Hello from Nature’s Gift Permaculture Centre. We thought we should provide you all with an update of some of the things that have been going on since June, when Oliver Wootton replaced our much-loved founder Hope Thornton as Executive Director.
The centre still functions as a training and demonstration centre, but is now run by our umbrella organisation, the Kusamala Institute of Agriculture & Ecology, a not-for profit enterprise, registered with the Council of NGOs in Malawi. Don’t be alarmed, our focus remains the same; to promote environment, food and nutrition security in Malawi.
The centre has proceeded full steam ahead with its projects and demonstrations. Our residential food production continues to yield great meals for staff and residents; our commercial vegetable garden still supplies some of Malawi’s most successful restaurants and private customers now have access to our produce through the recently launched vegetable box scheme; our staple field is undergoing the final touches as we enter the rainy season; and we have holes ready to go for some 7,000 trees, including indigenous, naturalised and more directly functional trees. On the trainings side, we have four apprentices coming from Home of Hope orphanage in January, we are training communities in the benefits of Jatropha, Neem and Moringa, others in improved horticultural production and bee-keeping, and we continue to work at Kachere Juvenile Prison to offer inmates and guards access to an improved local environment.
We’re very excited by the prospects for the staple field. With such a large part of the Malawian economy relying on agriculture (some 85% of Malawians employed in agriculture), we are showcasing contour planting, water harvesting and conservation, agroforestry, inter-planting to fix nitrogen, crop diversification, mulching and composting. All these should result in higher yields and a diversity of produce, contributing to increased revenue, health and nutrition. Through these activities we will be contributing to climate change mitigation and climate change adaptation. In order to provide evidence to back-up these activities, we have brought in some research assistance and plan to publish our results.
We’re looking forward to harvesting our Jatropha seeds (planted solely as a boundary fence), so that we can avoid the daily fuel queues and run our vehicle on energy we’ve produced by ourselves. Additionally, we’ve lowered our costs and carbon emissions by utilising bike taxis for our vegetable deliveries where possible.
We’ve also welcomed new employees as our team has expanded, unfortunately had to say goodbye to others as they have moved on into the world, and had a real conveyor belt of volunteers and interns from all over the world adding to the activities and ideas around the centre.
We have other projects on the go and some in the pipeline, so if you keep up with our website, you can stay abreast of the news.
So, thanks for reading and I hope you feel like you know our centre and our new direction a little more. Feel free to get in touch and let us know what you think.