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Reinventing Roots
Reinventing Roots
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Qasr a-Sir, Qasr a-Sir, Negev, IL
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Reinventing Roots

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PermaNegev is off the ground and flying!!!!!

Project: Reinventing Roots

Posted by Alice Gray over 11 years ago

PermaNegev has launched! This blog from Torin, one of our first ever students on our first ever course.....enjoy

The first ever Permaculture Design Certificate course started last week in Qasr-A-Sir in the Negev desert of Israel. Coordinated by Bustan, an NGO working with the marginalized communities in Israel, Perma-Negev is the first program of its kind to bring the best and latest teachings from the world of Permaculture and its internationally recognized certification courses to the people of the Bedouin villages of the Israeli Negev. So far, so good!

During our first week here in the village, we have learned much and seen even more! The week started with a camel caravan in the desert led by Sheikh Ali from a neighbouring village. During these 3 days, we learned about the native plants and herbs that grow everywhere, thus transforming the desert before our eyes from an arid wasteland into a vast untapped resource. The sheikh really has a huge amount of knowledge about these things and helps run a business making teas, oils and beauty products from these herbs. Over the span of the 50 km that we walked, we learned how to set up our traditional style bedouin tent, saw some wildlife, got to know the camel quite well, braved a wind storm and enjoyed some traditional bedouin food. We also got to know each other quite well, so it was really a great way to start the course.

Upon returning, we started our lessons with Alice, who, by the way, is amazing! She has so much information and expertise and delivers it with a very jolly, hilarious and intelligent style! During these next two days with her, we received our introduction to the basic principles and practices of permaculture and started mapping our site at the village. This really is a fledgling project so there's a lot of work to do and the opportunity here is to really create a lot of the major infrastructural elements for the site and that's pretty exciting. But first, we need to plan it all out... We're working on it! At this point, it seems likely that we'll be building another dwelling, probably from mud and recycled materials, improving the composting toilet, planting a lot of gardens, making a grey water and irrigation system, building a solar oven, some kind of earth fridge and improving the composting area among many other things.

What really makes this course unique, though, is the approach that the Bustan organization takes in terms of community integration. This is not only an exercise in permaculture and design but a mission to integrate the communities in the region and share the information with them and really show them what can be done with locally available resources; things that might not even seem to be a resource to them, such as garbage. We are keeping ALL of our garbage and are planning functional art projects such as plastic stained glass windows and of course it can be stuffed into old tires to make earth ships or sewn into burlap to make bean-bag style chairs.

This sharing of information extends beyond the normal realm of permaculture too! So, as a bonus, we are receiving lessons in spoken Arabic, Middle Eastern studies and there will be field trips and presentations given by bedouins from the village here as well as other villages. Our first Arabic lesson was great! It feels really good to be able to relate to the locals and we are working towards being able to converse with them.

Perma-Negev is off the ground and flying!

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Comments (1)

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Carly Gillham
Carly Gillham : Another wonderful post! congratulations again on all the work you are doing :)
Posted over 11 years ago

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