Permaculture for Peace: Our New Volunteer Organization and Project for Refugees in Ukraine

We are pleased to announce the launch of our new volunteer organization, Permaculture for Peace.  Please come to our next event “Zone and Sector Analysis Workshop” this Sunday, 9/7/14 from 2:00-4:00 PM in the barn at Crow Forest Farm, 3300 Old Farm Road, Blacksburg, VA.

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Caroline Montgomery, Sydney Darden, Maureen McGonagle, Oumoule Ndiaye and Aissatou Diouf reflect carefully in our first “Permaculture for Peace” session: “Introduction to Permaculture: Life at the Crossroads.”

Permaculture for Peace: Permaculture for Peace-building in Post-Conflict and Conflict Areas

Vision: Permaculture for Peace is a collective of international farmers, educators, and artists focused on exchanging ecological wisdom in an international context.  The goal of Permaculture for Peace is to facilitate peace-building in post-conflict areas through permaculture workshops that empower marginalized and displaced communities to co-develop long-term food security, energy efficiency, and participatory democratic structures based on permaculture principles. Permaculture is a design approach that mimics patterns in nature in order to develop sustainable and self-regulating agricultural, economic, and political systems.  

Permaculture for Peace in Ukraine: The Challenge is the Solution

Crow Forest Permaculture, in collaboration with our partner NGO Permaculture in Ukraine, has launched a “Permaculture for Peace-building” 72-hour Design Course “Permaculture Roundtable” that is being video-taped, translated, and broadcast for free online to approximately 500 internally displaced refugees in Ukraine. Permaculture design strategies (described in greater detail below) will be introduced, explored, and implemented with the purpose of empowering internally displaced persons as they rebuild their homes and communities.  Participants will learn practical skills, including but not limited to small-scale, intensive systems designed to generate and store heat  energy (e.g. Solar ovens, solar glazing, thermal mass,) as well as provide strategies for food security (Greenhouse growing, succession garden design, food foraging, food preservation) and conflict resolution that incorporate permaculture principles.

Parakh Hoon, Dennis Chang, Nouri ElMekharam and Christina Zawerucha set up the technology to "Think Globally and Act Locally."  Each of our PDC sessions are streamed live to Ukraine and translated to Ukrainian and Creole.

Parakh Hoon, Dennis Chang, Nouri ElMekharam and Christina Zawerucha set up the technology to “Think Globally and Act Locally.” Each of our PDC sessions are streamed live to Ukraine and translated to Ukrainian and Creole.

How can you help?

Crow Forest Permaculture is offering a 72-hour permaculture course over 36 2-hour sessions, every Sunday from 2-4 PM.  Students can attend the course in person at our 8-acre permaculture demonstration farm in Blacksburg, VA, or online through google hang-outs. Each 2-hour session is a $10 donation to the “Permaculture for Peace” project fund. Students can “drop in” for specific sessions, or attend all 36 sessions to receive a “72-hour Permaculture Design Certificate.”  Security-permitting, key participants may also opt to volunteer on-the ground in Ukraine in 2015.  Scholarships and work-study available.

Junior Beauvais, Permaculture Instructor, Director of Haiti Project

Junior Beauvais, Permaculture Instructor, Director of Haiti Project

Christina Zawerucha, Certified Permaculture Instructor

Christina Zawerucha, Certified Permaculture Instructor, Director of Permaculture for Peace and Ukraine Project

Details about the Challenges in Ukraine & the Work of Our Partners

According the United Nations Commission on Human Rights, over 117,000 thousand civilians have been displaced as of 8/05/14.  Approximately 20,000 Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) are currently resettled in the Kiev region of Ukraine, and our NGO Partners (Permaculture in Ukraine,  Ukrainian Society of Overcoming the Consequences of Traumatic Events, Volunteers Hundred, Squadrons of Goodness, Psychological Crisis Service, Legal Space) are currently serving 700 IDPs in Coordination Center of the Kyiv Hospital  #17.  Coordination Center of the Kyiv Hospital  #17 has successfully found money to purchase medicine through the Fund Education for Democracy (Polish NGO), but has no funds to pay staff. Most IDPs are suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and depression, preventing their social assimilation and hopes for the future.

The role of Permaculture for Peace is to provide training to IDPs in order to meet long term goals and short-term goals.  With cold weather approaching, displaced persons are attempting to build or repair destroyed homes with little to no resources.   The rise in energy prices, and projected shortages in natural gas make Permaculture Design approaches to using renewable resources, maximizing passive solar design, capturing and storing heat energy, and food security of timely importance.  In the long-run, the “Permaculture ” and “Growing Experiences” curriculum will be used to facilitate conflict resolution, planning, decision-making, and reconstruction of disturbed communities via the following 14 permaculture design principles:

PDC

Our partners working on the ground in Kiev Hospital 17 with the NGO “Permaculture in Ukraine.”

Details about the Challenges in Ukraine & the Work of Our Partners

According the United Nations Commission on Human Rights, over 117,000 thousand civilians have been displaced as of 8/05/14.  Approximately 20,000 Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) are currently resettled in the Kiev region of Ukraine, and our NGO Partners (Permaculture in Ukraine,  Ukrainian Society of Overcoming the Consequences of Traumatic Events, Volunteers Hundred, Squadrons of Goodness, Psychological Crisis Service, Legal Space) are currently serving 700 IDPs in Coordination Center of the Kyiv Hospital  #17.  Coordination Center of the Kyiv Hospital  #17 has successfully found money to purchase medicine through the Fund Education for Democracy (Polish NGO), but has no funds to pay staff. Most IDPs are suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and depression, preventing their social assimilation and hopes for the future.

The role of Permaculture for Peace is to provide training to IDPs in order to meet long term goals and short-term goals.  With cold weather approaching, displaced persons are attempting to build or repair destroyed homes with little to no resources.   The rise in energy prices, and projected shortages in natural gas make Permaculture Design approaches to using renewable resources, maximizing passive solar design, capturing and storing heat energy, and food security of timely importance.  In the long-run, the “Permaculture ” and “Growing Experiences” curriculum will be used to facilitate conflict resolution, planning, decision-making, and reconstruction of disturbed communities via the following 14 permaculture design principles:

Permaculture Attitudes

  1. Turn problems into solutions. Constraints can inspire creative design. “We are confronted by insurmountable opportunities.”—Pogo (Walt Kelly)
  2. Obtain a yield. Design for both immediate and long-term returns from your efforts: “You can’t work on an empty stomach.” Set up positive feedback loops to build the system and repay your investment.
  3. The biggest limit to abundance is creativity. The designer’s imagination and skill limit productivity and diversity more than any physical limit.
  4. Mistakes are tools for learning. Evaluate your trials. Making mistakes is a sign you’re trying to do things better.

Primary Principles for Functional Design:

  1. Observe. Use protracted and thoughtful observation rather than prolonged and thoughtless action. Observe the site and its elements in all seasons. Design for specific sites, clients, and cultures.
  2. Connect. Use relative location: Place elements in ways that create useful relationships and time-saving connections among all parts. The number of connections among elements creates a healthy, diverse ecosystem, not the number of elements.
  3. Catch and store energy and materials. Identify, collect, and hold useful flows. Every cycle is an opportunity for yield, every gradient (in slope, charge, heat, etc.) can produce energy. Re-investing resources builds capacity to capture yet more resources.
  4. Each element performs multiple functions. Choose and place each element in a system to perform as many functions as possible. Beneficial connections between diverse components create a stable whole. Stack elements in both space and time.
  5. Each function is supported by multiple elements. Use multiple methods to achieve important functions and to create synergies. Redundancy protects when one or more elements fail.
  6. Make the least change for the greatest effect. Find the “leverage points” in the system and intervene there, where the least work accomplishes the most change.
  7. Use small scale, intensive systems. Start at your doorstep with the smallest systems that will do the job, and build on your successes, with variations. Grow by chunking.

Principles for Living and Energy Systems

  1. Optimize edge. The edge—the intersection of two environments—is the most diverse place in a system, and is where energy and materials accumulate or are transformed. Increase or decrease edge as appropriate.
  2. Collaborate with succession. Systems will evolve over time, often toward greater diversity and productivity. Work with this tendency, and use design to jump-start succession when needed.
  3. Use biological and renewable resources. Renewable resources (usually living beings and their products) reproduce and build up over time, store energy, assist yield, and interact with other elements.

 

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