Most children in our valley come from subsistence farming families that depend heavily on successful food growing. At Paleng we have started a small vegetable garden. Here we want not only to grow our own food, but also to provide a place to teach children about permaculture ethics and principles that we believe are important.
We have chosen the permaculture framework because we feel that it best fits our context. The ethics we follow are: care for the earth; care for people; and fair share, distribution of any surplus. We have involved our children in the whole process as much as possible. The soil we have to work with is poor, so we are focused around improving the soil. We do this in a number of ways: feeding the keyhole beds with manure, wood ash and mulching heavily; preparing a compost heap; taking care of the water needs; and planting things that we know are going to help our soil such as legumes, comfrey and low-maintenance indigenous edible plants.
We have a challenge in our water supply, but part of the teaching process is to work out with the children how we can work with what we have to meet this challenge.Here some of the children are helping to build our compost heap, and to prepare liquid manure that we will use later on our crops.
Hard work, but fun!