The Permaculture Design Course (PDC) at Kusamala Institute of Agriculture and Ecology in Malawi, Africa started on Monday of this week. There are 6 participants who are taking the course and they all come from various walks of life. Some of these participants are working for Non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and will be using the skills to improve the sustainability of project programming, others are community members and local farmers who will be using Permaculture ideas to improve their personal lives and production systems.
Kristof Nordin, from Never Ending Food, has been facilitating the first week of the PDC. He has guided the participants through the basics of Permaculture (definition, ethics, and principles). The group also looked at the current challenges–both domestically and globally–for which Permaculture can be used to find solutions. A lot of the first week consists of fundamental theory upon which the rest of the course work is founded. This ‘foundation’ included a look at the basic processes of nature, including: the nature cycle, soil, water, ecological patterns, and the use of natural resources.
In week one, the group also began the process of mapping. This is another fundamental practice of Permaculture which combines the skills of observation, site analysis, and element analysis to create a ‘map’ of existing resources. This map constitutes the corner stone of good Permaculture Design. The map tells us what is already there for us to utilize, while the design becomes the plan for the future in which each existing element is used to its fullest potential.
Luwayo Biswick will be continuing with the group for the end of this week and into next week. He will be covering the use of Permaculture Zones, guilds, animal management, integrated pest management, and hands-on practicals with soil, water, and propagation techniques. Throughout the entire two weeks the participants will be working on creating their own personal designs which will be presented to the group at the end of the course.
Kristof will be rejoining the group next week to facilitate a day on how Permaculture can be applied to the designing of large-scale land systems. Many people do not realize that Permaculture ideas–although very useful at the household level–can be scaled up to benefit commercial farms, large estates, housing schemes, even entire cities!
Never Ending Food wishes all the participants the best of success with their course!