The village hearth
In the evening we come together to break bread, share ideas and enjoy music around the VBC hearth.
Evening activities include interactive workshops, community building experiences with inspiring presenters, and unforgettable musical acts with incredible talent. Unwind from the day with movement offerings and body work. Enjoy healthy, organic community meals. It's all here around the hearth.
Listen, learn and share ideas on a broad range of topics that effect your community. Workshops and panels include:
- Looking Back, Looking Forward: Learning from the Past, Seeding Hope for the Future
- Food... Ensuring Access in the Urban Village
- Creating Safer Communities through Environmental Design
- Art & Design Workshop: Create Portland's Future
- Restoring Balance and Promoting Harmony: an Indigenous Approach to Intentional Community
- A Place to Call Home: Affordable Housing in Portland
- And so much more!
Michael Meade, D.H.L.
Michael is a renowned storyteller, author, and scholar of mythology, anthropology, and psychology. He combines hypnotic storytelling, street-savvy perceptiveness, and spellbinding interpretations of ancient myths with a deep knowledge of cross-cultural rituals. He has an unusual ability to distill and synthesize these disciplines, tapping into ancestral sources of wisdom and connecting them to the stories we are living today.
He is the author of Fate and Destiny: The Two Agreements of The Soul, Why the World Doesn't End, The Water of Life: Initiation and the Tempering of the Soul; editor, with James Hillman and Robert Bly, of Rag and Bone Shop of the Heart; and editor of Crossroads: A Quest for Contemporary Rites of Passage. Meade is the founder of Mosaic Multicultural Foundation, a nonprofit network of artist, activists, and community builders that encourages greater understanding between diverse peoples.
Mark Lakeman, principal designer, communitecture
Mark is a national leader in the development of sustainable public places. In the last decade he has directed, facilitated, or inspired designs for more than three hundred new community-generated public places in Portland, Oregon alone. Through his leadership in Communitecture, Inc., and its various affiliates such as the The City Repair Project (501(c)3), The Village Building Convergence, and the Planet Repair Institute, he has also been instrumental in the development of dozens of participatory organizations and urban permaculture design projects across the United States and Canada. Mark works with governmental leaders, community organizations, and educational institutions in many diverse communities.
cameron whitten, board president, know your city
Cameron is a writer, civic entrepreneur and an economics student at Portland State University. He has been engaged with nonprofit, civic and political causes in Portland for his entire adult life. His passion of advocating for human rights and marginalized communities was catalyzed in 2011, the year the Occupy Movement was born. Cameron currently serves as a member of the City Club of Portland’s Advocacy and Awareness Board, the Portland Bureau of Transportation Budget Advisory Committee, and the Transit Equity Advisory Committee for TriMet. Cameron’s biggest pride is that he’s a first-time uncle to year-old Dominick Daniel Whitten.
Judy Bluehorse skelton, Senior Instructor of indigenous nations studies at PSU
Judy has worked with federal and state Indian Education programs throughout the Northwest for 18 years, creating cultural activities focusing on traditional and contemporary uses of native plants for food, medicine, ceremony, and healthy lifeways. Judy is author of six collections of essays for teachers, including Native America: A Sustainable Culture (1999), and Lewis & Clark Through Native American Eyes (2003); she wrote and recorded 24 segments on Health & Healing and Sacred Landscapes for Wisdom of the Elders radio programs, airing on Public Broadcasting and AIROS (American Indian Radio on Satellite). Judy is full-time faculty in Indigenous Nations Studies at Portland State University, teaching Intro to Native American Studies, Environmental Sustainability – Indigenous Practices, Indigenous Gardens & Food Justice, and Indigenous Women Leaders. She received the Oregon Indian Education Association’s award for Outstanding Indian Educator in 2006 and serves on the boards of the Urban Greenspaces Institute, Portland Parks, and the Native American Community Advisory Council. Much of Judy’s work focuses on integrating permaculture principles with traditional ecological knowledge to address Food Sovereignty/Justice and reclaim the urban forest.
Mike houck, executive director, urban greenspaces
Mike has been a leader at the local, regional, national and international levels on urban park and greenspace issues since founding the Urban Naturalist Program at the Audubon Society of Portland in 1980. Since that time he has worked on issues related to urban parks, trails, greenspaces and natural resources in the Portland-Vancouver area. He helped found the Coalition for a Livable Future in 1994 to better integrate social and environmental issues into the region's growth-management planning process. Mike founded the Urban Greenspaces Institute in 1999, and directs the Institute out of the Center for Spatial Analysis and Research at Portland State University's Geography Department. He also serves on the national steering committee of the Ecological Cities Project of Amherst, MA, and on several urban watershed, park and greenspace advisory committees in the Portland area.
pandora thomas, co-founder, earthseed consulting
Pandora Thomas’ life and work is rooted in creating a world where all people have access to empowering and hands-on environmental education experiences. She is passionate about deepening connections to the natural rhythms of our earth in order to heal our communities. She is co-founder of Earthseed Consulting LLC, a holistic consulting firm whose work deepens the impacts of environmental advocacy in the lives of diverse communities. Pandora is a credentialed multiple subjects teacher, a naturalist and outdoor education instructor, as well as a certified green building professional and permaculture teacher who has created and delivered curriculum to pre-kindergarden through adult international audiences around the themes of human rights, environmental justice, and outdoor and environmental education.
mike lydon, principal, the street plans collaborative
Mike Lydon is a Principal of The Street Plans Collaborative, an urban planning, design, and research-advocacy firm. As an internationally recognized planner, writer, and advocate for livable cities, his work has been featured by NPR, The New York Times, and CNN Headline News, among other publications. Mike is the co-author of Tactical Urbanism: Short-term Action for Long-term Change, and the creator and primary author of the The Open Streets Project. A founding member of the New England Chapter of the Congress for the New Urbanism (CNU), a Board Member for CNU New York, and a steering committee member of the Next Generation of New Urbanists, he remains active in both local and national planning, design, and smart growth advocacy issues.
Nathan McClintock, assistant professor of urban studies and planning at psu
As an assistant professor at Portland State University, Nathan bridges the university and community in matters of urban agriculture and sustainable food production. He teaches courses in urban political ecology, sustainable cities and regions, and urban agriculture and food systems. His research involves examining the origins of contemporary urban agriculture movements, obstacles to food access, and the possibilities of scaling up food production in the city. Prior to joining PSU, Nathan earned his doctorate at the University of California at Berkeley where his research focused both on the origins of Oakland’s urban agriculture movement and obstacles to its expansion. He was also a founding member of the Oakland Food Council where he worked closely with city officials on urban agriculture zoning. He is expanding his research to Portland and other cities, and tracks his progress at Urbanfood.org.