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Learn in Ecovillages, Farms & Permaculture Projects
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Up to 32h
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Permaculture project Vila Nova de Cerveira, Portugal
Permaculture, which stems from the words "permanent" and "agriculture" can sometimes be a difficult concept to grasp. You may think of it as homesteading, but it encompasses so much more!
Farmers who practice this observe the world's natural processes and mimic them in order to yield crops that are self-sustaining.
The idea of permaculture as a more economically-viable approach to farming was first coined by Tasmanian wildlife biologist Bill Mollison in 1978. He explains the meaning of permaculture as "the conscious design and maintenance of agriculturally productive systems which have the diversity, stability, and resilience of natural ecosystems. It is the harmonious integration of the landscape with people providing their food, energy, shelter, and other material and non-material needs in a sustainable way."
During his career, Mollison learned how the ecosystems of the world are slowly being destroyed by humans and wanted to propose a more environmentally-conscious way of life. His simple mantra, "work with, rather than against, nature", expresses what permaculture really is at its core. Designing a farm that operates on a system modeled after nature itself is guaranteed to free up your time, hard work, and eliminate waste.
There are many permaculture projects listed by Worldpackers hosts from around the world for volunteers to choose from. Each one teaches the volunteer the ways of permaculture farming, equipping you with a wealth of knowledge you can use to live sustainably and teach others to do the same.
Permaculture is built on a set of three ethics, which are:
What is permaculture design, you ask? It emphasizes how the landscape is laid out, what species thrive there, and how everything works together to create synergy. If everything is designed with this in mind, the local environment will be greatly benefited and see tons of progress.
Permaculture design is all about the relationship of each element and how it all works together. The whole is greater than the sum of its parts. Implementing techniques such as agroforestry, rainwater collection, natural building and organic farming are a few examples of good permaculture design.
To really ensure a homestead operates on a well-designed model, farmers should follow the twelve permaculture design principles:
Living by the permaculture principles provides us with valuable tools we need to no longer be dependent buyers, but instead become responsible producers.
The world is constantly changing and evolving, so learning about permaculture methods and techniques is of utmost importance for staying prepared. If everyone practiced sustainable farming through permaculture, the world would be a very different, improved place.
There are plenty of permaculture projects in need of the help of dedicated volunteers who are passionate about the environment.
Compassionate hosts from all corners of the globe will make you feel like you're part of a close-knit family as you do your part to make their sustainable community run more efficiently. Not only will you do meaningful work, you will be learning and growing as you go.
Permaculture projects are both educational and fun! These projects will require physical activity and a can-do attitude as you help families accomplish their goals.
In the fall, you could work at an orchard in Bulgaria planting every fruit you can imagine that also serve as a food source and shelter for birds and insects. Cultivate soil and care for seedlings in Brazil as you learn about agroforestry. Support bee conservation in Ecuador as you connect with the outdoors and hike through the highlands.
Farms like this one in Panama are looking for help in a variety of areas like building, blazing trails, and planting crops. You never know what new skills you'll pick up while working on a permaculture farm.
In some cases, you may even get to enjoy the fruits of your labor. Stay at this cozy cottage in the United States as you help out in the garden and you'll get to enjoy the garden produce. You can even attend the educational Rainbow Camp Retreat in beautiful Hawaii as this NGO farm teaches gives you a beginner's guide to micro-farming.
Other teaching opportunities can be experienced through free courses offered by your host. This permaculture project in Kenya offers just that in exchange for your skills in gardening, animal care, and photography.
Some permaculture volunteer experiences involve helping developers create awesome new technology and sustainable systems like this one in Isanevo, Bulgaria. Bright ideas need help from volunteers like you to turn their sustainable concepts into real-world tools.
Nature has a solution for every problem faced in the garden. Learn from nature at any permaculture project and you'll walk away with renewed purpose to make your little corner of the world run sustainably.
Not to mention you'll have a blast exploring your environment in your down time, this time experiencing nature with a fresh perspective.
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