Pastor Brian Kunkler is “Growing People Who Grow Food.” As a Permaculturist stewarding a multi-acre food forest with his family in Akron, Ohio, Brian is also a minister at Garden City Church where he shares the scriptural wisdom of working toward the New Creation. With a special passion for grafting fruit trees, animal husbandry, comfrey (an essential dynamic accumulator in any Permaculture) Jerusalem artichokes, and a diverse selection of apple trees, Brian is “planting for the future” like a modern day Johnny Appleseed.
He lives with his wife, Megan, and five children ages 3-13, on a 3.7 acre property that they have restored from neglect over the course of 7 years into a mature food-forest model for the Akron region. Brian is now planting seeds for a broader food-forest initiative with the City of Akron, to provide food-forests to the broader community in coordination with faith communities and immigrant and refugee families. Not only will this provide meaningful work, skills-training, and beautification to diverse neighborhoods throughout Akron, it will also enhance the food-sovereignty, security, preparedness, and sustainability of these neighborhoods as well!
Brian observes that we’re all connected to our ecosystems, regardless of whether we’re rich or poor, left or right, old or young, black or white – we all have the choice presented in the Book of Proverbs between wisdom, foolishness or violence. Encouraging us to connect with the Power of Wisdom, personified as a virtuous woman in Proverbs 31, Brian recognizes that, especially when it comes to environmental restoration and ecological sustainability, “doing the right thing” leads to JOY.
He encourages us to “start small,” and to learn from experts like Toby Hemenway (Montana, deceased), Mark Shepard (Wisconsin), Sepp Holzer (Austria), Masinobu Fukuoka (deceased, Shikoku, Japan), and Joel Salatin (Virginia).
Tree grafting resource discussed in the interview: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QHrYB-YcBmU
Aaron William Perry is a writer, public speaker, impact entrepreneur, consultant, artist and father. The author of Y on Earth: Get Smarter, Feel Better, Heal the Planet, Aaron works with the Y on Earth Community and Impact Ambassadors to spread the THRIVING & SUSTAINABILITY messages of hopeful and empowering information and inspiration to diverse communities throughout the world. He resides in Colorado where he is continually in awe of the weather, appreciate of the singing birds, and entertained by the antics of his backyard, free-range (and free-thinking) chickens.
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