How Everything Started

Michael, a Permaculturist from Salt Spring Island, Canada, first came to Kenya in 1990 where he noticed a lot of deforestation, erosion and poverty and felt that he wanted to do something to change this situation. Since then he has been developing forestry and Permaculture projects with local communities, trying to analyse the problems finding solutions to improve the lives of many.

For the first 17 years Michael raised all the funds for the projects on his own and since then he has been working with the private sector to raise funds as the projects have become more expensive and were beyond his own budget capabilities. After 25 years in the field working in East Africa he came to the conclusion that the best way to improve the future sustainability and food security of East Africa would be to introduce Permaculture training through to the local poeple and specifically the primary school system.

He thus started opening Practical Permaculture Institutes, which are so far established in Kenya and on Zanzibar, Tanzania.

After completing ten primary school permaculture projects in Kenya, Michael and his team developed the idea to come up with a successful model that would be easy to replicate. They decided that they would build Permaculture teacher training centres in 5 countries in East Africa, namely Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Ethiopia and Malawi. These training centres are designed to train farmers and especially primary school teachersm who will then be able to create sustainable model permaculture sites at their respective schools and communities.

Within a couple of years of completion of each project we are expecting to train 200 primary school teachers per year through each institute. By 2019 we expect to have trained 3000 primary school teachers who will have disseminated the information to roughly 2 million primary school children. Our experience has taught us that once a school has a permaculture project and is producing food for a lunch programme, that academic and athletic performance increases dramatically. This also has a spillover effect into the local community, where the children are teaching their respective families how to increase productivity and economic opportunity on their farms.