La Terre Institute for Community and Ecology
22500 Rue La Terre, Kiln, MS 39556

March 24-25, 2018

Saturday Program

Noon Arrival and Orientation Please try to arrive by Noon for introductions and information on La Terre Institute and the weekend’s activities.

1:00 A Politics of Heart & Spirit (John Clark). The Zapatista Revolution in Chiapas draws on indigenous concepts of a collective heart and spirit that are realized in the self-realization of the whole community.

Its vision of communal democracy combines aspects of the ethics of care with a politics of social and ecological flourishing. In this sense, it is one of the most radical and far-reaching conceptions of democracy yet to appear.

1:45 Fertile Ground (David Hensley) Anyone with questions about chemical fertilizer, compost, or plant nutrition is invited to ask them in this question and answer discussion with David, who researched plant nutrients for his master’s degree in agroecology. What are the signs of nutrient deficiencies in plants? When does fertilizer become pollution? What should I do for my flowerbed? Where do the nutrients actually come from? All these questions and more will be answered in our discussion on the fertility of the soil.

2:30 Dilemmas of Prison Reform in the Incarceration Capital of the World (Amy Myers). Can the worst prison in Louisiana be reformed, or is abolition the only goal? The tribulations of setting up a prison reform coalition when your politics are more radical than reformist, but you want people to stop dying.

3:30 Tai Chi (Mark Venczel). Tai Chi is a slow-moving meditation practice that helps one become more aware of our being and the interconnections with the environment around us. Combining gentle movements, deep breathing, and focused intention allows the body to transition to a state of relaxation and self-healing. “What is soft is strong, and the flexible are preserved unbroken.”

4:30 The Desert Trod: Nature and the Promised Land in Rastafari Culture (Erin Lierl). Drawing on research conducted for her MA thesis, Erin will discuss how Rastafari communities have sought to achieve an ideal of spiritual, social, and ecological integration, and the challenges they have faced. Participants will be invited to draw connections between this and other communities and spiritual systems in an open discussion.

5:30 Radical Mycology (Mark Venczel). Mushrooms are among the least-studied organisms, yet fungi infuse our world in so many fascinating ways. Are they avoided because of associations with darkness and death, mystery and magic? What can these ancient organisms teach us about ecology, society, and evolution? We review some of the most interesting aspects of these incredible beings, followed by discussion and knowledge-sharing.

6:30 Cooking Collaboration (Steven Bochinski). For those who want to learn to cook something, we will collaborate on one or several dishes to share for the main meal. Everyone is welcome to bring organic or wild ingredients (anything from greens to venison to backyard chicken, etc.)  to incorporate into the meal,

7:30 Dinner. We will share contributions of food and drink brought and prepared by members of the group. Speaker: Harvey Stern, Coordinator, Louisiana Purchase Cypress Legacy Campaign.

9:00 Solstice Readings & Reflections (Group activity). Each person is asked to read briefly from a favorite chosen text or something of their own, or say a few words relevant to the seasons, to cycles of life, death and rebirth, and to the relationship between the Earth and the human community.

Sunday Program

Sunday we will have hiking on the trails and in the creek, informal activities organized by the participants, and trail blazing and other work for those who would like to volunteer. Additional organized activities may be announced.