International Forum of Permaculture Educators COMMUNITY – SENSITIVITY – IMAGINATION

International Forum of Permaculture Educators organised jointly by Biennale Warszawa and Agro-Perma-Lab Foundation was held on 15 and 16 May focusing on 3 themes: COMMUNITY – SENSIBILITY – IMAGINATION.

Poster PL / EN

It is the first event of its kind in Poland, addressed to people working in permaculture, as well as the broader public – everyone who feels that we need solutions that enable producing healthier food, living in harmony with nature and its rhythm, and healing the planet so it can heal us in turn. Invited participants included activists, representatives of initiatives based in Warsaw or working with Warsaw, such as: community gardens, food cooperatives, family garden allotments, CSAs, countrywomen’s associations, daycares with gardens, educational homesteads, as well as farmers, gardeners working in permaculture, educators in natural building and permaculture pioneers.

The permaculture movement in the world – from London to Detroit – has already contributed to the transformation of numerous urban spaces into life-giving gardens. The time has come for Polish cities! We begin with the capital that can use this method of supporting agriculture and urban gardening, designing ecosystems and communities, to apply it to the pandemic and post-pandemic world. Warsaw has the chance to be listed alongside cities like Amsterdam, Paris or Vienna which in the recent years has supported establishing urban farms and gardens, and green areas cover over 16% of the city surface.

The COVID-19 pandemic made us feel more need for contact with nature. Many of us turned to working in balcony gardens or front yards, and became interested in urban agriculture, creating community gardens and looking for healthy, organic vegetables from local farmers. Now, permaculture can be used to transform contemporary cities, and educators who can have real impact on creating new, sustainable urban systems, will play the key role in the process.

On 15 May, as part of the International Forum of Permaculture Educators, we will hold a several hours’ long online workshop for participants selected in the recruitment process. On 16 May, the Forum will be open to wide audiences from Poland and abroad on Biennale Warszawa social channels. Video recordings from the entire Forum can be viewed here.

During the forum, we want to look at how we can join in the process of transforming the food system, so that everyone can benefit from healthier nutrition and co-create conditions for its production. How to deal with current social and climate change, and what can be the alternative to the previous system?

The purpose of this meeting is sharing practical tools for permaculture education, personal philosophies and inspiring experiences. If we understand permaculture not just as a tool for designing gardens, settlements or eco-villages, but in a broader sense, as the opportunity for creating deep relationships with the land and people, forming communities producing food now and in the post-pandemic future, it could become a vehicle for social, environmental, and economic change, and education will play an essential role in this process. Therefore we will co-create knowledge, drawing on our experiences, and already developed tools, as well as inspire one another. How can we develop as permaculture educators, and how can we encourage others to follow that path? How to talk about reciprocal connections that will create a healthy and sustainable whole, rooted in the ethics of care for the Earth, its people and all other beings living on our planet?

The public programme of the Forum (16 May) will be divided into three topical blocks, build around values: COMMUNITY, SENSIBILITY, IMAGINATION which we deemed crucial in thinking about education and permaculture. Speakers presenting their ideas will include experienced educators from Poland and pedagogues  from an international collective involved in the project “The Supermarket Museum” carried out by the Agro-Perma Lab foundation. We will be also joined by world-renowned teachers with many years of experience: Rosemary Morrow (co-founder of The Blue Mountains Permaculture Institute, leader in informal permaculture education, author of numerous publications, including Training Permaculture Teachers handbook), Alfred Decker (founder of 12 Principles Permaculture Design and Permaculture Barcelona, experienced teacher and designer) and Tomas Remiarz (teacher with over 20 years of experience; he built permaculture initiatives and communities in the UK, developed research in Permaculture Association UK and conducted training across Europe).

The Forum will be held in English. We are planning to use tools that enable viewers commenting and asking questions in real time, so that all participants have the chance to join the broader international discussions.

PROJECT ORGANISED BY Agro-Perma-Lab, in collaboration with Warsaw BiennaleNational Centre for Climate Change and Nyéléni Polska.

PROJECT PARTNERS 4 permaculture and Agroecology organisations from Europe: Asociación La Bolina from Spain, Permaculture in Ukraine, Lebende Samen – Living Seeds from Germany, Asociace místních potravinových iniciativ from Czech Republic.

FINANCIAL SUPPORT: European Cultural Foundation. Project co-funded by the Capital City Warsaw.