|Swakopmund, Erongo Region, Namibia
(projects i'm involved in)
Throughout my life, I have been exposed to several challenging climates that I have called home.
- The Arid Grassland/Savannah, Windhoek, the capitol of Namibia
- Riverine Desert Biomes at the mouth of the Orange River
- The Mediterranean/Mountainous Shrub-lands of Cape Town
- The Coastal Dune Belt of the Erongo Region
One common theme – DRY & LACK OF WATER. Having spent most of my years in Namibia (60% as of 2019), where the annual precipitation average of the last 20 years for our capital city is 370 mm – drought is my playing field.
I obtained my degree in the sciences, specifically Conservation Ecology. I started my work career in the Environmental Management Section of a diamond mine in Namibia – thereafter, uranium mining. Throughout my studies & career, there always seemed to be this lingering question in a similar form: if we have identified the problem, why do we reactively manage it? Aren’t environmentalists supposed to lead the solution revolution?
Whilst questioning my future on some large corporations’ budget, I stumbled upon a YouTube video making multiple references to Permaculture Principles. One video lead to another. I was hooked. The combined hours I have spent watching & reading information on Permaculture, Design & Experimentation way surpasses the effort I put into my degree at this point in my life.
I loved gardening, but I never owned my own land. This didn’t stop me – I unhinged myself into other people’s gardens, employing tactics learned and design ideas of my own. My first compost heap ended up becoming a productive 210L old oil drum producing my first watermelon and pumpkin in situ.
In 2018, God blessed me with my own property – 1000m2, not your average farmland, but space enough where I was able to start converting the garden into an Urban Permaculture Experimentation Project of my own design, labor and cost. As of September 2019, my Permaculture Garden has entered its second summer. It looks a lot less than actual time & effort put in. What started as an open piece of saline ground, has now started to burst with life. My soils darken every month. Worms the size of pens & pencils are plucked out by an entirety of neighborhood birds, that in turn, deposit volunteers.
Surely this is the only way worth living?
MY GOALS GOING FORWARD:
1. Establish & mature the system.
2. Have a productive Avocado & Mango Tree pocket – this may be trivial to some, but none exist in Swakopmund. The ground and conditions are so unfavorable that all whom have tried have failed. In steps permaculture. I have a thriving population of avocado trees (some grafts some from seed). If there was a record for my town, I would have already broke it.
3. Major decrease in pest species. Also a given in most lands, it is know that your cannot garden my town without several poisons and chemicals. I experienced the worst aphid, mealy-bug, leaf borer, whiteflies & fungal plagues in my first year in the garden. You name it, Swakopmund got it. I have noticed a great decline entering the second summer. What will year 3 bring?
4. Have enough residual harvest to donate to the church and community.
5. Community Composting – everything currently goes to landfill and there is no money to be made in recyclables currently in Namibia.
6. Large Scale Worm Farm – in wrigglers we trust!
7. Using my project as a study site, educate & improve the lives of my community.
8. Obtain a large river plot to develop a Permaculture Hamlet. I am trusting God for this one. Our country is suffering through governmental corruption, recession and drought. My biggest hope is to bless those around me with ‘Project Shakaina’ as it’s currently named.
9. Develop and share DIY greywater treatment systems to share with my countrymen, and similar water conservation & collection systems.
My goals are big, but so should yours be – to start an avalanche, we only need to get the snowball rolling.