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Teacher's Manual Widening Participation

Widening Participation – Permaculture for Disabled

People Care is one of the ground pillars for Permaculture and we aim to reach out to everybody in society. A survery among Permaculture teachers in Europe revealed that disabled people are currently not involved or participating in courses. So how do we reach out to them?

One way is to approach them personally, but to do so we have to find people. A good way for finding disabled people is establishing cooperation with the social office at local councils. This would include explaining Permaculture even to social workers so they understand how the target group will benefit. Knowing peoples’ names and addresses enables us to send a personal invitation to an event, a course or a workshop.

Another way for waking interest could be organising events (with food, music and PC info/ workshop) that are advertised in media. In the ad it should to be pointed out that the event is wheelchair friendly, for example.

Further considerations:

  • For people with concentration problems there could be hands-on activities. Simple words should be used when explaining concepts. Sign language could be used for people who are deaf.
  • There is a possibility to connect with an emerging trend of “social farming”.  Maybe there is space for social Permaculture.
  • Permaculture principles could be used in therapy work, eg. gardening.
  • There is an opportunity to apply for funding when creating, for example, Permaculture courses that are specially targeted to disabled people.

 By Ivi Kuul, Swedish permaculture association, 30.05.2014 EPT meeting Danmark