Words By Morag Gamble
Mexico’s first permaculture ecovillage, Huehuecoyotl was set up on 15 acres some 40 years ago by a group of artists, musicians, teachers, permaculturalists and green architects. The founders were part of a travelling group of actors called the Illuminated Elephants who were looking to put down some roots, and so created a beautiful space brimming with creative energy. The name Huehuecoyotl is inspired very aptly by the Aztec god of music, poetry, theatre and dance.
The ecovillage is located in Tepoztlán, in the hills just an hour south of Mexico City. it is part of the Ecovillage Network of the Americas and home to the revolutionary Gaia University. Currently host to 20 residents, Huehuecoyotl is open to more, features 14 natural homes, a large theatre and communal house, a shared kitchen, permaculture gardens and edible forest, waste water management, biofilters and guest rooms. When it’s possible to travel again, Huehuecoyotl warmly welcomes visitors.
Mama Lulu Farm
Mama Lulu Farm is a permaculture farm located in the Andean village of Palermo in Quindío in the west of Colombia. For more than three decades it has been dedicated to sustainable coffee growing and agroecological tourism based on permaculture principles, and has established itself as an ecological and agricultural lab. If you are a coffee lover, you’ll know just how great Colombian coffee is, especially ecologically grown. Within the farm is a traditionally-built inn that can house 32 people, a permaculture restaurant, a handicrafts shop and an auditorium that can hold up to 100 people. Mama Lulu Farm welcomes guests from all over, but particularly focuses on hosting academic and scientific groups who conduct research on regenerative ways. It offers a range of courses, too, including living architecture, wastewater treatment, biodigestion, terrace farming, water management and permaculture cooking. Mama Lulu Farm demonstrates how you can live a low-income life, while also being an innovator and positive change-maker.
Global Permayouth Music Project
There is a growing number of refugee youths from five camps in East Africa who, as well as through community gardens, kitchen gardens and practical classes, have decided music is the best way to share permaculture as far and fast as possible throughout their camps. All from the Global Permayouth project, their music is contemporary and exciting, it’s laced with permaculture lessons and messages of hope and is accompanied by videos which give insight into their lives. They are attracting international attention by performing at every Permayouth Festival which are hosted monthly online. So much attetion, in fact, the group has received support to build a film studio from American rock band Grateful Dead and have been approached to join 2022’s WOMAD festival. Permayouth is calling all young permaculture musicians, wherever you are, to submit songs to make a Global Permayouth album.
Rwamwanja Permaculture Peace Course
An innovative permaculture program recently started in the Rwamwanja refugee settlement in western Uganda. This program connects refugee women with the women of the host community, marking the first time the two groups have ever met or talked together. The project started after the Office of the Prime Minister asked the local permaculture teacher why he was only teaching his program to refugees, when the host community could benefit from permaculture too.
Teacher and peace builder Bemeriki Dusabe, of the Permaculture Education Institute, responded by offering to host a shared Permaculture Design Certificate course. Through this first course they not only learned about permaculture and starting local enterprises, they made gardens at each others’ places and cooked and shared meals together. Afterwards, the women shared a film, and the comment that sticks is, ‘Bemeriki taught us about 1000 ways we can love one another. We will keep working together with permaculture.’