Forest Garden for Busoga High

 

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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.

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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.

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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

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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.

 

 

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.

Hey Owen Jones, I wrote you a letter!

Hi Owen Jones,

I watched Hypernormalisation yesterday, I dont know what you thought of it but the things that stood out for me strongest was the statement that many radicals have disengaged from the political process because it is too complex and slow and also the comments that Occupy ran out of steam as it had no new vision to offer, just righteous anger and a great operating system. The whole thing has got me thinking about how we can articulate that alternative vision to the crumbling current one, and in doing this might help re-engage a great number of people with the political process.

I do like a lot of what you say and respect where you seem to be coming from in a lot of what you say about the Labour party and its future prospects.  I am not a politico, and am not up with all the names and jobs and machinations that makes it all work but I think I have something of value to offer to the process and don’t really know how to engage properly in a way to get heard. I think everybody is missing something really quite big and in that might lie a huge opportunity for Labour to seize new territory and develop its own agenda.

I hope I haven’t lost you already, I will try to be brief as I can.

The future is going to be different, really different, for several big reasons. Thomas Piketty, Ha-Joon Chang or Paul Mason all put it better than I can but we cannot escape the fact that the neo liberal paradigm has run its course and many people can see that, however there is really nothing to put in its place, so we all carry on. Essentially we are still preparing for the wrong future.

If Labour can frame and articulate a new vision they stand to capture the new territory that our economy is heading towards, before most people have seen it coming. I need to enlarge a little here I think.

I am not here to say Climate Change is THE problem. Climate change and what is driving it is a symptom of a much bigger problem, essentially the fact that our short-term economic goals put us directly at odds with the long-term ecology of our planetary system. We are always prepared to sacrifice one more pristine ecosystem to fuel the monster of economic growth.

The proposal I am making is that whosoever can advance an economic mechanism that delivers the food, energy, services or whatever that society requires in a way that also restores and enhances the environment has essentially cracked the whole Malthusian population vs resources face-off in one go.

But how, you make ask?  If you listen to James Hansen of NASA for example what he has to say is alarming at least. But also exhilarating. 10% year on year reduction in emissions until it is zero, then we have to drive co2 levels back down to 350ppm by the end of the century or there abouts to head off the worst case scenarios. In short, a carbon negative economy. There are no policies out there currently that get us anywhere near that and to my logic someone needs to start formulating some and leading us in that direction.

Why exhilarating? Well because it requires re-inventing the economy, agriculture needs to be transformed into something quite different, energy we know about, but transport will be a huge change as well. For the rising generation who have nothing to aim for in the current economy, no stake in it other than a dodgy degree certificate and a load of debt and no chance of having a home etc. this is a much more interesting prospect potentially.

Some examples: we can build houses from straw bale and local timber for a fraction of the cost, they sequestrate carbon in their structures and have a fraction of the embodied energy. They can be largely grown to order, processed locally and built by user groups and co-ops. Suddenly housing is a carbon sink and co-operative enterprise and with a tweak of planning laws, affordable and low impact.

I have much experience in community food growing, fruit and veg, chooks and eggs are easy to produce on a small and local scale. You can involve the whole community in growing and related activities and it rapidly becomes part of the social and caring economy and the food it produces almost a bi product.

I am not saying these things can replace the current system, but they offer a transition away from it that is inventive and inclusive.  I have just launched a local project with our High School where I will be challenging them to visualise the future they want and to start to imagine how they might be ale to help make that happen.

So much to say, but I shall press you no more, so happy to talk more about permaculture, regenerative economics and finding ways to inspire the next generation to do something positive and creative.

Steven Jones

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:

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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.

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.

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. !

Getting involved in permaculture

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I am not used to quoting the Pope but on this matter he is correct, the climate crises demands our attention

Permaculture is something you do, so much more than something you talk about; it is an active process. Much of the ‘doing’ may involve thinking and planning but that is still active and in turn can bring about long term change. I believe permaculture is the most powerful tool we have in formulating our response to the challenges of the day.

The global response to the rapidly unfolding climate crisis requires a co-ordinated effort, we are all going to have to pull in the same direction to bring about the changes required in the increasingly limited time remaining. Permaculture design is that frame-work of understanding, a broad embrace of peraculture could be of use to evolve our collective thinking into a set of beahaviours that can have net positive impact on the biosphere. The rates of damage and depletion are such that we are required to repair and regenerate the natural world to enable us to avoid the worst excesses of the climate de-stabalistion bought about by the concined effects of agriculture, deforestation and carbon based fuel burning.

permaculture_introductionThere are tons of permaculture resurces freely available on the Internet, but still the best way to ignite your own interest in the subject is to take part in some kind of course, activity or open weekend; see it for yourself!

We are offering such a weekend this August in the Welsh mountian village of Llanrhaeadr at a hosing co-operative and craft shop, within that community. We will have a practical look at how nature works and what we might be able to learn from that in ways we can apply it to our own lives. Permaculture is psotive, informative and fun and by invovling yoruself you will meet likeminded people whilst having the chance to expore this amazing area and its community.

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If that really intrests you then you might also consider undertaking the full 2 week PDC, an immersion in permaculture design over the course of 2 weeks, whilst covering the internationally recogised curriculum.

These can literally be life changing experiences and less dramatically they do offer a chance to put things into perspective and to allow yourself to focus on your own personal priorities for once. Permaculture teaches us that change is inevitable and that design and evolution present useful strategies and models of how to deal with change and turn it to an advantage.

£100,000 for permaculture education projects!

£100,000 for permaculture education projects!

Well here’s hoping!  Sector39 has been relatively quiet these last three months as we have been concentrating on putting together a series of project bids. The deadline for submission for the three biggest ones was yesterday, so I have been locked in mortal combat with spreadsheets, funding criteria and project evidence. Breathing a huge sigh of relief now they are all in the post.

I am not a natural fundraiser and I am also suspicious of funded projects as by their very nature they tend not to be sustainable. All that said I remain convinced that now has never been a more important time to invest in permaculture and for all involved to be much more ambitious.

Hence the decision to step out and nail our colours to the mast. We want to make a much bigger impact in our local community and our core project proposal is around working with our local high school and its 1000 students to help shape a vision for our low-carbon future. We are going to be challenging the school to map out the 20 year road to being a zero carbon school, as required by both the climate Change act and the pressing urgency to take the lead on responding to out comes of the Paris Summit.

IF we are successful then we will have the opportunity to run a three-year project across both school and community whilst developing resources and media to help communicate the projects successes and failures and challenging others to explore similar challenges.

Project two, is to build on our up coming PDC in Uganda, we don’t want it to be a one-off, we know we need to follow through with at least two more over the coming 2 years to make it really effective and to allow us to support some of the students to go on and complete their Diplomas so they can convene and certificate their own future course in East Africa. We hope to able to develop a handbook for East Africa permaculture in collaboration with our East Africa colleaues and support from our friends at Permaculture Timor Leste, who have already developed a tropical peramculture handbook.

We are also planning our own PDC programme in the UK as well as, developing teaching resources and case studies, we are also looking to be more active in co-operative development and support. With jobs and housing becoming increasingly out of reach of the rising generation then the need for more self-created opportunities is going to intensify.  Working and housing co-ops that allow people t take much more direct responsibility for themselves and allowing much more opportunity for innovation to create truly sustainable lifestyles and regenerative development that can enable us to help heal the damaged and depleted biosphere and build a climate friendly model of development.

Here’s goes nothing.. maybe we will strike out and fail in our quest.. but we have certainly tried our best. Sector39 has been supported by investment from the Robert Owen Community Bank to develop these aspirations, we are hugely grateful for the opportunity and hope that we can achieve something truly remarkable as a result!

Our Uganda fundraised has 5 days to run, and every penny raised will really count to making adifference, so please consider supporting us.

Sector39 news and developments

PDC course advert for Llanrhaeadr

PDC course advert for Llanrhaeadr

Triodos Newsletter

The Colour of Money Triodos bank’s newsletter has chosen to feature Dragons Co-op as a key article in the latest edition. We worked closely with the bank on the article and are happy to be associated with them as they have been supportive by providing ethical finance to a series of housing co-operative projects that Sector39 have been involved with. Creating the kind of opportunities such as fully mutual housing co-operatives, community owned businesses and permaculture projects requires investment and long term support and we are really grateful for a chance to profile some of our work in the publication.

Launching our January Design Course in Llanrhaeadr at Dragons Co-op

Short notice we know, but we will be offering a full PDC based at the new co-op in Llanrhaeadr. We are also writing a three year programme at the moment now that we have a more solid base at Dragons Co-operative and can plan much further ahead. We intend to use this course to strengthen local links and some of those attending are also closely involved with other projects in the area. Sector39 is also currently developing plans to work more closely with the High School and Dolen Ffermio charity in Llanfyllin as well as Tan y Fron housing co-op in Meifod.

The course is designed to work well for those based locally and for those coming from further away. There will be accommodation options for those wishing to stay over on the Saturday evenings, creating opportunities for some social time as well as the course itself. Please contact us for more details, prices are flexible to keep them affordable for all, based on £50 per weekend, with a discount available for those who book early for the full course, at £250.

Changes to Reading plans

Following on from the successful course we ran at Reading International Solidarity Centre in January to March this year we had initially planned to run one there again this year, however on  reflection it is going to be such a busy time for us we have shrunk that ambition. We will be running a full introduction weekend there this March  and going back to RISC in 2017 to offer the full permaculture design course, again spread over 6 weekends.