40th annual OACC to focus on sustainable living in the Ozarks

Ozark County residents Ian Giesbrecht and Wren Haffner will teach a modern approach to ancient building practices that are in line with nature Saturday, Sept. 28, during the Ozark Area Community Congress. The couple will share what has worked for them in the practice of natural building on their 18-acre off-grid homestead. The session with start with a slide show of natural building techniques and shift to a “do it yourself” session about slip straw and clay plastering. This photo shows the couple in front of one of the natural buildings they’ve created on their property near Gainesville.

A temporary “green village” will form at Hammond Group Camp on CC Highway south of Dora Sept. 27-29 during the 40th annual Ozark Area Community Congress. Participants from all across the Ozarks are expected to gather to share news, ideas, meals and fellowship “with the goal of living in harmony with the Earth,” according to an announcement about the event. 

OACC, which participants pronounce as “oak,” like the tree, is believed to be the first and longest standing event of its kind. This year’s theme is “Roots and Fruits,” and topics will include green building, ecological land tenure, expanding a garden, climate models and climate policy, sustainable food systems, deep ecology and environmental advocacy. Vendors will also be set up throughout the weekend. 

Local organic farmer Daniel Roth will join others in a panel discussion on gardening. Ken McCarty with Missouri State Parks will speak about the new Bryant Creek State Park, including its notable features, ongoing scientific research there and plans for its development. 

Hands-on demonstrations will include Mary Cutter of Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds demonstrating how to make kraut, and Ozark County residents Ian Giesbrecht and Wren Haffner talking about building with slip straw and clay plaster. 

The event starts at 5 p.m. Friday, Sept. 27, with a potluck meal, followed by an opening circle, during which everyone has a chance to introduce themselves. Musical duo Catywumpus of Quitman, Arkansas, will perform old-time mountain tunes, ragtime and Celtic music at 7:30 p.m. 

Workshops and presentations will run from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 28, followed by dinner and a talent show. 

The event wraps up Sunday, Sept. 29, with a planning session for the next OACC. 

The cost, which covers food, lodging and programs for all three days, is $50 for adults and $25 for those age 5-16; children 4 and younger are free. Participants are encouraged to attend all three days of the event, but registration fees will be pro-rated for those who are unable to stay the whole time. 

All are welcome at this family-friendly event. For more information, visit http://ozarkareacommunitycongress.org/ or search for “OACC 40: Roots and Fruits” on Facebook.

Ozark County Times

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