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The Six Foot Festival 2014 - Transformations

The 6’ Festival – Land, Art, Food  2014

5th Anniversary Retrospective


This year the festival presents an exhibition of the most intriguing projects since the festival originated, with a follow up on where they are now. During the festival, conversations and workshops will explore strategies for integrating permaculture design principals on a community wide, organization wide, or regional level level. We will also be exploring the relationship between permaculture and traditional indigenous knowledge – with a particular focus on the principals or teachings that each uphold.


Thursday October 2, 2014             Joe Pitawanakwat of The Creators Garden     3 - 8 pm
                                                      The Legitimacy of Plant Based Medicine & The Doctrine of Signatures

Friday $5                                       Special guest speaker Justin Tilson               10 am - 12 pm

                                                      Island Practitioners Presentations                 1 - 5 pm

Open Discussion                                 5 - 7 pm

Opening Feast                                     7:00 pm

The Campfire Talks                             8:00 pm


Saturday $5                                   Permaculture and Indigenous Knowledge      10 am - 12 pm

Intersections and Overlaps                   1 - 3 pm

Special Guests

             Bonita Ford and Sebastien Bacharach

             Permaculture Institute of Eastern Ontario


Saturday Night   $5                       Coffee House                                                  7 - 9 pm

                                                      Live Entertainment and Refreshments         


The Legitimacy of Plant Based Medicine & The Doctrine of Signatures 

This presentation is designed to legitimize plant based medicine using 3 proofs. 

1) Traditional/Cultural proof, this is by far the most simple. This is how the ancients describe medicine. This is where people like my grandmother will walk past a plant and call it "kidney medicine" or "lung medicine" and "heart medicine."  

2) Science. This is where I will prove what these ancients have been practicing forever, using modern emperical science. 

3) The doctrine of signatures. This ancient method of interpreting each plants medicinal use has been used by ancient cultures around the world. Its where the signature - or most significant - feature of a plant is indicative of its doctrine, or its medicinal use.

I will begin simply, with food and how the foods we eat, specifically nourish the body part that the food resembles. Then I will apply this concept to plants and compare the plants to body parts you can see with your naked eye. I will then legitmize this method of interpretation when I compare these plants to body parts you can only see with a microscope. I will end by quizzing you on how well you are able to interpret plants and their medicinal uses! 

Joseph and Kristy Pitawanakwat - How on earth did we get here? If we were to look back on our lives five years ago this is not what we would have envisioned. I (Kristy) was just getting out of actors college at the Toronto Film School and Joe was just entering into a classical guitar program at Cambrian College. With our ambitions in the performing arts we were certain our futures would be as performers. Little did we know the turning of events that would unfold in our lives. Joseph and I have been together for over four years (we met here at Debajehmujig) and married for over 2 years and now have an 8 month old baby named Ruth. When we first began dating we spent many hours talking about our plans as performers but as the months went on a very interesting shift took place. While in college Joe found himself less and less in class and more and more outside in nature. As a child Joe spent the majority of his time alone outside in the trails behind his house and in the bush surrounding his camp in a place called Tamarack. He grew up with plants not realizing the huge role they would later play in his life. Throughout his year in college his interest in using plants as medicine was sparked and from there the flame of his passion was kindled. His memory for learning and remembering plants and their medicinal qualities was like nothing he had ever experienced before; it just stuck. By the end of his first year of college he had decided not to go back and to focus his energy fully on the pursuit of natural plant based medicines. He would begin the bulk of his studying with his own grandmother Thecla Phesant. Thecla's mother Bridget was a midwife and medicine women of her day and in many ways Joe is following in his great-grandmothers foot prints. 
Over the next few years of our life we spent countless hours learning about plants traditionally, historically and scientifically. It wasn't long before we spent all our time picking plants and hanging them in our living room, our house had become a jungle. We learned how to dry the plants and use them fresh, turn them into many different forms of medicine including teas, tinctures, salves, steams, aroma therapy and much more. It wasn't long before we were teaching and doing workshops on all the knowledge we had accumulated over the few years of intense study and dedication. 
However, it didn't stop there, as we learned about the different illnesses and ailments and the plants and mixtures needed to help with those conditions we soon realized that there was another step...Nutrition. As a woman who went through an eating disorder while in acting school I knew the importance of not only nourishment but also a healthy relationship with food. I knew that food was also medicine as prevention and sustenance. Most illnesses begin in the gut and what we eat really does become who we are. We knew that in order to heal people and truly teach people it had to be even more holistic, it had to be a life style. We have made holistic living our lifestyle by taking responsibility for our way of life. We began to eat healthier, then we began eating organically, then we began to really educate ourselves on eating fair trade, eco-friendly, non-GMO, locally and even raw. But the biggest change for us came last year when we decided to have our own garden and a huge one at that. Our life is dedicated to a pure and holistic way of living that goes back to nature at its core. We realize that everything we need to survive, thrive and heal on earth is here in nature given to us by our creator through His creation.


Sébastien Bacharach, originally from France, is an Eco-logical Educator, Community Builder and Web Architect. He is the former Education Director of the San Francisco League of Urban Gardeners (SLUG) and co-founder of the San Francisco Permaculture Guild. Sébastien became certified as a permaculture designer in the spring of 2001, at the Permaculture Research Institute, New South Wales, Australia, by internationally renowned PRI Director Geoff Lawton. He trained as a Permaculture Teacher in 2004 at Ocean Song, California. He has applied his knowledge in many different settings, in France and especially in San Francisco, California.

Sébastien is very involved in his local community of Perth, Ontario. Amongst other projects, he is a part of the steering group of Transition Perth. Sébastien strongly believes in holistic ways of thinking, whole systems design and applies these principles in his personal life and his work



Bonita Ford is co-founder of the Permaculture Institute of Eastern Ontario and Transition Perth, and is one of the original members of Permaculture Ottawa. She has a Permaculture Diploma with l'Université Populaire de Permaculture in France, an M.A. in Holistic Health Education from JFK University in California, and a B.Sc. in Biochemistry from Queen's University in Ontario. 

Bonita has led workshops and groups worldwide for over nine years, including in Port-au-Prince, Soweto, Budapest, San Francisco, Seattle, New Mexico, Vermont, Toronto, Ottawa and Perth.  In her workshops and individual coaching, she blends permaculture, Reiki, Nonviolent Communication, as well as Earth-centred and body-centred learning.  Bonita is passionate about personal, social and ecological transformation.

Her explorations in permaculture began with an Introduction to Permaculture with Brock Dolman at the Occidental Arts and Ecology Center in 2002, followed by two Permaculture Design Courses through Urban Permaculture Guild (UPG) and Oakland Permaculture Institute in California with Christopher Shein, Katherine Steele, Nik Bertulis and Erin Fisher from 2005 to 2006.  Bonita worked with the UPG team to direct and co-facilitate one of the first Urban Permaculture Design Courses in the San Francisco Bay Area.  She had the pleasure of doing work exchange with permaculture teachers Steve Read, Andy Darlington and Jessie Darlington in France in 2008.  In Haiti, she assisted in a Permaculture Design Course taught by Larry Santoyo and Hunter Heaivilin in 2011.  In Haiti in 2011 and 2012, Bonita designed customised training programs in French and Kreyol; she trained over 45 teachers, community facilitators and agronomists in concepts from permaculture and Nonviolent Communication.