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Academy is over… With some friends, we keep the good times alive as we cruise together first to Santa Fe and later Los Angeles. We party and make it last, a bit longer. We add days to our month in Taos, a beautiful adventure; an adventure of great learnings: I acquired technical knowledge, I met inspiring people and I celebrated life in the majestic scenery of the Taos Mesa. Imagine a gorge across this high plateau surrounded by snow-caped peaks where tall pines stand in the middle of those yellow and rusty Aspen patches that make fall so colorful. Somewhere on this plateau one can encounter “earthships”… Houses that take care of their inhabitants, habitats that provide for all the basic needs and comfort of their dwellers.
Shelter, water, food, waste & sewage, (renewable) energy… those basic needs are still, for too many people around our globe, a daily issue. When one looks at the state of our world, one might feel desperate; some prefer to get inspired. The Earthship Academy is a place to meet those people, eager to build a brighter future.
This article is about what I learned during those four weeks of learning, sharing and having fun.
Build the change you want to see in this world 😉
Farming with biodynamics
0.08.2018-18.09.2018, Vilcabamba, Ecuador
Traduction / Übersetzung / Translation / Tafsiri / Tradução / 翻訳 / అనువాదం / अनुवाद / Dịch / ແປພາສາ / Traducción
We spent one month volunteering at Finca Sagrada, a farm working with biodynamics, in a sacred valley close to Vilcabamba, south of Ecuador. This has been the most incredible experience I could dream of.
There are several reasons why we chose this project: it addresses all the criteria we were chasing:
More than a practical experience in the field of biodynamics, Finca Sagrada and its people offered us a spiritual journey in the world of the natural forces.
This article drives you through our experience. Here are the pieces of wisdom we want to share with you:
Hereunder are some beautiful pictures from our dear friend Trace.
Trace is an awesome artist and a remarkable person. He invites us to contemplate the beauty and the divine that surrounds us, here and now.
We kindly invite you to visit his space of arts, love, gratitude and compassion: "Leaf no Trace" (https://www.leafnotrace.space/).
As stated on his web space: "Chosen content will be available digitally for free and others will be available in a highly sustainable high quality print for just the cost of production and shipping."
We fully support him and wish him the best; may you also be touched by his shining love.
Where jungle kisses the heavens, Sítio São Pedro, more than a family dream of autonomy
We spent two weeks near Fortaleza to volunteer at the Sítio São Pedro, a project of autonomy on a beautiful 70-hectare land of hills and forests. As reviewed on WorkAway:
We had a wonderful experience with Wilton and his family, near Fortaleza. So o filé!
Wilton is a man of many talents, values and convictions. Accomplished artist with great songs and beautiful projects of land art; active environmental protector and social militant: in the countryside and in the city, he cares about his trees and the people; autonomy and transition to a greater sense of community are the paths he prepares for his family, friends, volunteers and perhaps all who want to smile at the thought of tomorrow.
Our experience on the site was intense, very instructive and highly rewarding. we had the unique opportunity to be autonomous custodians of the site and it was great! we totally recommend it to those who want to have clean hands in the soil, clear eyes in the forest and blessed hearts under the stars.
Health, peace, joy, love and happiness and thank you for this beautiful inspiration: you definitely influence our lives. We look forward to welcoming you soon into our own earthly paradise...
This article shares more information about Wilton and his family, about the Sítio São Pedro and what we did there as volunteers. Finally, we also propose a detailed review of the project from a permaculture perspective and humbly suggest ideas and further developments.
Enjoy your read. Feel free to comment, ask questions, suggest improvements: we are always very happy to hear from you 😉 Last, we mention many techniques and solutions, feel free to request more information about them, we might consider issuing a DIY tutorial.
Self-reliance for urbanites in the heart of BKK
On the 30th of June, we visited Grandpa Urban Farm in the heart of Bangkok.
What solutions are available for urbanites? How can people in the heart of big metropoles like Bangkok acquire more autonomy and resilience?
Grandpa Urban Farm bring some relevant answers to those questions and issues!
The goal of this article is to share a bit about the history, the vision and the solutions that we saw at Grandpa Urban Farm.
Inspire from the wisdom of the Lazy Man
Lahn, the ethnic minority defender from Vietnam, strongly advised us to meet Oshi: “Oshi is a man of wisdom, a real farmer”! This was more than enough to stimulate our curiosity. We left Laos end of June to meet Oshi in Chiang Mai, Thailand. We had a wonderful talk about happiness. It's very hard to sum up our meeting, synthesize a few hours of discussion and harmonise a bulk of thoughts into an article. We originally came to discover Oshi’s farm, his project and his vision, but the discussion actually turned up speaking mainly about happiness.
Oshi shared with us the story of his community, his project and activities, but also his point of view on the system (the societal system in Thailand and globally) and the so-called “modernity”. In this article we want to render some taste of Oshi’s powerful wisdom.
Here is an overview of the lessons we remember from our talk:
Volunteering at “Namkhan permaculture eco-farm”, Luang Prabang, Laos
In this article, we try something new. We use our professional experience and newly gathered knowledge to establish a diagnostic / report of the Namkhan eco-farm project.
We refer to permaculture ethics and principles. We also look at the key permaculture domains, i.e. domains that require transformation to create a sustainable culture. Based on those references, we reflect upon our personal experience as volunteers for the “Namkhan Permaculture Eco-Farm” project near Luang Prabang, Laos.
First, we want to inspire from David Holmgren’s “Permaculture Principles and Paths Beyond Sustainability” and recall that permaculture can be seen as “Tools to Assist in Ethical Decisions:
In attempting to lead an ethical life we need conceptual tools that will allow us to find what is appropriate, is practical for the situation and context, and yet will have some enduring value in chaotically changing times. Permaculture, and especially permaculture design principles, are conceptual tools which many people are finding useful in this journey (…) [of] ethical adaptation to ecological realities.”.
With our analysis, we want to provide objective feedback and suggest some ideas. We also want to better understand our feelings about this project and eventually justify them.
An interview with Thi Tran Lanh from the SPERI network
We had the chance to meet Thi Tran Lanh, an impressive woman engaged with the Social Policy Ecology Research Institute (SPERI) to defend and empower ethnic minorities in the Mekong sub-great region.
Lanh is a charismatic person radiating with passion. She is a convinced activist dedicated to the cause of ethnic minorities. She fights intensively against governments’ and lobbies’ attempts to exploit the land of local communities. She fights for the right of communities to live on and cultivate their ancestral land as well as the right to sustain their cultural traditions.
This article aims at introducing Lahn’s work with ethnic minorities:
Enjoy your read! Feel free to provide feedback 😉
Traduction / Übersetzung / Translation / Tafsiri / Tradução / 翻訳 / అనువాదం / अनुवाद / Dịch / ແປພາສາ
Ta Phin, Sa Pa, Lao Cai - on top of Vietnam
In May 2018, we spent 10 days with Lý Mẩy Chạn, from the red Dzao community of Ta Phin, a small village located 12 km away from Sapa in the mountains of north Vietnam.
The Red Dzao community belong to the different Dao ethnic groups, who share a common history as described below.
Permaculture in Phang Nha Ke Bang
We travel to learn, work and grow with positive projects; we also travel because we love to discover new landscapes, cultures, foods… Vietnam brings it all in one. If you follow us, you might have noticed that we are enjoying Vietnamese food a lot, that we have great opportunities to discover beautiful cities, amazing temples and astounding pristine Nature. When it comes to projects, we are also very lucky.
During Mathieu’s Permaculture Design Course (PDC) at Aranya Agricultural Alternatives in India, Mathieu met Chon Chon and Chris, a lovely couple that travelled a lot to work with ethnic minorities, especially in South-East Asia. Chris told Mathieu about the beautiful projects they worked on. He especially recommended visiting Human Ecology Practice Area (HEPA) in Vietnam and invited us to contact Thi Tran Lanh for more information and volunteering opportunities.
Visiting HEPA was not possible due to VISA limitations. Nevertheless, Lanh recommended two projects: visit a 20-year old permaculture farm in the heart of the amazing jungle grottos landscapes of Phang Nha Ke Bang and stay with the Red Dzao community in Ta Phin, near Sa Pa, north Vietnam .
This article is about our visit of the 20-year old permaculture farm near Phang Nha. We invite our reader to discover and appreciate the wisdom of the family that takes care of it.
I tend to write (too) long articles. This abstract gives you an overview of the content and the key messages from this blog post. Feel free to read the complete post 😊
We spent several hours with the Phuoc family. The son came directly at our homestay and guided us to the farm. As we arrived we met Mr. Phuoc and his wife, two very smiley and charismatic persons. We had the chance to get an interview with them.
Mr. Phuoc told us about how they turned a minefield into a model eco-farm through permaculture practices. In twenty years Mr. Phuoc rehabilitated the soil by employing permaculture methods and principles and this article relates the history of the farm. We also explain what we acknowledged from the visit of the gardens.
Finally, we relate the more intimate conversation we had with Mr. Phuoc regarding how people migrate from land to cities and how society is influencing us and breaks our connection to the earth. We make the parallel with many projects we have met.
The story of Mr. Phuoc’s farm is a successful rehabilitation of a land after the destruction by the war and the people exodus with society shift from rural to urban model. This meeting with the Phuoc’s family was full of wisdom and good values that we want to share with you. Have a good read.
Young trees need care such as protection (e.g. fencing), nutrition and watering! Lack of proper care lead to high death rate in young trees. I visited some projects with 80 to 90% death rate in young trees because of lack of water…
Water is precious and human action has often lead to and keeps on aggravating water scarcity issues. During our journey through Africa and India, we acknowledged how severe the issue is and truly understood the value of water… Some irrigation solutions use a lot of water and, in dry climates, evaporation make those systems inefficient.
Some irrigation solutions are costly and require technology that are not accessible to some communities in dry areas. On the other hand, protracted thoughtful landscape work and adapted irrigation solution can improve the situation and, with the rehabilitation of the degraded area, lead to solving the water scarcity issues. Many examples of “greening the desert” are available and documented.
Our solution and its expectable benefits
Use a clay pot berried in the ground and low-tech to irrigate young trees to:
"If we could only understand what a #tree does for us, how beneficial is to #life on earth, we would (as many tribes have done) revere all trees as brothers and sisters." (B. Mollison)
Laura & Mathieu