NEVER ENDING FOOD, MALAWI, AFRICA
Never Ending Food is a permaculture demonstration and education organisation working to help address malnutrition holistically, improve children’s access to healthy food and promote food sovereignty. It’s led by Stacia Nordin (a dietician) and Kristof Nordin (a social worker) who have been in Malawi since 1997.
The Nordins moved to Malawi to help with HIV prevention through the US Peace Corps. They learned quickly that to address malnutrition they would need to improve the quality and diversity of food, and to do that they needed to improve soil fertility. That’s when they came across permaculture. They now help to teach permaculture across Malawi, supporting communities and schools to set up abundant and sustainable food systems. Their own house is a demonstration plot, where people can visit to learn about their approach. The Nordins believe that permaculture has great potential to benefit nutrition and health, increase income potential and make a significant difference to living conditions.
Given Malawi’s year-round growing season, access to water and large genetic base of local food crops, the local people have seen how permaculture can help to create abundant gardens with a diversity of food. And how permaculture farmers have, on average, better food security, a more diverse diet and higher crop yield than conventional farmers. By making simple and affordable improvements to family farms, Malawian families can increase their overall household food security significantly.
For more information see www.neverendingfood.org
SUNSEED DESERT TECHNOLOGY, ANDALUSIA, SPAIN
Sunseed is a pioneering permaculture centre and community in the drylands of southern Spain. Celebrating its thirtieth anniversary in October 2016, Sunseed continues to be a hands-on centre for learning about arid permaculture, green energy, eco-construction and low-impact living.
Places such as Sunseed are crucial in such environments. They offer young people in particular a chance to experience what it means to live and work in community, to become hands-on with appropriate technologies and natural building, and to learn dryland management and how to grow food successfully.
This intentional community is focused on sustainability education and practical research. A transient population of volunteers, interns and researchers regularly join the core members in the off-grid ecovillage of Los Molinos del R.o Aguas. Together they work and learn to explore, demonstrate, develop and share ways to live more sustainably.
Around the village there are many working examples of appropriate technology, natural building and permaculture gardening. Throughout the area are gardens with herbs, flowers, vegetables, tree fruits and nuts. These are fed by Sunseed’s own compost systems and ancient Moorish irrigation channels.
Volunteers and visitors are welcome. For more information see www.sunseed.org.uk.
A SCHOOL IN A PERMACULTURE FARM, GREEN SCHOOL, BALI, INDONESIA
The Green School, with its towering wall-less bamboo classrooms surrounded by permaculture gardens, is cultivating a new generation of eco-leaders.
The school began in 2008 with ninety students. Eight years later it has over 380 children attending, including many local students, and offers a natural, holistic and student-centred education from pre-kindergarten to Year 12. The school continues to receive international acclaim for the education revolution it is inspiring.
The beautiful and impressive bamboo structures provide a free-flowing, natural learning environment. The campus is filled with a diversity of food in its many permaculture gardens, nursery, medicinal gardens and food forests. In addition, the Kul Kul Farm, within walking distance, also grows food for the school and offers training.
The school is an inspirational place to visit. Imagine how amazing it would be to go to school there, with visitors such as Vandana Shiva and Jane Goodall. Green School Australia anyone?
Volunteers and visitors are welcome. For more information see www.greenschool.org.
SACK GARDENING IN SLUMS, KIBERA, KENYA, AFRICA
Sack gardening is changing the lives of many people in the slums of Kibera, just five kilometres from Nairobi’s city centre. With a population of around 170 000, Kibera is the largest slum in Africa and one of the largest in the world. Sixty per cent of Nairobi’s population are slum dwellers, living on just six per cent of the land. There is little space, limited electricity, scarce fresh water, poor toilet facilities and HIV is rampant.
Urban agriculture had less effect on food security here, because of the lack of land and the cost of food; around half the residents have no work, while others exist on less than one dollar a day. Most children eat only one proper meal each day. However, since the introduction of sack gardening in 2008, by French NGO and humanitarian organisation Solidarit.s Internationalis, things have improved. The initiative began as a way to support jobless youth after a spasm of post-election violence in 2008, and provided them with healthy food at the same time.
Solidarites Internationalis provides free seedlings, advice and assistance to people who want to take advantage of the public space in slums. The sacks contain soil and animal manure, and use small rocks for drainage. Both the tops and sides of the sacks are used for growing, and there are now thousands spread throughout the slums. Kibera farmers grow a range of vegetables and leafy greens, including kale, spinach, onions, tomatoes and arrowroot.
Sack gardening is now supporting 22 109 households, directly benefitting over 110 000 people. By 2020 it is estimated that thirty-five to forty million urban Africans will depend on urban agriculture for their food, and strategies such as this will help people to feed themselves.
Visitors and volunteers are welcome in Kibera. For more information see www.solidarites.org/en.