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Advice greatly needed

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Hello, I was wondering if anyone here can offer advice and direction. A brief introduction. I am currently working on my masters in community and international development. I recently returned form a study tour in Madagascar and as some of you might know it is one of the poorest countries on earth. A group of us would like to help over there by building a vocational school. While there I visited an Eco-village and got my first exposure to permaculture. I was so impressed that I would like to integrate it into the school. My plan is to add it into the curriculum and use it to provide students with at least one meal a day. We are hoping for around 100 students but it could be as high as 200. Is this a viable plan? How much land would you recommend is needed to make this work? I am also looking into adding SRI method for rice cultivation. Do any of you have any thoughts on integrating rice into a permaculture plan?Any and all advice is welcome and greatly appreciated!!!
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Location: Southern Minnesota, USA, zone 4/5
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Welcome to permies Mao!

The only advice I can give is to clearly articulate what you want, formulate a plan (or maybe about 6 by the time you're truly on your way!) and most of all stick to it!

You will learn that most of the ideas in permaculture are nothing new, it's just a framework for trying to make some sense of it all and to obtain results that are not simply sustainable but regenerative. Answers to your specific questions will present themselves as you observe the situation and learn from other examples around the world.

If you're interested in rice be sure to read the books of Masanobu Fukuoka and check the sections of these forums pertaining to him:

Fukuoka forums
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Location: Tri-Cities, Washington
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Hi Mao:

I see that you are looking for two things, a curriculum on permiculture and rice in a permiculture setting. Let us look at this one at a time.

People do workshops all the time. The students that go to these get 2 to 4 weeks of intensive training. At the end of it, you may be able to get a certificate which states that you know permiculture design well enough you can teach others. Some of the Big people in Permiculture give some of these work shops, like Paul Weaton and Geoff Lawton as well as many others. These are great, but some would argue that they go at a break neck pace, and if you do not use the principles right away, you might forget some of the concepts. I believe what you are talking about is a steady curriculum that is permanent at a school.

Enter Bastyr University. They have a 5 quarter (summer to summer) set of course work in a program called Holistic Landscape Design (Permicuture). Only one of 4 universities in the country that can grant this certificate. If you visit their website, it shows the titles of the classes required for the certificate (not a degree). Most people are getting another degree while pursuing this certificate. I went to an open house there a few weeks ago to check out the permiculture program. This is a 50 acre campus, but I would say, the space devoted to permiculture on the campus is less than 3 acres. And it is not completely devoted to permaculture because there are herbologist degrees offered and stuff. I also went to their book store to see which books were being sold for the permiculture classes (I even bought one). If you follow this link, it will take you straight to the program offered in the Seattle area Bastyr University page. I am sure that if you call them, they would be happy to give you some details about their program.

Rice on a permiculture farm. I have seen a few youtube videos about Fukuoka. I have also seen a guy who had several small ponds on his 2 acre permiculture farm. Some of the ponds were shallow that were filled with the rain water during the year, at the right time he allowed the ponds to drain into the lower pond.

I also suggest you learn Paul Weaton's "bricks". These are little factoid that by themselves will do little, but put together, can save the planet.
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Hi Mao,

Here's a book I think may help you:
Social Entrepreneurship: New Models of Sustainable Social Change, edited by Alex Nichols
(there are used copies on Amazon for under $5)

More and more businesses are being started with the primary purpose of creating beneficial social change.
These are hybrids of regular business models, and they measure their success by how much of a social impact
they've made and not just by how much net profit they've gained.

Anyhow, the book contains case studies of various successful social entrepreneur models (environmental,
humanitarian, economical, for-profit, non-profit, etc.) There was a case story in particular that reminded me
of what you're talking about. Here's the general story I remember:

In a 3rd world community where food was hard to come by, a social entrepreneur went in with a multiple approach
to solving the problem and stimulating the local economy. He brought in everything needed to start growing crops,
hired local workers, sold the products in local markets, gave some away to those who couldn't afford to buy it,
taught classes so others in the community could grow the same and other crops, sold everything they would need
to start their own crops, and provided loans with 0% interest (and I do think I've remembered that correctly;
he used another social entrepreneur model to pull that one off. It's in the book). He achieved his primary goals
of making the community more self-sustainable, self-sufficient, and also made a profit. They don't need him

The book also contains information determining which business structure to go with, how to define and measure
the social impact you want to have, and so on. Studying these models and methods can help you set realistic
goals, establish partnerships and succeed.

You might also want to check these out:
Hey! Wanna see my flashlight? It looks like this tiny ad:
Work/trade opportunity in the beautiful sanda cruz mountains of california
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