Project aims and how to get involved...
When we asked members for their views on a range of possible projects in 2007, farming was the number one priority. Since then we have been developing links, research and project proposals to take this forward. For the past few months we have been consolidating this previous work to form the basis of a new farming project proposal, informed by the following three aims:
1. Support and learn from people already using permaculture at a farm scale.
2. Create an evidence base to inform farmers and policy makers about permaculture's benefits.
3. Work to make permaculture skills, research and resources more widely accessible.
It is our priority that the design of this project be a completely participatory process involving farmers, smallholders and consultants interested in applying permaculture principles to their work. We began this process by releasing a survey to find out about the work already going on in the permaculture network, what challenges people are facing and how a project led by the Permaculture Association could support farmers and smallholders to effectively integrate permaculture into their work.
The Permaculture Farm Project report features key observations from the survey and some initial development of potential project ideas. This report was used as the basis of a participatory workshop held in Leeds, February 2012, which developed the project design through discussion amongst permaculture farmers, practitioners and consultants. The outcomes of the meeting have been collated into a project outline document, which will form the basis of the project proposal and subsequent funding applications.
Please read the project outline and send your comments to farm [at] permaculture.org.uk
Transition to Sustainable Farming Project (working title)
"By 2020 the UK farming community has on-farm demonstrations and skills in all regions for the transition to a new era of ‘regenerative’ agriculture – maintaining productivity whilst building soils, capturing atmospheric CO2, and sustaining local communities. This new era farming has an increasing resilience to rising oil prices, maximises local solar energy and nutrient flows to build sustainability, and uses advanced information technology to reduce wasteful excessive transport and synthetic inputs.
By 2020 the Transition to Sustainable Farming Project has built a network of farmers and organisations that demonstrates a range of sustainable farming models and food supply chains. This is the basis of a farmer support and learning network, ready to enable widespread adoption of regenerative agriculture."
That's the vision, and we want to make it happen and we are working with a range of organisations to see if we can make it happen together. Permaculture is an important aspect of sustainable agriculture, but not the whole picture, which is why we believe it is so important to create a collaborative venture that makes best use of the many other sustainable agriculture organisations, networks, practitioners and resources.
Some useful links
Regenerative Agriculture UK (http://www.regenerativeagriculture.co.uk/) Offering courses, workshops and other resources to support farmers and smallholders to regenerate the UK's farms, soils, communities and on-farm livelihoods.
Carbon Farmers of America (http://carbonfarmersofamerica.com/) Carbon Farmers of America, was created in 2006 by a group of family farmers in Vermont and Massachusetts committed to the health of the Earth and dedicated to rebuilding prosperity in our rural communities.
Soil Carbon Coalition (http://soilcarboncoalition.org/) To advance the practice, and engage people in the opportunity, of turning atmospheric carbon into soil organic matter (oxidize less, photosynthesize more).
Holistic Management International http://www.holisticmanagement.org/
Managing Wholes (http://managingwholes.com/index.php) This grassroots site is about management for simultaneous social, financial, and ecological benefit. Their goal is to promote change toward a future that works.
Climate Friendly Food (www.climatefriendlyfood.org.uk) Have produced a useful carbon calculator for farmers.