Cultivating a sustainable life with Permaculture

What is permaculture?
It is not easy to describe in a few words the concept of permaculture as it involves a lot of activities and several processes. Permaculture is often related to eco agriculture, but it is definitely more than that, as it also involves aspects such as economy, bio construction and renewable energy, water treatment, social relationships and community development. For some people, permaculture is a way of living more than just an agriculture technique.

In fact, permaculture is an ensemble of knowledge, philosophy and techniques to create a permanent culture that sustains over time. The goal is to restore the damage caused by the use of nature, while, at the same time, managing the resources in a sustainable way for the common benefit of nature and human beings.

What does it consist of?
There are no standards in order to create a permaculture system, but there are some principles to follow and a simple ethic based on taking care of the land as well as the humans and resources available.

According to this ethic, permaculture takes into consideration not only human beings but also non-human beings, meaning the land, biodiversity, the atmosphere, water, etc. All the activities must guarantee that the ecosystems are able to run in a healthy way while they are shared with people.

The principles of the Permaculture can easily be explained with 12 basic rules:

  1. Observe and interact.
    In order to achieve a more ethical and sustainable way of living.
  2. Store and catch energy.
    This is key in order to live a sustainable life. Use the resources nature is providing us.
  3. Obtain a yield.
    This can be either tangible or not, however it is necessary to be able to see results in the short term.
  4. Feedback and self-regulation.
    Understanding where we have gone wrong through analysis to change the  process in order to achieve success.
  5. Use and value the resources and renewable services.
    Use solar, eolic, hydraulic energies, for example, in order to make your permaculture project work.
  6. Produce no waste.
    There are many ways to start reducing your waste: buy more wisely and always try to recycle or compost your food.
  7. Design from patterns to details.
    Before starting any kind of permaculture project, have a look at the big picture in order to start with your project.
  8. Integrate don’t segregate.
    Collaboration in nature and in social relationships is the key to success. Individual projects are often more likely to be frustrated.
  9. Use small, slow solutions.
    Big changes cannot be made from one day to the other. Focus on small things first in order to not be overwhelmed and achieve your bigger goals.
  10. Use and value diversity.
    The same way ecosystems can benefit from different species, society has also some similarities. Embrace diversity and different points of view.
  11. Use edges and value the marginal.
    Sustainability is also about taking anything that is at our disposal.
  12. Creatively use and respond to change.
    Have a plan a, b and c if necessary, and respond effectively to changes.

Terra Franca is looking forward to embracing these principles in order to create a Permaculture project in Cruillas, outside the city of Palermo, Sicily. The objective is to create a sustainable space to produce and share with the community.

Anima Franca: our fight for a greener future

Natural environment has already been under attack for centuries. Since humans have discovered agriculture, they have massively transformed the globe through the expansion of modern civilization, to the detriment of Earth’s biodiversity. Nowadays changes of climate are happening very quickly, therefore, ordinary ways of adapting (such as migration) are impossible for many species. A strong link has been proven between many cases of mass extinctions (fauna and flora) and climate change.

We can notice easily how fast people are transforming the global environment. In recent centuries, large tracts of forests in temperate regions of Europe, Asia and North America have been cut for cultivation, timber and urban development. The tropical forests are still being cut out and cleared. The number of times ecosystems are overrun by pests, predators, or simply competing species that are introduced by humans, is growing exponentially. Excessive, devastating exploitation of fisheries and forest game is the rule rather than the exception.

The United Nations Environment Protection Program states that the Earth is a place of mass extinction of life, and 150-200 species of plants, insects, birds and mammals die out every day – that is, one species every several minutes. Most conservative researchers believe that to be “only” every few hours. In other words, the current rate of extinction is hundreds or even thousands of times higher than the natural rate, and the process is still accelerating.

All of this is the result of a six-fold increase in population and a fifty-fold increase in the world economy. The Industrial Revolution of the late 1800s was built thanks to the abusive management of the environment (Steffen et al., 2007). Around 83% of the land surface is under direct human influence. We have complete control over 36% of the biologically productive area (Krausman et al., 2013). Half of the world’s freshwater flow is generated for human use. Industry transforms more nitrogen into its active form than all natural phenomena. Industrial and agricultural processes cause constant accumulation of persistent greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, the concentrations of which already reach levels unheard of for at least 800,000 years, and perhaps even much longer (Jozuel et al., 2007), even for several million years.

It is clear that this worldwide dominance of one species must have an effect on other species and on biodiversity. The Millennium Ecosystem Assessment report brings sad conclusions. 60% of ecosystems are degraded and the rate of extinction is 100-1000 times greater than natural processes in geological history. For example, the study by Brook et al. (2003) found that up to 42% of Southeast Asian species could be doomed to extinction by 2100 due to deforestation and habitat fragmentation alone.

To sum up, the present perspective on Earth’s biodiversity is grim. We are conscious that the most mass extinctions were triggered by the rapid onset of global warming, caused by the growth of carbon dioxide emissions to the atmosphere. Before, these emissions were mostly begotten by enormous, volcanic eruptions. 

Looking through the prism of the geological scale, these changes appeared in the blink of an eye, thus, were more harmful. What is happening right now is similar. Population, since 1850 has caused the level of CO2 in the atmosphere has rapidly increased. At the present, is more or less on the same range like was in the last 3 to 5 million years before.

We are changing the climate quicker than animals and plants are able to adapt. Although it can be depressing and overwhelming, there is still the chance to stop this destructive process. We are still on time to reverse the worst effects that humans have made on climate change. Supporting conservationist efforts and transition to renewable energy is one of many things we can follow.

Therefore we are working on the project TerraFranca because we strongly believe that taking care of green areas can create a beautiful impact to nature.  Everybody can join us and be a part of something big. It just depends on us. Just give a look at our activity contracted with TerraFranca and AnimaFranca. We hope to see you there with us.

Together we have a huge power!

Terra Franca garden – A long term project for HRYO

The Terra Franca garden is given to HRYO from the Municipality of Palermo for a time share of 10 years to develop it and to give it back to the community. The garden is confiscated from the Mafia and it was abandoned more than 15 years ago and it is in very bad condition. It is located in the Cruillas district, at via Trabucco, close to the Cervello hospital. So, this is a long term project for our organization and hopefully we will be able to succeed in all our goals.

My name is Bojan Stojanovic and I am currently volunteering in HRYO. This will be a blog for the Terra Franca garden and I am going to keep you updated with our work every month. I am a part of a group of volunteers that are here for an EVS, almost 1 year long in which we decided to take part of this huge project from our organization. Cleaning and trying to make Terra Franca a functional garden with a goal of restoring the goods that can be useful afterwards for the community. We are 6 volunteers currently coming from Macedonia, Turkey, Norway and Belarus and we are working every Friday for 2 months so far, also, with our representatives from our organization Marco, Melania, Valeria and Senem. The presence of volunteers, their initiatives and activities, are going to play that fundamental role of animation of the place. The presence of foreign volunteers has a strong impact within the social context in which we will operate.

Currently we are still in a cleaning phase. Cutting all the unnecessary grass, plants and branches, but also removing all the garbage that we can find. We are also in a process of making a compost in which we use all the “organic” garbage. From cactuses to small cutted branches, we are trying to make useful everything we can find. The other garbage we find, plastic, metal, etc., we are selecting it and then we put them in bags that afterwards are going to recycle.

For only 2 months work we can see a huge difference from before. From total garden full of garbage and different types of plants, now we can say that we are on a very good way and with a couple months of work we can be in a position where we can start to plant and start the second phase of our long term goal and that is cultivation.

With our actions at Terra Franca, except from cleaning and cultivating the garden, more importantly we are creating an educational and social path and a new way of fighting against the mafia phenomenon. Giving an ex-mafia property in useful condition to the people of Palermo is a huge win for us, and a huge loss for them.

With all the work we have put in the garden, there is still a lot to do. So any help will be enormously welcomed. With your help here you are doing two very big things for the people of Palermo: cleaning a garden that tommorrow can be used, but more importantly FIGHTING AGAINST MAFIA!

Follow us on our social media platforms for more interesting content for the work we do at this garden, I will keep you updated.

Bojan Stojanovic

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/terrafr/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/terra.franca/?hl=en[:]

[:it]Comincia una nuova avventura su un terreno confiscato alla Mafia[:]

[:it]Finalmente ci siamo!

Dopo svariate lungaggini burocratiche e tecniche siamo riusciti a completare con successo il processo di assegnazione di quella bellissima isola verde che sarà frutto dello sviluppo del nostro progetto.

“Terra Franca” si trova all’interno del quartiere Cruillas, in un terreno confiscato alla Mafia e affidato dal Comune di Palermo, nel Gennaio 2019, alla H.R.Y.O. Human Rights Youth Organization e alla ampia rete di partenariato composta dagli amici di Maghweb, Palma Nana, Forme, Laboratorio Zen Insieme, Pensiamo in positivo Palermo, Libera, Coop Sicilia e A.P.S. 5ATUTTOTONDO, per la realizzazione di attività volte all’inclusione socio-economica. Il nostro obiettivo è anche quello di estendere la rete di partenariato a tutte quelle realtà che vogliano condividere con noi questo percorso.

 

L’ampia rete di partenariato sin dalla progettazione iniziale, si è impegnata alla realizzazione di attività a favore di donne con minori opportunità, migranti, giovani e anziani  locali, studenti e giovani provenienti da paesi europei ed extraeuropei.

Le realtà che hanno preso parte al progetto si sono impegnate nella realizzazione di un centro polifunzionale nel quale attivare diversi servizi, laboratori ed attività che coinvolgano la collettività, gli stakeholder e il mondo del volontariato.

Il progetto è articolato in diverse fasi e ha come obiettivo principale la restituzione del terreno alla collettività. Per noi il concetto di restituzione alla collettività è fondamentale al fine di identificare l’importanza che ricopre uno spazio confiscato alla mafia nella lotta al fenomeno mafioso e nell’innalzare il sentimento di appartenenza alla collettività. Per questo motivo risulta cruciale il coinvolgimento di tutti gli attori locali, al fine di condividere questa esperienza nella gestione – fruizione di uno spazio che è di tutti.

Vi aspettiamo ogni venerdì per rimboccarci le maniche e sporcarci le mani con la terra.

Dalla pietra della città al verde nel cuore della città, per rivalorizzare un terreno che dalle mani della mafia passa, tramite le istituzioni, alle nostre per restituirlo alla città.

Comincia una nuova sfida, un nuovo percorso, benvenuti a Terra Franca! 

Per info sul progetto e collaborazioni scrivi a:
melania.ferrara@hryo.eu
[:]

Ozkan, che sta svolgendo il suo SVE a Palermo con HRYO racconta l’orto BhRYO.

Codifas was born in 2006 by the spontaneous union of a group of farmers who, at the end of the agricultural campaign, realized that the revenues from their farms were far lower than the expenses they had incurred. They provides green maintenance services for condominiums, businesses and individuals.

Today, They promotes a new low environmental impact farming model, compatible with the protection of health and biodiversity. Through the Orti Urban we inform the citizens about the different cultivation methods, the use of natural products for fertilization and the fight against parasites.They firmly believe that the only viable path is the creation of solidarity networks as it imposes the economic and ethical necessity of producing a sense of responsibility, awareness, and mutual respect.

Now I am volenteer at Human Rights Youth Organization and They have small parcel inside of this green place. I belıeve that thıs place is very good for touch to nature. Planting vegetables and waiting for their growing process make you more pation. And in the same time this place is very quite, you can listen yourself during work. Kind of meditation. There are lot of people workıng their parcel to making vegatables grow up. I am sure that those people care their soul and they eat organic vegetables which was growed by themselves.

I think this place is quite good for teach something to children like learn in process. With this way children can realized nature and they can feel love by toucing soil and vegetables. They can recognize that they are living in real earth. All those things is valid for disability people also.

This place open for all people just try to get contact with codifas.

[:en]Codifas was born in 2006 by the spontaneous union of a group of farmers who, at the end of the agricultural campaign, realized that the revenues from their farms were far lower than the expenses they had incurred. They provides green maintenance services for condominiums, businesses and individuals.

Today, They promotes a new low environmental impact farming model, compatible with the protection of health and biodiversity. Through the Orti Urban we inform the citizens about the different cultivation methods, the use of natural products for fertilization and the fight against parasites.They firmly believe that the only viable path is the creation of solidarity networks as it imposes the economic and ethical necessity of producing a sense of responsibility, awareness, and mutual respect.

Now I am volenteer at Human Rights Youth Organization and They have small parcel inside of this green place. I belıeve that thıs place is very good for touch to nature. Planting vegetables and waiting for their growing process make you more pation. And in the same time this place is very quite, you can listen yourself during work. Kind of meditation. There are lot of people workıng their parcel to making vegatables grow up. I am sure that those people care their soul and they eat organic vegetables which was growed by themselves.

I think this place is quite good for teach something to children like learn in process. With this way children can realized nature and they can feel love by toucing soil and vegetables. They can recognize that they are living in real earth. All those things is valid for disability people also.

This place open for all people just try to get contact with codifas.