2023 Permafund grant round closes & gift appeal opens

2023 Permafund grant round closes & gift appeal opens

Applications are now closed for the 2023 Permafund grant round. Submissions have been received from organisations in Australia and countries around the world including The Philippines, Nepal, India, New Zealand, Kenya, Zimbabwe, Ghana, Uganda and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Successful applicants will be informed in March 2023.

At this giving time of year, a gift to the Permafund will help support the many organisations who have applied for funds for their various projects. For example, 

Permafund Chair John Champagne explains  “We’ve received many more applications than we have funds available for which demonstrates the global need that Permaculture inspired projects constantly face.”

“We’ve started a conversation about privilege in and around permaculture circles lately and communities coming together to raise funds for Permafund offer us all an opportunity to assist those in greatest need and manifest our Third Ethic of Fair Share.”

Fundraisers such as open gardens and community events to support Permafund’s micro grant program are a wonderful help and are very much appreciated.

All gifts, tithes and donations made by individuals and businesses to the Permafund that are over $2 are tax deductible in Australia and are warmly welcomed.  

Contributions to the Permafund can be made here.  Many thanks. 

For more information and to share fundraising ideas for Permafund please contact permafund@permacultureaustralia.org.au

Permafund grant supports sustainable agriculture training for 50 women farmers in India

Permafund grant supports sustainable agriculture training for 50 women farmers in India

The Panchayat Raj Movement (PRM) was founded in India in1989 by a group of youth activists with the vision to create a society where every human being can live in peace, harmony and respect with each other. They aim to connect various grassroots groups of different backgrounds to form an integrated community.

Over the course of 6 months two staff members from PRM, with the help of 15 volunteers, facilitated the training of 50 farmers from 10 different villages- Aiyavayal, Kurunchampatti, Shanthinipatti, Kadiyapatti, Veerakudi, Kangampatti, Perampur, Surundampatti, Muttampatti and Palaiyaveerakudi.

The initial session was held at the PRM Field Office run by Mrs. Vijaya, a local organic farmer, teaching permaculture skills with a focus on introducing mixed crops into agriculture, digging small ditches for rainwater harvesting, growing herbal plants to make pest repellents and compost making with agriculture waste and promoting perennial crops. The participants gained hands-on experience in making compost, natural pest repellents and setting up worm farms.

The development of better and more affordable pump systems has seen a steady increase in the groundwater consumption in the south of India. The ancient technique of digging ditches for rain water harvesting was demonstrated and is reviving the area immensely. 

Other monoculture farmers have taken an interest in the project and have since experimented with more sustainable ways of mixed farming and natural fertilisation of their crops.  

Now over 150 acres of land have been planted out using permaculture techniques. Soil and water conservation structures are being made and only organic inputs were used.  500 to 750kg of produce was harvested and up to 350 farmers in 10 villages are being made aware of permaculture techniques for land regeneration. 

In addition to this, there was another training day offered by Mrs. Sumathi to teach 30 women how to value add to their millet products. Also, 5 seed banks were established over the course of the project. The monsoon rains were better than expected and allowed the farmers to earn an income from their farming activities. The project achieved its goal and created a larger impact than anticipated. 

Fund-raising activities, donations, tithes and pledges to Permaculture Australia’s Permafund are warmly welcomed and are supporting community projects like this in Australia, Asia, Africa and the Pacific.  One off or recurring tax-deductible donations to Permafund can be made here.  Many thanks.

For more information please contact permafund@permacultureaustralia.org.au

Felix Leibelt – Permafund Team

Panchayat Raj Movement (PRM) https://prmngo.webs.com/

Permafund in Action – Mindanao in the Phillipines

Permafund in Action – Mindanao in the Phillipines

Elmer Sayre is a permie on the island of Mindanao in the Phillipines . His application for WAND (Water, Agroforestry, Nutrition and Development Foundation) secured a $2000 grant to teach two PDCs, and also raise thousands of seedlings with farmers so they can grow timber and food as well as sustain a community seed bank.
To support the application, Elmer supplied evidence of previous projects which included Ecosan – a composting toilet, a tree planting project (with accompanying manual), worm composting, vegetable growing and water conservation.
Elmer also gave us a long and in-depth talk on WAND’s work and context which began as a routine background-check interview over Zoom. Mindanao has about the same population as Australia, but as its population is 70 times denser the farming strategies are different.

Elmer explains:
“The farming situation in our area is small farms that we need to develop into a diverse system utilising local inputs. The government might promote tree planting but the farmers say ‘How can we get income from that?’ The smaller ones want short-term income. So we say, you plant vegetables, plant bananas and in nine months you have a harvest, root crops in seven months you can harvest, green leafy vegetables in two or free weeks. Increasing their economic base. Pigs, free-range chickens, they don’t grow big like commercial ones but they are okay”.
The plan is to grow trees for fruit, timber, and seed as well as foods including bananas, sweet potato, and cassava. With the two PDC trainings, the goal is to have an exponential increase in food production as farmers will be using heirloom and open-pollinated varieties. Fertility will come from vermicompost, composted humanure, goat poo, and biochar from rice hulls.
Existing practices will be first be documented and photographed, then compared with post- project snapshots for evaluation. Results will be shared with other Permafund projects.

Who Gives a Crap? Permafund does …

Who Gives a Crap? Permafund does …

Doing our daily business, we might not think about it much using our so-called sophisticated water closets which cost thousands of dollars to maintain and waste millions of litres of fresh water daily.

People in a refugee camp aren’t that lucky. Doing their business can often be very dangerous, especially for women. The pollution created is also a big problem and so are unsanitary toilet compounds that can’t deal with the volume. There are no pipes or costly sewer systems.

Jay Abraham from Biologic Design in the UK has coined the phrase ‘tree bog’ for the toilet system that simply uses an old essential habit that people in his native England used daily. As he describes ‘People used to do their business in a bucket in a closet and they would have a separate bucket of soil and sprinkle it over each time a deposit was made. It kept the smell away.”

Tree bog infographic by Andrew Jeeves (Regrarians)

The way the tree bog works is quite similar. Its floor is built up high, at least 1.5 metres above ground level.  The space under the floor is enclosed by 2 layers of wire mesh filled with carbon material (hay, straw, dry grasses) to allow air flow, absorb excess nitrogen and provide a visual barrier. The human waste is covered with sawdust, ash or soil and breaks down, feeding the surrounding area that’s planted out with trees, grasses and ground covers.  In less than a year there are fast growing trees & fruits such as papaya to pick plus shade and biomass to refill the wire mesh carbon wall.

Dense planting surrounds the base

For 30 years Jay has been using his tree bog invention on his own property, fine tuning it to be shared with the world. He’s supported many projects that are building the toilets in refugee camps.

Permafund has recently funded a tree bog in the Kakuma Refugee Camp in Kenya. Established in 1990, the camp has some 60 000 inhabitants with many living there in limbo for years and years.  

Since then, Marcelin Munga from Food & Health Education (FHE) in Kakuma has attracted more funding to build another tree bog. Members of the Permafund team were invited to tune into a live Zoom workshop with Jay Abraham beamed in from the UK.  Marcelin hosted some 20 people from the compound including 3 cooks and 2 educators and a number of mothers with their babies, eager to start building their own tree bog. The workshop members used tools previously purchased with the Permafund grant.

There were some technical difficulties with the Zoom, but we got see the site and meet the group. Jay gave a report from another camp where one of the tree bog toilets had caught the attention of UNHCR. They inspected it with a negative attitude and the intention to knock it down but instead left impressed and gave the tree bog their tick of approval.

Donations made to Permaculture Australia’s Permafund that are over $2,00 are tax deductible in Australia and are supporting the grant program that assists organisations like Farm and Health Education to make a significant, practical difference in their community through the application of permaculture design principles and ethics.

‘’There is no such thing as waste’’

Charlie McGee of Formidable Vegetable

Article by Felix Leibelt of the Permafund team

For more information please contact permafund@permacultureaustralia.org.au.

Permaculture trainee runs Treebog workshop in Kenyan camp

Permaculture trainee runs Treebog workshop in Kenyan camp

With the help of a Permafund grant, Kajulu Hills Eco Village in Kenya has trained a number of residents of the Kakuma refugee camp in permaculture skills. Many people are born and grow up in this vast camp that’s been operating for 30 years and has an estimated 16,500 family compounds each with an average of 20 people.

One of the trainees, Marcelin Munga, is a member of the Farming & Health Education organisation (FHE) in partnership with Biologic Design which successfully applied for a Permafund grant to run a 4-day Treebog construction workshop for camp residents.

The Treebog’s innovative compost toilet design encloses the area below an elevated platform with two layers of wire mesh. Straw is stuffed between the two protective mesh layers to act as a visual screen for the first year’s use plus to allow airflow, soak up excess urine and stop odours. Carbon-rich organic matter is sprinkled on the above-ground pile after each use. The resultant nutrient seepage fertilises food trees planted intensively around the Treebog, e.g. bananas and papayas that fruit two years after construction. A rainwater tank collects runoff from the roof for a hand washing station next to the Treebog.  

Jay Abrahams of Biologic Design UK, who designed, created, and developed the Treebog, hopes that the skills and knowledge required to build one can spread throughout the Kakuma camp and beyond. 

He says “The Treebog is a very good example of permaculture design in action. It shows how by placing the components in mutually beneficial locations the “problem’ of the toilet wastes, becomes the source of the solution: a regenerative, resource creating, tree-growing, sanitation system. The Treebog is a simple, Regenerative Sanitation or ‘W.A.S.H.’ System. It provides sanitary compost toilet facilities, where the human waste and handwash water are considered to be a resource to be used – not a problem to be disposed of!”

“The Treebog is not a long drop toilet” he explains, “as there is no pit required underneath. The Treebog is an aerobic compost pile that simply sits on the soil surface underneath the platform. The compost pile is surrounded by the enclosed base as well as the trees that are planted around the structure, so the liquids soak into the soil underneath the Treebog and into the root zone. As there is no pit underneath, this helps to protect groundwater from pollution.”

It’s estimated there are around 1,500 Treebogs in use in the UK. Other projects have introduced the technology elsewhere in Africa and in Asia.

Support for projects like this by the Permafund grant program is made possible because of the generous donations received from individuals, families, permaculture groups, businesses, and community fundraisers.

Over the past 10 years, Permafund grants have benefited 58 environmental, community-building, and permaculture education projects in Australia and 15 other countries around the world.

Donations and recurring contributions to Permafund can be made  here  through the ‘Give’ portal on the Permaculture Australia website. Donations of $2.00 or more are tax-deductible in Australia. All donations and contributions are warmly welcomed.

For more information please contact permafund@permacultureaustralia.org.au

Farming & Health Education  https://farmhe.org/

Biologic Design  https://www.biologicdesign.co.uk/

Donate link for Permafund  https://permacultureaustralia.org.au/permafund/

Permafund Long Table Lunch

Permafund Long Table Lunch

El Nina has well and truly settled in, the plains of Canberra a vividly green, dams are full and rivers a rushing downstream to reach the coast. Keyline properties will be fully recharged and swale designs are being tested. We are seeing extreme weather events not only here in Australia, but all around the world.

But, with 10 years of Permafund Australia activity, there’s lots to celebrate. Why don’t you join us, the Permafund Team, and host a long table lunch under the lush foliage of your garden? 

Now more than ever, let’s come together and feast on the abundance your work has provided. Let us think about our growing global community of people, the less fortunate and cook or prepare something from a culture other than your own. Use and value diversity.

Put on a feast, whether it’s a Kenyan or Indonesian, Nepalese or Indian inspired night, that is up to you, share the love through food. Ask people for a donation, whatever they can afford, and let us continue the great work of Permaculture direct action globally.

Register your event with permafund@permacultureaustralia.org.au for more information and recipe ideas. 

Donations to Permafund are shared with grateful recipients who put their grants to work in a wide variety of creative environmental and community building projects around the world . All donations are warmly welcomed. Donate here.

Permafund team