Exciting donation for permaculture and Sector39!

The renoun and collectable artist Dale V Marshall has stepped forward and nailed his colours to the mast by making a stunning donation to Sector39.

I want to support permaculture with my art, thinking about the environment in this way has inspired me to begin a new phase of my own work. Dale Marshall

Dale who made his name as a street artist in Bath and Bristol, trained in Los Angeles and is currently in the process of relocating from Wales where he has been based recently to Ireland. Before leaving he wanted to suport some of the local people and groups that he had drawn inspiration from. This winter Dale attened three weeked long permaculture workshops at Dragons Coop in Llanrhaeadr YM with Sector39. Insights into both the workings of the natural world and the pressing need for a change of economic paradigm  convinced Dale of the power of permaculture.

I really wanted to support Sector39 directly and use some of my artwork to create opportunities in permaculture education. Dale Marshall


Dale V Marshall 2012


Speaking up for real change


On Fire in Cienega (Coast to Coast)

These two canvasses, part of series Coast to Coast and entitled On fire in Cienega have been donated to Sector39 for the purpose of supporting permaculture education. Each one is priced between  £3,000 – £5,000 and we would consider selling them as a pair to a collector or singularly.

July was hotter than any month globally since records began, Guardian

Permaculture is design system that models on nature itself to build resilient and regenerative systems for food, housing, energy and meaningful work. It offers many solutions to the challenges of a failing globalised economy, climate change and energy descent.

Many people are simply asking the wrong questions when trying to understand the chaos of our current times, permaculture provides a deep frame work of understanding that allows us to channel our fears and concerns for the futue into positive and meaningful action.

Permaculture provides hope by empowering people to work together as communities to address the challenges they face.
Steve Jones permaculture tutor, Sector39

Please get in touch if you are interested in the artwork, or in supporting permaculture education in any other way.

We offer a 2 week intensive permaculture design course in September in Wales and another spread over 6 weekend in Reading during the winter.

Sector39 are also currently developing a community transition project for their home region in Mid Wales.

Sector39 win project bid for Llanfyllin!

There are still hoops to be jumped through, boxes to be ticked and performance targets to met but Sector39 have won the opportunity to lead on a community transition and resilience project based in Llanfyllin over the next three years.

The premise of the project is simple:


Climate change science is decided, it is time for action.

We are already at a state of emergency!

This is a disaster for young people, we can no longer pretend that we don’t know. We need a fundamental change of direction.

James Hansen, NASA, 350.org

The Paris climate accord signals that the race to the low carbon economy is fully on. This needs to be led by the rising generation who can see beyond the current economic paradigm, leading us all to a  clean energy economy as fast as possible, this is now essential.

Here is James Hansen of NASA explaining what we have to do.

This project wants to listen to the voices of the science commnuity and work through school and commnunity to create new options for food, employment, education, economy and more. To visualise and plan for a truly sustainable future that meets our local needs as well as our global responsibilities.

The project itself is a plan to use the permaculture design model to re-imagine a school and community fit for 2040, 2050, a time when we will all be required to be living a net carbon neutral lifestyle.

  • What will our low carbon economy look and feel like?
  • How will we communicate the ideas, challenges and rewards of this amazing transformation?
  • How will we shape our common sustainable future?
  • How can we turn this challenge into our greatest opportunity?

We want our commnuity to be LEADERS in responsing to this challenge and to put both Llanfyllin and Wales on the world map as pioneers!

The World is hungry for inspiration,
Monica Araya, Costa Rica

Help us reinvent the future!

Join us!

A small country with big ideas

Here is Monica Araya from Costa Rica asking “How do we build a society without fossil fuels?”

Using her native Costa Rica as an example of positive action on environmental protection and renewables, climate advocate Monica Araya outlines a bold vision for a world committed to clean energy in all sectors.

Here is an interesting piece on how the TV weather readers are reacting to increasingly frequest weather events.

Letter from Gambia


Hi Steve..

We believe that  permaculture is  essential for sustainable development.
Buba, Gambia

Our aims are to create a central permaculture resource center as well
as build a strong permaculture network across the country by gathering
as much training materials and information on permaculture and organic
farming as possible. We would then aim to bring the information to the
rural communities in the upcountry regions and create a permaculture
revolution in our country.

We believe that by developing a permaculture movement here, we will help the government’s aims to make the Gambia a 100% organic and food self-sufficient country.

The challenge is that although we are a nation of farmers, as yet we don’t have any permaculture experts in the country. We were wondering
whether you could help!

We need help with finding some excellent permaculture experts who
might be interested in either becoming skype mentors or coming to the
Gambia to work with us. We can also feed people who come to
work with us.

In addition we’d be very grateful for any help in building a
permaculture resource center by finding all the training videos
and education materials.

Please let me know whether this is something you could help with.

Buba Jawneh
permaculture Gambia.

Hi Buba!

Great to hear from you. Some really useful ideas there, yes building up and sharing permaculture teaching resources and offering mentoring  are great ideas and essential to help spread permaculture.

I really agree with you that the potential for permacultre in Africa is huge, I sincerely hope we can find useful ways to support each others work, going forward.

Thanks for writing and please keep in touch,


Sector39 are currently working to support a Kenya permaculture tutor to complete his diploma and qualify fully as a permaculture teacher. He aims ot lead his community in Kenya towards fod security and we hope to share his learning and experiences across the network.

If anyone can help this campaign we would be really grateful.

Permaculture voices: Kamuli

Here is the first of a series of videos taken from interviews with some of the participants from the May PDC in Kamuli.

In conversation with Grace from Sector39, teacher Connie talks about the 10 girls she acts a patron for at Busoga high school. Moving and inspiring talk, using permaculture ideas to support education for otherwise economically excluded people.

The woods have been destroyed, they have gone away, how can permaculture help respond to this challenge?  Wilbur

We must replant, using local resources and by propagating the few trees  we have around. They will grow.           Connie.

What are you taking back to your community and home from the permaculture course? Wilbur responds to Connie’s question with a full and inspiring answer. He hopes to become a model for his village, by applying what he has learned.

He responds with a challenging question,

What can we do about the illiterates, those who do not understand the environment? Wilberforce, Dolen Ffermio, Kamuli

which Connie replies to begin by doing it.

Let them see you put these things on your land, if you cannot talk to them, let your actions speak. Connie, Kamuli 2016

Critical mass is coming

I am excited to see this latest initative from the Permaculture Association, recognising now is a critical time for engaging with the wider public to create real alternatives.

I have agreed to attend the Convergence and contribut to the talks on how we can use our permaculture networks to accelerate change. Permaculture economics, might bring togehter such things as crowdfuneing, PDC courses and projects to create a criticl mass to accelerate proejct development.

More on this soon, lease help share this post far and wide.

Economic illiteracy

Economic illiteracy

It’s the economy stupid!

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Change works on a feedback loop, fixing the economy comes with the requirement to channel resources towards more desirable outcomes. As players in an interconnected global market each of us has considerable power, our collective decisions shape the future. Spending and investment matters!

Our monetary system is driving us over the edge but how can we reform it?

Our obsession with GDP growth shows nothing less than we don’t understand  economics. The word Oikos, meaning hearth and home in ancient Greek also represents the basic building block of civilization. Oikos forms the root of both the concepts of ecology and economy and the decisions we make at the hearth side shape the world around us with far-reaching consequences.

The solar economy is a steady state, a constant we cannot change but can only plan in relation to. It is only through continued and expanding exploitation of firstly ancient woodlands, then trapped carbon deposits in the form of coal, gas and oil that we have been able to live beyond our means. Our shopping mall lifestyles aren’t going to run on a solar economy and expanding consumption puts us on a certain crash course with the environment. Ecological problems require economic solutions, and economic theories must obey the laws of ecology.

The transformation that is required of us to transcend the ecological crisis is an economic one. We have to find a way to a value-driven, steady-state economy, leaving the biocidal, growth-driven monster far behind us.  Steve Jones

Here in conversation with Max and Stacy is the amazing Dimitry Orlov       in the Keiser report’s summer solutions series discussing the possibilities for a human scale society. The vision of a vibrant, highly connected and  re-localised economy he outlines resonates with the permaculture vision.

This post forms part of a theme we are currently working on, to incorporate an economic framework into permaculture design teaching. What we might want to see as a restorative economy, an economy with teh ojectives of restoring community and natural systems to abndance.

This idea is beautifully imagined in the graphic i spotted on the net. Sustainability is only a mid point between on going desstruction and inravelling, and some thing that uilds positively in the other direction.


Permaculture takes us beyond sustainaility to regeneration.

A picture from Uganda


Dolen Ffermio member, artist and photographer Cordelia Wheedon sent us this wonderful picture she took from the design presentations at the Kamuli PDC in May. Depicted is course particpant Helen making her final presentation, mapping out a joined up vision for sustainability and abundance for the Busoga region.

We hope to be back in Uganda before too long as teaching there was such a positive experience for all concerned. Here in the UK, to a great proportion of people permaculture is still an interesting ‘idea’, whereas in Africa permaculture students are really doing it, applying it to the fundamentals of daily life. The learning and sharing tht is going on is truly inspiring.

Here are some words from Johnnie, a Rwandan in origin but someone who has grown up in Western Uganda and now is a grower for a comunity project in Kabale, who also attended the Kamuli PDC.

The PDC helped a lot in educating about land use in my community. One thing I learned is that even the useless land can become useful coz we had a land with bare rocks that no crop would grow on it, but applying organic compost from manure which I made by myself has made it useful,  I know this because I have some growing potatoes there and they are really good.


Johnnie, contemplating growing his irish

The PDC has done a lot more than teaching me about growing because it brought more knowledge about controlling soil erosion, becoming self-reliant and how to make change through slow and small solutions, that end up as big solutions!

The PDC has turned us into big permaculture teachers with a strong desire to share our knowledge from the training we received. There is so much to be talked about from the PDC.. I really hope Sector39 can work with us here in Kabale next year and offer a PDC for the region. I need more allies and more people thinking the same to make better progress.

John, potato farmer and permaculturalist, Kabale, Uganda

New life at Chickenshack

My co-operative journey began with the inspiration of working in rural Zimbabwe in the early 1990’s, where I first learned about permaculture and the possibilites of people working together towards common goals. Inspired by that and more when I did finally return to the UK I was determined to do something along those lines myself. I craved the opportunty to have my fingers in the soil, to contribute directly to the global transition to sustainability but also to crate a home, somehwere safe, somewhere to roost. In late 1994 Chickenshack was born as an idea and in 1995 with the support of a great many people, friends, investors and Radical Routes we moved in on August 1.

I spent 13 fantastic years there, learning much of what I now draw on in my permaculture teaching and running our first 3 PDC’s there before moving to Llanrhaeadr in 2009. Since then I have ben involved at the Workhouse, Cwm Harry Permanent Housing Co-operative and eventually Dragons co-op, where I now live. The co-operative journey continues!

Really thrilled to see this lovely video from Chickenshack where a new generation of members are making way for a brand new member! Good luck to everyone there for a continued bountiful future. !

Full Permaculture Design Certificate courses, Autumn/ Winter 2016-17


Sector39 are taking bookings for two full PDC’s running over the coming autumn/ winter period. An intensive, residential course in the Mid Wales hills with cmping or bunkhouse accommodation, in the second half of September

The 6 part course, runs every other weekend spread over three months, at RISC Reading, start in January.

Please get in touch to find out more about these fantastic opportunites to study permaculture and make connections and contacts to help you in your own ambitions. Studying permaculture is a big step towards a saner and more rewarding life, building solutions and responses to the challenges of the modern world.

£600/ £450 for the residential course (low price for those on <£18k pa)

or £225 for the 6 part course in Reading

A deposit is required to secure a place, please see the booking form

Turning rainforest into sugar, is this the best we can offer?

Working with Dolen Ffermio in Uganda, Steven Jones, Sector39.

It was a wonderful opportunity to work with Dolen Ffermio in Uganda last month, meeting many new friends and I hope future colleagues on the 2 week permaculture course held in Kamuli by the Sector39 teaching team.

Uganda is at a pivotal stage of its evolution as a nation, with an average age of under 18 and with a whole generation of the population now emerging from education, Uganda is all about the future. The people there are hungry for opportunity and the choices they make now will shape the emerging nation for many decades to come.

permaculture students

Uganda’s troubled history is now fully in the rear view mirror as the equatorial nation slowly emerges from the trauma, stress and mayhem of that period into a rapidly changing world. Economically they are still caught in the primary-producer economic stage, witnessed by the huge sugar cane plantations currently gobbling up the remaining rainforest at a frightening rate in a race to generate revenue for the government and their corporate friends.

Contrast the breathtaking ecology of equatorial rainforest, with its 200 species of birds, 100 of butterflies, without forgetting the massive canopy of huge and diverse trees and climbers that is the core of the forest to that of the sugar cane field. Whole ecologies are being consumed to please foreign markets; the price being paid is absolute destruction of pristine habitat. Never has the economic paradox appeared more clearly as a stark choice between ecology and economy?


Hauling sugar from remote parts of central Africa for global markets, the impact is absolute!

You know there has to be another way! There must be an economic model where ecology and economy are intertwined, where economic transactions create positive environmental and social benefits, where one is not at the cost of the other, well there is and we call this permaculture. At the heart of permaculture is a set of values and design tools that steer outcomes towards those which are mutually beneficial, ones that mimic nature, rather than consume it. Nature is diverse and interconnected, constantly changing and responding to new opportunites, it is dynamic and self steering; permaculture takes this a model and uses it as a design template.

The Sector39 team of 4, all from the Llanfyllin and Llanrhaeadr area delivered 120 hours of training over 12 days to 15 full time students and numerous guests and visitors during their 3 week visit to Uganda. Those completing course were certificated and can now progress towards becoming permaculture teachers in their own right as they gain experience and develop insight working with the ideas themselves.

The team concentrated on a design project focussed on the 30 acres of land on the banks of the Nile, funded by Dolen Ffermio that serves as a training and demonstration farm. It was tremendously exciting to be able unleash permaculture design thinking on such a place and the resulting presentation was witnessed by local teachers, the head teacher from Busoga high school, the regional environment minister anda range of community members. We hope to be able to return to deliver a series of courses in the area over the coming years. Strong friendships and working relationships have already been formed and we look forward to building on them.

Anyone interested in finding out more about permaculture please contact Steve Jones via sector39, we are planning to offer a full 2 week PDC course this September as well as a 2 day introduction weekend at Dragons co-operative in Llanrhaeadr.


See our Africa course blog here, as well as news on future courses and events.

Steven Jones

June 2016