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World's Poorest President: José Mujica, Uruguay

Finally here is a president of a country that I like. We could use more like this man.

-- Michael

"The world’s 'humblest' president, the 'poorest president' in terms of personal wealth, the 'most radical.' How did one man earn so many superlative epithets?

"The 79-year-old Uruguayan President José Mujica—who leaves office at the end of next month—is at first glance an unlikely head of state. In keeping with the approach he developed while imprisoned for 14 years as a leftist Tupamaro urban guerrilla, Mujica repudiates materialism. Although the Broad Front party leader has been president of the now booming Latin American country since 2010, you won’t see him boasting the trappings of power that other world leaders embrace. His clothes are simple, his home is a 'ramshackle' flower farm he refused to leave for the fully staffed presidential palace. His car, which for a long time was his only physical asset, is a plain 1987 Volkswagen Beetle. But while these superficial facts may have indeed earned 'El Pepe' a superlative or two, it’s what he’s done during his five-year term that has won him the hearts of his people as well as other nations’ respect."


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