OAEC is a non-profit education center in Sonoma County that works to promote ecologically and culturally sustainable communities. Learn more.
About Our Programs
OAEC has eight core programs. Five are site-based, utilizing the 80-acre OAEC site to conduct research, demonstration and education activities that serve the general public. The other three programs are community-centered training, organizing and advocacy projects in service of specific communities and organizations in Northern California and beyond. All eight core OAEC programs are supported financially by OAEC’s for-fee courses, plant sales, facility rentals, donations, and from private foundations and government grants.
OAEC Site-Based Programs:
- Permaculture Program
- Intentional Communities Program
- Arts Program
- Mother Garden Biodiversity Program
- Wildlands Biodiversity Program
OAEC Community-Centered Programs:
GOALS THAT GUIDE OUR PROGRAMS
- Preserve and restore native biodiversity and healthy ecosystems, with a particular focus on the Northern California bioregion.
- Preserve and propagate biodiversity in open-pollinated and heirloom varieties of food, fiber and medicinal agricultural crops.
- Support appropriate-scale ecological farming and sustainable local food systems.
- Cultivate ecological literacy, especially within watershed communities and in public schools.
- Create and model sustainable, local, practical alternatives to global corporatization and the economic paradigm that is dependent on growth and consumption.
- Build the capacity of local nongovernmental and grassroots institutions to increase the level and effectiveness of local participatory democracy.
- Encourage the reawakening of the evolutionary and spiritual connection between human beings, human communities and the natural world.
METHODS WE USE TO ACHIEVE OUR GOALS
- Participatory Research and Hands-on Demonstration
We look to natural systems, and to modern and ancestral human knowledge for insight, inspiration and instruction as we research and demonstrate ecological and economic sustainability in farming, local food systems and land management. We strive to practice what we teach, making our research and program work transparent, open for critique and adaptive to change.
- Educating Individuals and Training Communities
We teach people practical techniques that help integrate ecological consciousness and sustainable living skills into their lives, workplaces and communities. We invite individuals to explore their creativity, and we offer tools which help bring them into deeper relationship with the natural world. We provide a variety of solutions to problems in communities, and we educate using diverse methodologies.
- Organizing and Advocating for Social Change
We organize people and communities around strategic campaigns that go to the root causes of the destruction of ecosystems, biological diversity and human communities. We bring together diverse sectors of communities to craft ecologically and economically viable solutions to pressing bioregional problems.