The story Coakí - William Wildcat- will tell begins 800,000 years ago. There does not appear to be a break in the lineages of humans and our ancestors Neanderthal and Homo Heidelbergensis using fire and hand tools to create forest clearings to select for plants and animal habitats for food, medicine, and materials important to countless groups of people. These forest gardening practices are our collective heritage and are a defining feature of our identity as a species. We call our ancestors and many of our living relatives “Indigenous” to distinguish them from those of us who have recently lost these practices.
We see these practices disappearing around the world as we continue the deforestation of the planet. Our ancestral forest gardening practices are not lost, however. They are still practiced in many surviving traditions, such as the dehesas of Spain and other Mediterranean forest gardening and silvopasture practices, and the ancient form of milpa still practiced in Mesoamerica. It is from a marriage of these ancient agroforestry practices and modern ecology science that a powerful regenerative agriculture system called syntropic agroforestry was born. Syntropic agroforestry restores ecosystems and local economies, creates food security and a diversity of nutrient dense foods, and protects cultures from globalization as it heals human relationships with the forests.
Coakí lives in the Mimbres watershed near the Gila wilderness area, in the unceded lands of the living Chiricahua peoples, of the Brown bear, of the Jaguar, and of the forests and wetlands which stood there 400 years ago. He studies, practices, and teaches these modern and ancient technologies there.
He will be in conversation with Jessica Alvarez Parfrey, Executive Director of Transition US.
The Lost Forest Gardens of Europe
Illustrated Guide to Agroforestry
Life in Syntropy Documentary
Modern Farmer Article on Syntropic Agriculture
Anastassia Makarieva Biotic Pump 1: Global Cooling
Anastassia Makarieva Biotic Pump 2: Water Cycles
BIO: William Wildcat (Coakí)
Coakí was born in the Oklahoma Seminole Nation. He has practiced organic gardening since childhood, organic farming for much of his adult Life, and regenerative horticulture, food forestry, and wildland restoration for the last decade. The studies and practices which inform his agroecology and ecorestoration thought and work include western science soil biology/ecology, “conventional” regenerative agriculture, ancient indigenous agroecology sciences from various lineages, wetland restoration, many realms of mycology, syntropic agroforestry, food forestry, desert reforestation, Miyawaki reforestation, ecology/climate physics (including Biotic Pump Theory), and ecological history. He integrates these western science studies, modern agroecology and ecorestoration practices, and indigenous agroecology traditions into a coherent picture of what human relationship with Earth looks like when we act as a steward species. Coakí lives in the Mimbres watershed near the Gila wilderness area, in the unceded lands of the living Chiricahua peoples, of the Brown bear, of the Jaguar, and of the forests and wetlands which stood there 400 years ago. He studies, practices, and teaches these modern and ancient technologies there.
BIO: Jess Alvarez Parfrey
With a background in community organizing, nonprofit fundraising, and environmental activism (formerly with Greenpeace USA), Jessica Alvarez Parfrey finds joy in seeking transformative opportunities for radical collaboration and community co-creation. Jessica currently serves as the Executive Director of Transition US. Having worked on food, housing, community health and wellness, and other issues; Jess is a life-long learner of all things that would allow us to reimagine our relationship to the earth and to one another.
Jess is a nepantlera, mother, creative, caretaker of 44 acres of land, and a JEDI consultant working in service to the project of collective liberation. She received her B.A. in Environmental Studies from the University of California at Santa Barbara , and is driven to nurture opportunities for joy, healing, community-based strategy, and design informed by decolonized practice and methodologies.