Community Solutions conference— Hope in regenerative practices
- Published: October 31, 2019
The overwhelming message from environmental scientists is that our world is in ecological peril.
The problems — extreme weather conditions, the loss of biodiversity, the degradation of natural lands, the contamination of waterways — can seem so big and insurmountable that we can be left feeling paralyzed and hopeless about what to do.
But messages of efficacy and hope, which can get lost in crisis turmoil, are at the heart of a three-day national conference Nov. 1–3 in Yellow Springs.
“Pathways to Regeneration: Soil, Food, and Plant Medicine,” presented by the locally based Arthur Morgan Institute for Community Solutions, will offer alternative ways of thinking and acting.
“Solutions is in our name,” the presenting organization’s executive director, Susan Jennings, said this week.
Researchers, practitioners and activists involved in regenerative work will share their efforts and experiences in a variety of talks, panel discussions and workshops.
Dan Kittredge, an organic farmer based in Massachusetts and the founder of the Bionutrient Food Association, is the keynote speaker.
His Saturday evening talk, on the Principles of Bionutrient-Rich Foods, will open with a performance by the World House Choir, beginning at 7 p.m., at the Foundry Theater on the Antioch College campus.
Kittredge’s work with the Bionutrient Food Association “is very exciting to me,” Jennings said.
“They connected up a lot of different pieces to come to a new understanding” of food and health, she said.
Among them is the way agricultural soil quality can be linked to personal health and disease through the nutrient content of the foods being grown and consumed.
Our culture, however, tends to ignore the connections — offering chemical pharmaceutical solutions to health issues, for example, rather than re-examining the basics of food production.
Kittredge also is in the process of developing a hand-held device that will indicate the nutrient content of produce. Jennings believes the nutrient reader “will be a game-changer” in giving consumers information for making personal health-related decisions.
The conference offers an “opportunity to have a community conversation about how all these things — food security, health security and climate security — are linked,” Jennings said.
Conference organizers, who began meeting in February, knew early that they wanted to explore the areas of food and medicine and how they are connected, according to committee member Dennie Eagleson. A photographer and former faculty member at Antioch College, Eagleson is an active volunteer with Community Solutions and Tecumseh Land Trust and maintains a large garden.
“Our health is in the hands of big pharma, and our food is in the hands of big agriculture,” Eagleson said this week.
One question the core organizing committee — which in addition to Eagleson included Jennings, Beth Bridgeman, Peggy Nestor and Rachel Isaacson — wanted to explore was how people could “take control over their own wellness.”
Community Solutions’ recent focus on soil and soil health, the theme of the organization’s last conference in 2017, added another dimension to the wellness conversation, Eagleson said.
The resulting lineup includes six featured speakers, three panel discussions and 13 additional sessions and workshops.
•The wisdom of indigenous cultures and their use of healing plants;
•The medical cannabis industry;
•The potential of food to alter the course of chronic disease; and
•The regenerative powers of nature.
The Friday evening keynote event will be a panel discussion on Cannabis as Medicine, to be held at Antioch Midwest, where most of the conference sessions will take place.
The panel will include Ari Greenwald and Nakia Angelique, of Cresco Labs; Jay Joshi, of Mad River Remedies; Dr. Suzanne Croteau, a locally based physician; and Teara Roland, a health-care practitioner who, like Croteau, is licensed to recommend medical cannabis as a treatment option.
Angelique, who is the compliance manager at Cresco, will also offer a separate session earlier Friday on Re-imaging Our Relationship with Cannabis. The class is not connected to her her work at Cresco.
Describing herself as a lifelong herbal student, she said she has been an holistic health educator since 1999, and her work has led her to consider cannabis as part of the larger herbal family, with healing potential.
After a year’s hiatus, Jennings said she is happy that Community Solutions is back to presenting conferences, an outreach activity that the 79-year-old organization, founded by engineer and former Antioch College President Arthur Morgan, has undertaken throughout its history.
Last year, the nonprofit focused its energies on getting the 128-acre Agraria Center for Regenerative Agriculture off the ground.
Acquired in 2017, the Agraria property on Dayton-Yellow Springs Road, just west of the village limits, serves as an educational and research site in regenerative agricultural practices as well as the offices for Community Solutions.
Organizing the Pathways to Regeneration conference is “a real opportunity to frame the on-the-ground work of Agraria with the overarching themes of Community Solutions,” Jennings said.
The combined message of both: Regeneration is possible and happening now.
For more information about the conference and its participants, a daily schedule and tickets, go online to http://www.communitysolution.org/pathways-to-regeneration.