Category Archives: Ikke kategoriseret

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

Volunteer in Valdepielagos ecohousing, Madrid

Volunteer service for 18-30 years old.
Appropriate dates: From May 1 to October 31, 2020 (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:
 
 
Finansieret af EU Fonde

One ESC volunteer to collaborate two months in Los Portales ecovillage , Spain

The spanish ecovillage Los Portales (Sevilla) is hosting a bioconstruction course for European youth.

What is about?

It is a two month project to transform an agricultural space into a habitable house through using straw bales and mud plaster and all the phases of finishing and equipping the space. This will happen in an international atmosphere, with volunteers of other European nationalities.

Who can participate?

Candidates from Italy, Netherlands, Germany, Spain and Denmark aged 18-30 and have never participated in a EVS-ECS project. There is one spot for a danish person.

When?

From February 1st to March 29th, 2019.

For further information:

Check the flyer and contact us at:

rubenbiolec@gmail.com

JYBE flyer

Learning how to become a Permaculture Teacher

Permaculture Teacher Matters course by Alfred Decker and Candela Vargas has given me a set of tools for developing my teaching PDC courses. This is what I want to share with you.

We were about 14 people who spent 8 days at Ankhult, a farm located in Skåne, Southern Sweden. Special thanks to the Swedish association and the volunteers who were cooking delicious and local food. Sambrukets cooperative farm in Sosdala and its mission is to catalyze the transition in its neighborhood, establishing connections between people and business as well as supporting them.

Sessions were filled with workshops that could suit many learning styles. Participants were invited to work in pairs or groups, and sometimes asked to come to the whole group and share ideas and receive feedback.

The structure of the course was divided in 6 days, differentiating six different topics: Learning space, learners, teacher, learning tools, teaching methods and PDC-wrap up and evaluation.

One of the very first sessions consisted of presenting the ethics, course culture, class code and objectives for this course and sharing the student´s hopes for teaching in the future and expectations of this course.

Along the whole week, we had 5 assignments to prepare, 3 individually, one in pairs and the last one in groups. For each session, almost one for each day, we were invited to choose a topic from a PDC and then, share it in small groups in the evening sessions. The last session consisted of designing a PDC curriculum and schedule and, then, presents it to the rest of participants. Along these assignments, we also learned the role of timekeeper, debrief and appraisal. These roles are so important and need.

We also learned valuable behaviors of effective teachers, which are a key to become an example for others and facilitate the learning process. For example, an effective teacher does not talk about the participants unless it is relevant; minimize verbal contributions to discussions when they are going well; hand over the pen or chalk; keep their attention on their students’ needs and; accept feedback and make adjustments.

Some teaching tools are: 1), audio-visual, slides, power-point and videos; 2), printed materials, books and diagrams; 3), lectures, debates and presentations; 4), groups, role-plays, international café; 5), demonstrations and practical work, and; 6), excursions and field trip. During this course, teachers have been using most methods or encouraged us to use as many of them as possible to become familiar with them. Since there are many teaching methods, it is recommend it to select one or more that matches the content, giving clear instructions and keeping the energy up.

We also got to practice the most important teaching method: questioning. Questioning reduces the amount of time that teacher speaks (max. 30% per session, 15 minutes without pause), keeps learners thinking and helps to develop confidence. There are two classes of questions: closed questions (with a right question, based on facts) and open questions (which call for experience and thinking). To be honest, this method was my favorite and I used along the course with different teaching tools as, for example, excursions, presentations or slides.

The last day, we presented our PDC schedule and curriculum to the rest of the group. It was really exciting as well as a challenge. After that, we also evaluated the course and think about next steps.

So for your next workshop, don´t forget to: prepare and present your ethics, learning outcomes, class code, and culture, choose appropriate learning tools and diverse methodology for different learning styles and remember to enjoy through the process.

Five natural design frameworks

Hi everyone, I’m Luis Gil from REPESEI (Iberian Southeast Permaculture Network)

I would like to begin this article by thanking the entity that made it possible: Permaculture Denmark. Thank you for providing us the necessary information, advice and connection to the Erasmus+ programme, through which we have been able to receive a grant to cover the costs of the nature-based design framework course. Thanks to Candela, promoter and participant of this enriching experience and to Catherine, bridge with Permaculture Denmark. I would like this to be the first of several collaborations between the two networks, the Permaculture Denmark network and the Permaculture Network of Southeast Iberia.

But what am I talking about?
Well, the course that took place from May 14th to 18th in Lisbon on natural design frameworks. At the end of the seasonal spring meeting at the Ecosystem Restoration Camp, Candela and I left for Lisbon. When we arrived we got immersed in the landscapes, the culture and the Portuguese university. It was in the facilities of the University of Lisbon, annexed to the botanical garden, where we received the course and a lot of learning.

A design framework is a set of ethics, principles and practices that guide us when interacting with a medium. For example, when making a permaculture design on a land we would base our design on the 3 ethics, as well as on the 12 principles of permaculture. We can start by observing the land, understanding it and from there adapting it at the same time that we are modifying it to guide it towards a more sustainable state until we get to make it as permanent as possible.

The 5 design frameworks that we focus in, in addition to other collaborative design tools such as “The WeLand”, were: biophilic design, biomimetic design, regenerative design, resilient design and permaculture design.

I will try to explain each of them as fully and briefly as possible:

Biophilic design

For many people is the beginning of their learning about nature-based design. This design framework is based on the appreciation, recognition and the value of the natural world. Haven’t you ever been surprised by the height of a tree? Or the strength of a river? Or the flight of a bird?

By remembering the link that unite us with the wildest and most natural world, by putting it into value, we are simultaneously recalling a very important part of our interior, the most instinctive and primitive part, the part that has existed for the longest time on earth and that has led us to what we are today as human beings. Being able to reconnect with the natural world opens the door to an ecosystem that has been developing in harmony for millions of years. It is through this door that the necessary inspiration begins to flow to recreate the beauty of the natural world on paper, in a garden, a house or an entire city.

As we see many of the examples of biophilic design are based on introducing natural elements into urban and interior spaces such as trees and plants, scattered light sources imitating the leaves of trees or organic forms.

Biomimetic design

The biomimetic design gives us the possibility to emulate natural technologies. From the connection with the natural world we can observe the forms, processes and ecosystems we are finding.

Relying on nature as a mean of inspiration and learning gives us the clues to understand the mechanisms that govern this world. With these clues and through their abstraction, analysis and study it is possible to imitate nature. Copying nature provides us solutions to problems in a stable and adaptive way, solutions that have been successful for millions of years.

Imitating the hexagonal shape of some corals to build strong, flexible and lightweight structures, or taking inspiration from burdock (a type of thistle) and its ability to attach itself to hair and invent velcro, or even understanding how peacocks’ feathers work by refracting light to give colors to fabrics avoiding decoloration, are just some examples of biomimicry.

Regenerative design

When we find damaged, degrading or collapsing ecosystems it is time to talk about regenerative design. Knowing what an environment was like to return it to its original state or to help it regenerate to a more optimal but different state is the key to regenerative design.

Most of the problems that the current extractive production model is facing are the destruction of the ecosystem in which it operates and, with it, the loss or increase in the price of the resources that were being extracted. A clear example is the soil of intensive farming. When forests are cut down to establish intensive monocultures, a high level of profitability is achieved at the beginning, which diminishes as the soil wears down and contaminates to the point where it ceases to be fertile and becomes unprofitable over time.

But if instead of fighting with the natural world we help it run its course, letting it do its job, we find that it has an immense capacity for regeneration, through many interconnected pathways that generate endless solutions. By adapting technology to the needs of the land it is possible to accompany nature in its process while obtaining the necessary resources to live in abundance.

In this way, and using the information provided by degraded soil, we can rely on the power of nature instead of brute force to find multiple ways of regeneration. Nourishing the soil instead of feeding the crops may seem impractical at first glance, but the more nourished and healthy the soil is, the more fertile it becomes. In fertile soil, plants grow stronger, more resistant and bear more fruit, making it much more profitable in the long run to nourish the soil than to continue to degrade it with chemical fertilizers and poisons.

Resilient design

This design framework focuses on flexible solutions capable of absorbing and resisting anomalies. A resilient design is able to adapt to adverse conditions to return to its original state once the problem is overcome.

One of the keys to this design lies in having a great diversity capable of providing a multitude of different solutions to the same problem. Thus, even if some of the solutions fail, if we have a good diversity, it is much more likely that the solution to the problem will be found in another way. A clear example can be found in forests, where the connection between the roots of plants allows the exchange of nutrients, the more diversity of plants we find, the greater the diversity of nutrients will be available to the entire forest and even if one species disappears, if there is diversity many others will be able to continue their work and occupy their ecological niche.

As a result the redundancy of elements in a system makes it much more resistant to change and therefore more sustainable.

Permaculture design

Up to this point we have practically defined many of the characteristics and principles of permaculture design thanks to the previous design frameworks.

We can talk about design in permaculture when by connecting with nature and observing it, we can find ways to flow with it, regenerate it and make it more resilient until we reach a permanent ecosystem. To be able to understand culture as permeable, to observe it flow through generations and join its course is surely a good way of doing permaculture.

In this way, permaculture design has a wide range of development pathways or petals that cover most areas where human beings develop, being a holistic design system. Natural agriculture, breeding, bio-construction, self-management, integral health, community management and appropriate technology are the most common petals or areas of permaculture.

In this way, permaculture design is a holistic design framework, it has a wide range of development pathways or petals that cover most areas of human culture . Natural food growing systems, free education, bio-construction, self-management, integral health, community management and appropriate technology are the most common petals or areas of permaculture.

By applying permaculture to a project, we can achieve better results with less effort. An example of permaculture applied in a farm would be to make fertilizers and compost with animal and vegetable scraps and with them feed the fields that in return will feed the animals, feed us and give us health, medicines and materials to create tools or build. As well as spaces where we can raise our children and live in community and also provide a surplus to trade and finish covering the needs of the farm.

Conclusions

For me it has been very enriching to contact other permaculture networks such as the Danish and Portuguese ones. To understand that, even though we are far away, we are on the same path and dream. It makes me feel grateful and happy.

By being able to investigate and explore other design frameworks based on nature, finding similarities and complements with permaculture, it has given me new tools that I am already sharing with good reception in the networks I am part of. I’m also starting to integrate them into my designs with favorable results and I hope that over time they will be successful.

The language immersion has been an opportunity to learn specialized terms and grammar and at the same time has forced me to express myself in English, the basic language of the course, reminding me of the importance of this language in order to connect with international networks. Somehow I think I’m beginning to appreciate the English language a lot more than I did before.

To conclude, I would like to tell you that Portugal is a very interesting, unique and mysterious country to which we do not usually give all the attention it deserves.