Participating in Permahabitat

Article of Ania Lawenda and Gabriele Sutera. Permahabitat project funded by Erasmus+ program. Location: The Southern Lights, Greece.

Between the end of September and beginning of October 2019 me and my partner took part to a PDC (Permaculture Design Course) in a 2 hectares farm in Greece. The farm is located in the mountainous peninsula of Peloponnesso, in the Lakonia district, not far from a small village of about 3.000 people, Skala. The course was co-financed by Erasmus + program and coordinated by Naumanni permaculture migrante, an Italian organisation working with adult education in the field of permaculture, agroforestry and landscape management and the Southern Lights the non-profit organisation started by the group who is managing the farm. The farm has been already managed in organics regime for more than a decade and now they intend to grow following agroforestry principle and transform the farm into an  educational hub, for young and adults.

We are both in our 30s and in the past months we have been working in a non-profit organisation that runs and maintain and old wooden sailing boat built in 1935, Hawila. How is this project related to permaculture if it does not concern designing for land management and why we decided to take part in the course in Greece?


One of us has a University degree in agricultural development but for the other one the practicalities of cultivating the land and the world of plants was a completely new world to be discovered. Nevertheless, for both the content of the course was bringing new knowledge.


Permaculture is not only and agricultural method, as one of the definition says, permaculture design is “a system of assembling conceptual, material, and strategic components in a pattern which seeks to benefit life in all its forms” (by Bill Mollison, the “father” of of permaculture). It’s a complex and holistic science that researches and let’s us understand not only how to regenerate lands, plant food forests and make nourishing composts for our soils but also gives us designing tools that helps us to both benefit life and create more than we destroy. Permaculture is a science base on ethics, respecting the 3 main principles of earth care, people care and fair share. The knowledge gained during the PDC can help us reflect on how designing systems in which every element benefit and support one another in a functional way. This design approach can also be applied in social design, being a great tool to design organisations’ structures or plan projects.


One of the main premises of a permaculture design is the definition of waste: a product of an element that is not used in a productive way by another element. It’s a simple statement yet it carries a message that can be applied in many levels. Wouldn’t it benefit all of us to have our eyes open for what is being wasted in our organisational, community work and try to see if we can make it become functional instead?


What is especially mindful about permaculture is that it teaches us not to give simple, premade answers to challenges. The solutions always depend on the specific case. In the times that we live in we offer search for instant remedies, instant cures, whereas a permaculture designer will first answer “it depends” and then will take time to observe the object of inquiry, to come up with a functional solution, taking into consideration the planet, the people and fairness. Isn’t it beneficial to all of us and all aspects of our life, all organizations and human conduct we engage in?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Apart from finding universal chords in almost all permaculture design content we were also introduced to the permaculture related social studies researching on deep democracy theories, holistic management, community based decision-making practices like dragon dreaming or alternative economies.

Permaculture design course is rich in knowledge and tools that can benefit all of us, regardless of occupation, passions, relations to land and plant world. For the times we live in it offers an interesting alternative to the mainstream ways of designing our life, teaches us how to make the world a better place recognizing how its elements are interconnected and dependent on each others well being.


We will definitely use some of the ideas and tools not only to take more seriously our dreams of cultivating a land but also to make the organization we are engaged in now stronger. We are grateful for being able to take part in the course, it was a delight to be a part of it!

Everything Gardens

Permahabitat Training, funded by Erasmus+ KA105
Partner organization: The Southern Lights, Greece
Dates: September 23rd - October 9th
Article of Line Skov

The permaculture design course with Giuseppe Salicandro in Southern Lights in Greece, was simply amazing. I learned so much, I gained so much, and I felt healed. When invited for the course I was intrigued, but doubting, as I lost my father just 3 months before and my level of energy was generally very low. However, after a few days at the magical place, all doubts vanished completely. The group was incredibly warm, the teacher so inspiring, and the place very beautiful.

Picture of Line Skov


The first morning, just like every following morning, we gathered in an “awareness circle” to listen to each other’s dreams, experiences and projects. In the first morning circle I told about the loss of my father, and I shared some very tasty apples that I brought from his garden in Denmark. It was important for me to tell this to the people that I would share everything with during the following two weeks. The reaction from the group was very warm and welcoming. Several persons came to me afterwards and gave me long, healing hugs, and this feeling only grew during the next weeks, as the group grew closer.

Picture of Line Skov


Our teacher, Giuseppe, facilitated this warmth-sharing, as well as the teaching, very well. His energetic person inspired people to follow him from explanations of solutions to global environmental problems and all the way to nerdy agroforestry details. He gave us an overall but thorough introduction to the giant world of Permaculture, with loads of practical tips, vivid explanations, and inspiration to further readings/literature. The course was theoretically heavy, with some great practical sessions blended in. If I should point at one possible improvement, I would have wished for even more practical exsercises – preferably one every day. But overall, the teaching was splendid and I definitely recommend Giuseppe as teacher.

Our host, the Southern Lights, did a big job making us feel comfortable. First of all, the place is just amazing. I appreciated how the farm already implemented permaculture in a big part of the land, so we received the teaching in a living example. Inclusive the swimmable fish pond, which cleared the minds during breaks. There was some problem hosting indoor teaching, but we managed, and the Southern Lights have plans of building an indoor common area. But generally: super nice to receive teaching outdoors.


The food was good and vegan. Could have wished for some more variety, local recipes and break-snacks. But I enjoyed the food a lot. There were an issue with the cook though. After a mid-way feedback session, where he was asked to explain his principles, he stood up and spoke very aggressively to everyone for almost an hour. It was very unpleasant for everyone. So it is important that everyone – also the cook – understands the idea of compassion for others and the principles of non-violent communication.


Accomodation was in own tents in the food forest. It was very lovely. Super cosy and green and good.
I am very happy for the opportunity, for my choice of taking it, and for the outcome. I have learned so much more than what I can describe here, and created connections in so many places. Thank you very much!

Picture of Line Skov

Baltic Ecovillage Network – Seminar

The Baltic Ecovillage Network (BEN) organized a 1-week Seminar in Hallingelille ecovillage, Denmark. This Seminar was organized by BEN and LØS and funded by Erasmus+ (a funding of European Commission). And me, Rubén from PKDK board living in an ecovillage (Ananda Gaorii) member of LØS, I got the pleasure to participate in this seminar. 

This Seminar, called “Make Youth Work”, focused on connecting people and projects, equip communities with knowledge about European Solidarity Corps and start creating some projects together.

There were more than 25 participants from Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Finland, Estonia, Ukraine, Russia, Latvia and Lithuania.

In between other activities, we went to Copenhagen to be part of the demonstration Fridays for Future, went to visit Karise Permatopia ecovillage and had social activities with the locals from Hallingelille, as for example, dinner, playing music or having saunas.

Thanks to LØS and BEN for organizing this Seminar, which strenghten the network and inspire youth.

Here you can see a video with some pictures and listen to songs we were singing:

 

Nordic Permaculture Festival 2019 at Søhøjlandet

Please be welcome at the Nordic Permaculture Festival 2019 in Denmark at Himmelbjerggården at Søhøjlandet.
The Nordic Permaculture Festival is – a festival about Permaculture where we exchange knowledge, skills, and ideas via workshops, music, food, and community. Every year it is arranged in a new Nordic country and in Denmark every 4th year.
COMPETITION:
Permaculture Denmark would like to offer 3 half price tickets to either one who can create
  1. Take 3-5 amazing pictures from the festival
  2. Make a 30sec-1min movie from the festival
  3. Write a text about their experience on the festival

The competition finishes at 10am sunday July 28th.
Please send your contributions to post@permakultur-danmark.dk before this time

The material will be used for promoting Permakultur Danmark and events such as this festival.

We invite you to join us for a weekend of great fun. Read more at the festival site https://nordiskpermakulturfestival2019.dk/

EU volunteer in Valdepielagos ecovillage, Madrid

Volunteering European Solidarity Corps
Volunteer service for 18-30 years old.
Appropriate dates: From March 1 to August 31, 2019 (six months)
Coordinates: Global Ecovillage Network Europe. Fanny (fanny@gen-europe.org)
Number of volunteers in search for Valdepiélagos: One
Place: Ecohousing Valdepiélagos. Madrid
Hosting organization: Asoc. Cult. Teatro Sol y Tierra
Activities: Orchard in permaculture, theater, Spanish and non-violent communication.
Vegan and vegetarian food, an ecological part
The program pays meals, lodging, workshops, trips and 150 E per month of pocket money.
There will be an Italian, a French, a Belgian and a fourth to be selected.
We live in a very small town ideal for making friends and the city of Madrid
It is an hour by bus.
More information: victortorrevaquero@gmail.com

LAND Gathering in North Jutland

The LAND Gathering from 2018 took place in Aabybro, at Jozef and Bente Blockx, during last weekend. We were about 20 people.

Sarah McCarthy, a student from Aarhus University, took the first workshop under the name “Objective, challenges and solutions for LAND centers”. This workshop was a great start of our gathering. She is collecting data from Permakultur Danmark for her master thesis. We send her our best energy to write the thesis.

After that workshop, there were different updates from LAND centers and starters. Karensminde, Myrrhis, Kattekærhus, Vestjyllands Højskole and Faery Meadows shared their experiences, both positive and hard from all over the year.

On Saturday morning, there was a bit of frost but that was not a problem to discover the place through a guided tour by Jozef. Many elements are there, others are on the process of implementation.

During the guided tour, the participants could see the different systems in the 3,5 ha property: alley cropping, silvopasture, market garden, chickens, polytunnel, nursery and other greenhouses.

Later on, on Saturday afternoon, there was an Open Space, a tool with a lot of potential for discussing topics, receiving feedback and get new inspiration. Some of the topics discussed were:

  • What is interesting to see in a LAND center if you are a new visitor?
  • Why should you be part of the LAND network?
  • How do we do to grow our LAND network?
  • How to start from zero if you are interested on permaculture?
  • Management of volunteers.
  • Management of a Local network around your LAND center.
  • Ensuring LAND centers quality.

On Saturday evening Jozef´s place got accredited as a new LAND center. Check description of Sandmosen 38 LAND here. Moreover, Tycho shared his adventure to Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan. In that adventure, Tycho and Karoline went to these two countries to explore the unique apple forest in the world. It is those regions where apple trees come from and they can be found in combination with other fruit trees. According to that, they were very excited to find out which species are living in apple forests in order to improve their understanding of forest gardening and, therefore, being able to make better designs.

We dedicated Sunday morning to make conclusions and distribute tasks for coming season.

Our next LAND gathering will happen in November 15-17, 2019. Save the dates!!

There is no a fixed location, yet.

We thank to everyone that joined and, specially, to all volunteers that took care of cooking and make sure that none was hungry anytime.

 

Welcome to the Permaculture Association of Denmark!