Editor’s Note: It’s with pleasure I introduce you to a fantastic and fast-spreading permaculture movement in Tanzania, kicked off by Geoff Lawton’s PDC in 2007 (see Geoff’s articles on his experiences and observations there here and here), and organised by our partner the Global Resource Alliance. Below is an excellent documentary looking at their work and its context.
From the Mara Soil
GRA’s office plot in Musoma, Tanzania
GRA was introduced to permaculture in 2006 at a workshop with Geoff Lawton, one of the world’s leading experts and promoters of permaculture. Permaculture offered a path to connect and expand GRA’s current programs in organic gardening and tree planting, and GRA’s future plans for sustainable building, rainwater harvesting and alternative energy.
The following year, GRA organized a successful two-week Permaculture Design Course with Geoff in Musoma, Tanzania. Thirty students, both local and international, graduated; the youngest was only 11 years old! After the training, several of the local permaculture graduates began collaborating with GRA to develop more permaculture gardens and further promote the principles of permaculture to address the problems of food scarcity, poor housing, deforestation and other environmental issues in the area.
We now have three active permaculture demonstration plots in Tanzania, with plans for further development in the near future. Each demonstrates essential permaculture concepts like using swales to catch water for the crops, enriching the soil with nitrogen plants, harvesting water, compost-tea, compost pile, banana/papaya circles, bag garden, nursery, bank saving seeds and others. The gardens are supported by local efforts and a string of international volunteers that have brought new energy, insight and experience to the projects. GRA has a partnership with the Permaculture Research Institute of Australia to refer experienced volunteers to expand the knowledge and implementation of permaculture principles in the Mara region of Tanzania.
The first demonstration permaculture plot is a half acre on our office compound in Musoma. The garden provides food for staff and volunteers, as well as 40 children from the Musoma orphans project every Saturday. Musoma orphans meet here in the shade of our pavilion to collect sundries and participate in fun weekly activities like art, singing, drama and sports. Our second plot is on one acre in Kinesi Village at UVIMAKI Rural Development Association. It was designed and implemented by graduates of the 2007 Permaculture Design Course, and provides food for Association members.
Kinesi Orphans’ Garden