by Dwight Shirley
In December 2011, 14 participants took part in a Permaculture Workshop, which stretched over 3 weeks. The classes took place on the weekends. We had representatives from the Forestry Department of Jamaica and the National Housing Trust. The two instructors, Andrew Goodheart Brown and Chuck Marsh are well known in the field of permaculture.
They armed us with tools that would save Jamaica’s future, like food security, food quality, soil preservation or organic economies. We learned how to read landscapes and how to create edible landscapes in city environments. They also taught us the basics about how to build roads. At the end of the workshop all participants started an organisation, titled “The Jamaican Permaculture Movement”. We want to share our knowledge by doing workshops all around the island with organic farmers or anyone that is interested in organic farming or permaculture.
Presently, there are 4 certified permaculture instructors at the Source Farm: Dwight Shirley, Russel and Blondel Atwater and Nicola Phillips.
After the workshop, Dwight was able to start several sheet mulch gardens at his house. Terraces were also constructed at Nicola’s house. We were also able to layout and create a permaculture site plan for The Nature School. We’ ve got an expanded knowledge about the importance of the soil and are encouraged now to use natural fertilizers.
The Source Family would like to say thank you to Andrew Goodheart Brown and Chuck Marsh for making learning about plants and permaculture engaging and exciting.
The Source Needs Your Help
“ONE ONE COCO FULL BASKET”…
The Source Farm Foundation is very proud to announce that The Nature School Construction was started April 9 2012. The school road was cut and foundation was dug. We were blessed to be given a small donation to start the project. $10,000 dollars more will be needed to complete the building. This would be the first Nature School in the Caribbean, teaching Permaculture and Ecological Studies.
Help us make this a reality.
Please be a “Source Coco!”
by Russel Atwater
Over the last 2 1/2 half months activity on the farm has shifted back towards production. The top half of the farm has been cleared for spring planting. Lower level terraces descending into the forest will be cleared over the next several months.
Presently tomatoes, callaloo, tatso, pac choy, chinese cabbage and squash are in and will be fruitful shortly. We have reaped some lemongrass which we had distilled into essential oil as part of the JOAM AGM along with the production of our new “Bag Blaster”, hair and body butter products.
Since the Permaculture course much of our farming time has revolved around implementing our Permaculture Base Map and Design Plan. Each of the graduates will be working on improving their homesites. For example,we have been building keyhole garden beds and freeing bearing trees from aggressive climbing vines so we can more efficiently produce.
Russel and Blondel Atwater have 33 plantains downslopes from their house interspersed with watermelon, callaloo and tobacco. Under the existing coconut palms they have planted East Indian Mango, Sweetsop, Orange and Tangerine. The idea is to create a continuosly bearing space by using the appropriate plantings that bear and regenerate.
According to permaculture principles within each zone there are as many as seven levels of fruitful productivity from subterraces to tree tops canopy. Our goal is our own productive food independence.
School – John’s Town Primary
by Russel Atwater
Since the last week in October, Russel and Blondel Atwater have been volunteering two days a week at John’s Town Primary in a special class of at-risk children of 12 and 13 years old. Initially, there were sixteen boys and one girl. Presently due to class and school transfers there are 13 enrolled and typical class attendance is in the 8-10 range. Most of these children have significant reading difficulties with half of the class having reading skills at grade 1 or below. These children come from 4 or 5 communities around Johnstown and have been isolated due to social behavior. To assist in their development we are emphasizing individual skill building in tutorials and small group format as class room instruction creates volatile situations.
The students came on a tour of The Source Farm. While there,we had a farming demonstration that we learned in our permaculture class called a sheet mulch activity which can be done on any site –rural or urban – gravel to asphalt.
Lay down a 2-3″ layer of goat manure, cover with newsprint and/or cardboard, cover with composited organics. Cut a hole through to the manure, fill with topsoil, add seeds and cover with organic material. The children learned from the demonstration how to help their families grow their own food in any space.
The highlight of the day, however, was instruction, demonstration and hands on practice of Karate techniques by Shircen Noort, one of our best work exchangers ever, who has been well trained in the art of self-defense. To put it mildly these children got excited and are still talking about this one month later!
We will be planning more extra school activities as we approach spring and we pray that God opens the minds and hearts of these children that they will be able to fulfill their purpose and destiny. Any ideas from you would be gratefully received.
HIGHLIGHTS ON THE SOURCE FARM!
Work Exchanger of The Month!
We were blessed to have Christine from Massachusetts as a work exchanger on The Source. She visited The Source Farm for two weeks. Back home in Massachusetts, she does does organic farming. She even raise chicken there too. So she shared her knowledge when she helped with Nicola’s chicken coop. During her two weeks on The Souce she teached a yoga lesson on the top of Earthbag at 5:30, every morning.
She was also helping us to set up the basecamp computer program which helps us to organize our projects. The program is helping us to facilitate communication between source members in diferent locations. Furthermore, Christina helped us paint the roof of Earthbag and added some beautiful water colour paintings.
At the trees around the farm, she practised acrobatics with her silk fabric. It was great that she also encouraged locals at the beach to also try to do some acrobatics. Nahala spent a great time with her, trying to do some acrobatics, painting pictures and going to the beach together.
Thank you Christine for your energy, sense of humor and companionship!
BEACH CLEAN UP AT HOLLAND BAY
by Vera Sauter
On Easter sunday, the Source-Family decided to make a trip to Holland Bay. Some Source members had already been to this beach, a few years ago. They were enthused about the inherent natural beauty of the bay. To get there, we drove along a path through huge sugarcane fields. Sometimes we were not quite sure, if we were still on the right track and felt a little lost amidst all those sugarcane fields. But we made our way through and only lost our way, once.
Finnally arrived there, we saw that the journey was really worth it. Because of the impressive scenery and beauty of the beach. Besides us, there were only three more visitors at Holland Bay. But as wide as the beach is, we did not really realize them. When you look towards the magnificent blue sea, on the right hand side you see the Port Morant Lighthouse, Jamaica’s oldest lighthouse. Everything was perfect, except one sad fact. The white beach was bounded by a huge wall of plastic waste, washed up by the sea.
To re-establish the whole natural beauty of this blessed piece of land, we decided to do a clean up there. Nicola and Vera, our new work exchanger, from Germany, organize it. It is going to take place on Saturday, 2nd of June.
At this time we try to get some funds for food and water for the volunteers and also for means of transportation. Hopefully we can mobilize a lot of people to join us at the clean up. We will start at 7 o’clock in the morning with cleaning up the beach. Later we will have lunch and afterwards a celebration with local artists.
You are more than welcome to join us!
Daughters of Indigo
by Nicola Phillips
One of the Source Farm Foundation’s many community projects is the Johns Town Women Craft Collective. Since the forming in 2007 the project has worked with 17-25 community women. Their ages range from 15 to 81. The collective has been taught basic sewing, garment construction, jewelry making, bag making, embroidery, knitting, quilt making and most recently Indigo Dyeing. Much of the craft has been sold to Source visitors, returning residents and visiting church groups.
The Source has been blessed to have Corey Breneisen, a graduate from Pratt University in New York City and an expert in Fabric Dyeing come to teach us the art of dyeing with Indigo. All the collective members fell in love with the dye process and of course the rich beautiful blue of Indigo. This lead to the inception of “The Daughter of Indigo” Project. Thankfully Velva Lawrence from Life Foundation, a donor agency, visited the Source and also fell in love with the idea the Project.
The Johns Town Women Craft Collective in April was given a grant for $16,000 US from Life Foundation to build a structure to house the collective, teach the community how to grow, harvest and use indigo as well as other natural plant dyes.
The Collective has been revitalized by “The Daughter of Indigo” Project and we look forward to seeing the beautiful fabrics and products they will produce.
PROVERB FOR THE MONTH!
In our lifes, we all are farmers.
Every day we plant some seeds.
And it is important, that we plant them.
That’s why we’re here on earth.
We can water and protect them.
But we cannot force them to grow.
What counts is that we don’t stop planting our seeds.
No matter if they will grow or not.