It’s been several weeks since I returned from Haiti and I’m still processing. I could write a book on what I’ve absorbed since starting this journey in January, but I’d rather just do something about it. I will try to get a few articles up in the next few weeks about what occurred, what we saw, what the future holds.
The main thing I’d like to share right now is our plans to bring some people from the SE division of the Ministry of the Environment to Pine Ridge reservation in South Dakota to get training on Keyline Design and other permaculture techniques and principles. They are very interested in using permaculture to revitilize their economy and rehabilitate the eroded and denuded hillsides and mountaintops of Haiti.
There are many differences between Pine Ridge and Haiti – they are two very different worlds culturally. But the similarities are haunting, especially in the sufferings of poverty and oppressions, so much so, that when the idea arose, it made perfect sense to bring this contingent to Pine Ridge to see the permaculture “revitilization” program ongoing there. Many elements of that program would also work in Haiti, and some of them are already being implemented under this Ministry.
While you may have heard negative things about the Haitian government and no doubt some of them are true, they are most definitely not true 100% of the time, in 100% of the government. There are sincere, competent, and passionate people working in the government who are in a position to do something about their country and we feel the people we are working with in the Ministry fall into that category. They have recently created a vermicomposting program, they are researching sustainable polycropping, agroforestry, they gave full back up and support to our permaculture team, providing an office and connections which enabled them to “teach the teachers” in their limited time there, and have continued to provide support to those of us still involved.
In turn, we’d like to bring them to Pine Ridge to give them the knowledge of keyline design. This is a highly appropriate technology to remediate the denuded hills of Haiti, and it will dovetail with a program the government is already running, teaching women to run heavy machinery like tractors, doing earth moving. There are many ways in which keyline design can dovetail with ongoing energies and create really positive results.
If you’d like to assist us to bring this to fruition, please contact us via our site. Please also let others know that participation in our keyline class or other classes at the rez will help fund this project as well as the Pine Ridge project.
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A few people have asked what we base our fees on for our courses. Some believe that permaculture education should be very inexpensive or free so that it is accessible to as many people as possible. There are many viewpoints about this, and we believe that multiple viewpoints on this topic, like any other, are healthy for the system and there is room for all of them.
This is how we view the subject for ourselves and why:
Our work is focused on assisting some of the highest poverty and most oppressed areas on the planet, which are also very culturally rich with much to offer. We focus on projects that regenerate degraded lands and devastated economies so these communities can become self-sufficient and experience resilient abundance. Our methods are focused on connecting resources and knowledge and putting them in the hands of the people at grass roots level so they can create their own destinies within their own cultural context.
We offer our courses and services for free to individuals from those impoverished areas and also bring resources into those environments to assist in the process of regeneration.
We invite students from outside those communities to participate, and charge them rates comparable to similar courses in order to help fund our work in those areas. We feel this is a better way to do it than grant monies, where possible, as it gives us more freedom to remain maximally flexible and responsive to the needs and resources of the communities. Please see our blogs in this section for descriptions of some of the work we are engaged in, particularly at Pine Ridge reservation in South Dakota and Haiti, post earthquake.
Our instructors are some of the most knowledgeable and respected available and often charge top consultant rates for teaching. They are worth it because they can impart knowledge far more deeply, quickly and accurately than someone with less knowledge and experience could do.
We provide a number of extras with our courses that many organizations do not provide, such as rich cultural experiences, apprenticeship opportunities, community building, web promotion for graduates, etc.
Our courses are well worth the fees from a purely practical investment viewpoint, because the knowledge and experience gained should save you far more than the course fee within a few weeks or months if you apply it to your life.
Please know that your course fees are what allow us to continue with our work in devastated areas, and that we strive to make your investment well worth your while by trying to go above and beyond in delivering not just information, but rich life experience that you will always remember.