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josh - how to implement projects in already established communities  RSS feed

 
Sarah Joubert
Posts: 78
Location: Eastern Cape,South Africa Zone Cfb, Annual rainfall 570mm,
3
forest garden hugelkultur solar
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Hi Josh,
It's wonderful to have someone with your wealth of knowledge and experience on the subject willing to spend time answering what could be some emotive questions. I have a question but I am not sure if this forum is the place to address it, Cassie will set me straight!
I an currently in then UK at the moment, planning to return to SA with my family early next year when we plan to buy land and permaculture full time, hopefully creating a learning centre where people can come and see permaculture in practice. On my internet travels I have come across groups of people who, for various reasons beyond their control, are jobless and "squatting" on government land or private land allotted to them by a farmer. So these are not voluntary, intentional communities but still have the same needs as the rest of us and they have 2 things a lot of us don't have-time and land. These are trade and skilled based people, plumbers, electricians, mechanics, secretaries etc who probably have never grown a veggie or looked after a chicken before. So they are unaware of the opportunities on their doorsteps.
Our plan is to introduce starter kits and offer training at no financial cost to them, introduce composting toilets, create a communal kitchen and shower block using rocket mass heaters etc etc. The idea is to encourage a farming co-op making collective use of land and labour.
So, to my question! These are already established communities in excess of 100 individuals, some have a "council" already and some are just a bunch of people forced into a situation together. How do we go about implementing a community project without creating even more problems and insecurity for these people? Obviously there may be individuals who choose not to participate-at first or ever-which can cause friction, how do we lessen the impact? The idea is to provide kits, training and support which will be phased out leaving them to monitor their own unit.

If this is not in the scope of this forum, please redirect me to an appropriate thread.

Many Thanks
 
josh trought
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YES sounds like a ecological disturbance that can create new opportunities. this increasingly common problem provides the need for innovation. through the turbulence and rupture of the contemporary system we can create a shift towards collective empowerment, hopefully these folks can recognize and feel positive in the fact that they are escaping Rome before the fall
if these folks like to read, you can share a copy of cspf

each site and circumstance can be so different i think it may be hard to designate a kit solutions rather provide the tools of design to facilitate a permaculture project
perhaps a sit down to determine needs and design a plan for implementation...perhaps offering an intro to permaculture loaded with how to and practical group projects...maybe use your design lense to make an assessment of their needs and offer to help implement some solutions

i am putting myself in these folks place and i am sitting here wondering your motivations for creating these kits & distributing them. perhaps if your rationale or passion is conveyed to the peoples they will accept your medicine...

hope that helps. i appreciate your willingness to offer support.
 
Sarah Joubert
Posts: 78
Location: Eastern Cape,South Africa Zone Cfb, Annual rainfall 570mm,
3
forest garden hugelkultur solar
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Thanks for your reply Josh.
Sorry, I dont think I made myself clear. I'm not talking about re-educating and changing skill sets or teaching artisan trades- which could be great 2ndary income streams. We cant afford,nor have the skills to teach and supply people with artisan tools etc.

We're talking about addressing what I see as the 1st most important need of the human body-food. Without food the body and mind is unable to focus on anything beyond the next meal.
So a kit is chickens and whatever they cant scrounge to house them, seedlings and gardening tools. The plan is to invite people to our place to discuss their circumstances & needs and show them what is possible ie chicken tractor fed on veggie scraps and bugs, hugelkulture beds, rainwater collection & greywater cleaning methods. Provide the knowledge and then support them on site until can manage on their own. The hope is that these projects can develop into more than just providing food-I could run a soup kitchen with less agro! We believe that by giving people an opportunity to do something about their circumstances they will be motivated to continue on their own paths of recovery. Naive and optimistic I know, but I do speak with some personal experience.
10 years ago we lost our jobs in South Africa as our skill set is a very narrow one - equine and youth work. Coming from an agricultural background we invested our savings in cattle and chickens using the mainstream approach which failed miserably as the small farmer cannot compete against the big guns of agriculture by copying their methods. Getting steadily poorer and poorer we ended up on someone's farm in a borrowed caravan with no vehicle and no income stream, staring out over forest and meadowland wishing we had access to a tractor, adequate water for irrigation etc. I know the feeling of hopelessness and frustration. If someone had come to us with a method of achieving what we envisioned and the basics for beginning we would not have come to the UK. Fortunately for us this was an option as my family originated from the UK, but my husband is SA born and bred and longs for home hence all the internet research and our subsequent discoveries of permaculture and these communities. Now, if we with our agricultural background were not aware of the potential in what is considered dry land farming or grazing land, how can these folks?
I know there will be disappointments along the way and, being an involuntary gathering of people, more than normal frictions and personality clashes. We are hoping that community building of ablutions and kitchens will help people see the worth and appreciate the talents of the individual. There will always be the "bad apple" in the barrel and I was wondering if you had any counsel for dealing with the fallout from these people. We are not councillors and cant afford to get involved in community disturbances between individuals. How do you distance yourself from the internal politics? Like I said, maybe I'm in the wrong forum?

Does anyone have insight into working in such communities? Feel free to sling something out there.

Thanks for your time Josh, I am reading the other threads with interest.
 
josh trought
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hmmm the picture is bit clearer though i am still uncertain if you are interested in being a part of this "community" or are you offering design consultation and kits? maybe a further assessment of your goals for integrating with these people and the landscape as you migrate back to SA
 
Well behaved women rarely make history - Eleanor Roosevelt. tiny ad:
Video of all the permaculture design course and appropriate technology course (about 177 hours)
https://permies.com/wiki/65386/paul-wheaton/digital-market/Video-PDC-ATC-hours-HD
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