Rebuild Sunrise Farm in Kathmandu Appeal – Plus Updates

This is worth your time and support – real bottom-up permaculture relief and development in Nepal

RafterSass-Ferguson

A video about the earthquake that hit Nepal the 25th April of 2015. The videos are taken in Kathmandu, mostly in sunrise farm where we volunteers.

Link to our GoFundMe Campaign.

My name is Chris Evans and I’ve worked in Nepal for nearly 30 years, starting as a volunteer forester. In 1988, I came across the concept of Permaculture and embarked on an ambitious alternative.

Starting with a local friend, £500 and an acre of degraded farmland I helped found a demonstration and training centre in a remote area of western Nepal, which grew organically into the Jajarkot Permaculture Programme, a diverse array of projects spanning 4 districts, 65 villages, 8 resource centres (working farms), 120 staff and volunteers, and a membership of 12,000 farmers. During that time I also lived on a farm in Kathmandu where local villagers formed a committee to help manage the demonstration and training facilities there. One of the members was Shyam Shrestha, who went on to develop his own land in a similar way, starting in 1990.

Farmers learning advanced growing techniques for the cultivation of rice (SRI rice cultivation) at Sunrise Farm.
Farmers learning advanced growing techniques for the cultivation of rice (SRI rice cultivation) at Sunrise Farm.

Shyam’s house and land became Sunrise Farm, which has blossomed over the past 25 years, and although the city of Kathmandu has grown all around, it remains a green jewel of biodiversity, peace and productivity. As the closest organic and permaculture centre to the city, it is a crucial resource for organisations and farmers wanting to find out about permaculture, sustainable and organic agriculture, which is why, since the earthquakes hit Nepal in April and May 2015, with a team of people we are working hard to rebuild it.

What is Sunrise Farm?

Sunrise Farm is a community farm program committed to the demonstration and training of sustainable agriculture and community development techniques. It is a working farm, and offers facilities for demonstration, training (in sustainable agriculture, agroecology and permaculture) and distribution of seed, seedlings, and educational resources.

Sunrise Farm Est. 1993 Map
Sunrise Farm Est. 1993 Map

Sunrise Farm is part of a growing network of similar farms and village programs coordinated by the Himalayan Permaculture Centre (HPC), a registered NGO based in Surkhet District and also working in Humla and Kathmandu districts.

Companion Planting in the Forest Garden.
Companion Planting in the Forest Garden.

Over the past 25 years, the farm has welcomed thousands of visitors from all corners of Nepal and internationally to observe, learn and volunteer. The farm has also been a marketing hub for farmers elsewhere in Nepal, selling their products such as honey, pulses and garlic, helping rural farmers gain an income from their land.

Women from the Ladakh Ecological Development Group  (started by Helena Norburg Hodge, and featured in her film/book "Ancient Futures") who, on their annual pilgrimage to Buddhist stupas in Kathmandu, regularly visited Sunrise Farm  to view the demonstrations and receive training.
Women from the Ladakh Ecological Development Group (started by Helena Norburg Hodge, and featured in her film/book “Ancient Futures”) who, on their annual pilgrimage to Buddhist stupas in Kathmandu, regularly visited Sunrise Farm to view the demonstrations and receive training.

During this time, we have also written a book, called the Farmers’ Handbook in collaboration with local farmers in Nepali to help spread know how. Today, it is available both in English and Nepali to teach a wider number of people.

Sunrise Farm, July 2014 before the Earthquakes.
Sunrise Farm, July 2014 before the Earthquakes.
Urban rice cultivation (SRI rice training) at Sunrise Farm
Urban rice cultivation (SRI rice training) at Sunrise Farm
20-year-established Fukuoka no-till method demonstration site at Sunrise Farm.
20-year-established Fukuoka no-till method demonstration site at Sunrise Farm.

What is the actual situation?

After the huge earthquakes, over 8000 people were killed and nearly a million buildings were destroyed or damaged beyond repair. The farm, because of its open spaces, became a sanctuary where hundreds of people could be safe from falling masonry, and many families have been camping there, too scared to return to unsafe buildings.

Unfortunately Sunrise Farm was badly damaged suffering large cracks throughout the house. The livestock shelter was destroyed, and the main house will need to be pulled down and re-build. The families are now living in cramped conditions in what used to be the rabbit shed.

But out of the disaster has come the opportunity to re-build afresh, using techniques for green building that are more sustainable and safer should an earthquake hit again.

Families in makeshift shelters on Sunrise Farm.
Families in makeshift shelters on Sunrise Farm.
The destroyed livestock shelter at Sunrise Farm.
The destroyed livestock shelter at Sunrise Farm.
Nepali farmers onsite at Sunrise Farm.
Nepali farmers onsite at Sunrise Farm.
Families taking shelter on Sunrise Farm.
Families taking shelter on Sunrise Farm.

Sunrise Farm is a well-known training center, and by re-building with green building techniques, it can be used as an example for organisations and families that need to reconstruct their homes and livelihoods. It can show how good architecture and building can be combined with health and sanitation, sustainable food growing, fair-trade income generation with energy from solar and biogas systems to produce a resilient, low-maintenance and productive household.

Link to our GoFundMe Campaign.

Sunrise Farm Appeal has so far received 70 donations raising £8,778; over a third of the way to the £20,000 target ! Thanks to these donations The Farm now has the funds to make a good start…

We wish to send a HUGE thank you to everyone involved so far…

It is brilliant that individuals, clubs, practitioners and permaculture projects have kindly donated to help the farm rebuild.

With a bit more, we can make it to £20,000 to bring the farm bouncing back stronger and better-equipped than before !

« UPDATE – Sunrise Farm has given their first training session since the earth quakes hit in April and May 2015. »

Sustainable Steps Nepal
Sustainable Steps Nepal

Campaign Details:

To continue to offer training and to be able to fix the farm, we must raise £20,000 – for materials, tools and labour, and to continue to create and distribute training materials for villagers coming to the training sessions.

We are extremely grateful for every donation, but if you give more than £25, to thank you, we would like to offer the choice of the following gifts:

• £25 A tree planted at SunriseFarm and we will send you a picture of it

• £75 “I supported Sunrise Farm” embroidered T-shirt (hand embroidered in Kathmandu, available Nov 2015).

• £100 A free place on Applewood Forest Gardening course 2016.

• £150 Free food & accommodation at Sunrise Farm for 1 week (whenever you visit).

• £300 Free food & accommodation at Sunrise Farm and any Himalayan Permaculture Centre Farm in Western Nepal for up to 3 weeks (whenever you visit).

• £500 A free place on any Applewood course in 2016 (pending dates).

Click here to go to the online donations page

Updates !!!

From : SunriseFarm, Nepal 20th October 2015

« After the earthquakes we gave our first training »

http://www.sustainablesteps.org/initiatives/greenhouses/

Via Facebook
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From : Chris Evans, Nepal 17th October 2015 :

« I’m still in the villages – thanks to our solar powered farm here in
Surkhet am able every few days to log on to a dial up service.

…Sunrise Farm are finalising plans and have been getting builders & architects to assess what needs to be done and we have the funds to make a good start.

It looks like …a pillar system that will save the whole farm house from having to be demolished, just a part of it, and then infill between the pillars with different techniques for demonstration purposes – stabilized earth bricks, recycled bricks from the demolition, and gabion mesh with rubble infill are 3 options…

We’re looking at getting an Auram Block Press from Auroville for making the bricks which can continue to be used in other projects. Then for the livestock shed & training hall,some lighter structures around earthbag, cob/rammed earth, bamboo etc.

Via email
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FromChris Evans , Herefordshire, September 30th 2015:

« Off to Nepal tomorrow for 7 weeks, and will spend time at Sunrise Farm helping to plan reconstruction – we have enough to start work, but please keep sharing this campaign to keep the support rolling in. »

Via GoFundMe
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FromChris Evans , Nepal June 9th 2015:

News from Nepal

« You will all have heard about the massive earthquakes that hit Nepal on 25th April and again on 12th May. It’s sobering to think that as permaculturalists we strive to design resilience into our systems, but here’s Gaia showing us that no matter what we do there’s very little to prepare for the forces of nature that rent herself apart… »

Original Post on Permaculture Ambassadors Blog

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