing Permaculture

William Halliburton
Will holding a plum tree.

William Halliburton, a computer programmer by trade, has been actively seeking out, for the last 5 years, models of sustainability and living in them. He spent the last winter, over 5 months, at the Standing Rock water protection and will be hosting a talking circle about that experience and the future of the water protection movement in general.


Standing Rock

A talking circle on the experiences of the Standing Rock water protection and the future of the movement.