International Projects

MESOAMERICAN INSTITUTE OF PERMACULTURE

www.imapermaculture.org

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Photo courtesy of the project

In the Mayan highlands on the shores of Lake Atitlán of Guatemala is the Instituto Mesoamericano de Permacultura. It was created in 2000 by a group of Indigenous Maya Kakchiquel people dedicated to reclaiming native seeds and traditional Indigenous knowledge systems, and have chosen to use permaculture as the platform to help them achieve it.

After 36 years of internal armed conflict in the region that wiped out hundreds of communities and displaced millions from their land, this work is critical. The conflict disrupted the transfer of cultural and ancestral knowledge and the Indigenous community faces the very real challenges of poverty and malnutrition. Indigenous people were disproportionately affected during the war and left largely dispossessed when the peace deal was signed.

The institute is focused on restoring knowledge and local communities through access to land, seed and permaculture education. So far, the institute has trained more than 10,000 smallholder farmers and has helped to increase the community’s capacity to adapt to climate change and address malnutrition. It has been shortlisted for a 2021 Lush Spring Prize.

AGROPERMALAB

www.agropermalab.org

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Photo courtesy of the project

Agropermalab is an innovative grassroots collaboration in Warsaw, Poland raising awareness about change by combining agroecology, permaculture and food sovereignty principles. The founders are artists, social anthropologists, urban farmers, climate activists and educators, who are creating training resources for community leaders, developing community research tools and publishing audio-visual material.

Cohosts of the 2021 International Forum of Permaculture Educators, Agropermalab’s approach embraces cultural, traditional and artistic dimensions and inspires people to engage with, think about and face the climate emergency with creativity.

Using an artistic approach to connect in the midst of lockdowns, The Supermarket Museum: Living Together within Limits is a digital exhibition that looks at ways to transform today’s supermarket culture into a more sustainable and ethical food system.

PERMAYOUTH NORTHERN UGANDA

www.permayouth.org

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Photo courtesy of the project

Permayouth, a recipient of a 2021 Youth in Permaculture Prize, continues to grow and this new hub recognises how permaculture can address poverty, hunger and despondency. The insurgencies in the area between the 1980s and 2006 led to 1.5 million people being displaced. People have since returned home but are still rebuilding.

With sponsorship from the Permaculture Education Institute, the group graduated from a permaculture course earlier this year, led by refugee teacher, Bemeriki Bisimwa Dusabe. Brenda, the 21-year-old organiser of the group, said permaculture is a way to create resilient and sustainable communities, help people access fresh nutrientdense food, revalue Indigenous foods and herbal medicines and to restore their environment.

As part of the Global Permayouth network, the group has been shortlisted for the 2021 Hildur Jackson Prize and also for a 2021 Lush Spring Prize. Donations can be made through the website to support programs like this, and 100 percent of the money will be sent across.

MALAWI SCHOOLS PERMACULTURE CLUBS

www.facebook.com/MalawiSchoolsPermacultureClubs

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Photo courtesy of the project

For the past six years, an after-school permaculture program has been reaching thousands of children in Malawi in south-east Africa. The primary school kids learn permaculture ideas and skills, and put them immediately into practice. Together they are creating polyculture school gardens and growing Indigenous foods which have been disappearing with industrial agriculture and so are very important to maintain and share.

So far, the club has trained 120 teachers to lead these school permaculture programs and has created a network of 22 schools. As well as supplying resources such as tools, plants and seeds to get the gardens started, the club has developed simple training kits for teachers and host monthly educator meetings.

With the success of this program, the club is now sharing the model to help ripple out this positive program and create a much wider network of schools and permaculture-trained teachers. The initiative has also been shortlisted for a 2021 Lush Spring Prize.

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