I just read this BBC article about the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and it's involvement in dealing with the various food crises in Africa and I was disheartened to see no mention of a permacultural or otherwise ecological approach to creating solutions. GM was mentioned, as was training for and use of pesticides and fertilizers.
All very disheartening but I'm glad that the problems in Africa (and other 3rd world countries) are benefiting from the involvement of a high profile individual such as Mr Gates. I just hope that a more long term and sustainable strategy is adopted at some point.
Judging by a seminar/discussion (on GM food) I attended last week, I think some organisations and charities may have their reservations about GM in particular; a representative from Concern Universal, while acknowledging the possible short-term benefits of GM, expressed concern over the possible environmental effects of GM, the dependence of 3rd world farmers on patented or chemical reliant GM strains, and the damage that herb/pesticide dependency does to soil health and the ecosystem in general. This gives me some hope.
I am aware of at least one permaculture-based programme operating in the Sahel zone of Africa (thanks Permaculture Magazine) and I've read about various others in relation to the relief effort in Haiti for example - does anyone else know of any humanitarian permaculture projects in Africa or the 3rd world in general? I'd be interested in learning more about what is being done.
"A society grows great when old men plant trees whose shade they know they shall never sit in."