Forest Garden for Busoga High



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.


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

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

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

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

wales/ ugan

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

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

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

pdc ads 2017

Next PDC courses: Wales and Uganda May & June 2017

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



Bamboo is an essential componant of any multi-functional tropical permaculture system

We were extremely lucky to have Andrew, an ex journalist and great communicator who is now developing a new careeer as a bamboo expert and nurseryman. On the recent 2 week course he presented this excellent lecture on the subject. Forgive all the background noises, the narrative is compelling as he develops his main indeas.

I am am keen to publish as many oututs of the PDC as possible, to create a resource for students present and future. These are early attempts at creating new accessible permaculture teaching resources from very limited means.

The image is from permaculture Timor Leste manual for tropical permaculture, which was a major inspiration for us on this course.

Sector39 return to RISC in Reading next spring

Introduction to permaculture design

19-Mar-2016 9:00 AM – 20-Mar-2016 5:00 PM

Location: Reading International Solidarity Centre (RISC)

Before we can “save the world” we have to save ourselves. Well we have to at least start with ourselves because that is the part of the universe we have the greatest control and influence over!

Led by Steve Jones from Sector 39, these 2 days, at RISC are designed to be the start of your permaculture journey. Packed with information, new ideas and rich with opportunity to develop your own thinking and personal goals.

This 2 day event is part of a build up to a full Permaculture Design Course in Reading commencing January 2017(6 full weekends at RISC and one optional extra weekend/ field trip to Mid Wales)

Advance booking is essential for this event, min one month.  For more information including how to book, go to

Sector39 is led by Steve Jones supported by a network of permaculture tutors, practitioners, artisans, community growers and activists. Together we have been working with permaculture designing landscapes, running educational courses and developing projects since 1995.

Sector39 is based in Mid Wales UK.

Llanfyllin, Bodfach field update

Another action packed morning down at Cae Bodfach in Llanfyllin. Over the course of the last year we have been establishing a forest garden and community orchard there. It is a slow process but steady progress is being made, we have been working with the community and the High School mainly as well as the junior school. This year we have established 7 new fruit tree guilds, with money from Keep Wales Tidy and labour from Emyr Jones’ Landscape studies GCSE group from the High School.

Today was all about mulching and we covered up all the bare soil around the plantings with a good layer of card, straw and muck.


Students working hard this morning to mulch the forest garden beds


The finished mulched beds

The finished mulched beds





The forest garden section is planted with native species and rarer varieties of apple pear and plums we purchased from a local nursery. We have also added blackcurrant, raspberry and chokeberry and flowering current, to support pollinating insects and to provide snacks fro walkers. Support species include dog rose, hazel, elder and blackthorn as well as underplantings of mint, strawberry and lemon balm.

The next phase planned is to plant a 2.2 m strip of willow along the edge of the field, with the intention of coppicing this regularly as a local fuel resource. The Hedge will also act as a wind break, wildlife corridor and will provide pollen and fodder for insects birds and mammals, supporting wildlife and biodiversity. The plan below shows where we inend it go and hopefully giving an idea of what it will look like.

The plan is to plant this on April 22nd, which is Earth day, so it will make a fitting activity to mark the day.


June PDC in Mid Wales, with a focus on crafts and community growing

We are bringing together two of the most experienced permaculture tutors in Wales with three of the most experienced crafts folk to offer a unique and special permaculture design course in June 2015.

Set in a stunning location in the mountains of Mid Wales, by the source of the Severn and Wye rivers this will be a very special for 14 participants to take journey beyond sustainability.

Permaculture empowers you to turn your aspirations for a better, saner world into reality. Limited places, so please get in touch, camping, farmhouse or luxury bungalow accommodation options.

permaculture design course june 2015

Permaculture design course June 2015

Alongside the internationally recognised curriculum there will be opportunities to be involved in building from natural materials, charcoal making a retort kiln, green wood work and basic skills. We will also be spinning yarn from raw wool, weaving and using various looms to make carpets, rugs and blankets.

The mix of theory and practical sessions make you through the basics of ecology, food growing, energy systems, water, soils, community and finance. We run compost practicals, ferment foods, whilst exploring the potentials of unleashing the collective power of community to being about positive change.

permaculture course pics

A few shots from the June 2014 course at the same venue

Here is a lovely clip from Graham Bell in the Scottish borders, admiring his 25 year old forest garden at home.

Grow a forest anyway – wonderful short video

A forest planted by humans, then left to nature’s own devices, typically takes at least 100 years to mature. But what if we could make the process happen ten times faster? In this short talk, eco-entrepreneur (and TED Fellow) Shubhendu Sharma explains how to create a mini-forest ecosystem anywhere.

Its permaculture and another form, but also a process with active facilitation. Mechanisms like this that empower individuals to make actions are going to be essential to re green the planet and save from the ecocide we are collectively committing.

Visit to the Reading Roof Garden

I always love gong back to the reading roof garden to teach, it is such an excellent example of what is possible and powerful place to teach about the possibilities and potentials of forest gardens, with one growing on the roof above you. The was an excellent turn out and the experience has prompted me to consider returning there more regularly, possibly to run a series of permaculture sessions or even a PDC.

The garden was planted in 2002 mainly so it is 12 years old now and maturing nicely. The size of the canopy trees is quite astounding, of the original 176 species of plants much of the under-story has now been shaded out, and those under-story plants that have flourished have also migrated around, choosing their own positions and self seeding successfully.

Village Farm Orchard, Stockbridge Liverpool

This was a 2 year project conceived and led by Squash Nutrition and for which Sector39 took the role of leading horticulture consultant as well as leading on the practical, planting sessions. Using an empty shop as a project base the idea was to create a drop in centre that ran little workshops and sessions to generate interest in food and food growing. With sessions on art, cooking, propagation, planting, permaculture and crafts the project engaged with people from the Stockbridge estate and introduced the idea of growing especially fruit trees in public spaces. The residential estate of 7,000 people has about 30 acres of open green spaces between shops, housing etc. and presented an excellent opportunity for urban growing. So far we have planted over 200 fruit trees, started a series of forest gardens and worked with the community find suitable spaces as well as developing the skills to do the work.

Post Project review I really hope this project can carry on indefinitely. What we have achieved in the first two years is only the every beginning of what is possible. my vision would be to see it through to the establishment of a community owned and run cafe and catering service largely supplied by local produce. Stockbridge has the potential to be an exemplar community in developing a strong local food economy as a community development tool. I also have to say it was hugely challenging and very rewarding working with this community.

I feel really grateful for everyone from the community who was involved with the project and who made me feel really welcome there. Participants created a genuine enthusiasm for the project and made it really warm and human experience.  I think it would be fair to say Stockbridge has had a troubled past, it has not flourished as an example of inner city redevelopment. It was one of those ’60’s urban redesign projects where a brand new dormitory town was created as a satellite of Liverpool to house populations being moved out of the cramped inner city. Significant new investment has gone in to the are to try and remedy its woes and it is now finally finding its feet as a functional place. All of this is of course very fragile ad it houses many low income households and vulnerable people with many heath issues resulting from lifestyle choices associated with that reality. For all those reasons this project could be very powerful indeed, in both contributing to the social cohesion that has always been lacking as well as making fresh wholesome foods much more available. By growing in public spaces and using the produce as a community development tool the scope of the project actually has to potential to transform the whole area and link in closely with the many other social initiatives in the area.