What and Who are We?

What Do We Do and How is it Done?

Many Rivers Permaculture is a training hub for transition that engages participants through interactive activities to connect with each other and develop creative, community-based strategies to address the most pressing issues they face.

Below is a general overview that takes on different forms depending on the participating group. For example: we may turn the whole process into an adventure role-playing game in which participants assume the role of animals with special skills to save their forest. Youth groups love this, so do adult nerds (like me)!

  1. Using practices to make our spaces more inclusive and comfortable, we lead activities to help participants develop group values and guidelines, and to grow trust and improve relationships within themselves and between each other. You could call them advanced “icebreakers”.
  2. We research large issues that affect us all on a global scale and, in a supportive space, use group-sharing practices to open up discussion on how we are effected locally. This is where we meet many personal “edges” and work together to expand them.
  3. We do the unimaginable and craft the future that we want to see as if there were no limitations to our creative, positive, power. Our future is guided by values and principles based in equality and care. This process is a beautiful act of group expression that appears in ways ranging from poetry to paintings to dancing or a mix of them all! Some appreciate a written document, too.
  4. Participants are led through a back-casting process to discover which steps are necessary to get to their future from where they currently stand. This model of steps is then matched up with the groups’ expertise and the existing efforts of community organizations.
  5. Based on the participants’ needs to address the community issues, we share skills, tools, techniques, and connect community experts. This is where action meets theory and participants build upon their social technology training (previous steps) with practices relating to food production and preparation, habitat creation, (w)holistic community design, and much more!
  6. New skills partnered with community support “grows” projects. Participants develop solution-focused projects in which they practice their new skills on a small scale. Overtime, the process of growing our projects is discussed and carried out. Through successes and failures, we learn how to stay accountable to ourselves and to our community partners. We also learn how to celebrate!
  7. Overall, we start with inclusively creating community and mature to a place of people-led action to build and grow a better world.

Who Do You Do It For?

Broadly, we do it out of respect for those that have stewarded the land before us, we do it for everyone and everything currently living on Earth, and we do it out of hope for future generations.

Specifically, we’re collaborating with the following areas:

So far we have built relationships and developed positive action with:

  1. Transition Town initiative Transition Guelph,
  2. Food Banks,
  3. Food System Youth Groups (e.g., Meal Exchange),
  4. Neighbourhood Support Groups,
  5. Community Groups/Members,
  6. Horticultural Therapy Participants,
  7. Eco Camps,
  8. School Groups/Classes, and,
  9. Families (including my own)

In addition, we are currently looking to expand to:

  1. Social Community Groups (e.g., Scouts and Girl Guides),
  2. Businesses with matching or changing mission statements,
  3. Government Sectors (e.g., Community Engagement, Food System, Councilors, etc.), and,
  4. Places of Worship.

If you include yourself in any of these categories (or others that aren’t here), contact us and we’ll chat.

Where Does the Training and Positive Action Happen?

On the traditional territories of the Coast Salish peoples in Victoria B.C., Canada, downtown and surrounding area.
We rent spaces with partners (e.g., Fairfield Gonzales Community Association) or at your location.

Why Do We Do It?

We do it out of hope and joy. We hope that we, as complex humans in a complex world, can work together to live so that everyone feels like they can contribute and so that our environment flourishes. We move from a place of joy because we see the amount of inspirational creativity that comes from folks whom feel comfortable enough to express themselves, and, when addressing such large issues, it helps to celebrate our successes. Community creative expression is a beautiful motivating thing!

Who Are We?

Paul Wartman

I was born and raised on the traditional territory of the Mississaugas of the New Credit First Nation (Mississauga, Ontario, Canada), into my loving family who’s grandparents emigrated from Europe. I am a son, a brother, and a husband.

In my life I work within community to design spaces and systems that help everyone to meet their needs in ways that are people-based, interdependent, and restorative in nature. My formal education is in regenerative agriculture and community engagement from the University of Guelph (B. Sc (H) 2012, and M.Sc 2015). Outside of university I am certified in Permaculture Design (2010) and as a Permaculture Teacher (2015), as well as being trained in Transition Town Initiatives.

My understory consists of being a board member and ‘vo-livin-teer‘ with Transition Guelph, working on organic farms, unlearning and learning how to compassionately confront controversy, practicing permaculture design, developing appropriate technology, eco-camp counseling, and many potlucks! Armfuls of respect and thanks to my many teachers, mentors, and friends.