The NorCal Community Resilience Network was founded in 2013 by Susan Silber, a longtime environmental educator and community organizer. Susan’s original intent was to support Transition groups from across Northern California after helping to organize the 2012 Transition Conference. In 2013, permaculture and Transition leaders combined conferences to produce the first Building Resilient Communities Convergence. In a desire to support grassroots efforts across the region beyond this annual event, the Network vision expanded to include permaculture and community resilience groups so as to strengthen connections and collaborations born out of the yearly gatherings. Since its inception, the organization has sought to integrate an ethos of social justice and radical inclusion in order to support transformation in the environmental movement as a whole.
In terms of NorCal’s structure as an organization, we are in the process of building out a Spokes Council involving representatives from across the region as well as localized organizing bodies within different bioregions.
Susan Silber was introduced to community resilience after learning about the Transition Movement and co-founded the Berkeley Transition Initiative five years ago. Susan was co-producer of the Building Resilience Communities Convergence in both 2013 and 2015, and Community Resilience Challenge for two years. She also worked as an environmental educator for the past 25 years, and is proud to have introduced thousands of youth to the joys of nature, working with the Green Schools Initiative, Hostelling International, the Peace Corps and other programs. Contact Susan: susan”at”norcalresilience.org
Susan Juniper Park is an activist working at the cross-section of ecological, economic and social justice. She is also involved in urban farming, healing work, and permaculture. She is a co-founding member of the Economic Development Without Displacement Coalition (EDWD), which is examining issues of gentrification. For the past few years, a deep curiosity about shifting the economic system has taken her on a stumbling journey with stints at a graduate sustainable business school (BGI), running a food justice economic project (Phat Beets Produce), working at a worker-owned coop, fundraising for a grassroots non-profit (Ruckus Society), experimenting with barter/gift/alternative economy, and novice attempts at self-sufficiency. She dreams of a justice-based, non-extractive and bio-regional economy that honors our great Mother and all her creatures. Contact Susan: susanpark”at”norcalresilience.org
Ayako Nagano is an attorney, entrepreneur, community organizer and frequent volunteer at Transition Berkeley. She presently serves on the Board of ZenPlay, a charitable organization that crowd-sources funds to help under-served children both locally and globally. Ayako has utilized her non-profit and legal experience to support diverse causes including the Japanese-speaking persons living in the United States; tenant rights in Oakland; the HIV Law Project in New York City; the Union of Needletrade, Industrial, and Textile Employees; women’s rights, and human rights.
Yasir Cross is a design engineer by trade and has been practicing permaculture design for many years. He is a grey water specialist as well as a skilled builder. He is passionate about natural beekeeping and has been studying and keeping bees successfully for almost a decade. Yasir is also a crafter and artist who loves to work with his hands. He has a natural gift for fixing just about anything and as an organic farmer is putting that gift to good use. A student of the biodynamic farming methodology, Yasir is using, learning, and teaching his experience. Sustainable building, grafting fruit trees, composting, double digging, and building soil are some of his interests. Yasir is co-owner of Soul Flower Farm where he lives with his wife, sons, chickens, bees and jersey milk cows.
Sunil R. Nair is the Founder of Cogarden – a technology platform that Connects People, Plants, and Places. Through Cogarden, Sunil’s primary focus is on enabling a ‘Community To Consumer’ food system as an economically viable, ecologically balanced alternative to factory farming, and as a healthier option to the food access challenges impacting the working poor. Cogarden is inspired by the social equity, interdependence, and sustainability culture embedded within large and small food cooperatives. Previously, Sunil led Line of Business, Business Process Engineering functions within technology companies in India, Middle East, and in the U.S. over a corporate career spanning 22 years. Since taking a stay-at-home dad gig on becoming a parent in 2012, Sunil has been involved in a variety of Food Justice and Food Access initiatives – Seed Lending Libraries, Community Gardens, Urban Homesteading – along the East Bay, and at the NOFA-NJ Beginner Farmer Incubator program.
Molly Hoffman is an event producer and community organizer with a background in Permaculture Design, Visual Arts and Placemaking. Her work is driven by the understanding that equity and health of people are not mutually exclusive to the health of our planet. She’s most passionate about events that use the “social glues” of our world—food, art, music—as catalysts for change. She’s currently serving as the Events Steward at PLACE For Sustainable Living in Oakland.