SFEL integrates an Eco-Lodge, model PC farm, an organic restaurant, a PC design training facility and runs a program of trekking and community based cultural activities in Konso. At SFEL we run quarterly international PDCs.
Strawberry Fields Eco Lodge comprises the first permaculture model site in Ethiopia established over the last 5 1/2 years on degraded land to incorporate elements such as drip irrigation, grey and black water re-use, composting toilets, hot composting, tree nursery and solar fridge, solar power, solar shower and much more. The model farm has developed with input from a number of volunteers, interns and PC practitioners, such as Guy Rees, Dan Palmer and Ticafa Makovere. During this time The project has hosted a total of 17 PDCs to date (Feb 2011), 2 lead by Rosemary Morrow and 15 by Tichafa Makovere.
SFEL is based in Konso Woreda is in the Southern Region (SNNPRS) of Ethiopia is situated at 5'15' N and a longitude of 37'30' E. The Konso people have a unique culture, based on sedentary mixed agriculture.
SFEL’s project objectives are to promote alternative livelihoods for the Konso community through facilitating community inclusion in tourism activities, and to promote food security locally and more widely in Ethiopia, through offering training and consultancy services in Permaculture to stake-holders including community groups, NGOs, faith based organisations, businesses, governmental organisations and individuals. SFEL employs 20 permanent staff and up to 30 temporary workers.
The most notable feature of Konso’s famous agricultural system is its terracing, which has been constructed over large areas of the rugged landscape by centuries of community labour. The terracing reduces soil erosion, carefully crafted to balance the competing demands of maximising infiltration of water into the ground, with insuring adequate drainage in times of deluge that the terraces do not collapse. They are planted with sorghum, which is intercropped with a range of other species; including trees, most importantly Moringa oleifera (also called the cabbage tree) Terminalia birowni, and Cordia africana which are grown for timber; shrubs such as pigeon pea, coffee and chat (Catha edulis) (a cash crop) and annuals including sunflowers, maize, millet, chick peas, various bean species, cotton and cassava. The terraces are fertilised with wastes from the villages including partially burned plant residues mixed with animal dung, which acts to keep the soil fertile.
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