Orion is a man pursuing a mission that puts new life into communities by creating permanent community parks (food forests) throughout the city of Boston. His diverse community building experience has given him a vision of a ‘social permaculture’ in which individuals interact through values they share: hope, care, connection and well-being. He found that gardens can support these values and bring people together to strengthen a community.
Orion, a 1996 graduate of Haverford College, a Quaker School outside Philadelphia, is a native of Newton. At Haverford he learned about consensus decision making, lived in intentional community, and furthered an interest in peace and conflict studies which took him to the Levant where he interviewed Israelis, Palestinians, and Bedouins with Jay Rothman, an expert in international conflict resolution. Then in 1995 he did work on the new South African constitution with Willie Hofmeyr, a member of Parliament from the African National Congress. After several other job experiences, he got a master’s degree in public policy and urban planning from the Harvard Kennedy School of Government, and then joined the Tellus Institute working on global sustainable development. Here he coordinated The Great Transition Initiative and participated in a World Social Forum, all about creating a new vision for a just and sustainable planetary society, that he said had a view that was “10,000 feet in the air”. After leaving Tellus, he wanted to get his hands dirty, so he became a community volunteer and got his neighbors in Egleston Square to work together to clean up a vacant lot and create the Egleston Community Orchard. When a young man was shot and killed right in front of the location, Orion worked with the local bodega owner to develop a business model to bring people back to the area, planted a blueberry bush in honor of the killed person, brought back a community parade, and offered space for mourning and grieving. The community came together for healing, and this inspired him to co-found the Boston Food Forest Coalition , a community land trust that now owns the Egleston Community Orchard, protecting it in perpetuity for the neighbors. For more about Orion’s current efforts in Boston, see A visionary’s quest: a city filled with garden’s in the Christian Science Monitor.
He completed his NWTA in October 2017 after MKP was recommended to him by friends he met at a nature immersion retreat. He hoped the NWTA might help him overcome marital challenges. He has completed a PIT, IGFT, staffed 3 NWTAs and hopes to do many more. Also, he supported a sweat lodge at Norfolk prison. MKP has been life changing for him, allowing him to acknowledge his worthiness exactly as he his, and to obtain support for deepening his mission.
Asked what famous person he would like to join him when stranded on an island, he said Jane Goodall, because he’d like to learn more about her life with chimpanzees and her work to protect them and restore natural habitats. As a Scorpio he enjoys facilitation and likes the opportunities MKP provides him to refine his skills with practice. His mission is “I create a world of joyful belonging by singing, dancing and sharing stories around the fire,” and he is currently refining it so his mission can apply more literally to his daily life.