Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Preparing for Permaculture in India

Whilst in Thailand last year I had an insight to what I can do to further my work and continue on my path with teaching Permaculture.I was sitting in an internet booth in Khao San Road,Bangkok when a vision came to me of doing mobile consultancy throughout India on a Royal Enfield motorcycle.

I had come to Thailand after having to leave Japan due to visa issues.Thailand was relatively close to get to to regroup on some ideas to continue learning more of sustainable agriculture.I had been emailing anyone I could find an address for from Permaculture sites around the world to offer my services to help in anyway.

I had been getting few results from this so I started to dive further into my vision and create a realistic goal to work toward.I had been offered a position in India when I was in Japan for the following year in April,from a visitor to Fuji Eco Park,but that was still 10 months away.The way I saw things was I had to create my own situation to move ahead.I mapped out the idea I was having to weigh up the pros and cons.The Idea was to find the cheapest way back to Australia and work 6 months in the mining industry which is my normal field and pays well.This work is a means to an end but will get me closer to my goal sooner.

As much as Permaculture was in demand in these developing countries,no-one was in a position to be able to place me on a project where my skills could be utilized.Mind you,I had a good offer and opportunity to work at Strawberry Fields Eco Lodge in Ethiopia, but negotiations broke down due to the amount of financial support they would offer to get me there for a 12 month gig.I was getting broke and it seemed I had to return to Australia to organize a visa for Ethiopia.This ended up being an expense that neither the project nor I could afford at the time.

I set my plan in place and started to cross off items as I reached a positive result.
The plan was to purchase a rotating laser level (for surveying) and a projector (for presentations on the road) and some other tools that would assist me on the adventure I was embarking on.I considered having a sidecar on the motorcycle but didn't know the real possibility of this in India.I started researching for these tools for the best price and the most durable products.As the plan was to buy a Royal Enfield Diesel,the tools I would purchase needed to stand up to the horrific road conditions in India.I had seen heaps of docos from India and got a fairly good idea of what I was in for.The other reason behind the Enfield Diesel was to demonstrate making biodeisel to fuel my journey.

On returning to Oz I landed a good position as a Trainer/Assessor,which I hold a Cert 4 in,doing fly-in/fly-out work to mine sites throughout Western Australia.This work involves training site personnel in the safe and productive operation of heavy mining machinery (bulldozers,excavators,graders,haul trucks ect).I have been involved in this type of work most of my life until Permaculture hit me and I saw the ways that I was contributing to global warming and my own health.Like I have said,it is a means to an end and following more on a career in Permaculture I am hoping to balance things out by re-foresting the earth and teaching people to grow their own food where I can.

I bought my ticket to India in November 2008 as soon as I could afford it to secure the plan.Once I purchased it there was not turning back or I would lose the cost of the ticket.I was committed now.Return on a 12 month ticket cost $1064.00 with Quantas/Jet Airways.I found this flight through STA Travel then took the pricing to their competitors and got it even cheaper.It pays to shop around.I ended up getting the ticket for Magic Carpet Travel in Perth,WA,and they are located under the Indian Consulate which made it very easy for me to get them to arrange my visa at the same time.

I continued to work through the months leading up to April and in that time was hearing less and less from the project where I had the job offer where I was asked to supervise and implement water harvesting strategies in Hartola,Uttar Pradesh.Around about the same time I was contacted by Rico Zook,whom I had previously contacted from Thailand months earlier,offering me to project manage the implementation of an eco village in the south near Coorg,Karnataka.After some long distance calls to get info on this project I redirected my energy to this as the long term goals for both the project and myself were win win.The plan changed slightly but was in full swing to materialize.

I was nearing completion on the research for projector and laser level and was ready to finalize a purchase.I opted for a Spectra Precision LL100 laser level.This comes as a kit in a lockable carry case with tri-pod,staff,laser level and receiver all in one.It is very light weight (15kg)and the case is very durable.It is designed to be dragged around building sites to work in all conditions.I purchased it for $1600.00 with remote which was great value.I had to import it from the US as suppliers in Australia weren't bringing this model into the country.
Check this link for info on this unit.So much can be done with this tool.From large scale dam/swale earthworks set out to building foundations and wall truing.

Secondly I looked at the lightest most powerful ultra portable projector.I found a dealer with a Casio XJ-S35 on clearance sale and picked one up for $1100.00.A great investment and it weighs about the same as my laptop(1.3kg).A review can be found on the link below.

With all these things sorted and the major expenses covered I contacted Geoff Lawton from the Permaculture Research Institute,Australia(http://www.permaculture.org.au/) to see if they could arrange an extra Permaculture Teacher Training Course to follow the Aid Project Workers Course scheduled in early April.These courses compliment each other but were not being held consecutively and I wanted to attend both before leaving.The P.R.I was very generous in assisting with my request and a 4 day intensive program was added to their calender.Thanks again guys for your help.Covering these courses would give further knowledge for working in other cultures as well as using the template from the Master Plan for Permaculture projects.Even though the project I was going to be working on was not an aid project,I could still use the ideals in the implementation of it and potentially have it running sustainably after 3 years.

With all this arranged and just several weeks of work to go I had to organize vaccinations.I had used malaria drugs before but with terrible side affects.I have opted this time to go with homeopathic remedies for malaria and updated for typhoid and collera.I also purchased MMS as a counter measure against malaria and for balancing pH in the body.This stuff is amazing and it's curing capabilities don't just work on malaria.

I also was advised by others with past experience in India to travel with a water filter.Great sense and something I hadn't thought of.The type I was told of was the Waterworks II.It is a ceramic filter which will take out all baddies above 2 microns.

Well all the organizing was completed and the courses attended and bags were packed.I had also arranged a train ticket from Bombay to Bangalore for the day after I was to arrive in India.24 hours on the train would give me a good chance to see a bit of the country.All that is needed now is to purchase the motorcycle in country.It has all gone fairly smoothly for me as I planned everything the way I had visioned it to be then used common sense working around timing and other issues.My friends family have all been very supportive and I have made some great contacts for when I hit the ground.


ethanappleseed said...

Go Ringo! This is a great post man, lots of good detail and documentation on your process - very useful! Rock out in India and keep us posted -- shoot me an email and I'll connect you with any permies I know in the country.

Kathleen Mc said...

good to hear how it has gone for you Ringo mate.....you are certainly getting stuck into it! Congrats on keeping on with the dream and vision...

Kathleen Mc

Milkwood Nick said...

Hey ringo,

I have a very similar laser from spectra , a hv301 it's fantastic, hasn't missed a beat. You'll be very happy wit it.

Nice post

Cheers from milkwood

Samantha said...

Hi Ringo,

Just found your blog and it's great to see you are doing such amazing things! I live in Nagpur in Maharashtra with my husband and 6-month old daughter, but I'm originally from the UK. I'm trying to link up with people working with permaculture in India. I have completed the Design Course and am working towards the Diploma. I have a project working with farmers in the 'suicide belt' of Vidarbha, trying to help them farm more sustainably using permaculture and organic farming. We have started by setting up the Centre for Non-Violent Farming. I'm still a novice when it comes to permaculture, especially in India, but extremely keen to learn from those with more experience. Is there any chance that you might be traveling this way, or whether you know of any other people working on permaculture in this area of India? I'm trying very hard to network with everyone. I know many people wanting Design Courses too, so I would love to work alongside course leaders. Please let me know your thoughts. My name is Samantha (Sam) Bhaware and my email ID is sam_is_online@hotmail.com. Many thanks and hope to hear from you soon! Good luck with all the great stuff you're doing.

Anonymous said...

Hi Ringo

do u conduct training for biginners in Perma culture. If yes what is the cost and duartion. I am from Udupi Karnataka
S Kamath


Tina said...

You are coming at good place..here are lot of good opportunity here in that industry..You are trainer or teacher then people here will love you to much and you will get respect from all.

socially conscious gifts

Permaculture said...

Hi Paul

Its great hat you've touched base with us here in North India ... Our fledgling Permaculture Society of India will certainly welcome your input and expertise ... and a big thanks to Samantha for passing on our contact details to Paul ... for any interested parties that may want to network with us, kindly contact Vic Gaffney on +91.9871605353 or vic@permaculture.in

Best regards
Vic Gaffney

stewart s said...

Hi all,
This link takes you to my friend DV's internet site where Paul aka 'Ringo' has been very helpful.


Great post Paul, inspirational.
Stewart, Brisbane.

Raj said...

Hey Ringo, we are looking to set up sustainable farming projects in South Maharashtra and look forward to expert advise ad guidance.
Are you still in India training and teaching...
If you are or can guide us to people in this sector would definetely love to interact and find out more about this wonderful science.
I can be reached on 00919225901818
or bootstraping@gmail.com
Rajesh Mahajan

Dhammadarsa Bhikkhu said...

Hi Ringo

Glad to hear about your project. The posts are a bit old now, so I wonder what is happening.

I am an Australian Buddhist monk and am visiting Nagpur till the 9th of Feb., but may return to do a PhD in a year or so and stay on to serve the community.

I did the designer's course back in 1993 and am interested in establishing a "wholesome living centre" on some land that a Buddhist man owns in a village near Nagpur on which he is making a park and plans to have a meditation centre on the top of the hill. I envisige the park to be an example of Permaculture.

In the centre I want the subjects of Health-care and Family Planning, Permaculture, English, Computers and Meditation to be taught. Permaculture for me is an expression of the Buddhist teaching of Right Livelihood. I believe I have to show the Buddha's way of ending suffering practically and am really not interested in the rituals and strange interpretations that have grown around his teaching that is called Buddhism. I guess you could call me a rationalist Buddhist. [?]

I'll also contact Samantha and Vic who have posted on your blog.

Kind Regards
Take Care

Bharathi Travels said...
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