Permaculture has become one of the buzzwords of our time and with global warming, climate change and unpredictable weather patterns a reality of our time, it is a word we encounter more and more. While many of us may have a vague idea what permaculture is, for most it is a concept that conjures up visions of leaving all modern conveniences behind, donning nothing but cotton, linen and hemp, while moving to an Earthship and never speaking to our loved ones again.
Urban farming and permaculture are not unattainable and lofty ideals and is within grasp of anyone with a wish to live more self-sustainable, ethical and in harmony with nature. During December, Germaine and Pete Staley will be offering three workshops in Wilderness at Fairy Knowe Backpackers Lodge & Adventure Centre, covering aquaponics, geodesic dome designing and urban agriculture.
Pete, a former electrical engineer who reinvented himself as an urban farmer, and Germaine, a sustainability designer, are both passionate urban farmers and champions of permaculture. Both were founding members of the Eco Island project on the Isle of Wight and helped to establish eco co-housing or grouped habitat project in the south of France. They, together with their three children, have since relocated to South Africa where Pete and Germaine founded the Permaculture Research Centre Cape Town and Urban Farmers Africa.
The prime purpose of the PRCCT is to: “Spread the word of Permaculture as far and wide as possible.
We are doing this by offering a range of both practical and theoretical courses to people at affordable prices.” Germaine says that the courses will also be a fantastic opportunity for urban farmers and permaculture enthusiast to meet, get to know one another and establish a network of like-minded individuals. The courses, all offered in Wilderness, are ideal for novice and intermediary garden farmers.
The first workshop will be held on Saturday 10 December and will be covering aquaponics. With demands on water resources growing continuously, aquaponics is hugely beneficial as it uses only about 10% of the water needed in conventional farming. Both Pete and Germaine have done aquaponics courses through Murray Hallams and Sylvia Bernstein. Germaine has also done a commercial aquaponics course through Welgevellen Experimental Farm at Stellenbosch University and is a member of the Aquaponics Association of South Africa.
On Sunday the 11th the workshop will cover the construction of geodesic domes. The workshop will cover the theory around domes, look at different styles and variants, examine different types of hub connections and students will have the opportunity to build scale models.
Saturday the 17th the workshop is all about urban or garden farming. This is a very practical course covering square foot gardening, best practice for planning a garden, water wise wicking beds and containers, an introduction to permaculture and how to apply its principles in urban gardens, composting, vermicomposting or worm farming and, in lesser detail, market gardening and straw bale gardening.
All the workshops will start at 10:00 and will have ample opportunity for questions. Costs for the courses on Aquaponics and Urban Farming are R250 each while the course on Geodesic Domes is R350.
You can contact PRCCT & Urban Farmers Africa on 079 758 4703 (Germaine) or 076 861 6424 (Pete)
Find PRCCT on Facebook at www.facebook.com/permaculturecentrect/
Find Urban Farmers South Africa on Facebook at www.facebook.com/Urban-Farmers-South-Africa-487758651239400/
Visit their website at www.urbanfarmersafrica.com