Permaculture & solidarity

Permaculture is a global phenomenon. Responding to climate change is also gong to take the work of everyone on the planet to turn around the challenges we face going forward. Simple but effective ways to express our solidarity and to support other leaders around the world are needed to accelerate these much-needed changes. This is one of the many reasons why we are working in Uganda to develop links between Wales and Africa and to share learning and support in new and effective ways.  The teacher in the video below is working to support vulnerable girls from extremely poor back grounds to attend high school in their home district of Busoga in Uganda. Last years she attended a permaculture design course with Sector39 and this year we are returning to help develop a forest garden to support the girls and the wider objectives of the school. Small but practical steps to affect change in a way that also supports change around the world. We need you help to make this happen, any donation, not matter how small will help towards this end.

perma-poster

Here is one of the project beneficiaries talking about using permaculture to very low income support students at the high school

Permaculture at the Cathedral

cc1For many people completing a PDC can be a life changing event. Not least become they come to the subject looking for a catalyst to accelerate changes in themselves which are often already well underway. Permaculture puts flesh onto the bones, it enables a person to move from defining themselves by what they don’t like or approve of, to what they positively do strive for.

Modern societies greatest fallacy has been to externalise the environment. We are encouraged to see the living world as something outside of our selves, where of course nothing could be further from the case. By externalising the natural world we have lost sight of our own place within it.

Permaculture begins within you. It starts as way of seeing, of thinking about the world that makes ourselves active players, spectators no more, we become participants. Sustainability is just an idea really until we really take it on board and think about what we mean. If something is not sustainable it by definition leads to collapse or footcut.jpgimplosion. It doesn’t matter on what level it is happening the outcome will be the same. It is no co-incidence that so many people feel a deep sense of disconnection from a global society that seems hell bent on its own self destruction.

Permaculture teaches us that nothing exists in isolation, we are all the product of interactions between living things. We humans are as intricately bound into the web of life as are the plants, fungi and animal around us. We couldn’t digest our food with out the yeasts and bacteria in our gut, our waste would not decompose and plants couldn’t extract nutrients from the soil. The air we breath is full of oxygen released by plants and all life* draws its energy from the sun.

*(Actually there are some weird and wonderful life forms that draw on geo thermal energy to exist, but they are far removed from anything we recognise).

Why the Cathedral?

Permaculture design is for everyone, it teaches how to live on this planet without destroying it, it is not an exclusive club for greens. Although many of its pioneers are hardened environmentalists as a club it is open to all for membership. We all have a stake in a living planet, not everyone has fully realised that yet maybe, but the wake up point comes to everyone at some point.

The 2 week residential course is out of reach for all but the most dedicated students. Although it is a fantastic experience every time it is also hard to squeeze into busy lives, childcare and work responsibilities. At Chester we created a modular course based on evening classes of 3 hours, supported by home study directed by resource pages and videos.

This pattern has enabled students to weave the course around their existing commitments with a degree of flexibility.

 We are excited to announce we are invited back to Chester this October to run the course again and build on what we set in motion on the first course. 

I am writing this on my phone as I wait for train to Heathrow to pull out of Shrewsbury station. The next Sector39 course kicks off in Kamuli Uganda next weekend with 25 African farmers, teachers, students and civil servants. We are partnering with the Permaculture Research Institute of Uganda who are keen to connect us with Government and funding bodies out there. We will see how it all goes, delivering an excellent PDC is our first goal but are keen to develop peer to pèer learning models to enable us to launch a permaculture academy and create 1000s of new designers and teachers. Permaculture and Africa go beautifully together, an explosion of creativity just waiting to happen. Watch this space.

 

 

 

 

‘The Sun is not actually warm’ Pruit.

Scott Pruit, incoming chief of the EPA shocked and stunned the world yesterday with the revelation that CO2 does not cause climate change.  Single=handed and in his first week in office Pruit has solved what was the single biggest threat to humanity by simply making stuff up.

Today he has gone on say that the sun isn’t actually warm. The heat we feel is some kind of chemical reaction between our skin and the air , although so far this new insight is not understood or indeed has not even been noticed by anyone else government officials assure us that this is indeed the case. Pruit brings a whole new approach to our understanding of the natural world, where previously scientists had thought that things were in some way connected and could be understood by observation, testing  and data, now we know the folly of our ways. 

“If the sun isn’t actually warm, then how can heat from the sun be causing climate change?” concludes the new head of the Environmental Protection Agency.

Up until this week the soaring co2 levels in the atmosphere, rising oceanic temperatures and melting ice caps pointed to the fact that the world had a terrifying problem of global warning due to fossil fuel burning and deforestation. However it seems all this ‘scientific’ evidence was just hysteria bought about my 1000’s of confused scientists still locked into 20th century superstition that empirical evidence and research is actually a sensible way to do science.

“Scott Pruit is a hero!” Said environmentalist and permaculture teacher Steve Jones yesterday.

 

bad

Many ‘scientists’ now feel stupid that evidence and research led them to such incorrect conclusions

 

“I am so relieved, for years now I have been under the misapprehension that evidence and data were in someway important in deducing our impact on the biosphere. Pruit has shown up the scientific community by pointing out you can just make stuff up and then the problem just goes away”. Steve Jones

Water is not wet.

Taking his insight and methods further I understand Pruit is soon to prove to us that water isn’t actually wet.. when we experience wetness in water  it is actually fluids from within our bodies being sucked to the outside by some force that has not yet been observed or measured but Pruit assures us he feels this is the case. Once again his new approach has stunned the world showing just how pointless all this science and stuff has been, what a waste of time!

Pruit’s revolutionary approach to solving the climate crisis now means the whole EPA can be dismantled as we realise that we have no responsibilities to the environment after all. Rachel Carson will be rolling in her grave, she must feel ashamed that she tried to trick us all into thinking that pesticides and pollution in some way matter. Her limited thinking has stood in the way of vast profits that could have been made by despoiling the environment even faster than we have, there are top executives and globalised firms out there that could have made even more billions of dollars they couldn’t possibly ever spend if those pesky eco-nuts hadn’t stopped them pillaging the planet.

Trump’s new era of enlightenment has also proved the water pollution is not a thing so in future corporations will be allowed to dump whatever they like into the environment as making money turns out to be much more important than having a future generation, water to drink or air to breathe

 Even if it turns out that we haven’t quite got this right concludes Pruit.. We can always make more stuff up to prove it wasn’t our fault.

This new approach to science by not requiring evidence or data is really going to speed up progress and save millions in pointless research and peer review of work says Pruit.

It is a new era of enlightenment, think what other problems we can solve by simply ignoring them and pretending they are not real.

 

 

 

Forest Garden for Busoga High

 

group_tree

Field trip to Busoga 2016

Connie is the English Literature teacher at Busoga high and last year Grace from Sector39 caught her for a few minutes during the S39 PDC at nearby Kamuli, to talk about the girls she supports at the school. They are developing a school garden within the campus to generate small incomes to provide for essentials for the girls. I love the idea of a school empowering its pupils to generate money towards fees, books and accommodation and we hope to celebrate and promote this kind of partnership through our teaching work. 

 

When Raymond Orenda from Homa Bay permaculture Kenya contacted us about contributing to the next Kamuli PDC in May 2017 and offered a forest garden workshop, it wasn’t hard for us to put 2 and 2 together. Can we develop an output from the PDC that is an input into Connie’s essential work at Busoga.

ray

Raymond celebrates the next stage completion of their project base in Homa Bay

Obviously on a busy PDC schedule time and resources can be limited but we can certainly set something in motion here that could be start of a longer term project for Busoga high and that could serve as an inspiration to school around the globe.

The idea of a school releasing some grounds so students can begin small enterprises that meet both their own and the wider communities needs, creates a powerful change in the relationship between school and the pupils.

Sector39 have been at the forefront of permaculture in the UK since its inception in 2005 and bases its teaching work on the 25 years of project and educational experience.

wales/ ugan

English teacher Connie from Busoga High with Han Rees from Llanfyllin In Kamuli last year

We are based in Mid Wales but have strong links across the UK and with permaculture in Uganda, where we have been invited to take an active role in the development of the Permaculture Research Institute of Uganda. Our second African PDC is intended to build on the achievements of partnership visits in 2011, 2014 and 2016, where significant contacts and networks have already been established.

African PDC’s. These are open to both local and international participants and especially suit farmers, teachers and project planners from East Africa and NGO staff and trainers planning to work in the region

pdc ads 2017

Next PDC courses: Wales and Uganda May & June 2017

We hope sector39 can bring the right people together in May/ June to advance this project and to develop it as a powerful example of collaboration between projects.

 

 

Science in the dark ages

Rachel Carson, author of the groundbreaking ‘Silent Spring’ warned us many years ago of the dangers of allowing politics to influence our understanding of the natural world.

 The real wealth of the Nation lies in the resources of the earth — soil, water, forests, minerals, and wildlife. To utilize them for present needs while insuring their preservation for future generations requires a delicately balanced and continuing program, based on the most extensive research. Their administration is not properly, and cannot be, a matter of politics.  Rachel Carson

This begs the question what is the role of science when the politicians of the day can cast aside the dire and detailed warnings of the climate science community despite the agreements and commitments they so publicly made to respond to this unfolding crisis?

event1We teach science in our schools yet we fail to adhere to it our daily lives, what message does this send to the growing generation? The smoking ban, compulsory seatbelts in cars, these were considered responses to known and measurable threats, so why then do we ignore the much more serious warnings about climate and energy?

We know of the disproportionate hold the oil industry has over our economy, over the US presidency and the Russian rouble yet to allow that reality to frame our responses will have dire consequences for all.

Last year we launched the Llanfyllin Transition Project, ‘Saving the Planet One School at a Time’ with the specific aim of exploring these ideas across the whole community and asking ourselves the question of how we can better prepare for what awaits us. To begin surely we are obliged to refer ourselves back to the science, what can we expect, what is happening how much do we know? Also we need to look at this information outside of the political and economic framework that surrounds the debate in the media.

factThe global scientific community will stage mass demonstrations to celebrate world Earth Day on April 22nd. This year’s event and campaign will fight against efforts to silence science and focus on creating and supporting knowledge sharing, community engagement, citizen science and stewardship.

We will be holding a series of events leading to Earth day the first of which is at Llanfyllin High School, 23 March building to the global event in April. It is free and will be informative, challenging and inclusive. Please be there. 

www.llanfyllin.sector39.co.uk

Innovating in the garden, heritage grains

It is always interesting and illuminating to hear from a past PDC graduate to hear what they have been wrestling with and working through since they finished their course.  This came today from a participant from 3 years ago, who had an active interesting in food growing and land work talk about the challenges of pursuing these ambitions.

Hi Steve! I’ve been keeping up with the blog and it’s good to see what’s going on in Wales with the projects 😊.

Last time I messaged I was looking to set up a market garden, I’ve been trying to do this for three years and have not succeeded yet! Land was hard to come by where I was living in Stratford (or should I say land that people would let me use) and so I moved to Birmingham thinking that an Urban farm would be better placed for a client base.
I’ve met up with a few food co-ops and local growers who have looked into trying similar things and we have all come across the same problems. In short, peoples attitude in the city towards food is not currently at a level where a urban food farm can thrive.
Peoples attitude needs to change, as you are well aware, indeed we have no option but to change with the coming challenges!
So I’m currently in talks with a few people and have started to work out a new project in order to change the publics relationship with food. The project is less about the amount of food grow at the end of the season but about peoples connection with the years cycle and how that relates to food production, harvest, the soil biology and preparing for next year. In a world of short termism, these are valuable skills to know.
The idea is to turn peoples back yard lawn into a field of grain. Rather than a field in the city, it needs to be personal and apart of the individual’s personal space in order for them to engage regularly. I will be visiting each household at key stages in the cycle to work with the individual about what to do next and to assist with the activity.
In the end the participant will have experienced the life cycle of the grain, from preparing the land (some or indeed a lot of preparation will be needed on ground that was once a compacted lawn) sowing, observing growth, harvesting, threshing, seed saving, milling and baking.
Oh I forgot to mention as well that the project will use regenerative agriculture techniques instead of current agricultural land management practices.
The project will be small to start with, only an handful of people in the first year or so, and then we can see if the project has legs.

I’m currently writing out an expenditure and have come across a problem, I’m struggling to find a place to buy any grain that is an old variety. Places to buy heirloom veg seem more available than heirloom grains.
Would you know of any organisation or individuals saving grain seeds?

Hope you are well!

D.

A reply came back from Emma of www.cultivate.uk.com the horticulture training centre in Newtown..

You can’t buy heritage grain. You can get small amounts from heritage seed libraries, and spend years bulking it up. Otherwise need to get to know growers and get direct from them.

The questioner came up with two links from the USA.
http://www.growseed.org/

http://www.growseed.org/seed.html

Need t check on the restrictions of sending seeds across international boundaries.

Llanfyllin School Project

llanfyllin message gif

Effective community led action begins with a youth empowered through education

The Sector39 team are currently busy working through our local high school and the wider community to support community led responses to the challenges created by our changing climate. Climate disruption and the issues generated by that reality is not going to go away as in issue, it will become increasingly urgent. Consequently we are formulating short, medium and long term responses to help reduce our own collective impact and to foster resilience to the changes and shocks that my lay ahead for us.

in Sept 2016 Sector39 won funding from the E.U. Leader programme to stimulate action in these area. We are still at the very early stages of the project and are putting out feelers in all directions to attract potential partners, participants, volunteers, sponsors and anyone who can help communicate our message to the wider community.

Look out for our public meetings, our VoxPop events and much more,

All events will be published via http://llanfyllin.sector39.co.uk

So far the project has:

  • Won potentially three years’ funding to take the project forward
  • Helped develop a community orchard for Llanfyllin
  • Designed a nature friendly, fun & interactive play space for a local respite care home
  • Contributed to GCSE Land Based studies course work and lessons at Ysgol Llanfyllin
  • Developed links across the community

Much more to come!

Simon Sinek on millennials and smart phones

Excerpt of Simon Sinek from an episode of Inside Quest. Apparently it has gone viral and I can see why. It struck me as relevant to permaculture in a different way when he talks about the growing addiction to instant gratification and instant results. We are hooked on the better, quicker faster cheaper mantra. We miss out on the slow and complicated, the unplanned and accidental, some of the most important things in life come from these places.