An interview with me.

Though most of my posts have been about my travels, I’m expanding this to a few stories closer to home. Why? Well, this summer I’ve been working hard with my team at Pacific Peoples’ Partnership on some incredible programming: our Pacific Networking Conference and 8th One Wave Festival. So the next few posts are going to be about some of the work I’m doing locally.

This article was written by Kirk Schwartz, a fellow board member. Kirk is also part of MediaNet, a local media arts collective, and is helping me create a mini-video series about my research on permaculture in higher education. The article was published in PPP’s 40th anniversary edition of Tok Blong Pasifik, our journal of news and views on the Pacific.

kat at one wave

“What I really appreciate about Pacific Peoples’ Partnership is that it brings together so many aspects, it really aligns with a lot of different values that I have. … the reason I stayed involved is because it kind of became my family. I’ve built so many strong relationships with people in this organization that I feel I am really part of it.”

Originally from Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan, Kat Zimmer and grew up in southeast British Columbia, then moved to Victoria to study Political Science and Environmental Studies. She is currently completing her masters degree in Environmental Studies, looking at permaculture in higher education.

Zimmer says that there is currently a lot of “eco-despair” and for her, permaculture has been a powerful antidote. She would like to share the feeling of empowerment that permaculture has given her with others in the field and with those working positively for the environment. As well as finishing her thesis, Zimmer is also creating a series of short films about permaculture and the teaching of permaculture methods.

Zimmer first came to the Pacific Peoples’ Partnership when she answered an ad for a job as Cultural Events Co-ordinator. She describes it as “her first ‘real’ job.” Her responsibility was to organize the second-ever One Wave Festival. She enjoyed the work and the festival to such a degree that she became a board member of PPP. In 2015 she managed the eighth One Wave Festival, truly a success story for Zimmer and the festival.

Zimmer has become one of PPP’s hardest working board members. She is the main driver behind the current One Wave Festival, is involved with fundraising, with the newsletter and has her finger on the pulse of the organization.

Zimmer says she appreciates the way PPP reflects its name: the organization is always in partnership with others. Relationships are built over a long period of time and PPP really asks the community “How can we help?” and asks the people in the community to take the lead and work on what is important to them.

“I particularly appreciated how PPP works to build relationships with Indigenous communities across the Pacific,” she says. “The organization’s values are important to me…Indigenous rights, cultural sovereignty, gender equality, health and environmental sustainability are just some of those values.”

I would like to do something around community engagement because it’s enriched my life so much to be involved with such initiatives and has brought a lot of joy to my life,” she continues. “I would like to be in a position where I can help to facilitate those kinds of experiences for other people. I don’t know if there is a job out there with that particular description. Maybe I’ll have to create that!”

Zimmer says that she used to think she wanted to work in the non profit sector but she is no longer sure of that. “It surprises me actually that I have become more interested in enterprise and small business as a way to meet some of the challenges that we need to address and that it provides a little more independence and creativity to pursue things that are part of my passion.”

She is inspired by the networks that small food producers have been creating to provide healthy food to people who need it the most. She would like to work on a sustainable business plan that would link small food producers affordably to a variety of people in the community. Zimmer believes that we need to have global and national issues in mind but that we need to focus on the local. “I think that the community level is really where so many important things happen, the things that affect us most on a day-to-day basis. It is the grass roots level where relationships are built that really excites people, including me!”

Photo credit: Kirk Schwartz 

 

 

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