Experts Experience during Permaculture Workshop

Author:  
Uma Iyer
September 28, 2021

It began, like most good things do, with a conversation.

Meena of OES and I were discussing the importance of teaching young ones about different ways to keep in touch with Nature and her ways. One thing led to another and we were actively thinking of conducting a basic introduction course to the Permaculture workshop.

Like always, once the seed had been planted in Meena's head, she was a whirlwind of activity. I reached out to Apoorva, my batchmate at both the Permaculture Design Course and the Permaculture Teacher's Training course. Together we drafted an outline for a two-day workshop. Things fell in place seamlessly. We had the use of The Slow Down Place as venue, the assistance of Garima from OES and of course, Meena for any and every support.

The day of the workshop:

In just 5 days of putting out word about the workshop, we had 9 participants across age groups ready to spend 2 full days in a LIVE workshop.

The Slow Down Place has the perfect ambience for a Permaculture course. We set up our classroom under a Neem tree. Learning under a tree is by itself an experience and it set the context for the course.

We began with an ice breaker. It got the blood moving and thawed the awkwardness that comes from a bunch of strangers put together in a small space.

Post discussion of a set of ground rules which included expectation setting, our introduction and ethics, we started with our co-learning session.

The beauty of Permaculture is that often the facilitators (in this case, Apoorva and I) learn almost as much as the students. Life experiences, collective knowledge sharing, mutual respect all add to make our sessions a co-learning space.

We explained about the energy systems, ethics and principles of Permaculture. This was followed by a brief break for tea.

         

The heavy weight sessions on Soil, Water and Agroforestry followed this.

The sessions were interspersed with activities so the participants could understand the concepts better. We believe that only when you touch the soil, will you be able to understand it's qualities and quirks.

Lunch at The Slow Down Place deserves a special mention. It was not an elaborate meal but it was food fit for royalty. Fresh, delicious and served with love.

Post lunch we continued talking about bio-regions, guilds and that beauty of Permaculture processes - Banana Circles.

Bio Enzymes and composting were two topics that had really enthusiastic participation. Infact, we were given the run-down of how to make Bio Enzymes at home by one of our participants.

Zones and Sectors was one of the last sessions for the day. This was also illustrated via a fun plan-your-farm activity

We had the closing circle and said our goodbyes for the day. Apoorva and I went back to the drawing board. We wanted to tighten the process and teachings based on what we had learnt from the participants for Day2.

Day 2:

We began with an open circle session. A simpler version of an ice breaker, because by now the participants knew each other. The camaraderie between them was a joy, but most importantly, what made our hearts soar was the respect each participant gave the other, irrespective of their age difference. The 12 year old was given as much attention when she spoke as was the 70 year old.

Each participant came forward and spoke about their learnings from the previous day. It was a quick recap for them plus an insight to how much they had absorbed.

Social Permaculture and the different forms of money was the topic of discussion. We learnt how we cannot function in a Silo. We understood the meaning of living in harmony in tandem with nature and each other - People Care and Fair Share (2 of the 3 Permaculture Ethics. The 3rd being Earth Care).

The group was divided into teams for an activity based on Designing for Disasters. The groups planned their layout and took us through their thoughts and ideas on how they would protect their farm/village from the designated disaster. It was lovely to see team dynamics in place and the ideas went one step beyond just people-design. There was thought put in about animal welfare and seed saving, and involvement of NGOs and Government.

It was a very hot day, so we decided to shift indoors for the second half of the day.

Just as we were wrapping up with lunch, it started raining heavily. It was glorious. The smell of fresh earth and the sight of plants and trees soaking wet is a gift.

We spoke about Natural Buildings (with Meena sharing her on-ground insights) and Integrated Pest Management. Animal integration was also discussed with a lot of enthusiasm and role play. We had a brief session on Urban Permaculture and the endless possibilities of using Permaculture principles in our daily lives.

A fellow Perma culturist, Kumaar dropped by to take the group through Importance of Seed Saving. We spoke about how the seed is our true wealth and ancient methods of preserving them.

The session ended with distribution of a Certificate of Completion for all participants.

Like mentioned earlier, Apoorva and I learnt a lot from the interactions. It was a lovely experience that we hope to replicate soon.

About Organo Et School (OES)

We recognize that for any positive impact to be sustainable, it must be long-term and inter-generational. Organo Et School strives to create an apt learning environment that will support and empower families as well as individuals to embrace sustainable living mindsets and habits.

Organo Et School is a learning initiative set up by Organo in 2017 and has been facilitating field visits and workshops for Schools and Interest Groups. Organo Et School has had over 25+ schools, 6000+ students and 2500+ adults participate over the last 4 years.

We believe in connecting children & adults with nature. If you would like to participant in future Permaculture workshops, kindly email us at oes@organo.co.in or call or WhatsApp on 9154100775 today!

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