Building Regenerative Habitats
Building Regenerative Habitats
VOLUNTEER/ INTERNSHIP AND FIELD VISIT PROGRAM IN ZANZIBAR
By Steven Odhiambo Otieno
My journey started when on 3rd December 2020 , I was so happy and eager to see what is waiting for me on the other side of the family Indian ocean. It was nice to reach in Nairobi and evening the right traffic jam, I had hopes that things would go well for me at the end of the day. I arrived in Nairobi so fine, took a taxi to the airport to confirm my flight status and any other things I could have forgotten just to get ready for the next days journey, and after I had to get myself some food for the night and a hotel room which I settled at around 9.00 pm .
My next morning which was 4th December became a little bit hectic, I had to wake up at 5:00 Am to make sure I get ready and beat up Mombasa road traffic jam to the airport . Of course my flight was at 8:99 AM but I still needed some little rush due to unpredictable Nairobi roads. Luckily by 8:30 Am I was at the Airport, passed through the security check and headed to the immigration. In the process through the immigration I learned that my flight was cancelled and forwarded to 7.30 PM so I had to wait till 6.00 pm to finish the immigration process. Oh Noo, that was a hard task and what made me feel bad is that I was never informed that they cancelled the flight…no text no call. No one seemed responsible for anything so I had to go to Kenya Airways reservation office within the airport of which they agreed to put me on rescission flight to Daresalaam via Zanzibar. The flight was scheduled to jet off JKIA at 8:30 PM which eventually flew off 9.30 pm. So I had to wait for more than 13 hours .
The delay of course interrupted my plans so I had to arrive in Zanzibar very late at night and by time I could find a guest house it was 12:00 AM.
Its always good to have things go our way but sometimes it’s good to learn to be elastic that we can take situations the way the are, so I accepted and I had to plan how to take the rest of my days .
In Zanzibar I couldn’t reach most of my contacts because it was already weekend and I promised to be there in Friday early which wasn’t possible because of the flight delay. I had to reschedule myself until Monday, so I had two days to get a better guest house that could at least fit my budget, get a sim card, some airtime and also get to know some cheap food restaurants .
Early 7th morning I had to take daladala (a buss ) from Darajani market to Matemwe, up north -Zanzibar to visit DADA project for the volunteer program. It was about 65 km and we took about 2 hours to arrive because we had so many stop overs for pickups and dropping the passengers, I’m lucky I was at the front seat, I couldn’t see how people were so squeezed at the back and some had to squat down on their knees. We have a litle bit of the same experience in Kenya though this was a bit extreme, it could be strange if you are new in Africa.
I arrived in Dada Permaculture Farm and everything seemed so wonderful from the natural eco-system to everything my eye could catch.
Antije and the family welcomed me ..sat for a few moments then went for my orientation which was very important and informative. We had three hours walk and talk around the farm. I came to understand everything was ok, apart from too much tension in the region due to political reasons and any new person that could be seen around was a threat to their peace. In a short story, Matemwe people are believed to be rebels of the Tanzania -Zanzibar government and they were opposing the appointment of President John Magufuli of Tanzania mainland, and Ali Mwinyi of Zanzibar. In the previous election violence, some people were killed in Matemwe and some are still missing until to date. In that case Antije advised me not to reside in the project or in the nearby guest house and instead stay in stone town and only show up during morning hours and leave by 4:pm for all the days I intended to be there.
I chose to take her advice positively, scheduled five days of commitment to volunteer to do some garden work (observe and interact method of learning) get to know the background story of the project (ask and answer method of learning), meeting with chicken yard -Zanzibar owners, and two days of field visit of which I had to go to Permaculture Institute of Zanzibar, Fumba Town Permaculture together with Permaculture Design Company, and then a day of doing my networking evaluation.
DADA Permaculture Project background
The project was initiated and made up by the locals (communities) of Mbuyu Mabundi and Kijiwe Mnara in Matemwe region North of Zanzibar and supported by an NGO known as Solar Africa Network which brought the introduction of new energy alternative, which is mostly solar energy, to help them in income generating activities. They have an in charge person, who is a German lady permaculturalist living with her family. She has been living for in Zanzibar for 30 years practicing permaculture. Her name is Antije.
Antije clarified to me that she never came to buy land in Africa and when she came to visit she only saw a dying community with a very big forest area being cut off, though it was a coral area. She decided to settle there just to help and that’s when she engaged the community in the area. She volunteered to stay there, considering the land agreement made that she wasn’t going to purchase the land, and the community were not to interfere with her activities and instead join her in reclaiming the land. Her only intentions were to bring back the lost glory and teach the community about regenerative agriculture and how to relate with nature.
The project is divided into two sections, the Dada Project for women and Dada Permaculture Project, and I could understand that they do combined exchange and learning at the same time. The exact description the project address the following problems in the community:
Fuelwood Shortage. Due to over-harvesting of fuelwood and slash-burn farming methods, the dry coral rag soil does not provide anymore for substantial growth of natural vegetation fast enough. Additionally, the population is growing at high speed.
Income generating. The communities´ main need is to improve their livelihoods. Apart from fishing, seaweed farming and subsistence farming little contributes to the well-being of most of the local households. In sharing entrepreneurial ideas and passing on skills whilst using renewables, feasible ways for sustainable development are demonstrated and exercised.
Why did Antije decide to use Permaculture?
Due to climate change reason considering her observation, monitoring and of the area she knew that social problems such as unemployment, crime, waste and pollution are combined with environmental issues such as wildlife habitat destruction, water scarcity and soil erosion was going to be on the rise.
By applying Permaculture, she needed to change the mindsets and behaviors of the individuals and Matemwe community members as whole to have both short and long-term positive effects.
She believed that Permaculture could bring together tried and tested approaches in designing and redesigning and bring other technologies to the design and development of sustainable systems.
This was the only better way of teaching Matemwe sustainable/organic agriculture, energy efficient housing like her own house, appropriate technology like using the solar panels and the solar energy cookers. Fair trade like Fumba Town trade markets that they participate in every month with the rest of the farmers from all over the country.
Now it’s clear to many that permaculture as a way of designing Dada Project, not only reduce the impact of their living, but also to provide a model for how to live sustainably in harmony with the resources of the earth. The intention is to inspire many others and help broadcast the ideas of sustainability, low-impact living and permaculture far and wide.
This came a day after orientation of which I had to go to the garden with other youths who had taken swahili PDC in Permaculture Institute of Zanzibar. I must admit that it was so fun to be with them because most of the time we had to talk in swahili language even though my swahili wasn’t perfect like theirs, but I spoke only English with Antije to get more clarification. We had to tackle different activities in the farm by applying a system thinking approach to problem solving with an outcome of creative solutions.
1) Site water auditing and working with water on a site (roof capture and surface run off water where by we cold calculate the land topography and how to lay water pipes according to the gravity and placement of the water tank. Catch and store energy.
This involved both the catching and storing of seasonal water for household needs and long-garden use.
2) Animals in the Permaculture farm. How to do the best chicken yard, warm rearing and using chicken waste.
3) Garden lay outs container/ vertical gardening and types of gardens.
4) soil preparation
Adding organic matter in the form of compost and aged manure, using mulch and growing cover crops (green manures).
Meeting with chicken yard -Zanzibar Founders.
Before I went to Zanzibar, they are one of the best poultry farming practitioners I have been following for a while. I admire their work and how they impact lives of women in the island. I crossed my fingers that when I get the chance then I would love to meet and also get some knowledge from them. Off course we would soon want to implement one of our own Tunaweza chicken yard so it was very important to organize a small meeting.
Luckily when I was in Dada Permaculture Project, I happened to ask Antije if perhaps she knows them. Surprisingly she told me that they ware project partners, and she could just do a phone call and make them come. The next day when I came to Dada, we had really a good meeting under the Baobab tree.
They gave me some general information on small-scale chicken production with minimum risk and improved output and further gave me the logic on how I could start on a small space.
They also promised to pay a visit to Tunaweza Permaculture at any time from February 2021 to see what we are doing.
Practical Permaculture Institute of Zanzibar
I had to to take a day to visit practical Permaculture Institute of Zanzibar where I already had a contact with a lady called Agnes. Agnes is assistant operation manager at the institute. She gave me a warm welcome then took me around the farm which we could finish because of time. The Practical Permaculture Institute of Zanzibar is an educational/ demonstration site, located 25-30 minutes away from Stonetown. It occupies 5 acres of land where features had been created. An organic vegetable garden, swales, grey water management system, rainwater harvesting, food forests, rocket stoves, solar power, nursery have been carefully designed and implemented.
The purpose of the institute is to train as many locals starting with primary school teachers, women`s groups, youths and farmers where they can come and gain the knowledge necessary in permaculture to build and maintain a happy, healthy way of life centered around nature and all she has to offer and what they can offer in return. Learning permaculture gives them the tools for self-sufficiency, future food security, environmental recovery and regeneration and a sustainable livelihood. The school work to change the way the people view and design the landscape, their surroundings, their relationships and their daily lives so they can improve on what the planet needs.
Fumba Town and Permaculture Design Company
I was also glad to visit Permaculture Design Company which is a waste management company situated
in Fumba, Zanzibar and working together to build Fumba Permaculture Town.
I met Franko Gohse, the CEO of the company, who was so happy to welcome me, gave me the background story and showed me around the permaculture design company and Fumba Town.
The exercises took about seven good hours and a lunch break in between, and I must say that the all exercise gave me an opportunity to at least learn a little about waste management in urban area, and I got orientation on few other things they do within their projects which are important as well.ry out sustainable urban landscape design using Permaculture principles to implement the sustainable development goal. I came to learn that they have a big team that is managing the landscape of Spice Island Hotel with permaculture principles. People Care, Earth Care & Fair share. Companion planting, mulching, composting, vermicomposting, natural pesticides, poultry keeping and kitchen gardens.
Friends and network
Being a person who is very social and always ready to express myself, this journey was one of my best journeys ever. Apart from difficulties of sickness and things being more expensive in Zanzibar, due to festive and tourism high pick seasons, I still managed to meet some few friends. We had a good time and almost all of them ware so much interested to know more and visit my project. Here are some photos of the friends I met. From light Blue t-shirt is Ran from England, he loves Permaculture and would like to visit Tunaweza Permaculture next time he will be traveling to Africa for hollidays. With the black T-shirt is Abel from Sweden, but he is of Eritrea origin. He promised to come to Kenya in September to visit Tunaweza Permaculture Project. The last guy (white guy) with the blue t-shirt is Tobias from Netherlands, he is a social permaculturalist and would love to work with Tunaweza Permaculture to do some Permaculture entertainment/information videos for social media and website.
Mas Les Vinyes er et permakultur kooperativt 1 timers væk fra Barcelona. Sergi holder et diplom i permakultur og underviser folk omkring skovhaver og regenerativt landbrug.
Mas Les Vinyes har lige en plads til en dansk unge for at hjælpe med at plante frugt trær, dyrkning af grøntsager, hjælp til at passe på dyrene og andre tinge.
Mas Les Vinyes er et bofælleskab i et tradionelt gård i Spanien med flere end 20 hektar. Vil du gerne være med til at lære omkring permakultur og give en hånd til at udvikle en inspirations center?
Så kan ansøge til at arbejde som frivilligt mellem April og Oktober (7 måneder).
Se en kort video om Mas Les Vinyes her:
Hvis du har flere spørgsmål, kan du skrive til Permakultur Danmark (email@example.com) eller til Mas Les Vinyes (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Vil du gerne ansøge, så skal du udfylde formularen her:
Læs videre om Mas Les Vinyes i den her pdf.
Author: Rubén Hernández Romero
It has been already a month since I came back from Torri Superiore. However, it feels like it happened yesterday. The reason why I went there is because I had the chance to be involved in an Erasmus+ Training Course organized by “Yes to Sustainability” and I wanted to learn skills and tools to better deal with challenges in my community in Ananda Gaorii.
The Training “Young Leaders for Sustainability” took place in a restored ecovillage from thirteen century, located in the region of Ventimiglia, very close to France and the Mediterranean sea. Torri Superiore is nowadays a rural hostel and a hosting organization for courses. It is actually a beautiful piece of art composed of many stones and labyrinths with over 160 rooms.
As this was training for sustainability, for me it was very important to travel by land, as I usually do, in order to keep my footprint low. Despites all the restrictions and regulations due to Covid19, over 20 people from 10 different nationalities managed to come to the village. And the landscape was astonishing. I could not believe it!! From my terrace, there was a view of the valley, the town, olive orchards in terraces and the river. Yes, exactly, a river!! I was just arrived, met my roomie and after a few words exchanged, we looked at each other and decided to go for swimming! Man, why don´t we swim in the river? And yeah, we did so every morning until the end. Very refreshing!
Let´s come back to the topic!! I did not come just to swim. During the seven days, there were workshops, many tools presented, evening activities, walk & talks in nature, discussions with the local villagers, celebrations, lot of fun and gained new friends. Sometimes I am wondering why there are no such activities for youth happening in Denmark. One day, we will make it happen!
I was particularly excited to listen to Lucilla, one of the local women that lived in the community since the very beginning. She was facilitating meetings teaching as skills on communication, leadership, conflict resolution and entrepreneurship.
The first day we set up the culture of the group and the space, took decisions together, taking in account everyone´s opinions, concerns and against. Further, we were introduced to a few tools like: Fishbowl, Deep Listening, Rank Privilege and World Café.
Author: Victoria Schou, landscape architect. Denmark
The medieval village of Torri Superiore is a small jewel of popular architecture located at the foothill of the Ligurian Alps, a few kilometres from the Mediterranean Sea and the French border, close to the coastal town of Ventimiglia. Originating in the thirteen century, the village is structured in three main bodies with more than 160 rooms, all connected by an intricate fabric of stairways.
Its complex structure has often been compared to a fortress or a labyrinth, perched on the mountainside. The village has been entirely restored and is now open to ecotourism, for courses, meetings and programs of environmental education, and offers an accommodation for stays and vacations. It is perfect for people interested in getting to know Ecovillage Life and looking for a holiday in a natural environment full of suggestions. This was the place, where the training for ‘Young Leaders for Sustainability’ took place.
This training course was made for current and aspirant youth workers to learn tools to work with young people in ecovillages and sustainable projects. Participants from Italy, Spain, Denmark, Germany, Portugal, Slovenia, France, Finland, Sweden, Greece and the Netherlands came with the motivation to become young leaders and developing their leadership skills.
The first days we had an introduction to group facilitation and we explored ourselves in relation to the group and different leadership styles. We have been introduced to different tools to work with groups of young people, especially related to life in ecovillages. After having had these theoretical lessons we got to put our new skills into practice during sessions of groupwork, where the goal was to facilitate a workshop ourselves. The participants had many fun and interesting inputs on what to facilitate a workshop on and how to structure it. We split in five groups with , and the topics of the workshops ended up being: ‘The Jounrey from Fear to Love’, ‘Finding your Personal Gift’, ‘Shadow Work’, ‘Menstruation’ and ‘Lunch’. These topics were prepared as workshops for sharing knowledge and experience from one participant to the other. During one and a half day of groupwork, the workshops were discussed, prepared and refined, so that we were able to hold space for each other.
Tools for holding space
Sociocratic methods of decision making were used to create a safe room for everybody to be in. The first day measures for Covid19 was discussed in the group, where everyone could share their thoughts and feelings on the topic. Some of us were so touched in their heart by restrictions and the urgency, that we were crying and shouting. This is the truth we live in and we see it better to express our feelings, than to suppress.
Together we are going through the process of accept, holding space, letting everyone be heard. While we wear a mask, when we speak, sanitize our hands after touching and keep distance of each other. We are living together, sharing our inner thoughts and feelings, when there is no room for touching or embracing.
We have learned skills in communication, facilitation, leadership and entrepeneurship during this training for sustainability. Lucilla is the local Italian woman living in Torri Superiore, taking part of the training as a co-facilitator. She is experienced in facilitating meetings in a positive and efficient manner to serve the association or organization to the best.
Jasper Keus from Finland has expressed himself about what the training has helped him to understand:
“For me the experience was very eye-opening. I found people with willpower and knowledge for solutions to the world crisis and ways to make them more possible. I found hope. Now I can connect with people who I know have made an effort to understand each other and themselves. People who are capable of facing conflicts and accepting our differences. It’s making us capable to work together.
We lived together for a whole week. It was special to share our backgrounds and experiences while using the tools we were gaining from the training.
I’ve learned a lot with leading and facilitating a group and I will definitely put these things into practice. I’m willing to learn more and go deeper into the art of leadership.”
Conflict management and communication
One of the main components of the teaching was how to handle conflict and communicate in a group, but also with your peer people. Communication at the basis is about how we exchange information with each other. Our values and our personality are recognized through communication, which can happen through three channels: verbal, para-verbal and non-verbal. If there is a duality in any of these three, there will be a miscommunication.
When a conflict arises, it will cause an emotional reaction between the people involved in the conflict. These feelings will be disagreement and discomfort. The discontent is rooted in the fact that there are two arguments going against each other, which is what the conflict arises from. Two different expectations of what was needed and requested creates the disagreement. This situation can create discomfort and our feelings will be hurt, sad, angry or disappointed. As a facilitator it is important to be able to recognize and distinguish what disagreement evokes emotions and analyze the situation from a more objective point of view. In this way a resolution to the conflict can be found when both parts are heard and understood from the basis of this understanding.
A big part of the learning was as Jasper expresses not only done in the formal training sessions, but also during lunch and at the jam after dinner. In this way we got to know each other and create new relations across Europe. I personally feel the courage and wonder of what we can do as a group. We have the common mindset that we want the change to happen through personal effort. If we all do a little in our place in the world, together we can change the world. I have learnt to step up in front of a crowd and tell the story I want to live.
A new Permaculture Project is growing up in Kisumu City in West Kenya.
By Steven Odhiambo
We are the first ones in the city to grow vegetables in containers and recycled cement bags! Our wish is to have a small piece of land, though.
Tunaweza is a Swahili word that means “we are able or we can do it“.
We are young people from Kenya living in the city of Kisumu, and due to the experience, knowledge and the need of permaculture, we managed to come up with our own project. We realized that living in the city is not much interesting if someone does not have a good job or any sources of income. We are living in an economy that is too high to match our income. Almost 80 % of the youths and women lack jobs in Kisumu City so their only option is to live from hand to mouth.
During July 2020 we decided to start up a small scale model of a permaculture project, which we refer as city permaculture, to show how to provide simple solutions in sustainable living, better food of high nutrition value, medicinal and economic value, diet diversity, transfer of skills and knowledge, empowerment, educational and learning tools, and also reduction of land degradation.
Our mission is to work with communities and people living under poor conditions and struggle every day to feed themselves and their families. We want to give knowledge, skills, and practice in integrated sustainable agriculture through social interaction and workshops following permaculture design approach and hopefully we all succeed to build up a sustainable life.
Before we started Tunaweza Permaculture Project, most of us were in Vijana Wetu Permaculture Project. Since we met with our Danish friends in 2011, we were so much involved in youth´s development programs such as skills and talents, businesses venture and schooling. Three years ago, we got introduced into permaculture work by Tove Bang, friend and founder of Vijana Wetu Youth Project.
Together we learned about using ecological principles and systems thinking to improve relations between people and the planet through permaculture work and education.
Permaculture ideology caught our attention and most of us realized that it could improve our living standards in the most sustainable way and giving back to the Mother Nature.
We got deeply involved in working with the community through permaculture introduction workshops, soil erosion control and soil building workshops, doing food forest, gardening practice, building home energy conservation ovens through the help of Permaculture tutors Evans Odula and professor Omwoma from Badilisha Permaculture Project in Rusinga Kenya, home solar energy use from Mkopa solar company, Kenya and also basket weaving.
´Introduction to permaculture´ workshop
Vijana Wetu Permaculture ground work
In addition, we also identified that as we do our own natural food, we could also learn about natural medicine. We managed to visit one of the experienced experts in our region called Pastor George from REEP Kenya in the village of Kajulu in Kisumu, Kenya. We planned for many trips of learning sessions and also organized a workshop, which became so successful, besides that we also managed to send two of our youths to take a certificate course by ANAMED (Action for Natural Medicine in the tropics).
Through training, facilitation, demonstration gardens, role modeling, and counseling for sustainable living women and youths in rural areas of Asembo have empowered themselves by establishing their own kitchen gardens, made their own energy saving ovens/jiko, installed home solar systems, and making and selling baskets.These ventures have made trained women and youths to be self-reliant and accomplish what they could not have done if they were not involved in permaculture activities.
Tunaweza Permaculture Project – Team members
Our team members of the Tunaweza Permaculture Project are young strong youths, who can still work by their hands. They are skilled and multitalented in different areas.
We have Zedee, who is a student in Kisumu polytechnic, studying civil engineering and he has so much knowledge and interest in medicinal plants.
He is head of medicinal plants department in Tunaweza Permaculture Project.
We have Steve, who is a travel agent, but now focused to develop Tunaweza Permaculture Project, and he also wants to be a permaculture PDC teacher.
He is curently Tunaweza Permaculture Project operation manager.
We then have Vicky Boy, who is a bussines man, hairdresser, actor and a musician. He is incharge of the social welfare and entertainment department in the project.
Lately we have Nancy Wereh, who is a business lady and would wish to be a nurse if she gets the oportunity to join a nursing school. She is the woman represantative in the project and now she has started up with her own women group for developments.
To do a difference in the city – it´s a challenge!
It´s quite different to work in the city, and one of the biggest challenges we face currently is that it´s too expensive to own or to rent a parcel of land to really build up a demonstration farm. Recently we had a tough situation to even fence a very small piece of land, which is necessary because of loose cattle and chicken. We were offered the land by the landlady to do our demonstration garden. The problem was due to the fact that there were so many complaints laid down that the land belongs to the Estate Cooperation Society. It was meant for parking, thus the authority to do so from the landlady did not matter. This really disorganized our plans, but that’s not where we opted to get stuck.
Sometimes the biggest obstacles are to take the first steps, and we know that believing in ourselves, that ´we can do it´ as our project name suggests, is our biggest motivation. One of the important things, permaculture has taught us, is to work with the little available resources, and also to find solutions out of our problems. Our simple answer has been to use our own back yard and balcony garden and still make a difference.
In Tunaweza City Permaculture Project, 1st face, we have decided to promote healthy living by designing a kitchen vegetable garden. This is going to act as a model farm for demonstration to show city dwellers to replicate the same idea.
Our main reason for this 1st face project is to:
-promote healthy eating of natural vegetables, fruits and herbs from one´s own garden. 98 % of the population living in Kisumu are either buying greens from the groceries, supermarkets or open air markets. Most of these products are chemically grown and packed thus leads to so many people eating unhealthy foods which causes health problems.
– cheap and readily available food-kitchen gardens will help city dwellers to save so much money as they get their vegetables easily from their doorstep or balconies.
– clean air circulation around city houses. Cities are full of companies generating much waste products which sometimes are burned in open air thus producing much of air pollution and CO2. This creates unhealthy air circulation in the horizon that leads to health problems, so we want to encourage the city dwellers to do more gardens, because the fact remains that the greener the surrounding the fresher the air.
– practicing garden will also help the city dwellers to stay grounded to the nature.
– aesthetic matter- plants makes your home more green and beautiful thus makes you feel peaceful and more relaxed.
Through research we found out that there are those vegetables that are mostly consumed among the city dwellers like kales, spinach, carrots, cucumber, pepper, chili and cabbage, and our wider plan is to grow various varieties of indigenous vegetables too that serves as food and at the same time medicinal plants.
Bellow is the category list that we want to grow:
-Bell peppers – spinach -onions -turmeric -kales -tomatoes -cucumber -carrots -chili -potatoes -turmeric -rosemary -cabbage -ginger -broccoli -water melon – rue -thyme -basil -chives -lemon grass -passion fruit
Container gardening – the practice of growing plants in portable objects like carry bags and pots of different sizes to grow plants.
Vertical gardening – maximizing the space by growing plants upwards using support systems like walls, fences, trellis and build structures.
Four main reasons for the two layout methods
– we have limited space.
– our budget is limited, and we can´t afford the budget for much equipments.
– prevent waste, due to the fact that we live in a rented house.
– we can increase accessibility by bringing the plants off the ground for watering, manuring and even harvesting.
Steve, Zedee and Nancy at the land claimed to be a parking space
House verandah space for gardening – before starting up Backyard
Our vegetables a few weeks after transplant
First harvesting stage
1st face obstacles
Doing city permaculture or urban gardens can be an amazing experience but still there are problems that as a famer you will have to tackle.
– Permits – if your garden is in the city you need permit for tilling the land, putting up a fence or just putting your plant containers in a rented space to avoid problems with the landlords or neighbors.
– Human elements – it’s a good idea to talk to your neighbors before putting up a front yard or backyard garden and don’t assume that they will always be helpful and supportive of the efforts you make .They might be the ones that will first interfere with your project as they allow kids or their animals (chicken) to run into your garden.
– Sun protection – we are so much subjected to sunscald and radiant heat due to plenty concrete floor of the verandah and the big house. When the surfaces heat of through the day then water in the containers dry up so fast thus affecting the plants.
– Contaminated soil – soil in the city is too contaminated and most of the time we have been pricked by needles and also find so much plastic waste.
– Water supply – we realized that our water bill has risen to ksh 3,500 from the normal ksh 1300, and this is too expensive and we wish to use rain water if perhaps we shall install rain water gutters and pipe to a small water tank .
1st face results
For us it is very useful to understand why food gardens succeed, and why it might fail. It means we can be more intelligent about planning and rolling out other similar projects in future.
From the little success we achieve by doing our first face, we would love to encourage people to do city permaculture and to know how to design home gardens, because we have just started to harvest healthy fresh produce. We believe that a family of four can be fed all-year round of a piece of soil the size of a door, if done right with the right resources.
We have learned that putting a little investment in the right seeds and work process can lead to more yield that can enable us to earn some extra cash if we sell the produce hence we will have a sense of purpose and pride too.
We already started to learn much in gardening skills, composting and soil preparation, as well as the value of eating our own harvest.
In our next face we will love to incorporate much of medicinal plants and mix different varieties of vegetables, as we elaborate the steps of soil building and the use of container and vertical gardening.
CALL FOR ACTION:
Biodiversity is life; it is essential to the lives of current and future generations. BAE believes humankind can still learn to stop the over exploitation of nature which is leading to our own extinction. We greatly appreciate the EU’s launch of the EU Green Deal and the ways it is taking shape through the Biodiversity Strategy, Farm 2 Fork strategy, Circular Economy Action Plan, and others, but their success depends on their implementation.
We want these well-written intentions to leave behind a truly sustainable legacy. We call for transformative change, not for economic deals. When? Right now! We invite you, the reader, to stand behind this call for action, and support our movement, to urge the EU to commit to what is long overdue: Empower people to live in harmony with nature.
Our Call for Action urges the European Union to fundamentally address the biodiversity crisis in three specific ways: Engage with science and environmental agreements, Enforce existing laws and regulations, and Enable society to reshape its relationship with nature.
The European Union has failed to achieve significant progress towards its headline target of halting biodiversity loss and ecosystem services by 2020. The science is clear. With more than 1,000,000 species at risk of extinction, the world as we know it faces an existential threat. Yet, the solutions to reverse the biodiversity crisis are, and have been since long, right in front of us. We need to grasp this opportunity to address key sustainable pathways, to create a more compassionate and just society, as no prosperous future can be built on the crumbling foundation that is the biodiversity crisis. We believe the EU can make a lasting positive impact on you to engage with:
Best-available scientific and socioeconomic evidence on the urgent biodiversity crisis, its impacts and mitigating measures;
Global and regional multilateral environmental agreements, their processes and their respective ambitious visions, goals and targets to redefine our relationship with nature.
BAE welcomes the launch of the EU Green Deal, but we don’t want deals, we call for transformative change. We are aware that the oldest European legislation on biodiversity are fit for purpose, but only on paper. Thus, the EU needs to work together with Member States on efficient implementation and enforcement mechanisms. The European Commission also has to improve its active vigilance and monitoring of this implementation. So we, BAE, demand the EU to create a system of law enforcement and accountability. We need more efficiency. We call for:
More knowledge of Member States’ context and specific needs
to improve implementation and sincere cooperation.
Member States to be responsible and follow through on environmental promises made.
The creation of an effective monitoring and sanctioning system.
We need a holistic change of the economic and financial systems to halt
biodiversity loss and restore ecosystems. By fully acknowledging the interconnection of human, planetary and economic health, we will experience a culturally and socially positive relation to nature. Next to biodiversity loss and the environmental crisis, we now face economic, social, and health crises. We call for:
The mobilization of financial and legislative resources for biodiversity, especially for civil societies and small businesses, along with the elimination of incentives for harmful practices.
The recognition of ecosystem services as the main driver of economic and human well-being. The current funding mechanisms do not meet the profitable, long term and self-sustaining investment potential of preserving biodiversity.
Capacity building and empowerment of women, youth, indigenous and local communities, the less fortunate and vulnerable in the decision-making process.