Permaculture adventures in Sector39

Trying to make sense of living in a crazy time

Commentary on permaculture, networking, courses updates, news and related info
Cwm Harry Land Trust, Treflach Farm, Permanent Housing co-operative, S39 work with several different projects, gardens and farms
Links and discussion on wider sustainability issues, news and opinion

Sector39 is a partnership of gardeners, teachers and rural craftsfolk, working in persuit of a saner, more sustainable world.

Shock doctrine and free market: Naomi Klein speaks some sense

I really admire Naomi Klein, she is a brilliant communicator with a clear narrative to offer on the global development. If you don’t know of her then here s a great short clip of her talking on the theme of neo-liberalism, or free market capitalism

Meanwhile back on Wall Street the madness and fraud continues… Sub prime loans have not gone away.. just shifted.. this time to car loans and its another huge loan fuelled bubble ready burst. Max Keiser provides a brilliant commentary and critique of main stream economics, we are being robbed blind and he points exactly how and by whom.

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The secrets of food marketing

Very powerful talk on how we are all complicit in what is essentially a massive act of animal cruelty. Marketing may deceive and present a partial and rather shiny picture.. but we allow our selves to buy into this deception. Worth a watch.

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Green Shoots: Monthly piece for Llanrhaeadr Chronicle

Green Shoots

July 2014

It has been an interesting month for the environment.  We are saying goodbye to Government minister Owen Patterson who we now understand declined to be briefed by the Government advisor on climate change; it’s a sad day when politics doesn’t have the time for science or to fully consider the long term implications of the decisions they are making.

As someone with a long term background working for the environment I have long held with the view think global, act local, so I think it is locally where we can often have the most impact with our own actions. That said it is deeply frustrating when our own government ministers refuse to review the startling information about the negative impact that development is having on the environment. We are fed the idea that it is a trade-off between the two objectives; it’s either development or the environment and this is simply not true.

Going forward it is essential that we embrace development models that speak to both agendas and this is why I dedicate a great deal of my time to the study and practice of permaculture design. The rules of ecology are non-negotiable and we ignore them at our peril and continuing to do so will lead us into sudden and violent economic collapse. Currently witness the crop-lands of California, withering under yet another serious drought or the disastrous top-soil loss in the Mid-West. We simply cannot afford to squander our ecological assets in this fashion and expect there not to be dire consequences. Now we witness the geo-political positioning over access to the remaining fossil fuel reserves rather than seeking realistic low carbon solutions.

As a local community our priorities should be around using our collective voice to lobby for more sensible approaches whilst also working hard to protect our own biodiversity, reducing our energy use and securing our own local food supply. The last decade has seen an explosion of grassroots social and environmental projects as people worldwide come to realise the predicament we are all facing. This is also driven by the increasing realisation that meaningful change will come from the bottom up, rather than top down government led initiatives which are so closely defined by their intimate relationship with the existing status quo.

So our greatest hope comes from the actions of individuals and communities; to collectively explore and develop alternatives to the resource intensive system of capital that we currently enjoy.  As Cwm Harry and Sector39 and as members of this community we are active running courses, building community gardens and supporting the development of grassroots responses and we invite anyone interested to get in touch to find out more.

Steven Jones

@misterjones2u

www.sector39.co.uk/blog

Follow my blog for up to date discussion on sustainability issues as well news on eco-business development, community owned farms and ambitions for a significant expansion of permaculture education in North Wales.

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Please Circulate + Stop Press + General interest: Permaculture News

First Full Permaculture Design Course to be held at Moelyci, a community owned farm in North Wales

View at Henbant farm, one of the places we will be visiting on the PDC

View at Henbant farm, one of the places we will be visiting on the PDC

Moelyci, the 390 acre hill farm in North Wales was saved from development as a holiday park by the local community to help preserve its rich cultural and ecological heritage and established as a centre for conservation and environmental excellence in 2003.

Recently they have teamed up with Cwm Harry, an environmental service and training provider from Mid Wales to expand the vision of Moelyci to encompass Environment, Education and Enterprise as its core mission statement.

The first potential tenant in this new partnership and with the intention of developing a coherent framework for sharing and building on its core message is the Sector39 permaculture design team. Permaculture is a well-established and rapidly-maturing design approach informed and driven by the application of a deep understanding of both ecology and community.  Steve Jones and Sector39 have delivered numerous permaculture courses and built a reputation as one of the leading permaculture teaching groups around.

Sector39, Cwm Harry and the UK Permaculture Association are currently collaborating to develop the North Wales Permaculture Academy. We want to extend the provision of permaculture education, to create opportunities for volunteers and internships as well as for long term research and demonstration. The potential for collaboration with the community owned farm is vast, with its organic horticulture business, allotments, upland grazing and community composting facility, green wood working and more, the possibilities for innovation and collaboration are endless. We intend to use a series of permaculture design courses to help shape and deliver this aspiration.

A permaculture design course equips you with a practical design approach to attempt complex problems. It is the way in to systems thinking, a frame work for collaboration and it is the best tool-kit we have to facilitate a rapid transition to a re-localised, low-carbon and resilient economy. Completing this course is a powerful step in one’s own personal transition, putting convictions into practice, to bring about positive change and to become an active part of the solution.

We are looking for people who want to be part of the process, to help shape the Academy and build productive links with Moelyci and the surrounding community, whilst gaining practical skills, knowledge and connections at the same time.

Course fee is £600, however a discounted price of £490 is available for early bird bookers on low income (<£18k).

This includes camping accommodation, food, field trips, practicals and certification. The Permaculture Design Certificate is an international recognised qualification, authorised by the Permaculture Association.

Find out more about this and other courses at:

Follow @misterjones2u @cwmharry

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Alice Friedemann of EnergySkeptic.com talks to JHK

Strongly recommend you listen to this.. Peak Oil, collapse and preparing for change..

Alice Friedmann has studied the evidence and is the sudden collapse camp of possible future scenarios. She doesn’t hold out much hope for for the never ending growth model. This is a fascinating and well informed conversation with journalist and writer James Howard Kunstler.

http://kunstler.com/podcast/4865/

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Nafeez Ahmed.. is a fascinating interview on ‘how the Pentagon is bracing for collapse’

Dr Nafeez Ahmed is a clear and sane voice, often writing for the Guardian and presenting his analysis that links economic turmoil, energy descent, climate change and political turmoil into one coherent narrative. In this short interview for RT he outlines what the 1% are planning to protect their hegemony and how even scientific reports such as the latest IPCC summary document are doctored to suit the perspective of the powers that be.

If you have not seen the documentary Crisis of Civilization then I suggest it is well worth watching, it is a brilliant essay on the state of things today and helps frame the wider long terms issues we are facing.

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A great day out in Newtown 12th July

We have two one day courses on the same day to choose from on the 12 July at the Newtown community garden.

Introduction to working with herbs, making herbal remedies and a background understanding of herbal medicine.
With Amanda Dean, qualified medical herbalist and transition trainer.. this is powerful information put across in a truly accessible and inspirational format. Taking a greater degree of control of one’s health is a major step towards personal empowerment. Find out more here. This is a very popular session and we work regularly with Amanda.

Composting toilets, theory and practical. So why do we choose to foul our own water supply? It may seem like a leading question, but the truth is it is very expensive, not sustainable and there simply isn’t enough fresh water in the World for everyone to use it as a toilet. The answer is simple, safe and cost effective.. this is a must for community gardeners, outside spaces and for new developments. Find out how to safely manage humanure using the Joseph Jenkins method, plus experience a review of other compost toilet strategies. More info here.

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Permaculture education: beyond the design certificate course

So I was in my favourite restaurant the other day and I asked them what they had on the menu.. permaculture pie came the reply. Mmm I said how does that come? .. well you can have a slice, a whole pie or ten pies the same…

So that is basically the selection we are offering in permaculture education.. you can do an introduction weekend, do a two week design course or go away and complete ten design cycles under your own steam or under the guidance of a tutor. Its a great selection if what you want is pie.

Its about time we added some options to that menu, especially if we want to broaden the customer base and make ourselves more widely appealing. We need entrées, snacks, aperitifs, soups and burgers – both meat and veggie. A selection of main courses, takeaway and eat in as well as sweets, desserts and a full cheeseboard.

So here it is the Permaculture Academy.. we are meeting in North Wales tomorrow to flesh out the menu and d fill our diaries with dates for all these new dishes we want to offer.  For teachers and schools, business and community groups, new pupils and old war horses. Stuff to take home and use, products, services, foods, ideas, web chat seminars.. a constant stream of information and practical advice as well as learning opportunities and more.

So yes, we will still be serving our old favourite permaculture pie but soon a whole menu of options is to emerge.. and if it all goes to plan tomorrow we will be setting up a Wales and North West permaculture academy based on a community owned farm near Bangor, with access to ongoing projects in energy from waste, upland pasture management, grazing, forestry, horticulture, cooking, cheese making and much more…

Its a big plan, not fully imagined yet and still to get its green light.. but the momentum is growing and we will be setting out our stall tomorrow afternoon at Moelyci environment and enterprise centre in North Wales in an open meeting this Friday.

Please get in touch with me @misterjones2u if you wan to input into this process or to find out more as and when it occurs.. but it feels like exciting times and chance to open up our palates to whole new range of tastes and textures!

PDC advert for September 2014

PDC advert for September 2014

We are also planning our next Pie, the good old PDC.. which will be in North Wales in  September.. we will be using the PDC to help develop the aspirations for the academy and we think this will be an excellent opportunity for anyone who wants to be involved in helping shape permaculture education going forward from here.

I had some remarkable feedback from the most recent course.. so remarkable I thought i would share it with you here… it came in the form of  an email entitled.. You’re a sod!!!!

In the nicest possible way, of course!

The PDC has, even though I thought it wouldn’t, changed so many angles from which I look at not just my ‘project’ but the world at large.  It’s truly a revolution disguised as organic gardening!

I really want to thank you (and crew, of course) for the most inspiring fortnight of my life. Don’t know if you noticed, but I was really welling up when we did the ‘Permaculture Handshake’. As for the Permaculture Rap well, no more need be said!!

You’re an inspiring bloke and, despite your occasional (frequent, really) mannerisms – nose, hair, pens, shirt, trousers, masking tape, side-tracks etc, we were really all hanging on to what you were going to say next with a real desire and enthusiasm.  And you pulled it all together brilliantly – it showed considerable thought and planning.

I’ve often been in the receiving end of Death By PowerPoint but your delivery was the most entertaining and, much more importantly, crucial I’ve ever come across. So, many many thanks for what you do, and never change.

Thanks Simon… for the feedback.. !

Hey guys this group might have topped your permaculture rap! check this out…

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Buying the co-operative farms

Am really pleased to see there are moves under way to acquire at least some of the co-operative farms being sold off to prp up the bank. Like many i cant but help feel the farms are much more valuable than the bank.. symptomatic of the times we live in, when we value the virtual and bankrupt more than the soil that feeds us!

Please pass this on.. Sector39 and Cwm Harry are not involved in this. but are really hopeful that the bid is successful.

Why?
The proposal to buy the Co-op Farm at Tillington by a National Co-op Farm Trust and form a Coop Farm Business aims to save the farm land into trust – respecting the saved reinvestment of profits by members, staff and managers over a hundred years and also to enable the continuation of the successful Co-op Farm business at Tillington.

The urgency to organise a bid to buy Tillington Farm arises from the need for the Co-op Group to pay of the massive debts they have accumulated through the miss-management of the Co-op bank and other costly errors by the Group. Selling Co-op Farms to the highest bidder is seen as part of the solution. It’s up to us to ensure that at least one farm remains in co-operative ownership and does not pass into the hands of companies more interested in asset stripping and little regard for the long term health of the soil.
One benefit of this Co-op community farm buy will be to reinvent and renew the values of the co-operative movement which have been so damaged by the recent problems of the Co-op Group and Bank.
If we are successful, the land at Tillington will be under community control with land value captured for community benefit and will prevent this significant national asset being stripped by private or overseas buyers.
In the longer term, the farm could move to a more agroecological approach for its management including greater use of biological pest controls, more diversity of cropping and soil enhancement. It could also build on the work already started to educate and inform people about farming and inspire them to get more involved in where and how their food is produced.

About Tillington Farm

• 5miles NW of Hereford ( HR4 8LQ)
• 512 acres
• Apples, cider apples, cherries
• National Collection of 1000 apple varieties
• Co-op ownership since 1909
• Part of the Farm to Fork education project
The farm is currently run commercially as part of Co-op Farmcare which also operates at 14 other sites across the UK.
The sale of Farmcare has come about because the Co-op Group urgently need to raise money to pay down the debt of the Group including the Bank. Our aim is to form a Community Land Trust as a community benefit society to own the land and buildings to lease to farm business co-operatives to continue to manage the farm.
This is an exciting opportunity to ensure that the farm remains under co-operative management and over time become of shining example of sustainable land use where people can come, learn and then copy . The purchase will also mean that the existing jobs on the farm are protected.
How will it work?
If we can put together a bid to buy the farm before 15th June (the Co-op Group‘s deadline) we would invite people to pledge investment to funds the buy-out by the Trust. The Co-op have placed a value of £8-10 million for the land and buildings at Tillington which stretches over two sites. Our advisors suggest that such a share offer in a Community Land Trust is likely to be successful.
However before that state we need to get through the first round.
This means preparing a bid that meets the requirements of the Co-op Group.
To do this successfully we will have to bring in a range of experts on the financial, co-operatives, fund raising, promotion and farming aspects of the bid. This will cost money and therefore we have launched a Fighting Fund To Keep Tillington as a Co-operative Farm and safeguard the 1000 heritage apple tree collection.
Support
Hundreds of members of the Co-op Movement have already pledged their support to buy Tillington but we need to broaden this appeal out to the wider community. If we are to be successful in reaching the target of £10m. Therefore developing a very effective promotion of the share offer for Tillington will be part of the preparing the first round bid.
To achieve this we need raise £7500 in the next few weeks to produce a very convincing bid which will see us into the next round of bidding.
Please support us make sure that the idea grows and becomes reality by supporting our Fighting Fund
What Next?
Aside from developing a solid bid to enable to move to the next stage of the bidding process we are also intending to organise a public meeting in Hereford to raise awareness of this project , build local support and sign up potential investors.
What do we need to do the Raise £10m?
Although £10 million is a huge some to raise, it is less so once it is broken down into manageable chunks.
£10 m only requires 10,000 people to contribute an average of £1000 per donation or community share investment. Or 20,000 investing £500 each
Joining together to invest in a Co-op Farm Trust bid for securing Tillington Orchard could secure jobs, biodiversity, community connected farming, farm to fork education, and our apple heritage – as well as build our co-operative common wealth.
Why? The proposal to buy the Co-op Farm at Tillington by a National Co-op Farm Trust and form a Coop Farm Business aims to save the farm land into trust – respecting the saved reinvestment of profits by members, staff and managers over a hundred years and also to enable the continuation of the successful Co-op Farm business at Tillington.
One benefit of this Co-op community farm buy will be to reinvent and renew the values of the co-operative movement which have been so damaged by the recent problems of the Co-op Group and Bank.
If we are successful, the land at Tillington will be under community control with land value captured for community benefit and will prevent this significant national asset being stripped by private or overseas buyers.
In the longer term, the farm could move to a more agroecological approach for its management including greater use of biological pest controls, more diversity of cropping and soil enhancement. It could also build on the work already started to educate and inform people about farming and inspire them to get more involved in where and how their food is produced.
About Tillington Farm
• 5miles NW of Hereford ( HR4 8LQ)
• 512 acres
• Apples, cider apples, cherries
• National Collection of 1000 apple varieties
• Co-op ownership since 1909
• Part of the Farm to Fork education project

The farm is currently run commercially as part of Co-op Farmcare which also operates at 14 other sites across the UK.

The sale of Farmcare has come about because the Co-op Group urgently need to raise money to pay down the debt of the Group including the Bank. Our aim is to form a Community Land Trust as a community benefit society to own the land and buildings to lease to farm business co-operatives to continue to manage the farm.

This is an exciting opportunity to ensure that the farm remains under co-operative management and over time become of shining example of sustainable land use where people can come, learn and then copy . The purchase will also mean that the existing jobs on the farm are protected.

How will it work?
If we can put together a bid to buy the farm before 15th June (the Co-op Group‘s deadline) we would invite people to pledge investment to funds the buy-out by the Trust. The Co-op have placed a value of £8-10 million for the land and buildings at Tillington which stretches over two sites. Our advisors suggest that such a share offer in a Community Land Trust is likely to be successful.

However before that state we need to get through the first round.
This means preparing a bid that meets the requirements of the Co-op Group.
To do this successfully we will have to bring in a range of experts on the financial, co-operatives, fund raising, promotion and farming aspects of the bid. This will cost money and therefore we have launched a Fighting Fund To Keep Tillington as a Co-operative Farm and safeguard the 1000 heritage apple tree collection.
Support
Hundreds of members of the Co-op Movement have already pledged their support to buy Tillington but we need to broaden this appeal out to the wider community. If we are to be successful in reaching the target of £10m. Therefore developing a very effective promotion of the share offer for Tillington will be part of the preparing the first round bid.
To achieve this we need raise £7500 in the next few weeks to produce a very convincing bid which will see us into the next round of bidding.
Please support us make sure that the idea grows and becomes reality by supporting our Fighting Fund
What Next?
Aside from developing a solid bid to enable to move to the next stage of the bidding process we are also intending to organise a public meeting in Hereford to raise awareness of this project , build local support and sign up potential investors.
What do we need to do the Raise £10m?
Although £10 million is a huge some to raise, it is less so once it is broken down into manageable chunks.
£10 m only requires 10,000 people to contribute an average of £1000 per donation or community share investment. Or 20,000 investing £500 each
Joining together to invest in a Co-op Farm Trust bid for securing Tillington Orchard could secure jobs, biodiversity, community connected farming, farm to fork education, and our apple heritage – as well as build our co-operative common wealth.

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A brave new future

Permaculture Academy

Seeing the wood for the trees

The case for education for sustainability has never been stronger than today. Permaculture design is for everyone, it is not the exclusive realm of greens and liberals.. but for anyone who wants to understand how to create harmony and abundance and to live on this planet without destroying it. It is the science of maintaining a continuing future.

Cwm Harry is currently discussing the possibilities of teaming up with Sector39 permaculture and Moel y Ci environment and enterprise centre to create a permaculture academy and research centre.  Steve Jones, lead tutor at Sector39 maps out the road ahead.

Permaculture design has a huge role to play in the transition to sustainability. It allows us to understand complex systems; with its patterns to detail approach permaculture allows us to see the wood from the trees. Food and energy security, protecting biodiversity, soils, water, jobs, livelihoods, homes, waste – there are so many aspects for consideration it is simply not possible to design for sustainability without considering all of them. Sustainability requires a systems approach; it calls for integral design and for the unleashing of collective intelligence.

permaculture_graphicPermaculture empowers people to take a greater care of place, to meet resource needs from outputs, to eliminate waste and to create abundance. The march to sustainability is not a top down process but rather an empowerment of all individuals to see their own place with in it and to play their own active role in bringing about the kind of world they want to live in.

Although Permaculture demands on-going study, of learning how to see the patterns that underpin the natural world and to learn how to emulate them, its core tenets can be learned in a couple of weeks of study. This is where its true power to transform lies, it is complex and open ended yet its core ideas can be picked up and communicated rapidly.

If permaculture teaches us to harmonise with the natural flow of energy and materials, literally to create abundance, it also teaches that what we need to achieve this is lying around us already. There is literally nothing stopping us from achieving these goals right away.. it is simply a matter of seeing the possibilities and arranging the components in a harmonious and productive way.

• Permaculture Education
Really it is learning by doing, permaculture is experiential in how we learn to work with its patterns however that process starts with some basic input of ideas. If permaculture is a language for sustainability then it is really useful if we can all sing from the same page. It gives us a vocabulary with which to talk meaningfully about our relationships with each other, the resources we interact with as well as the wider environment.

Permaculture education breaks down into three basic levels:

The Introduction: Usually a weekend course and often as a result of the interest and curiosity in the subject that tends to grow from first contact. The introduction weekend is often held on a new-ish project location and hosted by advocates who are also keen to share what they have learned so far.

Dr Matt Swarbrick is an ecologist and former BBC wildlife cameraman. He completed his PDC in 2012 and has just hosted his first Introduction to permaculture weekend at the stunning hill farm he is restoring to its former glory in North Wales.

Dr Matt Swarbrick is an ecologist and former BBC wildlife cameraman. He completed his PDC in 2012 and has just hosted his first Introduction to permaculture weekend at the stunning hill farm he is restoring to its former glory in North Wales.

The Design Course: Want to know how to work with nature, and how to build for sustainability? How about how to put together complex ideas like projects and community developments? Permaculture design gives you the tool kit to approach complex tasks effectively and competently. There is no alternative to experience and depth of knowledge, but permaculture design gives you that framework and a starting point. From here on in it only gets better!

This 2 week intensive course covers all the basics and gives you a framework for literally years of study and practical work. Two weeks seems like a big commitment, but there area for study is very broad and the course itself includes being part of a design team developing a presenting a real design, it gives you not only theoretical knowledge but hands on experience as well.

Advert for our June 2014 PDC.

Advert for our June 2014 PDC.

The Diploma: Developing the experience as a landscape and project designer, as a leader or facilitator for change takes practice. The patterns don’t emerge until you have seen a process through a few times. To this end to become an experienced permaculture designer and to be able to lead on your own courses it is generally accepted that it takes developing and implementing a series of designs and reflecting on the process as an active study to hone and develop ones abilities.

It takes at least two years and maybe much more to complete a permaculture diploma – but this worthwhile activity is how new permaculture designers and teachers are born!

Permaculture Academy

And now to this end Cwm Harry and Sector39 are teaming up to develop a fully integrated permaculture program, which we are grouping under the heading of a Permaculture Academy. The intention is to create learning opportunities for practitioners at any stage of their permaculture education and to provide a full progression from novice to professional.

  • Introduction talks and briefings
  • Practical hands on weekends
  • Permaculture Introduction classes
  • Full Permaculture Design courses
  • 6 month volunteer practical placements
  • 2 year Diploma programme based on our own Permaculture Research Institute

These plans are currently under consultation with the various parties concerned ans we hope to formally launch this exciting new project in August 2014. Any more information about this project please contact Steve Jones, why not follow @misterjones2u on Twitter.

Permaculture global

Permaculture is a global phenomenon, it is the fastest spreading grass roots movement around the world. Here is a wonderful short video soliciting wider support for permaculture design originating from the US.

Steve Jones, author of this piece and director at Sector39 has been involved in permaculture since 1991. Studying at Fambidzanai, Harare, Zimbabwe and Centre for Alternative Technology in Mid Wales. He was quick to put his convictions into practice, founding Chickenshack housing Cooperative in 1995, a permaculture designed community whilst developing his own teaching and project development skills at CAT, the RISC roof garden, before founding Sector39 in 2005.  Sector39 have now delivered 25 2-week permaculture design courses as well as many shorter introduction and practical courses reaching many hundreds of participants. Since 2010 Steve has been active with Cwm Harry Land Trust in Newtown Powys, developing community growing spaces and honing a new 5-day community garden design course process.

Building effective links between Sector39, Cwm Harry, the Permaculture Association and Moel y Ci to form the Permaculture Academy and to locate a long term permaculture research institute is the realisation of a long held ambition of Steve’s to bring permaculture design to the fore. The stated aim is to demonstrate its power and potentials and to create opportunity for broader involvement via a fully integrated training and experiential learning programme.

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