12th April 2024

S39 Forum 2:

13/02/24 Exploring permaculture ideas

steven jones and others had a discussion about permaculture, emphasizing its principles such as inclusivity, collaboration, adaptability, and long-term thinking. They underscored the role of permaculture in fostering stronger relationships and creating resilient environments, as well as its application in sustainable agriculture and naturalistic methods. The conversation also touched upon the importance of localized solutions, understanding and managing water, and using local and natural resources to eliminate waste.

Health and Emotional Challenges

Steven and Shernaz had a conversation about Shernaz’s father’s declining health. They discussed his physical limitations and the emotional toll of his wife’s impending funeral. They also touched upon the challenges of being away from each other due to COVID-19. Towards the end, Cedrick joined the conversation.

Life’s Journey: A River of Learning

steven jones discussed the metaphorical journey of life, comparing it to the River of Life, which begins as a small stream and grows into a mature river full of life, absorbing inputs from other sources. He emphasized the importance of having a plan or a design for life, and using observations to understand and navigate the twists and turns of the river. He also shared the life journey of Bill Mollison, the founder of permaculture, who transitioned from being a forester to a professor and eventually a thinker about the sustainability of culture. Mollison’s work led to the creation of the term ‘permaculture’ to describe a regenerative approach to farming and culture.

Permaculture Culture for Sustainability

steven jones emphasized the importance of creating a culture of permanence through permaculture and its potential to shift societal mindsets towards sustainability and regeneration. Cedrick Dinshaw highlighted the need for permanent agriculture, while Shernaz Dinshaw advocated for permaculture education in schools and its application in all aspects of life. Steven stressed the principles of permaculture, including inclusivity, collaboration, adaptability, and long-term thinking. He also underscored the importance of collective management of water resources due to climate change and the necessity of shared knowledge in permaculture. Finally, he initiated a discussion about exploring ideas related to poem culture and establishing a permaculture foundation to support project formation and pioneering individuals.

Sustainable Farming and Permaculture in Arid Environments

steven jones discussed the unsustainable energy-intensive nature of modern agriculture, particularly in arid environments like southern Spain, and proposed a more naturalistic method of farming in Wales. He highlighted the use of fossil fuels and petrochemicals in conventional farming, and the poor working conditions of undocumented North African workers. He presented a more sustainable method using raised bed strips with woodchip paths and thick layers of compost, which he believes could potentially feed the world. Steven also discussed the role of permaculture in fostering stronger relationships and creating resilient environments. He emphasized the efforts of a group of Rwandan women who have formed a voluntary association to promote permaculture in their community.

Localized Solutions for Water Management

steven jones discussed the shift towards localized solutions for meeting needs, emphasizing the importance of natural systems and the need to understand and manage water. He outlined plans to create forums and activities to foster a sense of community and facilitate idea sharing. He highlighted the significance of the principles of power and permaculture, explaining that all principles are equally important and emphasized the concept of cycles and the importance of energy storage. He further explained that the faster the cycle turns, the more resources are available and underscored the importance of using elements of the ecosystem and producing no waste.

Composting Waste in Backyard Gardens

steven jones discussed the process of domestic refuse composting in a back garden in the UK. He explained how waste materials, such as cardboard, paper, and food waste, are broken down into soil through the actions of insects, bacteria, and weather. He emphasized the importance of using local and natural resources to eliminate waste, turning trash into soil. Jones also explained the concept of biochar, which is made by carefully heating any organic material to drive off volatile gases, leaving pure carbon. He highlighted that biochar can enrich soil by increasing surface area and air pockets, which benefits soil microbes. Lastly, he mentioned a composting toilet system that combines human waste and sawdust, which can be safely processed to produce usable compost.

Permaculture Design Principles Discussed

steven jones discussed the first six principles of permaculture design, highlighting the importance of learning from nature and applying these insights in the design process. He stressed the need to think from patterns to details, integrate rather than segregate, use small and slow solutions, and start close to home. Steven also mentioned that there would be no session next Tuesday due to his unavailability, but the discussions would resume the week after. He emphasized the importance of learning from mistakes, using and valuing natural resources, recognizing the role of edges in fostering new ideas, and the inevitability of change. Steven highlighted the significance of observation and interaction, suggesting that these principles can be applied beyond permaculture to other facets of life. He also mentioned the availability of teaching resources on the sector 39 website.

Sustainable Agriculture and Water Conservation

steven jones concluded the session and asked for any final thoughts. Paul and Cedrick shared their positive feedback and interest in having more sessions to learn. They also discussed the potential of sustainable agriculture and the importance of water conservation in their regions. Cedrick suggested that the principles discussed could help address challenges in agriculture and potentially combat food insecurity in Africa.

Permaculture Practices and Future Plans

Cedrick and steven jones stressed the importance of using locally available materials for sustainable practices, with Cedrick emphasizing the significance of this approach. A participant named Andre suggested organizing a meeting with those in Rwanda and Uganda to discuss permaculture further. The team also discussed the importance of permaculture in Kakuma refugee camp, where people from different countries are working together to address food and security issues. steven jones emphasized the potential for change and new possibilities arising from the edges, such as Kakuma. Shernaz Dinshaw stressed the unifying power of permaculture and its critical role in protecting the earth. It was announced that steven jones would not be able to attend the next meeting and would leave notices in usual places, with Cedrick and Shernaz acknowledging this.

Steven will share teaching resources on the Sector 39 website with the group.

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