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PRI Update – September 12, 2008

Every now and again we’ll try to keep you all in the loop as to progress and activity with our work here in the little village of PRI. As always, there is a lot going on, and a lot more in the pipeline. Some of you may well wish to get involved yourself!

Here goes:

Geoff and Nadia got back from Quail Springs in California just recently (read reports here, here, and here) – where they gave another well-received PDC course to a 47-strong student group. No sooner are they back to in Australia, and they’re straight into teaching a PDC at Zaytuna Farm (home of Geoff and Nadia, and home site for PRI Australia). The farm is buzzing with activity, with 35 students descending on the normally tranquil environs – with paper and pens at the ready. As a sign of the times, course numbers are higher than ever.

Our new Farm Manager, Erin, has been a major blessing. Amongst other things, the course students are making use of a new solar shower setup and compost loo. Finishing touches are just being applied now, as Erin was slowed up with heavy rain over the last couple of weeks. With all of the travel Geoff and Nadia must do, Erin’s work is helping to ensure the farm is not only not neglected, but making great progress.

After this PDC, Geoff will be off to Melbourne to teach another – this time alongside Bill Mollison and Greg Knibbs, at Trinity College at the Melbourne University. If you haven’t taken a PDC yet, there are still a few seats left for this one. Head here to learn more and to book.

At the beginning of October, Geoff and Nadia will be off to Vietnam for a month, where they will be giving advanced instruction to workers at HEPA (Human Ecology Preservation Area), a project operating under the Vietnamese non-profit SPERI (Social Policy Ecology Research Institute), a sister organisation to PRI. The HEPA project is a model farm and permaculture training centre, about six hours southwest of Hanoi, close to the Laos border. The centre empowers indigenous youths and farmers in the Mekong region, supplementing traditional sustainable knowledge and systems with modern permaculture knowledge (instead of supplanting that knowledge with unsustainable, purchase-intensive modern agribusiness methods, as some corporations would seek to do…). I will also be accompanying them, and staying on after they’ve gone, so expect posts from Vietnam and Laos, as I’ll be giving firsthand reports on the situations faced by these ancient cultures as they come head to head with modern ‘development‘, and examine the impact of PRI and SPERI, as they work together to help indigenous communities to not only continue to live sustainably, but to also improve their standard of living. These indigenous minorities face issues over rights to land and natural resources like clean water and forests. The clip below will give you a brief intro, and there is a brochure on HEPA here (316kb PDF). The situation of these people is mirrored in communities and tribes worldwide, so case studies from this work are valuable tools in helping promote permaculture everywhere – preserving and nurturing precious resources and improving lives.


  1. loosing tribal people is yet another example of the extinction of a species, with them we loose the most important understandings of ancient ways, this includes tribal medicine, the mysteries of local eco- systems, family culture and values and many of the simple and practical life skills that we will need to have again.

    We live in a changing world, the ancient will one day, be the modern once again. There is a story (I heard from Geoff Lawton), “my grandfather traveled by camel, my father traveled by car, I travel by jet plane, my son may once again, travel by camel” the modern world may only be a blip in time…the ancient is ancient because it is proven to be sustainable, let us not lose those jewels of knowledge.

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