S39 Academy of Permaculture
5th December 2021

Sector39 wins international award

Piece written for local newsletter here in Wales

International award won by Llanrhaeadr based enterprise

In 2018 locally based training firm Sector39 helped pioneer permaculture education in some of the huge refugee settlements in Northern Uganda. Following that in 2019 with the publication of ‘Small and Slow Solutions’ a handbook showing how to teach about the climate crisis using permaculture as an approach to show how we can respond the many challenges heading our way. We worked closely with Llanfyllin high school to produce this and since the book has been widely distributed in electronic from across permaculture enthusiasts around the world and we felt it was an excellent example of partnership work as the publication also linked to schools in the global south where climate change is already wreaking devastation.

Consequently, we were delighted to hear we had been shortlisted for the 2019 permaculture prize, adjudicated by the Permaculture Magazine in UK, who receive entries from all over the world each year. The prize includes publicity, interviews with the magazine editors and also a cash award, something no pioneering organisation can ignore. Although we had been tipped to win, we were one of 20 runners up receiving a commendation and a piece about our work on the Permaculture.co.uk website, but no more.

I submitted an entry again in 2020 with the same result so when this year’s competition came around entering it did feel like a priority as submissions includes a lot of work articles, evidence, and photographs.

Due to covid and the pressures it has caused moving the production of the publication online, the magazine has evolved, still in print prodiction but dispensing with the premisies and meeting rooms and overheads of a phisical premisis. A challenging year but one in which it has developed and grown as well, however the pressures have meant they have not run the competition this year, although the donors who fund the prize were still keen to make the award and the S39 story caught the eye of the panel this time around.

I can report we were thrilled to hear the news this week that the 2021 prize has been awarded to Sector39 for their continuing work in peer-to-peer learning in especially Eastern Uganda where we have been having a significant impact in certain districts. The power of a good example should never be underestimated, and we also know those concerned on the ground will be thrilled to hear of the recognition.

Permaculture is not complicated in essence; it is easy to grasp and to communicate and also to apply to many different circumstances and applications. What we have concentrated on is finding those individuals who can best communicate these ideas by practical example within their own communities. Meaning costs are minimal and using social media and mobile banking apps we have been able to support permaculture pioneers in remote areas, where they have been able to have a significant impact. In a land where 70% of the people are subsistence farmers and the average age is very low, there is a shortage of leaders and teachers but through permaculture S39 and it partners are beginning to create a powerful model to address this short fall.

• S39 together Treflach farm will be speaking and the prestigious Oxford Real Farmers’ Conference in January, on the topic of farm scale permaculture and developing global educational links

Steven Jones, Director, S39 Permaculture, Llanrhaeadr ym Mochnant
https://academy.sector39.co.uk/

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Short video produced for SUII Project on community gardens looking at the experience of he Homa Bay based PermoAfrica centre. A project which has developed under careful stewardship of Sector39.

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