Michigan Friends Center (MFC) in Chelsea, Michigan

Past Programs

2013 Peace and Justice Series

May 15, 7:00 pm
Book Discussion: The New Jim Crow

A discussion of the book The New Jim Crow with Terry Madden. The book looks at the disproportionate incarceration of blacks and other minority populations in the United States through the lens of racial analysis.

March 6 2013, 7:00 pm
Restorative Justice, Janelle Nystrom and Margaret Rohr

Restorative justice is a process that tries to heal the harm done by a crime by involving the offender, the victim and the community, emphasizing restitution rather than punishment, and involving the whole community rather than an isolated criminal justice system. Janelle Nystrom of Washtenaw Prisoner Reentry and Margaret Rohr of The Dispute Resolution Center will talk about how restorative justice is being used to keep conflicts from entering the legal system and to help citizens returning from the criminal justice system reintegrate in the community.

February 7 2013, 7:00 pm
Michigan's Criminal Justice and Corrections System, Natalie Holbrook

Michigan incarcerates roughly seven times the number of people per capita as does Ontario right across the Detroit River, and Michigan spends more money on incarceration than it does on higher education. Who are these people in prison? Is holding them behind bars making us safer? Natalie Holbrook, the Director of the American Friends Service Committee Criminal Justice Program will discuss these and other issues of criminal justice in Michigan.

January 23 2013, 7:00 pm
Immigration Rights and Racial Profiling, Laura Sanders

Many people are unaware that immigration law enforcement is having profound and unexpected consequences, not just in southwestern border states, but throughout the country, including Chelsea and other communities in Washtenaw County. Laura Sanders will speak about the activities of the Washtenaw Interfaith Coalition for Immigrant Rights in Washtenaw County and the need for immigration law reform.

Sanders is one of the four co-founders of the Washtenaw Interfaith Coalition for Immigrant Rights.  WICIR is an all-volunteer, grass-roots organization, created in March of 2008 in response to an immigration raid of a local mobile home community where numerous people were deported and families were separated.  WICIR responds to increased immigration enforcement in the Washtenaw area by providing for the immediate needs of affected families, community education, political action toward local policy and national immigration reform, and community organizing that brings the targeted, immigrant community into the center of the organization to guide our projects. WICIR volunteers make up a diverse group including people from various faiths, academic and social justice groups.   Laura is also a clinical social worker, instructor at the U of M School of Social Work, and provides therapy to families in the area.


2013 Technology Perspectives: a film series co-sponsored by Transition Town Chelsea
Fridays from September 27 through November 15 / 7:00 to 9:00 PM
All films are FREE [donations welcomed]

A film series with discussions that examine how Technology has impacted and shaped our view of the world, our minds, our health, our social relationships, our society, and the natural world. A wide variety of topics and accompanying films are utilized in our tour of the various issues. The public is invited to attend one or more weeks, or all of them.

September 27 – Us Now showcases many examples in which digital technology and networks are
enabling creative new social structures that were formerly impossible. Brave New World jolts us into
the fast-arriving world where nothing is private and life goes on.

October 4 – Surviving Progress asks us to consider whether our relentless drive forward
technologically and economically has outstripped our human ability to manage the consequences and
the Earth's ability to absorb it all. Instinctively we may think that we want progress. But have we
evolved to be too “smart” for our own good?

October 11 – Genetic Roulette presents the controversial views of Jeffrey Smith and other researchers
about what genetically modified organisms may be doing to our bodies silently and unseen, tying
GMOs in our food to the mysterious upsurge in several categories of human health problems.

October 18 – The Use and Abuse of Vegetational Concepts. Need we say more? The film says a lot about how a mechanistic view of reality has penetrated into the deepest reaches of how we think about ourselves and the world around us, including so-called eco “systems”. Director Adam Curtis brings forth historical details to pack in the maximum ideas-per-second. Hang on, it is a whirlwind.

October 25 – Trigger Effect, in fine retro style, details the world's present dependence on complex technological networks through a narrative of New York City and the power blackout of 1965. Are we becoming more or less resilient? This film also explores non-linear effects of introducing new technologies into societies, from the ancient invention of the plow to the discovery of oil in Kuwait.

November 1 – Digital Nation assesses some of the effects of the digital revolution on our minds: information overload and multitasking, transformation of education and learning, and the schism between virtual reality and real reality. “Digital natives” and “digital immigrants” often view the issues differently.

November 8 – Clones and Drones week! Clone dives into the miraculous potential and frighteningpossibilities behind genetic cloning, including impact on the natural concept of a family. Drone On shows the peaceful/beneficial uses of drones in addition to the destructive uses we have heard about.

November 15 – Towards a Sustainable Future (Auroville 36 Years of Research) Demonstrates that technology can follow a path that is integrated with nature. This uplifting film chronicles the deliberate attempt to build a “city of dawn” in the coastal region of India with people from all around the world developing and experimenting with technologies to support the project.


Fridays, 7:00 to 9:00 PM: February 15, February 22, March 1, March 8, March 22, April 5, April 12
2013 Permaculture From the Ground Up Film Series (co-sponsored by Transition Town Chelsea)
All films are FREE [donations welcomed]

Permaculture (derived from "permanent agriculture") is a branch of ecological design that emphasizes sustainable architecture and self-maintained agricultural systems modeled from natural ecosystems.  Permaculture uses advanced human knowledge to work with nature instead of against it to design abundant, integrated food production systems for home and community.  It is one of the Transition Movement's founding principles.

In a series of films and discussions, see how permaculture can transform our world while it helps to sustain our community and elevate our spirits. For all, from the gardening enthusiast to the nature lover to the aspiring homesteader to the intellectually curious... Let's get started and find out what is possible. To be followed by design demonstrations at local sites.

Films and discussions will encompass practical aspects of permaculture for anyone from the gardening enthusiast to the aspiring homesteader, and also include forays into social, spiritual, and community dimensions.  Light refreshments.  We hope to incorporate some investigational tours of the local natural environment on some dates.  Following the end of the film series, we are planning design workshops at several sites in the Chelsea area.  Free; donations welcome.

February 15 – Introduction to Permaculture Design, with Geoff Lawton, takes us into the world of
permaculture design and introduces a new way of looking at the world. Learn how to apply design
skills by observing, analyzing and harmonizing with the patterns of Nature. Based on Bill Mollison's
72-hour Permaculture Design certificate course.

February 22 – A Permaculture Perspective is a talk by Bill Wilson about the importance of
permaculture with case studies to suggest that it is a way of living in authenticity within a lower
energy context. Ruth Stout's Garden journeys into the life of a woman who, from an age of over 90
years, offers a great deal to young and old about gardening and sustainable living at her homestead
in upstate New York.

March 1 – Rob Hopkins, founder of the Transition Movement, reveals in an in-depth interview how
the movement emanated from the permaculture design process. Permaculture: A Quiet Revolution
follows visionariues from around the world at the 8th International Permaculture Convergence with
strategies to arrive at self reliance and sustainability through the permaculture process.

March 8 – Power of Community depicts how in the midst of crisis, people in Cuba transitioned from
a highly mechanized industrial agricultural system to one using organic methods of farming and local,
urban gardens.

March 22 – Soils brings back Geoff Lawton, from beneficial minute soil microbes found in compost to
massive regenerative landscapes systems that harvest water, demonstrating his vision for creating a
world of abundance by deep understanding of soil.

April 5 – Urban Permaculture continues with Geoff Lawton showing how to apply the Permaculture
design technique to the urban environment and how to redesign the back yard. Designing the Urban
Garden shows by example how to start a design on paper.

April 12 – Forest Garden with gardener Martin Crawford shows how he moved from conventional
organic gardening to creating a forest garden from a bare field in Devon, England. Martin shows you
how to plan your planting to mimic the layering, density, and diversity of a forest.


Saturday, April 20, starting at 2:00
2013 Earth Day Celebration
no cost

Talk by Tom Princen, who studies the keys to environmentally sustainable communities and corporations, followed by singing by Tom Gerard, then drumming with Jeremy Montagne and Tree of Life drummers. 

Thomas Princen’s most recent book is Treading Softly: Paths to Ecological Order.  His present work is called, “Leave It in the Ground,” a way to end our dependence on fossil fuels, with strategies of how to achieve that post-fossil society.


This page is currently being updated. Please contact us if you have specific questions about previous program events at the Michigan Friends Center.