Alumni Profiles: Mark Roland

Mark Roland has been a community activist in Beacon, NY for years. He has advocated for smart growth, local businesses, and bicycle-friendly streets through a local organization “Beacon Deserves Better.” He regularly engages with the town’s planning process when this Hudson Valley town’s character and small businesses are threatened. Mark’s photographs of Beacon and the Hudson Valley are well known.

Mark Roland's photographs often reflect his interest in local geography, economics and history.

Last summer, Mark received a partial scholarship to attend our Permaculture Design Certificate course. Afterwards, he used his tuition savings and his new permaculture analysis skills to further his community work by starting a local news and culture blog for his community: Wigwam: A Home Economy Journal. On the website, part of Wigwam’s description of its mission and content is:

The much ballyhooed industrial, globalized economy is experiencing a few difficulties. As it contracts, it makes sense to expand our home economies. We use ‘home’ to mean a household, a city or town, and the Hudson Valley region. Wigwam will tell the stories of how this home economy expansion is happening, and give you ideas and inspiration, so that you can make it happen, too. In addition to home-ec related content, Wigwam offers regular coverage of issues that affect place making, such as city planning, zoning laws, transportation, new businesses, and new development. We also look at the people and organizations taking steps to nurture home economies.

In the video below, Mark Roland introduces his online publication and describes the influence the permaculture course had in his efforts to regenerate his local economy. It also offers a few brief moments of his humor that the staff and students at the Finger Lakes Permaculture Institute enjoyed last summer…