Videos from our Monday Night Speaker Series

DEB SOULE | “Herbal Tonic for Enhancing Immunity”

Deb Soule is an herbalist, biodynamic gardener, teacher and author ofThe Woman’s Handbook of Healing Herbs and How To Move Like A Gardener. Raised in a small town in western Maine, Deb began organic gardening and studying the medicinal uses of herbs at age 16. Her faith in the healing qualities of plants and her love of gardening led Deb to found Avena Botanicals Herbal Apothecary in 1985. Five years earlier, while in college, Deb lived in Nepal near three Tibetan monasteries and was deeply moved by the Tibetan peoples commitment to ease physical ailments and mental and emotional upsets through the use of plants, prayer and other spiritual practices. Deb received a B.A. in Human Ecology from College of the Atlantic. She has devoted her life to working with and understanding the healing benefits medicinal plants and gardens offer individuals and their families. People around the world continue to call upon the healing qualities of herbal teas, tinctures, elixirs and soups for strengthening and calming the mind, body and spirit. During this evening talk herbalist Deb Soule will introduce the medicinal uses of a few of her favorite herbs for enhancing immunity: Echinacea, astragalus root, schisandra berries and elder flowers and berries. She will bring a sample of these herbs to taste and include information about how to grow and harvest them.

GREG JOLY | “The Evolution of Scott Nearing’s Ideas on Socialism & Democracy”

Greg Joly is an independent scholar who has lived in Jamaica Vermont since 1990. Due to his on-site nearness to people and documents related to the Nearing’s time in Vermont, he has been able to amass a quality of information concerning the Nearing’s sojourn in the Green Mountain state that might otherwise be improbable. He and his wife have homesteaded off-grid for the past 2 decades just seven “as the crow flies” miles from the Nearing’s original Forest Farm, thus fostering a familiarization with the demands of Vermont homesteading. For the  past 2 decades, Joly has been a Steward at the Good Life Center and has also served as its Chair Person of the Board.

References for the Speech

By Scott Nearing:
1908 – Economics
1920 – The Next Step
1944 – United World
Modern Sources of Interest:
 Capitalism: A Ghost Story
 By Arunbhati Roy
 The Young Turks: Marxian Economics Vs. Capitalism
By R.D. Wolff
 The New Basis of Civilization
By Simon Patten
 Business as Usual: The Economic Crisis and the Failure of Capitalism
By Paul Mattick
 The End of Alchemy: Money, Banking, And the Future of the Global Economy
By Mervyn King
 Blood and Earth: Modern Slavery, Ecocide, and the Secret to Saving the World
By Kevin Bales

Also, Some Recent Articles:
Socialism, American-Style” By Gar Alperovitz & Thomas H. Hanna NY Times, Op-Ed, 23 July 2015

“The Matter of Black Lives” By Jelani Cobb, The New Yorker, March 14, 2016, pp. 34-40,

JON WILSON | Compassion for Accountability: Restoring the Victim-Centered Roots of Restorative Justice”

Jon Wilson is the founder and chairman of WoodenBoat in Brooklin, Maine and the founder and director of JUST Alternatives, a national nonprofit committed to crime victim/survivor support and advocacy, and to promising victim-centered and offender accountability oriented practices in corrections. He is a Victim Offender Dialogue (VOD) facilitator in crimes of severe violence working with corrections-based victim service agencies in Texas, Louisiana, Maine, Massachusetts, Vermont, and Virginia, among others. As a trainer of VOD facilitators, he has provided more than 40 victim-centered trainings around the country for victim service agencies, corrections staff, clinicians, social workers, and other allied professionals. There’s a lot of talk about how misguided our nation’s prison systems are, and the numbers of incarcerated offenders affirm that something is profoundly wrong. But while plenty of people of heart and intelligence long to humanize the system in the hope or belief that most offenders have simply “made a mistake,” the staggering offender recidivism rates belie that assumption, and we need a way of changing the entire equation. Restorative Justice (RJ) offers possibilities, but there are many – crime victims, their advocates, and criminal justice professionals chief among them – who have grave doubts, and for good reason. The problem is not in the idea of RJ, but in the nature of theroots that have come to anchor many of its practices. Compassion and respect even for those who have committed violent and traumatizing crimes are possible – but not without personal accountability in offenders, the link missing from our justice and corrections system. Jon will speak from his experiences with victims and their offenders in crimes of severe violence and violation.

ROB SHETTERLY | “Freedom: What Does it Mean?”

 Rob Shetterly, activist and painter of the renown series of portraits, Americans Who Tell the Truth, will talk about several of his recent portraits: why he painted them and what they have done. Among them: Transgender activist Nicole Maines, whistleblower lawyer Louis Clark, founder or the Highlander Folk School Myles Horton, indigenous rights lawyer Sherri Mitchell and others. Rob has engaged in a wide variety of political and humanitarian work with many of the people whose portraits he has painted. In the spring of 2007, he traveled to Rwanda with Lily Yeh and Terry Tempest Williams to work in a village of survivors of the 1994 genocide there. Much of his current work focuses on honoring and working with the activists trying to bring an end to the terrible practice of Mountaintop Removal by coal companies in Appalachia, on climate change, and on the continuation of systemic racism in the US, particularly in relation to the school-to-prison pipeline. Since 1990, he has been the President of the Union of Maine Visual Artists (UMVA), and a producer of the UMVA’s Maine Masters Project, an on-going series of video documentaries about Maine artists.

Bruce Friedrich | “The Future of Protein”

Bruce Friedrich Bruce Friedrich is executive director of The Good Food Institute (GFI), a nonprofit organization that promotes plant and culture-based alternatives to animal agriculture. Before getting interested in animal protection, Bruce ran a homeless shelter and soup kitchen in inner city Washington, D.C. for 6 years. He has been a progressive activist for more than 25 years. As populations and incomes grow throughout the world, more and more environmental scientists and economists are asking how the world will feed its projected population of 9 billion people by 2050. Raising animals for food causes climate change and other environmental ills, harms animals and the global poor, and leads to diseases of affluence among consumers. This talk proposes that the future of protein will eventually require fewer and fewer animals. Just like automobiles, trains, and planes replaced horses for long-distance travel, so too plant-based and cultured proteins will replace conventionally produced meat, dairy, and eggs.

Dr. Habib Dagher | “The Deepwater Offshore Wind Opportunity: What is in it for Maine and for the World?”

Dr. Habib Dagher is the founding director of the University of Maine’s Advanced Structures and Composites Center and a world-leading advocate for developing advanced structural systems which simultaneously optimize structures, materials, and construction. Around the US there is enough offshore wind capacity to power the country four times over. This talk will describe technologies for harnessing this vast wind resource off the coast of Maine, focusing on progress made at UMaine and in the rest the world. Under his leadership, the UMaine Composites Center has gained national and international reputation from major research and development projects such as the first grid-connected floating offshore wind turbine in the US, the first in the world made out of concrete and composite materials, the inflatable composite arch bridges“ Bridge-in-a-Backpack” technology now approved in the AASHTO Code,  the first Modular Ballistic Protection System approved by the US Army to protect troops in tents from blast and ballistic threats, development of coated wood technology for blast and hurricane resistant wood buildings, and the longest carbon-fiber composite vessel built for the US Navy. Dr. Dagher has received numerous awards including the Carnegie Foundation Maine Professor of the Year, the Distinguished Maine Professor Award, the highest award given to a faculty member at UMaine, the American Society of Civil Engineers Charles Pankow Innovation Award, and the White House Champion of Change Award.

Gregg Kerch | “The Art of Taking Action:
Lessons from Japanese Psychology”

Gregg Kerch will discuss the Art of Taking Action, focusing on themes such as resilience, self-discipline, mindfulness, coping with anxiety, risk and finding purpose. Gregg’s work is primarily grounded in Japanese approaches to mental health which offer an alternative to traditional Western models.  Rather than associating ourselves with “diagnostic labels,” he offers strategies for a shift from a feeling-centered life to a purpose-centered life. Gregg is one of the leading experts on Japanese Psychology in the U.S. and the author of several books including, A Natural Approach to Mental Wellness:Japanese Psychology and the Skills We Need for Psychological and Spiritual Health. He is the Director of the ToDo Institute in Vermont and Editor of Thirty Thousand Days: A Journal for Living on Purpose. His work has been featured in The Sun magazine, Utne ReaderTricycleCounseling Today and on public radio.