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Presentations

The presentations are typically done with illustrative photos and graphics, though Brad is also a practiced live storyteller sans slides. You can pick from the following or a custom presentation can be developed for the unique potential and needs of your event.

Integrated Local Harvests:
Simple and Effective Ways to Enhance the Natural Abundance of Your Home, Community, and the Larger World

This dynamic presentation shares patterns and strategies to harvest, integrate, and enliven free local resources—such as rain-, grey-, and stormwaters; sun, wind, and shade; along with soil fertility, wild foods, and community fun—in a way that generates far more potential than the sum of their parts. Scarcity is re-visioned into abundance simply through creative cycling and utilization of what is already at hand. Costly and consuming habits and infrastructure, disconnected from their surroundings, are reoriented and reconnected to maximize enriching opportunities.

You’ll see many examples of such transformation, including how once-dying wetlands and creek flows are being regenerated with simple hand-built structures made of on-site materials; how ancient sun- and shade-harvesting sites are informing passively heated, cooled, and powered modern homes and retrofits; and how once-blighted, overheated neighborhood streets are being rejuvenated into thriving greenbelts of water, people, wildlife, art, food, and celebration by planting once-drained stormwater, seed, and yard prunings.

This talk is both an invitation for you to engage and partner with your natural surroundings and community, and a treasure map showing you the way—by planting the rain, dancing with the sun, growing fertile shade, and more—to live as one of your community’s inspirational sparks!
(Duration: 1.5 hours plus Q&A)


Re-hydrating and Re-enlivening Our Communities with Rain-watered Neighborhood Food Forestry
This presentation is about neighborhood forestry efforts empowering citizens, and contractors, to effectively plant the rain and native food-bearing vegetation to grow vibrant and resilient abundance where they live, work, and play. Then train them up and support them with the education, guidance, collaborations, and policy that enable them to better steward the plantings for decades to come. Dramatic results include cooler neighborhoods, healthier eating, a revitalization of indigenous cuisine, deeper connections with people and place, reduced flooding, skill building, greater soil fertility, and more beauty and joy. The strategies and practices are accessible to all and most are free or cost no more than the price of a shovel.


General Water-Harvesting Presentation:

Turning Drains Into Sponges and Water Scarcity Into Water Abundance

This inspiring presentation shares eight universal principles of water harvesting along with simple strategies that turn water scarcity into water abundance, and floods into opportunity. They empower you to create integrated water-sustainable landscape plans at home and throughout your community. Rainwater harvesting is the process of capturing rain and making the most of it as close as possible to where it falls. Greywater harvesting is the process of directing water from household sink, bathtub, shower, and washing-machine drains into the soils of the landscape where the water is naturally filtered and reused to generate more on-site resources. The two work hand in hand, and can reduce our water consumption by 30 to 50%! You’ll see examples enhancing local food security, passively cooling cities in summer, reducing costs of living and energy consumption, controlling erosion, averting flooding, reviving dead waterways, minimizing water pollution, building community, creating celebration, and more.
(Duration: 1 hour plus Q&A)


Water-Harvesting Earthworks Presentation:
Planting the Rain: Principles, Practices, and Tips for Water-Harvesting Earthworks and Raingardens

Plant the rain before you plant your trees to boost production, reduce flooding, conserve water, and create sustainable oases around your homes and community infrastructure. Raingardens and other small-scale earthworks quickly infiltrate rainfall into the soil where less is lost to evaporation, while reducing erosion. Living ‘pumps’ of vegetation then enable us the access that water. Come learn simple principles and tips to leverage greater success as you implement these simple and effective passive systems. This presentation builds on Brad’s basic water-harvesting talk, while offering more specifics and case studies. Working examples and case studies will be highlighted.
(Duration: 1 hour plus Q&A)


Greywater-Harvesting Presentation:

Learn how to create simple, low-maintenance, legal, and effective household greywater-harvesting systems that use gravity to direct greywater directly into the landscape (no stinky tanks) where it passively irrigates multi-use landscape plantings. This can greatly lower water and power consumption, and related utility bills, while enhancing and beautifying your yard. We will discuss the creation of greywater systems, greywater-harvesting guidelines, materials and suppliers, greywater-appropriate soaps and detergents, marrying greywater- and rainwater-harvesting earthworks, and how to maximize your greywater-irrigated landscape’s potential with passive solar design, food production, and oasis design. A slide show of various systems and site will give you a clear, virtual tour of possibilities. Tax rebates for rainwater- and greywater-harvesting systems will also be shared. Note: Greywater harvesting is not yet legal in all states. If needed, this talk can be given with examples of what has been legalized in other states.
(Duration: Minimum 1 hour (plus Q&A). Maximum 2 hours (with Q&A))


Regenerative Rights-of-Way:
Local Harvests and Enhancements in Our Community Commons

In the urban environment, streetscapes are our public land, our commons. They are abundant—one-third of a typical city’s footprint is pavement for motor vehicles. These streetscapes are usually designed as drains, rapidly ridding a community of such perceived “problems” as rainwater, stormwater, organic matter, fertility, and obstructions to traffic flow. This design often leads to ever-increasing costs for importation of water, flood control, pollution control, heat-island abatement, climate-change mitigation, and health problems.

But a simple shift in perception and design can enable us to see and utilize rainwater, stormwater, organic matter, fertility, and even some obstructions to traffic flow as free, local resources, which can be passively harvested to enhance local water supplies, control flooding, filter pollutants, grow cool-islands, mitigate the effects of climate change, and improve health—while generating more resources and more life.

The key is to see and enhance the free abundance that we already have in a way that transforms more of our built systems into living systems that can regenerate themselves and our communities.

Numerous successful examples will be featured.
(Duration: 30–60 minutes plus Q&A)


Harvesting Water and More To Turn “Wastes” into Resources:
The Story of Rain Beer, Urban Drool Harvesting, Managing Mega-Cities Like Forests, and more

This dynamic talk looks into how we tend to mismanage but could properly manage our most precious resource: water. Many examples and case studies are given that illustrate how we can sustainably enhance our water, energy, and food resources at home, within our communities, and beyond.  In addition, Brad will also cover water-harvesting from dirt roads, Portland’s Sustainable Stormwater Program, green burials, an urban farm irrigated solely by rain and stormwater, and more. Monetary savings associated with each example are dramatic, and these practices simultaneously enhance local resources and quality of life. Best of all, you can do the same. Includes audio where possible.
(Duration: 1 hour plus Q&A)


Water Harvesting for Food Production:

Food is virtual water—originating from the source of irrigation. Local, sustainable food is all the rage, but we can take it further by growing that food with local, sustainable water. This talk covers the growing of food using rainwater, stormwater, and greywater for irrigation. Case studies include rain-fed greenhouses, dryfarming, backyard market gardens, granada greywater groves, and climate-appropriate traditional and appropriate plantings.
(Duration: 1 hour plus Q&A)


Beneficial Ruins and Water Webs:
A Vernacular Design Challenge to Increase the Resilience of Dryland Ecologies and Human Communities

This talk explores the idea of a beneficial ruin — a creation that improves the conditions of the ecological and human communities where it resides, even when abandoned. A beneficial ruin must be in relationship with its place and its people. Typically it acts as a web, passively harvesting and enhancing natural flows, so that at its best it generates other resources, even while regenerating itself. Examples of such ruins from the drylands of the southwest U.S. and the Middle East will be shared, with an emphasis on those that improve water, soil, food, and community. And you will be challenged to create and/or enhance such ruins or seeds of resilience in your place.
(Duration: 1 hour plus Q&A)


Water-Harvesting Principles & the Story of an African Rain Farmer:
Design Guidelines for Regenerative Water and Fertility Management

“You must plant the rain before you plant a seed or tree!” proclaimed rain farmer Mr. Zephaniah Phiri Maseko of Zimbabwe. By doing just that, he and his family turned a wasteland into an oasis, raised groundwater and well levels even in dry years, reduced flooding in wet years, and enhanced the fertility of the soils. This inspiring story will be shared along with the strategies used, and more importantly, the guiding principles that informed the choice, placement, and implementation of these strategies into a more integrated and productive system.

These principles work in any climate experiencing a dry season or drought, and they help us see and act more holistically by asking us questions that direct our attention to important aspects of water & fertility systems we might otherwise overlook.

We will discuss how these principles were created, and how you, too, can use them or create your own—even in other contexts—such as the harvest and enhancement of other free, on-site resources such as sun and shade.
(Duration: 1 hour plus Q&A)


Mr Phiri, the African Water Farmer:

Description to come. Includes simple live demo. Intended audience: elementary-school students.
(Duration: 45 minutes – 1 hour plus Q&A)


Water Wanderings and More in the Middle East:

Brad shares inspiring stories and images gleaned during his U.S. State Department-sponsored trip to Jordan and Saudi Arabia in 2009 and a return in 2010 to teach permaculture in Palestine and conduct research in Syria and Israel. Topics include: sustainable groundwater extraction with ancient gravity-fed qanats; the forgotten and refound cisterns of old Jeddah; revived Nabatean runoff farms producing almonds, carob, olives, pomegranates, grapes, figs, and more on just 4 inches (50 mm) of rain per year; Rainwater Tea; Revolving Community Loan Funds; Water Wise Women of Jordan; Tank Culture in a Water Truck Culture, the spiral cisterns of the Bell Caves, salvaged plastic bottle irrigation, and kunafa.
(Duration: 1 hour plus Q&A)


Water Harvesting in Urban Environments:

Overpaved, drain-like urban environments eject precious local resources such as rainwater, creating the ‘need’ to import water from afar. This creates liabilities such as flooding, water shortages, pollution, and hotter temperatures paired with higher energy consumption. But we can create sponge-like urban environments that harvest resources such as rainwater, stormwater, greywater, and condensate as close to their sources as possible. In so doing, we turn would-be liabilities into assets such as street orchards that control flooding and produce food; more resilient and more numerous water resources; living filters of soil, water, and air; and temperature-reducing, energy-conserving and -producing oases of life. Examples, from small- to large-scale, from ancient to contemporary, from the Middle East and around the world, will be presented.
(Duration: 1 hour plus Q&A)


Playing, Planting, and Partnering with Our Home’s Distinctive Genius Loci, or “Spirit of Place”

How can we each tap our unique essence and blend it with the distinct spirit of the place where we live in a way that lifts the vitality, health, and potential of all lives here? Through evolving stories of inspiration, water harvesting, wild food abundance, and local fountains of creativity, Brad will pose and seek to answer such questions with you.


Integrated Sun- & Shade-Harvesting for Buildings, Neighborhoods, Gardens, and Landscapes

This presentation demonstrates many simple, inexpensive, and highly effective strategies for the passive/free harvest of winter sun and summer shade to maximize comfort, generate energy, reduce water and power consumption, save money, and create more productive gardens and orchards. Topics/methods covered include:

(Duration: 45 minutes – 1 hour plus Q&A)


Desert Harvesters, Neighborhood Foresters, and Native Foods:
Put ‘em in your mouth, your yard, your street, and your neighborhood

Check out this celebratory presentation on the history of Desert Harvesters, Dunbar Spring Neighborhood Foresters, and other dynamo local-food efforts that have enriched the Tucson community, ecosystem, and palates – and how you can likewise enrich the community where you live.

Learn about grinding mesquite (and carob) pods with a hammermill or a Suzuki 4 x 4; irrigating food-producing street trees with the street; planting and picking the best tree-beans; throwing pie, mulch, and pancakes parties; creating a thoroughly delicious community-tasted cookbook; regenerating ecosystems in your pantry and landscape, and growing friendships and neighborhood networks while you’re at it!

Primary goals of Desert Harvesters and Neighborhood Foresters, grassroots efforts based in Tucson, are to promote and enhance the awareness and use of locally native food sources, which can thrive on harvested natural rainfall and runoff without additional irrigation contributing to unsustainable groundwater depletion. We’re learning that by fostering a reciprocal relationship between native plants and local people we can enhance local food security, reconnect people with the ecosystem, and build a more dynamic and sustainable community.
(Duration: 1 hour plus Q&A)

On-site needs for a typical presentation

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