CorpsAfrica Permaculture Training!

CorpsAfrica Malawi Training Group 2017

CorpsAfrica Malawi Training Group 2017

Kristof Nordin, co-founder of Never Ending Food, just completed a 4-day ‘Introduction to Permaculture‘ training with CorpsAfrica in Malawi.  CorpsAfrica is a non-profit volunteer organization, which is structured similar to the U.S. Peace Corps program, but which recruits Africans to work in under-served African communities.  The program is currently implemented in Malawi, Morocco, and Senegal.  From their website:

CorpsAfrica recruits men and women to move to high-poverty communities within their own IMG_0909countries for a year, after successfully completing four weeks of training built around experiential learning to empower and equip Volunteers with the skills and mindsets they will need to be successful at their sites. Volunteers gain the community’s trust and understanding by engaging people in conversations and facilitating community meetings to identify and address changing and complex local needs in education, health, small business development, urban planning and infrastructure, agriculture, the environment, and more.They then initiate and facilitate projects that fulfill these key needs in their communities and whose impact and success can be carefully measured and monitored.”

IMG_0906IMG_0907Kristof was invited to give 4-days of training on various Permaculture tools which would be helpful to the volunteer’s service.  The group discussed various global and local challenges which they would be facing in their work (e.g. food insecurity, climate change, poverty, access to resources, etc), and then looked at how the 3 ethics of Permaculture (Earth Care, People Care, and Fair Share) could be implemented to empower communities to find locally-available solutions.  Throughout the 4-days, the topics included: agroecology, natural resources, soil and water management, guilds, zones, patterns, and working with communities.  CorpsAfrica bases their community development on a problem-solving approach known as ‘Human-Centered Design‘ (also known as ‘Design Thinking‘), which perfectly compliments the ‘Design Thinking’ of Permaculture.  The trainees still have two more weeks of pre-service training to complete, and we are hoping that they will be able to come for a tour of Never Ending Food before heading off to their various sites.

2-Day Peace Corps Training!

Peace Corps Training Oct 2017 018aThe United States Peace Corps in Malawi just completed a 2-day “Introduction to Permaculture” In-Service Training at Never Ending Food.  Sixteen volunteers from the south of the country, representing the Health, Education, and Environment sectors spent two days learning about the basics of Permaculture Design principles.  On the first day we did some ‘theory-based’ sessions on the current global and domestic challenges that Peace Corps Volunteers are trying to address in their community-based work.  We looked at the three main ethics of Permaculture (Earth Care, People Care, and Fair Share), and covered some of the main principles which guide Permaculture implementation.  The volunteers were also shown a display of locally-available resources which can be used to meet Malawi’s 6 food-group nutrition model, resources which can be used for income generating activities, and resources which can help to fulfill community demands for fuel, fiber, oil, and even natural medicines.

Peace Corps Training Oct 2017 003aPeace Corps Training Oct 2017 002aOn the second day, we focused more on the practical implementation of Permaculture Ideas.  We took an in-depth look at the concepts of ‘guilds’ and ‘zones’, and the participants were able to see how Never Ending Food has used these ideas.  We also looked at seed collection and nursery propagation and discussed the best timing for some of these activities in regards to Malawi’s seasonal calendar.  The volunteers were also able to see demonstrations of solar drying, composting toilets, paper briquettes, worm-farming, compost making, and plant propagation techniques.  We hope that the learning over the past two days will be beneficial to their continued work and contributions to helping build a better and more sustainable Malawi.  Best of luck to everyone!

Permaculture Design Course Visit!

PDC Visit Sept 2017 003aThe Kusamala Institute of Agriculture and Ecology is currently running a 2-week Permaculture Design Course (PDC).  As part of this course, the participants took a field visit to Never Ending Food where they could see, first-hand, many of the Permaculture principles that they are learning about.  Never Ending Food‘s Permaculture Manager, Peter Kaniye, and our new intern, Jacob Jumpha, led the tour and were able to demonstrate such Permaculture ideas as: guilds, zones, soil restoration, water harvesting, renewable energies, eco-sanitation, vermiculture, fish farming, beekeeping, sustainable architecture, food preservation, animal management, seed saving, and highly-nutritious diversified cropping systems.

PDC Visit Sept 2017 012aPermaculture Design begins with the process of observation and the mapping of existing resources.  It then moves on to the creation of a design which takes into account using these existing resources to their fullest potential and striving to meet the needs of the specific site.  These needs may vary depending on whether the design is being created for a home, school, business, or large-scale farm.  During their PDC, the participants are all working on creating designs for various sites throughout Malawi.  We hope that many of the ideas that they learned at Never Ending Food will be able to be incorporated into these plans for a sustainable future.  All the best!

Food, the Source of Nutrition!

Kumbali FoodNever Ending Food recently had an article published in the peer-reviewed ‘World Nutrition Journal‘.  The article, entitled ‘Food, the Source Nutrition‘, takes a comparative look at the nutritional differences between conventional monocropped agriculture and diverse polycultural systems (such as those used in Permaculture Design and Agroecology).  The following is an excerpt from the article:

“Agricultural diversification is one of the best ways to increase yields, while simultaneously achieving nutrition security, which is defined as “secure access to an appropriately nutritious diet (i.e., protein, carbohydrate, fat, vitamins, minerals, and water) coupled with a sanitary environment and adequate health services and care, in order to ensure a healthy and active life for all household members”.   Malawi’s over-reliance on the ‘green revolution’ monocropping of maize helps to highlight the incredible short-sightedness of such approaches. In 2005, the country launched the Farm Input Subsidy Programme, which was designed to heavily subsidize the costs of synthetic fertilizers and hybridized maize seed. The costs associated with this program have been in the hundreds of millions of US dollars and often account for more than 50% of the nation’s entire annual agricultural budget.”

If you are interested in learning more about truly sustainable solutions, we would encourage you to take the time to read the article in its entirety.

Wambali Mkandawire Visits Never Ending Food

Wambali Mkandawire 021bNever Ending Food was honored to host a visit from one of Malawi’s most influential musicians.  Wambali Mkandawire and his family came to learn more about Permaculture practices and what they can do to increase the sustainability of their own farm.  Wambali has had a long history of music, politics, and community development in Malawi.  According to Wikipedia: “Wambali’s music fusion style has been celebrated as a pioneering sound in Malawian Jazz music…Together with his wife, they have started a publishing company, “Kajimete Arts Publishing,” to help promote Malawian talent.”  We had a great visit and wish them all the best in their continued efforts to create a better Malawi!