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Attend short course on Permaculture
by Joeven C. Calasagsag - Friday, 14 October 2011, 04:55 PM
mb.com.ph; October 12, 2011, 3:46pm

MANILA, Philippines -- A two-day short course on Permaculture will be held on Oct. 29-30 (Saturday and Sunday) at the Agribusiness Center of the Department of Agriculture main headquarters in Diliman, Quezon City. This is under the auspices of the group called SOAP or “Spread Organic Agriculture in the Philippines” and the Cabiokid Permaculture Farm.

Permaculture is “a simple system for designing sustainable human settlements, restoring soil, planting year-round food landscapes, conserving water, redirecting the waste stream, forming more companionable communities and, if everything went according to the plan, turning the earth’s looming resource crisis into a new age of happiness.” The quote is from Michael Tortorello who participated in a Permaculture course in the US. The story is published in the October issue of Agriculture Magazine of the Manila Bulletin and edited by yours truly.

At the seminar at the Agribusiness Center, Bert Peeters will provide basic information on what Permaculture is all about, its ethics and principles. He is an American who is married to a Filipina and is operating the Cabiokid Permaculture Farm in Cabiao, Nueva Ecija.

The short course will provide the attendees ideas and techniques in designing their own farm through some relevant technologies. They will learn design concepts applicable to the particular area of the participants. The aim is to make their farming more sustainable, profitable, yet stable and habitable.

The 5.5-hectare Cabiokid Permaculture Farm in Cabiao has been developing principles in Permaculture. The farm has transformed the area into a sustainable property using Permaculture as the guiding framework. From mono-cropping and chemical farming area, the farm now produces organic rice together with many other crops. All sorts of vegetables are now growing in abundance in the farm while birds are common residents. Reptiles and mammals are also common in the surrounding areas. These creatures help in maintaining balance of nature in the area. They serve as predators that help control the proliferation of destructive insects and other pests.

The Cabiokid Permaculture Farm has been attracting people from abroad who want to learn about the technology. In fact, a 26-year-old Belgian lady has been learning the ropes of the trade at Cabiokid for about two years now. She is Collin Perrine who must be enjoying her stay in the Philippines. She participates in all the work done on the farm and is also paid for her labor at Philippine wage rates.

In the article of Mr. Tortorello, the participants in the program who had to do hands-on farming had to pay $1,300 to $1,500 for the privilege of attending a four-day course on Permaculture. The participants had to do jobs that included digging ditches for drainage, mulching, setting up earthworm trays and bee boxes, and many other activities that are deemed to make farming sustainable and enjoyable.

According to the article of Tortorello, the idea of Permaculture was started by Bill Mollison and David Holmgren in the mid-1970s in Tasmania, Australia. The same has become a strong movement in the United States. In fact, Tortorello writes that David Cody, 39, who teaches the system and creates urban food gardens in San Francisco had seen more than 1,500 volunteers turn out in 2010 to create Hayes Valley Farm, a pop-up food garden near the site of the collapsed freeway ramp.

There is now a national Permaculture Institute in the US and is based in a farmstead outside Sta. Fe, New Mexico. Its director, Scott Pittman, 71, estimates that 100,000 to 150,000 students have completed the certificate course since the phi-losophy was developed in Tasmania. About 40,000 to 50,000 of that number are from the United States.

By the way, the two-day Permaculture course at the Department of Agriculture’s Agribusiness Center on October 28-29 will cost the participant P2,000. Each attendee will be given a certificate, materials and lunch/snacks. The amount should be paid on or before October 20. After that, the fee will be P2,500.

Bamboo Seminar – A one-day seminar on bamboo production will be held at the Carolina Bamboo Garden in Sitio Tanza II, Brgy. San Jose, Antipolo City on Saturday, October 15. To be discussed are growing and maintenance of bamboos; processing and utilization of bamboos, bamboos for the environment and livelihood, and latest research on bamboo fuel. For more info email to: carolinabamboogarden@gmail.com.

Best Organic Farmers – The search for Best Organic Farmers was launched yesterday at the Balay Kalinaw in UP Diliman. The Outstanding Philippines Organic Agriculturists (TOPOA) Awards is a project of the Rotary Club Cubao East headed by Conrad Dieza, president..

Agri-Kapihan at St. Vincent Seminary – In addition to the Agri-Kapihan during the last Sunday of the month at radio station DWWW, additional sessions will be held at the St. Vincent Seminary on Tandang Sora St., Quezon City. The sessions are held every second and third Saturdays of the month. This is at the AANI Weekend Market at Tandang Sora, Quezon City. - (By ZAC B. SARIAN)

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