Laikipia Permaculture Centre – a New Centre for Kenya
PRI Kenya starts the Laikipia Permaculture Centre, with the theme: Permaculture for Food Security and Environmental Sustainability in Kenya.
School children using most of their time fetching firewood from great distances
Location: Laikipia County, North of the Great Rift Valley, Kenya
By putting up a permaculture training centre, this would translate into direct education on food growing, indigenous tree propagation leading to return of forest cover, water harvesting and conservation strategies, henceforth leading to a healthy community, self reliance and a self sustaining life that we desperately need in the developing world.
Laikipia Permaculture centre was founded in September 2012, by Joseph Lentunyoi when he returned from his permaculture training at the PRI Australia the same year. He teamed up with the Laikipia North community Kenya (Kariunga ward) to see this dream/vision come true. With His over eight years of practicing organic farming and permaculture, he thought about taking it back to his community who come from a pastoralist background.
My Personal Story
When I arrived in Kenya, from Australia in July 2012, I visited my neighbor woman farmer, whose subsistence farming techniques were causing soil erosion and water loss. Subsistence farming is how a large majority of Kenyans and people in the rest of Africa make a living , and I considered how the challenges facing that one farmer are, in many ways, a microcosm of the myriad challenges facing the Kenyan farmer in particular and those in Africa in general. This and other many problems inspired my dream of a permaculture training centre.
Laikipia Permaculture Centre is a 1.6 hectare farm located on the Laikipia Plain, Kenya. Traditional use of this region has been communal livestock farming — the keeping of cattle, sheep and goats. This has been the key activity here over the last ten years before it was put up for sale. Observations over the years concluded that the damage created by the cattle, goats and sheep was too great.
In the interest of preserving and enhancing the local environment we have started working with local communities to set up a permaculture centre as an alternative towards better livelihoods through education, and by doing this we will demonstrate that in helping each other, we can unleash extraordinary power that impacts our lives. Forest preservation and improved utilisation of natural resources, will be key elements. Laikipia permaculture Centre (LPC) is the only permaculture project starting up in this region. In spite of the ecological benefits to this area and decreasing land for animal communal grazing, the Maasai ethnic group have started transferring their animals to other areas where new degradation is happening.
Erosion just gets worse if nothing is done about it
Objects of the Project
- To firstly secure the land by fencing to stop the entrance and passage of livestock.
- To halt the erosion process using a combination of physical and plant barriers. At the same time most water entering the site will penetrate into the soil rather than running straight off.
- To enhance the soil.
- To trial a myriad of multipurpose species which have potential in the region.
- To establish a model for the local people demonstrating the sustainable production possible from an integrated forestry, fodder and food system.
- To provide a resource base of knowledge and plants for people wishing to implement similar systems.
- To create a seed-bank of effective species for use within the region and to produce alternative food and fodder.
- To provide education in the use of these nutritional foods, many of which were traditional dietary staples.
- Start up a permaculture library for information dissemination to the local community and the wider East Africa region.
- Network and work very closely with local NGOs and Government bodies doing sustainable farming development.
- To educate the local existing schools on the importance of producing their own garden-grown food. This would be the process of taking permaculture to schools.
- Holistic pastoral management.
Together we can move to Self-Sufficiency.