2018 speakers to be announced! Check out our 2017 speakers below!

Water Crisis Panel

Southern Arizona Civic Leaders and Experts Panel Session on the IOI Sewage Pipeline Break and Water Shed-Aquifer Contamination Concerns.

In July, 2017 the major sewage transfer pipeline from Nogales, Sonora to Rio Rico, AZ burst creating a major threat to the Southern Arizona water shed and aquifer water systems that feed these communities and economy. It is still unresolved and band aid attempts offer no real solutions. During the Festival on Sunday October 8th, a panel discussion will be held with civic administrations and related experts to discuss what is the state of this emergency and what is required to resolve this, short and long term. The panel will be moderated by Natalie A. Brassill, M.S. with The University of Arizona's Department of Soil, Water & Environmental Science.

With 4-5 panelists including: Ruben Reyes, Congressman Grijalva's 3rd District Director; Bill Beaver, Santa Cruz County GIS Analyst; Ben Lomeli Past BLM Administrator and Environmental Consultant/Hydrologist Expert, and Charlene LaPlante, Santa Cruz County Chief Civil Deputy County Attorney. This is an opportunity for citizens to become aware of this potential crisis situation and a forum to express their needs and opinion to civic experts involved future decisions that affect the entire Southern Arizona community.

Permaculture Designer Kate Tirion

Kate Tirion

Kate Tirion has been practicing as a permaculture designer and teacher since 1990, and currently works frequently as a consultant, designer, and manager for large-scale projects transforming landscapes into long-term sustainable systems. The Director of Deep Dirt Farm Institute in Patagonia, Arizona, Kate continues to learn and innovate solutions in land management as adapted to her local environment. "By learning and doing," Kate says, "we discover how to create new and resilient models that regenerate themselves and also sustain us over time. Our strength lies in our interconnectedness: with each other and the place in which we live. Together, we can develop a myriad of sustainable systems. The more pieces we create, the more whole the landscape, and the more resilient we become."

Bill McDorman

Bill McDorman

Bill McDorman is a seed saver, writer, and educator based in Cornville, Arizona. He is co-founder of The Down Home Project, Garden City Seeds, Seeds Trust, High Altitude Gardens, the Sawtooth Botanical Gardens, Seed School and the Rocky Mountain Seed Alliance. He is author of the book Basic Seed Saving. Bill is the former executive director of Native Seeds/SEARCH.

Ben Lomeli

Ben Lomeli

Ben Lomeli is a consulting Hydrologist and Natural Resources Scientist with over 35 years working experience, both in government and in the private sector. With special emphasis on engineering, water rights, riparian ecosystems, flood control, riverine morphology, grazing systems, erosion control, site and water development, groundwater, and international issues. Volunteer for Friends of the Santa Cruz River since 1996 because he believes now is the time to address many quality-of-life issues for future generations in this area that is one of the last great areas to be discovered. "In order to make positive changes on the ground," Ben says, "there must first be positive changes in people's hearts. We must therefore concentrate on building partnerships wherever possible!"

EHF Speaker TaliSeen JahRing

TaliSeen JahRing

TaliSeen JahRing has worked internationally on farms holding various positions from harvest manager to consultant. Now settled in Southern Arizona, he serves as a full-time volunteer with Avalon Organic Gardens & EcoVillage where he heads up the organic food production of the 220-acre property specializing in management of permaculture and regenerative food systems. A relentless problem solver, TaliSeen has built custom gardening-tools to assist in chemical-free planting and weed control. He is also a technology pioneer, launching web-technologies to empower others to succeed in non-corporate organic farming. As a technology lead, he also teaches and inspires students to think creatively as to how to use technological solutions for environmental problems in a holistic way. An avid musician, when TaliSeen isn't in the gardens or on the computer, you're likely to find him improvising on the piano.

Tarenta Baldeschi

Tarenta Baldeschi

Master organic gardener, Tarenta Baldeschi, grew up in Germany and Italy and has lived in several intentional communities for more than twenty years. He became a member of the German Stonemason & Sculptor Guild early on, specializing in stone restoration. After immigrating to North America he lived and taught self-sufficient living for 7 years with Native American Elders. He has been a member of Global Community Communications Alliance since 1993 and helped established Avalon Gardens in Sedona for more than 10 years. As a minister, he teaches and inspires through workshops and talks. One of the solutions on a very physical level is to eat the healthiest and freshest organic food from your own garden and/or from local farms like Avalon Organic Gardens & EcoVillage which has been providing vegetables in the Santa Cruz River Valley since 2007.