Permaculture Conference & Convergence in London, UK

Permaculture Conference & Convergence 2015

The Permaculture Association UK hosted the International Permaculture Conference on the 8th and 9th of September and Convergence from September 10th to 16th (IPC). Jay Abrahams and Tom Chambers attended the Conference and Ruth attended both Conference and Covergence. Emergency response, the refugee crisis, and building community resilience through integrated design were topics that were touched in many presentations and workshops. Here are some of the highlights:

  • Robina McCurdy was schedule to run a workshop at the convergence on emergency response, but fell ill, so Ruth and Beatriz Silva (the President of GEN International) co-hosted the workshop which was full and very lively. We presented Blueprint and EmerGENcies, collected stories from the participants, heard a report from Rosemary Morrow’s course (see below) and ran five small 15’ discussion groups on pre-planning, avoiding impacts, emergency response planning, recovery and rebuilding, and the current refugee crisis. Photos of the flipchart are here. We collected contact details, mapped expertise and availability to help. Prabina from Sunrise Farm in Nepal told us how their permaculture demonstration site was able to feed and house people. She will be one of the coordinators for the Resilience through Recovery project in Nepal.
  • Giselle Henriques and Lachlan Mackenzie gave a presentation on “Harnessing the Potential of Permaculture for Sustainable Development and Resilience”. They used a case study from East Timor. Giselle has been working with CAFOD, as a consultant on topics such as baseline surveys, M&E, project design, etc. She has also been responsible for connecting CAFOD to GEN and bringing an element of permaculture and ecovillage design to project. She is willing to support Blueprint with her skills, knowledge and experience.

Giselle @ Permaculture Conference & Convergence

  • Rosemary Morrow gave one of the keynote speeches at the Conference and delivered a 5-day workshops before the conference on “Resilience Planning”. Rowe, as she’s known, is a permaculture legend. She’s part of the first generation of permaculturists and has over 40 years of experience in international development. She has taken permaculture to many places affected by war, disaster and climate change like Vietnam, Ethiopia, Uganda, East Timor, Afghanistan. The workshop was based on one taught at the Solomon Islands, in communities under the risk of flooding and fire, which were able to survive when disaster struck again. With a team of people, she is working on producing a replicable framework of this course which will be made open source and she is happy to share it with Blueprint. The output of the workshop and also emergency response strands at the Convergence have been collated here.
  • There was a strand on Refugees and Emergency Response as part of the Next Big Step initiative, which aims to increase collaboration and mutual support in the permaculture world.  
  • In the tent “Stories from the World” at the Convergence, the presentations that stood out for Blueprint were: “Permaculture for Peace” with Pavlo Ardanov doing permaculture training for internally displaces persons, military and inhabitants of conflict zones in Ukraine; Alice Grey from GREAN Palestine doing rebuilding work in Gaza and environmental training in Palestine; and Rita Khawand and Klaudia van Gool doing great permaculture work in Lebanon. Pavlo’s and Alice’s notes are here.
  • Our very own Jay Abraham gave a great and captivating presentation on WET systems and water reticulation systems, full of jaw-dropping case studies. In his session, there was also another great case study of regeneration in the drylands of Brazil with Marsha Hanzi, where by using selected species and lots of cactus and succulents, they manage to grow good quality food in very harsh conditions.

 

  • There were also a lot of presentations, talks and discussion around monitoring and evaluation, permaculture research and participatory monitoring. See below in the Network Session about Julia Wright and Malika Cieremans.

You can find videos, presentation and workshop notes from the IPC UK here.

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