Teaching Resilience Design for Technical Field Staff

Tom Cole (Thomas Cole), Brad Lancaster and myself just returned from Zimbabwe where we facilitated a Resilience Design Course for Technical field staff of programs funded by the Food For Peace program as a part of the USAID TOPS (Technical Operations Performance Support) team. Our Resilience Design training is a mix of Agroecology, the Permaculture Design platform, and the Water Harvesting principles with an emphasis on Soil Biology. The trainings are finding an enormous amount of traction in the big NGO world and within USAID itself. We are working to bring the science of whole systems, integrated design deep into the very fabric of USAID and all the organizations they fund on a systemic level.

We facilitated most of the training in the field and where we model how to empower farmers as the experts in their communities and trains the technical field staff how to offer support rather than prescriptive advice. The training is teaching how to work from the big patterns that influence their program sites to deriving principles from nature and flourishing human support systems, then designing in a site context specific way that helps them co-create with the farmer, the best techniques and strategies for the unique conditions of the site.

In just 3-weeks, myself and a host of other guest instructors will be teaching a more expanded version of this Resilience Design course as a full Permaculture certification course with an emphasis on International Development. Step out into the world of Resilience Design and JOIN US... we still have some openings and some discounts available! Sign up w/friend and you each get $150 off, if you have taken a PDC before, we offer a refresher discount with an emphasis on International Development of $200 off! For more info please visit: http://www.quailsprings.org/programs/permaculture/pdcid

The Muonde Trust- Zimbabwe

I am currently in Zimbabwe sharing and learning with model farmers of the Muonde Trust. Brad Lancaster, Thomas Cole and I are here to work with the USAID funded program to facilitate a training with technical field staff through their Food for Peace programs, which work with small holder farmers.

The Muonde Trust (http://www.muonde.org) is an incredibly effective community organization that is connecting farmers together through the principles of water harvesting and being innovative stewards of the land. The farms we visited through Muonde Trust clearly showed the relationship between community cultural interaction, rainwater harvesting, soil building, and increased and diversified food, fodder and fuel production are intricately linked to resilience.

In times of extreme climate events, like the extreme drought in Zimbabwe, whole systems, integrated design is essential in buffering those extremes. Like the farmer below in the pictures, having abundance in the midst of these record drought comes from applying sensible principles of design that are derived from nature.

Join us in just 5 weeks when we host our 5th annual PDC for International Development at Quail Springs. Our teaching team includes myself, Rafter Sass Ferguson, Pandora Thomas, Alissa Sears, Lindsay Allen and Thomas Cole. Learn more here:

Adventures in Aloe- Zimbabwe

Safely in Harare, Zimbabwe, Tom Cole and I are beginning a two-week journey of Aloe hunting and exploration of water harvesting examples that will lead to a training we are giving (along with Brad Lancaster) for USAID in Resilience Design. 

This country is beautiful and we have spent the last day wandering an ancient city called Great Zimbabwe and appreciating the noble tree aloes. Everyday is a new adventure...