Aid Projects, Building, Courses/Workshops, Energy Systems, Land, Retrofitting, Village Development, Waste Systems & Recycling — by Doug Weatherbee May 21, 2011
Note by Owen Hablutzel: This article from Doug Weatherbee speaks to why the skills and approach of Permaculture are becoming increasingly recognized among international development communities as being necessary and often more useful on-the-ground than conventional ‘development’ approaches for achieving often complex and practical goals in the difficult circumstances often encountered where people, livelihoods, basic needs, and struggling economies intersect. The Permaculture approach can broaden the scope and greatly increase the ‘toolbox’ available, while keeping these elements related and connected through attention to the context and larger whole. Now, more than ever, the world is ready for more Permaculture! What can you do to further prepare to meet this expanding need?
by Doug Weatherbee, Center for Appropriate Technology and Indigenous Sustainability
To a hammer, the whole world looks like a nail.
In many development aid projects around the world, not-for-profits (NFPs) are doing valuable work solving problems for communities and regions. Many of us who have done some sort of development aid work come to these communities with the NFP’s focus area (for example, clean drinking water, sanitation, or agricultural projects) and a set of NFP aid workers who are trained in the NFP focus area. However, when we land on the ground, in real communities and regions, the problems don’t necessarily stay contained within the narrow box of the NFP’s focus or the expertise of its workers. "The real world of people living, eating and growing food, having shelters, dealing with sanitation, having clean drinking water, staying warm or cool, creating families and communities, all of this is a rich mixture, and its problems and solutions don’t often fit into tiny neat boxes," says Jim Hallock, of Tierra Y Cal, who has experience building sustainable shelters in Haiti, South and Central America, and Africa. "When I show up in Haiti to help build a school or a clinic I’m asked about how to grow a food garden or deal with drinking water contamination."
The conundrum so often experienced is that NFP workers are unprepared to deal with aspects of the larger community or regional problems outside the scope of their skills or the not-for-profit’s focus. Sometimes aid workers need a screwdriver, and all they have is a hammer.Comments (2)
Aid Projects, Animal Housing, Bird Life, Breeds, Community Projects, Demonstration Sites, Education Centres, Fencing, Fish, Livestock, Working Animals — by Marty Miller-Crispe May 19, 2011
At SPERI’s Human Ecology Project Area we have a number of Farmer Field Schools (HEPA FFS) which are host to students from a variety of indigenous minority groups from Vietnam and Laos. The students are here to learn about eco-farming and permaculture whilst respecting traditional laws and customs.
The main focus of the farms isn’t to be productive, but rather to provide an environment where the students can experiment with various farming methods of growing crops and raising animals. So, although we do obtain a yield from the farms, the greater yield is the knowledge the students gain from trial and error.
HEPA FFS is in lush rainforest near the Laos border south-west of Ha Noi. The weather here varies from very cold winters (no snow but feels like it could!), to hot dry summers toasted with hot winds from Laos, and moving into cold monsoons and flooding at other times of the year. As such it is a challenge for the students to obtain a yield from the crops year round, and even more of a challenge to keep healthy animals.Comments (7)
Photo © Craig Mackintosh
The Social Policy and Ecology Research Institute (SPERI) located in Vietnam is seeking a volunteer to live and work at the Human Ecology Practice Area (HEPA), located in a beautiful rainforest south west of Hanoi, close to the Laos border.Comments (1)
Aid Projects, Community Projects, Courses/Workshops, Demonstration Sites, Education Centres — by Craig Mackintosh PRI Editor May 17, 2011
|"We are an oasis of green sitting amongst the dusty hills of Konso, Ethiopia. A land of proud and simple, solid folk, with hoary palms and wooden arms, who hoist and toil through their days to push that rolling rock, the wheel of life, ever on and up around, amongst those rocky rugged slopes, on the edge of the Great Rift Valley."|
Regular readers will have appreciated the great work that Alex McCausland is doing at Strawberry Fields Eco-Lodge, in an amazing location in Konso, Ethiopia. His updates have been of great interest to me personally. I’m looking forward to visiting his project myself at some point to do what I can to shine a spotlight on this excellent developing example of a self-replicating permaculture demonstration site. (See also this great series by Alex Metcalfe to get even more of a sense of the flavour of the people and place.)
Anyway, in less than two weeks time their latest Permaculture Design Certificate (PDC) course will be held, lead by the competent hands of the PRI’s Rhamis Kent and Strawberry Fields’ Tichafa Makovere. The course runs from May 30 to June 11.
This is a fantastic opportunity to gain an experience of a lifetime, whilst supporting a valuable permaculture aid endeavour — the type of which we’d like to see replicated across the developing world.Comments (0)
Dispatch from the Jordan Valley Permaculture Project (aka ‘Greening the Desert – the Sequel’) – April 2011
Aid Projects, Community Projects, Demonstration Sites, Education Centres, Urban Projects — by Dan Smith May 4, 2011
The Jordan Valley Permaculture Project (aka ‘Greening the Desert – the Sequel’)
Here at the Jordan Valley Permaculture Project in Jawasari, we’re hard at work building the main facilities and enhancing the fertility of the site while we’re at it. Those who had the chance to see the system last summer may have had some pangs of fear looking at some of the fruit trees, nearly prostrate beneath the intense yearly roasts the Jordan valley experiences in last months of summer — last summer being particularly severe. But today, the system is strong and growing. Acacias, Prosopis, Tipuana tipu other hardy nitrogen fixers have shot up, and the formerly-moribund fruit trees are twice their size, growing healthily in the shade of the pioneers. Apart from one sickly palm, not a single fruit tree was lost, and we even have our first yield of fruit!Comments (10)
Aid Projects, Community Projects, Demonstration Sites, Land — by Craig Mackintosh PRI Editor April 27, 2011
The wind turbine generates some of the site’s power
All photographs copyright © Craig Mackintosh
Since my last visit to the homeless camp in north central Slovakia, it seems some unrestrained enthusiasm for all things permaculture has lead Daniel Diškanec to leap in and try to make a start with his site development. The first design step, to observe, got somewhat overlooked in the rush, so a few errors were made, as we’ll see below. Guiding this enthusiasm will be important to the success of the site and last weekend we made a start to accomplish this.Comments (3)
Aid Projects, Building — by Stacia Nordin April 18, 2011
We are helping to collect funds to build a sustainable classroom for one of our best performing schools in Malawi. The classroom will be built with mud and thatch technologies that are easy to maintain (to look like the picture here). The funds will pay for a team of builder-trainers to come to the school for a week to work with the school community to build the new classroom.
I visited the school with the Ministry of Education and Agriculture last week and we gave the school a score of 93 percent for School Health and Nutrition (SHN) performance – the only school we’ve ever given such a high score in the short time that the School Health and Nutrition programme has been running. We were amazed at their progress. Below you can read a bit of background and some specific details about the school project.Comments (1)
Aid Projects, Building, Community Projects, Courses/Workshops, Demonstration Sites, Education Centres, Energy Systems — by Alex McCausland April 4, 2011
Editor’s Note: As many of you will have noticed, Alex has been making some great practical updates on the work going on at the Strawberry Fields Eco-Lodge. Below is yet another little update on the practical application of permaculture in southern Ethiopia. In addition to the Steve Cran Training of Trainers course, the PRI’s Rhamis Kent will be making a May 30 – June 11, 2011 Permaculture Design Certificate course at Strawberry Fields in Ethiopia. Both of these courses are worth some serious consideration.
Another structure we built in the last couple of weeks was a small cob-oven. This is a great thing for our project to save on fuel wood consumption and allow us to make more kinds of food, like pizzas as well as baking loaf-bread rather than only flat bread which we currently make.Comments (5)
Aid Projects, Community Projects, Demonstration Sites, Education Centres — by Marty Miller-Crispe April 2, 2011
Just over a week ago I arrived in Vietnam with three of my daughters to work as a Volunteer for SPERI (The Social Policy Ecology Research Institute). SPERI have a number of properties where they have established Human Ecology Practice Areas (HEPA) which run Farmer Field Schools (FFS).
Upon arrival in Vietnam we spent a few days in Hanoi with an introductory workshop at SPERI’s office. The following day we took a nine hour bus ride to HEPA and arrived around 9pm to freezing temperatures and torrential rain. But even in the dark, cold and rain we fell in love with the place.Comments (4)
Aid Projects, Community Projects, Courses/Workshops, Demonstration Sites, Education Centres, Energy Systems, Land, Processing & Food Preservation, Waste Systems & Recycling, Waste Water — by Alex McCausland April 1, 2011
Editor’s Note: As many of you will have noticed, Alex has been making some great practical updates on the work going on at the Strawberry Fields Eco-Lodge. The following article is another good example. I thought I’d mention that if you want to soak in some excellent experience at this site, Steve Cran will be leading a great course beginning July 1, 2011 that you might want to attend if you can.
The heat chimney for the solar fridge
The solar fridge is a new system which we have now managed to get set up after months of pondering, trying, adjusting, tweaking and trying again. We think we have finally got it kicking and pretty well integrated into the other functions of the kitchen area, so we can demonstrate permaculture principals with it pretty nicely.
The system is based on an old design for desert/dry-land cool storages which makes use of a heat chimney to create an up-draft which then sucks cool air in to the storage chamber from below. This air may pass through a long tunnel in its way to the storage chamber and hence be cooled by the ground on the way to the chamber. In order to enhance the cooling of the air on the way to the chamber, if possible, water, by evaporating will take in thermal energy, causing the temperature of the air to fall further. The main logistical issue to deal with, as usual, in building the system, was getting the theory to work in practice using available materials. Most of the construction work on this project was done by one of our long term volunteers, Duncan Colquin from Herefordshire, England, so a big thanks to him.Comments (4)
Permaculture Training of Trainers: Interactive Training for Permaculture in Aid Work in the Developing World (30 Day Program US$2000; 8-week follow-up internship program US$1000)
Aid Projects, Community Projects, Courses/Workshops, Demonstration Sites, Education Centres — by Alex McCausland
Steve Cran brings his infamous Green Warriors (Permaculture-Aid Workers’) Program to Ethiopia. This course is a full-on intensive, interactive action learning Training of Trainers Course, inducting the participants on the practicalities of applying Permaculture to the development of food security in rural third world communities. This induction will be done through action learning: The participants themselves will run a “Community Sustainability Course” for two local Ethiopian School Communities in the local Konso area of South Ethiopia. Participants will thus be capable of leading community trainings in Permaculture for themselves by the end of the course. Another outcome of the course will be development of plans for Permaculture implementation in the two local communities. Those opting to take the follow-up internship will participate in the implementation of the plans developed by the school communities during the training, facilitated by you. This course will not only qualify you to lead Community Sustainability trainings in the future, it will actually result in the initiation two Permaculture schools in Southern Ethiopia.
Facilitators: Steve Cran, Tichafa Makovere, Alex McCausland
Dates: July 1st to July 30th (optional internship to follow, August 1st to September 30th, 2011)
Location: Konso, South Ethiopia
Venue: Strawberry Fields Eco Lodge
Requirements: A passion to help with food security in the developing world; strength of will and dedication; a previous PDC or experience practicing PC is not necessary though may come as an advantage.
Aid Projects, Community Projects, Consumerism, Demonstration Sites, Eco-Villages, People Systems, Society, Village Development — by Craig Mackintosh PRI Editor March 31, 2011
Already doing what it can to operate along sustainable lines, a homeless camp in Slovakia is looking for a permaculture makeover and evolution.
In little more than eight years, more than 800 homeless people have come and gone through this little site. For some it was temporary salvation, giving them a roof over their heads just when they needed it most, for others it meant even more — redirecting their life from its downward, sometimes criminal trajectory, to give them a sense of self-worth, a new skill-set and positive purpose.Comments (5)
Aid Projects, Community Projects, Compost, Rehabilitation, Waste Systems & Recycling — by Craig Mackintosh PRI Editor
Joe Jenkins isn’t afraid of nutrients, in whatever form they may come. He’s a champion of turning waste from being a problem to being a solution instead; a resource, in point of fact. Many of you will be familiar with his Humanure Handbook. If not, you should!
Perhaps few places in the world are in need of nutrient cycling solutions as urgently as Haiti.
Below is a three-part video series covering the work of Joe and others to help restore some sanity to sanitation in the beleaguered island nation.
Humanure Compost Training in Haiti — Part I
Observations and Interactions at the Jordan Valley Permaculture Project (aka ‘Greening the Desert – the Sequel’)
Aid Projects, Community Projects, Compost, Conservation, Demonstration Sites, Developments, Earth Banks, Education Centres, Food Forests, Food Plants - Annual, Food Plants - Perennial, Irrigation, Land, Plant Systems, Project Positions, Rehabilitation, Salination, Structure, Swales, Terraces, Urban Projects, Water Harvesting — by Christian Douglas March 30, 2011
Is it any wonder with daily reminders of the widening disparity between exponential population growth and water and food scarcity, so many of us begin to question the possibility of long term sustainable human habitation on the planet? Being a constant witness to damage caused by modern agricultural practices — motivated and driven largely by corporate greed — is proof enough that our ineffective systems have to change and come back into balance. My recent post in Jordan opened my eyes to this reality more than ever before.Comments (19)
Aid Projects, Community Projects, Demonstration Sites, Education Centres, Project Positions, Village Development — by Isaac Harkness March 25, 2011
Some days, says Yves, it’s like this, “dammit, the donkey just stepped on my foot and the goats ate my broccoli, but damn, look at that sunset!” Not too long ago, I had the opportunity to volunteer on Yves’ and Jen’s Sacred Suenos project. It is located on a mountainside near Vilcabamba in southern Ecuador. Using permaculture principles and methods as the overarching guiding force, they are regenerating the land. Oh, and by the way, it’s being done on the budget of a local farmer, and it’s a two-hour walk from the nearest road.Comments (7)