OTEPIC is a community-based organisation born out of passion for sharing knowledge and innovative approaches with those who need them most: subsistence farmers, and in particular, women and youth groups in the “Trans-Nzoia County” in Western Kenya and its surrounding areas.
OTEPIC aims to address the depletion of soil and water, climate change, the lack of sufficient food and the social injustice caused by years of intensive globalised agriculture. It does this through training communities in sustainable permaculture, including crop diversification, water harvesting, soil and composting, nutrition and renewable energy.
All training is free, and farmers are given the opportunity to experiment so they can gain a true understanding of how nature works. The project cultivates three gardens on an area of 11 hectares and also runs an orphanage, a birth house and a dance group.
OTEPIC operates with the principles of sustainable self nourishment, knowledge transfer and living in peace and harmony with nature.
INSO was founded in 1991 to support communities with regenerative social and ecological initiatives in the diverse state of Oaxaca, Mexico.
Its flagship ‘Slow Water’ project aims to address the Central Valley’s watershed crisis, where the speed with which water flows impacts on both its communities and its ecosystems.
INSO remains deeply engrained in grass-roots culture, while its Oaxacan Water Forum has brought community stakeholders together with NGOs, the private sector, and governmental and academic institutions. It takes an integrated approach by combining traditional wisdom and community organisation with modern knowledge and techniques.
INSO has also established two vibrant Regeneration and Permaculture Demonstration Sites, providing workshops, training and examples of regenerative land use. This includes soil conservation, re-vegetation, organic farming, ecological forestry, irrigation and rain harvesting.
Through its work, INSO reinforces a sense of the fragility and sacredness of nature, viewing it as inseparable from society.
Ecosystem Restoration Camps (ERC) exist to regenerate our soils, souls and societies. Camps are built on or near land that is degraded, and ‘campers’ who seek to learn how to restore natural and agricultural ecosystems, economies and communities are welcomed.
Restoration techniques learnt are then shared with land owners surrounding the camps.
The ‘ERC’ idea arose in 2016 when ecosystem ambassador John D. Liu began discussing the concept. This galvanised people from around the world and resulted in the organisation’s launch in February 2017.
The first camp was set up in the Murcian region of Spain where people have been living and learning how to restore the land around them since June 2017. This camp is now in its second phase: having built soil carbon and soil organic matter content, retained water and increased biodiversity, it is now creating an agroforestry system using plants that are commonly used in the region.
The system was designed to inspire other local landowners to think about how they can still farm the same crops but in more regenerative ways.
A second camp is about to open in Mexico, and there are plans for camps in California, the Netherlands, Australia and Brazil. The Foundation also organises Re-Generation Festivals, where mass land-restoration activities are run alongside performances from world class musicians, theatre makers and artists.
In September 2014, several Ugandan organizations came together to form the Schools and Colleges Permaculture Program (SCOPE) Uganda. In doing so, they aimed to create a ‘common space’ that encouraged information sharing and collaboration between like-minded organisations.
It was hoped that Permaculture’s principles could be taught nationwide, better preparing Ugandans for the challenges presented by climate change.
In a nation where 70% of the population is under 25 and nearly 50% is under 14, it was clear that schools had to be the entry point into communities.
Now a network of 23 organizations, SCOPE Uganda works with schools to ensure youth gain the practical skills education needed to foster ecological, climate-smart and sustainable landscapes. Integrated land use design and Permaculture education is used to create food forests on previously barren school compounds. By targeting rural areas (as opposed to urban areas), its work directly supports areas that feel the burden of food insecurity more.
SCOPE Uganda has so far worked with 3766 youth and 159 teachers to create, maintain and monitor eleven Food Forests in seven different districts.
Based on a productive farm just outside of Athens, Greece, School of the Earth acts as a test site for Permaculture design applications and techniques that are adapted to the Mediterranean climate.
After a four-year design and establishment process, the farm has also developed into an educational center on Mediterranean Permaculture. The School currently collaborates with ten Permaculture teachers from across Greece and is actively engaged in developing the Greek Permaculture network.
Since January 2018, and as part of the ‘Mediterranean Permaschool’, it has trained 80 young people and supported many of them in applying what they have learnt to their own projects. The School also organises awareness raising events and festivals and coordinates work exchange programs that support the application of Permaculture principles in the Mediterranean context.
School of the Earth’s ultimate goal is to facilitate the emergence of a new local culture based on solidarity and respect for life as a whole. It aims to empower participants and enhance synergies that benefit local communities and their surrounding ecosystems.
Farm Okukuna was established by the City of Windhoek and the World Future Council to improve food and nutrition security in Namibia’s capital.
The City has provided three hectares of land in the informal settlements and hired a care taker. The local Eloolo Permaculture Initiative has designed the site and now runs a weekly Permaculture course.
Farm Okukuna was founded on the belief that all Namibians can take part in shaping their environment to become more abundant and resilient in the face of great environmental and economic challenges. It seeks to develop urban Permaculture farming methods that are adapted to the challenging Windhoek climate.
It also aims to inspire, inform and collect knowledge for shack dwellers on how to grow food around their homes in informal settlements. Rainwater harvesting, grey water systems, compost toilets and food and nutrition training, as well as the development of micro-enterprises and marketing support, are part of the project.
In time, Farm Okukuna hopes to become a nationally recognised local centre for programmes connected to food and nutrition security.
This integral cooperative was founded to reverse a process common to many rural Portuguese towns: population loss, the abandonment of agriculture and the decline of local commerce.
Located in Montemor-o-Novo (a small town in the south of Portugal), Minga is creating tools that support the development of local circular economies, whilst aiming to operate in all sectors needed for living: the production of goods, services, housing, health, education etc.
Minga has supported the creation of new businesses in different fields, including biocosmetics, ceramics, detergents, clothes and solar panel installations. It shares the administrative and management costs among its members and operates a financially sustainable shop that sells local products.
It promotes agro-ecological farming practices and helps to organize production and distribution channels for local farmers. It shares a space that acts as a venue for socio-cultural activities and operates an internal currency that facilitates the exchange of products and services between members.
Through its work, Minga promotes ‘degrowth’ principles that include: the deeper integration of humans in ecosystems, consuming less, reusing resources and sourcing locally, seasonally and slowly.
Tarumim’s fundamental concern is helping communities build their adaptive capacity as the climate in Brazil becomes more hostile, both in terms of weather and politics.
In 2008, Tarumim’s director swam in a beautiful stream in Minas Gerais that has since dried up. Minas Gerais has lost over 90% of its Atlantic forest, and the disruption of the water cycle threatens the whole country, with floods in the north, major shortages in the cities of the south, and impacts around the world.
Syntropic farming can regenerate degraded land into bio-diverse agroforestry plots, returning springs to life and increasing rainfall, while its high yields provide food security and employment. There are networks in place, but the system is virtually unheard of in rural Minas Gerais, so Tarumim will channel funds from crowdfunding and businesses into fortifying and scaling these networks.
Since Carol Novaes (pictured) qualified as a Syntropic teacher and transitioned from conventional farming to agroforestry, several of the 42 agriculturalists’ projects in her area have also started experimenting. One of Tarumim’s projects is to fund her to hold free workshops and assist agriculturalists in the process of transition, and thereby catalyse a wave of community interest.
FREE aims to address a triple threat to the dignity, livelihood and ecosystem of a community in South Africa through providing the three most essential basic needs: water, energy and healthful food.
This idea was born from personal experience and observation of their rural village, where people have to walk kilometres to collect buckets of water; where kids can’t study at night due to a lack of light; and where, although they have plentiful land, most people live in a food desert.
Every home should have a rainwater tank, a solar panel and a permaculture garden. FREE plans to foster a culture of self-sufficiency by setting up a local company of young apprentices who will be responsible for the installation and maintenance of these systems. Profit can be reinvested to repeat the cycle.
“In 5 years time, I imagine looking over my wall to the hillside – currently degraded by erosion and litter – turned into rows of abundant, green, fresh, healthy vegetables, tended to by smiling women singing songs of gratitude, while kids play in the street, made safer, healthier and smarter by being able to study at night, drink clean water and eat good food.” Co-founder of FREE.
ex aqua is part of Enactus, an international non-profit organization providing a platform for students to create community development projects with a social entrepreneurship approach. The project focuses on the Toliara region in southwest Madagascar where people suffer heavily from malnutrition.
More than 75% of the population lives below the poverty threshold of $1.9 per day. Additionally, 65% of the coral reefs in the region have died over the past 50 years, and decades of overfishing have decimated the fish stock. As a result, Madagascan fishermen are in need of an additional source of food and income.
Conventional marine bathing sponges are removed from the reef directly, but ex aqua has a sustainable approach to avoid further exploitation of the reef. Ripe sponges are halved and one part is left to regrow. ex aqua empowers fishermen to sustainably grow and harvest sponges and highly nutritious algae in the ocean.
ex aqua’s partner on site is Reef Doctor, a UK-based non-profit organisation that has been conducting conservation as well as social development projects in south-west Madagascar for 15 years. Reef Doctor’s experience provides an immense advantage for ex aqua in terms of regional knowledge, a very familiar contact with the locals, and the trust of the local community.