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

PDC: Llanrhaeadr Ym Mochnant, 6 weekends

The dates for the first weekend is set for 16th and 17th of March and we will negotiate the remaining dates with the group on the first weekend.

Times: Saturday 9.30 – for 10.00 am start until 5.30 pm
Sundays 9.30 – for 10.00 am start until 4.00 pm
Meet at Dragons, for coffee from 9.30, Llanrhaeadr High Street or Llanrhaeadr Village Hall, Back Chapel street from 9.50

Lunch is bring and share + soup and sourdough provided by Sector39

This page will be updated with more course info when available

Please consider making a donation to Ramadam Mutebi in support of this course. Rama is a PDC graduate in Uganda from 2017 and has amde significant contributions to his community since. We really hope to support him to achieve very much more.

Rama with Grace and Amy back in 2017. His colleague Prince Sebe Maloba is in the pale blue shirt

https://www.gofundme.com/ramadhanmutebi?sharetype=teams&member=1591190&rcid=r01-155170852751-33643049f64e4309&pc=ot_co_campmgmt_w

End of Empire

Chris Hedges is one of the foremost ‘public intellectuals’ in the USA. One of the clearest voices on the left and a harsh critic of US imperialism. Hedges takes a clear, uncompromising view of the reality that is confronting us.

He advises us to abandon hope, as that leads to disappointment and desolation, and to focus on what we can practically achieve and through that process find deep personal meaning in our engagement.

He references many key texts, and draws on his deep experience of 20 years as foreign corespondent for the New York Times before quitting his influential position as head of the middle east office over the NYT’s refusal to accurately convey the disaster that was the Iraq war. The interview is deeply revealing of how the state controls the narrative and also how journalism has been eroded to ‘court gossip’.

Keiser Report

Ex Wall Street bond trader, turned financial journalist presents a fresh perspective on economics and social change. This episode fits perfectly into the theme of climate emergency and collapse. Its a good watch and on topic, witty, acerbic, insightful and informed.

  • Are we living in an era of soft totalitarianism?
  • Will there be a Davos 2020?
  • ‘Bitcoin is the guillotine of the 21st century’

Thinking about the fragility and beauty of the natural world

We need to cultivate a culture of deep reverence for nature and be prepared to accept the lessons of our own observations. I added this as a counter balance to the other two videos.

However we see the times we are living though it seems to me it is this interaction between our economic world and the real ecology we are embedded in that we need to concentrate on fully as we are clearly getting this very wrong currently. The issue both of the first two videos addresses is the mechanism by which we can over throw the status quo. The over throw of Wall Street, of the Imperialism and the empowerment of all people to face our collective challenges together seems to be a common theme.

permaculture, climate change and community transition event in Llanfyllin
Join us on thursday evening to explore how these key issues impact on us at a community level

What does declaring ‘Climate Emergency’ mean?

Cornwall Council has declared a ‘climate emergency’.

The  authority says the declaration “recognises the climate change crisis and the need for urgent action”. It  follows  a motion debated at a full Council meeting today, where the Council called on Westminster to provide the powers and resources necessary to achieve the target for Cornwall to become carbon neutral by 2030 and committed to work with other Councils with similar ambitions.

The motion – ‘Urgency on Climate Change’ – was brought to Full Council by Councillor Dominic Fairman, local member for St Teath and St Breward, and seconded by Councillor Edwina Hannaford, the Council’s Cabinet portfolio holder for neighbourhoods.

The motion was amended by Councillor for Falmouth Smithick, Jayne Kirkham, to declare a climate emergency in line with the declarations of other local authorities.

Cllr Fairman said: “After a very lively debate a cross-party amendment was accepted which went even further than the original motion. If we are to avoid the worst-case scenarios, then the social change required will be deep.

  • Town by town and now whole counties are declaring a climate emergency, but what does that entail?
  • Should we all be pushing for similar action locally?

emergencyThe science is settled, yet we seem unable to collectively plot a course to a safe horizon. Global emissions are still rising, they are still drilling and even worse we are still subsidizing the costs of bringing fossil energy to market and putting obstacles in the way of renewable energy development and investment. This must change.

But we definitely know that continuing to work in the ways we have done until now is not just backfiring – it is holding the gun to our own heads. With this in mind, we can choose to explore how to evolve what we do, without any simple answers.

Prof Jem Bendal PhD

The Prof. in a recent paper of staggering implications argues convincingly that we have to consider three courses of action, immediately as carrying on as we are is counter-productive to our own survival.

In the paper Deep Adaptation we are urged to look at our lives under these 3 headings

  • Resilience asks us “how do we keep what we really want to keep?”

What are the valued norms and behaviours that human societies will wish to maintain as they seek to survive?

  • Relinquishment asks us “what do we need to let go of in order to not make matters worse?”

This involves people and communities letting go of certain assets, behaviours and beliefs where retaining them could make matters worse. Examples include withdrawing from coastlines, shutting down vulnerable industrial facilities, or giving up expectations for certain types of consumption.

  • Restoration asks us “what can we bring back to help us with the coming difficulties and tragedies?”

This involves people and communities rediscovering attitudes and approaches to life and organisation that our hydrocarbon-fuelled civilisation eroded. Examples include re-wilding landscapes, so they provide more ecological benefits and require less management, changing diets back to match the seasons, rediscovering non-electronically powered forms of play, and increased community-level productivity and support.

revolution permaculture
There is a different kind of revolution brewing, and much of it will entail a shift from us acting collectively as consumers to a role of producers

There is much we dont know

Equally there is much that we do, the inevitability of transition or total collapse and the need for urgency. Every prediction made using 1990’s climate modelling is being overshot by current reality, we are looking at very grim scenarios within all of our lifetimes.. the only way we can mitigate the crisis we face is to begin to frame our collective response. If it is a crisis of our own doing, then we need to call it a crisis and stop doing those things rapidly

 

Regular meetings

We will be meeting in the Cross Keys again next week, that is Thursday 31st January, Llanfyllin High Street. It is a free event, refreshments are served, donations to Cross Keys are welcome.  Doors open 7.00 pm formal business from 7.30.

In last weeks meeting we looked at issues around key topics.

  • Feedback points included the following

Land, farming, food

A profound shift is happening in farming, localised, seasonal, organic, diversity friendly and carbon negative. There was interest in generating dialogue with farmers to release more marginal plots to re-wilding and local food projects. Starting co-ops, supporting local groups, more allotments and better growing skills and local distribution

Church land? Other public spaces that could be re-wilded or made productive

Education

Will also be profoundly hit by transport costs. Ideas shared were can children educate their parents, it is after all there future that is being destroyed. The kind of jobs people are being prepared for will not exist, are we even creating the right skill set in pupils. Can we cope emotionally with the changes before us.

Food growing, processing storing and cooking. Can permaculture be part of education, and children more empowered to shape the school environment and hierarchy?

Un-schooling, can we bring people of different ages and backgrounds together to share life experiences and skills and find new ways of learning?

Transport

Powys has miles of roads, a dispersed population and is very vulnerable to cliamte or market disruptions. We need to think a lot more about transport. Car we go car free through sharing schemes, car clubs and community taxis. Electric bikes, what other alternatives are there?

Money

Can we create a local currency, or several different types of ways to interact with local, esp. food economy. Social ecoomy work can be rewarded with local currency.

 

South Sudan refugee project: Using Permaculture design to rebuild lives

maaji permaculture group

s39 team permaculture uganda
S39 Team Bidibidi

June to November have been a momentous time for our training teams here in Western Nile. In just 6 months we have been tasked with the challenge of introducing permaculture methods in this untamed region where refugees greatly outnumber the indigenous population.

In partnership with Norwegian Refugee Agency Sector39 has led on a 6 month training program for refugees and host community members. Many of the trainees are not experienced farmers or gardeners, more typically cattle herders and grazers. Here in Western Nile they have been given a plot of land and challenged to supplement their basic food aid with what they can grow in kitchen gardens, using organic and permaculture approaches

This is a 15 minute narrated slideshow with thoughts about the final phase of the project with thoughts on how it can be best continued. (below)

Interviews and testimonies

This first interview is with NRC translator and host community member Julius, he has fully involved himself in the project although he wasn’t present at the initial training. He makes some very perceptive observations about the impact of the project and has taken on many of the ideas and insights himself as he can observe them working effectively.

This 2nd video with one of the members, Opio Grace is very revealing and worth listening to. I left in the local language as well as the translation (translated section from 2:10)  as I wanted to share her voice as well. It is clear that permaculture has had a significant impact on her life in just 6 months.

“Permaculture has changed by life”          Opio Grace

Audio testimony from a Maaji 3 team member

Zone 4 BididBidi have the aspiration of securing a 2 acre plot to develop a permaculture enterprise and demonstration center. The map below is the product of group discussion and consultation over several days. We have already worked together to create a small training plot right next to the church we have been using as a class room.

We would hope very much to have the opportunity to support these pioneers over the establishment phases of this project.

Community liaison link and permaculture team member Rashida outlines the plan for a demonstration plot for Zone 4 Bidibidi

s39 permaculture
Sector39 training and action support team, Maaji, October 2018

Much elation on completing the training, hopefully just the beginning of much bigger things to come.

Food forest, perfect tropical permaculture

The permaculture team members Maaji settlement

Slides of the Maaji team design presentation

permaculture s39
A creative vision, Permaculture Training Centre Maaji, Uganda

Permaculture Training Centre Maaji,

This audio track is a presentation from the members design team which focused on building and the carpentry skills as an enterprise within training centre sketched above.

Fuel Efficient Stove project

This slideshow and narration explores progress developing and promoting fuel efficient stoves with the community  members

Next steps

Proposal: This  project would benefit from support for a minumum ofr two years.

– ambition is to establish a permaculture training centre which will will transition into a stakeholder owned and managed fully independent enterprise.

exploring a training and Enterprise development model that can be self replicating and able to generate much of the resource need to sustain from within its own internal economy.

The vision is to work closely with the members from the training to create a new and wholly refugee (stakeholder)  owned enterprise that will serve as a permaculture training and demonstration hub for the region. It would incubate several related enterprises that initially would be the service providers for the training centre.

Building livelihood, enterprise and food security is the aim and to create a thriving learning hub at the centre of this new emerging community. We envisage the centre acting a hub for training and outreach across the Western

Nile region, developing many of the resources and skills needed to create a shift in the prevailing methodology for food and livelihood security.

Project proposal summary document below

NRC S39 permaculture project outline

 

PDC new format

llanfyllin workhouse
Llanfyllin Workhouse in the Wales Borders region is an ideal venue for short courses and events

The Permaculture design certificate course is 80 hours of intensive study, practicals, demonstrations site visits and group work that serves as a foundation in permaculture design. It is an essential, energising and life changing course for most participants.

Sector39 have been delivering these courses since 2006 reaching 100’s of people and in many locations and venues. The most tried and trusted format for this course is the two week residential course, that literally immerses participants in the permaculture ideas and practices and is designed to create a personal shift from ideas to action. I always like to say permaculture is much more something you do than something to talk about and the whole purpose of the course is to create a momentum or tipping point that propels people from aspirations of change to really making that happen.

However, for many two weeks is prohibitively long time to take time out from work/ life commitments and increasingly it is hard for our facilitation team to commit in advance with many other commitments competing for attention. I have been thinking hard about how to get around this and to make the courses accessible to all, as well as wondering how to make the most of the great facilites and working permaculture projects and examples we have in our area here in Mid Wales.

4 Part rolling PDC.

The idea is to plan a rolling on going course, spread over 4 long weekends a year that can serve as a refresher, an introduction or form part of a full PDC process. Sessions will run from Friday to Monday with a weekend in the middle that is open to all comers and will be themed around site visits, demonstrations and practical work as well as slots for people to present on tier worn projects, develop ideas and recruit participants.

A typical weekend might look like this

  • Friday: 10.00 am to 6.00 pm. PDC sessions covering core syllabus areas working towards the certificate.
  • Friday evening, all Saturday – up til Sunday 4.00 pm: Permaculture action weekend. Open to all, past graduates and potential future participants

Participants can therefore join and any stage of the course and those completing all 4 units will be awarded their Permaculture Design Certificate.

We are very keen to receive feedback and interests regarding this new proposed programme. Please get in touch

 

Practical Permaculture Videos

Using an A frame to find a level line for water trapment

From PDCUG18, a full permaculture design course at Sabina School Kyotera, Uganda 2018.

Video filmed and edited by Nina Moon. Practical sessions led by Ritchie Stephensona nd Grace Maycock for sector39 permaculture.

Permaculture for Development workers

For more effective humanitarian, refugee and international development programmes, please join Chris Evans, Gisele Henriques and Guests for the 5-day Permaculture for Development Workers (P4DW) course on 11th-16th September 2018 at Applewood Permaculture Centre, Herefordshire, UK:

https://www.facebook.com/ApplewoodPermacultureCentres/videos/2202180516721161/

Permaculture is the conscious and ethical application of ecological principles in the design of sustainable human habitats. This course aims to introduce the use of permaculture design to improve the appropriateness and effectiveness of “development” through the application of ecological principles and design processes to programme design, planning, implementation, monitoring and evaluation.

 

Using case studies from different continents, and cutting edge development theory to illustrate how permaculture has been (and can be) successfully applied at all scales (household to community to larger regions), the course will provide an inspiring and pro-active set of tools to help international development-focused individuals, community-based organisations and non-governmental organisations run effective programmes.

https://www.applewoodcourses.com/uk_courses/permaculture-for-development-workers/

Join us in September 2018 and help transform the development paradigm with permaculture!
Please share this information widely throughout your networks.

Regretfully, there are no funds for scholarships/travel assistance.