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

PERMIND ISSUE 3 

JANUARY

2019


PERMIND ISSUE 3 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 Sharing our experiences with the

experts

06 How are the pilots going on?


PERMIND ISSUE 3

JANUARY 2019

Editor's note by Laura MartĂ­nez

This third newsletter made us stop and think about what we are doing in the PERMIND project. We are now in the middle of the training course, working hard to prepare the land for winter time. We wanted to share with you the development of the pilot courses so far and it is only now when we realize about the wonderful results we are already achieving. We finally understand the meaning of permaculture and see its

positive effects on the people living with mental illness. The seed we planted more than one year ago is now emerging and starting to grow up. But our work does not finish here, this final stage of the initiative is more than exciting and we invite you to come with us in this amazing trip of personal and environmental knowledge.

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Sharing our experiences with the experts

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How are the pilots going on?

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Sharing our experiences with the experts The supervisory visits implemented between the end of June and September 2018 gave us a great opportunity to be aware about the mutual understanding of the PERMIND family.

We, the experts from the Association from the Development of the Permaculture, realized about the diversity of the five pilot experiences that are already being implemented: they are a wonderful example of collaboration and cultural diversity with the common thread of permaculture as a therapy.

These visits have been a mutual learning process, talking about pros and cons to the pilot experiences. We detected a positive disposition not only of the trainers but also of the trainees. The trainers recognized their fears at the very beginning of the training but they were absolutely sure about the feasibility of the project and its therapeutic potential. The designs of the edible gardens have been developed in a very remarkable way, as it was the first time that the teams faced a challenge like this. Anyway, we advised

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them to follow more carefully the PERMIND guide to improve the design and the subsequent development. In some of the pilot experiences, we realized that the knowledge acquired during the intensive training of the trainers and the ones appeared in the guide were put into practice successfully. Another important point was the need to make visible the designs co-created with the users as a motivation factor, so they can really feel part of the project. The most common problems and doubts were about compost (thickness, composition and distribution); the permacultural space (increase of the plant diversity and density); watering (avoid excess water in the face of acidification problems in the compost); plagues (role of biotopes and of aromatics); the hedges (biomass and shadows). We encourage the trainers to try to identify the problem prior to ask us and to check the PERMIND guide to find a solution. We highlight the opportunity to directly interact in the garden with the users that participated in three of the five pilot experiences, the chance to know the collaboration networks and the workmates of the project coordinators and trainers. During this first year of PERMIND, the ADP has been in charge of providing information, now it is the time of the trainers of the different pilot courses to inform about the experiences. We have asked the partners to send a report by the end of March 2019 including photos and videos to inform about the evolution of PERMIND in each of the countries after winter time. A key information to update the PERMIND guide (final version available by September 2019 for free in www.permind.eu).

The PERMIND first year meeting in Greece was an extension of the supervisory visits four months after our first visit. “Taking the soil” of the edible garden at the beginning of that meeting, allow us to evaluate the evolution of the five pilot courses. Dácil and Javier (ADP) are worried about the thickness of the compost, as most of the trainers did not follow strictly the instructions in the PERMIND guide related to it. Hence, the issue of correcting the thickness of the soil is a key factor to the future permanence of the edible gardens from the second year onwards. We reminded the partners that all the amending and maintaining process must be done prior to winter time and always jointly with the users, so we can have valuable information from the technical but also from the therapeutic point of view to improve the PERMIND guide.

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How are the pilots going on? As you might remember, the PERMIND project in Spain is being implemented in two different sites in Spain: one in a rural environment (Torres del Carrizal, Zamora) and another one in an urban neighborhood (Valladolid). The trainers in Zamora report a decrease in the presence of plagues (aphids and butterflies), a decrease in the water consumption and a good quality of the vegetables grown (at least as good as the ones obtained with the conventional ecological agriculture). They highlight the low work loud of working in a permacultural garden comparing with conventional ecological agriculture. From the therapeutic point of view, the trainees were interviewed and they declared that they were more comfortable working in the permacultural garden rather than in the conventional ecological garden. They seem to be more active and motivated now and all of them prefer now working in the PERMIND garden. In Valladolid the trainers also highlight the easy maintenance of the PERMIND garden. We managed to grow tomatoes, leeks, onions, zucchini, aubergines, chard, carrots‌ We are really happy about the production as we started from a very poor soil. The degree of involvement of the trainees also very good, as in Zamora; for them PERMIND is something new and they are always looking for the next step to be done. So far, we have detected one success story that moves us. One of the trainees has decided to continue his studies, he gave up his compulsory studies some time ago without finished them. Now, he has decided to start a formal education in agriculture as he has discovered that he really enjoys working in direct contact with the plants. These are the best news we could give you about PERMIND!

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The PERMIND gardens in Slovenia are currently at rest, due to low winter temperatures. The holidays are here and most of our staff and program users are taking the time to visit their families. It is therefore the perfect time for us to run a few more educational programs and promote the project. Four learning groups have been established in Metlika, Kočevje, Ajdovščina and Škofja Loka, with mentors learning new things about permaculture every week. The response from them has been great, and time has really shown the value of our pilot project. We now know how far our budget will stretch, how many people can be included and the limitation for our mentors. We have also learned to include our user base from day one. While gardens are being designed and our notebooks are being disseminated and printed, we have had an interesting time. ŠENT has just organised a large event, the Days of Social Economy, where PERMIND was presented alongside other projects to more than 45 different social enterprises, small and medium enterprises and the general public. We shared questionaires on twitter and facebook and tried to involve local businesses and ensure there will be enough arable areas for all our users come spring. Mr. Črt Kovač, as our primary educator, has introduced the subject of permaculture, which gathered a lot of attention, as the project itself is far more practical and shows more immediate results than most European Union funded projects. People respond well to PERMIND for precisely that reason-it is accessible to all, and everyone is able to contribute with something. It was refreshing to see government functionaires, farmers and project coordinators offer to help with gardening, recycling or even just visiting our trainees-as project usually attract only people with very specific interests. What we learned at the start of this winter is that permaculture is easily shared.

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The Greek team of the Permind project tackles the challenge of providing high-quality training in permaculture for people with mental health problems.The target of this effort is to create sustainable slow growing community, thus increasing their knowledge, competencies and work opportunities. Permaculture is viewed as a therapeutic activity and at the same time as a feasible and profitable way to make a living. A great effort was made by our team to disseminate the project, as we aim to spread permaculture as a real option to cultivate our fields and our minds. There is still a cruel social stigma attached to mental illness, due to ignorance and fear to the unknown, so we need to keep on working on showing that people with mental health problems are able to live a normal life, having much to share with all of us. Integration is a two-way work, we can prepare people with mental health issues to enter or re-enter the society, but a great effort must be done to sensitizate general society about mental illness.

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A good practice identified by our team is the “welcome baskets� activity. We prepared 50 baskets filled with fresh products, joy, enthusiasm and energy and the trainees distributed them in the local community. It was a training activity itself, as several steps had been done for the preparation of the baskets, from the designing of an informative flyer with information about the project to the presentation of this activity on mass media. It was an excellent way to show the high quality of the eco vegetables grown by trainees and to give visibility to the project fighting prejudice, while enforcing inclusion of people with mental health problems. It was also a good exercise to develop or enhance the patients’ communication and commercial skills, as they introduced themselves and explained why they are offering the basket. We received positive feedback from the local community (Mayor, chamber, local authorities, mass media, restaurants, farmers, customers), that supports and motivate our work. Keep going, keep growing!

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During the Permind project, the farm Noas Ark in Sweden realized that they have been using permaculture techniques. After an inspirational visit to Tenerife, they have implemented such techniques further. The permaculture dimension has been greatly appreciated by a group of long term sick-leave or unemployed participants, working in the garden. "The participants have been interested and want to learn more about permaculture. They have been very committed to working in the garden“ says Maja Riise, gardener and manager at Noas Ark. Inspired by the Permind project, coffee and newspaper has been used to develop the quality of the soil and weed maintenance. Noas Ark is situated on the beautiful Onsala peninsula by the sea and the farm has for some time used seaweed. Historically, this was used in swedish farms as nutrition. By mixing seaweed into the soil and using it as cover with mulch and wool from the farm, Noas Ark has unknowingly implemented permaculture design with positive effects.

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During a visit, experts from Tenerife concluded that the soil was of excellent quality. However, the permaculture design has also been challenging. Murder slugs thrive in the permaculture conditions and damage the plants. Maja would like to investigate how these slugs can be eliminated and how permaculture can be adapted to local issues. Eventually, the plants survived an unusually warm summer. “Now we have taken care of the last harvest that was sold during our fall celebration. We have collected seeds and look forward to year 2" says Maja Riise. Winter is arriving in Sweden and it is difficult to grow outside. The participants will spend the coming months preparing and planning for another exciting year of healthy plants and healthy people, using permaculture as guidance. Maja concludes that “permaculture also has an important dimension, in the sense of sustainability, that feels important in the work with people in stress leave”.

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Permind - Newsletter 3 - English  

Permind - Newsletter 3 - English