2012 Conference Information

Four Bridges Traveling Permaculture Institute will hold the 7th Annual Traditional Agriculture & Sustainable Living Conference. We organize this conference in partnership with the Pueblo of Tesuque, INTK, and the Sostenga program at Northern New Mexico College. We are also supported by Traditional Native American Farmers’ Association (TNAFA), New Mexico Acequia Association, and Tewa Women United.

This year’s conference will be held on the campus of Northern New Mexico College on October 12th and 13th.

Traditional Agriculture & Sustainable Living Conference


In order for us to properly plan for enough food and conference materials, it is suggested that you pre-register using the form below.  Admission prices are  listed on the registration form.

Register by September 3oth, receive a 10% discount, and complementary tote bag!

Conference_Registration 2012

Click here to view our tentative conference schedule! Program Schedule 2012

We are especially pleased to have as one of our keynote speakers, Oscar Olivera of Cochabamba, Bolivia. Olivera was one of the main leaders of the protesters against the water privatization in Bolivia. The result of these protests was an event known as the Cochabamba Water Wars. Now he is one the main leaders of the protests in the Bolivian gas conflict.

In 1999, the Bolivian government responded to structural adjustment policies of the World Bank by privatizing the water system of its third largest city, Cochabamba. The government granted a 40-year concession to run the debt-ridden system to a consortium led by Italian-owned International Water Limited and U.S.-based Bechtel Enterprise Holdings. The consortium also included minority investment from Bolivia. The newly privatized water company immediately raised prices. With the minimum wage at less than $65 a month, many of the poor had water bills of $20 or more. Water collection also required the purchase of permits, which threatened the access to water for the poorest citizens. Oscar Olivera, executive secretary of the Cochabamba Federation of Factory Workers and spokesperson for the Coalition in Defense of Water and Life, known as La Coordinadora, led demands for the water system to stay under local public control.

Thousands of citizens protested for weeks. The Bolivian army killed one, injured hundreds and arrested several Coalition leaders. Olivera, who had been forced into hiding, emerged to negotiate with the government. In April 2000, La Coordinadora won its demands when the government turned over control of the city’s water system, including its $35 million debt, to the organization and cancelled the privatization contract. La Coordinadora achieved the first major victory against the global trend of privatizing water resources. Olivera continues to head La Coordinadora’s work to develop a water system that relies neither on corrupt government management nor on transnational corporations.

Our second Keynote Speaker will be Paul Stamets. Paul Stamets has been a dedicated mycologist for over thirty years. Over this time, he has discovered and coauthored four new species of mushrooms, and pioneered countless techniques in the field of edible and medicinal mushroom cultivation. He received the 1998 “Bioneers Award” from The Collective Heritage Institute, and the 1999 “Founder of a New Northwest Award” from the Pacific Rim Association of Resource Conservation and Development Councils. In 2008, Paul received the National Geographic Adventure Magazine’s Green-Novator and the Argosy Foundation’s E-chievement Awards. He was also named one of Utne Reader’s “50 Visionaries Who Are Changing Your World” in their November–December 2008 issue. In February 2010, Paul received the President’s Award from the Society for Ecological Restoration: Northwest Chapter, in recognition of his contributions to Ecological Restoration.

Winona LaDuke (Anishinaabe) is an internationally acclaimed author, orator and activist. A graduate of Harvard and Antioch Universities with advanced degrees in rural economic development, LaDuke has devoted her life to protecting the lands and life ways of Native communities. LaDuke is founder and Co-Director of Honor the Earth, a national advocacy group encouraging public support and funding for native environmental groups. With Honor the Earth, she works nationally and internationally on issues of climate change, renewable energy, sustainable development, food systems and environmental justice. In her own community in northern Minnesota, she is the founder of the White Earth Land Recovery Project, one of the largest reservation based non-profit organizations in the country, and a leader on the issues of culturally-based sustainable development strategies, renewable energy and food systems. In this work, LaDuke also works to protect Indigenous plants and heritage foods from patenting and genetic engineering.

In 1994, Time magazine named her one of America’s fifty most promising leaders under forty years of age, and in 1997 LaDuke was named Ms. Magazine Woman of the Year. Other honors include the Reebok Human Rights Award, the Thomas Merton Award, the Ann Bancroft Award, the Global Green Award, and the prestigious International Slow Food Award for working to protect wild rice and local biodiversity. In 2007, LaDuke was inducted into the National Women’s Hall of Fame. LaDuke also served as Ralph Nader’s vice-presidential running mate on the Green Party ticket in the 1996 and 2000 presidential elections. In addition to numerous articles, LaDuke is the author of a number of non-fiction titles including All Our Relations, The Winona LaDuke Reader, Recovering the Sacred: the Power of Naming and Claiming, Food is Medicine: Recovering Traditional Foods to Heal the People and her latest, The Militarization of Indian Country. She has also penned a work of fiction, Last Standing Woman, and a children’s book, In the Sugarbush. Outspoken, engaging, and unflaggingly dedicated to matters of ecological sustainability, Winona LaDuke is a powerful speaker who inspires her audiences to action and engagement.

Gary Farmer was born in Ohsweken, Ontario into the Cayuga nation and Wolf Clan of the Haudenosaunee/Iroquois Confederacy. Farmer attended Syracuse University and Ryerson Polytechnic University, where he studied photography and film production.
Farmer is best known for his role as spiritual Native American guide Nobody in Dead Man. He also was the publisher of Aboriginal Voices magazine, one of the Founders of the Aboriginal Voices radio network, and is an avid supporter of native media projects in film, radio, television and the internet. He has won numerous awards and nominations from many native film festivals, and Canadian film awards.

He was nominated for Independent Spirit Awards for his roles in the movies Powwow Highway, Dead Man, and Smoke Signals. Farmer also played the role of Fagin in Twist, the 2003 independent adaptation of the Charles Dickens classic. One of his latest major roles was Henry Colville, with Kris Kristofferson, in Disappearances, 2006.He also has a blues band called Gary Farmer and the Troublemakers. The band has released two CDs, Love Songs and Other Issues in 2007 and Lovesick Blues in 2009. Farmer is the director of the documentary “The Gift.”

Rowen White is a passionate seed saver. She is from the Mohawk community of Akwesasne, and curates an extensive collection of rare northeast native seeds. She is the co-founder of the Sierra Seed Cooperative, a local community seed organization focusing on local seed production and education, located in California. Sierra Seeds is building a rare and diverse seed collection, educating members about the practice of seed-saving, and growing a community of caring farmers and seed stewards. Her most recent publication is ” Breeding Organic Vegetables”, available through Sierra Seed Cooperative. www.sierraseeds.org .


Youth Panel: Santa Fe Indian School, Northern New Mexico College, and Camino de Paz Montessori School & Farm
Spirituality in Agriculture: Emigdio Ballon, Pascual Yaxon Saloj, Jose Lucero
Women in Agriculture:
Camilla Bustamante, Loretta McGrath, Rowen White

Water is Life: Oscar Olivera, Paula Garcia, Lorraine Kahneratokwas Gray
Innovations in Renewable Energy: TBD
The Importance of Cultural Preservation: Patricio Dominguez, Piro Mansu Tiwa


Goat Cheese Making & Goat Management. Coonridge Organic Goat Cheese Dairy roughs it in the high country of Pie Town, adhering to strict organic requirements that pale in comparison to the environmental principles brought on by location and philosophy. Their goats enjoy a type of free-range life that few other captive animals do. Meanwhile, the humans catch rain water and solar energy to meet their most basic survival needs. “Gee, how many catch phrases can I use?,” Nancy Coonridge wonders. “Sustainable, humane, predator friendly. But really, we are [a farmstead dairy] because we want a natural life for our goats and their guardian dogs, plus an authentic life for ourselves.” High-quality organic goat cheese is the mortar that holds those ideals

Build a Solar Oven, Dave Wassil is Director of, EarthWise Learning. EarthWise Learning seeks to re-connect people locally and globally to land and place, through Nature based programming that helps to co-evolve right relationship. We design our programs for all ages, conducting day camps, leadership camps, workshops and seminars. Come learn how to build a solar oven, and even take one home!






Web Of Life Foundation, Connecting with a changing environment in a sustainable way.  We all belong in the web of life. In this workshop we look at and create a new way of relating and connecting to nature and all of her creatures, including the plants and minerals. We use the example of the endangered wolf to illustrate how myths and misconceptions can impact our connection to the natural world and go beyond them. And last but not least we celebrate our place in the ecosystem together with all its other members. Some hands-on experiences provided.



Ever since it was first nurtured from a grass by the Maya, corn has held a sacred place in the lives of Indigenous peoples in the Americas.
Before colonization, corn was widely used as a beverage, a food staple, an oil and a ceremonial object. It was respected and revered as a critical part of creation. The Gift explores the powerful bond and spiritual relationship that continues to exist between people and corn. The video begins in North America on the traditional lands of the Six Nations Confederacy (in southern Ontario and northern New York state) where we witness the planting of the corn and all the work and humour that accompany the community harvest. Next we travel to southern Mexico, from San Cristobal to the lowlands of the rain forests for the green corn and seed corn harvests. Mayan culture is inconceivable without corn–and NAFTA’s threat to the the Maya’s right to grow maize became a central issue in the Zapatista uprisings. Through interviews, dance and song, The Gift is a beautiful exploration of the intertwined lives of people and corn, capturing the traditional, spiritual, economic and political importance of this sacred plant.


What if changing the world meant changing the way babies are born? Catching Babies is a 60 minute documentary that intricately weaves stories of mothers and midwives on a journey to bring life into the world. Filmed along the US-Mexico border in El Paso, Texas, Catching Babies follows four young women as they embark on toward the ancient profession of midwifery. Catching Babies is a celebration of the power of birth, mothers and midwives. This screening is sponsored by Breath of My Heart Birth Place, a project formed to build a traditional birth center for Northern New Mexico.


CIRCLE OF STORIES is a remarkable collection of Native American stories from the Four Directions, told on video and enriched with luminous images and music. Hosted by the accessible and well-loved Melissa Nelson, PhD (Turtle Mountain Chippewa), the film speaks to the depth and relevance of Native storytelling for all people today. From the East, Tchin (Narragansett/Blackfeet), tells us “How” and “Why” stories – whimsical and sometimes hilarious stories about how things came to be on this Earth. He also talks about the Native American experience, and the importance of the storytelling craft. Tchin is also a renowned flute player, who created all of the music on the DVD. From the South, Hoskie Benally, Jr. (Navajo/Dine) tells stories that contain moral and ethical codes of conduct – how to live in the world in balance, and why a connection to Spirit is crucial to our health. His stories also contain the knowledge of why certain herbs are sacred to Native people, such as sage, cedar and tobacco. From the West, renowned healer and nuclear activist Corbin Harney (Western Shoshone) speaks about our connection to the environment, and how it is our charge to take care of Mother Earth. Corbin tells us how to do this in colorful song and speech. He also tells us what to do if we meet a bear on the path! From the North, Rosella Goodwill Archdale (Lakota/Dakota) gives us a traditional foods cooking lesson, as well as a beading lesson. More than just a “how to”, Rosella’s stories are filled with a connection to Great Spirit and how to live in harmony in all that we do. Her narrative speaks of the deep connections that seemingly every-day tasks can embody – a relationship to ancestors, to the earth and to spiritual life.


We will also have 20 spaces available for vendors.
Register by August 15th and receive a 10% discount on vendor fee, and 2 free meal tickets.

Vendors Registration

Mail forms with payment to;

Four Bridges
P.O.Box 787
Santa Cruz, NM 87567

For questions call 518-332-3156