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PERMACULTURE DESIGN COURSE - September 28 - October 10, 2015  for more information and to register ,  L...
Permaculture Institute Asia | "Planting it forward" in Asia

PERMACULTURE DESIGN COURSE - September 28 - October 10, 2015 for more information and to register , Loei, Thailand – more info contact [email protected]
[email protected]

Welcome Welcome to Permaculture Asia, Permies Asia and Permaculture Institute ASIA Here we focus on Permaculture and Natural Organic Farming in ASIA. Permaculture as it applies to ASIAN climate, plants, ecosystems, culture and communities. “Permaculture is a sustainable design system stressing the h…


3rd Thailand Permaculture Convergence - Theme- Permaculture meets the Thai Self-Reliance Movement
Dates 26-28 March 2015 (Most people should arrive evening of 25th March and could depart from afternoon of 28 March) However now we have also confirmed a bonus day visit option to Mop Euang (learning center of Ajarn Yak in Chonburi) on 29 March. This added event will be organized by Peggy and P Jo of Pun Pun. Additional costs would also be separate. (Major cost should be transport to get there either contributing to fuel costs or rental of a van)
Location- Wanakaset Learning Center, Sanam Chaikhet, Chachoengsao , Thailand - Objective number of participants: 60 persons - This is the comfortable capacity of our center.About 10 of these would be associated with the Wanakaset group, so it means about 50 guests. We could accommodate a few more, if interest is very high, we will consider how to manage best. The reality is that we have a lot of space for tents (and we have some tents available). So we can handle a larger number, but then many will need to sleep in tents.
Registration date- will request all to confirm participation and number by 20 March. Thus we have a week to plan supplies.
Proposed Cost- 1500 B (In cash, in trade, or a mix)- Minimum contribution 500 B cash and 500 in trade* More details on trade below-Some sponsors and others who contribute above 1500 will help cover the balance for those who need to contribute less. *Trade- As everyone is expected to contribute knowledge and service during the event, this is not the trade component, but a basic participation requirement. Trade would mean bringing produce/ rice (must inform in advance so we can plan appropriately), materials that you will use to demonstate something and leave (like to build a solar oven), processed goods of your production (like soap, balm, wine, jam, coffee, tea, organic fertilizer) that you give to Wanakaset and that will then may be auctioned. Also seeds and seedlings can be given in the same way. Lastly you can offer a service (to be fulfilled at another time- not during the convergence). This too would be auctioned off. This might be help to do a permaculture design, free entry to a short course at your place, a few hours to help translate materials from Thai to English or English to Thai, an offer to teach and help develop something at the buyer's place (like a solar oven, water treatment facility, making jam, mushroom logs). A discount of 10 or 20% off a course is not considered a trade. You can sell and promote your courses, but for the trade it should be a free service (although you may require logistical support to enable this such as minimal food / travel / lodging costs)
Who should participate?- The main objective is to have what I call Permaculture/ self-reliance movement practitioners who are based in or living in Thailand. While some will not primarily use the name “Permaculture”, the sort of objectives and practices they have will be analogous to Permaculture. The second objective group will be people who identify with Permaculture and similar techniques who have spent some time in Thailand. This could be WWOOFers or others who have spent some time here already working on farms or working on ecological design etc. The 3rd group would be outside Permaculturalists particularly coming for this event. This group would receive the least priority however a few really interesting outsid ers would be great. If thereis more space, others could be involved.
Desired Format- We intend to use a very participatory format. While the Wanakaset team may be the key facilitationelement, we would like to pass ownership of the event to all. This would mean that everyone would be expected to play a role as a teacher, learner, and facilitator of the event. We will invite a few persons from outside to join in 2-3 days of preparations. So we could have a prep-team arriving on 22/ 23 March. They could help to get everything ready for the event together with the Wanakaset team. They could also help particularly with non-Thai speakers to help all who arrive to get settled and understand how to participate fully. The participatory format will mean that for each day, there will be opportunities to assist in the following ways:
1. Cooking meals 2. Clean up after meals 3. General grounds maintenance (such as sweeping in the morning) 4. Upkeep of restrooms, buildings. 5. Leading sessions 6. Supporting sessions (such as providing interpretation, taking notes, taking photos, writing up)
Normally for specific duties, like cooking breakfast, we would have at least one leader, and then spots to assist that can be filled. Participants can volunteer for these spots. As some activities would coincide with sessions, participants should be willing to sometimes miss a session, like “Morning Yoga” to help with “Cooking Breakfast” However in my prior experience with this format “Cooking Breakfast” and the conversations within might be the best session of the day. We will have a number of rather open sessions. As we may be 60 persons, this will be a lot for a session. (particularly practical sessions). Thus I hope to have ideas and interest to lead different sessions.
What sessions we will have depends on you. Anyone joining can potentially lead or support a session. But it is not required that everyone leads a session, as there are many other avenues to contribute. Everyone who decides to join, should be ready and enthusiastic about helping this event to be a success.
Sessions will be primarily of 2 types: Knowledge/ experience sharing sessions and practical sessions.
Knowledge/ experience sharing sessions should be based upon your experience and knowledge. What have you tried? What have you done? What have you learned? And what are your challenges. My basic suggested format is 10- 20 slides that are only photos, maps, or diagrams. Most people will have photos. These slides should show what you have done, what you are doing, and your current direction forward. The most common presentation may be something like “My farm” which would show your farm, your design, how it works, etc. But it does not have to be a farm. It could be someone's fun trying different fermentations. Or someone's water treatment system. Or someone's experiment with alternative banking. Or growing mushrooms. Windmill pump design. I think you get the idea. The scope of Permaculture and Self-Reliance is wide. The point is to share your experiences. The session however may be more focused and not just involving one person. Sukha asked about having a session on “How to develop a food and medicine forest? (in Thailand)” As many from Wanakaset including myself have experience on this point, I will put this as one session where we can share experiences on this process.
Other collective discussion sessions may be established. Practical sessions are things like: how to make natural balm, soap, shampoo, deodorant.. It may include farming related techniques, such as how to properly process seeds for saving, how to make bokashi compost, how to raise soldier flies for feed, or how to make charcoal and collect wood vinegar. It could include health related techniques such as Yoga, Thai massage, how to make herbal green drink, how to use urine to promote health. Participants coming from outside should prepare the needed equipment/ materials or could advise the prep-team what is needed in advance and then the prep-team could help to get this ready. Materials used to demonstrate that are shared with the participants in their final format (like a balm) or passed on to the host (like a solar oven) could be included in the trade cost of joining the event.
Biodiversity and natural product market. This will be the main event of the evening of the 1st day. So please bring your seeds, seedings, mycelium, and even perhaps chicks, ducklings, etc. Then also please bring some of the fruits of your work. While with notice (so we can plan properly) we would be most happy to take fresh vegetables, fruits, and rice as part of your participation fee, mostly I am thinking of those products you make that don't spoil right away: this could be your fruit wines, vinegars, herbal fermentations, balms, lotions, soaps, kombucha, jams, chutneys, natural organic sugar, coffee, tea, cocoa, naturally dyed silk and cotton garments, goat cheese, handmade bamboo and coconut shell implements... All of this can be sold, exchanged, given away, given to help cover your participation fee (and then may be auctioned off)
Party in the Forest This will be the main event on the second night (Friday night) this again would be created by all inviting song, dance, music, storytelling and creating the atmosphere with the participation of many. For the most deep working sessions we would have sessions around goals and objectives for the
Permaculture movement in Thailand.
I see a 3 part process to this. 1 review what has happened since the last meeting. 2 brainstorm about what are the critical areas and opportunities and last devise proposals for intervention on popular topics.
These sessions would again be divided into sub-groups for the working sessions. A potential popular issue might be “Empowering Women in Agriculture through Permaculture.” Someone could lead this session and others would join. The small group would discuss their experience and come up with a focused short proposal. All of these proposals would be presented to the whole group in plenary and could be approved (or modified if need be) These proposals should then also get the working support of some from the convergence participants. This means a commitment to try and move this forward during the following year. So the task would be passed on to a number of people (a working group). This working group would then communicate and try to move the objective forward and present their work at the convergence of the following year.
Wanakaset Layout/ Space- As only a few of you have visited Wanakaset I should explain more. The main area is only about 10 rai or not quite 2 hectares. It is now almost all quite forested, with some clearings. There are a number of ponds and a creek (however this should not be running at end of March). The front is on a highway. There are the homes of found Pooyai Viboon, his son and one daughter and their families. The nursery also is in front along the main road. This is one of the best if not the best herb and forest plant nursery in Thailand. There is some parking in front and more on the side. As the place is now a forest, there is life there. Many insects (including mosquitos in the evening), millipedes, ants, many birds and occasionally snakes are seen. There are paths connecting different areas and now a central area with a sort of open (dirt) plaza. Around this area are most buildings. There is 1. The main wood house. This house has 6 small rooms for lodging (good for 2 adults or 3per room) 1 larger room with screens (can sleep 8). 1 bathroom. A nice central meeting area good for discussion of up to about 30 persons. 2. Below the main wood house on one side is the main kitchen area, an herbal processing room, one bathroom and laundry area. 3. The plaza (behind the main wood house) this can be a good place to meet (using plastic chairs) and do things like herb processing. 4. The old Thai house. This is behind the plaza. It is a 100 year old teak house. Upstairs is like a museum although it is also a nice place to sleep. Downstairs there is a nice space either for meetings/ work of about 20 persons. This space was used in the last events as an area for Thai massage and herbal treatments, we could use it for the same purpose. 5. Off the plaza to another side, it the small library, and then across a pond, the Main Meeting Hall. This room can handle 60 people maybe more. It has a couple attached restrooms. It has another room for equipment. It is one of 2 places where we should be able to meet as a whole group. There is also enough shade to easily show slides during the day.. 6. Around the fire pit. (There is a fire pit and bench seating around) This is another area that could welcome 60 people – or more. I think this is the best place for ceremonies and parties. However during mid-day sun is strong so not great for meetings. 7. 2 smaller spaces near fire pit. 1 Adobe hall (Could work for about 15 persons) 2 Water house- A small hall on the large pond (Also good for about 10- 15 person discussing) 8. Bamboo house- This is a major meeting and lodging place. It has a central discussion space (good for about 30+ persons). It has rooms that can handle about 25- 30 people lodging in mosquito nets. Most nets and bedding material stocked here. 1 bathroom here but 3 more just downstairs. 9. Main bath area (nearest to old Thai house) has 6 toilet/shower rooms for women and similar for men + urinals. Also possible communal shower area. 10. Between the Old Thai House and the bamboo house is a large area that with clean ground but shade trees. This area can be used for activities like natural dyeing of composting and/ or can be a tent area. 11. One the side there is a large area for parking that can also be used for tents. It has hot sun during mid-day.
Potential Schedule- More details
Weds 25 March, 2015 - Arrivals thoughout day. Assist to get settled. Orientation team to provide info. Orientation team to help participant sign up for spots to share and or assist. Dinner (together for all who have arrived) 18:30- 19:30
20:00- Introductions (Bilingual)- Each participant to introduce self 1-2 minutes. Should answer what does permaculture or Self-Reliance mean for them now and what do they aspire for to practice in their lives in 5 to 10 years? Location should be around the fire pit- Need 1 Thai- English translator (Michael). 1 English to Thai translator (Kanya??)
Thursday 26 March, 2015 -6:30- 7:30 am- Morning activities. This will depend upon interest and who volunteers. This could include yoga/ meditation. Sweeping the grounds. Helping to prepare breakfast. Bird watching.
7:30- 8:30 breakfast
9:00- 9:30 am opening ceremony (I think this should involve paying respect to Pooyai Viboon founder of Wanakaset, this would involve presenting him to all and then a few words from him- He does not speak too much now but can speak a bit in the morning.)
10:00- 12:00 am- Session 1a (propose 2 major topic sessions here. 1 is on “What is Permaculture?”This should be primarily in Thai and for all of the Thais who have little knowledge on this. I would be happy if this could involve 3 speakers with Permaculture experience to discuss about what is permaculture and why it is interesting for Thailand 1b . “What is Wanakaset?” This would be primarily for the non-Thais who do not yet know about Wanakaset (philosophy and practice). This might be led by “P Kunchit (son of Pooyai Viboon) with at least 1 or 2 wanakaset members explaining their way of practicing wanakaset as well. (Michael translating to English)
12:00- 13:00- Lunch
For session 2- 6 – we will have 2 main working areas and then a couple relax zones. Relax zones should allow people to connect and relax. Area 1 (Probably Main Meeting Hall) could be used for practical experience sharing sessions. My concept is to learn and share experiences of people who are really doing it. It would be great if participants could prepare about 15 slides (photos) and then talk about what they have done and are doing in terms of their farm/ house with applying Permaculture/ Self-Reliance. 20 minutes to present and then 10- 20 minutes for Q+A and suggestions. Then a break and rotate. It could also focus on a more specific issue (like Rosanne suggested) like water harvesting. Area 2 (Probably Bamboo House)- Practical sessions around natural products and such Relax Zone 1 (Under Thai House) Natural health and medicine. We may invite expert Thai masseuses and welcome other healers to do and demonstrate treatments. While knowledge is always free, masseuses and others can charge reasonable rates for treatments/ herbal medicines. Relax Zone 2 (Coffee Corner) – Near the fire pit/ Adobe house. Many of us at Wanakaset are addicted to good coffee (and tea). Coffee has long facilitated conversation and development of ideas. Espresso drinks using the coffee of an organic farmer friend will be available (at reasonable prices/not free). If anyone is inspired to make and bring baked goods to sell (and complement), this would be welcome. We might have a bit of fun with natural dyeing not far from the coffee corner on one day. Also a nice point to check out how your tie dyeing is going.
13:30- 15:00 Session 2
15:30- 17:00 Session 3
17:00- 18:30- Break, but also prepare for Biodiversity market, some may help prepare dinner
18:30- 19:30 Dinner
20:00 until finished- Biodiversity market. Can give a bit of time for people to talk about what species/ varieties and products brought for share, sale, and trade.
Friday 27 March, 2015
6:30- 7:30 am- Morning activities. This will depend upon interest and who volunteers. This could include yoga/ meditation. Sweeping the grounds. Helping to prepare breakfast. Bird watching.
7:30- 8:30 breakfast
9:00- 10:30 am- Guided walk of the grounds. Should divide into 3 or 4 groups each with guide from Wanakaset. Will learn a bit about perennial vegetables, medicinal herbs, different forest trees and see what a rather mature Wanakaset forest looks like. Can end in the nursery to see some of the many
11:00- 12:30 Session 4
12:30- 13:30 Lunch
14:00- 16:00 Session 5
16:00- 18:30- Prepare for Permaculture Forest Party (this is time to prepare an act if preparation is needed, or to contribute in other ways, cooking an interesting dish to share, decorations.)
19:00- until finished but not later than 23:00 - Permaculture Forest Party. Dinner will be buffet style. Different acts will perform. What acts and sharing depends upon the interest and motivation of those joining.
Saturday 28 March, 2014
7:30- 8:30 breakfast
9:00- 10:00- Permaculture/ Self-Reliance and Potential in Thailand. - Participants can share ideas as to what they see can be done to further permaculture and self-reliance in Thailand. 3- 4 popular ideas will be then be considered more deeply in small groups. (Chaweewan help to collect ideas)
10:00- 11:30- Small group work on specific ideas from first session. (break as needed)
11:30- 12:30- Plenary presentation of working concepts related to ideas and working groups to further a given idea/ project.
12:30- 13:30- Lunch
13:30- 15:00 Closing session and ceremony
Note- May provide space for the Permaculture Institute of Thailand to present tasks done over past year invite membership/ candidacy to join as a board member/ and vote/ approve board members. ! Participants can stay another night and join the Mop Euang excursion led by Pun Pun
About the theme- “Permaculture meets the Thai Self-Reliance Movement” If we go back in time and 30- 60 years (depending on the location), the norm in Thailand was a very self-reliant way of life. While this traditional knowledge and way of life that had evolved over generations is not completely lost, with the “Green Revolution”, television and consumerism, the move to a monetary economy, and other factors, it has drastically changed. Most people now try to earn money and then pay for most everything they need. It has even become uncommon for Thai farmers to produce their own vegetables and rice in many places. With this evolution people have become increasingly time scarce and less likely to share time, resources, and knowledge. Like everywhere in the world, we know and can see that this new way of life is having its toll on our communities, our society, and the environment. As has happened in Europe, USA, and throughout the world, with the changes, some saw that this model of “development” was at the core of most modern problems. One of the most famous Thai people who had the courage
and vision to seek out and find another path, is Pooyai Viboon Khemchalerm. His confrontation with the failure of monoculture and cash cropping, and his vision and journey to find another way, is a story and experience that has been shared with very many who have gone on to build and develop what is know as the Thai Self-Reliance Movement. In the last 35 years, many have visited Pooyai Viboon, talked with him, seen what he has done, heard or read his words and left with inspiration.
If we look at the history of Permaculture and Bill Mollison growing up in the healthy ecology of Tasmania of his childhood and then noticing the changes. This is a similar formation. “As a child I lived in a sort of dream and I didn’t really awaken until I was about twenty eight years old. I spent most of my working life in the bush or on the sea. I fished and hunted for my living. It wasn’t until the 1950s that I noticed large parts of the system in which I lived were disappearing. First, fish stocks became extinct. Then I noticed the seaweed around the shorelines had gone. Large patches of once ubiquitous forest began to die. I hadn’t realised until those thingswere gone that I’d become very fond of them, that I was in love with my country”. Bill Mollison
Then as most of us know, with David Holmgren, they had a clear and creative vision of a different way. That which we know today as Permaculture. Like the Thai self-reliance movement, it is clear that Bill Mollison and David Holgren since then knew of and have had great respect for the traditional ways of life that maintain a healthy balance with nature. Permaculture and its disciples have spread far and wide with many practicing and interested in Permaculture here in Thailand now. However there has to this point been very little exchange between the Permaculturalists (most of whom are foreigners often with limited Thai ability) and members of the Thai Self-Reliance movement (almost all of whom are Thai and most of whom have little to no English language ability).While there are a few excellent annual events focused on Thai Self-Reliance that invite participants from around the country to share innovations in such areas as: organic farming, natural building, alternative energy, seed saving, natural medicine, and so forth. These events are developed by Thais for Thais and in Thai. (and unknown to many Permaculturalists)
While this is only a 3 day event, we will attempt to bridge this gap. As a major barrier is language, this event will be bilingual. We expect about half the participants to be Thais (most from the Thai Self-Reliance movement). So we hope that this will help our Permaculturalists to get to know a bit about what is going on in this movement, and for the Thais to understand a bit about Permaculture and see what its practitioners are doing.While there are clearly some differences between these movements, their practices, and philosophies, there is much more (in my opinion) in common and that is complementary. I personally am not so attached to names. If others are not as well, then learning from each other and taking and adapting what is most interesting will be easy and logical. I think our underlying goals are much the same. Healthy communities, healthy environment, healthy society. Ways of life that are very fulfilling yet leave our world a better place.
If you are ready to share your experience and learn from other travelers on this path, you may wish to join this convergence and help make this happen.
Michael B. Commons (of behalf of the Wanakaset Network
Howard Story - [email protected]







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