Permaculture Powered Community Development
I don’t know about you, but when permaculture was suggested to me a technique for community development I had some doubts but having seen Edge5 Permaculture in action I am a convert. The Edge5 way uses an integrated approach to design, combining the ecological processes of land, plants, animals and climate into highly productive systems resulting in stronger and healthier communities. The approach is practical and hands-on, encourages peer-to-peer learning, starts at the backdoor with intensive kitchen gardens before building to larger scale strategies for water-harvesting, sustainable farming (crops, trees and animals) and agro-forestry.
- The Link between Permaculture, Social Licence and Community Development
Community Development is one of the three pillars of fair benefit distribution (the others being local employment and local business development). Greg and I believe that leaving stable, healthy, self-reliant rural communities with water security; affordable and reliable sources of nutritious, locally produced food and productive natural and managed landscapes built on pre-existing local natural and community resources is a worthy aspirational development legacy for any business. We also believe that Edge5 Permaculture can deliver this legacy using flexible, cost-effective, low-risk solutions tailored to company and location specific needs.
Greg is a student of Bill Mollison (the father of Permaculture) with over 25 years experience delivering permaculture solutions in rural communities across Asia, Africa and Australia. Greg brings deep knowledge of Permaculture and the ability to transfer knowledge and initiate change in communities. Greg’s approach is hands on with a strong focus on problem solving, peer-to-peer learning and mentoring local champions.
I'm an engineer, manager and social performance coach, with an interest in helping companies make the connection between their business drivers and local community aspirations in order to deliver sustainable development programmes into communities and social licence for companies. My time in site operations, community and corporate roles provides an uncommon insight into what are often very different perspectives that need to be considered when delivering fit-for-purpose solutions. I am partnering with Greg to deliver Permaculture Projects that meet the needs of exploration and mining companies.
The Edge5 Permaculture Advantage
We know that the natural resources available to local (particularly rural) communities from which to create sustainable self-reliance are the land (soil), the climate – sun and water (energy), plants and animals, human skills and knowledge and community dynamics. We also know from experience that community development projects have the best chance of being successful if they build on what is in place. It follows that including agriculture-based programmes in any community development strategy is the smart thing to do.
Permaculture (permanent-culture) is the design and maintenance of agriculturally productive ecosystems which have diversity, stability and resilience. A multi-disciplinary approach, permaculture integrates biology, ecology, geography, regenerative agriculture and community development.
Edge5 implemention uses a well-tested, staged approach that gives the best possible opportunity for success, with reviews built in and opportunities to adjust, pivot, suspend or stop. This philosophy applies across the full spectrum of company and project size and life-cycle phase. The advantages of this approach include rapid roll-out, small initial financial commitment and low initial risk for potential high long-term reward. The only pre-requisites are a community relations team member with an agriculture background and senior management commitment.
All Edge5 projects start small – where small is a relative term – for a junior company, small might mean a subset of directly impacted villages (1 or 2), for a mega-project it might mean every directly impacted village (10, 20, 30, 50…).
The model is simple:
Teach/Transfer Knowledge => Trial/Test => Monitor => Feedback => Learn from the experience =>
Upscale only if there is demand from the Community => Stop anytime if the Community is not interested
Edge5 Project Delivery
Edge5 can deliver Permaculture solutions four ways:
Community Development through Permaculture: Permaculture knowledge and skills transfer for project-affected rural communities in combination with training in Social Licence for Business delivered on-ground by Greg (permaculture) and me (social licence for business).
Garden-to Plate: Permaculture knowledge and skills transfer for rural communities delivered by an on-ground by Greg or a local partner.
Practical Permaculture: A set of courses sharing permaculture knowledge and skills, delivered on the ground by Greg.
Practical Permaculture On-line: Permaculture knowledge and skills transfer delivered remotely and interactively by Greg.
The aim is the same every time - growing food sustainably.
Edge5 Permaculture projects are designed so that everyone wins. Sounds a bit cliched but it is true.
Runs on the Board
ADRA EMBRACE: This four-year multi-country initiative commissioned Edge5 to provide education programs and support in families’ self-production of food from kitchen gardens. Edge5’s work addressed a key component of ADRA’s aims - the increased consumption of nutritious food by women and young children. Rolled out in four countries – Cambodia, Philippines, Myanmar, and Rwanda - the EMBRACE Permaculture kitchen garden education program comprised the classic ‘Introduction to Permaculture’ course and the two-week certificated ‘Permaculture Design Course’ together with extensive on site and online support from Edge5 and in-country ADRA staff. The idea of using kitchen gardens to improve family nutrition has taken hold widely with feedback from ADRA in Rwanda that the program has led to the establishment of 13,000 kitchen gardens. In 2019, the Permaculture Design home garden model was adopted by the National Child Development Agency (NCDA) responsible for nutrition interventions in Rwanda.
Rainbow Ridge: Edge5 has worked with Australian NGO Communities Assist since 2011 to transform Rainbow Ridge from bare, dry, degraded dirt into five acres of highly productive self-sustaining food forest. Edge5 is currently supporting the transition of Rainbow Ridge to a Community-focussed Permaculture Hub - demonstrating, educating and improving food security for local people by mentoring the Green Team to develop a Garden-to-Plate curriculum and local language training materials and to deliver Permaculture and Home Kitchen Garden courses in the local community. Watch as Communities Assist Founder and CEO John O’Reilly shows how Edge5 Permaculture has transformed Rainbow Ridge https://www.edge5.com.au/.
If you want to learn a bit more about Permaculture, Social Licence and Community Development, use the Contact Form at the bottom of the page and we'll be in touch to arrange a convenient time for a call.
- Edge 5 Permaculture - Adapting to Change