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Permaculture: Healing mother Earth
Permaculture was originally an agricultural term (permanent agriculture) created in the 70s to describe a holistic system that would connect many components on an agricultural site, and that after its initial setup, would provide its owners with all their needs and eventually become a sustaining artificial ecosystem much like a natural forest.
This view still applies, but over the last 40 years, permaculture itself has grown and evolved into a practice (permanent culture) that is embraced by urban communities growing food and harvesting water and sunlight in their backyards; rural communities seeking empowerment, self-sufficiency and retention of their cultures; and university communities seeking a change in the status quo.
It is preparing the population to deal positively with the changes that are upon us from an exploding population, resource depletion, an oil and energy addiction, global warming and climate change. In trying to write about what permaculture is, I decided the best way was to talk about the permaculture design course (PDC), the backbone of permaculture, what it covers and how it is applied on our farm.
What do you need for a PDC?
A positive attitude and a desire to think outside of the box. We cannot teach you everything there is to know about permaculture in ten days, but you will leave us with an empowering ability to assess any site and to find the right information and people to help you create a more sustainable solution.
We will walk you through the process of creating sustainable sites but most importantly we will show you what we have done at Wa Samaki Ecosystems (WSE) to demonstrate and reinforce the information. We are a working farm which produces cut flowers, tropical fish and tilapia, organic produce and eventually timber, while practising soil and wildlife conservation.
We have a wildlife rehabilitation centre on our site, one of only two in Trinidad. We have two staff members who help us run 33 acres. We have to make a profit or we don't get paid. I lived the first 24 years of my life in apartments on three different continents. I am the example of how someone with no agricultural background can create a sustainable system successfully.
So what does a permaculture design course cover?
Everything! We begin with water and observing natural systems...there is no life without water. We teach our participants to design simple systems that harvest and conserve water, from the scale of a single roof or a barrel pond to what we have done here at Wa Samaki Ecosystems, where the entire 33 acres is earthscaped with 20 ponds to harvest and utilise every drop of water entering it and letting it leave cleaner than when it started.
We walk through water’s many uses, be it to water our nurseries, recirculate in our aquaponics systems or provide microclimates like artificial wetlands for beneficial wildlife. We begin to let participants move away from just using their visual sense and begin the process of using all their senses to assess natural senses.
Take a permaculture course. You will never look at mother earth the same way again. From next week (June 22 to July 1) Wa Samaki Ecosystems (www.wasamakipermaculture.org) will be hosting its sixth annual ten-day permaculture design course on its 33-acre Freeport site in the Central Range of Trinidad.
Visit our Web site, see what we do, join us on Facebook and sign up to learn more about permaculture. It could forever change your relationship with the environment and ultimately restore T&T to its former pristine glory.
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