Philip Ackerman-Leist to Be Keynote Speaker at SolWest Fair

Solar energy, wind power, sustainable living and traditional skills are featured at SolWest Fair July 29-31 in John Day, Oregon. Keynote speaker Philip Ackerman-Leist is an off-grid homesteader, farmer, and college professor.

Solar energy, wind power, sustainable living and traditional skills are featured at SolWest Fair July 29-31 in John Day, Oregon. Keynote speaker Philip Ackerman-Leist is an off-grid homesteader, farmer, and college professor in Vermont. His family lives with photovoltaics, solar thermal hot water, and a small wind turbine. He is experimenting with extended grazing and dairy products with his grass-fed herd of American Milking Devon cattle. Philip's background includes farming, carpentry, studying and teaching in North Carolina, Europe and China. He has a longstanding interest in disappearing agricultural and food traditions.


In 1997, Philip founded Green Mountain College's sustainable agriculture curriculum and farm, both of which have received national and international attention for innovative integration of food and farming issues. His courses expose students to the values, skills, and technologies of contemporary small farmers. More popular than the lectures-for students and instructor alike-are the visits to a variety of home places, where values and skills meet reality.

Philip Ackerman-Leist will be sharing his stories and images, as well as stories and lessons from others he has met along the way. They have challenged his own earlier beliefs about homesteading and led him to see beyond the narrow back-to-the-land version that many once embraced. Twenty-first century homesteaders are trading retreat for engagement, independence for interdependence, and physical location for ethical intent. Ultimately, Philip feels that how we educate ourselves and our youth about the endless possibilities, joys, and challenges of living on the land will help to determine whether we are truly pioneers for positive change-or just cultural curmudgeons on the fringe and off the radar.

Exhibitors bring hands-on and interactive displays to SolWest, demonstrating working solar hot water, solar electric and wind power systems. There will be over 50 classes during the three-day weekend covering the hardware, skills, and philosophy of sustainable living, including "Wind Turbine Selection," "Fundamentals of Hydropower" (with Don Harris), solar electric, outdoor cooking, solar hot water, electric vehicles, and natural building. All regular SolWest workshops are free with fair entry.

For more details, browse to www.solwest.org, call 541-575-3633 or email info@solwest.org.

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