Climate and Community Resilience: Lessons from the Soil

March - May 2020

6 Spring Events to Unpack What Creating Our Future Looks Like

Webinar Series Online Until Public Gatherings Can Resume

A collaboration between: Vital Communities, Vermont Healthy Soils Coalition (VHSC),

Hanover Food Co-op, Upper Valley Food Co-op, Building A Local Economy (BALE), 

Extinction Rebellion Upper Valley, and Grow More, Waste Less

Join us for a 6 event deep dive into building healthy soil and resilient communities! Free and open to all.

You can find the Facebook event here! Download and post the Event poster around your area! Share the event registration link! Donate here!


Due to the unfolding public health concerns regarding coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), the Climate and Community Resilience series will be modified to a webinar format using Zoom until such time as it becomes safe to gather in public again. This decision is based on local health officials and CDC recommendations to limit public events and encourage self-distancing.


Please note, the length of the Sunday events (3/22, 4/5, 4/26, 5/17) has been changed to start at 3:30 pm and end at 6:00 pm. The timing of the Monday events (4/13, 5/4) remains 5:30 pm to 8:00 pm.  We have made the difficult decision to cancel all in-person events, including the final event on May 17th, which we had previously scheduled for an in-person gathering. We hope to be able to host a 7th event for an in-person gathering in the future, but that remains to be determined. 


We believe that now, more than ever, strengthening community and providing opportunities for people to connect and learn together is an urgent need. This is why we have chosen to move to a webinar format instead of cancelling the series altogether. The new format may increase access for more people to join and will remain available for future viewing on the Vermont Healthy Soils Coalition website. We deeply apologize if the webinar format does not meet the needs of some of our community members who were planning to attend.


For those who are able, please plan to join us from your home, or in small groups in your community. Please register to receive updates - we will keep everyone informed to changes as the uncertain future unfolds. Registered participants will receive a Zoom link for each event prior to the event; the link will also be posted on the series website. Dates and adjusted timing are below, on our registration page, on the Facebook Event page, and on the series website


You will need to download Zoom (free) in order to participate. Learn how to use Zoom for the upcoming events here.


Thank you,

The Climate and Community Resilience Series Organizing Team

What is good for the soil is good for our communities. Deep healthy soil governs flood resilience, clean water, strong local economies, and a myriad of ecological functions. Lessons from the soil -- such as interdependence, biodiversity, and resource cycling --can help us to understand the past and create the future for the Upper Valley. In these times of great ecological, social,  and economic transformation, this series of six programs will unpack the science of whole systems landscape function, explore how land and society change together, and offer practical ways to engage with the land around you for community resilience and social justice. 


This series will introduce the functions of Earth’s energy, water, carbon, and nutrient cycles. It will center lived experiences, sometimes difficult truths, and social and economic justice. Attendees will collaborate with various presenters and facilitators to explore information about the land and inhabitants in the Upper Valley at different periods throughout time - the past, present, and future. 


The format encourages an approach of thinking in whole systems rather than parts, of listening over speaking, of curiosity over knowing, and of participatory learning. A desired outcome is that people will take new ideas, new understandings, new questions, and new energies forward into the community to create positive change. This series aims to expand the base of active “doers” who work together toward a more livable, resilient region and planet.

Six Events

Event 1: Sunday, March 22, 3:30 PM - 6 PM 

Earth’s Cycles: Foundations of Energy and Matter

Watch the Recording of Event 1


Event 2: Sunday, April 5, 3:30 PM - 6 PM 

Historical Landscape: Learning from the Past 


Event 3: Monday, April 13, 5:30 PM - 8 PM

Here and Now: Human Impacts


Event 4: Sunday, April 26, 3:30 PM - 6 PM

Systems Collapse: Climate and Ecological Crises 


Event 5: Monday, May 4, 5:30 PM - 8 PM

Revolutionary Resilience: Creating a Different Future 


Event 6: Sunday, May 17, 3:30 PM - 6 PM

Fertile Ground: Reclaiming Power and Possibility

With Deep Gratitude To Our Sponsors

Contact Cat Buxton to add your logo to this important series.

Special thanks to sponsor Chelsea Green Publishing who has generously made a discount code available for participants of this series.


Use code BALE35 at checkout on and receive 35% off ALL TITLES! This code is only good on web orders.

Series Content


Learn more about some of the organizations partnering for this series.

Read the Land Acknowledgement for this series from John and Donna Moody of the Winter Center for Indigenous Studies

Event 1: Sunday, March 22, 3:30 PM - 6 PM - Webinar Link:  

Earth’s Cycles: Foundations of Energy and Matter

Framing the entire series, this event introduces cycles of energy and matter that create a livable planet. The soil health principles provide a lens to understand how systems work together and to identify points of intervention where changes have been - and can be - made to influence climate and ecology. 

Watch the Recording of Event 1 and please fill out our survey so that we can keep improving.


Cat Buxton is a busy cross-pollinator and change facilitator from the White River watershed in Vermont. She is an effective and enthusiastic educator, community organizer, and advocate for food system change. She works with individuals, schools, community groups, and statewide and national organizations to make a difference one meal, one compost pile, and one landscape at a time.

See Cat's slides. And see the Flour and Bread video!

Cat Buxton's Soil and Soul Health Principles

Didi Pershouse's Soil Health Principles 

Lauren Weston works with various change-makers across Vermont on projects involving water resources, climate justice, resilience, and soil health. Lauren is passionate about sharing her technical and engineering knowledge with the people around her. She works with Vermont communities to co-create a path forward through the climate and ecological crises. 

See Lauren's slides.

Further Reading Suggestions From Chelsea Green Publishing

Event 2: Sunday, April 5, 3:30 PM - 6 PM - Webinar Link: 

Historical Landscape: Learning from the Past

Take a deep dive into the history of the Upper Valley to understand its watersheds, landscapes, climates, and inhabitants - and how they affect each other. Use the lessons of the past to envision a just future. 


Chief Nathan Pero of the Koasek Traditional Band of the Sovereign Abenaki Nation

Chief Nathan Pero was born into the Tribe in "49" and has lived and learned about his heritage in the Upper Valley all his life except for 7 1/2 years in the Air Force, being deployed to Europe and Southeast Asia and to many Stateside bases. Nathan Pero has been The Sag8mo (Chief) since 2011. He loves to go to schools, events and meetings to tell "the other side of the story." He grew up on a small dairy and vegetable farm in Thetford. His family grew up outdoors. They got electricity when he was 15. One of the first shows he saw was the Beatles going to America.

Whitney Shields, MFALP'17, is CAFS' Clinical Teaching Fellow. Previously, Whitney was a litigation paralegal at Langrock Sperry & Wool, where she worked primarily on an environmental case in Southern Vermont. Whitney hails from New Jersey and earned a BA in Theater and Women and Gender Studies from Montclair State University. She served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Togo, West Africa (2010-2012), where she implemented a food security conference, and organized a reforestation project planting over 300 moringa trees. After the Peace Corps, she developed a documentary theater piece at Genesis Farm in New Jersey to explore and share the community’s relationship with their local Community Supported Garden. During this time, Whitney realized that she wanted to pursue food and agriculture work as a career. Currently, Whitney splits her time among several projects, including the Legal Food Hub of Vermont, the Healthy Food Policy Project, and research into SNAP eligibility for people with certain felony convictions.

Learn more about the Center for Agriculture and Food Systems (CAFS).

Further Reading Suggestions From Chelsea Green Publishing

Event 3: Monday, April 13, 5:30 PM - 8 PM - Webinar Link:

Here and Now: Human Impacts

The world today has been shaped by human decisions to rearrange Earth's systems. Learn about how and why the world exists in its current unstable state and explore possibilities to make better decisions in the future.


Asma Elhuni is a proud Muslim women who came to the United States as a child. She has a degree in Political Science from Georgia State University where she was the recipient of the university’s 2016 MLK Humanitarian Award. Asma tries to listen and to uplift the voices of groups oftentimes marginalized by society. She has organized in areas of immigration and black lives matter. She was featured in a documentary produced by Atlanta’s Center for Civil and Human Rights telling the story of six activists in Atlanta. Asma was also among the contributors to the updated version of “The New Appeal for Human Rights” in Georgia. She has also helped change the policy in Atlanta to allow Muslim women to keep their mandated hijabs on at Atlanta Detention Center. Asma moved to the Upper Valley two years ago and is currently working as Lead Organizer for United Valley Interfaith Project organizing around immigration and economic justice including organizing to pass the Welcoming Hartford Ordinance and deplatforming racist speakers like Border Patrol and Robert Spencer.

Francine Miller is an attorney and Senior Legal Fellow at the Center for Agriculture and Food Systems (CAFS) at Vermont Law School in South Royalton, Vermont.  Fran is a trademark lawyer, and after various volunteer positions in New York City with organizations focusing on injustice in the food system and the development of urban agriculture, decided to move the focus of her legal work.   She completed her LLM (masters of law) in food and agriculture policy at VLS in 2016, and moved to Vermont to work with CAFS in September 2019.

Further Reading Suggestions From Chelsea Green Publishing

Event 4: Sunday, April 26, 3:30 PM - 6 PM - Webinar Link: 

Systems Collapse: Climate and Ecological Crises

The environment is destabilizing, along with societies, economies, and cultures. Understand the collapse through various lenses to explore adaptation and avoid false solutions. 


Donna L. Moody, PhD (University of Massachusetts/Amherst) is a cultural anthropologist whose research focuses on Native American Studies, African/African American Studies, the intersection of Native American/African American/African peoples, the Atlantic Diaspora, and Inequality and Oppression.

Donna is an Abenaki mother of three, grandmother of fourteen, and great grandmother of thirteen. She is an author, public speaker, educator, and the Director of Winter Center for Indigenous Traditions which is based in the Upper Valley of Vermont and New Hampshire.  She currently teaches Anthropology at Franklin Pierce University in Rindge, New Hampshire.  For twenty years she served as the Repatriation and Site Protection Coordinator for the Abenaki Nation.

John S. Moody is an ethno-historian and independent scholar with forty nine years of research, writing, and speaking focused on history, peace and justice issues, and the Indigenous legacies of the northeast.  He graduated from Dartmouth in Native American Studies and Anthropology in 1977.  Donna and John live in West Hartford, Vermont.

John has worked with the Abenaki and other Native peoples in the northeast to protect and preserve ancient sites and burial grounds.  He has facilitated a number of Sacred and Traditional Site Studies and, with Donna Roberts Moody, has initiated many museum and archaeological collection surveys to facilitate the repatriation of Native remains and artifacts in the northeast.  They have worked for many years with Federal and state agencies in the northeast on site protection, repatriation, sacred site and environmental protection, and cultural resource management.   He works with the Abenaki Nation coalition in northern New England and New York to facilitate burial ground, sacred site, and environmental protection as well as repatriation. 

In 1996, Donna and John co-founded Winter Center for Indigenous Traditions, a service non-profit to strengthen and sustain Native communities.  Winter Center is an independent, Native coordinated service non-profit. 

Learn more about the Winter Center for Indigenous Traditions.

Further Reading Suggestions From Chelsea Green Publishing

Event 5: Monday, May 4, 5:30 PM - 8 PM - Webinar Link: 

Revolutionary Resilience: Creating a Different Future

With the understanding of the impacts of human decisions for the planet, explore the intersections of justice, land, and life. Work together to envision and create “what could be” in terms of a just future in the Upper Valley and beyond.



Carrying Czech roots and an upbringing on the Mississippi River, Mindy Blank first moved to Vermont in 2008 and currently resides in Bethel. She believes the root issue of the climate crisis is disconnection, and the industrialization of basic human needs has inspired her work to prioritize building regenerative culture to shift power with community-scale and individual empowerment at the core of climate action. Mindy is the Executive Director of Community Resilience Organizations (CROs), a nonprofit that assists communities design and implement projects that increase resilience and leverage their place-based strengths by becoming increasingly “community sufficient.” She earned a Masters degree in Environmental Law and Policy from Vermont Law School, taught at the former Green Mountain College, and worked as an Energy Analyst at the International Energy Agency in Paris developing processes for governments to systematically decentralize electric grids.


Further Reading Suggestions From Chelsea Green Publishing 

Event 6: Sunday, May 17, 3:30 PM - 6 PM - Webinar Link:

Fertile Ground: Reclaiming Power and Possibility

This culminating event will bring us together on a local farm to reflect on the power of natural systems and community collaboration. Through discussion, activities and sharing with a team of change-makers and organizations from the region, explore what already exists and help realize next steps for the Upper Valley.

Further Reading Suggestions From Chelsea Green Publishing


Series organizer: Cat Buxton. Email Cat at