Renewing the Commons

My name is Connor Stedman.  I’m a permaculture teacher and designer, based mostly in the Northeast USA but exploring throughout the continent from time to time.  I also mentor people (mostly adults, sometimes kids) in wilderness skills and knowledge of place.  I have other passions around communication, leadership, and healing.  I’m involved in a variety of organizations and initiatives, some of which you can read about here.

Some things I want to write about at Renewing the Commons are:

–The intersections of restoration ecology, habitat management, permaculture, and traditional land use.  In other words, how to holistically rebuild the land’s capacity to serve as a commons resource.

–Exciting developments in these areas from around North America.  This may include sexy megafauna, which I am a total sucker for, and also other heritage species & crops, plant communities, etc.

–Cultural and economic patterns that are replicable and/or scalable, with the potential to help spread regenerative land use practices around the planet.

Some of my assumptions and starting points:

I associate myself in general with the work of Kat Anderson and Tending the Wild.  I want to pick up in some of the places where TTW leaves off and explore practical strategies for creating landscapes that function as ethnobotanical preserves.

I also associate myself with the ecological design principles and processes laid out by my mentor Dave Jacke in Edible Forest Gardens.  I want to zoom out from the micro of forest garden design to the macro of rebuilding diversity and abundance at landscape and ecosystem scales.  (Dave is co-writing a new book on coppice agroforestry in North America; please support this project on Kickstarter if you can!)

As a wildcrafter, I think human harvesting and use of wild plants (and animals) can be ecologically restorative.  I think “leave nature alone,” as a general or primary land use strategy, has some consequences that I’m uncomfortable with.  In future writing I’ll try to explain why I think this is.  In the mean time, I agree with just about everything Samuel Thayer says about this – if you’re into this topic, you should purchase and read his books.

I have plenty of other assumptions and biases that I’ll try to air out as I go.

Lastly, as a reader I welcome your input, questions, requests for me to write about a certain topic, feedback, really cool/exciting stories or links, and so forth.  Please be civil and respectful if you do write.  Thanks in advance for your participation!

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One Response to Renewing the Commons

  1. I love it, Connor. I’m also wondering, where do we start renewing the commons? In our home economies, gardens and ecosystems? And let the work spiral out from there…

    It seems like Thayer has written some of the most well articulated points on foraging and wild crafting as regenerative practices. I’ve also really been getting into Daniel Vitalis’ philosophies on this.

    Looking forward to the evolution of this!

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