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Permaculture farm for community development in Papua New Guinea

 
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Hi everyone.
I'm new to the permaculture world, but it excites me to no end.
I've had a long-standing dream to help facilitate the development of a permaculture farm in the central province of Papua New Guinea where I was born,
my clans people have hundreds of hectares of fertile land beneath their feet, and were once subsistence farmers themselves,
however things have changed, but for worse. People primarily live off rice and tinned fish these days or go hungry. I get very emotional thinking about
the lack of nutritional needs being met, when there is such a wealth of natural resources available. Our culture was once heavily tied to the land, post-colonialism, we have lost our roots & rich identity.  
I don't have the technical skills to pull something like this off
However my thoughts are that I'd like to facilitate some sort of a skills exchange. Accomodate skilled peoples, experts to
come and design a garden/ train local villagers, and create a sustainable system for managing and maintaining the farm, and then have an ongoing stream of volunteers from overseas to come and continue to build on this. I know there are other projects like this.
I will most likely have government funding available to me, or other potential financial resources.
Please any advice or assistance on bringing this project into fruition would be so so helpful.
This is honestly for the betterment of an extremely impoverished community.
Cheers

 
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Connie,

Welcome to Permies!  And what an ambitious goal you have for yourself.  This might sound like a trivial suggestion, but is there any way that you can get people to simply start making gardens?  Even just a few, simple raised bed gardens can really help you get a hands on familiarity with soil and soil health and give you a sort of springboard to Permies style agriculture on a larger scale.

I think that having people do exchange programs is a great idea, even better if you can get some government funding.

But for starters, just having the line of communication open is a really great start.

It’s really great to have you here on Permies, Connie.  I have been a member for about 3 years, but holy cow has it ever improved my gardening!  I have not physically gone to any workshops (but some day I would like to do so), but the line of communication by itself does wonders.

Welcome to Permies and I hope to see you around!

Eric
 
Connie hoots
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Hey thanks Eric!
Yes it is quite the ambitious project I do admit. Certainly a long-term goal, which in time I hope to dedicate the rest of my life to.
No not trivial at all. I have been thinking that simple raised beds is probably the best place to start.
My family already garden to some extent, but they're techniques and knowledge remain very basic. They tend to grow the staple food like taro, yam, banana
It's difficult to access materials regarding the ecological landscape of this region. I was thinking that getting to know the diversity of native plant life here would be an important foundation
I guess I am looking for similar community development projects and the sort of steps they took to set up. As I said I have very limited knowledge myself.
I think I'll keep doing research and asking specific questions. As you said, an open line of communication is wonderful!
Cheers!!

 
Eric Hanson
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Connie,

Would some of the problem be alleviated simply by getting new/bigger variety of crops?  I am thinking about beans, Leafy greens and such.

The second thought I have is have you thought about how to improve your soil?  More specifically I mean getting healthy bacteria and fungi going?  I have started doing this and the results in my beds have been dramatic.

Just a couple of thoughts,

Eric
 
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Welcome to Permies, Connie.  Thank you for joining the community.

Wow.  What an amazing opportunity and project!

Your clan grow yams which are a vining ground cover crop which I think takes well to burying lightly and regrowing upwards, which has massive potential for soil building in a tropical climate.  Not sure, if your variety can take being buried, but that is a cool function of some of those varieties.  This would mean planting more than you need for food, and using them to help build organic living soil depth.

I encourage you to explore the world of biochar on our forums.  It is very simple to produce by individuals or families and is a very stable soil amendment of carbon which will help you build soil organic matter fast in the tropics.

The taro is a wetland plant, and the bananas are a small tree like plant.  So you have some good variety for quickly establishing food forests.  I would encourage papayas, breadfruit, and any other tropical tree fruit and nut that you can find in your country.   I don't know what your family's traditional diet would be, or what it is, entirely, now... Seems to be starch heavy.   ...anyway I would recommend finding out what beans grown well where you live, and a variety of corn, and some types of squashes, as well as getting some greens growing.

Are there any other nations, clans, or tribal groups in your area that still practice the traditional ways?  I would search out that, and visit if at all possible, and explain what you want to do to bring your people back to a better culture closer to the land.  I think that most other groups would appreciate the project.  Bring notes and hopefully workable bits of plants to propogate.

I wish you success in getting this project moving.
 
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