Llanfyllin Institute community growing space. Supported by National Gardens Scheme

Over the course of 2019 Llanfyllin BRACE initiative held a series of regular bi-weekly meetings along the theme of community responses to climate change and ecological emergency. These meetings brought together a range of interested people and an overlapping of us ordinary folk trying to figure out what to do with the Llanfyllin town council, with special interest groups like Severn Rivers Trust, Powys CC roads and verges, with school governors, the church, farmers.

One of the outputs of this was a connection between the Llanfyllin town council, the public hall committee, where the town council meet and this eclectic group of citizens wanting to channel their frustration and energy into something positive and tangible. An important note in the Transition Handbook is don’t just have meetings but make sure to prioritize creating observable, visible outcomes and changes. Having such a coalition was the genesis of this community garden project.

Previously as a community we have been able to establish Cae Bodfach Heritage Orchard in the field behind our local supermarket, so with this as a track record and new friends and connections this new space became available, an odd, steeply sloping truncated piece of land behind the public institute. It had become to be seen a bit of liability, not really used or productive and costing limit budget for strimming and hedge trimming. All it really takes is a bit of vision and there is always a potential for a community group to develop in a way that meets community needs.

We were exactly at that point of project genesis when the opportunity to apply to the NGS scheme came along, and we hurriedly fired off an application. Things were delayed as the national quarantine happened, so we took the plunge and order a few items in advance so we could be ready to hit the ground running as the new season unfolded. We were all ready with a worked out plan to get the key elements such as the raised beds in place, and make rapid progress as the season unfolded and we finally heard the grant application had been successful.

Since those early days when a small group of people was driving this project forward it has quickly grown to achieve a momentum and shape of its own. In a few short months this has come together with what is really a small injection of capital investment, but precisely enough to set something in motion that can create its own energy to become self sustaining.

We are enormously grateful to the Llanfyllin Institute and Town Council and of course the National Garden Schemes for supporting this venture and helping us get started. Next to arrive is our tool shed and that will allow us to purchase tools and other things like propagators with the remaining funds from NGS.

The biggest thanks of course to every single person who has volunteered at the garden over previous months, Tuesday mornings is the key volunteer slot and anyone is welcome.

space

Exporting poverty – the story behind the story

The global economic system, or predatory capitalism, the Neo liberal extremism that is taring the world apart has to stop. Listen to these voices: these are not conspiracies but voices from inside the system who have became appalled by its brutality.

John Perkins describes the methods he used to bribe and threaten the heads of state of countries on four continents in order to create a global empire and he reveals how the leaders who did not “play the game” were assassinated or overthrown. He brings us up to date about the way the economic hit man system has spread from developing countries to the US, Europe, and the rest of the world and offers a strategy for turning this around. “Each of us,” he says, “can participate in this exciting revolution. We can transform a system that is consuming itself into extinction into one that is sustainable and regenerative.”

John Perkins, ‘economic hitman’
US security is jeopardized by assassination of our political enemies

“Lets get our corporations to clean up pollution, regenerate destroyed environments , to create an economic system that is in itself an renewable resource.”

“Use local community power, your power to change politics, to change the laws, we have to do that, its our job in a democracy”.

John Stockwell left the CIA when he decided that what they were doing was endangering national security not protecting it.

John R. Stockwell is a former CIA officer who became a critic of United States government policies after serving in the Agency for thirteen years serving seven tours of duty. After managing U.S. involvement in the Angolan Civil War as Chief of the Angola Task Force during its 1975 covert operations, he resigned and wrote In Search of Enemies, a book which remains the only detailed, insider’s account of a major CIA “covert action.

A note on John Stockwell, I wrote my development degree dissertation on the struggle for independence in Angola, back in 1984. His book ‘in search of enemies’ caught me unawares, and made me realise all the different development models we had been studying for three years were largely irrelevant because of foreign interference, corruption and economic terrorism such as described in the first video.

Steve Jones
Once weapons where manufactured to fight wars .Now wars are manufactured to sell weapons

Jacobsen’s 2014 book, Operation Paperclip: The Secret Intelligence Program That Brought Nazi Scientists to America[8] was called “perhaps the most comprehensive, up-to-date narrative available to the general public” in a review by Jay Watkins of the CIA‘s Center for the Study of Intelligence.[9] Operation Paperclip was included in a list of the best books of 2014 by The Boston Globe.[10] Space historian Michael J. Neufeld gave a negative review of the book: “I cannot endorse Operation Paperclip because: it is error-ridden, it produces no fundamentally new information, it is unbalanced, and its notes are poor.”[11] Jacobsen contributed to the October 24, 2019 Throughline Podcast The Dark Side of the Moon podcast episode.[12]

S39 Permaculture Academy

In partnership with Arkleton trust and the Permaculture Association of Britain

at Andrew Kalema's bamboo farm
S39 team at Nakaseke, on a forest farming field trip visit. Andrew Kalema is a leading light in this field

This is the beginning of a very big journey, one that we hope will create not only a network of permaculture demonstration and training centres in Uganda, Kenya and Rwanda but also train and develop the careers of the students and graduates from those centres. We are calling this the S39 Permaculture Academy and work is already well under way setting these ambitions in motion.

Title banner from the academy website
We will develop the branding of the academy as it evolves, but it all started from an idea generated n 2014 and tentatively launched at the 2015 International Permaculture Convergence. It made every sense to us to use the experience and networks built up from teaching so many PDC’s in UK over the years and link up with our new found friends and colleagues in Africa. In 2018 we launched the idea at the first East Africa Permaculture Convergence
Touring the 6 acre plot at Budumba where we are working to develop one for permaculture training hubs
Touring the land at Butaleja

We have identified three contrasting sites so far, each will serve as the nucleus for a training centre that over time will reach deep into its surrounding community. Experience has taught us the power of demonstration to draw in interest, the next step is to covert this into knowledge via a range of both practical and theoretical educational approaches. The centre’s will also serve as resource points, multiplying plants, tools other materials so that graduates and surrounding households can replicate and learn first hand from these permaculture techniques.

plants with multiple functions
Purchasing a set of plants ready to take to the first training centre at Butaleja

Early days, and this is my first post on a three week trip that feels like a mammoth journey really, we met and connected with so many people and places, i feel we are at the start of something very interesting. The potential to accelerate the uptake of permaculture across the region seems huge. Most people if not small farmers are still very much connected to the land, there is a strong local food economy and a great need to boost productivity and income in a way that harmonizes with both community and landscape. Permaculture is very close to an African way of thinking, or as S39 trainer Hellen Auyo put it, “its God’s way of farming.”

Permaculture design grows from the active observation of nature’s systems.
Creating a keyhole bed in Mbale as an example of a permaculture technique
Working together to create a key hole bed garden in Mbale

Paul Odiwour Ogola, overseeing the work in the above picture has already proved his incredible worth when after the 2016 PDC he went home to his native Kenya and opened his own training centre. He in turn has trained many hundreds of small farmers in the Homa Bay region and is now targeting reaching thousands more. He is one of the key inspirations for the Academy and demonstrates how ongoing support work with key educators enables the spread similar approaches to different regions.

  • Kumi, Teso sub-region, Eastern Uganda
  • Budumba, Butaleja. Eastern Uganda
  • Save School, Butare, Rwanda
  • Homa Bay Kenya, Mfangano

Permaculture 2020

pdc advert
Roe Morrow talks of her plans to reach refugees with permaculture training

The work of Roe morrow goes on. She was one of the first generation permaculture pioneers in Australia and is leading the way bringing permaculture in refugee settlements and using it as tool for displaced people around the world. We were very inspired by her talk at the 2015 International Convergence in London and reading her books was a great help in designing the Sector39 permaculture design course for refugees delivered in Uganda in 2018.

Sector39 PDC graduates in Adjumani 2018
Delivering a full PDC to 40 UNHCR registered refugee community leaders from South Sudan was a highlight of 2018 for the Sector39 team

Permaculture training we had last year is really improving our life . thanks for da support

Droma Isaac, Adjumani

2020 has to be a big year for change. The commencement of the Paris Climate Accord and a full speed rapid transition to a low carbon economy. Permaculture has been putting down roots and spreading its mycelium around the world for four decades and more. It is time we brought much of what has been developing in that time to fruition.

PDC advert for Dragons co-op
Outline for the 2020 PDC at Dragons spread over 6 weekends

Book here. 10% deposit secures a place
https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/permaculture-design-course-tickets-83220317209

PDc Full permaculture design course in Wales

Back at Treflach Farm

S39 delivered 5 full PDC’s at Treflach between 2010 and 2012, when the farm was still at the beginning of its transition from a more traditional family-run stock farm to a hub for regenerative agriculture. In the time since we were last there they have invested in on-farm value addition, community activities, local food events and much more. The farmer at Treflach has joined the regenerative agriculture network and is exploring mob-grazing, silvo-pasture and many more initiatives. Permaculture has very much been a big part of the journey for the the and we are very excited to be returning there in July.

Permaculture gives you a framework to understand the much more complex patterns and process we see in nature and society. Permaculture is essentially an introduction to systems thinking and pattern language. it is based on observation and experience and requires no prior knowledge.

The course explores themes such as
* Principles of natural systems
* People dynamics and groups
* Basic ecology, soil and compost, guilds
* Gardens, food forests and integrated systems
* Economic systems, money, co-operatives
* Design: building consensus and how to communicate ideas

More updates soon

Pay your 10% deposit here
https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/full-permaculture-design-course-tickets-83602819283?aff=ebdssbdestsearch

Fibonacci, patterns in nature

Book Launch

Heart felt thanks to everyone who came along and especially those of you helped with the book launch event in Llanrhaeadr on Oct 11th. Between the two sessions we had well over 70 visitors and so far we have distributed 300/ 400 of the complementary copies available for those resident or working in Powys.

small and slow solutions, permaculture, school  and community
The final output of One School One Planet Project, 100 page book of practical insight into how to work with the environment.
Small and Slow Solutions, sector39
Coming together as community to face complex challenges

The books tackles the challenge of our time, how to energize and inspire people to take meaningful action on the ecological emergency. The work is framed by permacutlure design, which co-ordinates actions to be in line with both community and the natural world. Combined synergistic actions could create all sorts of unexpected positive outcomes. It is via these processes we believe we have the potential tools to make meaningful inroads into preparing ourselves for our low carbon and climate disrupted future.

climate change generation
How we chose to respond to the climate emergency will impact greatly
on the options available to the next generation.

Permaculture design course

Really sorry the Sector39 website www.permaculturedesigncourse.co.uk is off line currently and we are trying to fix it. the site contains blogs and posts from past courses as well as booking details for current ones, please contact us via this site for information on our courses

To secure your place please pay a 10% deposit here.
Balance to be paid on arrival on the first weekend, Jan 25th.

permaculture design course breakdown
I moved the dates forward 2 weeks than first advertised, it won’t change again
dragons, permaculture, PDC, sector39
Dragons, Llanrhaeadr

Meanwhile we had begun promoting our next PDC which will be i in Llanrhaeadr ym Mochnant, Powys, Wales SY10 0JN

Here is suggested watching in advance of attending the PDC

In grave Danger for Falling Food, Bill Mollison's story
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IRy0FXd-1QA

Climate science and the SDG goals, Johan Rokstrom
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V_gX0cTt10A&t=6s

David Holmgren, origins of permaculture
https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=2&v=Syw1yfaWieQ

Food Inc, Michael Pollen and Eric Schlosser
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wmUvuEDd3eY

Dirt, the movie
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lvrww8iMl-A

That should get you warmed up on the subject. I will get back to you after
Oct 11th when we are not quite so busy with more details about the course
and hopefully will have my other website back up by then.
Clips from a previous residential PDC held in Wales i 2017

Small and Slow Solutions

slow and slow solutions is a teaching resource for secondary schools, using cross curricular themes to understand the process of change and how to initiate your own changes
Coming soon, tackling the climate crisis with permaculture design

It has taken our team three years to complete this text book. We have been working with our local high school and across our whole community to investigate how we can raise this essential issue in a meaningful and constructive way.

Permaculture gives us the statment, ‘the problem is the solution’ recognising that a problem is the inverse of its solution, problems are not unrelated but directly connected to their solution. Further more simply presenting dire predictions of a problem so huge humanity cannot face it achieves nothing but either continued denial or all out nihilism. Permaculture is a design process that is inclusive, works out from one’s own experience and helps build a co-ordinated and unified response.

The 1975 ft Greta Thunberg

Greta Thunberg began her activism at 15, starting alone yet within months creating a world wide movement. We take our inspiration from her work, we challenge everyone who cares to set in motion their small and slow solution and lets see how it builds and where it takes us.

Roger Hallam talking recently on the power of civil disobedience
There is precedence for change by mass action

PM 101 feature for S39

pm 101
We are featured in PM 101

We are excited to be featured in the latest Permaculture Magazine (PM101) in a piece exploring our work in refugee settlements in Uganda last year. It was a huge experience for all of us involved. We trained 40 refugees in permaculture and then supported them over the following 6 month period to become teachers and leaders , each trainee was tasked to train 4 families from their own surrounding communities.

Here are the pioneers, those who are now on the front line of bring permaculture into the community of Bidibidi refugee settlement and beyond. We are hoping we can find ways to continue to support them in this vital effort to combat poverty, de-forestation and food insecurity by bringing design and purpose via permaculture to their communities

The trainees, first generation permaculture team, Maaji and Bidibidi 2018

These stunning portraits were taken by Angharad Rees

Training and support team

Biochar

This is a fascinating insight into soil formation and possibly one of best ways to fight back against cliamte change using biological systems.

This is a classic documentary form 2002, introducing a fascinating topic, biochar

Dragons Co-operative & regenerative agriculture, a vision

vision statement for Dragons Co-op project
Vision statement, I am working on this… this is where I am at so far.

Biodiversity in Wales has collapsed over the last 4 or 5 decades. This became blatantly clear on the publication of the State of Nature report in 2013. No one articulated this more strongly than local Welsh naturalist Iolo Williams when he spoke at the Senedd in 2013

A damming indictment of the direction that policy has driven farming practices

In our response to the changing climate and the loss of biodiversity it is apparent we need new models and approaches. Ones the restore depleted soil carbon, reducing flooding and reverse erosion and that protect and enhances biodiversity.

Permaculture is a design approach that has nature at its heart and increasingly we have been applying these ideas to more and more challenging situations and at greater scale. Sector39 are currently building a coalition of partners to take on a 124 acre hill farm on the edge of the Berwyn mountains here in Wales with the specific aim of creating a model for regenerative farming that could perhaps lead the way in land reform and demonstrate how a diversity of incomes can lead to a diversity of biological life on the farm.

Cae Bodfach, is our local attempt to restore some of the diversity and habitat lost from the landscape, we hope to be able to do this kind of restorative work on a much larger scale.

We have 25 years of housing co-operative experience and community building and this would give us the change to couple this experience with large scale habitat restoration. We have 2 objectives, one to establish a trust to purchase this unique farm and hold it in perpetuity so that we have establish a land based community to live and take care of the land.

The Trust needs to secure £400,000 in investment to secure the land for the proejct itself to go ahead. We already have finance in place for the actual project itself. As a training and teaching organisation we dont anticipate a problems recruiting members to the proejct or tenants for the farm and buildings.

This unique farm takes in a whole water system, several springs and 124 acres of land, not all of which has been ploughed and ‘improved’ with fertilizers and rye grasses. Rather than see it disappear under the uniformity of even more ‘sheep monoculture’ our vision is to take in the other direction, finding economic and responsible ways to restore diversity and create new possibilities for especially farms on marginal and upland locations.

steven jones sector39 personal statement p1
Personal statement
steven jones sector39 personal statement p2