Conference “Polycultures and Permaculture”

by Pavlo Ardanov

Research and practice conference “Polycultures and Permaculture” aimed at establishing collaboration between researchers and practitioners to promote biodiversity-based agriculture will be organized on 1 – 6 of February 2020 (Kyiv, Ukraine; Davis, USA; online sessions).

Functionally assembled crop combinations and rotation schemes help to maintain ecological regulation for soil fertility, pest and disease control, diversify farm produce to increase their sustainability, aid carbon sequestration and support local biodiversity. Our conference is a networking place between agroecologists, conservation biologists, farmers and policy makers to combine conceptual knowledge with the practical experience.

We offer blended conference format with the possibility of both online and in-person participation, and several sessions distributed across the time zones from 1st till 8th of February 2020. Researchers and practitioners are invited to publish their findings in the peer-reviewed conference proceedings as abstracts or short reports. Participation in the conference and publication in proceedings are free of charge.

The aim of this conference goes beyond collecting presentations. We want to create expert teams to compose policy recommendations on biodiversity-based agriculture, which will be delivered in a form of conference resolution and publication in a research journal (funding available). University lecturers, researchers and practitioners are invited to contribute towards recording video lectures on designing crop polycultures for informal and for the academic education courses (funding available). Finally, we would like to establish research team to develop an algorithm, free software and mobile application for designing crop polycultures. We offers several discussion sessions to brainstorm your ideas and establish new expert teams.

Please, visit the conference web-page, fill the registration form, follow conference updates on Facebook, and share and discuss best crop diversification practices on the project Facebook page. We shall be grateful for sharing conference video invitation in social media.

Benefits of a teacher training – a week of diving into permaculture from a teacher’s perspective

by Amelie Toft, landscape gardener from Denmark

Permaculture needs more educators and this is why Permaculture Denmark has decided to send some of us PDC holders to the Permaculture Teacher’s Training Course in Sweden this November. The course is based on Rosemary Morrow’s experience and on the Permaculture Educators Course. This course is facilitated by Alfred Decker and Cathrine Dolleris and Helena von Bothmer is hosting on her amazing permaculture nursery, Kosters Trädgård in Sweden. Courses like this takes place all over Europe with different teachers involved.

Learners on the teacher training in a homely environment at Kosters Trädgårdar. Photo: Cathrine Dolleris

The course has the overall focus on us becoming more inspiring, effective and confident teachers and facilitators and to make our teaching more transformative, fun and inspiring. We are diving into adult learning, methodology and tools and in the course we are putting it into use through micro-facilitation and creating learning resources.

Participants for the Training Permaculture Teachers course on their way to Koster islands. Photo: Cathrine Dolleris

It was freezing cold when we on Tuesday reached Strömstad in Sweden to catch the boat to Koster. “We” were a mixture of Norwegians, Swedes, and Danes, and at Helenas place two Bulgarians joined us. We are right now excited about the facilitation by the inspiring and experienced Alfred Decker and Cathrine Dolleris. Some of us had also heard about Helena von Bothmer’s thriving place, the permaculture plant nursery and restaurant “Kosters Trädgårdar” and we are exited to be here and see it firsthand.

Demonstration of the compost system at Kosters Trädgårdar. Using site visits to learn about permaculture is an important teaching method. Photo: Cathrine Dolleris

During the week here we are looking at learners’ roles, challenges and behaviours – and also on the roles, challenges and behaviours for us as teachers, knowing that we influence and set the tone for our learners and thereby their learning.

Fun in the cold at the teacher training. Photo: Cathrine Dolleris

Yesterday the wonderful Rosemary Morrow offered to be on a video call with us, and she told us about her work in conflict zones, and how she approaches it. She also emphasised that some of the most important work to be done right now, is to spread more permaculture in our local communities through teaching, demonstration and community engagement.

The coming days are focused around teaching tools and methods and on more micro-facilitation in groups. Alfred, Cathrine and Helena are an amazing team and our group has come beautifully together, so even though it sometimes feels a little tough to challenge our own teaching skills, we know that this is a safe space to do it. We are grateful for Erasmus+ to have invited us here.

Learners in a “micro-facilitation” situation where elements are placed in a plan for a site. Photo: Cathrine Dolleris

News from the Czech permaculture world

I would like to mention a few events from the Czech permaculture scene. There are some new publications, courses, and PDCs, but I will only mention events that have some international overlap.

We are lucky to have Tomas Remiarz, a very experienced British permaculture teacher, lecturing and teaching in Prague these days. He had a public talk and discussion about forest gardens in the urban landscape at the Czech University of Agriculture on Tuesday 5.11. It´s followed by the advanced design course – Changing the urban landscape with forest gardens, that takes part until Sunday 10.11.

Tomas also participated in our annual permaculture conference, held in Prague on the weekend of 1.11. – 3.11. This year´s topic was edible forests and fruit in general. There were presentations about forest gardens, extensive fruit production, heirloom varieties, choosing the right varieties with climate change in mind, agroforestry and so on.

A group of 6 Czech delegates participated in the tour to the centers in LAND (permaculture centers), GEN (ecovillages) and WWOOF (volunteers on organic farms) networks in Hungary and Slovakia. It was organized as a project within the Visegrad and beyond Permaculture Partnership, a partnership between Hungarian, Czech, Slovak, Polish, and Ukrainian permaculture movements. There were about 25 participants from all 5 countries.

In Hungary, we visited Valaha Tanya permaculture farm focusing on fruit preserves, BioSphere – a CSA with sea buckthorn production and Biofalu in Máriahalom – a kind of one-man-ecovillage full of beautiful natural buildings with a retreat eco-center. He is looking for families to move in:-). In Biofalu we also had a networking festival.

In Slovakia, we went to Lovinka – booming eco-community with a spacious event center, Lavender farm Statok na výšinách – family enterprise based on a project made during a PDC and Sosna – Slovakia´s oldest educational eco-center featuring some amazing examples of eco-living solutions.

There are videos from the tour and presentations about each country´s GEN, LAND and WWOOF networks available upon request, just contact me at co2neutralfarm [at] gmail [dot] com .

BUILDING “A TROPICAL PERMACULTURE FOREST & ECO VILLAGE” IN GHANA

Become our tropical permaculture volunteer expert for one year with everything paid in an eco village in Ghana.

Your tasks will be:

  • To make a tropical permaculture design
  • To educate local and international students in tropical permaculture design & forest
  • To involve future investors in the development of “a tropical permaculture forest & eco-village” in Ghana.

AN ECO VILLAGE IN GHANA

Accra is a city of explosive growth, but a growth at the expense of the environment and climate, and youth unemployment is alarmingly high. We dream of a Ghana that does not repeat the mistakes that the developing countries made. With the power of example, together we show another way.

We have started building eco-friendly houses in our eco village (see Facebook: Green Growth Education (Ghanaian NGO)

Contact: Lasse Dalén Boakye-Yiadom Andersen, Phone: +233 54 55 90 631, Mail: lassedalen [at] yahoo [dot] dk

IPEN & Education News

iLAND Centre Network

The pilot iLAND Network is taking shape with so far 3 aspiring LAND Centre projects having applied in Europe (in Latvia, Bulgaria and Ukraine), 4 across Africa, 1 in Armenia and 1 in Laos. We expect more to apply, to reach our target number of 12 projects in the pilot network, which we will provide more support to and which will help us refine the iLAND systems. We hope to have iLAND project profiles on the iLAND webpages by the end of October. From there we expect the network to expand significantly in Europe and around the world. For more information see: https://www.ipenpermaculture.org/ipen-priorities/iland-demonstration-centres/

Education Resources

A number of additional Case Studies of inspirational projects both in Europe and elsewhere are now available via IPEN’s Resources webpages, that can help provide guidance and inspiration to permaculture projects and organisations in Europe. A number of useful teaching and curriculum guides are also available, including the still highly valuable resources produced by the European Permaculture Teachers (EPT) partnership project – use the filter tool to search the topics at: https://www.ipenpermaculture.org/education-resources/

52 Climate Actions – https://www.52climateactions.com/

The webpages for the 52 Climate Actions project have now been launched.  IPEN and other EuPN members were involved throughout and IPEN drafted an outline for community-led Climate Action Training which is available through the website. With various EuPN members, we are aiming to host a number of online events that will share examples of permaculture-led climate action training and engagement activities, including a recent successful pilot that has been run in South Australia.

Ecolise BLAST Project

The 2-year BLAST project is underway to develop, strengthen and support a growing Europe-wide community of practise for community-led transformative blended learning for sustainability and climate action, with several members of the EuPN involved. This will help widen access to tools and a platform for blended learning, that can be used widely by permaculturists across Europe.

EuPN ReLeaP Project

It is hoped that the ReLeaP partnership project, taken forward by the Resources for Action Working Group, and involving 9 EuPN members, will be able to be confirmed by the end of the year. If Erasmus+ funding is approved this will deliver a 2 year ‘Regenerative Leadership Programme’ starting in January 2020 to support the pioneers and leaders in permaculture networks, organisations, projects and teaching across Europe, with the aim that at least 50% of the participants will be under 30 years old. The project will involve a series of physical and online events, and produce a number of good practice guides and resources to stimulate and support the permaculture movement across Europe.

Introduction to Engaging Children in Permaculture courses

In this two day course for parents, teachers and other educators to learn how to engage children in permaculture, participants will learn how the permaculture ethics and principles can be applied to education; discover some great benefits of outdoor learning; learn how to create child-led sessions which engage the whole child: eyes, heart, hands and head; and much more!  

28&29 Sep @ Landmatters, Devon, England

5&6 Oct @ the Sustainability Centre, Hampshire, England

5&6 Oct @ LearningInNature, Espoo, Finland

9&10 Nov @ Montrose, Angus, Scotland

and more… watch this space:

More info: http://childreninpermaculture.com/events/  

Contact us:  cip.info.training [at] gmail [dot] com