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.

 

 

Crisis, what crisis?

Crisis, what crisis?

chester chroncalI have already written to the editor of this paper to make the point that publishing climate change denial letters such as this one on 6 Oct both demeans and trivialises the whole paper. I would however also like to address the letter writer directly and more forcefully.

Christopher Calder tells us we have been fooled by ‘science’ have we? By science I guess you mean those nasty people at NASA, you know who gave us the moon landings, the space shuttle, satellites and digital telecommunications.

Or did you mean the Met office, who we rely on every day for weather forecasts, storm warnings and the like.

Or NOAA in the USA, when they give hurricane warning do we ignore it, thinking it is another of their made up pranks?

60 Nobel laureate scientists published a joint open letter only a couple of weeks ago saying how urgent it is that we pay full attention to the science – and it is not the first time either! Are you saying they all made this up, really?

The Oil industry has been caught over and over pumping millions of dollars into climate science disinformation, bad science and denial, do you not think if there was even the merest chink in the robustness of the science they would have exposed it and filled our media with it?

pope-768x401The Climate denial game is so over, even Exxon’s Mobil’s own scientific department concluded that unchecked co2 emissions represented a clear and present danger back in the 80’s; but when even the Pope steps forward and puts the full force of his office behind the ‘moral imperative to act on climate’ then you make a fool of yourself to pretend otherwise.

‘Science’ you say, I am particularly annoyed how you chose to put the word in commas, you and your so-called science! Science, my friend means observation, simple as that. Everyone with a thermometer can measure the temperature outside and make comparisons and the evidence of temperatures past is written in every geological record and every tree ring. Anyone with a ruler can measure sea-level changes. This is evidence that can’t be falsified, evidence that every serious scientist around the world concurs with when they do their own research.

de grasse tysonThere is no dissent about climate change within the scientific community, other than just how bad and how urgent is it? Trump, a climate denier blames it all on the Chinese, why the Chinese I don’t know and how they falsified everyone’s scientific data around the world, that bit he failed to explain. The US army’s own scientific research teams concur with the climate scientists, it is indeed a real and present danger; are they colluding with the Chinese too?

Honestly, there really is nowhere left to stand to hold onto the position of denial and appear credible. Are you really prepared to put the whole gamut of evidence against your own untested word?

You site no sources to support your views, yet the weight of world opinion is against you.

I am sorry to have to be so strong in my words but you are a scoundrel sir!

A scoundrel for daring to make such a false point and doing it so weakly and so incorrectly, you insult our intelligence. Around the world millions of people are already affected by climate change, ecosystems are collapsing, oceans are acidifying and there is no other explanation for what is happening to us. The scientists are not just certain that it is happening they are also certain that we are causing it, and to my ears anyway that is the good news. What would be truly terrifying would be to hear that it was a natural phenomenon that we can nothing about, the fact that we are causing it also means we can solve it.

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Global average temperatures ar rising, hard to falsify!

Facing up to this is a huge challenge as we have built an economic infrastructure that runs almost entirely on coal, gas and oil. If that wasn’t bad enough, our economy also requires growth, year on year just to stand still, just to pay off the interest on the money we have already borrowed. We are sort of locked in to our own destruction as we have already raised money against oil and coal that hasn’t even been burned yet.

Although 195 governments, almost the entire world signed the Paris Climate Agreement, binding us to work to stay under 2 degrees of change it also not unsurprising that they are unable to enact policies that take us in that direction. After all until now our whole economy has been rooted in burning resources at an ever faster rate to produce goods with ever shorter shelf lives.

regenerativeEconomic growth is not going to save us, only an evolution in human thinking, an evolution in our collective economic behaviour will do that.

Atmospheric CO2, the main culprit in the problem currently stands at 400ppm. It used to 285ppm before we started on the industrial age, and the planet will carry on warming until we get it back down to 350ppm (this is the view of NASA), that means getting our global emissions down to zero as soon as we possibly can whilst developing ways of farming, land management, building, energy and more that actually lock CO2 up and stop it returning to the atmosphere. Plants do this all the time, so building out of natural materials achieves this goal, imagine building houses from wood, straw, hemp, clay/ lime, coupled with a re-localised organic food production system, powered with a renewable energy grid running super-efficient, low energy appliances and homes, that is the kind of thing we need to put in place and fast. Building such an infrastructure is where the jobs will come from for the emerging generation, the generation who are growing into an already climate-changed world and whilst we are doing that we will be building a new kind of economy that enhances the environment and locks up carbon, making climate more stable once again over the longer term.

There is already a global movement in permaculture design, in community supported farms and climate change adaption and mitigation, so instead of burying your head in the sand and expecting us to believe these absurd statements of denial I invite you and everyone to join the solution, the transition. Let us all help each other find the pathways from the destructive and now obsolete carbon extraction economy and create a new exciting and forward- thinking carbon-sequestration economy. I call that permaculture, you can call it what you want but it is the only future possible for humanity and anything that distracts us from that aim is wasted time.

leo2Science is sceptical; every published data set is tested by other scientists to ensure accuracy, which is how the peer review process works, you make yor reputation by proving other people wrong. If you reject climate science then you reject science, it is all inter-connected, so the smart-phone in your pocket or the jet plane that takes you on holiday, it is all the same science, you don’t get to pick and mix what you ‘believe’. If you want to know more about climate science, talk to the scientists, here is a plain English site that explores every commonly held mis-understanding and explains with evidence what is the best understanding by those who study it. www.skepticalscience.com

Find out about permaculture design and how we can work with natural systems to repair the biosphere and lessen the effects of climate change.

Chester Cathedral are teaming with local permaculture trainers Sector39 to offer a course for community leaders and innovators for change at the Chapter house from Mid-November, over the course of 12 evening plus 1 weekend.

Join 350.org the global climate action movement to find out how you can join in the response to the biggest challenge humanity has yet had to face.

Taking permaculture to old places

Taking permaculture to old places
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Chapter house, Chester Cathedral

The cathedral at Chester represents nearly a 1000 years of history. First built-in 1093 the main part of the building was rebuilt around 1283 to 1537. For this course, the first at such a venue certainly for us, we will be based in The Early English Gothic chapter house, built between 1230 and 1265, it is a rectangular building and opens off a “charming” vestibule leading from the north transept. The chapter house will be the classroom for the proposed PDC and the significance of the venue is not lost on me. (History from Wikipedia)

This place connects us directly to our Norman past, Hugh d’Avranches (c. 1047 – 27 July 1101), also known as Hugh the Fat, the second Normal Earl of Chester was buried there, first in a long line of patrician overlords who found their resting place here. I have always been fascinated with history, especially the ancient buildings, churches and castles which have always captured my attention and where as I child I always felt I could feel the pulse of those that had passed before somehow resonating from the very stone of the buildings.

Hugh spent much of his time fighting with his neighbours in Wales. Together with his cousin Robert of Rhuddlan he subdued a good part of northern Wales. Initially Robert of Rhuddlan held north-east Wales as a vassal of Hugh. However, in 1081 Gruffudd ap Cynan, King of Gwynedd was captured by treachery at a meeting near Corwen.

Gruffudd was imprisoned by Earl Hugh in his castle at Chester, but it was Robert who took over his kingdom, holding it directly from the king. When Robert was killed by a Welsh raiding party in 1093 Hugh took over these lands, becoming ruler of most of North Wales, but he lost Anglesey and much of the rest of Gwynedd in the Welsh revolt of 1094, led by Gruffudd ap Cynan, who had escaped from captivity.

So it comes full circle, to be travelling from Wales to Chester to explore ideas for our continued mutual survival in this rapidly changing modern world.

What would Hugh d’Avranches have made of the dilemmas we now face, climate change and resource depletion, what lands would he invade and subjugate? I also wonder what would he have thought of Bill Mollison, the originator of the permaculture concept? I really can’t empathise with Hugh d’Avranches but on many levels the monks at the Abbey in the 13th or 14th century would have got it, they kept bees, grew veg, were guardians of seed and provenance and kept carp in ponds in the gardens at the Abbey. They knew about food security, how to cultivate the land and how to act a guardians of seed and soil. They certainly knew how to weather the many storms that faced them in those troubled times and I am interested to know what we can draw as inspiration from their memory.

If you have never heard BIll Mollison speak then he is certainly worth a listen. The word genius is overused these days but Bill brought a new way of seeing to the forefront, of way of seeing that which once you do see things that way, becomes obvious and compelling. Bill had foresight, he could see what was coming and set his mind to developing a system that was accessible and adaptive that might provide a basis for every community to address the challenges that confront us.

On the PDC I will be sharing Bill’s vision and design for a sustainable world, but so much more than that permaculture gives you a set of tools that enable you to work with the people around you to bring about meaningful change.As much as we can recognise the need for change it is hard to know where to direct one’s energies and what to prioritize.

 

The PDC is a curriculum that covers the broad thrust of Bill Mollision’s and David Holmgren’s work, encompassing the principle tools to be able to immediately start working for positive environmental change. Permaculture is empowering,  at its heart are ideas of self-determination and responsibility and a way that actively helps to build mutually beneficial relationships with those that surround you.

Scott London: A reviewer once described your teachings as “seditious.”

Bill Mollison: Yes, it was very perceptive. I teach self-reliance, the world’s most subversive practice. I teach people how to grow their own food, which is shockingly subversive. So, yes, it’s seditious. But it’s peaceful sedition.

Bill’s passing in September this year is a huge loss, a big tree has fallen in the forest, as writer and teacher Graham Bell said, however the new light let in from the canopy creates the opportunity for many more to grow.  Bill always taught us the nature is cyclical, the Rainbow serpent on the cover of the epic Designer Manual is both creator and destroyer, birthing a whole world of complexity whilst devouring its own tale.

Please join us in Chester for this course and help us work together to create new opportunities for all and to draw on the inspiration of those who have gone before 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.

 

 

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 http://www.permaculturedesigncourse.co.uk/?event=introduction-to-permaculture-design

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.
WebLink: http://www.permaculturedesigncourse.co.uk/?event=introduction-to-permaculture-design


New courses, dates and venues

We are busy putting together our programme of events and courses, with more details to come. Now we are settling into our new home at Dragons Co-operative we have the chance to plan a bit further ahead. Dates for PDC’s in Llanrhaeadr, Uganda, Reading and Llanidloes, with more in the pipeline. A 2 day full introduction to permaculture at RISC in Reading and tbc a series of specialist events, including raw chocolate making, mushroom foraging and the secrets of biochar.

All our events and booking details are on the sister site www.permaculturedesigncourse.co.uk

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Click banner to see latest course dates and booking details

Chickenshack at 20

Brynllwyn in 1995 shortly after we first moved there.

The story of Chickenshack Co-op began in Zimbabwe in 1990/1. A chance conversation led to a chance encounter which led me and friend Sue to the village of Chimanimani in the eastern mountains there. A wonderful and unexpected  opportunity to care take a pemaculture designed small holding quickly evolved into the opportunity to develop a derelict neighbouring property, using the knowledge and momentum from the first project. The new property had once been the home of John Wilson a permaculture pioneer in Zimbabwer involved in several key early permaculture projects in that country. Ever since that time my life has also been inextricably linked to the world of permaculture.

Chikukwa permaculture project, Zimbabwe

Chikukwa permaculture project, Zimbabwe

Looking after the small holding of Graham Metlerkamp had taught me so many new things and slowly the idea to apply this learning to new and subsequent projects really took hold. The first port of call was the neighbouring property, which has now evolved to become Heaven Lodge an absolutely stand out destination for travellers in Southern Africa in itself, let alone the stunning region surrounding it.

Heaven backpackers lodge Chimanimani

Heaven backpackers lodge Chimanimani

One of the first real sources of inspiration came when we visited Chikukwa in 1991 and met Uli and Ellie Westermann, two German teachers who had naturalised to the traditional Mashona homeland area, and who in consultation with John Wilson, the previous owner of Heaven helped begin the impetus that has gone on to transform the whole of the Chikukwa area.

Read The Chikukwa story in Permaculture Magazine

The combination of these and other experiences led me to discover my own passion for permaculture and realise a determination to take this ideas and put them into practice via my own life an work. So the dream of Chickenshack was born and on my eventual return to the UK  I set about finding ways I could both learn more about permaculture and put the ideas into practice myself. I have to mention my great friend at the time Andreas Heigl, it is in part down to him that we actually called the housing co-op that name, we had lived in a wooden shack in Zimbabwe and kept chickens so there had been lots of jokes and silly names around chickens at the time, including a band and a repertoire of silly songs, but with Andreas the Chickens name kind of stuck. When we reunited in a camping site in Amsterdam in 1993 he even coined the word Hunchenfest, for Chicken party, i used it as a net pseudonym for a while.

Andreas Heigl, was the first of our friends and supporters to contribute to the Chickenshack loanstock fund. Here he is helping fit the door from the cottage to the larder, some years later.

Andreas Heigl, was the first of our friends and supporters to contribute to the Chickenshack loanstock fund. Here he is helping fit the door from the cottage to the larder, some years later.

It was through the support and belief of dozens of people like Andreas that the idea grew into a reality. I bumped into a woman called Stephanie McCann in the Green Futures field at Glastonbury and she told me all about Housing Co-operatives, Radical Routes and how to buy and manage property without necessarily having capital. Suddenly what had been a whimsical aspiration become a potential realistic proposition.

That's me in 1994, having moved to Wales and contemplating launching Chickenshack

That’s me in 1994, having moved to Wales and contemplating launching Chickenshack

It still didn’t really seem real when we  put our offer in on the property in early 1995, we still didn’t have much of the money and only barely had a few members committed to living there, as people kept getting all excited about the prospect then dropping out when the full complexity of the challenge presented itself.

Then came the Permaculture design course at Centre for Alternative technology and that served to click all the pieces into place. We only had 3 of the required 8 members in place at that time and still needed money, we had allowed our focus to broaden to make the coop more broadly appealing, who knew what permaculture was all about after all?

My certificate from the 1995 PDC with Mike Feingold

My certificate from the 1995 PDC with Mike Feingold

But with course all that changed. the design course not only gave us a why, it gave us a how, it showed how to prioritise, via zoning where to place by sectors, it showed how to make decisions by consensus. Ironically the tighter the focus for the co-op the more attractive it became. It became easier to explain what is was all about and how it was going to run. we found our other 5 members on the course and in the surrounding community, we had our focus, our raison d’etre and momentum was finally on our side.

The basic lay out of the land, the position of the veg garden, orchard, forest garden, wind breaks, paths and much more was mapped on on the PDC as our group design project. It has been a fascinating process to see how it has matured and how well it has all worked, over the years and the successive residents and members of the co-op.

I have too many memories to try and list them here, I dug out a handful of battered old photos from those early days and I have scanned a few of them in. I would like to write much more about the whole experience, and the three other housing co-ops I have been closely involved in starting, the fourth of which I currently reside at.

The whole thing has been and continues to be an amazing journey and thank everyone who has been part of it so far. I am certain that the co-operative model is one of the most powerful tools we have to transform our society and to empower us all to pursue our dreams of sustainability and abundance.

View at Chickenshack 2015

View at Chickenshack 2015

I am going to be there this weekend, and will be photographing and making some sound clips and video for posterity. it feels like a significant achievement for all concerned and hopefully can act as inspiration for future potential projects.

If you don’t stand for something, you will fall for anything
Chris Reid’s Dad

 

Podcast008, Summer updates, its a busy time for Permaculture

Please listen, share and enjoy. This summer, coinciding with the 20th anniversary of Chickenshack Housing Co-op we have launched a new housing and worker co-op in Llanrhaeadr and moved in. We ran a full run a PDC in June, appeared at 4 festivals and events and am now planning for our September PDC in Wales and a November one in Uganda as well as taking part in the International Permaculture Convergence and Conference. All this and more!

New Media
I am developing a strong interest in community radio and alternative routes to broadcasting, having become tired and disillusioned with state owned an controlled media and the billionaire media barons that run the airwaves. As they jam the media full of anti-Corbyn rhetoric it is rather clear who has access to the controls and that any dissenting voice is going to get shouted over, our drowned in the never ending torrent of bullshit they are forever spouting. Would love to hear from others with similar interests.

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Next PDC will be in Llanrhaeadr and will focus on co-operatives and community as key drivers for a sustainable and resilient future

Up and coming courses:

1, PDC in Llanrhaeadr, Mid Wales, from Sept 20th

Please get in touch if you would like to know more about this. We are really keen to hear from people in the Llanrhaeadr area as well as elsewhere, the ideal mix is half local and half rest of the world.

I am also putting together a new Crowdfunder campaign to support the course and we have already had a couple of applications from people on very low incomes who would like to be able to attend. I am hoping we can learn how to use these new media opportunites much more effectively as they open up so many new opportunities. I have discussed this is in the latest podcast.

PDC in Uganda planned for this November

PDC in Uganda planned for this November

 

This is a very exciting prospect. We plan to bring 12 Ugandan students of agro forestry and sustainable farming together with 3 or 4 international permaculture students to be able to offer this 2 week course. We will also have the chance to visit a series of projects and initiatives that Dolen Ffermio have been involved with over the last 20 years. Lots more to say about this… and again I have mentioned it in the Podcast.

Last years’ visit to Eastern Uganda was a real highlight and it was extremely inspiring to see all the work going on there. This course aims to reinforce and help share the learning and progress made on these projects.

Apologies for the rushed posting.. more soon!

PDC presentation: One Planet Living, by Bruce, Conor & Ieva

The following presentation was a final design exercise on our recent PDC in Llanidloes. See what happens when you put a soil expert with a small scale renewable energy systems guy and then put a sensitive yet bold Lithuanian woman in the middle.

This was a truly fantastic presentation, realising the enormous potential of local site, picked out as one planet living, self build, 6 acre plot. The client, Simon had been fully consulted by the team, and indeed he had himself completed the PDC with Sector39 at the same venue last year.

I suggest you play the audio (its 67 minutes long) but well worth listening to, and scroll through the photos and video to illustrate the design ideas. Shame we were not able to film it, but I hope the audio and pictures do it justice. Annoyingly I was timing the presentation with my phone, so there are clicks and pops of interference, I have taken loads out and cleaned it up a lot, sorry it is not perfect, but time didn’t allow any more.

Audio:

The client interview

The client interview

The client interview was recorded as we had limited transport available so one of the design team was unable to attend, they turned this limitation to an advantage with their design process.

The field

The field

Its a six acre field so it hard to catch in one shot, but with vale of Kerry before you, it is a stunning location, and all looking south. The Client’s vision is too think about three generations of family establishing an abundant, bio-diverse food and energy system, based on natural inputs only. They imagine a roundhouse of straw and clay, and the ability to meet most of their own needs from the land whilst generating a small surplus for trade and community.

The Site, is not owned nor is there planning permission, so on one level this is purely an academic exercise, although the client fully intends to develop something t these specifications on a site similar if not exactly this one.

The design team worked really well as a team and also drew heavily on their own individual strengths and depth of knowledge. With their permission of course, I plan to use this as a teaching resource as it is such an excellent presentation in many ways, not least as it present holistic, wonderfully interconnected and longer term vision for the potential of this site and client family might be able to achieve. Being able to visualise and communicate  vision of a sustainable future is a truly wonderful thing in the troubled times .

 

 

Larger version of the design map

Larger version of the design map, click to explore

Zone one area map

Zone one area map

 

 

September PDC in Llanrhaeadr Ym Mochnant

September PDC in Llanrhaeadr Ym Mochnant
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Click image to visit course booking page

We are excited to be offering our next PDC in Llanrhaeadr Ym Mochnant, the tiny Welsh mountain village made famous by its stunning waterfall. Located only 45 mins drive from Shrewsbury and 12 miles from Gobowen mainline station, this village is buried deep in the unspoilt Mid Wales countryside, by the Berwyn mountains.

 

The area is home to numerous permaculture projects and housing co-ops, which will form the backbone of our site visits and practicals. We are about to launch our own latest project in the area, a housing co-op and community shop. The course will use the PDC framework to look deeply into co-ops and other community led solutions, including local currencies and trading schemes. It is our contention that Crowd funding, ethical investment and local currencies offer up a whole new layer of opportunities that are yet to be fully exploited, never has it been a more interesting time to be involved in permaculture! Come along and find out why.

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View of the Berwyn Mountains