Our second weeks journey on the Accredited Permaculture Training Programme started with the home. We explored the design and materials involved in sustainable buildings, and the ecosystems that can be created around them to accept the waste products from the house. This led us into working with  both domestic and large-scale composting techniques with a focus on urban spaces.

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Next up on the agenda was to understand the water cycles in different contexts. We discovered all the ways in which one can harvest rainwater, with an emphasis on runoff harvesting through earthworks. Tools for measuring contours also came into the picture and we learnt how to use the A-Frame and the water level.

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Our journey then took us into the perennial food forest system and we looked at strategies for various climates and implemented further stacking of the current food forest  at Rocklands: adding more productive species to an existing olive, pomegranate and fig system nested into thick indigenous windbreaks.

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Our final day of the week was spent wrapping up all our practical implementation and ended on a high note, visiting a biodynamic and organic farm next to Spier Estate. John Turner is currently managing the organic production garden and is an experienced permaculturalist who taught at Fambidzanai in Zimbabwe for many years before moving to South Africa. His inputs on permaculture frameworks resonated with everyone visiting the site as he guided us through the various systems which exposed participants to an experience of clean and integrated food production at a commercial level. We ended our day visiting urban agriculture sites in Stellenbosch, which marked the end of a fantastic week, and the beginning of the final run into actual permaculture design.

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Written by Calvin Dias: Co-facilitator of the Accredited Permaculture Training and Internship Programme.