European Project News – iACT, CCC & BLAST

EUPN members are participating in at least three Erasmus+ funded partnership projects, within a total of around 20 partner organisations from across the permaculture, regeneration and transformative education movements in Europe.

The iACT project is focused on creating and strengthening a collaborating European network of learning and demonstration projects in the permaculture and regenerative sustainability movements, including LAND Centres, Ecovillage living and learning centres and transition hubs. Led by PAB and IPEN with partners in Bulgaria, Denmark, Italy, Ireland, Luxembourg and Portugal, the project will produce a toolkit, Good Practice Guide and learning pathway for those involved in initiating or developing these types of projects, as well as a network mapping and participative research system. These outputs will be produced in 2021, with a range of activities following in 2022 to activate and strengthen the network. In particular iACT will support and stimulate an expanding network of LAND centres across Europe, with better connections to allies in the ecovillage and transition movements. It will also feed into IPEN’s iLAND initiative which has lacked capacity to properly support its pilot network, with 6 projects across Europe – this project will slowly start to help provide that support for the pilot iLAND network in the coming months.

The Community Climate Coaches (CCC) project, led by Cultivate in Ireland with PAB as a strong supporting partner, also with partners in Spain, Portugal, Luxembourg, Croatia, Belgium and Finland (not all permaculture organisations) is developing a training pathway and community of practice for educators, coaches and facilitators involved in community climate action initiatives. It will train initial cohorts of at least 6 Community Climate Coaches in the 8 partner countries, with the intention that many of these will be permaculture educators. The project will also produce a toolkit with the 52 Climate Actions website (created by PAB and other partners) as a key part of this, a Community Climate Action good practice guide, a network mapping and participative research system, as well as a blended learning system for training more CCCs over time. These outputs will be produced in 2021, with a range of activities following in 2022 to activate and strengthen the network. The intention is that the role of Community Climate Coaches is one that permaculture educators and practitioners can naturally take up, with potential for example to work with community groups and municipalities.

The BLAST project has 3 permaculture organisations in its partnership and is focused on blended transformative learning, which combines the best of in-person and online methods to create the most transformative outcomes for learners and educators, in terms of both inner and outer transformation. Blended learning seems likely to become the ‘new normal’ even when in-person courses can operate more normally again. The outputs from the BLAST project include a toolkit and training for educators, and will be completed during 2021. Events organised by the various BLAST partners will engage educators with the work of this project will be linked to the educators online event in April (TBC), so watch out for more information soon. The project is also getting creative by recording a range of interviews and discussions with experienced transformative educators about their experiences and journeys in this field, which will be available by summer this year.

Despite Brexit, various EUPN partners and PAB are working to ensure European permaculture collaborations continue. To this end PAB is currently working with IPEN to explore ways to be involved in two new project proposals that are expected to apply for Erasmus+ funding this year – one focused on creating a high quality collaborative European blended learning and blended events programme; and the other looking at how to create collaborative European diploma systems, that work with existing or emerging Diploma systems, and in particular to benefit those countries that have much less mature permaculture movements.

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