Prepared by Adriana Pal of Escuela de la Jungla
Futuro Verde Permaculture Program summary and challenges:
Preeschoolers - Guardians of Nature Movement workshop: they had a presentation about the movement and where also given the children's books which are part of the Cadena de Favores Program, where for every book bought a child from a low resource rural area school gets one for free. The workshop focused on awareness of plastic in the rivers and oceans and what and how to take action and make a difference.
1st Grade - Happy Chickens workshop: they have now a daily, weekly and monthly schedule on what they need to do to keep the chickens happy and healthy. There was also some improvement in the perennial chicken coop as we have new fencing now, more mulch and plants.
2nd Grade - Biointensive 1 workshop: we thought they would be great at sowing the seeds for the school garden, but we were wrong, unfortunately their fine motor skills and concentration are not that great for that job so since they are the official Guardians of Plants we have them now focusing on propagating and planting seeds and plants that help repel harmful insects and attract beneficial, so they planted around the biointensive beds lemongrass, gotas amargas and made a flower bed. They also have the job of checking the plants for harmful insects.
3rd Grade - Compost workshop: we have succesfully made 3 compost piles through the lasagna method and are starting 3 other piles. We are making the new ones with goat manure instead of kitchen scraps to compare results. We still have to organize a trip to a worm farm in Rio Negro so they can learn about worm composting and can start a bin at the school.
4th Grade - Propagation of Chicken Coop and Food Forest plants: ginger, turmeric, frijol de palo, hoja sen, and saragundi. All medicinals or nitrogen fixers to help prepare the soil for future trees.
5th Grade - Propagation of Wildlife plants: manzana de agua, espavel, guanacaste, and papaya.
6th Grade - Bioferments and foliar sprays: we made 2 bioferments, 1 with molasses and fruits as an inmmune boost for plants and another 1 with molasses and medicinal herbs as an insecticide and fungicide. The idea is to propagate the plants needed to make these bioferments, so while the plants grow and start producing they where also taught about compost tea, which they can keep making all year round with the 3rd graders compost.
7th Grade - Seed Saving workshop: they learned about preservation and proper storage of seeds and started the school's seed bank. They also have a plant propagation list for plants that attract pollinators and have to organize a seed exchange at the school.
8th Grade- Biointensive Gardening workshop: they were introduced to the principles of biointensive gardening, sowed open pollinated seeds into biointensive boxes and started the school's vegetable garden. We are just a little concerned about the light coming into the beds since now in the rainy season we are noticing the trees around them are creating lots of shade. We might need to do some trimming.
9th Grade- Medicine Making workshop: we made a cough syrup, a vinegar tincture for headaches and an ointment for bites and sprains. The students did a research project and went class to class asking about the student's most common ailments. They also have a plant propagation list for medicinal plants to be planted in the founder's garden and will continue to make more medicine as we have more plants.
10th Grade- Analog Forestry workshop: they were introduced to the methodology during the Green Wave House and Cabo Blanco fieldtrip and have started working on the food forest design.
Challenges, Followups, Other Considerations:
- After the workshops, I gave a couple of follow up visitations to make sure they were keeping up with the projects. There were some challenges through the process, such as watering the plants. In the beginning it was hard for them to find the time but now they have managed to keep it up. The only concern now is who is watering through out the school break.... They said there is a guard that will do it but we need to be sure.
- There is a lot of propagation happening at the nursery, the idea is not only to plant these plants at the school, but also to sell them at the end of the year at the Sustainable Solutions Fair so that with the money they can keep buying seeds and other materials for the program.
- The permaculture bodega still needs to be organized better, Javier was supposed to give me a quote for shelves but I haven't got it so I was thinking that we could get one of those metal shelves for storage. I can get them in EPA very cheap. Also, when we had the quote for the chicken coop fence we had some extra materials and Javier said we could use them to make a cement floor for the bodega, which would be great to keep in clean since now it has a dirt floor. I'm just waiting for Walter to have time available to make it.
- I met with Javier this week and he suggested me to continue with the follow ups the second half of the year. He said that once a month during the Environmental Education class for every grade is fine, so it would be a total of ten 2 hour visitations per month until the end of the school year in December.
- The only workshop that is pending to teach is the Intro to Permaculture for new teachers, that was supposed to happen in April but was never rescheduled.
- The only project left that is in the budget is the Founder's Garden. I had a meeting about it with Javier, Khalida and Fiona last week. Khalida will make the design for the garden with her students and I will be in charge of getting all the materials for it and the logistic of the plants. This garden will be the kitchen garden - medicinal and culinary.
- The permaculture program for Futuro Verde was thought to focus on something different each year, since permaculture is about FOOD, WATER, POWER and SHELTER. This year the focus is on food production and now we are seeing that the garden that might need an irrigation system would be the founder's garden. If Green Wave wants to support an irrigation system we could maybe as Breck from Hoja Nueva to help us with a quote. The garden will be rather small, so I don't think it will be too expensive but we'll have to wait and see Khalida's design. The other gardens, such as the biointensive beds and nursery won't have any plants during the school break in the summer so they won't need watering. And the food forest and chicken coops plant either since most of them are drought resistant and perennial.
- I'm also investing a couple hours a week writing the manual and the follow up guides for the teachers, these ones wil be ready in a couple of weeks.
- We are waiting to meet with Lural or Katie for feedback and to discuss the program and how it will evolve into a curriculum. It's important to know we're on the right track and the time me writing the manuals and guides is well spent.