Speakers and Workshops

FutureFest speakers and workshops

Keynote presentation: Sarah van Gelder
Strengthening Our Local Economy Through Community-sourced Funding and Co-ops
Homes for All: How Do We Get There?
The Future Needs You: Citizen Science in a Rapidly Changing World
Where Do We Go from Here? with Vicki Robin
Artful Living: Exploring the Role of Creativity in Resilient Communities

Sunday morning special events:


Sarah van Gelder is our keynote speaker. Sarah co-founded the award-winning YES! Magazine in 1996. She writes for YES! and also for the Guardian and Huffington Post, speaks internationally and guests on radio and television. Her recent book is The Revolution Where You Live: Stories from a 12,000 Mile Journey Through a New America.

Her topic: the work that we the people are doing to reinvent our economy, grow local foods, solve the climate challenge, create alternatives to prisons, and more. Sarah bought a used pickup truck and set off on a 12,000-mile journey through eighteen states, dozens of cities and towns, and five Indian reservations. From the ranches of Montana to the coalfields of Kentucky to the urban cores of Chicago and Detroit, she discovered people and communities who are remaking America from the ground up. Sarah will discuss the people she met—the quirky and the committed, the local heroes and healers who, under the mass media’s radar, are getting good stuff done.

Sarah lives on the Suquamish Tribe’s reservation, where she collaborated with tribal leaders to secure the return of the land where Chief Seattle lived. She also paddles with the tribe on their annual canoe journey. Sarah has lived in India, China, and Central America. She was a founding board member and resident of Winslow Cohousing.


Strengthening Our Local Economy through Community-Sourced Funding and Co-ops
Join Port Townsend Mayor Deborah Stinson, founding member of LION (Local Investing Opportunities Network), Eric Jorgensen of Finnriver Farm and Cidery, and Kippi Waters of Peninsula Homecare Cooperative to hear their experience and share your thoughts. LION has been matching up business owners with private investors for over 10 years. It’s not a loan or investment fund, and it doesn’t make collective investment decisions. The members are local people who support local businesses and want their money to work within their community. Keeping funds local means greater economic self-sufficiency, job growth, economic development, and a multiplier effect whereby a dollar kept within the community can be spent many times over for a far greater benefit than a dollar invested away.
Along with LION, we’ll also hear about growing a local cooperative. Port Townsend’s Peninsula Homecare Cooperative started in 2016 with LION’s help, and is the seventh home care cooperative in the country.
Can either or both of these models be used to build a more sustainable economy here in Anacortes? Come listen and let’s talk about it!


Regenerative Resistance: Facing the Mess We’re in Without Going Crazy
(Special workshop Sunday morning)
Join us for an experiential exploration of Joanna Macy’s Work that Reconnects, a powerful set of practices that allow us to face our overwhelm, fear and despair, and move through them to a renewed sense of connection, commitment, and solidarity with people and Earth during these challenging times. Belinda Griswold is a social justice and environmental campaigner, mother and facilitator based on Whidbey Island, WA. She has led the Work that Reconnects for many years, and has helped found two training groups for new facilitators. Belinda lives on a sprouting permaculture community on 20 acres of recovering forest on South Whidbey Island.
(Click here for a flyer.)


Homes for All: How Do We Get There?
Imagine our community as a place where people can live where they work, where neighborhoods are anchored by past and future generations, and where no one is living on the streets. In this workshop, we’ll explore the benefits of diversity and inclusion; how we can make sure affordable homes are widely available; and how to discuss what can sometimes be a divisive issue. Let’s use this time to spur thinking about how to build a strongly-connected, resilient community!

Eric Johnson, Anacortes City Council representative and member of the Anacortes Housing Committee, will moderate, and be joined by Liz Lovelett, Anacortes City Council member and member of the Anacortes Housing Committee; Gabriel Olmsted, Skagit Home Trust board member and retired Sustainable Development consultant and educator; and Anna Fahey, Director of Strategic Communication, Sightline Institute, Seattle.


The Future Needs You: Citizen Science in a Rapidly Changing World

Love the wild world? Want to know as much as you can about it while helping it stay as healthy as possible? Then learn how to be both a student and steward of wild places through citizen science. By collecting data on everything from amphibians to porpoises, you can identify and track changes to help safeguard our wild neighbors in a world that’s warming fast and losing species daily.
Dr. Phoebe Barnard, Director of the Pacific Biodiversity Institute, will inspire us with stories about the critical role citizen science plays in everything from local resource stewardship to major national policy decisions. She’ll then introduce folks from local organizations to tell us about citizen science projects here in Skagit County. Want to learn about the birds who use Fidalgo Bay? Help stop the green crab invasion? Monitor the water quality of local streams? Find out if trilliums are blooming earlier than they used to? Check out the many ways you can learn and help!
Finally, we want your ideas. What do you care about, what do you think we should be monitoring? What local actions and policies need to be informed by sound citizen science? How do we excite passion to care for this wild and amazing world?

Dr. Phoebe Barnard is a global change biologist, conservation biologist, environmental futurist, sustainability strategist, writer and teacher.  A mountaineer, poet, and volcano climber at heart, she works in government, academia and nonprofits with economists, lawyers, policymakers, citizen scientists, and other scientists to change the way we do things. Her motto is, “The world doesn’t have to be this way. We can change it.”


Forest Immersion Experience: Earth Day Hike with Friends of the Forest Naturalist Denise Crowe

A special off-site experience Sunday, April 22, 9:00 – 11:00 a.m. Click here for graphic.
Join us as we experience and celebrate an especially diverse area of our Anacortes Community Forest Lands on Earth Day morning. We will hike just over two miles through varied forest types, along the shores of Big Beaver Pond and Little Cranberry Lake, ascending to a rocky bald wildflower meadow in bloom. Your guide will share knowledge and field questions. Wear sturdy walking shoes and be prepared for times of quiet sense awareness.
Park on the exterior side of the Jehovah’s Witnesses Kingdom Hall walled parking lot, located near the end of 29th St., west off of D Ave. Please carpool, and please leave your dog friends at home for this one.


 Where Do We Go from Here? with Vicki Robin

We’re honored and just plain lucky to have Vicki Robin join us to wind up our weekend. With her wisdom and humor, she’ll help us review the highlights of what we’ve discussed, acknowledge the (inevitable) topics we didn’t get to but want to pursue, and create action plans. We’ll also explore empowerment: how we can stay empowered ourselves and help it spread throughout our communities, believing in our ability to build the future we want.
Vicki Robin is a prolific social innovator, writer, and speaker. She co-authored the international best-seller, Your Money or Your Life: Transforming Your Relationship With Money and Achieving Financial Independence. It was an instant NY Times best seller in 1992, is available now in eleven languages, and this month she’s publishing an overhauled edition with millennials in mind. A champion of sustainable consumption and social innovation, Vicki has appeared on hundreds of radio and television shows, including “The Oprah Winfrey Show,” “Good Morning America,” and NPR, and has written for People Magazine, AARP, The Wall Street Journal, Utne Magazine, and The New York Times, among hundreds of other publications.


Artful Living: exploring the role of creativity in resilient communities

Join Sommer Carter and the Anacortes Music Project in a conversation about the importance of creativity to our future. Art, music, crafts, theater, and other creative outlets have always informed, articulated, and advanced the issues every culture faces. Creativity brings us together and is an essential wellspring of energy that can change the world. What do we need to nurture creativity in our community? Appropriately, this conversation will take place within the songwriting contest concert (and other possible creative surprises).