Tuesday, 3 March 2015

Permaculture.. The Discovery

So many things to talk about and do not know where to start from :)

Let's start from where I left you last time, Permaculture Design Course, simply awesome and inspiring. Not only the teachings were awesome but the teachers and all the people I met too.

Mindfulness Project
The course I chose is a two weeks one and it is teached one week in Khon Kaen (third largest city of Thailand) and the second one in Chiang Mai. The first location is the Mindfulness Project, a quite new project where there is lots to do and decide. It has been founded by Christian and Anja, a lovely german couple that decided to leave everything and move to Thailand working hard for what they believe in. You can find more on their website: www.m-pro.asia and hopefully I will post soon an interview for let you know directly all the amazing work they are doing. The location is an old abbandonated school that would become our home for the next few days. It has everything you need, a big kitchen, two huge rooms with mattresses and mosquito nets, squat toilets (one of them is western if you aren't delighted yet with the functional eastern style ;) ), outside showers, hammocks, yoga mats etc. The outside doesn't look so pretty yet, quite dry and poor, because everything is in progress because the works just started less than a year ago but it will shine in a matter of nothing.
Garden at Panya
The second location is a much more established project and it is in Chiang Mai. The Panya Project (www.panyaproject.org) is one of the oldest Permaculture Projects in Thailand and has been founded by Christian Shearer, one of our awesome teachers. It looks completely different from the Mindfulness; completely green, with a huge garden, big trees, natural buildings, etc. and even if Christian isn't living there anymore looks like there is always somebody worried about taking care of the place and the animals. It was really inspiring seeing a project at the really beginning and one after 10 years of Permaculture.

The word Permaculture was first coined by Bill Mollison and David Holmgren in 1978. Originally it referred to "permanent agriculture" but was expanded to stand also for "permanent culture," as it was seen that social aspects were integral to a truly sustainable system as inspired by Masanobu Fukuoka's natural farming philosophy.

"Permaculture is a philosophy of working with, rather than against nature; of protracted and thoughtful observation rather than protracted and thoughtless labor; and of looking at plants and animals in all their functions, rather than treating any area as a single product system."
Bill Mollison

Permaculture Design emphasizes patterns of landscape, function, and species assemblies. It determines where these elements should be placed so they can provide maximum benefit to the local environment.
The central concept of permaculture is maximizing useful connections between components and synergy of the final design. The focus of permaculture, therefore, is not on each separate element, but rather on the relationships created among elements by the way they are placed together; the whole becoming greater than the sum of its parts. Permaculture design therefore seeks to minimize waste, human labor, and energy input by building systems with maximal benefits between design elements to achieve a high level of synergy. Permaculture designs evolve over time by taking into account these relationships and elements and can become extremely complex systems that produce a high density of food and materials with minimal input. It can be applied to the design of housing and landscaping, integrating techniques such as agroforestry, natural building, and rainwater harvesting.
The design principles which are the conceptual foundation of permaculture were derived from the science of systems ecology and study of pre-industrial examples of sustainable land use.
The three main Permaculture Ethics are:
Natural Building Art
Earth Care: Provision for all life systems to continue and multiply. This is the first principle, because without a healthy earth, humans cannot flourish.
People Care: Provision for people to access those resources necessary for their existence.
Share of surplus: Reinvesting surpluses back into the system to provide for the first two ethics. This includes returning waste back into the system to recycle into usefulness.
By adopting Permaculture ethics and principles in our daily life we can make the transition from being dependent consumers to becoming responsible producers. This journey builds skills and resilience at home and in our local communities that will help us prepare for an uncertain future with less available energy.
In few words it is the only way for a sustainable living future on our planet ;)
Howard and Christian
In our two weeks course we learned a lot about it and how to apply it in our daily life, it was really inspiring and a life changing experience. Surely the topic is amazing but also our teachers were awesome in keeping always the concentration and curiosity of all the class really active. Thanks again to this amazing living creatures that brought and shared so much with us: Christian Shearer, Christian Carow and Howard Story (founder of WWOOF Thailand and much more). Thanks for your passion, patience, smile and love. It was a honour, a pleasure and an inspiration work with you :)

18 Days Compost
After this awesome time I had only few weeks left to spend in SE Asia and I decided to go back to Khon Kaen at the Mindfulness Project. Here I was already feeling at home and there was sooo much to do and to learn.I met a whole bunch of new amazing people that where there for volunteering and helping with whatever needed to be done. In few days we improved the garden beds, we planted trees and flowers, we produced new adobi bricks for natural building (we got the record of adobi in a day, 84 bricks in one morning!!), we raised the remaining high garden beds, we dug and started the foundation for the compost toilets, we helped Monks building the local Monastery, we carried on with the mosaic decoration on the raised garden beds (still long way to go) and many other things.

Chilling Out :)
Staying in a project like this is like being part of a family, you learn things about others, about gardening, natural building, composting, cooking, but the most important thing is learning things about yourself. You learn to play with your limits, you realise you can do much more you thought, you learn to open yourself and share your fears and emotions, you learn to trust and love yourself because there is nothing wrong in you and in your feelings, nothing wrong in your reactions or behaviors. Learning to be honest with others and especially with yourself brings you to feel free to accept and love yourself. And Love on the other hand changes your attitude and behaviour towards yourself, others and life. Once you learn to accept and love yourself the whole Universe start to love yourself and you will start to love the whole Universe.

May all living beings be full of loving kindness
may all living beings be healthy and free from physical pain
may all living beings be relaxed, calm and safe
may all living beings be happy, content and really free

Sources&more info @:
PDC material

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