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Re-Greening a Mountain

When Geoff Lawton says this is the best Permaculture demonstration site on the planet, then you have to stop and listen.

Where is it exactly?” I asked, as I’ve never heard of this place. I didn’t know the Chinese were even into permaculture.

Kadoorie Farm” he said and he insisted we go there and film. “It’s in Hong Kong on a massive mountain. The whole place has been redeveloped. You gotta see it”.

Geoff was teaching there four years ago and was blown away by what they managed to achieve. He described it as a “Permaculture Disneyland” that was very neatly manicured. It had been completely re-vegetated into a food forest with numerous water falls, ponds, rare turtles, terraced gardens on steep slopes, a compost and biochar system, a waste-water treatment plant and wetlands and so much more. It is an amazing site that was built so far ahead of its time with an emphasis on teaching local people.

Two brothers, Lawrence and Horace Kadoorie in 1951 took on an idea to redevelop a trashed and degraded mountainside on 148 hectares with the emphasis on helping people to help themselves through training, supply of agricultural inputs and interest-free loans.

The end result of our trip is a 16 minute video, that has Geoff as your tour guide, take you down the mountain slope, from the very top, through a forest system where the water is captured and irrigated down the steep terraced slopes, to the very bottom of the wetlands and nursery system. Geoff stumbled across an ingenious potting system they were using with great success that he dubbed the “airpot” as it allows plant roots to grow out laterally, and not be constrained, allowing faster growth once replanted in the natural system (Nursery Quality to Tree Planting Success).

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The Permaculture Research Insitute

PRI Zaytuna Farm functions as a model farm (in development) and permaculture training facility. Geoff and Nadia Lawton, world-renowned permaculture educators and consultants, lead the project. Much of Geoff and Nadia’s time over the last few years has been spent away from the Institute, consulting and helping set up projects in diverse locales around the world. Seeing the worldwide demand for knowledgeable permaculture consultants and teachers increase exponentially, as fuel and fertiliser prices skyrocket and the effects of climate change, soil depletion and water shortages begin to hit hard, priority and focus is now shifting back to the Institute, where growing the training program will increase the output of quality teachers to help fill the growing need for them.

4 Comments

  1. This is brilliant! It’s encouraging to see what can happen in an industrialised nation that is on the march in terms of modern development – that it has the know how and tradition to not only design such a system on a large scale but also regenerate a mountainside that was once quite barren. I would love to replicate something like this on the (much smaller) sloping property I have in Northern NSW.

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