3 years has past since I came back from Australia, working there in the most famous permaculture farms between Noosa and Tasmania was an experience that I will always recommend. I find no trouble to figure out how to set up a permaculture farm or a permaculture institute in a developed country where the lower cost of living (or a predictable cost of living) creates an environment where people feels inevitably more comfortable to make a step towards any change.
Countries like Brazil (like Turkey where they have a similar economical structure) mistakes can cost years of your life, to not talk about other troubles that all Latin Americans suffer (if you want to go deeper read "The Open Veins of Latin America" Eduardo Galeano - It is free in his website - great book!).
So, here is the question:
HOW WOULD OPERATE AN IDEAL PERMACULTURE FARM IN BRAZIL IN YOUR OPINION?
Like any other farm business or more like a school, a big farm example or a small farm example, etc...
Aqui vai uma pergunta:
COMO VOCE ACHA QUE UMA PROPRIEDADE IDEAL DE PERMACULTURE OPERARIA NA SUA OPNIÃO?
Como um modelo de negócio ou como uma escola, um exemplo de uma grande fazenda ou uma pequena propriedade, etc...
I would aim to become 100% Watersustainable, 100% food Sustainable & 100% energy sustainable within 2-3 years. I would follow the 3 ethics and use mainframe permaculture to dig the initial swales and dams and start in on agroforestry and production of compost (there is never enough). Within a year I would try and have quality demonstration examples of everything from herb spirals, various composting techniques, chicken tractors as well as core permaculture technologies (passive solar, mass rocket, Jean Pain mounds, bio-construction etc). If the site was large enough I would design it into paddocks and start a paddock shift system, starting with chickens and then moving up into larger animals. I would also look into aquaculture opportunities on the land. Once I was confident with the demonstration examples, I would try and start a local permaculture chapter and host meetings once a month to encourage local permaculture growth. I would also offer 1 day and weekend courses on composting, agroforestry, intro to permaculture etc as well as offer Brasilian and English PDCs. I would also market the crap out of the site to try and get volunteers and woofers. Dependent upon where the surplus in the system occurs, I would follow niches and try and make some cash to pay for equipment and expansion.
Of course, that is what I would do if I had the land, some initial funds to pay for the earthworks and establishment of the system. What would you do?
Agree, totally. But firstly I would search for models. In expensive situations like my country, to rise your standards of living is much harder than lower it. So, I would suggest getting in touch with people first, the more you can, from any culture, but especially from your own.
So now, any ethics and sustainability plans are left behind, just like holistic management, when you choose a secondary goal that will take you to action, to meet in the future, your final goal.
MODEL EXAMPLE: I got a friend that started a little permaculture site. He built a skate board ramp and a little bar. From the money that he earns with this venture he can now, start doing some permaculture.
LIMITATIONS: He had to buy a place where it is more suited to a bar, rather than a place to grow food or a place where you might have some peace of mind. This could be a big cost to pay for the majority of permaculture lifestyle seekers, even for him, but that is the price to pay sometimes.
POTENTIALS: Your future can hold what your money can buy (very true in Brazil). Lots of brazilians can not afford good food, so if you can afford to buy your own place, this can be a luxury around here. My friend’s model is simple and smart; he designed his plan strongly linked with a positive cash flow (the bar).
EXAMPLE FROM THE UK
“It may be surprising to hear that 50% of the initial private investment went on purchasing the land, and the other 50% on setting up the yurt camp. It’s worth considering the full cost of setting up your livelihood before purchasing land, as without that capital investment you could find yourself in financial difficulties very quickly. Doug and I are also self-employed and still currently earn money outside High Nature Centre as the business is predominantly seasonal at present.”
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