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544174_10102389328857619_223431919_nJOSHUA HALPERN, MA is an artist, activist, and environmental educator. He sells local honey at Bay Area farmers markets and works globally as a metamorphosis ecologist, specializing in solastalgia and resilience.

Solastalgia is the homesickness you feel as your home disappears around you. Through a variety of art forms, workshops, programs, curriculum and counseling, Josh serves as a guide for transforming our relationships with home. He holds a BFA in Film from NYU and an MA in Integral Ecology from CIIS.

Roots: Family and Food

Josh was born and raised at the confluence of the Matawan and Wopowog Rivers in Princeton NJ, the son of two soul-conscious, politically radical college professors. Josh loved playing in the woods near the river, as well as writing, music, and photography from a young age, and received a BFA in Film from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts in 2004. While in school, Josh’s father Manfred died, and Josh spent the next several years making art exploring his family’s reactions to this loss. A few of these and other works can be found here. Having discovered a great deal about his roots, Josh turned his attention to the stories of others outside himself, and went wwoofing.

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P1010491Josh travelled around the world for 9 months in 2007, lending a hand on organic farms in Hawaii, the Philippines, Thailand, and India, through WWOOF (World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms) an organization that links farmers in over 100 countries with volunteers willing to help on the farm in exchange for food, lodging, and experience. Josh’s film about this journey WWOOF ‘n Wander (53 mins) is streaming here in seven parts.

Upon returning to his home hemisphere, Josh worked for two years as the Organic Produce Coordinator for the Whole Earth Center in Princeton, a not-for-profit natural foods store established Earth Day 1970. When not elbow deep in local greens, Josh spent a good deal of time outside establishing sacred relationships with nature near and far. While wwoofing Josh was invited in pilgrimage to sacred sites, places where communities have woven the cycles of life and death into the body of the land. He continued these explorations locally, building a medicine wheel in the woods near the river, attending a vision fast in the Abajo Mountains of Utah with the Animas Valley Institute, and exploring 1500 miles of Alaska with his best friend, before finally moving to California in pursuit of a graduate degree and committing to the West Coast’s sacred landscapes in 2010.

Branches: Revelations and Responsibility

Josh received his MA in Integral Ecology from the California Institute of Integral Studies in 2013, and during these years greatly expanded his explorations of sacred personal and political relationships with home. He has been blessed to share a school community with some of the most brilliant and bizarre philo-eco-soma-cosmo engaged human beings trying to help the planet today. As a result of this school, Josh’s own outpouring of work now includes articles, poetryworkshops and public presentations, and maybe most thrilling of all – new songs! He calls the music project Home Howls.

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Out of school and facing our cascading global crises, Josh welcomes the work of this generation on Earth. Birthing new healing ways into the world. Hospicing the Holocene. Josh cultivates community, encourages place-based play, teaches presence to potential, sensitivity to scales, and trust in timing. He celebrates cell intelligence and body-based knowledge. He seeks real strategy to resist and dismantle systems of oppression and hear the breath of silenced voices. He weaves great joy, laughter, and space around some of the scariest, most difficult and urgent truths we face, and honors the diversities and disparities of our lives on this gorgeous shared planet. He lives in a co-op with his bunny rabbit Bridget in a part of the world where the garden he tends blooms in January.

Josh has several thrilling new big projects underway for 2015, updates arriving very soon >>>

Josh can be reached at outsidejosh@gmail.com.

And, if that wasn’t origin story enough for ya, Josh heard from a shaman in New Jersey that his soul emerged from The Hollow Earth 25,000 years ago. He’s not sure what to think of this, but he’s put up a picture of a Hollow Earth drawn in 1892 on the background of his website.

Thanks!