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One School One Planet

Vol. 2
Permaculture, Education and Cultural Change

Compiled and Edited by


Steven Jones and Jack Hunter

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Endorsements

“Many people are worried about climate change, concerned that there is
no serious leadership from government, instead a dangerous silence.
They are also looking for real, practical solutions, rather than smoke and
mirrors theories about reducing global warming with Big Technology.
There are many tried and tested solutions that can be found all over the
world in different climates and nations but where do we start at home? It
is exciting to discover a Welsh community that has already done so much
to pioneer these practical solutions using permaculture design and the
power of the Transition Movement: influencing school curriculum,
creating local community orchards and gardens, establishing a housing
co-op and associated enterprises, storytelling, offering cutting edge
training to spread this knowledge far and wide, and grounding all of this
with an understanding of our deep interconnection with all species as
humans alive at this critical time in our history. Reaching out,  the One
School One Planet project has gathered stories about their approach and
shared them in this book. Prepare to be inspired.”

- Maddy Harland, editor of Permaculture Magazine and co-founder of


Permanent Publications, www.permaculture.co.uk

“The One School One Planet project (which embodies both pragmatic daily
wisdom, and myth inspired storytelling), is a vitally important means to
invite our participation in the task of eliminating the variety of eco-crises
threatening all life on planet Earth. I encourage all of us to support this
project and read this book.”

- Mark A. Schroll, PhD, author of Transpersonal Ecosophy, Vol. 1.


One School One Planet (Vol. 2)
Contributing authors retain full ownership
and all rights to their individual essays.

ISBN: 978-0-244-46066-2

First Edition: 2019

All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced or


transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical,
including photocopying, recording or by any information storage and
retrieval system, without written permission from the author(s) except for
the inclusion of brief quotations in a review.

Published by Psychoid Books, Llanrhaeadr-ym-Mochnant

In association with Sector39, Llanrhaeadr-ym-Mochnant.

Spaceship Earth logo created by Ellie Owen.

www.psychoidbooks.co.uk
www.llanfyllin.sector39.co.uk

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Chapter Contents pp.

Foreword: 7
Participating in Change

Part 1:
Change. Opportunities. Connections.
1 Change is Opportunity 11

2 Llanfyllin International 15

3 Conversations on the Fertile Edges of 19


Permaculture, Ecology and Education

4 Community Conversations 23

Part 2:
Permaculture, Teaching and Outdoor
Education
5 Can We Change Fast Enough? 29

6 The Children in Permaculture Project: 33


An Interview with Lusi Alderslowe

7 Land Based Studies and the Future of Farming 41


An Interview with Emyr Jones

8 Cae Bodfach: Creating a Community Food Forest 45


for Llanfyllin

9 Outdoor Classrooms, Community Gardening 47


and Permaculture

10 Permaculture in Schools Programme 73

11 Community Gardens and Higher Education: 83


A Conversation with Dr. William Rowlandson
Part 3:
Expanding Horizons: Permaculture,
Religion and Socio-Cultural Change
12 Permaculture, Religion and Spirituality 97

13 Building Partnerships 103

14 Ecology, Spirituality and Alternative Education: 105


An Interview with Dr. Andy Letcher

15 Permaculture and the Church: 113


An Interview with Dr. Claire Henderson Davis

16 Building Community and Building Soil 119

Part 4:
The Revolution is Coming
17 What does declaring ‘Climate Emergency’ mean? 125

18 A Letter to Llanfyllin High School 129

19 Waking Up to Emergency 131

Appendix

Photography Students Turn Focus on Project 137


(The Advertizer)

One School One Planet 139


(Regenerator Magazine)

2050’ Vision Book Launch 143


(County Times)

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Useful Resources 145

Biographies 148
One School One Planet

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Foreword:
Participating in Change
Steven Jones and Jack Hunter

The crisis deepens – U.S. author J.H. Kunstler calls it ‘the


long emergency,’ for that is surely what it is. Climate change,
accelerating resource depletion and mass species extinctions
underpin what we are experiencing as economic collapse. In
reality, however, it is an ecological collapse. A certain kind of
short-sightedness seems to have paralyzed humanity from
grasping the obvious nettle - we need new cultural,
economic and philosophical paradigms that embrace the
reality of the crisis facing our planet and ecology, and we
need them fast! As one of the Challenger astronauts put it:

“We need to realise we are a single species,


sharing the same ecosystem and that we have a
common destiny.”

The One School One Planet project has been active since
September 2016. It is no coincidence that our three year
project comes to an end in 2019, and that the Paris Climate
Agreement comes into force in 2020. Neither is it a
coincidence that at the time of putting this small book
together thousands of young people across the world are
waking up to the threats posed to our planet, and are calling
for immediate action from those in power. Big changes are

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One School One Planet
afoot, and these are what we have been working to prepare
our community for.
Since 2016 we have been working closely with Llanfyllin
High School and community on habitat restoration, carbon
sequestration, community building and promoting ecological
awareness. We have been offering practical responses to the
challenges of our changing climate. In addition to this, we
have been developing a permaculture programme tailored
for use in Secondary Schools to communicate the importance
of long-range ecological thinking to the next generation.
What we are really talking about is a paradigm shift in
conceptualising our relationship with the planet that
supports our existence.
The outputs from our work with students at Llanfyllin
High School have been incredible, and the work we have
completed with them over the first year and a half of the
project is documented in One School One Planet Vol. 1:
Climate. Education Innovation (2018). This volume focusses on
the work we have done in the last year and a half. It is our
hope that through presenting the work in this way we can
encourage other schools and communities to take seriously
the issues that are currently facing us, and to develop ethical
and regenerative community-led responses to them.

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Part 1:

Change.
Opportunities.
Connections.

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Image taken from the first One School One Planet flyer, released in
2017. It sees the necessary reduction of CO2 levels as an opportunity
for creative thinking.
1.

Change is Opportunity

Steven Jones

Where are the jobs going to come from for the next
generation? It is a fair question to ask in a world of zero
hours contracts, rising prices, accelerating climate change
and wall to wall debt. If I was leaving school right now I
really don't think I would know what to do, or in which
direction to head. Maybe this is a wider conversation we
need to be having – how can we as parents, employers,
employees, and as a community, better prepare for the many
changes of our day? This is the area the One School One Planet
project has been exploring since it officially commenced in
2016.
In the US right now there is a growing movement of
highly educated, ex-urban, first-time farmers who are
capitalizing on booming consumer demand for local and
organic foods. This phenomenon, experts say, could have a
broad impact on the food system. In fact, for the first time in
a century, the number of farmers under 35 is actually
growing! What could this mean?
There are many factors at play. One is the increasing
rejection of the industrial food system, not just by consumers
but by economics and demographics. The underlying trend
might give an insight into what the future could be like, and
where new opportunities may lie.
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One School One Planet
What we have found from our collective research boils
down to this: we have no chance of being sustainable; the
sustainability vision is just as much a myth as the idea that
climate change doesn't mean the end of the consumer
economy. The throw-away, oil powered, plastic wrapped
economy is never going to sustain us, or the planet, and
we're never going to be able to create a wind powered
biodegradable alternative to it.
The reality is that the planet is so badly damaged that we
will have to actively fix it. We will have to physically pick the
plastic out of the oceans if we want our ecosystems to
survive and recover. It won't be market forces that restore the
forests and streams and regenerate biodiversity. It will be a
renewed and sustained period of human innovation that finds
new and better ways to meet human needs. The race is on to
create a circular, waste-free and super efficient economy that
is actively good for the environment, wildlife and
biodiversity. We have everything to gain and nothing to lose!
We are calling this the 'regenerative economy' and this is
where we believe all the significant new opportunities will
lie.
Building the social and physical infrastructure for this step
change will keep us all busy for the next thirty years. There
will be no unemployment, it will be all hands to the pumps!
The economic collapse we are feeling is underpinned by a
very real ecological collapse. From renewable energy to
localisation of services and more, the scope for re-invention
is almost unlimited.
The generation of children leaving school today will be
entering a changed world, wholly different from the one we
grew up in. This is the beginning of something new and it
could be really exciting to be a part of. The One School One
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Permaculture, Education and Cultural Change
Planet project has been working to envisage what this new
world might look like, and how we can get there.

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Site of the Cae Bodfach Community Garden in Llanfyllin.
2.

Llanfyllin International
Steven Jones

One School One Planet is a project with a global vision.


Climate change is a global phenomenon, and our central
theme is that the mainstream school curriculum needs to
change to reflect this reality. We are failing to prepare pupils
for what is coming. If the Paris Climate Agreement is
anything to go by (it turns out to be the very least we have to
do), then everything must change rapidly in light of the
unanimous scientific consensus that we are indeed entering a
climate emergency.
Llanfyllin High School is our key partner in working out
how we might go about introducing the kind of educational
shift that we need. Another important link in Llanfyllin is
Dolen Ffermio, a local charity of twenty years standing, who
had already established a relationship with the High School
some years ago, well before I was involved with them. They
have been sending student groups and teachers from
Llanfyllin out to Uganda to enable them to gain a global
perspective and to develop themselves personally.
As part of the One School One Planet vision we paved the
way for Nina Duckers (20) and Grace Maycock (26), both of
whom are former Llanfyllin High School students, to move
out to Uganda where they were embedded in Sabina School,
Rakai as permaculture partners. Ambassadors from one bio-
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One School One Planet
region to another. They were supported by a Ugandan
permaculture network organisation – the Permaculture
Research Institute of Uganda (PRI) – and a Ugandan training
partnership called Broadfield Enterprises. Grace and Nina
were latterly joined by Angharad Rees (35), another past
Llanfyllin High School student, who was installed at Sabina
School to lead on horticulture projects, and to link their work
to the curricular activities of the school. While working on all
of this Nina also served as our social media co-ordinator, and
was given a brief to capture as much of what happened
while they were there in photographs and videos.
In May 2018 we sent out a team of engineers, from
Machynlleth and Llanfyllin, Steve Jagger, Dan Grove and
Richard Stephenson, who also based themselves at Sabina
School. While at the school they designed a series of practical
activities related to permaculture, carbon reduction and
climate resilience. They made beehives, composting toilets,
charcoal briquettes from market waste, water filters and
more. This was all done voluntarily and in such a way as to
complement and reinforce the horticultural work.
At the end of May, and into June, I came out to the school
to see how the work was progressing, and to run some
educational activities with the students. This was invaluable
time for the development of permaculture teaching
resources, which could be put to use back in Wales. Later in
June I was invited by the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC)
to travel to Northern Uganda to put together a training
programme for refugees. Angharad Rees, Grace Maycock
and a team of Ugandans supported us to replicate the work
of Dan, Steve and Richard with the refugees. The training up
of Ugandan permaculture teachers was supported by the
educational work myself, Jack and Nina had created in both
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Permaculture, Education and Cultural Change
Wales and Uganda. From this initial burst of activity we have
gone on to win a six month contract to carry on with this
work until December 2018.
The groundwork is being delivered by our African
partners, and I have agreed to oversee this to make sure it
goes ahead as planned. In essence we are training a Ugandan
team to deliver the content created by the One School One
Planet project.
It is our hope in writing this that we have illustrated how
Sector39's various projects link together, how we are
connecting our work with the staff and students of Llanfyllin
High School, as well as the wider Llanfyllin community, to
global climate responses, and how we are developing
curricular content in both Wales and Uganda that reflects
and communicates this work.

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One School One Planet

Community Conversation Podcast recording session at


The Cross Keys in Llanfyllin, December 2018.

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3.

Conversations on the Fertile Edges of Permaculture,


Ecology and Education
Steven Jones

I have long believed in the power of community radio, but


with the way the airwaves are rationed here in the UK it has
always been close to impossible to send out your own
broadcasts, until now of course. Now we are flooded by
commentary recorded in attics, bedrooms and who knows
where, as the digital tools and broadcast means become
available to everyone. But what should we be talking about?
Is it really worth the bother?
One School One Planet feels strongly about this matter -
there is a huge amount we should be talking about, and with
some urgency as well! We have set up a semi-regular podcast
to explore these themes, and have been carrying out live
public discussions at The Cross Keys in Llanfyllin, as well as
recorded interviews with expert commentators. Chapters 6,
7, 14 and 15 in this volume are transcriptions of some of
these interviews.
The climate change targets we have signed up to in the
Paris Agreement call for us to halve our emissions
immediately, and then to prepare for much more stringent
cuts in the following two decades. We face an ecological
catastrophe - insect populations reduced by 75%, half of all
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One School One Planet
wildlife lost since the 1970s, massive deforestation on a
global scale. We should be talking about this!
There seems to be a global power play going on for access
to the world's remaining oil reserves, but the only question
on anyone's lips ought to be how can we get off oil and beat
our fossil fuel addiction as quickly as possible? How do we
prepare for the seismic changes heading our way? Learning
how to reduce our emissions and investing in twenty-first
century technologies is how we can do our part for
mitigation – to stop making it worse – but we really ought to
be working on ways to make our lives, our landscape and
our livelihoods much more resilient to the changing world.
These were questions we recently put to a permaculture
study group at Chester Cathedral, and they uncovered some
amazing and unexpected opportunities in and around the
Cathedral. The Cathedral itself is surrounded by a host of
large Georgian town houses, many in need of repair, and
several have been empty for years. Financial constraints, as
well as planning restrictions, have held back any
development or conventional renovation. For the buildings
to be gentrified and sold as expensive housing to the rich
would seem to be such a shame compared to what could
happen in these spaces, and we hope to be able to show the
way by example!
In the same way the Workhouse in Llanfyllin has been
reclaimed as a space for community, for new businesses to
develop, for arts and creativity, so too could some of these
tired old houses in Chester, that really don't meet modern
needs. Three hundred thousand people, so we are told, come
to visit the cathedral every year, not as a living space at the
heart of its community, but as a dead artifact of a bygone age,
the same way we might view something like Harlech castle.
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Permaculture, Education and Cultural Change
My intention is not to tread on anyone's toes here. I
appreciate that there are lots of complex issues surrounding
how such assets get managed, but to my simple mind people
are experiencing real need, and something needs to be done.
There is hunger and homelessness and a staggering lack of
security in the zero-hours contract world of work. These
shortfalls of our system can be addressed by community
action, active involvement and inclusion, and a re-purposing
of some of our older buildings as spaces where new life –
new communities – can grow.

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Poster for Community Conversation Podcast recording
sessions at The Cross Keys.
4.

Community Conversations

One of the main goals of setting up our regular podcast


recording sessions at The Cross Keys was to facilitate and
document community conversations around themes and
issues that will become central to all of our lives in the years
to come. The following points were put together during an
activity at one of these community conversations. The group,
consisting of a diverse cross-section of the Llanfyllin
community, was split into five teams to discuss Education,
Farming, Food, Land and Transport. Here are some of the
ideas they came up with:

Education

✦ Travel will become difficult/expensive, so there will


need to be more emphasis on home-based education,
online learning and small group community
education.
✦ New skills will become more important than the
‘Three Rs’; growing food, looking after soil,
composting, storing food and water, organic
gardening, low impact living, craftwork skills,
animal husbandry, orchard maintenance, building
with local materials.
✦ Children can also educate their parents - it is their
future!

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One School One Planet
✦ The current education system is set up to produce
workers for a job market that will no longer exist.
✦ Head Teachers should challenge the Government.
✦ Permaculture should be included in the school
curriculum.
✦ Schools should be talking about the climate
emergency.

Farming

✦ Intensive farming and its methods have a short life


span.
✦ There will be a profound shift in carbon storage. We
need to take carbon out of the air and put it back into
the soil.
✦ There are massive pressures from agricultural
funding changes.
✦ There should be incentives for farmers to transform
dysfunctional land into areas for environmental re-
development.
✦ Establish farmers’ co-operatives.
✦ Explore alternative approaches to agriculture, e.g.
hydroponics, agroforestry, permaculture, and carry
out feasibility studies.
✦ Improve support for farmers and acknowledgement
of their resources. Help with transitioning to more
sustainable practice.

Food

✦ More self-sufficiency and local community growing


projects.
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Permaculture, Education and Cultural Change
✦ Growing food is complicated and requires expert co-
ordination.
✦ There should be an emphasis in education on
learning to grow and cook food. More emphasis on
how to cook without meat.
✦ Community vegetable/food/seeds/cuttings surplus
sharing.
✦ Schools as food producers.
✦ Community cooking.

Land

✦ Church land.
✦ D e v e l o p i n g g re e n s p a c e s i n t o p ro d u c t i v e
ecosystems.
✦ Build connections - gardening for people.
✦ Nominate and train suitable people to petition for
access to land from local land owners.

Transport

✦ Community taxi service - pre-booked time slots.


✦ Car share page.
✦ Improve bus services.
✦ Greater awareness of what is already going on, e.g.
Charity support schemes for volunteers to help
people go shopping or attend appointments.
✦ Car pool, or Car Clubs.
✦ Communities invest in electric cars/electric bicycle
bus for school children.

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One School One Planet
From these responses alone it is clear to see just how fruitful
such community conversations can be. Even if just one of the
many ideas put forward at this meeting was developed to
fruition it would be a step towards a more resilient
community. Once the idea has formed, the next step is to
make it a reality.

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Steve and Jack with Ellie, a Welsh Baccalaureate
student from Llanfyllin High School, who won our logo
design competition. Her prize was the planting of a fruit
tree guild at the High School.

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Students from Llanfyllin High School protecting delicate
saplings at Cae Bodfach Community Garden.
5.

Can We Change Fast Enough?


Steven Jones

Greta Thunberg is on strike! She refuses to go to school until


she sees meaningful, long term, action in place to avert the
climate disaster that is unfolding around us. At the age of
just sixteen she has already started a global response and
inspired millions of people, and she is only just getting
started!

“What is the point of school if we fail to heed the


lessons being taught?”
- Greta Thunberg

Her simple logic is hard to fault. We know everything we


need to know about the climate crisis and what we need to
do to solve it, so why are we not doing it? Greta is in
Sweden, but our UK Government is equally guilty of
inaction, low ambition and downright mismanagement, by
continuing to invest in and subsidise fossil fuel extraction.
Dr. Julia Steinberger of Climate Action explains:

✦ The current UK policies are nowhere near the level


of ambition required to keep climate breakdown
below levels consistent with a livable planet,
especially when international transport and trade are
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One School One Planet
taken into account. The government cut support for
renewable energy and electric cars.

✦ We should be shutting down all existing fossil fuel


and (imported) biomass fired plants, never mind
pushing forward fracking at immense environmental
and economic cost.

✦ Do proposals of car-free cities, no more internal


combustion engine cars, well insulated buildings, no
more air travel, plant based diets and low/no
growth economies seem MORE extreme than the
likelihood of human extinction?

Hopefully I will be dead by then...

We all thought the climate catastrophe was a way off, a piece


of science fiction, and at least a hundred years in the future!
Surely we will fix it by then, or invent a machine to extract
CO2 from the atmosphere?
Well, there is a solar powered machine that can extract
CO2 from the atmosphere at no cost – it's called a tree! We
simply need to re-learn how to partner with nature to solve
this problem, and there is so much to learn.
There are no easy answers other than a step change in the
way we think, plan and work. Economic growth as a goal is
over - the oil age is over, only organic farming systems are
going to work in the long term. We need more localised
economies, and there must be no more commuting to a
distant office. Many changes, surprises and new
opportunities await us around the corner.

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Permaculture, Education and Cultural Change
As for the climate catastrophe being a way off, well it is
already here. Fires have been burning in Calfornia, North
Carolina and Puerto Rico, and Miami is going under water.
Bird and fish migrations are changing. Whole weather
systems are shifting. We must not forget that whatever we do
now, things will continue to get worse for at least another
thirty years owing to the time lag between today's emissions
and their full impact on the global climate.
Permaculture design is a system created to enable us to re-
tune ourselves back into the pulse of our living planet. It is
based on twelve key principles, which, like the hours of the
clock, have no beginning or end, but represent an on-going
cycle. Principle Twelve tells us that change is inevitable and
that change always brings new opportunities - 'Don't see
things as they are, but as they will be.'
Do you stand with Greta Thunberg? Can you see how
things can be - how we could avert the worst of the crisis?
Help us visualise hope for a future free from the destruction
and devastation of the post-war economic model, which has
surely run its destructive course. It's time for new ideas!

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Building the soil and planting a fruit tree guild with
students at Llanfyllin High School.
6.

The Children In Permaculture Project:


An Interview with Lusi Alderslowe
Lusi Alderslowe is an international permaculture practitioner,
teacher and diploma tutor. She has students and apprentices
throughout Europe. She is co-author of Earth Care, People Care and
Fair Share in Education: The Children in Permaculture Manual. Find
out more about her work at https://lusialderslowe.wordpress.com

***
Jack: This week we're joined by Lusi Alderslowe, who co-
ordinates the Permaculture Association's Children in
Permaculture project. We are going to talk a little bit about the
project, and hopefully get the inside story on what's been
going on there. I think the best way for us to start would be
for you to give us a little of your background story, and how
you came to be involved in the children in permaculture
project.

Lusi: Yeah, thanks for inviting me onto the show Jack, it's
really exciting! I first heard about permaculture back in 2000
when I had just come back from traveling in Africa. I studied
a Masters in Human Ecology and then I did my
Permaculture Design Certificate in 2005, with my little baby
son in arms. He was a couple of months old when I started,
so for me permaculture started with children! I did my
Permaculture Diploma over a few years after my design
course, and then I started teaching permaculture. One of my
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big permaculture designs, for my diploma, was something
called Nurture in Nature, which is an outdoor playgroup in
Glasgow. I lived in the city, an inner city location, and I really
wanted to spend time in nature and really focus on the
'Observe and Interact' aspect of the importance for children
to spend time in nature. So, we spent two days a week in
different parks around Glasgow. I think that was the
foundation for me doing permaculture with children. It
included a lot of time on my allotment as well. Nurture in
Nature was a group that I ran for about seven years, one or
two days a week. We did all sorts of nature connection
activities. The children were from age zero to seven,
approximately, and parents were there with their children as
well. We did gardening, but also just playing in trees,
pretending you're something else, and so on – the thousand
things you can do with a stick! Children, humans, are
naturally in nature. We are embedded in, and part of, nature,
so all of the benefits of nature connection are the same for
adults and children, but it's so important for you to have it
from an early age. So, just becoming familiar with what you
can eat and what you can't eat in the woods, you know,
brambles, nettles, foraging in inner city parks. That
connection to nature – you can't beat it! In terms of physical
connection – you're putting it inside your body, so you're
getting a real sense of connection.

Jack: That's really interesting. Thinking in terms of the wider


context of education, do you think it's important to instill
these ideas at an early age?

Lusi: Some children can be afraid of things, maybe getting


their hands dirty, and the sooner they can get over that the
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Permaculture, Education and Cultural Change
better. I mean, actually touching soil is really good for you –
it's full of bacteria that have been shown to make you happy,
and so it's really important for physical and mental health.

Jack: Do you think getting hands on with nature also helps to


develop cognitive abilities?

Lusi: In order to engage the whole child you have to engage


head, heart, hands and all the senses, and that's really
important cognitively. You know, different children will
engage in different ways. Certainly there are some children
who will only engage cognitively if they are able to use their
hands and their whole body as well.

Jack: It's really interesting stuff. With our project we have


been working with slightly older students. So we're usually
working with year 10 students at our local High School, and
they already have very well developed ideas about their
place in the world. We are already coming across
preconceptions that are holding us back from getting our
message across. I wonder whether you could talk a little
about that, about the differences working with older and
younger children?

Lusi: So, as I say, I've worked with children from age zero to
twelve and, yeah, it does vary, and where you are working
also has an impact. I was working in an area of multiple
deprivation in Glasgow, and I took the children to the woods
and asked them what they could see, and they just point out
the washing machines. They're very innocent, about three to
four years old, picking up on the litter that I hadn't even
noticed. I was just focusing on the trees. It's just getting those
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One School One Planet
little sparks from that early age, so they can learn that it's OK
and safe to go to the woods. The sooner they learn that the
easier it is. I have also worked with teenagers a few times,
you know from the High School, and was amazed when one
lad, maybe fourteen or fifteen, was like “Och, I'm not going
there across the grass, because my Dad'll kill me if I get my
shoes muddy!,” you know.

Jack: Yeah!

Lusi: It was just such a surprise to me, because it wasn't


particularly muddy! But it was just that lack of connection
and normalisation of getting muddy. I've got so many
pictures of children who are really muddy, and they love it –
girls and boys alike. They have a great time, and there's
something inside of them that will cherish those moments. It
touches them on a deeper level. I think when you're an adult
you can't really remember so much of what you learned as a
child. You know, maybe your times tables, but I've looked
back over my school project work and I was like “Wow, did I
ever know that?” You know, I was seven years old and I'd
written this project. I had no idea that I'd ever known that.
Whereas, what really remains is memories and how you feel.
So I think the more you can have joyful memories of playing
in nature the more that you'll remember that. And that'll be
with you all of your life.

Jack: It would be useful now if we you could tell us about


the Children in Permaculture project itself. It's a project that
you're working on with the Permaculture Association, but it's
also international isn't it?

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Permaculture, Education and Cultural Change
Lusi: That's right, yeah. It's an international project. I first
heard about it when two people got in touch. They were just
putting a shout-out, but lots of people channeled it to me,
saying “You must get involved to try to get people involved
in this European project.” Through a selection process we
found seven partner organisations. So, as you said, one is the
Permaculture Association in Britain. Another is Gatehouse
School (which is a small rural school where I live in Dumfries
and Galloway in Scotland), and there are other partners like
Romanian Transition, Paradiso Ritrovato in Italy, and
Kasiopea in the Czech Republic, as well as a Neo-Humanist
organisation that runs a kindergarten and an after school
project in Romania. So it's quite a diverse group.

Jack: Yeah, impressive.

Lusi: We've done a number of things. We've done written


works, which have included a survey of what resources are
out there already. Because there are already loads of
resources and session plans out there that relate to
permaculture in the different areas. We have written a
curriculum to explore the full scope of permaculture with
children from ages three to seven and seven to twelve to
explore the different themes, topics and sub-topics that
would be useful for people to think about and explore with
children. We've also written a few case studies. There are
seven or eight case studies, which are all very different.
There's a case study of myself as a parent – about how you
can do ‘permaculture parenting,’ as well as examples from
schools and kindergartens in different parts of Europe.
There's a great project in Slovenia (and Slovenia's
Permaculture Association is another of our partners), and
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One School One Planet
they have been engaging with schools there. We went there
for a training course, and Caroline Nuttal and Janet
Millington came over from Australia to help us, who have
written a wonderful book called Outdoor Classrooms. So we
all went to Slovenia and we were learning in a school, which
was great. After that, everybody came here to Scotland for
the second part of that training course – of two five day
courses that we did.

Jack: Amazing.

Lusi: Yeah. We also have other written materials, like the


manual, which we are in the process of writing at the
moment. It's nearly finished!

Jack: That's something I wanted to ask you about. What is


the manual? Who is it aimed at? What is its target audience?
What angle is it taking – is it like a textbook, or is it more of a
guidebook for teachers?

Lusi: Yeah, it's like a guidebook for teachers. It has a lot in it,
it's really impressive! We started by exploring the
introduction of the discourse, if you like. We introduce the
permaculture principles and how they would relate to the
pedagogy, or how you are with children. A lot of what
children observe and emulate is what you are like when you are
with them, as much as what you're actually trying to teach
them cognitively. I think that's something that we really have
to remember as educators. When I say educators I mean
everyone – like parents, school teachers, nursery teachers,
maybe forest school leaders. So you know, formal and
informal education. The book is aimed at all of those
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Permaculture, Education and Cultural Change
different people, but it's primarily aimed at adults. It's also
got hundreds of inspirations for activities that are mostly one
sentence in length, but sometimes we couldn't condense it.
They consist of descriptions and inspirations that can be
used as springboards for lessons or activities. Sometimes you
just need a quick sentence and you're like “Oh, great idea! I'll
go and explore that!” Then you can explore it further with
the children and do child-led and child-centred education,
which enables the children to take the lead. You know, say
we're going to look at soil, and then you have a plan and the
kids take it in a completely different direction, but it works
out because they're really learning at their own level. It's a
case of them formulating knowledge, rather than us
preaching knowledge. It's a very different way of learning,
and it's really effective at getting the eyes, hands, heart and
head engaged.

Jack: Great! Just to wrap this short conversation, I wonder


whether you could talk a little about the possible role of
permaculture in the mainstream curriculum. I'm aware that
in Scotland you have a different curriculum to ours in Wales,
and also to England, so perhaps you could talk about your
experience of trying to influence the Scottish curriculum to
take on board permaculture ideas?

Lusi: Interestingly, I believe that with the Curriculum for


Excellence, which is what we call our curriculum in Scotland,
at least one of the people involved in it was interested in
permaculture, and had an understanding of permaculture
principles. So, we were off to a good start there.

Jack: Yeah!
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One School One Planet

Lusi: There's a lot of wanting people to do “joined up


thinking,” outdoor learning, and it's all measured through
experiences and outcomes, and there's a lot in there about
growing food, for example. I think at the top level we do
have support for doing permaculture in schools, and at the
bottom level parents and children feel that they get a huge
amount out of doing permaculture and permacultural
approaches to education, like forest schools. For me, forest
schools are part of permaculture. Sometimes I think that the
hardest thing is in the training of teachers. Sometimes they
are overwhelmed with all of the things they are expected to
do at the same time, and I think that supporting teachers is
really how we can best benefit larger numbers. Most teachers
actually enjoy being outdoors and would love to be out with
their students more often, but it's a struggle. So we can help
them to get over whatever their challenge is.

Jack: That's excellent.

Lusi: Yeah, it runs right through the curriculum. It's about


joined up thinking, the project approach. It's about “getting it
right for every child,” which is another saying used a lot in
Scotland, and that's really what permaculture is.

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Permaculture, Education and Cultural Change

7.

Land Based Studies and the Future of Farming:


An Interview with Emyr Jones
Emyr Jones is the Land-Based studies tutor at Llanfyllin High
School. He has been regularly bringing his students to Cae
Bodfach Community Garden for practical workshops.

***

Jack: How long have you been bringing students down to


Cae Bodfach?

Emyr: Well, we've been here over four or five years now. We
started with the planting of the trees and then we put fruit
tree guilds in, which is very useful on the course we do
because we have to do habitat sustainability and habitat
management and so on, so it fits ideally into what we do.
Most of these students are agriculture based, but, you know,
as the agricultural industry is moving on there's more and
more emphasis on habitat management and maintenance,
and things like that.

Jack: That's the way it's got to go really isn't it?

Emyr: Yes, it is.

Jack: Especially if we're going to meet the targets of the Paris


Climate Agreement.

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One School One Planet
Emyr: Yeah, absolutely. So, you know, payments will be there
for planting new trees and looking after the hedges and
everything else.

Jack: So farmers will become more like wardens of the land.

Emyr: Absolutely. Agriculture incomes have taken a real


turn. You know, they've been heading south over a number
of years now. I think there was a government paper out the
other day that said we could lose 25% of agriculture units
within the next two or three years, I think. Something like
that. So, if people are to remain out in the countryside we
will have to look at these alternative income streams. You
know, it's really on the ball with what we're doing here on
this course.

Jack: Yeah. Obviously, we are really lucky to be here in the


wonderful countryside, but I mean, in general, how often do
kids actually get out into the field to do things like this?

Emyr: Well, I try to take them out as often as I can. We have a


double lesson every week, so I'm usually out in reasonable
weather – we do habitat work here, we do some estate
maintenance, we do some river work with them, we do
planting trees out on farms, so I try to take them out as much
as I can, you know, because it is important that they have this
aspect. Because a lot of these kids wouldn't spend a lot of
time outside either, you know out on farms and everything.

Jack: That's it. It seems strange that we live in the


countryside, and yet it's difficult to get people out into the
countryside.
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Permaculture, Education and Cultural Change

Emyr: Well, unfortunately it's all to do with the school


curriculum as well. We squeeze in as much as we can. We
have to do the numeracy and the literacy, and you know, a
hundred other things as well. It's hard to get the time to do
possibly even more important stuff that needs to be done.

Jack: One of the things we are trying to do with this project is


that we are writing a permaculture textbook, but our
approach is cross-disciplinary. So the idea is that you could
have a textbook that you could use across the whole school –
you could use it in English, Maths, Science, Geography...

Emyr: All the way across the curriculum really...

Jack: …yeah. Do you think something like that would be


useful?

Emyr: That would be great, yeah, because there's increasing


emphasis in schools on that now. We have to integrate
everything together. Then there's also the new curriculum
coming out in 2022, I think, or something like that, where
everything has to be inter-linked, if you like. So, it'll be ideal
if you can get this into there by then.

Jack: That'd be amazing!

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One School One Planet

Original plans for Cae Bodfach Community Garden.

38

Volunteers during the first round of planting.


8.

Cae Bodfach:
Creating a Community Food Forest for Llanfyllin
Steven Jones

Llanfyllin is a typical Welsh market town in many ways, it is


home to the regional High School with over a thousand
students and is therefore widely known in the area, yet it
faces many challenges as a community as well as a shrinking
resource base with which to address them.
Since the Spar supermarket up-scaled its operations last
year we have seen the Bank, Corner shop and Bakery close,
along with one of the pubs previously, and suddenly the
High Street is looking distinctly quiet.
You could almost be forgiven for thinking the global
climate catastrophe wasn’t happening here as, despite the
economic challenges, life carries on pretty much as normal.
We are a community based on farming, an important
industry also being shaped by market forces forcing farms to
become ever more capital intensive and to have an increasing
impact on the landscape.
Yet we know from Peak Oil theory that the oil industry,
which underpins agriculture, is rapidly becoming more
precarious, and with our Paris Climate Accord commitments
we have a double incentive to be exploring pathways to a
rapid de-carbonisation of our economy. Food and transport
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One School One Planet
are the area most exposed to the climate and energy threat so
these seem like a good place to begin our own local resilience
plan.
To that effect we started working with the High School’s
Land Based studies GCSE department two years ago,
establishing a community food and withy forest using
heritage varieties of fruit trees and fast growing viminalis
super willow. We have plans underway to greatly enlarge
this resource and to work with many more community
partners to expand the scope of the work.
In 2016, adding momentum to work done in previous
years, we commenced a three year transition project, funded
by the EU, to work with the school to use permaculture
design to create a community vision for transition to a
Carbon negative economy within the time frame advised by
the Paris Accord. One School One Planet is our vehicle for
community led change in Llanfyllin.
We have taken the position that the climate debate is over,
with 195 countries having committed to keep emissions well
under 2 degrees our focus is now on how we are going to
achieve this ambitious yet vital target.
The intention is for the school and the emerging
generation to lead the way, to allow those most affected by
these monumental changes to set some of the goals
themselves, and to engage directly with the processes
required to make the change. In creating the Cae Bodfach
Community Garden it is our hope that we have provided the
school with an invaluable tool for education, community
engagement and climate change mitigation.

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9.

Outdoor Classrooms, Community Gardening


and Permaculture
Angharad Rees and Jack Hunter

The following chapter consists of short reflections on


ecology, community, volunteering and school work at Cae
Bodfach Community Garden. They are presented here to
give insights into some of the approaches we have taken to
encourage engagement with the garden as a community and
educational resource that simultaneously enhances
biodiversity and captures and stores carbon. These diary
entries also go some way towards demonstrating how we
have sought to make connections between our various
projects and activity sessions with students from Llanfyllin
High School. For more on the origins of the Community
Garden, see One School One Planet (Vol. 1).

New Year
(Jan 2018)

We were down at Cae Bodfach Community Orchard this


morning thinking about the next stage of its development.
Steve and Jack were joined by Dewi Morris, from the Severn
Rivers Trust, John Waddington, a recent Sector39 graduate,
and Grace Maycock, who has been awarded funding to add a
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One School One Planet
medicinal herb garden to the orchard. We hope to get
members of the community and pupils from the school
involved with the planting of the herb garden, which we are
calling ‘Cae Ysbyty’ (‘Hospital Field’). Using maps and
designs drawn up by participants on a Permaculture Design
Course held in Llanrhaeadr in the Summer of 2017, we
worked out where the best place to plant the herb garden
would be. Then we went down to the site to map out the
location using pieces of willow and some string. It is going to
be a wonderful addition to the food forest.

Steve Jones, John Waddington, Grace Maycock and


Dewi Morris inspect plans for Cae Ysbyty.

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Permaculture, Education and Cultural Change

Plotting out the site.


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One School One Planet

Original concept drawings for50


Cae Ysbyty medicinal herb garden.
Permaculture, Education and Cultural Change

Building a Living Willow Dome


(March 2018)

On Friday 9th March we were down at Cae Bodfach


Community Garden building a living willow dome with
assistance from The Willow Bank, living willow specialists
since 1985. The Dome is adjacent to what will soon become
the medicinal herb garden, which we started mapping out on
the site a couple of months ago. Activities such as these really
get to the heart of what permaculture is about – bringing
communities together, while also enhancing biodiversity,
building community spaces, sequestrating carbon, learning
new skills, developing community resources, and so on.

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One School One Planet

52structure.
Erecting the
Permaculture, Education and Cultural Change

Strengthening the dome.


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One School One Planet

Celebrating after a busy day in the community garden.


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Permaculture, Education and Cultural Change
Building a Dead Hedge Enclosure
(March 2018)

We had a great day today down at Cae Bodfach working


with Year 10 Land Based Studies students from Llanfyllin
High School. We were also joined by Dewi Morris of the
Severn Rivers Trust and Tom the Apple Man for a day of
planting trees, orchard tending, willow harvesting and hedge
building. We planted several varieties of apple tree to expand
the orchard, and added a couple of black elder trees and a

juniper bush. Students harvested lots of willow from the site


to use in the construction of a dead hedge around the
medicinal herb garden. The hedge will create a wonderful
habitat for all manner of creatures, enhancing biodiversity
while also providing much needed shelter for the medicinal
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One School One Planet
herbs that will soon be growing inside it. We will be
returning to Cae Bodfach in the coming weeks, and will be
starting to plant the herbs for the herb garden next week.

Working with Land Based Studies students to gather


materials for the dead hedge.

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Permaculture, Education and Cultural Change
Mulching, Planting Herbs and Apple Trees
(April 2018)

The next phase of activities at Cae Bodfach included


mulching around the herb garden and living willow dome
with woodchip donated by a local tree surgeon. This really
brought the garden together.

We then filled the herb garden with a wide variety of native


medicinal and dye plants. The idea for the garden is that it
can serve as a nursery for practical plants that were once
common in our fields and meadows. These will then
overspill into the surrounding landscape.

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One School One Planet

Jack planting woad in the medicinal herb and dye plant garden.

Students planting apple58


trees with Tom the Apple Man.
Permaculture, Education and Cultural Change
While all of this was going on, Year 10 students from
Llanfyllin High School were working alongside Tom Adams,
a local orchard specialist, and Dewi Morris to extend the
food forest with new trees. An excellent opportunity to learn
new skills and contribute to the community garden.

Creating Signage
(July 2018)

Following a brief hiatus on activity, owing to the school’s


busy exam season, we returned to Cae Bodfach in July, just
before the summer holidays, with a select group of the Welsh
Baccalaureate students we had worked with in 2017 (see Vol.
1). We undertook two key activities. The first was to design
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One School One Planet
and produce signage for the community garden, to explain it
to the public, and the second activity was to plant a fruit tree
guild right in the middle of Llanfyllin High School campus,
as a direct link between the school and the community
garden.

Welsh Baccalaureate students with the signage they designed.


We revived a dry old raised flower bed in a courtyard at the
school and mulched it over with rotted down wood bark
from the woodlands surrounding the school. We managed to
find a variety of apple called ‘Draig Goch’ (Red Dragon),
which was particularly well suited to the task, as the red
dragon is the emblem of the High School. This was
underplanted with gooseberry, solomon’s seal, welsh onions
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Permaculture, Education and Cultural Change
and comfrey, as a model of community co-operation through
guilds of plants. It also serves to remind the students at the
school that they are connected through natural systems and
processes (as well as the work they have put in) to the
community garden at Cae Bodfach, just down the road from
the school (which itself is connected to the global system).

Planting a fruit tree guild.

Foraged Foods
(September 2018)

This week at the community garden there has been much


discussion in the volunteer group about how our parents and
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One School One Planet
grandparents commonly used foraged foods for culinary
purposes, such as the mustardy flavours of jack of the hedge
in salads and a variety of hedgerow wines and meads, like
damson wine. An interesting point brought up was how
foraged foods in the past were used as an important part of a
daily diet. It is important that this valuable plant knowledge

continues to be passed down through the generations.


Foraging is a fun way to get outside and enjoy the local
landscape and many still collect wild plants to use in their
everyday lives.
One of the rose hips picked and valued for their medicinal
use comes from the native Dog Rose (Rosa canina) which we
have growing abundantly at Cae Bodfach.

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Permaculture, Education and Cultural Change
Rose hips have many medicinal properties and health
benefits, most famously fresh rose hips contain high values
of vitamin C, making them a very good native and natural
source of vitamin C. Their benefits can be obtained in many
ways including oils, teas, syrups, ketchups and jellies.

As with any foraged food it is important to be able to


correctly identify them and understand how to use them
responsibly. With rose hips it is important to remember that
you cannot eat them raw and that they have little hairs inside
that can irritate the digestive tract, but these are easily
destroyed by cooking or drying the hips.

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One School One Planet
As the rose hips were so abundant at Cae Bodfach,
Stefanie and I decided we would gather some up and make a
fresh batch of Rose hip syrup.

Creating Connections
(September 2018)

Today we created mown


pathways to provide clear
access into and around the
orchard, these connect with
existing paths to create a more
cohesive park space and allow
for a meandering walk
through the orchard. This
helps visitors to fully engage
with and enjoy the seasonal
colours the orchard has to offer
during the autumn. It was
great to see volunteers from
Mencap enjoying the warm
sunshine and eagerly chipping
in with the mulching of the
fruit trees and hammering in
the stakes for the signs, created
by students from Llanfyllin
High School. We used wood-
chip donated by a local tree
surgeon to mulch around the
fruit trees to help suppress the
grasses.

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Permaculture, Education and Cultural Change

Students relaxing after putting up the signs.

Mulching around apple trees.

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One School One Planet
As the mulch gets broken
down by soil micro-organisms
it slowly changes the soil
composition from a grassland
soil, which is dominated by
bacteria to one dominated by
fungi, which is what a
woodland ecosystem prefers.
The fungi (known as
Mycelium) create a strong
interconnected network
underground and form
mutually beneficial relationships
with the trees and plants in the
woodland system. Mycelium
networks connect to the plant roots and increase the root
length and surface area making otherwise unobtainable
water and nutrients available to the plant, while the plants
convert sunlight into sugars (photosynthesise) and make
these sugars available to the mycelium, which cannot
photosynthesise. This exchange is known as a symbiotic
relationship. This special relationship helps strengthen and
create a more resilient ecosystem.

Natural Play:
Observe and Interact
(October 2018)

There has recently been a bit of a buzz about building a


willow archway to mark the riverside entrance to the
orchard. As there has been quite a lot of interest and
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Permaculture, Education and Cultural Change
enthusiasm to learn this fun and useful skill, and with such
positive feedback about the lovely willow dome (that was
put in by our friends at www.thewillowbank.com), we think
it would be a great idea to hold a living willow archway
demonstration to draw the community down into the
garden. Indeed, there is already a hedge-full of free resources
at Cae Bodfach that will be ready to use within weeks.
Having bumped into my childhood cub scout leader
Jackie at the orchard today (or as I remembered her ‘Akela,’
so called after the wolf pack leader from the Jungle Book), we
discussed the importance of natural play and of just
spending time in nature. Some of us shared our own early
memories of finding a deep connection with the natural
world through outside play, or through community groups
such as Guides and Cubs! (This is how I developed my own
love for the outside world).
In permaculture we say ‘Nature is our teacher.’ We can
learn a lot from simply observing how the world around us
works, and what better way to discover that than through
play? Studying nature's patterns in a snail shell or a
spiderweb, experiencing the natural cycles of the seasons,
seeing how a caterpillar metamorphoses into a butterfly, or
simply feeling the wind on your face, or smelling the deep
earthy scent of the woodland floor. Engaging in the natural
environment improves a whole range of skills and is
invaluable for physical, mental, personal and social
development. Watching a friend's young one run around and
around the herb garden, and in and out of the dome, really
reminds me that natural play can also inspire a strong sense
of guardianship, and a genuine and long lasting love for the
world around us.

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One School One Planet
Obtain a Yield
(October 2018)

In permaculture we like to say “every element in a design must


perform at least 3 functions.” To this end, everything we do at
the Community Garden should have multiple functions. We
have already had multi-functional yields from the willow
hedge that was planted in Cae Bodfach only three years ago:

1. The hedge marks a boundary and defines space


(visually and physically) between Cae Bodfach and
the wetland.
2. It serves as a wildlife corridor connecting the field to
the river.
3. It provides valuable wildlife habitat and an essential
early source of nectar for emerging native pollinators
and insects, such as our honey bee.
4. As a British native shrub, willow creates a sense of
place and provides seasonal interest.
5. It can be coppiced and used for firewood, or to build
structures, such as the willow dome and herb garden
built last year!

The list goes on and on. In keeping with this multi-


functionality, the Garden is also filled with native medicinal
and culinary herbs, dye plants and so on, and serves as an
excellent outdoor teaching resource for students from the
local High School and Primary School.

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Permaculture, Education and Cultural Change

Students harvesting willow and making fascines.

Willow Coppicing
(November 2018)

Willow should be coppiced in November. When the leaves


drop from the stem you know it’s time to cut, as the sap will
have stopped rising. Volunteers Ruth and Alex, along with
Llanfyllin High School students and members of the local
Mencap group, have all helped to coppice the willow this
year. Alex graded the best of the willow by height, width and
variety. This willow can be used for willow craft and to
create willow structures, such as the willow archway
demonstration we have planned for the orchard in the next
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One School One Planet
couple of weeks. We also worked with year 9 and 10 students
from Llanfyllin High School to coppice the willow. We used
some of the willow to make brash bundles called ‘facines,’
which will be used by the Sixth Form students on a project
with Dewi Morris, of the Severn Rivers Trust, to restore the
degraded areas of the Cain river bank.

Everything is Connected
(November 2018)

We had a very interesting day at the river with Dewi Morris,


Emyr Jones and the Llanfyllin High School Sixth Form today.
We learned how to make ‘soft river revetments’ using
bundles of brash, galvanized wire and sweet chestnut stakes.
This low-tech, low-cost solution to improving degraded and
eroding river banks has multiple benefits including
enhancing habitat for biodiversity.
The bundles of brash are laid along the eroding river bank
and secured into position using sweet chestnut stakes.
Galvanized wire is then tied from stake to stake over the
brash, this allows the brash to move a little with the flow of
the water, because if they were rigid they would simply be
washed away.
Nettles growing up from previous years brash
demonstrates the success of the soft revetment on the river
bank. The strong roots of the alder trees planted above the
bank help stabilize the soil.

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Permaculture, Education and Cultural Change

Installing soft river revetments with Land Based Studies students.


The force of the water is dispersed by the woven structure of
the brash, all the little holes slow the water down as it passes
through, therefore reducing the force of the flow against the
vulnerable river bank. These holes are also perfect habitat for
river wildlife such as insects, their larvae, and small fry (baby
fish).
Sediment carried in the water drops and is caught in the
holes in the brash, and this starts to rebuild the soil. Seeds of
riparian plants then sow themselves in the captured soil and,
as they grow, their roots help to further stabilize the river
bank.
Natural Resources Wales have reported that Nant Alan is
a prime Salmon and Trout breeding river, therefore, using

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biodiversity friendly and enhancing techniques such as this
ensures the health of the river and the wildlife within it.
As Salmon are a keystone species, they play a critical role
in maintaining the heath and structure of the river ecosystem
by supporting the life of many other living things. The effect
the salmon run has on the ecosystem is enormous as they
have a positive impact for plants, animals and humans in
both coastal and freshwater habitats.
Today’s work with the river and its inhabitants reminds
me that small events can have large, widespread
consequences, both positive or negative.
I am also strongly reminded of how important it is to
remember that ‘everything is connected’ and to consider what
our impact will be on the local and global earth community.

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10.

Permaculture in Schools Programme


Jack Hunter

One of the main outputs of the One School One Planet project
is the creation of a cross-curricular textbook that draws on
the principles of permaculture to promote ecoliteracy and
climate awareness in the secondary school context. Above all,
the aim of the textbook is to facilitate a new way of thinking
amongst the emerging generation and to encourage a re-
evaluation of their responsibilities as global citizens in a
changing world. To this end we are producing twelve core
units, each of which covers one of David Holmgren’s twelve
principles of permaculture, adapted to a range of different
subject areas in the mainstream curriculum.
To overcome the tension between permaculture’s cross
disciplinary nature and the compartmentalisation of the
mainstream secondary education curriculum (for example,
how the day is split into discrete lessons on separate subjects
with limited overlap), the textbook contains activities to
support deeper understanding of ecological systems and
processes from across the sciences, humanities and arts. The
idea is that the textbook will serve as a useful tool for both
students and teachers in demonstrating how the ecological
health of the Earth underpins everything that we do and take
for granted, regardless of the particular subject being
studied.
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One School One Planet
The textbook will be split into two parts, the first of which
deals with the first six principles of permaculture design:

1. Creatively Use and 4. Yields


Respond to Change

2. Observe and Interact 5. Limits and Feedback

3. Catch and Store Energy 6. Use and Value Natural


Resources

The first six units demonstrate how change is an inevitable


part of life to which we must creatively adapt. It emphasises
how solving problems requires observation of the world
around us. That the natural world functions through
catching and storing energy to produce an abundance of
yields. That the Earth itself is a self-regulating system that
operates through feedback loops and is subject to limits, and
that if we want to reverse the negative impact of human
activity on the global ecosystem we will have to change the
way we use and think about natural resources. These first six
principles provide the theoretical underpinnings for the
remaining six principles, which are much more practical in
nature:

7. Waste Not 10. Small and Slow

8. Patterns 11. Diversity

9. Integrate 12. Edges

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The units in the second volume of the textbook increasingly
highlight the practical application of these key ideas through
design, innovation and community action. They encourage a
different way of thinking about our role in the Earth’s
dynamic system - as participant - and how we can
incorporate this new way of thinking into our daily lives
through practices that help to regenerate.
This is an ongoing project, which is being reflexively
written as we work with students at Llanfyllin High School,
incorporating their ideas and insights into the programme as
we write it. We will be merging traditional textbook
materials with images and content produced by students
from the High School, as well as making use of the
photographic records we have of students participating in
community projects and practical fieldwork. When finished,
the programme will be central to the replication of this
project in other schools in Wales, and further afield,
providing a combination of theoretical and practical
information for developing community responses to climate
change.
We have included examples of content from the first
volume of the programme in the following pages. We would
welcome any feedback or comments on what we have so far
produced. We expect the second volume to be finished by the
end of the project’s funding in the summer of 2019.

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Cae Bodach Community Garden in the hot summer of 2018.

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11.

Community Gardens and Higher Education:


A Conversation with Dr. William Rowlandson
Dr. William Rowlandson is Senior Lecturer in Hispanic Studies at
the University of Kent. He teaches aspects of Latin American
cultural history, the prose and poetry of Borges, Cuban literature
and film of the revolutionary era. He is the Environmental Officer
for the Kent branch of the UCU. He is the organiser of the
Teaching Sustainability: Sustainable Teaching conference at the
University of Kent.

***

William: I'll just give you a brief synopsis of where I am at,


and then you can give me some feedback on all of this. I
work in Modern Languages, and I've been teaching all sorts
of different things – cultural, historical, political, literary, etc.
– for years and years. At the same time, completely separate
to that, I am the environmental officer for the University of
Kent branch of the UCU. Also, just as an interested party, I
have been very much involved in the environmental issues
of this particular location. To me it is a massive blind spot,
and it's probably quite a common blind spot in institutions
up and down the country. You can be writing a wonderful
report about how bad deforestation is in Indonesia, or the
eradication of a particular habitat in the Amazon, but
meanwhile a new building is being thrown up here, and a bit

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of deciduous woodland is being chainsawed down there,
poor tree management, and so on.
I have been slowly coming into my voice as the
environmental officer. In about 2014 I was invited by a
couple of buddies to participate in this garden. I knew it
existed, and that it was part of a very old building on the
campus – an old Oast House – that had its own garden going
back many years, and there used to be a member of the
grounds staff who would look after it like his own little
private allotment, which was very nice. Then we managed to
get a little bit of money from the Conservation and Ecology
department, and with that money we secured the use of a
shed and bought some tools. A few of us would go over there
from time to time and do a bit of digging, and it was
absolutely beautiful. So that's how it has been – very low key.

Jack: Nice.

William: Brilliantly, and I'm so excited about this, it has


cranked up in the last year massively. Estates are now fully
behind it, and we've got the Sustainability Officer from
Estates (that's her job, and she's great – I really like her, she's
not 'green-washing' and is doing some amazing projects). So
we've got Estates fully on board and a budget, and what's
more we've now employed an outside agency (KET – Kent
Enterprise Trust) who set up and manage community
gardens in East Kent. They operate on principles, not so
much of permaculture (though permaculture is one of the
languages they speak), but on the basics of community
gardens, in terms of how to run and manage, how to
produce, how to create a space that encourages use by
different people in the area with different abilities, and how
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to accommodate all these different people. KET are now
employed for one day a week to basically organise and
actually cultivate the garden, and they are brilliant – they've
got great expertise in this area.

Jack: That's great!

William: So far, all is absolutely wonderful, and that should


carry on. I'm part of the management committee for the
group, and I sit in various meetings where we discuss
strategies and this-that-and-the-other. It's excellent – we've
got the bee-keepers there, we've got a Newt survey there. In
brief, it's a really fertile corner way out from the centre of
campus – about ten minutes walk. You've got the garden
itself, which is called the Oasis Garden, you've got the old
Oast House, which is now managed by Forensics (of all
people), but they have protected the old garden so that we
can have workshops and things there. The Newt survey is
the longest running survey of Great Crested Newts in the
world! So, basically it's been ticking along brilliantly for
years, and it's now ramped up to a new level of health and
engagement.
Now here's where I come in, and I'm looking for any
advice I can get. At the moment there's a big separation
between my job in my office and teaching Latin American
literature, or whatever I'm teaching, and my role as the
environmental officer for the union (and with that my
enjoyment of digging around in the garden). I'm really keen
to try and bring them together, but this is where I'm like a
rabbit in the headlights. I can see that this is exactly the
direction that I should be going, and more to the point this is
actually the direction that universities are claiming they
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should be going as well – in terms of student experience,
well-being, practical assessment (not just relying on essays),
in terms of extra content for traditional seminar and lecture
theatre based courses, and so on. Basically, it could be a
positive future, but I'm stuck thinking 'what can I do, where
should I start, what sort of strategies are available, and how
do I link this with other networks?' That's my brief synopsis!

Steve: Wow.

William: Oh, and there is another thing I forgot to explain.


There's a very particular way that I am wanting to do it. One
of the things I've been teaching for years is about the
Organopónicos in Cuba, in fact I took some students to see one
of these gardens in Havana.

Steve: Oh yes!

William: Now, really briefly, they are organic urban farms in


Cuba that they developed by themselves, initially without
Government support, but when the Government realised
that people were feeding themselves out of starvation they
wanted to get involved. Well, basically, one of my specialist
teaching interests is Cuban Studies (Cubanismo). I teach a
whole lot of things about Cuban history, and write books
about Cuban history, and one of the things I've been toying
with in my mind is how cool it would be to somehow add to
this gardening project the name Organopónico in such a way
that I could make a direct link with my teaching. I've got that
much, but at the same time I don't want to come in and
change the whole direction of this garden, or step on

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anyone's toes in that regard. So, there you are, that's my little
synopsis!

Steve: Very interesting! Just a few initial thoughts that I had


are that you don't need to claim if for your particular
constituency, as an Organopónico, or as Cuban, because it isn't
– it's in Kent. But, this is a global phenomenon, so a lot of
what we're trying to do with One School One Planet is
understand that your school, your learning environment, is a
microcosm of the whole world, and right now the world is
facing the potential of absolute devastation because of
climate change. Every country in the world has signed the
Paris Agreement, which clearly states that in the next ten
years we must reduce our emissions by fifty percent – we
have to halve the CO2 that we are emitting through our
economic activities. If we don't do that in the coming decade
that's it, it's over, we've missed it! We've missed the bus! With
runaway climate change we're looking at doom and gloom
nightmare scenarios. So everyone in the world has to
understand their place within this enormous shift and
transition. The interesting thing about Cuba in the nineties,
post-Soviet era, is that they experienced and economic
embargo, which meant that they lost somewhere in the
region of 80% of their petrochemical imports. So they
actually had to collapse their carbon economy over night, not
because they'd signed any climate agreement, but because
they were economically constrained.

Jack: They were forced to do it.

Steve: The Cuban local food movement came from that. As


well you know, Cuba is a very urbanised country that doesn't
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have a tradition of farming and growing and gardening.
They had huge plantations that produced tobacco and sugar
cane, but other than that everyone's a doctor. So it wasn't as if
this was some special case, that it was easy for Cuba because
they were all peasants, it was incredibly difficult for them to
make that transition, so there are an awful lot of parallels
between them and us. The only precedent we have in the UK
was the 'Dig for Victory' campaign in the Second World War,
which was at a time when half the population still lived off
the land and were a lot closer to the source of their food.
Now we all live off frozen pizza, and don't know what food
actually is, let alone the processes involved in growing it. So
we need to prepare ourselves emotionally and intellectually
for what is happening and then, having got our heads right
and organised things, we need to put in motion strategies
that will build our own resilience.
So it seems like we're talking about energy, we're talking
about climate change, peak oil and all that sort of stuff –
what does that have to do with food? Well, of course, the
modern food system is simply a system for turning oil into
food. You take away the oil and there is no food, because
everything about agriculture, from the fertilisers that they
use are derived from natural gas, the diesel that they use to
power their pumps for irrigation, the combine harvesters,
tractors, distribution systems, you name it. It's all oil, oil, oil
right the way down the line. Of course also the whole system
is incredibly wasteful, and throws away between 30 and 50%
of everything produced because it's a system for making
money, not feeding people. If you put all of that together you
see that we've got to re-imagine and re-design our food
systems. Not only that, they've got to become part of our

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social fabric and how we come together and feel a
commonality and common cause.
All of this was achieved very well in Havana, and the
documentary film The Power of Community is a great record of
that process. So, what you have initiated, and what you have
going on, in your campus in Kent is a stepping stone, or a
little window, into that process, which needs to be rolled out
and accelerated. As you say, we've managed to separates
ourselves off from the outside world. We're sitting here
worried about deforestation in Indonesia and the Amazon,
whilst actually the United Kingdom is a burned out shell of
an ecosystem that we destroyed over many millennia.
There's just about nothing left. We would learn a lot by
applying our ingenuity and creativity to our own homes, to
our own working environments and doing what we can to
roll back that ecological destruction that we've caused.

Jack: So when we're trying to find ways of meshing it in with


the wider curriculum we see that it's got to happen anyway.

Steve: So, what you're doing needs to be on the leading edge


of that. You've got to try to bring the whole campus into this
mindset, which in some quarters they call 'transition.' You
don't necessarily have to give it a name, or fly the flag of any
particular organisation. What we've been doing with our
work with One School One Planet is framing everything
around the Paris Climate Agreement because it is settled
science. There's nothing to argue about here – everyone is in
agreement. So we now have to ask ourselves, how are we
going to action it? There are lots of negatives around the
agreement, like how it doesn't have any teeth, but it does

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have a direction and a vision. It's a shorthand really, it gets
you right to the point.
Permaculture says 'start small.' Just because we have a
really big problem doesn't mean that we need a really big
solution. What we need to do is initiate a great many small
solutions! If you have a small initiative that doesn't quite
work then you don't cause a huge problem, you create a
learning opportunity. So, you run your garden, you learn and
you get the positives from it, and it grows to whatever size is
suitable, and in the process it inspires other people to do the
same, so they replicate it. It sounds great what you are doing,
but what I'm trying to do is give it a bigger context to hang it
in, so I hope that's helpful.

Jack: Bringing it back to thinking more specifically about the


educational context, one of the best things about the work we
have been doing at the Cae Bodfach Community Garden is
how we have brought students from the school in to work in
the orchard, planting trees and plants, mulching, and so on.
Most of the work we have been doing has been with Welsh
Baccalaureate and Land-Based Studies, which is ideal
because a lot of the work they have to do is concerned with
landscape management and community engagement, so it
fits in perfectly. The Land Based Studies class now uses the
space that we have created in the garden as an outdoor
classroom, and I think that's the kind of thing we should be
aiming to roll out in our education system.

William: This is absolutely one of the things I am interested


in, though I am working in a Higher Education setting. The
garden itself is bordering a Primary School, which has also
got an Infant's School, and not only that it's right next door to
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the Day Nursery run by the University. We don't have a
Secondary School, but we've got Nursery, Infants, Primary
and Higher Education all in the same area. One of the things
I've already done is speak to the Director of the Nursery, and
we're having a launch of the garden in a couple of weeks'
time, and she's coming down with the kids from the Nursery.
We are also going to be approaching the Primary school to
invite them down. So this is the thing. From my perspective,
what I'm trying to get moving here is to find a way to bring
all of these things together, which I am interested in and
willing to do, but I run the risk of doing too many things for
which I am not being paid. I'm not saying that I should be
paid for this, but if I'm spending two or three days a week on
this, when I'm actually being paid to do something else
entirely, then my line manager can pull me by the ear into the
office, so you can see where I'm coming from here.

Jack and Steve: Yes, definitely.

William: So, do you guys have any ideas as to how the


Humanities (i.e. the faculty in which I work), and in
particular Cultural Studies, can approach these issues. How
does the curriculum incorporate these things? Are the
activities extra-curricular, or are you getting them into the
curriculum?

Jack: This is one of the big issues that we've been trying to
work out on the project.

Steve: Absolutely. Really it's about that edge between what


we want to do and what the school is obliged to do.
Anything you can get into that zone is where you are going
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to have the greatest success. What we instantly realised in the
school is that everybody is full to the brim. They don't have
any time left to fit in something new.

William: Yeah.

Steve: So the areas where we have had the most success are
where we have been able to understand where our objectives
overlap with their objectives, and this has taken some proper
time and thought. In our particular instance of working in a
secondary school we found that Welsh Baccalaureate and the
Land Based Studies GCSE were our key ways in.

Jack: But we've also worked with the Art and Photography
departments, and we're planning to work with the Welsh
department too, on a translation of a permaculture textbook.

Steve: Also, within their social studies programme as a


whole there will be an obligation to do something that's
about interacting with the community, like some kind of
project work where the long term output is for the benefit of
the wider community, or that establishes links between the
school and the community, and this is where some of the
gardening stuff really fits in. Here's just another thought:
there are many different kinds of gardening. There is the
kind of gardening where you grow vegetables. What you do
is you create bare soil by digging and turning, and then you
create a succession where you have to put plants in that
enjoy those conditions.

William: The classic allotment scenario.

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Steve: Exactly, and the reality of that is that it is time based.
You have to be there on the right day, and the right day isn't
a calendar day, it's the first sunny day in May, or something
like that. It could be any day. So to grow vegetables and
annual crops is great, a wonderful thing to do, and is very
rewarding, but it's very hard to do as an institution.
Scheduling a day on a calendar doesn't always work. It could
be that the ground is frozen solid on that day, so it never
happens and the crop fails, for example. For it to be effective
you really need a grower at the heart of it all, and you need
flexibility to work according to weather appropriate days,
rather than calendar appropriate days. That kind of
gardening is very difficult to timetable. The kind of
gardening that we've had more success doing is called 'Forest
Gardening,' which is basically growing perennial plants –
plants that will live for many years – like fruit trees. It's much
more flexible, and if you forget about it for a couple of years
it remains. With our Community Garden, when it first
started, we probably had a couple of very good years on it,
and then we had a couple of years where we didn't do
anything, then we came back and it was all still there. It was
very easy to keep it going.

Jack: And the good thing about leaving the trees to do their
own thing is that it automatically gives you a driving
impulse to get back out there with students. There will
automatically be an activity to do with students, like pruning
tasks, or harvesting tasks that you can build workshops or
teaching sessions around.

Steve: Also, going back in and doing something like


mulching doesn't have to be on any particular day, so you
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can do that to suit you. What I'm saying is, it's great to do all
these different types of growing approaches, but the one that
best fit for us – that fits that sort of educational community
edge – is the fruit tree forest gardening sort of thing. What
we've done now with our forest garden is underplant it with
medicinal and culinary herbs, dye plants, and plants that are
native to Wales, and these activities have provided great
opportunities to get students out of the classroom into the
garden.

Jack: Another thing that popped into my mind then is that


we've recently tried to link the community garden directly to
the school, because the garden is about a 10 minute walk
away, and isn't on the school grounds. What we've done to
keep the school thinking about the garden is install a mini
fruit tree guild right in the middle of the campus. We have
also installed sign posts created by students at both sites to
link them together. So maybe something like that would be
good in your situation. Perhaps you could have a mini off-
shoot of your garden right in the heart of the University
campus?

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Part 3:

Expanding Horizons:
Permaculture, Religion
and Socio-Cultural
Change.

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Steve and Jack teaching permaculture at Chester Cathedral.
12.

Permaculture, Religion and Spirituality


Jack Hunter

People can sometimes be squeamish about engaging with


the faith communities of organised religions. Some even go
so far as to argue that our current climate catastrophe has its
roots in the doctrines of the major monotheistic
denominations (which it may do, to a certain extent,
especially with regard to notions of divine right and
dominion over nature). Nevertheless, there is an urgent need
for just this kind of engagement if we hope to be able to
reverse the damage we have done, and keep global
temperatures below 1.5 degrees of change, as recent research
indicates that we must (IPCC, 2018). With approximately 2.2
billion Christians (32% of the world’s population), 1.6 billion
Muslims (23%), 1 billion Hindus (15%), nearly 500 million
Buddhists (7%) and 14 million Jews (0.2%) (not to mention all
of those who participate in indigenous, folk, and new
religious movements), we are talking about vast numbers of
people right across the planet – a demographic that encircles
the entire globe (PEW, 2010). If even a fraction of these faith
communities was to take up ecologically regenerative
practices, consider the huge impact it would have on the
global system.
In recent years the major world religions have started to
take heed of the dire warnings emerging from climate
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science. In 2015, for example, Pope Francis announced his
first (independent) encyclical – Laudato Si' ('Praise be to you')
– expressly concerned with issues of sustainable
development, runaway consumerism, global warming and
environmental destruction. In the encyclical, Pope Francis
writes:

I urgently appeal, then, for a new dialogue about


how we are shaping the future of our planet. We
need a conversation which includes everyone,
since the environmental challenge we are
undergoing, and its human roots, concern and
affect us all (Pope Francis, 2015).

Parallel to the publication of Laudato Si' leaders of other


religions and denominations also made public statements on
climate change and the responsibilities of faith groups to
protect and regenerate our living planet. It would seem that
leaders of the major world religions are finally coming to
realise the immense opportunity for tackling the eco-crisis
afforded by their vast reach and influence (Chaplin, 2016).
There is also reason, I would suggest, to try to engage with
the other end of the religious spectrum, with what the
psychologist and philosopher William James (1842-1910)
called 'personal religion,' or 'the feelings, acts, and
experiences of individual[s] in their solitude, so far as they
apprehend themselves to stand in relation to whatever they
may consider the divine' (James, 2004, p. 39). The appeal of
this broad definition is that it also encompasses atheistic and
non-religious worldviews, which may be conceived as a
rejection of the divine (however it is defined). Another way
of framing this element of religion (if we can even call it
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Permaculture, Education and Cultural Change
such) is 'spirituality.' A useful definition of spirituality is
offered by David Hay and Rebecca Nye in their examination
of children's spirituality, where they explain that spirituality
is the 'potential to be much more deeply aware of ourselves
and our intimate relationship with everything that is not
ourselves' (2006, p. 22). Framed in this way it is clear to see
why it is so important that we try to connect with the
religious and spiritual level of thinking in as many people as
possible – it offers a very direct route toward re-dressing our
relationship with the world around us at a fundamental,
highly personal level.
Religious Education (RE) lessons in school would seem to
provide an ideal environment in which to discuss these
issues, and to make the connection between ecological
concerns and our inner spiritual life (Smith, 2009). Many RE
curricula, from Key Stage 3 right up to A-Level, already
include modules on environmental ethics that explore the
teachings of the major world religions in relation to
anthropogenic climate change. This work, however, is
primarily theoretical. Imagine if, as part of the RE
curriculum's focus of environmental ethics, students were
also encouraged to engage with the living world around
them, whether through outdoor teaching, philosophy walks
in the woods, or hands-on work in school and community
gardens. I have explored elsewhere the possibility of a
feedback loop between spirituality and practical engagement
with ecology, where practical engagement might itself lead to
a spiritual connection with place, which in turn leads to a
greater desire to engage with nature, and so on (Hunter,
2018). See also research on the spiritual dimensions of the
permaculture movement in Cuba (Caraway, 2018), and the
impact of agroecology on spirituality and religiosity in Brazil
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One School One Planet
(Botelho et al., 2016) for further examples. The time is right
for an exploration of the possible intersections of spirituality,
religion, permaculture and the socio-cultural change we need
to meet the targets of the Paris Agreement.

References

Botelho, M.I.V., Cardosa, I.M. & Otsuki, K. (2016). '"I made a


pact with God, with nature and with myself": exploring deep
ecology.' Agroecology and Sustainable Food Systems, Vol. 40, No.
2, pp. 116-131.

Caraway, R.T. (2018). 'The Spiritual Dimensions of the


Permaculture Movement in Cuba.' Religions, Vol. 9, No. 342,
pp. 1-17.

Chaplin, J. (2016). ‘The global greening of religion.’ Palgrave


Communications. 2:16047 doi: 10.1057/palcomms.2016.47.

Hay, D. & Nye, R. (2006). The Spirit of the Child. London:


Jessica Kingsley Publishers.

Hunter, J. (2018). 'Preliminary Report on Extraordinary


Experience in Permaculture: Collapsing the Natural/
Supernatural Divide.' Journal of Exceptional Experiences and
Psychology, Vol. 6, No. 1, pp. 12-22.

IPCC (2018) 'Global Warming of 1.5 °C: An IPCC special


report on the impacts of global warming of 1.5 °C above pre-
industrial levels and related global greenhouse gas emission
pathways, in the context of strengthening the global response
to the threat of climate change, sustainable development, and

100
Permaculture, Education and Cultural Change
efforts to eradicate poverty.' Available Online: http://
www.ipcc.ch/report/sr15/ [Accessed 08/11/2018].

James, W. (2004). The Varieties of Religious Experience. New


York: Barnes & Noble.

PEW, (2010). 'The Global Religious Landscape.' Online:


http://www.pewforum.org/2012/12/18/global-religious-
landscape-exec/ [Accessed 05/11/2018].

Pope Francis (2015)


http://w2.vatican.va/content/francesco/en/encyclicals/
documents/papafrancesco_20150524_enciclica-laudato-
si.html AvailableOnline. [Accessed 05/11/2018].

Smith, C. (2009). 'Reconnecting with the Universe: Religious


Education for Ecospirituality.' Religious Education Journal of
Australia, Vol. 25, No. 1.

101
Envisioning timelines to a carbon negative future at St. Asaph Cathedral.
13.

Building Partnerships
Steven Jones

In January 2018 we were invite to discuss climate change,


planetary health and personal health with students from
Liverpool schools at St. Asaph Cathedral. Sector39 has been
working with Chester Cathedral for over a year now
exploring how the church can embrace permaculture and
how it can effectively communicate a stronger, more positive
and more challenging message on environmental
responsibility. This school work with St Asaph is an
interesting development from our work with Chester
Cathedral.
Students here learned how their personal health and
ambitions are closely linked to that of our planet and
environment, looking at issues like diet, nutrition, personal
responsibility and actions. Students were encouraged to
envisage a timeline to a carbon negative world, and to think
about the kinds of personal, social, political and cultural
changes that will have to be made if we are to achieve the
targets of the Paris Climate Agreement.
One School One Planet is keen to work with any partners
who want to bring the challenge of facing up to climate
change, pollution, waste and other issues into schools and
other learning environments - including religious
institutions.
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One School One Planet
St. Asaph is Britain’s second smallest city, St. David’s
being the smallest. With Dr. Jack Hunter in the car for the
journey we also learned a lot about Welsh folklore and tales
from the Mabinogion, fascinating stuff that really brings the
landscape alive. There is something about the Welsh
reverence for landscape, history and story that reveals a
different and fascinating way of thinking. This profound
connection to landscape and its character might help us to
think differently - in a way that we are required to if we hope
to meet the targets of the Paris Agreement. A shift in
perspective might, in some way, help us escape the ecological
disaster we have unleashed on ourselves and our planet.
What stories will they tell in future times of the times we are
experiencing now? An engagement with the mythic and
religious might help us answer this question.
There is collective denial of our current reality and the
obvious consequences of our actions, a collective forgetting if
you will. In an oral and ancient culture like Welsh the stories
are kept alive by repetition and recital. Once written down,
stories tend to be forgotten - they are no longer alive, they
lose their urgency. We in our modern busy culture seem to
have forgotten our roots and our sense of past, and with that
we are abandoning our future.
The collaborative work we are doing with the Church is
making us think differently about belief, culture and the
important things we share in common that bind us together.
Permaculture to me is a consensus building tool. It is about
using observations of the natural world to build a common
perspective on how we might respond to the challenges of
our day. Working with these diverse groups of people is
hugely interesting and rewarding and is helping us develop
and evolve our ideas on these subjects.
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Permaculture, Education and Cultural Change

14.

Ecology, Spirituality and Alternative Education:


An Interview with Dr. Andy Letcher
Dr. Andy Letcher is a writer, performer and scholar of religion
who began life as an ecologist, completing his D.Phil in Ecology
at Oxford University. After a spell as an environmental activist
during the 90s, especially during the anti-roads protests, he
moved across to the humanities, completing a PhD at King
Alfred’s College Winchester. He is an expert on contemporary
alternative spiritualities, especially modern Paganism, neo-
shamanism and psychedelic spiritualities. He is the co-ordinator
of the MA in Ecology and Spirituality at Schumacher College.

***

Jack: Can you tell us a little about the Schumacher College


itself, what it is, how it came about, and what the curriculum
is like?

Andy: For people who don't know, Schumacher College is a


small independent college down in the Southwest of
England, and it was set up some twenty-five years ago as
part of the Dartington Estate. Dartington is this experiment
in alternative education, arts, right livelihood, agriculture,
and so on, that was set up in the 1920s by Dorothy and
Leonard Elmhirst. Schumacher College was later set up by
Satish Kumar, who many people will know as a peace
activist, ecologist and someone who is very interested in

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alternative education. So it was a natural place for this
college to be part of the Dartington experiment.
The college has a reputation for teaching ecology, green
approaches to business and economics, to philosophy. It runs
a whole load of short courses, and is run along the same
principles as an Ashram, so that everyone who is here works
to help the place function – and that involves cooking food,
cleaning toilets, doing all that kind of stuff. We also run a
series of Masters programmes, one of which, and the most
recent addition, is the MA in Ecology and Spirituality. People
have the option of coming here for six months and really
diving into the debate on where ecology and spirituality
meet and what the relationship between these two things
might be.

Jack: Great! Can you tell us about the MA programme?

Andy: I guess the rationale behind the programme is that a


lot of people have the intuition that the ecological crisis has
something to do with a crisis of spirituality. That it's
something about how our worldview and our values have
led us into this position of climate change and species loss,
and so on and so forth – I don't need to repeat the litany of
things that are going wrong at the moment. So we take that
as a starting point, and really we generate far more questions
than we answer.
There are many scholarly definitions of spirituality, but I
see spirituality as a living inquiry into the sacred, the numinous,
however that is beheld, and I guess I see what we are doing as
some kind of living inquiry into what that has to do with
ecology. For example, we look at what ecology is. We're not
teaching the science of ecology here, even though that is one
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Permaculture, Education and Cultural Change
of my backgrounds, we're looking at it as a cultural
phenomenon, as a thing that humans do in the West and
what assumptions are implicit in that. Why have we come to
the point that we have a culture that does ecology? We look,
for example, at the founder of ecology, Ernst Haeckl, the
biologist who gave us the term. He was a nineteenth century
German zoologist, and he was very much a Darwinian, but
he also felt that there was a spiritual knowing to be had
through understanding the scientific laws of the universe. A
very interesting guy!
So it's almost right from the foundations of ecology we
find that spirituality is bound up with it. But then we expand
our discussion to ask: what would happen if we were to
extend Western philosophy to include ecological awareness,
can we do that? What happens if we look to Deep Ecology, or
biocentric ethics, or eco-centric ethics? How far does that
take us? And then, we go: OK, maybe Western ways of
thinking are part of the problem, what happens if we start
listening to indigenous voices (the most marginalised voices
of all)? What happens if we start taking those voices
seriously? Can we do that? Can we do it in a way that
doesn't continue the imperialist, colonialist project? And
then, the end of the course, which is called 'Sacred Activism,'
is really asking people what are you going to do with this
understanding? You've fortified your understanding of the
world by studying spirituality and ecology, but now what
are you going to do with it? Are you going to write some
kind of amazing App that's going to change the world, or are
you going to go and introduce mindfulness into your place
of work, are you going to write a book, or what? How do we
affect change in the world? Is it problematic when we do try

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to affect change in the world, because of the inevitable
shadows we cast whenever we try to do anything?

Jack: Wow, that sounds like an incredible course.

Andy: It's a very rich course, and we mix traditional


academic book learning, thinking and discussion with
experiential learning and emergent learning that arises from
the group. There's a certain amount of people like me giving
lectures, but then we flip the classroom and we wait and see
what emerges from the collective wisdom of the group, and
that's always an exciting moment. Just as I defined
spirituality as a living inquiry, that's what we're doing –
we're trying to keep this alive. Because I don't have the
answers, I'm in it as much as the students.

Jack: It's really interesting thinking about these different


approaches to teaching and learning – these ideas of
experiential and emergent learning. One of the things that
we've found difficult in our project is how to translate
something like permaculture, which is all about
interconnected systems and that incorporates a whole load of
different disciplines, into the school environment. Because
the school environment is where we really begin to
compartmentalise academic subjects, so there's no dialogue
between mathematics and biology – you know what I'm
trying to say.

Andy: Have you found the answer yet?

Jack: No, that's why I'm asking.

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Permaculture, Education and Cultural Change
Andy: Well, I mean, we have the same problem. We are an
MA, you know, we offer certification. You come out with a
qualification, and that means we are beholden to all the
systems and checks and balances that you would expect of a
higher education establishment, alternative as we are. We
have to come up with learning outcomes and module
descriptions, and we have assessments that are moderated,
and it's like we have to set out in advance what people are
going to learn. But of course, as any teacher knows, what
people learn – I don't think it can be measured, actually! I
think this is a fundamental problem of the Western education
system. It is the emergent quality of what happens in the
classroom, when you allow it, that is what makes it exciting,
and I couldn't possibly have predicted what I've learnt by
being here before I came. This fault-line runs right through
the heart of our MA. We are using the Western intellectual
academic tradition – going all the way back to Socrates – to
try to investigate this subject area of ecology and spirituality,
and yet it may be that that whole way of looking at the world
is the problem.

Jack: Yeah.

Andy: So I suppose I'm just sympathising with you really,


because we don't have the answers. Maybe one radical
solution is to actually say, “do you know what, we don't
need certification, we don't need to be an MA, we can just
trust in the people that will come and the emergence of this
learning process.” Then we could be truly radical because we
are dispensing with this institution that is ultimately
contributing to the problem. The difficulty with that is that
we live in a world where having an MA counts for
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something. We're a private college, people have to pay to
come here, and I'm not sure people would pay if they weren't
getting something. You know, we're in the system – we're
part of the system, however radical we'd like to think we are.
But these are very live debates that we encounter pretty
much daily in class – the tension between Western ways of
knowing, which objectify the world (we talk about
abstraction theory), and other ways of knowing, which are
based on experience and non-verbal ways of knowing.

Jack: It's really interesting stuff! I've got one more question
that we can use to round off our discussion, and that is: how
can focusing on spirituality lead to practical, real world,
solutions to problems?

Andy: That's a really really good question. Well, on a very


pragmatic level, in spite of the dominant atheist worldview
within the academy and in mainstream Western intellectual
culture, there's an awful lot of religionists out there. So a very
pragmatic answer would be that if you can get people of
religion interested in ecology and the ecological crisis, then
that's an awful lot of people that can affect change in the
world. But I think you're asking something deeper...

Jack: Yes.

Andy: ...which is, what happens if we come at the world


with a spiritual worldview? Is there some other kind of
change that occurs? I'm a card carrying animist, by which I
mean – for me, what is important is the interrelationships
with all the other people in the world. By people I don't just

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mean human people, I mean tree-people, I mean weather-
people, I mean plant-people.

Jack: Yeah.

Andy: It's a subtle shift, but if you start to try and think like
an animist (and to be honest it has been the predominant
worldview – the scientific worldview is a bit of an anomaly),
then you are constantly in relationship with people, you are
constantly in relationship with a community of people.
Agency is no longer something that I possess, it is something
we possess. The apple tree possesses agency when it tempts
me to take its fruit and scatter its seeds. It is a subtle thing,
but I think it starts to change the way we interact with the
world by seeing it as radically alive, radically full of agency,
and there's a possibility there for the emergence of new ways
of being, which emerge kind of like a murmuration. If you
watch a murmuration of starlings, these big flocks of
starlings that you see on a winter's evening, there's no-one in
control, and yet somehow this great flock of birds weaves
these great complex shapes in the sky. Or maybe, if we
started to behave as though the world is full of agency, we
can find new ways of being in the world that we couldn't
possibly have conceive of before.

Jack: Bringing it back to the school context, what methods


are there to encourage young people to have at least an
awareness that this other way of living in the world is
possible?

Andy: Hmm, that's a huge question!

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Jack: Yeah. Well, one of the things we do on our project is
taking kids down to work in the community orchard and
herb garden, getting them to feel the soil and to work with
the trees, and build up a physical (and later maybe emotional
and spiritual) relationship in that way.

Andy: Well, I think that's vital. There's a book that came out
many years ago now called Loving Nature by an
anthropologist Kay Milton, who was interested in why some
people are motivated to become environmental activists.
They generally say that they do so out of love, you know,
they love nature, they love the outdoors and the wild. So
she's interested in why some people express that love and
other people don't, and her answer was that it is to do with
exposure during childhood. So I think the difficulty is that
we live in increasingly abstracted worlds. We live in urban
worlds, but abstracted because everything is mediated
through screens and devices. I think what you're doing is
absolutely vital – sharing that passion for the soil, for trees,
for the return of the chiff-chaff in spring, or the first fruiting
in the autumn. But how we affect that change in a large way,
I'm still looking for the answer. All we can do is what we can
do, and I think that what you're doing is part of the answer.

Jack: And what you're doing is part of the answer too!

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15.

Permaculture and the Church:


An Interview with Dr. Claire Henderson Davis
Dr. Claire Henderson Davis is a dancer/choreographer, writer
and theologian. Her performance work brings together artists
from different fields, often involving collaboration between
professionals and non-professionals. She is particularly interested
in how we inhabit our bodies in the everyday, and her work
focuses on developing new forms of participation and audience
engagement. She is the author of After the Church: Divine Encounter
in a Sexual Age (Canterbury Press, 2007), an autobiographical coming
to terms with her radical, Roman Catholic upbringing, and a re-
imagining of the Christian tradition in contemporary language.

***

Claire: Permaculture, to me, is completely relevant to [a re-


recognition of the divine feminine in Christianity], because
it's all about the material world, it's all about the body. It's all
about the body of the Earth, mother nature. It's about the
divine feminine. Creating communities that recognise the
deep inter-relatedness of all people and all life and the whole
material world.

Jack: With this connection in mind, can you tell us a little


about how easy, or how difficult, it has been to get a
Permaculture Design Course actually taught in the
Cathedral?

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Claire: Well that bit hasn't been so hard, because one of the
things I started in my residency here is a monthly public
workshop series. My vision for that was the idea of drawing
people together who weren't necessarily just interested in
going to services but who had a deep interest in social justice
issues, on issues of the environment and human flourishing. I
started off doing that, and one of the workshops was run by
Steve Jones, who came to talk about permaculture and was
extremely inspiring, so people wanted to carry on. So,
through the structure of the public workshop series I was
able to launch a Permaculture Design Course here. I think
what's been more difficult, though, is getting the existing
cathedral community to - in any way - engage with that. On
the first PDC there was only one person on the course who
was from the cathedral, and on the second one (which is
currently running) there is nobody. So I think it is happening
quite separately, which is sad because I feel like it has a huge
amount to offer and could be a real vehicle of transformation
within the church. So, it's like we're offering the course here
on these premises, but what that has to do with the life of the
cathedral – integrating that in some way – that's much more
challenging.

Jack: Yeah. It's like they're happy to run the courses, but then
when we come up with ideas for things to actually put into
practice they start to put up their defences. Very similar to
what happens out in wider society.

Claire: Yeah. So last year we presented a permaculture


design, and in fact we had been shown a piece of land that
we could work on, but then trying to implement that felt
much more complicated and difficult. We would have to get
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all different kinds of permissions, so that hasn't actually
come to anything, which is a great shame. The idea of getting
the wider organisation involved, or even on-board with the
permaculture vision, definitely we haven't succeeded in
doing that yet.

Jack: No. That's a shame, because potentially, with an


organisation as big as the Church of England, there's a big
target audience for spreading the tendrils of permaculture
(or similar) out into the wider community.

Claire: Absolutely. I mean, I have a real vision of really trying


to convert the Church of England to permaculture because
the Church of England owns vast amounts of land and
buildings, and has tremendous resources, and also needs a
new vision. There is no doubt that in some way you could
say that the church is dying. I mean statistically, attendance
goes down and down and down. The number of people who
identify themselves as Christian, or as Church of England, on
the census goes down and down and down. So there's need,
and I think permaculture brings new vision and new life and
is deeply complimentary to the vision of the church. I don't
think there's any clash at all. It's almost a kind of grounding.
It can give a kind of grounding vision, an embodied vision.

Jack: That's interesting, because it is this kind of grounded


vision that also needs to be engendered on a wider social and
cultural level. I wonder, now, just because of my own interest
in these issues, whether we could briefly explore your
theology. What is your ground for understanding how
permaculture fits in with the church?

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Claire: Well, I think that the Christian tradition is deeply out
of balance, which is partly why it's in such a profound state
of crisis. You know, people don't look to the church for
offering them a path to human flourishing anymore. Many
are much more attracted to other kinds of practices, or other
religions. On the other hand, there are people who have a
more evangelical vision, who are looking for a kind of
certainty in the tradition, which is absolutely not where I'm
coming from. I think this lack of balance has to do with the
huge focus on the masculine, and I don't mean just men. I
mean, you know, if you think in a Jungian sense...

Jack: ...the archetype...

Claire: ...yeah, and so of the word over and against the body.
I used to tutor on this undergraduate course in Cambridge
on 'Theology of God in Love and Desire,' and I came across
this text. The idea that until fairly recently it wasn't known
that men and women had an equal part in reproduction, and
the role of DNA wasn't really understood. So I think the
whole symbolic language of Christianity is profoundly
masculine in a way that is also simply biologically incorrect.
The idea that, you know, the feminine is, in a sense, the
empty vessel, and the divine as the word penetrates the
feminine, so it's only the masculine principle that's creative
and life giving. I think this has led to a profoundly
dysfunctional relationship between masculine and feminine.
Not just men and women, but word and body and this has
had an impact, of course, on the role of women in the
tradition, of the body and of sex and sexuality.

Jack: And also on our relationship to the natural world.


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Permaculture, Education and Cultural Change

Claire: Yes, of course! Because of that being seen as deeply


feminine. So the Earth is feminine, and even the Church is
feminine – 'Mother Church' – which is interesting. So I
suppose what I'm seeing is a huge need not just to tell the
story in a new way, but to tell a new story that carries on – to
write a new chapter of this story, which really addresses that
imbalance.

Jack: That's really interesting, because you know we talk


about how reductionist science needs a new paradigm to
take into account all of this stuff, well it also seems that
religion and the Church need a new paradigm too, a new
way of thinking about how religion and life fit together.

Claire: I think this idea of what is the nature of the feminine,


and the way we need to embrace it, is very profound, and it
isn't about men and women in that sense. It's about the
masculine and feminine aspects of reality and being.

Jack: How would something like the Gaia hypothesis, the


idea that the Earth is a living system, fit into this?

Claire: I think that's absolutely right. Even when you think


about the Gospel, and the whole phrase about the whole of
creation as 'waiting and groaning,' I think that that feels
completely consistent with that really. That, you know, the
Earth is one being, and we are part of a single interconnected
reality.

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The Bishop of Salford comes the Llanfyllin.
16.

Building Community and Building Soil


Steven Jones

Climate emergency, food security and community renewal,


these things are all very closely linked. The heart of any
strategy to combat the climate crisis must work to preserve
and enhance diversity in a great many ways. A healthy
civilization sits at first on a healthy soil, this simple fact
cannot be overlooked if we are to address this challenge
effectively and meaningfully.
Gardens and farms, parks and verges, the key is to reduce
digging and compaction to a minimum and to retain and
return as much organic matter to the soil as possible. This
feeds the worms, and the worms are part of a huge and
complex food web of species that live within the soil.
Aeration, drainage, soil structure, the worms create the
habitat for the billions of microbes that keep soil healthy and
fertile. Maintain this and you don’t need to add fertilizer,
work with this ecosystem and your soils become more
healthy, fertile and - most importantly - more alive each year.
Healthy soils stack away tonnes of carbon every year and are
a large part of how we can address the climate crisis.
What is true for the soil below is also true for life above, a
diversity of crops, of techniques, of timing and a diversity of
habitats greatly increases the life above the soil, which in
turn energizes life beneath. The same is true for community:
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a diversity of people is a diversity of skills, ages, needs,
connections. As much as the natural world thrives on
complexity so too does a healthy community. Global
monopolies of culture create a simple and unconnected
community, much more vulnerable to change and much less
able to meet its own needs.
With all of this in mind it is very interesting that we have
recently been approached by the Catholic Church, who are
currently seeking ways to fulfill a deeply held sense of
responsibility for nurturing ‘God’s creation.’ We are certainly
not doing a good job of it right now and on their own
admission. We have worked with the Anglican Church at
Chester Cathedral over the last two years, and now the
Bishop of Salford, spokesperson for the environment for the
Catholic Church of England and Wales, and they not really
sure how to address or approach the problem. Greenwash,
window dressing, tokenism, blaming individuals, all the
things the mainstream media are guilty of fail to address the
depth of the crisis we face, or offer any meaningful solutions.
It is not this kind of ‘shallow ecological’ thinking the church
should be addressing. It is something much deeper. Things
must change and for this to happen we need leadership from
above and below. This leadership needs to be well informed,
co-ordinated, inspirational and above all it needs to address
the inequalities that lie at the heart of the eco-catastrophe.
Pope Francis took his name from St. Francis of Assisi, the
saint most associated with the natural world. He advised us
to think of nature as our mother, our sister and to embrace
this relationship with great reverence. Adding to this the
Pope, in his encyclical of 2015, reminded us that humanity is
one species, sharing a common home. One species, one
ecosystem. This letter was addressed to all humanity, of all
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faiths as well as those of us who do not take a faith based
view of the world.

The Bishop of Salford comes to Llanfyllin

With all of these things in mind we were excited to welcome


the Bishop of Salford and two colleagues to Llanrhaeadr to
meet us at the Sector39 office in January 2018, to explore
potentials for collaboration and then to have a look at some
of the practical work we have been doing at Cae Bodfach
Community Garden. We are presenting this work with
school, community and landscape as an example of how to
create a focus for social and environmental regeneration. In
developing the heritage orchard of over one hundred
varieties of apple, plum and pear trees, we have worked with
literally hundreds of people, from two local schools, a broad
spectrum of the community, as well as permaculture
students and volunteers from a series of courses and training
events.
Alarming people about the severity of climate change or
species and habitat loss is one thing, but we strongly believe
we also have to present meaningful and proportionate
responses if we wish to transform that concern into action.
Now we know this is not enough, this is only the beginning,
but a journey of a thousand miles begins with the first
footstep and we believe this kind of action is that meaningful
and powerful first stride in the direction of regeneration.
The Catholic connection is especially important as the idea
in development is to create a training centre for community
leaders and volunteers, from especially the 5 diocese of the
Northwest region at a place called Wardley Hall, a 100 acre
estate which is also home to the Bishop. The potential to
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develop and replicate the ideas on show here in Llanfyllin is
huge and we hope that by linking One School One Planet to
the Laudato Si’ project we can create an initiative of national,
and even international, importance.
There is no solution to climate change, only an ongoing set
of meaningful responses sustained over a thirty year period
to de-carbonize our economy, recreate community and re-
localize much of our food and natural resource production.
Our collective lesson is to learn to stop asset stripping the
natural world and instead move into a creative partnership
with both nature and humanity, I hope you can all join us on
the transformational journey.

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Part 4:

The Revolution is
Coming

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Steve teaching Welsh Baccalaureate students about the carbon cycle.
17.

What does declaring ‘Climate Emergency’ mean?


Steven Jones

Cornwall Council has declared a climate emergency:


The  authority says the declaration “recognises the
climate change crisis and the need for urgent action.”
It  follows  a motion debated at a full Council meeting
today, where the Council called on Westminster to
provide the powers and resources necessary to achieve
the target for Cornwall to become carbon neutral by
2030 and committed to work with other Councils with
similar ambitions.

Town by town, and now whole counties, councils are


declaring a climate emergency, but what does that entail?
Should we all be pushing for similar action locally? The
science is settled, yet we seem unable to collectively plot a
course to a safe horizon. Global emissions are still rising,
they are still drilling and, even worse, we are still subsidizing
the costs of bringing fossil energy to market while also
putting obstacles in the way of renewable energy
development and investment. This must change.

But we definitely know that continuing to work in the


ways we have done until now is not just backfiring – it
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is holding the gun to our own heads. With this in
mind, we can choose to explore how to evolve what
we do, without any simple answers (Bendell, 2018).

Professor Jem Bendell, in a recent paper of staggering


implications titled ‘Deep Adaptation,’ argues convincingly
that we must immediately consider three courses of action,
because carrying on as we are is counter-productive to our
own survival. We might call them the ‘New Three R’s’:

u Resilience asks us “how do we keep what we


really want to keep?”

What are the valued norms and behaviours that


human societies will wish to maintain as they
seek to survive?

u Relinquishment asks us “what do we need to let


go of in order to not make matters worse?”

This involves people and communities letting go


of certain assets, behaviours and beliefs where
retaining them could make matters worse.
Examples include withdrawing from coastlines,
shutting down vulnerable industrial facilities, or
giving up expectations for certain types of
consumption.

u Restoration asks us “what can we bring back to


help us with the coming difficulties and
tragedies?”
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Permaculture, Education and Cultural Change
This involves people and communities
rediscovering attitudes and approaches to life
and organisation that our hydrocarbon-fuelled
civilisation eroded. Examples include re-wilding
landscapes, so they provide more ecological
benefits and require less management, changing
diets back to match the seasons, rediscovering
non-electronically powered forms of play, and
increased community-level productivity and
support.

Just as in the past the three R’s of Reading, Writing


and Arithmetic formed the bedrock of the education
system, so now, as we move forward into uncharted
territory, Professor Bendell’s three R’s of Resilience,
Relinquishment and Restoration should be the
foundation of our education system. We hope that over
the course of the three years of the One School One
Planet project we have produced a replicable route-
map of ways to engage schools and communities in
just this kind of thinking and action.

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The Revolution is coming!
18.

A Letter to Llanfyllin High School


Dear Staff,

March 15th 2019 is set for a Global School Strike for Climate,
inspired by the activities of Swedish student Great Thunberg, and
similar strikes happening throughout Europe. We see this as a
great opportunity to invigorate education and awareness of the
climate crisis, and to frame possibilities for the best possible
outcomes.

This generation is the climate change generation. Their whole lives


will be shaped by how we respond to this real emergency, right
now and into the future.

The Paris Agreement, bedded in science and universally accepted,


maps a thirty year transition to a carbon negative future. That’s a
long time to be in a state of emergency. Failing to halve emissions,
or better, this decade will condemn the current and future
generations to grow up without hope. Is that to be our legacy to
our children?

Meaningful action, informed by science and coordinated at a


community level is required. A strong new consensus of active
people wanting to lead on responses to climate change is what we
are looking to create. Please join us.

We believe Llanfyllin High School can take a leading role in this


response, and I hope we can meet very soon to discuss how best to
co-ordinate our respective activities.
One School One Planet.
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1
Teachers join climate protests
to demand curriculum reform
The Guardian, 21st February 2019

Students skip school across


Europe to demand climthate action
The New York Times, 15 February 2019

Theresa May criticis


es pupils missing
school to protest over
climate change
Sky N th ews, 15 February 20
19

Scientists tell Belgian school kids


on climate strike: ‘You’re right!’
Euractiv, 5th February 2019

Things have really started moving in the last few months. This small
selection of recent newspaper headlines demonstrates just how
prescient One School One Planet has been. The ideas we have been
exploring over the last three years are going mainstream.
19.

Waking Up to Emergency
Steven Jones

We always knew this moment would come. My journey


began 25 years ago when I quit my job as an economics
teacher to concentrate on permaculture, co-operatives,
organic growing and alternative finance. There always was
an inevitability that we would be forced to confront the
‘unlimited economic growth on a finite planet’ discord one
day, and that day is here. Our current economic model values
the living planet merely as natural resources whose
consumption and destruction represents GDP activity and is
considered as revenue. The fact that the global economy is
happy to liquidate ecological capital, and sees it as a revenue
stream, pretty much summaries the shift in perspective - in
goals and methods - that is now required of us.
The ecological crisis is also an economic crisis and we will
not solve it with the same models that got us here. This is the
core of the emergency - we are in a huge bind but are unable
to do anything meaningful about it as it challenges our
economic paradigm to the point of its destruction.
Governments and banks are speaking the language of
climate increasingly, but when it comes to action the best
they can give is window dressing and the possibility of
another international conference to endlessly discuss just
how bad it is. Addressing symptoms, like plastic waste and

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air pollution, are in themselves useful but they fail to address
the causes and therefore do not represent a solution. We
actually have to change our behaviour, and that is much
more complicated.

Permaculture is the answer

We are advocating for permaculture design models to be


used as a way to build ordered, strategic thinking in a way
that directly addresses our problems while also providing a
universal way of seeing to help build responses. At times of
crisis we need to be unified as to the nature of the problem
and our responses to it, and permaculture design does
exactly that.
Additionally, permaculture thinking allows for the
diversity of situations we face, as well as our own
individuality, in a way that 'to-do' lists of actions fail. We
have structured our teaching pack and resources around the
12 sequential principles at the heart of permaculture and
have tried to show how this can shape meaningful action. We
have also sought to demonstrate how the principles of
permaculture provide multiple points of contact with the
mainstream curriculum and subject areas. This allows
schools to use this framework as an adjunct to their existing
studies.
The permaculture design process effectively steers the
designer onto a regenerative pathway, and it is our hope that
by transforming the values at the heart of the education
system we can convert the global economy into a co-
ordinated engine to fight climate destruction and reverse the

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processes that have bought us to this precarious point in
human history.

Climate Disobedience

“Some say I should be in school. But why


should any young person be made to study for
a future when no one is doing enough to save
that future? What is the point of learning facts
when the most important facts given by the
finest scientists are ignored by our politicians?”

- Greta Thunberg, 16 year old Swedish student.

Imagine being told at the age of 15 that the world has a mere
dozen years to halve emission and set the course for a zero
carbon future. Twelve short years and beyond that point it is
already too late for meaningful action. To the mind of Greta
Thunberg attending school to learn the very same science
and reasoning that our politicians are currently ignoring
wholesale seemed pointless and she went on strike. Alone.
One child standing outside the Swedish parliament each
Friday trying to confront those guilty of inaction. A few short
weeks later and Greta has become a world leader,
commanding legions of school children around the world
and inspiring a great many more of all ages to action. The era
of climate disobedience is here and we should applaud it.
Sounding the alarm is one thing, but knowing how to
respond is another. We urge people of conscience around the
world to begin the process of observation - to understand
better the problem, the resources and actions open to us and

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to identify your allies and colleagues. Catch and store those
things you know you will need, even if you don't know
exactly how to use them. Make compost, trap water, build
links and networks. Start to arrange your resources in a way
that produces useful yields, whether it is food or information,
money or community action. Accept feedback, understand the
need to make changes and evolve your action, work with local
and natural resources, and understand that nature produces no
waste so many of the easiest to reach resources are currently
in the waste stream.
Permaculture design works from big over-arching patterns
before drilling down to the details. This helps the designer to
navigate unfamiliar territory and keeps you on the right
track. Designed solutions informed by nature are always
interconnected. Permaculture urges us to start small and
slowly grow whilst drawing on the edges, the marginal and the
diversity of things (people, species, ideas). The world has one
constant - change - and permaculture challenges us to see
change as an opportunity to improve, evolve and respond to
new circumstances
Greta Thunberg and the school rebellion is drawing
heavily on this final principle - change as an opportunity -
please don't let them down!

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Appendix
Artwork created by GCSE photography students at Llanfyllin High
School, in response to learning about climate change.
Photography Students Turn Focus on Project
The Advertizer, April 2018

Photography students at Llanfyllin High School have


teamed up with the town’s eco-friendly Transition Project.
The Year 10 class will be producing a banner and a booklet
cover for the initiative, with the focus on ‘permaculture’ - a
design system utilising the features of natural ecosystems.
They were introduced to the topic by Jack Hunter and
Marianne Terrill.
Tutor Louise Bass said: “With Jack, students spent time
discussing environmental issues and ways of encouraging
cultural changes to work with nature to help support green
practice and ways of working.
“Marianne spoke about her project using digital images of
green foliage inspired by environmental issues. Her
sketchbook showed the digital manipulation of images to
produce beautiful printed fabric designs. Bringing outside
inside on soft furnishings.”
Following the talk the students went out into the wetlands
and orchard at Cae Bodfach, where they had the opportunity
to photograph the environment in detail.
Ms Bass continued: “The space is a beautiful location
providing fun for all the community and a real mini
environmental ecosystem. My favourite comment was that
there is no such thing as waste in nature only another
resource.”

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137
Students from Llanfyllin planting apple trees at Cae Bodfach
Community Garden.
One School One Planet
Jack Hunter, Regenerator Magazine, 2018

The One School One Planet project is about finding ways to


embed permaculture principles into the mainstream school
curriculum, and engaging our local community in a
discussion about transitioning to a post-carbon world.
Permaculture is a design system for ecological regeneration
based on observations of natural systems, and as such
provides innovative tools for reversing the negative impacts
of human industry and agriculture on the global
environment. The project takes its inspiration from the Paris
Climate Agreement's call for us all to take responsibility for
reducing our carbon emissions, and moving toward a post-
carbon society.
Rural communities like Llanfyllin in Powys will be at the
front-line of climate change mitigation over the course of the
next thirty years. If we are going to meet the targets of the
Paris Agreement we are going to have to radically alter the
way we work – we need to be capturing and storing carbon,
rather than pumping it out through the combustion of fossil
fuels. It is vitally important, therefore, that we communicate
these ideas to the emerging generation of farmers in our
schools. To this end we have been working with students on
Year 10 Welsh Baccalaureate and Year 11 Land Based Studies
courses at Llanfyllin High School on a combination of
theoretical and practical permaculture work.
My role in the project is quite varied. In addition to
maintaining our website and social media accounts, I have
also been working with students and staff at Llanfyllin High
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One School One Planet
School, teaching elements of permaculture in the classroom
and at the Cae Bodfach Community Garden. I am also
currently working on our permaculture in schools textbook,
which is a cross-curricular twelve unit permaculture
programme aimed at secondary schools. The purpose of the
textbook is to show how all aspects of our educational
curriculum can be put to work in the service of regenerating
our damaged ecology and tackling the problems of climate
changes. We also recently released One School One Planet Vol.
1: Climate. Innovation. Education, a collection of newspaper,
magazine and blog articles written by Steve Jones and myself
over the course of the first year of the project. The purpose of
the book is to show some of the key ideas underlying the One
School One Planet Project, and to give an overview of the work
we did in our first year. Please get in touch if you would like
to get hold of a copy.
One of the most interesting aspects of the project I have
recently been involved in has been the One School One Planet
Podcast, which aims to promote conversations on the fertile
edges of permaculture, ecology and education. One of the
goals of our project is to connect local and global
conversations about climate change, education and our
relationship to ecology, and this podcast does just that. So far
we have interviewed Steve Pickup (an expert in willow
cultivation), Dr. Claire Henderson Davis (performance artist
and theologian), Lusi Alderslow (co-ordinator of the
Children in Permaculture project), Dewi Morris (outdoor
educator), Emyr Jones (Land Based Studies teacher at
Llanfyllin High School), and Dr. Andy Letcher (lecturer in
Ecology and Spirituality and Schumacher College).
By the end of this project I hope that we have, at the very
least, encouraged those we have worked with and reached
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Permaculture, Education and Cultural Change
out to, to consider a different way of thinking about and
relating to the world around us – to realise that we are all
part of a single interconnected system - and that we have
managed to influence he mainstream curriculum's approach
to ecoliteracy in schools.

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‘2050’ Vision Book Launch
Mike Sheridan, County Times, 23rd March 2018

A new book has been launched following a groundbreaking


educational project on environmental issues at Llanfyllin
High School. The short book is a collection of essays and
articles written over the course of the first year of the One
School One Planet project, and ARWAIN/Leader funded
schools programme that aims to find and work with the
climate leaders of the future.
Project leaders say the scheme simply asks the question:
what is our collective vision for Llanfyllin in 2050? The
project then encourages students to think about the world in
terms of environmental issues and how they could be solved.
They hope the new ways of thinking established will result
in a permanent change to the way we think about green
issues.
“The book lays our some of the big ideas that underlie our
project, which seeks to develop a permaculture programme
for the mainstream education curriculum. The book presents
these ideas in accessible bitesize chapters that can be read as
a continuous narrative, or dipped into individually for
snapshots of different ways of thinking,” said Dr. Jack
Hunter, co-author.
“The chapters build up to the first trial sessions of our
educational programme with students at Llanfyllin High
School, and the book includes many examples of their
writing and artwork. We hope that through presenting our
work in this way we can encourage others to pursue similar
goals in their own local area.
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One School One Planet
“Ultimately we plan to assist students in creating a
permaculture design for the whole school, building a
transition timeline to a carbon negative Llanfyllin by 2046 – a
vision and plan shaped by the whole community and for the
wider benefit of all. As a major hub in the local community,
one of the area's largest employers, and one of the largest
consumers of resources, this will be a unique opportunity to
put permaculture principles into action and to reach new
audiences.”

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Useful Resources
Arwain:
http://www.arwain.wales

Center for Ecoliteracy


https://www.ecoliteracy.org

Centre for Alternative Technology (CAT)


https://www.cat.org.uk

Children in Permaculture Project:


http://www.childreninpermaculture.com

Dragons Co-Operative:
http://www.dragons.cymru

Federation of City Farms & Community Gardens:


https://www.farmgarden.org.uk

Paramaethu Cymru:
https://wales.permaculture.org.uk

Permaculture Association:
https://www.permaculture.org.uk

Permaculture Magazine:
https://www.permaculture.co.uk

Powys Transition & Low Carbon Communities Network:


http://www.powystransition.org.uk

School Strike 4 Climate:


https://www.schoolstrike4climate.com

15
Sector39:
http://www.sector39.co.uk

Severn Rivers Trust


http://www.severnriverstrust.com

Skeptical Science:
https://skepticalscience.com

Sustainability Exchange
https://www.sustainabilityexchange.ac.uk

Transition Network:
http://transitionnetwork.org

The Willow Bank:


http://www.thewillowbank.com

Zero Carbon Britain:


https://www.cat.org.uk/info-resources/zero-carbon-britain
Llanfyllin Transition Project

Biographies

Steve Jones is a passionate and articulate teacher and practitioner


of permaculture design with extensive knowledge of both the
theory and practice of sustainable development. More than 25
years of hands-on experience implementing and project-managing
land-based initiatives, such as community gardens, small farms and
sustainable housing cooperatives underpin Steve’s expertise. Steve
has worked as a member of the Get-Growing team in Newtown,
Powys, which supports the development of community food
growing projects, and as a consultant to the Squash Nutrition urban
food growing project in Liverpool. Steve is a certified Business
Studies and Economics teacher and has a degree in Sustainable
Development from the University of Reading, which bring depth
and professionalism to his teaching approach. He maintains several
blogs and is an avid networker and communicator on the subjects
of sustainability, transition and co-operatives. With his colleagues at
Sector39, Steve delivers up to six on-site permaculture design
certificate courses per year alongside numerous shorter courses,
including on low-impact structures, introduction to permaculture
and forest gardening.

Visit www.sector39.co.uk for more information.

Jack Hunter, PhD is an anthropologist exploring the borderlands of


ecology, consciousness, religion and the paranormal, living in the
hills of Mid-Wales. His doctoral research with the University of
Bristol examined the experiences of spirit mediums and their
influence on the development of self-concepts and models of
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Llanfyllin Transition Project
consciousness. He is the author of Why People Believe in Spirits, Gods
and Magic (2012) and Engaging the Anomalous (2018), editor of Strange
Dimension: A Paranthropology Anthology (2015), Damned Facts: Fortean
Essays on Religion, Folklore and the Paranormal (2016), Greening the
Paranormal (2018), and co-editor with Dr. David Luke of Talking
With the Spirits: Ethnographies from Between the Worlds (2014). He is a
lecturer in Humanities and Social Sciences at Newtown College.
He completed his Permaculture Design Course at Chester
Cathedral in 2017. He is particularly interested in exploring the
possibility of an alternative way of engaging with and
understanding the landscape and environment, informed by his
anthropological research and interests, in particular through
explorations of animism, folklore, systems thinking and deep
ecology.

Visit www.jack-hunter.webstarts.com for more information.

Angharad Rees completed a Permaculture Design Course with


Steve Jones in 2009. She has worked as part of the Sector39 team,
facilitating three PDCs in Uganda in 2016 and 2018. Most recently
she has taken the role of  education officer with the One School One
Planet project and enjoys finding creative ways to engage, inspire
and teach others about the environment. While working for 8 years
as a gardener, Angharad pursued her interests in the environment
through horticulture and garden design, which lead to a Diploma
in Landscape Garden and Design at Harper Adams University,
followed 2 years later by a BSc in Landscape Architecture with
Ecology at Sheffield University in 2015. With a healthy thirst for
knowledge Angharad has most recently undertaken a course to
become a Level 3 Forest school Practitioner.

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One School One Planet
Vol. 2
Permaculture, Education and Cultural Change

Compiled and Edited by


Steven Jones and Jack Hunter

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