The definition of permaculture is given below:
Permaculture is an approach to designing human settlements and perennial agricultural systems that mimics the relationships found in natural ecologies. It was first developed practically by Austrian farmer SeppHolzer on his own farm in the early 1960s and then theoretically developed by Australians Bill Mollison and David Holmgren and their associates during the 1970s in a series of publications. — wikipedia.org
Central to permaculture are the three ethics: care for the earth, care for people, and fair share.
The Cradle Ark project is aligned to these ethics.
Care for the earth is paramount and we are trying to introduce a clean environment and no littering especially amongst the children in the community. A conservation of water and enjoyment and improvement of the soil will also follow as he project matures. The removal of the invasive cactus species is central to the development of the project, as well as harvesting of the exotic trees for fuel. The development of a compost heap is also integral to the project for improvement of the soil in the longer term and the development and expansion of the worm farms and the associated organic fertiliser also targets an improvement in the soil. An attempt to educate the community not to litter and to try to recycle/repurpose various items, has an environmental focus. The possibility of teaching and demonstrating the use of “eco bricks” in part of some of the builds , is alos an opportunity for the project. Part of the thinking is also to try to utilise any of the greener solutions, firstly to teach the community new possible “enviro- friendly “solutions to some of the challenges faced and also to try to lure those with an environment agenda and funding, to become interested and to help support the project.
The care for the people is the underlying purpose of the project. Going back to the Vision and mission of the Cradle of Hope:
To empower less fortunate persons, the youth, aged, disabled,
jobless and uneducated to lead a meaningful and dignified life so
that they can fulfill their physical, spiritual, family, social, career
and financial needs and to enable them to pay it forward to others
from day to day.
To create and facilitate an environment to care for and mentor our
“Vision” audience through a care centre where they will be
provided with safe housing, healthy nutrition, medical services,
education skills training, job creation, creative recreation and
spiritual development on a sustainable basis.
The fair share idea also permeates the project with assistance for the entire community underlying the project although there is specific focus on the children and widows/single women. The idea behind the self -sufficiency and the “first in line” for food produced favours this community. The returns harvested are aimed at the community and so too any jobs that develop along the way. Where funding is available members of the community will be first in line for any part time employment and only where the requisite skills are not available , will external resources be employed. Once the immediate Cradle Ark community has been fed the next layer is to assist the bigger Cradle of Hope organisation with excess produce. Thereafter it is to sell it to the larger community living in the area.