International Permaculture Convergence & Conference, Malawi, 2009

IPC9 is being held in southern Africa this month and next.  The theme is “Plan Africa~ Food & Empowerment.”  On Thursday I am traveling to Fambidzanai in Zimbabwe to take a Permaculture Design Course for 2 weeks, then on to Lilongwe, Malawi for 5 days of the convergence and conference.  Interestingly, to attend the conference, one must have a permaculture design certificate, which is based on a curriculum from Bill Mollison and Dave Holgrem, the co-creators of the science-art-whole-systems-horticulture-earth-care-people-care-shibang.

This event takes place every other year, previously held in: Brazil, Croatia, Scandinavia, USA, Australia, New Zealand, and Nepal.  I’m very curious to see what a permaculture conference might be like, especially one that is international.  I generally think that permaculturists are ultra-eco-minded and therefore wouldn’t want to spend the carbon miles it takes to fly from one continent to another.  Then again, maybe the results of such an event are worth it in the balancing scales.

I’m looking forward to an adventure, increasing my knowledge of permaculture, and meeting people in this region who are working with food security, nutrition, and caring for the earth.  I’m curious to find out how people are applying permaculture in neighboring countries.  Fambidzanai is the first site in Africa to practice permaculture, starting in 1988 after Bill Mollison’s trip to Botswana in 1987.

Through all the trouble Zimbabwe has experience, people still have wonderful things to say about it.  Both Zim and Malawi are known for excellent growing climates which will be quite a change from semi-arid Bots.  Permaculture has the potential to be very transformative for communities and I hope that this meeting of folks will be inspiring and motivate people to get it growing.

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