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EARTH REPAIR INSTITUTE - A prospectus. Version #1, January 2, 2015

Prepared by Michael Pilarski, Friends of the Trees Society

[Note that everywhere the words ‘earth repair’ are used here, the words ‘ecological restoration’ could be substituted.]


1) Produce a website that brings information together from around the world on how to do earth restoration and who is doing it, news, reviews, and useful information.  This will be an interactive website.

2) Produce an in-print and on-line book which addresses the current state of the art, the current state of the worldwide movement and best models, completed and ongoing.

3) Set up a training center to teach earth repair techniques (such as tree planting, erosion control, etc) as well as permaculture, wildcrafting, and wild seed collection.

4) The center would include offices, library, greenhouses, and production of seeds and nursery stock and food for the staff and students. There would be lots of hands on components.

5) Attract staff members and funding to do the above. 

The body of information in the book and on the website would include the following:

Introduction to the work of John D. Liu.

Introduce the most successful examples of large-scale earth repair in recent history including South Korea, Rwanda, Kenya’s Green Belt movement, Kerala, India, Burkina Faso and others.

A directory to youtubes, videos and documentaries addressing earth repair.

An appeal to the Millenials generation about their role in repairing the Earth’s ecosystems.

Book review of Storm Cunningham’s 2002 book The Restoration Economy: The Greatest New Growth Frontier.

The history of the ecological restoration movement/industry/scientific discipline.

The role of earth repair in carbon sequestration and climate amelioration.

The economic dimension of earth repair. Financing. Full ecological cost accounting.

The practical, how-to methods, techniques and strategies of earth repair.

The tools and equipment of earth repair.

Current training centers: grass roots, NGOs, universities and government programs.

The integration of permaculture and earth repair.

An updated chapter of Michel Pilarski’s Resource Guide to Sustainable Land Use in Arid and Semi-Arid Lands.

The esoteric side of earth repair. Cooperation with nature spirits and earth intelligences.

Goals in 2015

1) Create a website, restoration wiki, Facebook and interactive on-line database.

2) Set up an office, library and initial gardens at a rural location. Our target area is Spokane County or Stevens County in northeast Washington.

3) Attract initial funding and staff.

4) Host an Earth Repair Conference in the winter of 2015/2016, probably in Spokane, Washington.

Funding for the Earth Repair Institute will come from a variety of sources: bootstrap funding from Friends of the Trees Society’s activities; Slow Money sources, Kickstarter (or Indiegogo) crowd funding; grants; training and education income; other sources to be discovered.

Why me? A history of Michael Pilarski’s involvement in earth repair and related disciplines.

Involvement in the organic agriculture movement since 1972. I have been farming and/or gardening most years since 1972.

Founded Friends of the Trees Society (FTS) in 1978 with the goal to double the world’s forest cover. Been the Director of FTS since 1978.

Founded and ran the Travelers Earth Repair Network from 1989 to 1999. During those years TERN amassed over 400 hosts worldwide and worked with over 500 travelers.

Conducted tree sales and plant exchanges in over 30 towns and cities in the Pacific Northwest with over 175,000 trees and shrubs distributed since 1978.

Produced and published the 1988 International Green Front Report which reported on a host of earth repair topics.

Produced and published the Third World Resource Guide in 1993 for people working in the Global South. It reviews 425 organizations, 95 periodicals and over 275 other useful references.

Edited the book Restoration Forestry, an International Guide to Sustainable Forestry Practices. Published in 1994.

Co-organized the 1st Inland Northwest Restoration Conference at the University of Washington, Pullman in 2005.

Started and ran Friends of the Trees Seed Service from 1978 to 1988, which specialized in seed of medicinal plants and native plants of eastern Washington. The retail seed business ended but I put out a wholesale seed list annually.

Starting in 1988, Michael has taught 36 permaculture design courses in Washington, Oregon, California, Montana, Wisconsin, British Columbia, Nova Scotia, Hawaii, Kauai, Molokai, Belize and Nepal.

Organized over 100 major events since 1974 involving over 100,000 people including restoration, herbs, barter fairs, agriculture, permaculture, agroforestry and others.

Taught hundreds of workshops on these and related topics to thousands of people over the years starting in 1972. 

As a result of all these activities (and more) I have built up a large network of friends, people and organizations.  I am embedded in these grass roots movements. My main 2015 goal is to focalize the birth of an Earth Repair Institute.

I was inspired to start Friends of the Trees Society in 1978 by Richard St. Barbe Baker, and his organization, Men of the Trees. I am still following in his footsteps.

Michael Pilarski
Friends of the Trees Society
PO Box 165
Hot Springs, MT 59845
[email protected]

A brief internet search does not reveal anyone using the name Earth Repair Institute.

Related names are:


City Repair connected, mark lakeman et al.

Welcome to the Planet Repair Institute – a living, breathing node for Neighborhood Repair, embedded in the neighborhood of Sellwood, Portland OR!

Earth repair Foundation, Australia, franklin Scarf

Earth Repair, title of a book by New society Pub, A Grassroots Guide to Healing Toxic and Damaged Landscapes

After working together under Geoff Lawton in Australia, Lindsay Dailey and Christian Douglas joined forces in the summer of 2010 to found Earth Repair, a regenerative design and education firm based in California. Their focus is on retrofitting farms, ranches and open spaces to provide ecosystem services that benefit all living beings.

Earth Repair Ecology, Australia
The director, Christopher Brogan, is a member of the Australian Association of Bush Regenerators
PO Box 232
Panania New South Wales 2213
Ph: 02 9774 3200
Email: [email protected]
Web: www.earthrepair.com.au

Earth Repair & Care Organisations
Extensive list of Links. , Australia based by worldwide links.

The World Guide to Voluntary Work in Nature Conservation.
The World's Number One Source of Conservation Volunteering Opportunities!.
Worldwide wildlife & conservation voluntary work. 400 projects listed: long or short-term, marine or terrestrial, many free or low cost... to protect a variety of habitats and species

Permaculture Jobs and Interns Link-up Service

"We are not meant to suppress our desires, or relegate ourselves to meaningless work in exchange for a paltry sum every month.” Sal Rachele

For years now, I have wanted to start a network for people in the permaculture movement to find the place of their dreams and for people who need help on their dream places to connect with people that have the time. 

Are you looking to get more help on your farm or homestead?

Are you looking for a farm or homestead to help on and to get more experience?

Keywords. Farms, homesteads, permaculture projects, restoration work, Permaculture job searches, interns, woofers, cooperatives.

Lots of people are shifting around.  Tens of thousands of our compatriots are looking for their next move in 2015.  Lots of people want to help.  All hands on deck.  Some sort of Game Reset is going to show up sooner than later.  If so, the numbers of people who will want to be on a farm or landed project will drastically increase.  At the same time, travel and mobility will become harder. 

The first WWOOF program in the modern world started in England about 1970.  In the first couple years the acronym stood for Weekend Workers on Organic Farms. As workers tended to stay longer and for then for full seasons the title was changed to Willing Workers on Organic Farms. It was the prototype for dozens of other WWOOF programs around the world, also variously called farm internship and apprenticeship programs. WWOOF Australia and WWOOF New Zealand are two of the best organized and most famous WWOOF programs in the world. Some of the current programs operating in the Pacific Northwest include WWOOF USA, WWOOF CANADA, Tilth Producers of Washington Internship Listings (formerly the Tilth Placement Service), and GrowFood.org (formerly organicvolunteers.com). GrowFood is national in scope as well as international and currently has over 18,000 members.

I have been tracking the various wwoof-type programs since 1972 and have run a number of such programs. I helped start and run the Farm Brigade in 1972, which was one of the first wwoof programs in the USA (perhaps the first). I started and ran a national Rural Apprentice Program from 1974 to 1988, and the international Travelers Earth Repair Network from 1989 to 1999.

I currently don’t have the time to manifest such a linking service for permaculturits and their ilk, but perhaps if I put the idea out there someone else has the time and inclination to make it a reality. Or perhaps I can collaborate with others.

In the meantime: Here is the best resource I know of to link farmers to would-be farmers.

Greenhorns has put together perhaps the best list in the country on programs to link farms with interns, farm jobs, woofing etc.

Check out


The Greenhorns is a non-traditional grassroots non-profit organization made up of young farmers and a diversity of collaborators. Our mission is to recruit, promote and support the new generation of young farmers. We do this by producing avant-garde programming, video, audio, web content, publications, events, and art projects that increase the odds for success and enhance the profile and social lives of America’s young farmers.


The Greenhorns jobs list

Good Food Jobs

National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service

Organic Volunteers


Orion Grassroots jobs listing

Biodynamic Farming and Gardening Association

National American Biodynamic Apprenticeship Program

Small Farmers Journal (a quarterly publication with a classifieds section)

Holistic Management International

COMFOOD listserv, Tufts University [Specifically, there is the Community Food Security Coalition's Job Listing Email Listserve: Subscribe to Comfoodjobs: https://elist.tufts.edu/wws/subscribe/comfoodjobs. Note: All posting must include specific location(s) of job opportunities in the Subject line. ed.]

Land Stewardship Project



Land for Good



Columbia County Land Conservancy Landowner Matching Program








High Country News jobs board

Ranch World Ads


iFarm (a project of Friends of Family Farmers)

Ten Rivers Food Web Oregon Tilth

Rogue Farm Corps


CASFS (Santa Cruz apprenticeship program)

California Farmlink


Quivira Coalition New Agrarian apprenticeship program

My webmaster has been collecting links to similar resources as well and adds these to the list:

Cascade Harvest Coalition - Washington FarmLink

Sustainable Food Jobs

Green Job Search

Green Dream Jobs

National Young Farmers Coalition - Land and Jobs

Center for Rural Affairs - Land Link Services

Photo from Afristar Foundation

2015 Herb Gatherings in the Pacific Northwest

Compiled and reviewed by Michael Pilarski, January 27, 2015 version
In 2003 I published an article titled “22-Year History of Herb Gatherings and Conferences in the Pacific Northwest”. It was a list of herbal events from 1980 to 2002 with a bit about their history, size, admission prices, etc. I have been publishing annual calendars off and on since then. Here is my 2015 list. 14 events in this version and 3 of them are starting in 2015. This information is offered as a service to the herbal community in general.
Bastyr Herb and Food Fair
May 30, 2015, Saturday. The 15thth Annual. A one-day, free event held in Seattle at the campus of Bastyr University at the north end of Lake Washington. Bastyr is one of the foremost naturopathic schools in the US. The gathering attracts up to 1,000. They always have a nice line-up of speakers, workshops, vendors and garden walks. Bastyr’s herb garden is one of the best I have seen and is well worth a visit anytime.
Breitenbush Herbal Conference
The oldest herbal gathering in the nation. Their 28th annual event happened September 4-7, 2014. Set, deep in the Cascades near Detroit, Oregon, Breitenbush Hot Springs is a great venue offering hot springs and ancient forests.  They always have a long list of excellent teachers.  A gathering of professionals.
Dandelion Seed Conference
Their 3rd annual was held on Oct 17-19, 2014 at The Evergreen State College. A benefit for the Olympia Free Herbal Clinic. A conference based on accessibility, empowerment, dismantling oppression, supporting community health and building herbal skills.
Green Gathering, Washington Annual, Supported by the American Herbalist Guild
June 5-6-7, 2015.
Join us for the second annual Green Gathering! During this three-day event we'll camp beside the beautiful beaches and towering trees of the Pacific Northwest (Camano Island State Park), celebrating our herbal community and shared love of the plants. We will have an incredible lineup of local teachers, a tea tent, bartering space, and entertainment as well as children's activities. Our theme in 2015 is Integrative Herbalism: Cultivating Professionalism in the Clinical and Community Setting. Cost for a 3-day pass $65 - includes camping and classes. We will be camping in the State Park so bring a tent.
Montana Herb Gathering
June 26th - 28th, 2015, Montana Learning Center, Helena MT.
A sweet, regional herb gathering which was started in 1998. The MHG is an annual event bringing together herbalists, wildcrafters, manufacturers, farmers, students and other herbal enthusiasts from across Montana and around our bioregion. The MHG always brings in a great set of teachers including notable herbalists from outside the region. Generally it attracts around 150 people. There was a three-year hiatus from 2004 to 2006. It was canceled in 2014. Great to see it back in 2015.
Northern California Women's Herbal Symposium
Session 1: May 15-18, 2015
Session 2: May 22-25, 2015
Session 3: September 4-7, 2015
The Northern California Women's Herbal Symposium began in 1991, as an inspiration from the Women Herbalist’s conference in southern Oregon, whose vision it was to see gatherings of this nature all across the country. Three times a year women from many backgrounds of life gather together in great celebration for four full days of inspiring Herbal and Sustainability classes, gourmet vegetarian meals, talented campfire capers, amazing handcrafted marketplace items, Rites-of-Passage Ceremonies, powerful campfire drumming and dancing, refreshing swimming hole dips, and conversations with remarkable & inspiring women!
Northwest Herb Symposium
August 27-30, 2015
Hosted at the historic Camp Casey on Whidbey Island.
 Pacific Women's Herbal Conference
September 25, 26, 27, 28, 2015, Monroe, WA
4th annual. Women gathering in the Wise Woman Tradition of Healing. Join us for a gathering of women in the Cascadia foothills, swimming in a warm lake, under a full moon lunar eclipse, fire circles, delicious local food...If that is not enough, we'll throw in experiential workshops, a talent show, massage, reiki, herbal medicine making, practical skill building, herb walks and so much more to nourish and tonify ourselves, our families, our planet.
Plants enChant
July 31 - Aug. 2, 2015. Near Salem, Oregon
Another brand-new herb gathering in 2015. Plants enChant is a gathering intended to develop and strengthen medicine culture thru the healing arts of education, songs, ceremony, community.   It recognizes ‘medicines’ as the force of nature that cures dis-ease, that takes us from being sick to being free.  This event aligns more with ‘deep herbalism’, which cultivates a relationship thru plants to the healing presence of Nature. It recognizes plants as the greenprint of all medicines.  It acknowledges plants as elders in the society of nature as it exists on planet earth, and therefore teachers to the adolescent human species.
Portland Plant Medicine
Started in 2009. A small, regionally-focused, exciting gathering. Their 2014 event (6th annual) was held November 15-16-17. The Portland Plant Medicine Gathering is an event that happens yearly in the late Fall in Portland, Oregon.  It is a time for us to celebrate the plants and their medicine and share knowledge with one another.  Here in the Pacific Northwest, we are lucky to be surrounded by so many powerful plant allies and so many amazing Herbalists and Teachers. 
Inland Northwest Herbalists Gathering and Spokane Herbal Fair
May 8-10, 2015
This is a first time event which we hope will become an annual herb gathering. Friday and Saturday is a rural, camp-out event for herbalists and herbal students. It will focus on workshops, getting acquainted, and round tables to share information, insights and questions. Sunday will be a large herbal products trade show in Spokane which the general public can attend by donation. Herbalists from around the Inland Northwest, and beyond, are invited to participate. The goal is to have an event that meets the needs of herbalists and people seriously interested; and, at the same time, host an event which draws in hundreds of people wanting an introduction and interested in seeing what products and services are available. We are looking for workshop teachers and exhibitors. Anyone interested should email Michael Pilarski. [email protected]
Spring Equinox Herbalist Gathering
Two Equinox gatherings yearly, Spring and Autumn.  Held at Darcy Williamson’s Mavens’ Haven Retreat in McCall, Idaho. Each Equinox brings in around 50 students.  When junior apprentices graduate to senior apprentices, their obligation to the program is to teach.  Mavens' Haven offers an opportunity to practice and refine their teaching skills.  The senior apprentices put together small, intimate classes with 8 to 12 students, pick their topic and the length of time they need to teach it and set their price.  Their classes don't have to be herb related, but they need to be hands-on for their students. 
Traditional Roots Herbal Conference!
May 15-17, 2015. 2nd annual
This conference is for clinicians, community herbalists and everyone interested in herbal medicine as a key component to reclaiming health.  National College of Natural Medicine. Portland, Oregon. We’ll have sessions covering constitutional evaluation, herbal energetics, formulation, hands-on medicine making, gardening with medicinal plants, bioregional herbalism and wildcrafting, and botanical field applications. Sponsorships range from $1500 to $10,000.
Viridis Genii Symposium: Magic, Mysticism, & Medicine
July 31st, August 1st & 2nd, 2015 in Damascus, Oregon.  1st Annual.
Our goal is to be the first herbal conference to offer a holistic multidisciplinary and multicultural awareness and approach to the study of plants from the perspective of magick. Herbal Alchemy, Wortcunning, Ethno botany and the magickal use of plants, Wild crafting with spirit, Herbal Astrology, Medicine with a focus on spiritual herbal practice, Shamanry, Witchcraft, Indigenous Traditional plant wisdom, Entheogen studies and ritual practice, The role of plants in ceremonial magick traditions, Herbal Charms and Talismans, Artists whose main body of work focuses on plants, craft brewing and distilling, and much more.
Northwest Herbal Fair
Not happening in 2015. The 4th year in a row of no show.
A short history. The Northwest Herbal faire ran for 10 consecutive years from 1996 to 2005. There was a 5-year hiatus and then the 11th was held in 2011. Michael Pilarski has always been one of the main coordinators. The NHF has traditionally been held at the River Farm on the south fork of the Nooksack River outside of Van Zandt, near Bellingham, Washington. The only one of the first ten not held there was the 9th NHF, 2004, near Leavenworth in eastern Washington. Back at Van Zandt in 2005 for the tenth annual event we had our largest crowd ever with 1,200 attending. Another fantastic time but there was a fire event that took the wind out of our sails. No NHFs were held between 2006 and 2010. In 2011 the original organizing team got back together at a new venue in Skagit County, the Fire Mountain Scout Camp outside of Sedro Woolley.  It was a great venue and we had a sweet time. 900 people attended. We had 75 presenters, 125 workshops, 65 vendors and a full line of stage entertainment. It was awesome. Alas, Fire Mountain Camp wasn’t available in 2012, so we lost our momentum and are wandering in the desert (excuse me, I mean we are all incredibly busy). Another resurrection is possible. I am currently compiling a list of people willing to help organize another NHF. Anyone interested should email Michael Pilarski. [email protected]
Every one of these gatherings is worth going to. The more herb gatherings the merrier in my opinion. Small, large, local, regional, national, international. They each fill a niche, Each has its own unique flavor. I love to go to herbal gatherings to learn and interact. Some people on the herb gathering national circuit go to many herb gatherings every year.  How many do you attend?
People go to herbal gatherings for many reasons:
* Exchange of information.  The exchange of information takes place in many ways. Workshops, keynote speeches, panels, and round tables as well as the huge amount of dialogue that takes places in the hallways, trade shows and mealtimes. 
* Build a network of friends and associates.  Friendships are perhaps the most important aspect of these gatherings. Friendships lead to collaboration, cooperation, synthesis, and inspiration.
* Boost the energy of participants by being in a large peer group. Large gatherings are invigorating and the effects last long after the event is over.
* Reach the general public and mentoring of young/new people interested in herbs. 
* Herb gatherings are great places to get insights on how to deal with health challenges
Please send additions or corrections to Michael Pilarski: