Attendees at the consultation and launch meeting of the North Wales permaculture Academy
Huge thanks to the 18 people who came along to the Permaculture Academy Consultation meeting at Moelyci on Friday.
With representatives from Sector39, The Permaculture Association, Transition Towns, Cwm Harry Skills, local farmers from Treflach farm Oswestry and Henbant, Caernarfon, the founders of Garden Planet Biochar as well as past course graduates, friends and supporters.
We have a fabulous opportunity at Moelyci to bring together work from Cwm Harry and Biocyle with that of the Permaculture Association and the friends and supporters and graduates of Sector39 permaculture design team.
Here are the key elements of the proposal
Proposal for a North Wales Permaculture Academy
This paper outlines our ambitions for and the potentials of developing a Permaculture Academy
centred on Moelyci community owned farm in North Wales. We are building towards a stakeholder
meeting in late August where Cwm Harry and Sector39 are happy to open up this opportunity to be
shaped and informed with others.
In September 2014, assuming all goes to plan, Cwm Harry will formally become the tenant and
manage Moelyci community owned farm near Bangor. This 345 acre hill farm is an environmental
education and enterprise centre with a range of buildings, an education venue, a horticulture
business, public allotments, a community composting facility and much more. Cwm Harry has
negotiated a 28 year lease with an exclusive option to buy within the first three years. This presents
an amazing and unique opportunity to develop long term ambitions for permaculture education and
to create a regional hub for permaculture practice and enterprise development.
Moelyci was bought out by a community share offer over 10 years ago and developed as a
community owned environmental centre. Cwm Harry plans to continue this vision, whilst expanding
it to include education and enterprise. The venue offers a perfect opportunity for the development
of a North Wales Permaculture Academy to contribute to and benefit from the wider activities at the
The main attraction of this site, in terms of a Permaculture Academy, is the opportunity for:
· Land based research
· A venue for long-term permaculture projects
· Access to the rich culture and heritage of the site
Permaculture Academy Proposal
For want of a better term, we have grouped our permaculture ambitions under one heading and to
date have been calling this the North Wales Permaculture Academy. We have so far identified the
following as what might be the key elements and functions of this venture.
1. Research: To undertake long-term research projects, to develop evidence based case study
history of the application of permaculture techniques, design and processes and to establish
evidence based approach that builds citizen scientists. Moelyci offers an ideal opportunity to
launch this ambition and to link in with the Permaculture Association’s LAND network and
2. Education: To develop a team of tutors to be able to deliver a rolling programme of
permaculture design and related courses and training.
3. Volunteer opportunities and internships: We would like to be able to offer 6 month
volunteer placements as well as longer internships offering practical experience of project,
farm and design work, especially for permaculture diploma students.
4. Enterprise development: In line with wider aspirations for Moelyci, our aim is to support
interns and partners to develop their own permaculture related enterprises and to create a
support and promotional infrastructure to aid that process.
Is to create a regional hub for permaculture education, demonstration and enterprise development
in North Wales and to maximise the opportunity represented by Cwm Harry taking a long-term lease
on the farm. The Academy will build directly on the experience and track record of Sector39 and
Cwm Harry Skills and link our work in North Wales much more closely with local projects as well as
that of national networks such as the Permaculture Association. We aim to create a centre of
excellence for permaculture.
By building a high profile and long term enterprise such as this we would hope to help raise the
profile of permaculture whilst creating many more opportunities for study and for PDC graduates to
be involved in on-going projects. We want to contribute to building the evidence base for
permaculture design’s effectiveness and possibilities and to spread the learning and experience far
and wide. This opportunity will enable experienced diploma holders, teachers and practitioners to
greatly extend the provision of permaculture education and to help develop many new projects.
A replicable model
We hope to create a replicable model that may be of use to and add momentum to similar regional
initiatives across the UK. We are keen to innovate and invest in permaculture development whilst
being a strong and vibrant enterprise in our own right.
Stages towards our goal
- We have held our first exploratory meeting with Cwm Harry and the Permaculture
- Association and have completed a key stakeholder meeting at Moelyci.
- Begin identifying funds and potential funders who will invest in components of the Academy. This will be an on-going process.
- From Sept 7-20th 2014 we plan to run a full PDC, part of a series of courses based at Moelyci that will contribute to the design and development of the Permaculture Academy and help shape the vision for Moelyci.
- At the Permaculture Convergence in London this September we will be using the opportunity to network and consult on the further development of the idea.
- In October, post PDC, we will publish a document outlining the key elements and function and stakeholders of the North Wales Permaculture Academy and make this available to all interested parties, inviting both feedback and identifying collaborators and contributors. This stage needs to consider and identify income and funding possibilities and identify roles and responsibilities within the Academy.
- Year-end Sector39 review and open meeting. In December at Moelyci, Sector39 will hold an pen presentation, with talks and a dinner of local produce as an information sharing even and to create an open forum for idea sharing.
- Based on the progress of the preceding steps and the feedback from the review process we hope to officially launch the North Wales Permaculture Academy in the spring of 2015.
- By September 2015 we plan to have established links with a North Wales cluster of existing permaculture projects and activity and aim to run a series of ‘edge events’ as part of the International Permaculture convergence when it comes to the UK in 2015
Partner Enterprises: Strategic
We don’t intend to do this alone. We are happy to lead and create opportunities but equally happy
to build active beneficial relationships with other stakeholders who buy into the vision of the
We intend to spread the learning and experience of this venture by being active members of the UK
Permaculture Association and will use this existing network to seek out further partnerships and
collaboration UK wide.
Specifically the Academy will aim to contribute to key strands of on-going work at the Permaculture
1. LAND learners network
3. Information dissemination
Cwm Harry Skills
The North Wales Academy will maintain an umbilical link with Cwm Harry Land Trust and co-ordinate its
efforts carefully to maximise synergy with the other educational ambitions of Cwm Harry
Established in 2004 Sector39 has been a vehicle to carry on the forest garden development and
environmental education work that its founder Steve Jones had been involved with at RISC,
Reading’s Development Education Centre, where as part of a team he helped develop a roof-top
forest garden as an educational resource.
Sector 39 work includes over 10 years of ground level work, networking, teaching and training.
Sector 39 have an alumni network of over 350 PDC graduates plus extensive links to other trainers,
projects and venues. This wider network presents the core of Sector 39 expertise.
With 700+ plus member shareholders and its own extensive network in North Wales we intend that
the North Wales Permaculture Academy compliments and reinforces all that has gone before at
Moelyci and enables future plans and potentials to come to fruition. It is essential that the North
Wales Permaculture Academy and Moelyci are mutually reinforcing and beneficial for the success of
Our Next PDC starts on 7th September, part of a rolling programme
Partner Enterprises: Delivery
Cultivate Market garden and horticulture at Moelyci
Via our biochar and soil amendments, trainees, students and courses it is our intention to develop a
‘umbilical’ relationship with the market garden enterprise at Moelyci. We can provide a market for
their produce; seek to demonstrate and develop our biochar products and to develop a retail
partnership for the resulting products.
Combine Project/ Biocycle
We intend to link with other on site enterprises at Moelyci for research development and training
opportunities as well as to obtain feedstock for our Biochar enterprise
Garden Planet Biochar
Steve is working closely with Martin and Monica Wigley to develop an enterprise with the object of
creating high quality biochar for research and product development of soil and animal feed
Building an internal economy that links and benefits partner enterprises. Seasonal surpluses, from
both horticulture and allotments at Moelyci will be preserved as pickles, sauerkraut and more which
we will both demonstrate as courses and consume via our students and interns.
An example of the kind of organisation we would also like to develop active links with. One with
active links and projects in East Africa, a region of the world full of inspiration, vibrant people and a
pressing need of active collaboration in developing food security, good soil management and
community led initiatives. We will seek to develop global links for both learning and disseminating
+ Your Enterprise…. We are open to offers!
It doesn’t end there, we are aware there are other local enterprises that may be interested in joining
the on-going development of the Academy.