Permind - Newsletter 4 (English)

Page 1

W W W . P E R M I N D . E U







PERMIND ISSUE 4 Care of land Sustainability is possible, respect for the land is needed

Care of people Specially those with psychic discomfort

Fare share Social cooperatives that can change the world

Being connected Digital platform and mobile app for adult learning

SECTIONS 02 Editor's note

04 Outcomes in the land

08 Outcomes in people

10 Outcomes in the community

11 The expected results

12 Outcomes in us

14 Sharing the outcomes

17 Epilogue



EDITOR'S NOTE by MarĂ­a Carracedo

We are about to finish Permind project, but only according to the official calendar of the project, because according to us Permind project will remain. As permaculture, it has become permanent for our organizations. Permind has beard many fruits so far and this is the time to assess what we have obtained after these two years of collaborative work. In this final issue, we want to share with you the taste of Permind fruits, all the good results we have discovered by now.

Moreover, as cherry on top, our inspiring partner, ADP, gave to us their final reflection about the project. As you will discover reading the following lines, Permind outcomes have gone further than the initial expected results of the project; they have expanded to the and, to the gardeners, to the trainers, to the neighborhood,to the neighborhood, to our organizations‌and who knows which other side effects it will carry on in the future, because it will keep growing!















The most evident outcome has been the creation of the gardens. After two years cultivating the soil the edible gardens are a reality. Each Permind garden is unique because of each one is placed in different environments,




conditions and with their own stories. Let’s know each of them a little bit more.

VALLADOLID (SPAIN) The starting point in Valladolid was difficult; the land is sited in an urban area in the outskirts of the town. The soil was not the optimum for cultivating an orchard, lime-filed fields with some rubble from the construction of the neighborhood, surrounded by buildings and roads‌ it was not fertile at all. But the difficulties were little by little overcome and some of them have become opportunities: for example, the lack of vegetable matter around needed to create mulch, forced the PERMIND team to contact with the neighbors in order to get organic waste from them and in this way new relationships have been built within the community. The barren field has become in a beautiful garden with flowers and vegetables that is an essential part of the

Valladolid Land before (up) and after Permind (below)



4 | 4



CORESES (SPAIN) Coreses is a little village in the countryside of the province of Zamora, a fertile land where other orchards are already placed, some of them ecological, some others from traditional agriculture. The preconditions were good and the results are great, better than the expected: The orchard production is so excellent that astonishes everyone in the village till the point that one farmer said to them: “You are making science fiction!” Coreses land at the beginning of Permind and the production of the orchard being sold in an open market

ALEXANDROUPOLIS (GREECE) The garden have “expanded” now there are two permaculture gardens in Alexandroupolis. After the winter time when they were focused on the maintenance of the first garden, they decided to implement the permaculture principles on a new area. All the members of the permaculture team have weekly meetings in order to discuss about the process of the project and to solve problems according either to the gardening or the team working. They followed the instructions of the curriculum and the highlights of the ADP organizations, especially for the cultivation of the soil, that is mentioned as the key factor for the success of the permaculture gardening. In the “new” garden they improved and avoided many previous mistakes. The feedback from the local community was inspiring for them and gave a loud message against the stigma accompanying the mental illness. The two Alexandroupolis gradens (this page and next one)






SLOVENIA Right now, Ĺ ENT is integrating permaculture gardens into its ongoing programs. So far, 3 gardens have been established across Slovenia in Ĺ kofja Loka, Maribor and Ljubljana. A further two gardens are planned in Ljubljana and Celje. Gardens are planned in all programs, with the exception of programs aimed at service users suffering from substanceabuse disorders. All gardens are relatively small in size, in consideation to the specific limitations of service users. Every garden presented its own challenges. The garden in Maribor has been particularly difficult. Maribor is situated in the northern part of Slovenia. The temperature at night tends to stay below zero up until the end of April, heavy rainfall is typical and the soil has high clay content. There were many difficulties in establishing the garden, but good results were obtained only after equipment appropriate to the climate was built. This meant raised beds, with steel netting underneath, to keep the rodents out. A greenhouse was built to protect the plants from low temperatures. The users helped designing the garden and were in charge of composting, with those users experienced in farming suggesting the best ways to implement permaculture. The garden in Ljubljana was fairly typical, and only needed to be in a raised bed to manage the heavy rainfall. Selections of vegetables that are useful in the kitchen were selected by the users, who were interested in cooking more than gardening. This certainly changed after they worked with the garden for a while, but it did get them motivated to start. The last garden in Ĺ kofja Loka was difficult to establish and suffers from a lack of water and needs constant attention from the mentor, as the only water available is from the river, which means that the garden involves physical work. This was the biggest difficulty, but ultimately it forces the group to work as a team. PERMIND





ONSALA (SWEDEN) The climate is a determining factor in the choices of the garden calendar. In Onsala the winter was quite cold and snowy so that we worked more in the greenhouse or in-house. We planted our seeds in-house to protect them from the low temperature, waiting they grow on. Before the winter came, we harvested the seeds, to save them and replant, we cleaned the area and we put on new compost, newspapers, and mulch. From November onward the temperature started to decrease, and we cleaned all the permacultural edible garden and covered it with the mulch and with the seaweeds. In the early spring, we prepared a hotbed composed of horse manure, straw, hot water covered by a plastic tarp.






The main outcome in PERMIND participants can be summarized in just one world: ENTHUSIASM! This enthusiasm has splash out to all the participants, the trainers, the organizations, the neighbors… It is not possible to show all the effects that Permind had in every country and in each participant, in this newsletter we are just giving an overview of what people think and feel about PERMIND.

OUTCOMES IN PEOPLE “I did not have any knowledge in this field, so I opened up a new


horizon” (Trainee-Greece)

PERMIND has produced an increase of knowledge and a change of mentality relating nature, environmental issues, nutrition and of course, permaculture. And this learning has occurred not just for every participant and trainer, but also for other people indirectly linked to the project, like neighbors or relatives.

“This has helped me to trust nature” (Neighbour-Spain)

“I have learned to appreciate nature in a different way” (Trainee- Sweden)

“I have learnt a new way of cultivation, I knew how to do ditches of the gardens of all life… but

I have learnt new things, to take advantage of the holes and that no herbs come out.” (Trainee-Spain)

“What I take from PRTMIND is what we have created, this philosophy of life, what we have created, the union we have created … to work according to natural criteria, I observe and imitate.” (Trainer- Spain)


“I feel really happy, and of the partners too because all of us help each other with everything” (Trainee- Spain)

“We are closer than before begin of the permaculture, mostly with my colleagues” (Trainee-Greece)

“Relations with colleagues improved; as the work process helped to ensure equal

People engaged in the project also have strengthened their social links within the group; they admit to have become a team, or even friends of their mates. Open air, the rhythm of nature and working together have been the conditions that have made blossom new friendships among PERMIND participants.

co-operation between members” (Trainee-Greece) “J was my partner and “The best thing about Permind

we knew each other but it is not the same as spending more time

has been the people. Everyone who works there

doing more things which unites us, we are more friends. And with

but also all new friends.” (Trainee-Sweden)

more people too.” (Trainee- Spain)

“I think that it unites more than other activities because you are side by side. If you are picking something, you are not alone, you are with another partner and you are talking and if he sees that you can do something better, he tells you and you do it better or just talk.” (Trainee- Spain)







“When we go for a

The relationships with the community have also improved, in most of the cases people from the neighbourhood have get closer to the organizations and to the trainees, increasing in this way the social inclusion of trainees.

coffee to Torres, where the garden is, everybody knows who we are.” (Trainee-Spain)

“A lot of people and some neighbours come to ask questions.” (User)

“We have a few bars which keep our coffee and newspapers.” (Trainer)

“We have involved people from the neighbourhood. For instance, JC is from this neighbourhood and he brings us some newspapers and also some cafés and bars have donated … The boys have gone to the café to explain the project and to involve them.” (Area Coordinator- Spain)

“As a work crew, they have joined the village, people know them.” (Director- Spain)

º change. Now, I am better


“I have made a 360

with the people and with myself, I am quieter. Before, I had a lot of fears and a lot of things in my head. I am now 100% recovered; it has nothing to do to how I was before because I was so annoyed.”

But, of course the most outstanding effect is the personal changes that trainees had come through. They feel better, more relaxed, more motivated, and happier …this is the proof of the therapeutic value of PERMIND:

(Trainee- Spain)

Both my family and I notice that I am happy when I come from the garden (Trainee-Sweden)

“The course was

“I see my son really

a nice challenge that helps me and the whole team to work

happy, he likes coming. … I have never

something fresh, with

seen him come back angry, maybe tired … The main

better mood, help as to work in groups and to communicate

aspect in that they are happy

better.” (Trainer- Greece)

with the job and the partners.” (Relative)

ENTHUSIASM And as we said at the beginning: enthusiasm that has infected pother people, as one neighbor in Spain express so well:

“This enthusiasm that you have has infected me. I am already thinking about starting a permaculture garden and hiring these guys to help me. You have convinced me.” (Neighbour-Spain)







During the implementation of the Permind project, we made three surveys involving our stakeholders. The surveys aimed to assess if the Permind project and the related dissemination promotion campaign had an effect on a mind change..

In the first survey, we focused on the awareness of permaculture and its potential benefits in the recovery process for people with mental distress. Based on 115 answers received, the main conclusion is that our stakeholders have some basic knowledge of permaculture and its beneficial effects in the recovery process of people affected by mental disease. This knowledge derives mainly from the fact that the survey participants work with disabled people.

In the second survey, the main goal was to better understand the interest of our stakeholders in permaculture and the possibility to start their permaculture edible garden. Based on 116 answers received, the main conclusion is that the Permind project has raised stakeholders’ interest in permaculture. They learned more about permaculture through the Internet (57,4%), books (12,9%) and videos (11,6%). Some of survey participants already started their own permaculture edible garden or were about to do that. The main problem identified in starting a garden is a lack of experience and resources (land and time).

Has PERMIND left you with any curiosity about permaculture and its role in improving mental health?


Yes 0






In the third survey, we investigated if the Permind project has affected stakeholders’ habits, lifestyle and care for people and earth. According to the 135 answers received, our stakeholders were positively affected by being involved in the project. A large part of them was already aware of the importance of preserving the environment, but the Permind project made them reflect on their lifestyle and made them change some habits concerning consumption, wasting, etc. Another interesting insight coming from this survey is the opportunity to create new business and employment opportunities through investing in permaculture. I am more aware and concerned about environmental issues It made me think about my own living style. I changed some habits (using, wasting) I'm more aware of what mental health is. I've started working in the yard. All Other 0










Our expected results were two tangible thinks: an online learning and app to support permacultural learners.


With these two intellectual outputs PERMIND can be replied by another organization or individual person at any time and in anyplace.


PERMIND learning platform

The Learning platform is available in 5 languages (English, Greek, Spanish, Slovenian and Swedish). It includes the training curriculum with all the steps you need to create your permacultural edible garden. The whole curriculum in free downloadable in PDF. You will find also some tutorial recorded by our trainees during our pilot phase in order to provide visual material to help gardening. In the platform there is also a section with advises for creating a Virtual Mix Cooperative, that is to say local and mutual-care slow growing cooperatives. This section provides with the basic information to create local cooperatives based on permaculture and sustainability in each of the partner countries.

You can find the Learning Platform at this address:


The PERMIND app is a mobile and tablet application that complements the PERMIND eLearning platform. It can be downloaded for free from Google play (Android) and Apple store (iOS) and can be with you wherever you are (especially when being in the garden). In the app you can find the same training materials as in the eLearning Platform and also videos and pictures to help you while you are working in the garden. If you want to get our app just search “Permind� in Google play (Android) or Apple store (iOS).

Home screen and main menu of PERMIND app PERMIND






PERMIND had also effects in the staff from our organizations that have been involved in the project. We have made a short interview to those people, mainly the trainers, to learn what they have got from the project. These have been our trainers: Mariano_Trainer, Spain (M), Fanny_Trainer, Spain (F), Anna-Trainer Greece (A), Francesca- Project manager, Sweden (FR), Slovenian trainer (Č)

Why did you engage in this project? What did you expected from it?

F: I was assigned to the project as a part of my diary work in Fundacion Intras, because I am the gardening trainer. M:The project was already built when I knew about it and I felt like to take part because it was connected with my work, moreover I had already heard about permaculture ad I wanted to learn more about it. A:For my organization, piloting the course Permind, was an opportunity to change the way in which we manage our educational gardens and even the way we manage other training courses and resources. We wanted to being trained on ways of sustainability. Another expectation was to learn more ways to promote gardening as a therapeutic method for individuals with mental health problems. The use of technology (app, platform) is a very innovative idea for promoting new approaches and campaigns to combat stereotypes and stigmatization related to mental illness.

Fanny (F) y Mariano (M) trainers, Spain

FR: We engaged in the project to bring the experience of Foodmaker , led by Changemaker, at the EU level. Foodmaker is a universe made by education, training courses, workshops and correlated projects (EU and local) about urban food production and social change. We expected to learn more about permaculture as a way to have sustainable food production and a way to help people in their recovery process after mental distress. Č: We engaged in the project because we wanted a way to bring nature into our programs, to make our users more physically active, and of course, to provide employment.

Has the project met your expectations? Why?

Anna (A), Projects Director Grecia

F: I did not expect anything at all because I did not know anything about permaculture. I learnt a lot and, of course it has overpassed my expectations… And also regarding the trainees, I think it works better from a therapeutic point of view than other activities. A: I think that the main achievement was that the participants that involved in the project learned another way to work in the land and another way to understand the environment. Five organizations from different parts of Europe worked together and created a “permaculture community” with the same principles for caring the land and for caring people! That is the successful point of the project and can have a great impact at local, regional, national and European level. M: Yes, it has overpassed my expectations. I thought I was just going to learn something new but only useful for little lands, but I discovered that Permaculture is a real system of agricultural production and it is 100% sustainable. FR: Yes, it has met my expectations. I learned how to use permaculture as a method for rehabilitation and sustainable food production. PERMIND





Č: The project more than met our expectations. Besides involving users with ecology, nature and healthy food, PERMIND also motivated our day center users to work as a team and use their unique skills. Over all, PERMIND has proven to have a therapeutic effect. What have you get from the project?

F: Permind has allowed me to get closer with the trainees, to stablish bonds with them. The work in the Permacultura orchard allows the building of links, familiarity and mutual trust M: I have acquired new knowledge about Ecology, I have discovered new tools to work with the users and I have found people that support me when I have any question regarding the permacultural orchard, I mean our partners from Canary Islands.

Črt - Trainer, Slovenia (Č)

A: My organization learned a lot from the project in many levels: for the trainees: empowerment and learning new skills that help them to their recovery process for the trainers: exchange of good practices on gardening and on managing people with mental illness for the organization: promoted our services in a different field (agricultural & rural) for the society: awareness rising on issues related to mental health and to social and labor integration

FR: I met people passionate about permaculture and its role in rehabilitation. I had the opportunity to learn more about permaculture, which is not only a method to produce food but is also a method to take care of people.

Francesca (FR), Direct Projects, Sweden

Č: The project allowed us to create gardens across multiple locations, train trainers and disseminate knowledge of permaculture and its benefits to a wide range of users. Transversal skills that our users are now experiencing include healthy eating, gardening, decoration, team-work, technological competences and others.

Do you have any plans for the future related to Permind? Will you keep growing? F: Yes, I think our next step should be to continue learning in order to became a referent in our region to train others, because there are no experts in Permacultura here. M: Yes, we want to enlarge the plot and continue cultivating as a permanent activity in the organization.

A:We want to keep on growing! The main idea of the project is the sustainability, and we want to achieve this goal. Of course, it is very important for us to have the guidance of the ADP organization, because the permaculture gardening needs a lot of practice and a lot of time in order to succeed. The use of the application and the platform is very tempting for our participants, so we want to test their implementation over time. FR: We will continue collaborating with Noas Ark. We will also present the Permind project in the Foodmaker training course. Č: Yes we will, PERMIND will expand to 5 gardens within this year, with more trainers and more permaculture oriented gardening as we acquire more experience and skill. It may one day becom an employment program

Part of Permind's team during the last match in Sweden PERMIND






We would like Permind to expand and to “infect” other people and organizations with our enthusiasm that is why we have organized events in each of our countries.



In Sweden, the ”Keep on growing” conference was held on the 4th of May in Onsala, by Noas Ark. During the conference, the Permind project was presented. We discussed the importance of contact with nature and in particular the role of permaculture in the recovery process for people with mental distress. During the conference, we divided the participants into two groups, and we worked actively. One group learned to build an insect hotel and the other group participated in the realization of the edible forest.

ALEXANDROUPOLIS Friday 28th June 2019, in Alexandroupolis (P4), we organized a mini conference at our Municipal Library that consisted of two parts: 1. Presentation of the Permind project: we explained the implementation of the project and we focused on the advantages of using permaculture with people living with mental illness in order to improve social skills and to acquire transversal competencies for their daily life. The formal presentation was made by a trainer and a trainee. 2. Promotional event in which we gave at every participant a welcome basket with our products from the permaculture garden. It was a really motivating opportunity where the audience had the chance to talk with the trainers and the trainees about the aims and the process of the initiative, but also to see the results. The event closed with a music concert with saxophone, where all the participants had the chance to know each other and exchange work experiences. Stakeholders related to the project were invited to the event: policy makers, organizations working in the third sector, health professionals, local cooperatives and local community. Approximately 100 participants attended the meeting (mostly of them had previously visited the garden at the harvest party). It was a great permaculture festival with positive reviews from the participants! ¡

Promotional spot and a moment during the presentation in Alexandroupolis






SLOVENIA We also introduced PERMIND at a large-scale event in Slovenia, sharing our experience with volunteers, entrepreneurs, farmers and social services throughout Slovenia. Our trainer, mr. Kovač was passionate and presented the project really well. The event is Called DSE, or days of social economy and is held by ŠENT every year. Every year, we are preparing a program that is based on the current social situation and needs in relation to the social economy. In the time of the economic crisis, the search for new ideas has increased, which would contribute to the creation of new jobs. PERMIND is now a staple of ŠENT, but it can also be used in employment programs with low-energy users or those suffering from stress disorders.

TENERIFE - SPAIN The event was attended by 53 people from 43 different entities from the world of public health, socio-health care, primary, secondary and university education, research, organic farming, financial world, solidarity associations, occupational centers, environmental management, museums, youth, architecture bioclimatic, academies of medicine and pediatrics, business field, civil society, municipal policy, foundations and associations of public utility, cooperativies, agri-food quality, eco-dining program, urban gardens, ...

The assistants gave passionate and inspiring feedback: “true gift of life” “exciting”, source of inspiration and source of transformation” “a new referent for my work” “social innovation”… these are some of the expressions used by the participants in the event regarding Permind.

Conference and visit to the Permind orchard in Tenerife






VALLADOLID - SPAIN In Valladolid two events have been planned: one took place one year ago with the first harvest and the second and final one will take place next September in order to share the final results with relevant stakeholders. The Welcoming Harvest Party took place in July 2018. The Permind team was so proud of the production that organized an event to share with the neighborhood and with other organizations their joy and their vegetables. This event was relevant for the project because thanks to it we got connected with the surrounding community and established new relations and links with our neighbors who started collaborating with us. The next event will serve, like this newsletter to present the results‌in people, in the land, in our organizations. It is planned by the end of the project. Follow us in PERMIND fb to know the date. If you are nearby, you are kindly invited; we will love to inspire you too. Do not miss it!!

Detail of the briefing table, conference and visit to the Permind orchard in Valladolid






EPILOGUE: PERMIND almost two years later BY ADP

«How therapeutic can be for mentally ill people to cultivate and produce» «A lot of possibilities of linking persons with mental health problems with this work philosophy» «What heals the soil can heal the soul of people» These three sentences were written after the visit to Finca El Mato Tinto, PERMIND's source of inspiration, on October 25, 2017. We have selected them among the impressions that the eight people of the four PERMIND remaining partners anonymously wrote during the first project meeting hold in Tenerife. While the following, are phrases taken from the students case studies reports of the PERMIND courses written 20 months later. For sure, they are a good synthesis of the results - of the soul - of PERMIND. «R’s life had changed completely. Before PERMIND, he lived with his parents and had fear of people. He was so afraid that he never got out from home. Working at PERMIND edible garden he learn how to establish relations with their peers, little by little, because the permacultural activity allows and promotes talking to each other, because it does not require a big concentration and because it is a team activity. He was hired by INTRAS and came every day to work, he became very autonomous and was very motivated by the work in the edible garden. He also made friends and started living in a flat by his own. During PERMIND he also studied and got a Professional Certified on Garden Center’s Assistant. Now he lives independently and works in an ordinary company». (PERMIND Course at Valladolid, Spain) «PERMIND has produced a 180º change in S attitude towards life in general, he feels satisfied with his life. He feels more relaxed, he is better tempered and more implied with the work and with his family. Before the project he used to be nervous very often and always tried to avoid working, he did not mind at all his work and never made any effort in learning new things. Now he is totally committed with his work, he enjoys learning new things and provides new ideas. He is proud of his job. Moreover, this change has also had effects in his relation with his family. Before PERMIND he had a lot of discussions with their parents, now he thinks they are the fundamental pillar of his life». (PERMIND Course at Coreses,Zamora, Spain) «The changes were slow, but very impressive. With the garden, there came exercise and the residents felt better. With exercise came interest in eating well and they became interested in vegetables, then in cooking the products and finally in what everyone else was doing. The garden made the loose group at Ježica into a team, which improved their bonds and made them want to socialize. While it is too soon for us to tell whether there are any significant longterm changes in the residents’ mental health, permaculture definitely improved their lives beyond what we, or they, expected». (PERMIND course at Ljubljana, Slovenia)






«At first the program seemed quite difficult and very theoretical. The result was, after all, impressive. We made something original in our field and we broke a routine of years. The fact that we have improved the field’s soil was also positive… He considers it important that he learned new things, but even more importantly, he came closer to the rest of the team… He believes that the program and its meetings helped him become more sociable. He thinks we have to go ahead and propose it elsewhere. We should also continue exchanging information over the internet. We would also like to create gardens in schools in the city». (PERMIND Course at Alexandropoulis, Greece)

«He [male, 32 years old] felt happier and more relaxed in a long time. He is a very curious person and learned a lot about permaculture and nature. He started new habits in taking nature walks and found an interest in planting, especially chili plants. Being in a kind and strengthening environment helped him to feel calm and secure enough to take the next step in his long process of getting back to school or work. He told us that the stay at Noas ark really changed his life; that he felt seen, listened to and got his spirit and motivation back». (PERMIND Course at Onsala, Sweden) This information coincided in time - July 2019 - with the final drafting of the PERMIND Course Training Guide by the ADP, once the information generated throughout the year of operation of the 5 pilot projects was taken into account.

This synchronicity means enormous satisfaction for the ADP as a public utility association, and ratifies at European level the results of our extinct Special Employment Center Finca El Mato Permacultura (2002-2013), a social enterprise that is still paying off thanks to the cultivation of a good therapeutic soil.


| 18


Project number: 2017-1-ES01-KA204-037996

The European Commission support for the production of this publication does not constitutean endorsement of the contents which reflects the views only of the authors, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.

Issuu converts static files into: digital portfolios, online yearbooks, online catalogs, digital photo albums and more. Sign up and create your flipbook.