THE FUTURE OF PERMACULTURE

Permaculture is continually expanding. It is building skills, experience, knowledge, tools, strategies and design thinking. As we learn from and collaborate with nature we get smarter. And we explore systems for a truly sustainable future that allow systems to regenerate. In this interview with Richard Telford, creator of the permaculture principles icons and leading publisher, discusses the future of permaculture.

Interest Changes but our Knowledge Keeps Expanding

Interest in permaculture waxes and wanes with the need for it. During the pandemic there was a really strong need for permaculture. Then it changed. Richard explained “I think people felt Permaculture wasn’t so relevant because the system was coming back together…or it appeared so. People felt, I guess, more secure and then the demand for permaculture.. waned.”

In fact, Permaculture has pioneered many things from compost toilet systems to the powerful Transition Town movement. What will the future bring?

Our Knowhow is growing

Richard continues “the future for Permaculture is brightest when the system is shaky. But I think for people who really want to live a life that’s rewarding. hands-on, connecting with nature and the Earth, and to community then there’s a lot that permaculture has to offer. But I don’t see that the majority of people are particularly interested in that. So, for those of the of us that are on that path it’s fairly steady. And I think we’ll see big fluctuations when the need arises” says Richard.

Resources for a Better Future

But you know we’ve been creating these amazing seed banks and developing these systems for a long time I’ve been doing it for years. There’s a valuable source of information and experience that can be shared with other people when it’s needed when it’s valued.

Give it a Go!

Richard has been a Jack/Jill of all trades. “I built this house and had no idea how to build a house. It was that whole thing about wanting something to happen. And being passionate and making it happen. Even though you don’t know how to do it. And [it’s about ] finding the right people to work with. We’ve got a couple of boys that were home-schooled most of their time when they were younger. And we found the only way they really learn is when they’re interested in something. And I think it’s the same with me. When I’m interested in building a house – I’ll build a house. I restored a car (the old Kombi). I did the fibre-glassing and mechanics and upholstery. And all those things because I wanted to make it happen. And same with creating the permaculture principles website and designing the icons. Any of these things. I was really driven by seeing a need. And I wanted to make that happen.

Stepping Into the Unknown

I feel like I can do anything that I’m really passionate about now. At least give it a really red hot go. So, I really want to encourage people to have a go. The best way to do it is to find somebody local and work with them…. I’ve got a number of different mentors around town. And I ask questions! We used to talk about empowering people helping them feel that they could give it a go. And then people are starting to say ‘oh you know they really need to get an expert for this’.

I think it’s important to be good at something that you can earn a living from. Get really good at something that other people will value. And for everything else – just have a go yourself. Because if you if you don’t have to pay someone else for doing it – often you’ll do a better job. And it’s money you don’t have to earn yourself. And you come out of it with skills and experience. Often, it’s very rewarding.” [Richard Telford]

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Extreme Range Driving an Electric Vehicle

pride in local production

We drove our trusty short-range electric vehicle slowly over the dusty Hay plains. Along the long stretches where the radio crackles, the weeds tumble and the trucks roar past impatiently, we started doing the mathematics. We formulated a coping strategy to monitor our use and enable long range driving in our modest electric vehicle.

Our short-range electric vehicle did extreme range driving 3000kms in the countryside. We expected few surprises. After all, it was going to be just more of the same. We have driven interstate from Brisbane to Melbourne along the coast with little to tell. But in those journeys it was from one town to another, never across open countryside. As a result, this trip was nail biting. And when it wasn’t stressful it was…..rather dull. [And here’s a quick shout out to Waikerie hotel for accommodating us with a standard power point off their garden maintenance shed.]

Welcome to Range Anxiety

Recently, at a busy charging station in South Australia we met a lovely couple on a romantic escape. They had flown over from Western Australia, hired a car, and were looking forward to exploring the exclusive wineries for the weekend. But, when they went to pick up the car they accepted the offer of an upgrade to an electric car as potentially exciting. With very little instruction, they zoomed off. Suddenly, their fuel dial started dropping. When they got to their destination winery, the charger was broken. They didn’t know where other chargers were, or how to find them.

We’ve been driving our electric car for 2 years now. So, how did we get caught out?

The Best Coping Strategy for Range Anxiety

When your electric car is full of charge it displays an estimate. Let’s say it estimates 250kms. For extreme range driving outback, be sceptical. Simply halve that estimate. The estimate is about right if you plan to travel at 60kms/hr, on a flat road. As soon as you travel uphill, at speeds over 80kms or use air-conditioning, headlights, hazard lights or the windscreen wipers (depending on the type of vehicle), the estimate drops. Rapidly.

To feel secure, start the journey at a modest speed [80km/hr] until you are 100 kms from the next destination. Then keep the watching the estimate and only drive faster if you can keep the efficiency and maintain an estimate that is double of the distance to go.

trying to get a new charging station to work

Never assume the next charging station is going to work for you. Everything breaks when someone is using it. It could be your turn. So, we only book accommodation after getting our final charge. And we carry bedding and a tent, just in case everywhere is booked out. But don’t assume you will be welcome to charge. For example, Yass caravan park doesn’t have a policy to enable charging even if you pay for a powered site. Call before booking to get permission to charge.

The PROS

The main advantage of the electric vehicle is that it runs on a fuel that is nearly everywhere. Wherever people are, there is usually a power-point. Whereas diesel, petrol or indeed hydrogen isn’t everywhere, and mostly imported. An electric car can be charged overnight with a simple wall power point.

Every Community Benefits

Best of all, the main community benefit from electric cars is huge. An electric car saves money from leaving the country. Every drop of electric is generated in your own region/state whereas most countries import fossil fuels. According to Saul Griffiths, the money spent on charging an electric car is more likely to be spent locally than money spent on fossil fuels.

By rewiring our energy use, we save money as well as taking pressure of the environment.

The Short Term Downside

Short range electric vehicles have adequate range for urban living. When you turn ours on it claims to give you 280kms. But drive it with the air-conditioning running, and on rainy nights, that range estimate begins to drop, rapidly.

So for long distances you slow down to conserve energy. But, as you slow down to save energy, you begin to realise a timing issue. Because you can’t afford to arrive so late that you need headlights and heating. The trick for driving electric cars in a time of slowly emerging infrastructure is planning and flexibility.

The traffic behind you is doing a minimum of 110kms/hr, and you are slowing to 80kms an hour. You begin to feel vulnerable. Especially, as the sun is blaring across the horizon. You are crawling and the traffic behind can hardly see you in front of them. In the countryside there are no slow lanes.

The first time we rolled into the charging station with just 6% charge left, we started to question our expectations. Had we known then that our backup plan (see below) would not be fail-safe, we might have parked the car and caught the train.

The other downside currently, is we needed to take a longer route, in order to reach the next charger. The chargers are not yet there to serve the long distance short range driver. They are well positioned for locals, who do short trips out of major cities. And they are not being commissioned as quickly as the number of electric cars are being sold. You learn to sit and wait. A trip that normally takes 2 hours by petrol car, can take 4 or more by electric car. Allow time to queue for others to charge as well as time for your own charge.

Driving Slowly Is Tiring

It can be more tiring to drive slowly. You watch the meter drop and grip the steering wheel as the trucks swerve past. At night, you can’t rest until you have charged again. For this journey from Wollongong to Adelaide Hills we had to charge the car 4 times each day over 3 days. And each charge takes a minimum of 40 mins. Sometimes a charge takes a couple of hours on slow chargers.

You are always better off to ‘top up’ the charge than to pass a charger in the blind hope that the next charge will be available and working. Also, occasionally people plug in their car and walk off for dinner. You get to wait in the cold and dark until their belly is full.

The Failed Backup Plan

Our backup plan was, and has been on previous trips, to carry a simple cable, plug into a powered site at a caravan park. It takes about 10hours to charge as we sleep overnight in our tent, a cabin or motel within walking distance. On the final night of our journey, the caravan park was full, as were all the motels, and the powered sites.

Back up plan failed
no powered sites available

Most places received us with interest and support. A few told us they are waiting on charging stations to be installed. Many chargers only charge Tesla cars, yet Tesla cars often use the chargers that we need because they are cheaper. This inequity is slowly being addressed by government subsidies [a lot less than fossil fuel subsidies] and simple economic forces. For example, the NRMA will soon have an app that charges users.

Backlash

Surprisingly, some hotel and caravan park managers eyed the car with suspicion. Some hosts are apprehensive because the price of the electric car is high. Yet the price of a short range electric car and charging is equal to about 8 years of fossil fuel. Some managers see the electric car as capable of guzzling electricity. And to be fair, electricity prices right now are high. So, we try to cut costs by not using air-conditioning in our room or cabin and always offer to pay extra for the use of electricity. In fact, the cost of a charge overnight is about $7. Some hotels happily take the offered bonus, some don’t charge.

Hotels and Caravan parks need to develop a charging policy and
determine a reasonable fee for the service.

Education about how electric cars work and use electricity is the challenge. On a previous journey, our host accused the car of causing her microwave to burn out! So, we can’t assume everyone supports electric cars. Indeed, for some rural towns, it is only a few generations since their first light pole. This is a time of rapid change.

Your Turn to Drive

Driving an electric car is one of the few ways an individual can act to reject fossil fuels. Domestic demand for electric cars embarrass governments and force them to plan a cleaner future. “New research shows fossil fuel subsidies over the forward estimates have increased to a record breaking $57.1b, up from the $55.3b forecast in 2022.” In fact, our defence force could easily become world leaders in Electric vehicle technology.

Once again, we find brave families car pooling, going the slow road, and daring to make the switch. Individuals are driving change. Plan now to make your next car an electric car and help pioneer a better future.

Albert Bates 4 Stages of Life

Prolific advocate, Albert Bates is famous for his work promoting Biochar and much more, Here he talks about his 4 stages of life and how he stays hopeful. Each stage of our lives has is a unique facet. Many of the key elders in the Permaculture movement began with an awareness, grew hopeful, then skilled and empowered. Finally they seek to be sharing and nurturing others. Here are Albert Bates 4 stages of his amazing life – in his own words.

Our interview with Albert Bates on his stages of life

Highlights of his career so far

Albert says his life is a work in progress. “I just turned 76 a week ago and I figure I got another 25 years So I got a quarter of my life still to go. And I’m having to figure out what can I do that would be different. And better. How can I do a a fourth act here. And up my game.

The Game of Life – Stage 1

So, let’s go back first stage of the game childhood through you know holding onto your mother’s skirt up to where you’re able to cause real trouble and then um I went to law school with the idea of being perhaps a one of the first cannabis attorneys who would uh who would redirect the legal system to make uh psychedelics legal that didn’t pan out all that well they didn’t Legalize It by the time I got out of law school so a lot of my courses that I took were wasted. But I got out of law school and I decided to put the city out of my blood get away from it for a while.

a hen looking back over her shoulder as she stands on a peak above a sea of mist

Walking in Elders Footsteps

So. I hiked the Appalachian Trail from north to south. That’s a trail that runs down to eastern North America along the Appalachian Ridge 200 miles. And this formed a circular perspective because my great great great great great great great great great great grandfather [Seven Generations removed] was Issachar Bates who was a Shaker poet.

Issachar was a revolutionary war soldier with George Washington throwing off the British yoke and he then fell in love with the Shakers and started to dance. He was a fife and violin player, a dancer and singer. And he wrote 400 Shaker hymns and became a missionary for the Shakers. The Shakers sent him on these long treks out to talk to the colonies. Out into the distant wilderness. He walked the Appalachian Trail [probably the same route I took out into the Ohio Valley]. This was in the late part of the 18th century.

He set up two utopian communal colonies in the wilderness. And had a confab with the prophet who was the brother of Tecumseh and was thinking about throwing off the American yolk. He was a protector of the native peoples, as well.

Issachar Bates - A Charismatic Shaker
Issachar Bates

I found that I had these commonalities in my life. And I was recapitulating my ancestors journey through life. Editorial note: Lucky for Albert Bates, the family did not stay celibate, else he would not have been born.

Common Trails with Ancestors

Here was I, walking the same Mountain trails, starting utopian communities in the wilderness, learning to make friends with adversaries [in our case the redneck Tennesseans who didn’t understand hippies]. And so, I was finding myself in my second phase age 25 to 50.

The garden of earthly delights by Bosch

Second Life Stage – Building Community

Life in that Community Building phase, I was developing the the farm as a village. We were developing businesses like our mushroom people business that was doing medicinal forest mushrooms. And our second Foundation was a charitable organization. And our Plenty which is our International charity. I had no use as a lawyer it at first. But after several years at the farm we started noticing that there were these things called nuclear plants popping up like mushrooms after a rain around us.

Rooster warrior

And I said we had to do something about that. Those are pretty nasty and so I got asked to go out and stop that stop that nonsense. I I handled nuclear cases as a law project it was called the Natural Rights Center. And we fought four times in the United States Supreme Court. We ended the Tennessee Valley Authority’s nuclear program which had had 20 reactors scheduled. And we fought them to a standstill in North America.

I then left out of stress and got more into my mushroom business. I found the law office thing was fine for a number of years. Then, I was like the warrior in Bill Mollison’s ‘Travels in Dreams’.

Regenerative Agriculture

After my life as a lawyer I got into regenerative agriculture. And back into the the basics of of agroforestry. And I started working with Chris Nesbitt down in Belize Maya Mountain Research Farm. Chris is a big agroforestry guy using traditional Mayan style that a lot of has gone extinct. But Chris is revitalizing it for climate resilience. So, I’m still working with Chris. Even today doing Ridge to Reef programs to restore the Mayan coral reef.

Life Stage 3 – 50 years Young and Beyond

In this stage I was focused pretty much on climate change full time. I began to live as an emergency planetary technician. So, they’ve you know they dispatched my ambulance to this particular planet. And I’m doing triage. I’m figuring out what we got to do here to stabilize the patient. And I’m using all of the various means of drawdown that Paul Hawkens talks about.

Natural Climate Solutions

I have a full kit of natural climate solutions in my jump bag. And the main thing that I’m probably best known for is biochar. I’ve written a number of books on it. Mexico is my Hemingway machine, my writing space for this age of 76 and beyond.

Albert Bates – Climate in Crisis

A number of years ago I wrote Climate in Crisis forwarded by Al Gore. This was my first book on climate. It came out the same year as I met Bill Mollison 1990. I probably had it with me when I saw him. And then, the next book I’m known for is the biochar solution this one came around 2010 after I went to a permaculture gathering in Brazil.

Charcoal pencils made inside our cooktop fire. Thanks to Albert Bates tip to use a loose fitting container.

Biochar and Me

Andre Suarez introduced me to Terra Preta – the dark earth of the Indians and that led me to the biochar solution. Then more recently we started looking at the non-agricultural uses of biochar. Which led us to this book Burn : Using Fire to Cool the Earth which is now out in German. By the way, if you want to understand the German word for burn is cool down. That’s the translation! Soon it’s going to be translated into Chinese and Italian. And during the run up to the Paris agreement [I was going to the U.N regularly to the conferences], I wrote the story of how they got to the Paris agreement [2015].

Albert Bates with his book BURN: Using Fire to Cool the Earth

Planetary Technician Processes

While I’ve been in here in Mexico I’ve come out with a book number of series on planetary technician processes. One of those is transforming plastic. It is about how to take plastic and turn it from a problem to a solution.

Dark side of the ocean book cover

And as this relates to the oceans, I wrote the dark side of the ocean which talks about the so-called blue economy or blue carbon. The idea that that the oceans are infinite. But they’re not. And how we’re actually destroying them. But we don’t see the destruction. It talks about alkalinity and salinity, sea level rise and extinction of of marine mammals.

fostering a love of animals helps children develop empathy and understanding of nature.

Children’s Books

And because it’s so interesting I decided we needed to create some children’s books. So I started making books for middle school. You could learn about the ocean, and cuddly sea animals. And understand the effects of pollution and maybe what you’re doing what you’re what you’re sending down the trash chute. And then, I wrote a book called Taming Plastic for kids – how they can do reduce their microplastic footprints. Showing how they can separate their different kinds of plastics and find things useful things to do, shaping a new future by using the recycled plastic.

Finally, here, during the pandemic, I came up with a book on a history of plagues. And it’s also about surviving this one. And how we’re failing on the plague the same way we’re failing on the climate. I have problems with the ways millions of people are dying from stupidity.

Beginning the 4th Phase – Publishing

What I’m doing in my fourth phase is publishing. And a lot of why I’m anxious and eager and grateful to get it out to a larger number of people. So it doesn’t just die with me!

Ecolution of an environmental mind

How do you stay hopeful?

Cultivating a sense of humour helps. As does a Buddhist non-attachment. You know, we may have been screwed before I was born. The trajectory we were on could well have been set well before I was born and I’m just along for the ride. Now, I have a bailing bucket in his sinking ship. So, I’m gonna bail. Because it makes me feel good to be doing something positive. As long as I have the ability to do something I’m going to keep doing it.

If we have just the slimmest of chances that maybe we can have more forest.
We can use algae. We can pull carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere.
And we can change our lifestyle. Lets do it.

At some point we will need to. So, it’s necessary that we we show the way. For that reason I stay hopeful. I know that it’s it’s more fun to get up in the morning with a spring in your step because you got something good you can be doing.

Make Life Fun

Part of the solution has to be making it fun. If it isn’t fun – nobody’s going to do it. So, finding solutions is one thing. But then, finding ways to make solutions fun – that’s even more important. And that’s why I write kids books. And that’s why I work with Chris Nesbitt at the Maya Mountain Research Farm. Because he has children’s programs. We do this in Tennessee – we have the Eco Village training Center with a lot of programs with the farm school. And we make it fun.

You know, we make it so that you can get into the mud and make Cobb buildings. And get all muddy. Get your face all muddy and have a party. All of that is is really important. Because if it ain’t fun – ain’t nobody gonna do it!

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Rowe Morrow – Permaculture for Refugees

Rowe challenges Permaculture Teachers to think globally thanks to her work with refugees in Bangladesh, Greece, Sri Lanka, Afghanistan and more.

Interview with Rowe Morrow – Patron of Permafund

Global Thinking Learned From Refugees

Rosemary tells us “I could see how very Western, middle-class permaculture was, where, in those countries people might say air pollution is easy to fix – just don’t drive cars. But my mind is global now and considers whether such statements are true across the world. My mind is less western. I’ll say, “Well, no, air pollution is not easy to solve for a refugees in Sri Lanka, in Dhaka in Bangladesh, or in Afghanistan. Because all you have there to burn may be plastic bags, to keep warm, or to cook your food. The air pollution from plastic is and poor quality coke is dangerous. Unknowable numbers of people die of air pollution every year. Don’t accept the western response to a problem as global. Certainly don’t teach it as if it is. Western solutions are not always valuable globally”

Evolving from individuality

There are a couple of big contrasts for me. One is the language of individuality which runs through all western speech such as, “My garden, My fruit trees, My place, My chickens, My everything!” Yet most of the people I work with speak of “Our community, Our chickens, Our fruit trees. They’re not consciously ‘eco-villagers’ but they think of themselves with others. And, when you’re living in Afghanistan you live in a compound with either your husband, your children, your brothers and sisters and their children. There can be 20 people sharing a bathroom and toilet. And they speak of We. The extreme individuality of westerners doesn’t help permaculture. It is very possessive.

Rowe Morrow – Photo Supplied

Individuality’ affects the Permaculture curriculum

I have changed my teaching methods. Yes, you still design your place and that’s yours, but you also need to work with your street and neighbourhood. It may be street trees, it might be verge gardens. It could be growing food for surplus and sharing so people can pick apples or oranges freely. In my case it’s kiwi fruit. You think of how your abundance can serve your local community. Move from ‘me’ to ‘we’.

‘This is the space this young participant had. She is using the family’s grey water.’ Rowe Morrow

The Third Ethic of permaculture – Fair Share

And another thing is the way people I’ve been working with for the past decade or so, are working naturally and extensively with the third ethic of permaculture and the gift economy than westerners do. There isn’t so much talk about money. People would like to have money and better incomes but much of the conversation is about giving and lending, swapping and working together.

Starting a garden in Lavrio Refugee camp

Refugee Ecosystem Thinking

The third ethic, distribute surplus to need, as it is written into permaculture, is derived from ecosystem structures. Create no pollution with your surplus. Use everything completely and pass on what you’re not using – that’s your surplus to need. Westerners want to grow an individual garden, retrofit a house or farm. They struggle more with the Third Ethic. We need  to create the conditions under which people can flourish and you can do this  living the Third Ethic. 

Food grown and homes cooled in Bangladesh

No More ‘Sages’

Originally I came up with some very chalk talk ‘Sage on the stage style of teaching’ which I felt was directly opposed to care of people. Teaching is often seen as “I’ve got the knowledge!” I think teaching, which behaves as if there’s care of people, would listen to what they know, what they want to offer and what their queries are.

Discovering contours and how to work with them. Refugee camp
Discovering contours

But these learner centred methods give much more noisy, discussing, interactive classroom. And really, if you are teaching because you want people to look at you, listen to you, or you regard yourself as the source of all knowledge, then you’re not taking care of people. It’s not respectful to just deliver content as if people did not arrive with knowledge and experience. Bored students are sending you the message,  ‘I know, I know’.’

Refugee Women studying plants and seeds
Kahrl – Plant study Syrian women refugees Turkey

Be Respectful, Keen and Deliver Quality Content

Another reason is to change my teaching process was about the quality of knowledge….We have a wonderful curriculum which doesn’t need much alteration. We can add up to date research. Be very, very keen, moral and accurate about content which further confirms permaculture and is growing in depth and, breadth. Deliver quality courses. This is true for everyone, not just for refugees but especially for them. However you need the process we’ve been talking about. – processes of teaching which demonstrates care of people and ensures that everyone  has an opportunity to learn, does learn and and can express themselves. It’s harder than chalk-and-talk, but once you get  good at it, it comes quickly and is deeply satisfying. The process I use comes from a  ‘create peace background’ called Alternatives to Violence (AVP).

Lesvos Refugee camp participants discuss hopes and expectations
‘This participant taught many others’ Rower Morrow

How do you get to help Refugees?

I’m invited and hosted  by NGOs (non-government organisations). You can’t turn up at the gates of a refugee camp say “Hey, here I am, I’ve come to teach you permaculture and I’ve got all this good stuff for you and you need me!’. Realistically, there’s a whole process to go through. We have just finished a book called Teaching Permaculture in Refugee camps and it sets out what you need to do to follow this vocation.

‘Using whatever is at hand’ Rowe Morrow

Multipurpose for each visit

I work out multiple tasks for each visit. I never go and return with one objective. So, I look at other projects. I spend time with the host community, offering seminars with local permaculture groups and looking at new projects.

Refugee Camp Conditions

Plastic rubbish on the ground
Gardens made out of rubbish including old shoes

The conditions are often hard. The food can get to the point when you look at yellow dall heavily laced with chili in week five and think ‘I can’t eat this anymore.’ But you serve yourself some because you’ve got a big session coming up. You can’t afford to be hungry and lightheaded. Someone has prepared the food and others would be grateful for it. You may share a room at night with as many as six others and there can be whining mosquitoes, barking dogs, there are mice in your luggage and other mysterious noises. I’ve had rats run over my mosquito net, and a huge cockroach inside it.

making models in Lesvos Refugee Camp

Challenges working with refugees – Put your needs aside

We ran into a two week long missionary program in Cox’s Bazar. This Islamic program was presented on public loudspeakers. They broadcast loudly all day, and all night. from slightly out-of-sync speakers in the five neighbouring mosques beginning at 3.45 am. You wake up – reach for your ear plugs and mutter “Oh no, I need my sleep!” Well it doesn’t matter what you need – you will still do a full day’s work to the best of your ability and without complaint.

lunchtime line-up in Lesvos Refugee camp

A Secret to a Meaningful Teaching Projects – include NGO Staff

One secret to a really good project is that your host wants you because they know permaculture will significantly give better quality lives. Always include NGO staff as course participants because when the course finishes they will write project proposals to continue permaculture. They know what they need and want and can usually get resources.

Rowe in Turkey with Syrian women PDC graduates

Include Local Inhabitants with Refugee Participants

Include local inhabitants because, as it happened in Greece, the Moria refugee camp. The camp was burnt down. And then the day centre was burnt down. People were walking around Lesvos without food, papers and records and then a group of Nazi Greeks started bashing people. The local residents who had been in the refugee classes set up centres for them. They found a couple of acres of land where people could live safely and grow food and learn how to develop incomes.

https://www.permacultureforrefugees.org/resources/publications/
https://www.permacultureforrefugees.org/resources/publications/

Support Local Leaders

When covid came to the camps, local people were those who took over because the NGO staff left. To maintain the project needs local components to continue. When I come home we include those NGO leaders into the Permaculture for the Refugees group and we continue talking and mentoring. We have left  them two thousand dollars each course and ask them write a permaculture project proposals saying ” Here’s the money, write up a project you really need here: the project you want. Send us photographs and a few words as a report over the next two years.”

Working and understanding in Lesvos

Bright Futures for Refugees

Nearly two years later in Bangladesh they’re implementing big permaculture projects. They’ve multiplied and multiplied. Permaculture is everywhere in some camps.  This way of working is important to embed permaculture in the NGO. And in the country.  Yes, you can tell people to set up a garden and so on. But, it wont endure unless you’ve included local people, taught the NGO staff. And, left some funds and left permaculture in/with the people in the country who will take it over and scale it up.

We’d like to see all NGO organisations who work with refugees make permaculture training compulsory for their staff. We believe we’d see a real change in lives, incomes, satisfaction and even joy, by all who were engaged in social and environmental transformation of refugee lives and camps.”

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