26th May 2022

Goodbye to an old friend

I am trying not to be too upset, but the beautiful forest garden we designed and planted at Busoga high school is going to be ripped out.

In 2017 S39 ran #PDCUG17. This was our second full permaculture design course taught in Africa, and we went back to exactly the same place as the previous year, as we want the opportunity to build on what we had learned before, Kamuli in the eastern district. Designing and planting the garden was the work of the whole group, two of the teachers from the school were involved and it allowed us to create a wonderful example of what is possible.

Sadly, time moves on and the school’s priority is pursuing the curriculum and that requires a new chemistry block. I was so sad to hear the news, not least for our friend, teacher and garden keeper Connie who has loved every plant since then, nearly 4 years ago. I hear the school does value it and they will invest in planting more elsewhere on the campus. Connie sent a lovely set of photos of the garden and it is hard not feel a lump in the throat. The consolation I take from this is that we designed and planted this as an educational exercise and many people have been inspired by it and have taken the ideas and applied them somewhere else. Good ideas tend to self-replicate and i hope this garden has spawned many others, the Busoga Forest Garden live on in the seeds that it has sown..

The PDCUG17 members visited Busoga school twice as the field trip/ practical component of the course. On the first visit we designed and planted a banana circle garden, refined and worked on our land survey skills, and explored the principles of combustion and pyrolysis.

On the final day of the 12-day training we returned with designs and plans, a trailer full of plants and a team of people, energized from the PDC . We were met by 50 pupils who almost had to be physically restrained, they were so keen to help out. The garden was a result of that process.

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