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 Action, weekend workshops

@Llanfyllin Workhouse, led by Sector39

Permaculture Action Weekend Workshops
Due to the popularity of the PDC Non Residential Course field trips to Llanfyllin Workhouse over the years, S39 is now hosting the following Action Weekends:
  1. September 7, 8, 9th
  2. November 30th – Dec 2nd
  3. April 13, 14, 15th.
The Weekends will provide all previous PDC members from the residential and non-residential courses the opportunity to:
  • Reconnect with Permaculture Principles and utilise them in a practical way
  • Reunite with course colleagues and meet new ones from other groups
  • Follow the progress and development of the project through the changing seasons and years
  • Practice skills, learn new ones and engage purposefully in a positive way in nature
  • Spend time with like-minded people, share stories and information in a social setting
  • Move from thinking to doing building confidence and experience by engaging with a developing site

The Action Weekend is £25 per person per night and includes Dinner, Bed and Breakfast at the Bunk House.


Lunches are not included but there are numerous places to go for midday meals in Llanfyllin as well as the option to have Lunch together on the Sunday at an additional cost of £10.00 per person. Participants are welcome to bring along any produce or beverages they wish to consume or share during Dinner and Breakfast at the Workhouse.
Depending on the response to these residential weekends, we may organise future larger scale events at the Workhouse such as a Harvest Party or Solstice Celebration to encourage our Permaculture Community to connect, grow and hopefully blossom into the future!


Historic image of the Llanfyllin Workhouse

The Workhouse is a community owned historic building that literally used to be a poor house. Part of it is now a bunkhouse and its a fun place to stay for a weekend with a group of 10 -15 people.

Image from our 2009 2 week PDC at the Workhouse


  • Workhouse bunkhouse is £15.00 per person per night
  • Sctor39 donation for weekend £25.00 minimum

Food: Evening meal provided by Sector39, please bring and share your own produce or cooking for lunches, snack and to augment main meals.

Sunday roast in the Cain hotel Llanfyllin option also @ £10 extra

More on the venue

What is there to see in Llanfyllin area?

Sector39 and community partners have been advancing permaculture projects in the area for many years. As well as the magnificent Workhouse we have

  • Cae Bodfach heritage orchard,
  • Garth Organic garden,
  • Treflach farm
  • Tan y Fron Housing co-operative
  • Dragons Housing co-op and shop
  • Permanent Housing Co-operative
  • One School One Planet project
  • Cross Keys community space
  • Cultivate horticulture project Newtown

and much more to visit and experience

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:

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.

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.

Permaculture on the front line

Permaculture and refugees initiative is a Norwegian Refugee Council funded project, led by Sector39 training team.

Images from the third Action Support visit to the Maaji region of Northern Uganda.  Sector39 led on the training for these settlers Uganda; in return for training and in field support the 20 participants are preparing to work as outreach permaculture trainers for the their region. Each has the target to reach 5 more individuals in the region and to support them to set up their own training and demonstration plot to support the uptake of permaculture design ideas and techniques.

In support of this work Sector39 are developing a training manual that focuses on the Holmgren permaculture principles and ethics.  Permaculture is a design system for solving problems, not a set of techniques to be blindly replicated.  We hope that individual trainers will learn how to adapt ideas to fit individual circumstances. So far there has been a great deal of enthusiasm for the work and many participants have already been successful in reaching out to and recruit the net tier level of trainers.

Here is the first draft version, we plan to translate this into 5 languages.

b4This is a new approach to training in these circumstances. The intention is to create pathways from reliance on external aid donations to resilient communities meeting much of their own needs from local resources.

Green team, ready to take permaculture to the masses

Another awesome moment to witness, the zeal and commitment from these Gentlemen and ladies. They are now a part of the ” Green Warriors ” ready to take on the bull by the horns. Well done S39 team and yes NRC, much appreciation for keeping the promise. Gerald Jagwe, S39 trainer

South Sudan Sustainability initiative, Visit 2. Late July 2018

Great to see progress at Maaji refugee and host community settlements. Of all the permaculture related innovations we have been developing and demonstrating and for good reason, the energy efficient stove has proved the most popular.

Settler family with their thermal mass cooking stove, with trainer Pasquin
The children were inspired to build a version with the left over materials

Here is a narrated slide show of progress from the second week of in field visits following on from the June 12 day permaculture training provided by the Sector39 team.


Training team Maaji, Godfrey, Pasquin, Vicky and Gerald

Permaculture at school

Scything class at Llanfyllin High School

It has been a personal ambition of mine to teach scything at school to teenagers for about 10 years. This week I finally got to do it. Very satisfying.

Many of the pupils are children of farmers and generally not used to using hand tools, but for habitat management and managing food forests and herbaceous landscapes they are the ideal tool once you get the hang of them.

One School One Planet Podcast is from the schools project in Llanfyllin this week and this is accompanied by s slideshow of some of our work with Welsh Baccalaureate GCSE class.

 We have a way to go before we get this good. There is a resurgence in hand-tools and the realisation that no moving parts means nothing can break.

Permaculture Design Course?

The residential PDC

The 2 week residential course is designed to create a permanent shift in the way people think. It is an immersion in permaculture ideas to the point that the participant starts to perceive and see things differently in a way they can’t un-see them.

PDC Adjumani Uganda

I sense that many who attend a residential PDC are looking to create a watershed point in their lives, where long held convictions are turned into actions. There is no doubt that completing a PDC is both a reassertion and discovery of ones own core values and convictions and a deliberate attempt to forge a pathway towards ones own stated goals and ambitions. If you really want to turn your own ideas into actions do a PDC. Not least because you are surrounded by people at a similar stage in their own development, you tend not to forget your PDC classmates, long term bonds and important connections can be made.

With recent settlers in Uganda, refugees from South Sudan

As a teacher of 40 full PDC’s I have started to spot the patterns and see how it really works. It is always a pleasure to see people go through this journey and I am always genuinely interested to see where they go with it and what they do next. Our most recent course, for refugees from South Sudan was taught through two simultaneous translators to a group who spoke 8 different languages. Class content was pared to a minimum and we completed 16 different practical activities over the fortnight.

Interestingly the results were exactly the same or even more powerful than our usual format we use in the UK. Permaculture really works, it is adaptable, powerful and relevant and I think it is one of the best we have to shift the mindset of humanity to a harmonious relationship with each other and our living planet.

Our next one is planned for November in Wales, staying a housing co-operative and Air B+B in the mid Wales borders.

One School One Planet are holding regular local events to talk about how we can respond to climate change as a community

Permaculture and Refugee project feedback. S Sudan/ Uganda

We will document progress as best we can here as a public record and as evidence for our funders at NRC and of other interested parties. It has been a remarkable experience so far and I am also very proud of our Sector39 team who have been supporting the settlers in the field.

First up here are a few thoughts and images from the initial 2 week training session at the Vocational Skills Training centre at Nyumanzi, Northern Uganda. This took place in June 2018.

Two support teams, each of three people have spent the last week in the field working along side the course graduates, helping them put into place their own permaculture plans developed on the course. Distances are far, the settlements are spread out and remote, so it has been difficult work to co-ordinate but we are very pleased with the feedback and progress so far

Hello Steve. good morning. I am grateful for the opportunity you gave me to be part of the support action team in the refugee settlement in Adjumani.

We ended week one with such a vast experience in actively working with the settlers there. Most of the had started with their work as they had planed.


Above are some of Mzee Pauls’ activities he has so far put in place. Our last day was designing a keyhole garden using local resources. The group was so inquisitive to learn and practice it.

During swale excavation with one of settlers. He has in place raised beds, chicken shelter, compost heap and plans to do circle gardens generally most of the participants are practicing what they learnt. They only need continuous action support and follow for them adapt the permaculture technologies

Sack garden, this is a  space saving and water saving technique to grow fresh veg close to your home

Here is a series of photo taken from the week one Action Support Phase.

Each participant from the intensive training has written their own permaculture action plan to set them goals and targets to continue the momentum of the course once they return to their settlements.

Permaculture is not a set of techniques, it is more a way of thinking and planning but all of the activities undertaken fit into this wider ethos. The longer term objective is that each one of the 40 who completed the part 1 training will go on and train at least 5 people in turn. We hope to create a community informed by permaculture design not just a lot of circle beds and guild plantings!

This has been a great start, its hard to keep track of everything going on but I hope the video below captures much of what has been going on.

Reflections on the last 2 months of African work

Angie circulated a great email which prompted me to reply below, i surprised my self as I have hardly the strength to hit the keys i am so tired out.. but there is much to say and be celebrated
Well said and much appreciated. (I will add Angie’s email when i have her permission to share it on here)
 Permaculture is a different way of thinking. It helps us see the bigger overriding patterns. Life is complex, we face complex challenges, permaculture builds on common ground and common experience. It is very powerful and it works.
Never forget that we are all  people, we need each other for survival if nothing else  and we are connected together by food and our connection to the soil. Microbes and mycelium run his planet as they connect everything else together.

Personally struggling a bit to get back on top of things. really tired and running on empty but that said is because i put 100% of myself into these things – because that is what it takes. i will be fine, only been here a few days and had to go straight into teaching and funding reports back logs. back 7 days and 6 of those have been work days and the other a work day missed because i was asleep all day. normal service will be resumed.
permaculture course uganda
PDC group at Sabina school, course graduates PDCUG18
BUT, WOW, thanks for putting it so well Angie, we delivered a top rate PDC took many unanticipated challenges in our collective stride and came out not bankrupt, which was a real possibility a couple of months prior to start as the fundraising had been less successful than I had hoped and literally the last pot of money to come in, like Sisters Carbon, Angie etc really saved the day.
The convergence actually made a profit. I have $400 us dollars at least from that for reinvestment. more but we haven’t done the books yet.


The EA convergence was totally shambolic and revealed many flaws and oversights in our planning. Luckily none of this mattered, no one noticed except for us, mainly poor Helen, BUT, it was a really successful event and one that vastly exceed my and many other’s expectations. Maybe if there was one thing Helen hadn’t realised was after all this is Africa and everything is shambolic most of the time anyway.. so people are patient and easily pleased by what does work and dont worry about all the things that didn’t. The quality of the conversation around the edges and the networking made alone it a run away success before the first PowerPoint show or bed bug bite. Everything else was a bonus and people really loved it and were and are buzzing since.
We should all feel really proud of what we have accomplished at Ssanje. I see Charles and team are keen to follow up withe Dec course at Sabina so I hope also what we have done there will create momentum of the school. Of course a PDC is about the participants not the venue.. and there were many complications arising from the blurred edges between course and venue. I am glad to see Charles is working there again, i wont be hurrying back for my own reasons. but it is important to build on what is there.


The contrast that really brought things into sharp focus, was working at the Vocational Skills Training complex in Adjumani. It was just a compound of about 4 acres with a series of simple buildings, designed and built as an adult training center. the catering was by professional caterers , on a three stone fire as ever, but the food was cheaper and far superior than at Ssanje and the prices are 20 or 30% higher at the refugee areas. We had 2 sodas a day, 2 waters each, choice of 3 meat and 3 veg dishes and everything worked because there was an onsite team whose job it was to make things work. Logistics people in back up. it was a very different experience. It really underlined how much of the venue management responsibilities we had to take on at the school.


We taught 42 refugees who between them spoke 8 languages (we even added a little welsh seeing as everyone else seemed to have their own language) . It was more like 50 or so, we had 2 simultaneous translators and everybody worked it out between themselves. made it very slow. but boy does that focus you on what is the key content, no amusing anecdotes and no videos really as it is all too slow. I showed 10 minutes of Geoff Lawton soils the intro bit i always show to start the conversation on souls, with translation and discussion that took 45 minutes ad we only had 2 1/2 hour classroom time am and 30 mins pm. many did not read or write. we had to invent everything about how we teach.


The team were so great, Han earned hers stripes and Grace did so much of the front-line contact time; holding the space and Han especially got to know all the people very quickly. A big unfamiliar group became a family before our eyes. it was truly amazing.
Paul Ogola gets a special mention from me, great teacher, calm but forceful,. very good at getting people into action. We were all good so maybe it is unfair to name check anyone, everybody did so well.. Not least because it was hard, we had to think on our feet and we delivered a life changing experience for all involved. You have to understand the drivers, people hired by NRC to drive the buses around attended the course and took notes. so did the translators, when they weren’t translating. The center staff and manager also took part and apologized and asked for a recap if their job had taken them away for a session. It changed the ethos of the whole centre. actually it gave them an ethos because all they had ever had before was a budget.


The kitchen crew will use the energy efficient stove we built for them, the compost the water recycled.. it was like the whole compound suddenly got permaculture in one collective realization. It is a changed place, for once everyone is in agreement. Permaculture really works, it buts priorities in the right order to think about things in terms of opportunists rather than limitations.


Angie do you mind if i repost your email on the blog. its not too personal is it? i wan tto share this far and wide.. we have done something truly amazing


Although the setting and format was different, the Ssanje course set us up perfectly for Adjumani course. we did 16 practicals, all rehearsed and tolled up and we didn’t fit everything in that we could have. it was all learning by dong the classroom sessions were either explaining water filters and swales or they were a closing plenary when i related what we were doing to the principles and ethics. it really worked for them, they really got it. we also really hit on a good idea fo rthe designs. Instead of trying to teach SADIMET to a bunch of semi literate cattle herders (and a vast assortment along side) each participant worked on their own personal action plan. so the design was on themselves and how they were going to bring permaculture into their respective communities. Each participant will be incentivized to train 5 second tier trainers, through our on going support.


so what comes next is 6 months of hard work, 2 of which will be back in Uganda, maybe a trip to Zimbabwe to network, who knows… but we have a contract signed with NRC worth US$55,000 that’s going to get burnt up pretty fast but we can create real momentum with a budget like that over 6 months. we are going to get good value from taht money for sure.


Watch this space, tell me how you want to be involved, Everyone who was at Ssanje and Adjumani is in for the longer term as far a I am concerned I think a few us learned what our strengths and weaknesses were, but that is why we came with a big team. we must not lose the great value of learned experience we created there.


Jagger is keen for us to do a PDC in Kumi and I see why as they have a really active core team there already. I see a real value in creating clusters in places where people can support each other and build projects rather than just sending loads of loan rangers out there. Permaculture needs nurturing especially in the early days of a project or a career, we need to support each other better. and build that into the overall strategy of what we are doing.


I would like to do on on Mufangano island. Those who remember George and Bernard, two teachers who came for the pdc all the way from there and could only stay 2 days as there school was still in session. I will explain why i think is a great opportunity another time, but yes it will need planning and an advance team to go there and report back. 20 months away that one i would hazard a guess, plus no idea how to fund it.. but its a community of 12,000 people on an island. a place where people really understand limiting factors and finite resources. The 2 guys who came are both headteachers and community leaders.. we could reach the whole island through them, create a mini permaculture nation.. i am serious it could be really significant/ I see it as such anyway. But reality will kick in, it will be a challenge, that said it is not far from Kisumu, 2nd city in Kenya I think its a significant place and Paul Ogola and his mates as well as the islanders all speak the same language, Luo. All of these tings work in our favour. So i want us to find ways to make that happen.


My greatest joy is to see progression in individuals S39 team members growing as people or getting to know each other better, but also seeing the course participant blossom into great teachers.. I remember writing some of these objectives on the first funding application 3 years ago, What a thrill to see it happening before our eyes.


Well done, I love you all, new opportunities will come from this!


On Jun 26 2018, at 3:43 pm, Angie & Andy Polkey <> wrote:
PPS please use this email from now on…
On 26 June 2018 at 15:42, Angie & Andy Polkey wrote:
Hi team (and Dan and Steve J – can someone pass this on please?)
I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart 😍for being such a fantastic teacing & support team.
Everyone made my job so much easier by being willing to step up to challenges (even before we arrived!) – whatever I/we threw at you and you all went the extra mile whenever needed. Added to which your humour, friendship and acceptance of my limitations,  as well as helping me with all the planning beforehand, all made such an incredibly memorable and fulfilling first time for me in Uganda. My fears were dissolved once I’d arrived and I hope I was able to give my best too – at least most of the time!!!
I’ll be pleased to help progress next steps, whatever they are and to feed in to any review process…meanwhile, a question for the teachers, with Steve’s agreement:
Jane Vetiver wants to finish her PDC with us and Steve suggested she could do this on line. I’ve spoken to her and am happy to send her the presentations but she may need some support – and certainly Steve will need to talk through his plenary presentations with her. We discussed her aiming to do one of the principles per week (7-12 which she missed) and she’s keen to do a design for her mother’s land.
Question – if i forward the presentations to her, would individual teachers be up for dealing with any questions relating to your sessions please? This could be by email or Skype, for example.
Steve – are you happy with this approach?
Love to you all –
Angie xxx
PS it’s as hot here as Uganda so I’m pretty acclimatised already!