Preparing for East Africa’s first Permaculture Convergence, join us.

Preparing for East Africa’s first Permaculture Convergence, join us.

Design for Sabina school driveway orchard 2008

A convergence is a coming together, in this case we are hoping to bring together leading practitiners and advocates for permacuture design in East Africa. The aim is to accelerate the already considerable momentum in the region by profiling some of the amazing work already underway in the region.

Since 2015 Sector39 have taught two full PDCs in Uganda and are planning the third currently. We have also formed a supportive partnership with two Ugandan organisations to enable us to extend our regional ambitions. East Africa is literally hungry for permaculture and there is so much that can be done to significantly improve people’s lives and resilience utilising resources that are largely already available.

It seems an obvious step forward for our East African partnership to try to raise the profile for permaculture by creating an event that demonstrates the many possibilities for its positive application. We are inviting some of the region’s biggest enthusiasts as speakers and workshop leaders and planning for an event that can bring together students from our first three courses with school heads, politicians and other scoial and financial gatekeepers with whom we might build new and mutually beneficial relationships.

The planned venue couldn’t be more ideal as it is home the most mature designed food forest in whole region and the school has embraced permaculture design and ideas within its core curriculum, even the Head Teacher has completed a PDC!

sabina permaculture

Students and teachers from Sabinas permaculture class meet Steve from Sector39

Sabina school is near to Rakai in central Uganda, the region that was the epicentre of the global AIDS epidemic. They are still in recovery from the terrible loss of life, creativity and human resource but are well on track to have the situation fully under control by 2030. Modern drugs have massively reduced the mortality rate, it is no longer a death sentence and people are open about their HIV status. That said there are still many orphans in the region and a great deal of work to be done to compenstate for the terrible effets of the epidemic.

sabina permaculture garden

Sabina students in the school’s forest garden. Bananas, avocado, pumpkin, jack fruit, there is food everywhere!

The 2-day conference is intended to both bring permaculture practitioners, students and pioneers together as well as creating a platform to celebrate and showcase achievements to inspire and demonstrate possibilities for new and interested parties. There wil be talks, demonstrations, a permaculutre futures forum and a school partnerships proposal Launch.

As well as site tours and demonstrations at Sabina there will be a chance to visit The Permaculture Research of Uganda, (PRI-UG) which has an ecological farm and demonstration site less than an hour from the intended venue and that is en route for anyone travelling from Kampala. The day immediately before and after the actual convergence will be open days for the site with guided tours and discussion forums planned.

grace and charles

Grace an ex pupil from Llanfyllin High school with Charles an ex Sabina pupil with some of the current juniors.

Political persuasion.

Permaculture belongs in schools. Imagine the anxiety for young adults when confronted with the fact that the next 30 years of their lives is going to dominated by climate change, a dwindling oil supply and the possibility if never-ending resource wars accompanied by ceaseless waves of refugees.

Currently it feels like no one in the main stream is offering solutions or ways forward they are battoning down the hatches and tightening border controls. We need to offer more than vision of a sustainable future, we need to provide the mechanism for change and pathways for empowerment and inclusion in that process and where better to begin than at school?

We have the support of the minister for education for Buganda and the national minister for education was a founding force behind Sabina school where the event will be held  so there exists a solid foundation to link the event to movement on a political level. When arrived in Kampala some 6 weeks ago our first meeting was with Mr Mula, permanent secretary to the Vice President of Uganda, he offered us his full support and strongly endorsed the work of Charles Mugarura and partners BEU Permaculture. We are looking to the younger generation to take the lead he emphasised.


Launch of BEU permaculture, Uganda’s most dynamic permaculture team and partners with Sector39 delivering this event

Sector39’s education team have since began work on 12 educational units for use in school that will introduce permaculture’s key principles to the curriculum, not as a subject but as cross curricular themes.

The East African Convergence gives us a timeline now to develop and profile this work. We have a key partner school in Wales to develop and trial the materials with as well as an emerging school network in Uganda so we are absolutely ready to take this work to the next level.

Pre booking and sponsorship packages are available to help us develop these potentials and we are also reaching out to teachers and educators to help realise these ambitions.

Delivery Partnership

  • The Sector39 education team are taking a lead role in organising this event, please contact us for bookings, sponsorships and other offers of help. There will be volunteering and internship opportunities as well.
  • On the ground logistics, site development, volunteer hosting plus marketing support and branding services are being provided  by BEU Permaculture, Kampala.
  • PRI-UG are offering demonstration visits, networking a practical support fir workshops and site development.
  • PermoAfrica centre and K5 community permaculture are linking us to on the ground community permaculture practical work in Kenya and will be profiling their 2 years of developmental experience for the conference.
  • Key note speakers tbc. We are  inviting a leading Author on East African botany, a leading agronomist and politician in the educational field to outline the key themes of the conference.

Meeting the head and agreeing on outline plans for the coming event

How to Convert a Lawn Into a Vegetable Garden

veg basket

Image by Pixabay

At the heart of permaculture is maximising available land so that it can be used productively in a sustainable manner. That is why many practitioners of this particular science believe that homeowners should maintain their own vegetable garden, because the land is best used for growing food, instead of something fit only for a lawn.

So instead of wasting precious resources on a lawn for the sake of aesthetics, why not transform your backyard into a vegetable garden to feed the family?

One Green Planet suggests that your end goal should be to utilise every square foot of your lawn into a space to grow vegetables. However, this isn’t going to happen over night.

A case study by Permaculture News Featured James and Mary Kniskern, who converted their lawn into a garden by planting vegetables one at a time. Eventually, the number soon exceeded the amount square feet of grass that was in their garden.

The important thing is that you get started on this by converting an area that you believe you can manage. Whether this means transforming your entire lawn in one go or one section at a time it’s up to you, just as long as you are sure that you can handle the work you will be facing throughout the process.

Transforming your lawn into a garden will entail getting rid of the existing grass that makes up your lawn, which can be a tedious process. However, the work can be made easier by getting a mower, as this will make the process quicker and easier. Screwfix features a variety of lawnmowers that follow industry standards but more important are able to be easily maneuvered around a garden. They vary from sturdy models to lightweight mowers perfect for getting into the small corners of your garden. Some models even come with collectors that automatically convert trimmed grass into mulch, which you can then use as fertiliser or as compost.

Once you’ve mowed the grass, you can then use the sheet mulch technique, which involves covering the land with cardboard, and then covering it with about 4 inches of compost or mulch (you can use the cut grass for this). You will need to wait for one season, or at least until the paper decomposes, to plant when using this technique. However, make sure there are no gaps where sunlight can seep through, as this can encourage the grass to grow once again.

On the other hand, if you do not have the patience to wait for an entire season for the grass to die, what you can do instead is to set up raised beds for your vegetables. RealFarmacy has one suggestion on how to do this efficiently. The process is essentially a modified version of the sheet mulch technique, but on a smaller scale. They implemented it on an isolated part of a lawn (no bigger than four feet), separated from the rest of the land with four boards. The plot was then covered by three cubic yards of manure, and spread evenly. One cubic yard of peat moss was then raked on to the compost before the vegetables were planted. After a month, the blogger was able to harvest his crops.

Dispatch said that the process of converting a lawn into a vegetable garden can take place between 2-3 years. While this might seem long, the effort will be worth it, as you will end up growing your own food and it will save you money in the long run. The important thing is to be patient throughout the process. During this time, take the time to study up on the best vegetables to grow, including how to take care of them and whether or not they should be cycled.


via PermoAfrica Centre

Yes my friends, Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, ‘What are you doing for others?

Me as apermaculture knowledgeable person i will connect skilled individuals in the communities who can help each other through permaculture knowledge /idea result to effective channel to achieve a wider reach, which they wouldn’t have been possible without technology but that can happen through having good friends which resemble a connection to life – a tie to the past, a road to the future.

i thank my friend Felix who come to learn how to make compost manure with locally available material in the permaculture project site. —

One School One Planet

Sector39 and partners have been working on this project for nearly a year now. We won funding from the EU and Wales to develop educational strategies and resources to deal meaningfully with climate change in schools.

We began from the stand point that you can’t just talk about the unfolding climate crisis without responding to it. Talking without action totally undermines the message: when turn up to talk about planetary emergency,  then leave in your big car and nothing changes it simply undermines the message.

There really is no time to waste, as CO2 levels continue to soar the world is in desperate need of some different economic strategies. Business as usual is clearly not an option.

We knew from the outset we had to link the work to action. It is education so much of that action could be in terms of pupils forming and developing ideas as well as communicating, sharing and networking those ideas with other students and schools.

However for the project to make a real impact we also want to create visible changes in school culture as well as on the ground action. We are seeking to develop a clear sense of engagement and responsibility with the subject matter rather than just passive observation. We are after all going to have work together to fix this.

The climate crises will not go away until we resolve it and the Paris Accord is telling us it is going to take 30 years of increasingly hard work to do so.

Someone needs to set the example and take the lead and it struck us a couple of years ago that it might just have to be us. My own increasing sense of exasperation and impatience was at boiling point so I thought we may as well bight the bullet and go into full on project development mode and try a develop a project that allows us to address the climate issue head on.

I had spent the previous 5 years with Cwm Harry a waste management company that made compost from food waste and we had put together a community garden development team utilising their output. Having built a demonstration garden behind their factory in Newtown we had then won a three-year project bid to build an organic horticulture training centre by Newtown college and a series of community gardens.

The final one of these was a community orchard and food forest for Llanfyllin. We undertook the initial design, consultations and plantings for this before the project funding ran out. Our intention from the outset  had been to evolve the project into an enterprise beyond funding but when it came to it the reality was that I was based in Llanrhaeadr and my main collaborator was based in Llanidloes so geographically starting a joint enterprise in Newtown didn’t make sense.

I took out a business development loan from Robert Owen Community Bank and hired the services of Jemma Dixon, one of the brightest of our recent PDC graduates and sat down to write a series of funding bids with the intention of creating a more locally focussed project that built directly on the previous experience.

First thing we learned is that writing bids if difficult, long-winded and uncertain. It was a gamble. I went through cycles of elation and depression as each bid was completed then returned unsuccessful but we were getting nearer each time.

This was my thinking, climate change is a global problem to which there is no solution as such other than a complete overhaul of our food, energy, land management, social and economic systems.

Education is going to be the key to bring the next generations into this new reality, yet we are still behaving like this massive looming problem isn’t happening. It’s that old adage the educators are guilty of preparing the pupils for what just gone rather than what is before them. Well this time this can’t be allowed to happen. The students of today need to be the climate leaders of tomorrow, this the core assumption of the project.

Permaculture design tells us to start small and to start local. We had already begun our community orchard in Llanfyllin so this seemed a good start point build active relations with school and community but I also knew we had to have a global perspective too.

My personal permaculture journey began in Zimbabwe and I have been in love with Africa ever since. When I discovered back in 2011 that Llanfyllin had strong links to Uganda via a local charity, Dolen Ffermio my ears had pricked up and I readily offered my services to help host a visit of 6 key Ugandan partners to Wales later that same year. I made the return visit in 2014 on a study tour there and now I was sure there had to an African component to our own project ambitions, especially as it built directly on already existing Wales / Africa links. A bid was written to Hub Cymru Africa only to be returned through lack of evidence of need or measurable outcomes. So Sector39 bit the bullet again and self funded for a small team to go out there to deliver our first African PDC through Dolen Ffermio and their partners Busoga High School, Kamuli.

Students at Sabina School, central Uganda in their school’s forest garden. Why isn’t every school surrounded by an oasis of fresh healthy food? These 13-year-old permaculture Students want to help Welsh schools achieve the same. Reducing carbon emissions, building fertile soil, it’s an outside class room and play area that contributes to food security and tackling poverty, what is there to not like about that?

Finally the jigsaw pieces were falling place: the goals and process were becoming clearer and I could see who the right partners and funders should be and how to approach them. It took 9 months to complete the EU application and we were on almost starvation rations by the time the project began in August 2016. They kept us guessing to the last-minute be finally we got the positive answer we so badly wanted
The other project dropped into place a few months later when we finally won £10,000 to develop the African component of the project based on the evidence we returned from our trip with. 

The way we respond to climate change, it is increasingly clear to me is to deliver on the U.N. Sustainable Development Goals. We have to tackle poverty in all its forms and the injustice and discrimination that underpins it.

Question: How do we do that you may well ask?

Answer: Permaculture design offers a design mechanism for change. Bringing permaculture into education and empowering to more actively shape their own destiny provides an achieveable to affet this kind of change.

It’s all linked, the war waged on the planetary ecosystem is waged against mankind as well, solve one and we solve the other. There is everything to play for here!

Permaculture is a design system for sustainability. It gives us the ‘how’ in terms of the method and process to achieve the gargantuan task before us. Really it is a win  win situation, something tht is self-reinforcing.

Many people are wondering where the jobs and opportunities are going to come from for the next generation when the answer is right there before us.

Fix poverty, fix climate and create masses of new opportunity at the sane time; humankind needs to innovate, invent, create, communicate like never before. Thi si swhere future employment is going to come from.

The next generation are literally giong to have the opportnity to save the world!

This needs to be the golden age of creativity and the educational tools to allow this human scale evolution need to be in the hands of those who are going be most affected by these changes. Education needs to embrace permaculture as the tool that an empower it pupils to create a sustainable future for themselves.

I strongly believe we can do this, it is definitely going to be a bumpy ride but once we are focussed on the challenge before us there is no reason why we can’t transform the world in the only way that will give us stable future.

We are excited and optimistic as we plan for year 2 of the project. It becomes ever clearer how to bring permaculture into school and with realisation that responding to the threat of climate disruption is an opportunity to create positive change for everyone.

Permaculture in Central Africa

Things have moved quickly over the last 3 weeks. Uganda is in shock, first a crippling drought in a place where drought is not known then the maize crop is devasted by the army worm.. a new pest from Soth America that attacks especially the F1 maize hybrid varieties.

In UK permaculture is still seen as an interesting idea, in Africa it is being seen as essential. A vital approach that speaks to African tradition yet embraces design and global vision. Traditional yet modern and fresh. Permaculture can revitalise innovation in an Afrocentric way.

We have been fortunate, we have won senior misisterial endorsement this time. From the office of the Vice President and from the minster fir education for Bugandan kingdom. 

“We want to be leaders in permaculture for Central Africa” Mary Kabanda Babirye MP. 

The Sector39 team were invited to address 60 head teachers from the central region yesterday and we presented for a full hour on our permaculture work in Wales and Uganda to the assembed group before being whisked away in the ministerial mercedes to  5 star lunch at Masaka’s top hotel.

I sense big potentials ahead. Watch this space. 

Below.. forest garden nursey in Jinja where we sourced many of the plants for recent school garden project.

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.


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.



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.