The International Permaculture Conference
The International Permaculture Conference was giving Cuba a highlight with its 11th meeting. Habana Libre Hotel in Havana was buzzing with all the permaculturalists from 64 different countries hugging, laughing, refinding each other after years or making new connections.
The Gala Dinner was our first meeting in a beautiful “club” in the Vedado neighbourhood of Havana with a great porch to hang out on with a drink and new and old connections to encounter. A shower of rain did little to disturb the high spirit of the dinner. Cuban music was played loud and rum was put on our tables and so the party started.
Spot a few known faces from The Conference in this short video (Presentations will be available later).
First day of the convergence was about “Permaculture on islands”:
• The official opening was done by Liliana Nunez Velis who is the president of the Antonio Nunuez Jimenz Foundation for Nature and Humanity.
• Roberto Perez followed the opening getting into the flesh of insular permaculture, using his own nation Cuba as the shining example.
• From Europe’s British Isles Andy Goldring presented permaculture in the UK emphasising some of the intricate workings and organisation of the Permaculture Association.
• Trish Allen told a compelling story about permaculture providing appropriate response to the recent earthquakes in New Zealand where she is active in the Permaculture Association.
• Hawaii was represented by Hunter Heaivilin, talking mainly about the Permablitz Movement, Urban Food growing and Urban Forestry in vacant spaces in Honolulu engaging local organisations, tropical food security and translating this into creating urban communities that can create food security working at different spatial and temporal scales.
• Our own Helder Valente from Portugal talked about the New Permaculture School and about Macaronesia, maybe better known as the Canary Islands.
Second Day was about “Permaculture and climate change”:
• Carmen Cabrera from Cuba highlighted the interconnectedness of communities, permaculture and climate change on her subtropical island,
• Specialist in eco-villages Albert Bates from USA talked about their response to climate change and a lot about charcoal,
• Australian Robyn Francis talked about permaculture solutions to the challenges of climate change,
• Low-energy greenhouses and diversity of systems was US citizen Jerome Osentowski’s solution to ease the effects of climate change,
• Robin Clayfield from Australia did a workshop and got us all into groups to harvest our experiences and opinions about how to use permaculture principles to reverse climate change,
• From Denmark, Tony Anderson talked about “The Strategy of Ten Thousand Trees” meaning that if politicians and people wholeheartedly went all in for a global strategy to plant this many trees per person in a lifetime, we could change the climate effects away from disaster and towards regeneration.
The third day’s theme was “Urban permaculture and liveable cities”:
• Permaculture in human settlements in Cuba was presented by Maria Caridad Cruz,
• Marisha Auerbach and April Samson-Kelly talked about the Urban Permaculture Movement in Portland, Oregon, US, including super inspiring stories from ‘City Repair’
• Tierra Martinez from Argentina highlighted experiences of Urban permaculture in different climates, ecosystems and cultures in South America and was a strong advocate for South American permaculture,
• Stuart Muir Wilson introduced the concept of Permatectura (permacultural architecture) and talked about improving the criteria of United Nations Program for Development (UNDP) with permaculture,
• Darren Dougherty also presented his latest work developing international regenerative agriculture techniques and networks, introducing us to his new brand (and forthcoming book) – ‘Regrarianism’.