View Full Version : Permaculture went to Chinese universities
07-07-2010, 08:08 PM
G'ay, while I was travelling in China last month, I was arranged to give talks on introduction of Permaculture in two chinese universities, Nanking Argicultural University and JiangSu University. The talks are in Chinese, and each one runs for one and half hours to two hours.
It looks to me that I have achieved what I had expected, ie, introduction the concept, and people are interested in it, as Permuculture is almost brand new in Chiense Academics! Lots of questions were followed and dinners were arranged.
While I also noticed that my Permaculture experiences and knowledges could not address convincingly the major concerns in Chinese agriculture, eg, how to "destroy" straws in 18 days before the next crop are planted in the same field, although I knew that Geoff Loawton can make compost in 18 days, but they don't have enough manure and transpotation, and more importantly, no one want to do it by hand!. Another big question I was asked is how to liberate the peasants from field work. At the moment, in China, the average work load for each "mu" (about 1/6 acre) is 25 days per year, I am not sure whether this is more than or less than typical permaculture garden. :)
09-07-2010, 03:58 PM
Hello Jeff and welcome to the forums!
What a great opportunity you had to present Permaculture at two universities! Congratulations on your achievements and the interest you gained from your audience!
The 18 day miracle composting is an interesting feat. We duplicated this at the PDC I attended, but it takes some attention to detail and as you mentioned, labor. You probably already know this but the ratio of carbon (brown) and nitrogen (green) is important (30 carbon: 1 nitrogen) as is keeping the pile dampened. We were able to verify the composting action within the piles by using a long-stemmed thermometer. Don't know how one might accomplish this in a "field" though, other than to change from a mono-crop field to more of a food-forest type design.
Tell us some more about the environment you observed there. Are you planning to return to China for more Permaculture work?
09-07-2010, 08:20 PM
I'd be interested to hear more too.
09-07-2010, 09:15 PM
Well, I have not visited any farms or agricultural sites this time, and the major purposes of the talks in the universities are, besides introducing Permaculture, exchanging the views with the mainstream academy and finding out the areas where the Permaculture can be possible implemented as a start. I knew there are some people already doing so but lack of information. People there mentioned the best place to start is in the leisure farms of the riches, but I guess my next trip should include visiting south west part of China in the mountains where the environmental is very fragile and the local people are very poor, and to see what can Permaculture do to them and to the environment, not only to provide enough food to survive, but also make some money to have a better life.
As for making compost from straws, in China the purpose is to destroy it. I was informed that they want to do in large scale using machineries, and they have tried by adding urea to achieve idea C/N radio, but the result is not promising.
I did PDC with Bill and Geoff in September 2009. I really think this should be a way to go even for China. The university talk is my first step, and I am working on the second step, before that I need to make my small backyard in Sydney a real Permaculture garden, not only with the concept implemented, but also very productive and good looking. Please help.
Tropical food forest
11-07-2010, 05:34 AM
if the straw is too thick and interferes with culture
then a)feed it to goats
b) just rake it up
c) pyrolize it and throw char back on fields - that remove all C/N issues
you dont need ALL the straw to mainatin or improve organic mater in soil
if no animals then youd have to burn it - on a controlled setting - st that nutrienst are recpatured as condensate and carbon as char
nature doesnt even do it in 18 days otherwise
as for reducing labour
the chinese will just have to pay more for their food liek the rest of us
pay farmers MORE
thats the only option
food is too cheap
i am very interested in you comment 'liberate the peasents from their fieldwork' - i am living in a rural farming community down in Yunnan - the Naxi people do much fieldwork which is very sustainable - they are not peasants (just people living a fairly sustaiable lifestyle) and I doubt that they feel as tough they need to be liberated - i thought it was this method of low tech farming that permaculture was more akin too?
maybe I have misinterpreted your comment??
all the best
Bai Sha Bob
12-07-2010, 10:09 AM
hi, personally i have not had much recent practical experience.I grew up in Yugoslavia in a peasant /subsistence farming area.
Have recently come across the freely available e-book version of Fukuoka's books.
It may be the answer to some of the questions.
12-07-2010, 12:32 PM
the Naxi people do much fieldwork which is very sustainable - they are not peasants (just people living a fairly sustaiable lifestyle) and I doubt that they feel as tough they need to be liberated - i thought it was this method of low tech farming that permaculture was more akin too?
maybe I have misinterpreted your comment??
all the best
Bai Sha Bob
Perhaps it is getting towards the idea that permaculture is design intensive rather than labor intensive. The objective, of permaculture, as I understand it, is to design a self-maintaining system and "put the designer in the recliner" - so he can have free time to read permie books and post on permie forums. Would love to hear more about these Naxi people and their systems.
12-07-2010, 05:00 PM
I have been in Bai Sha a couple of years ago and it is really a nice place to live, especially for the "Lao Wai", as is seems the commercial activities are successfully targeted the foreigners - all the shop keepers can speak one or two English and manuals are in English, people seem happily working in the field, nothing is changed hundreds of years, and even "Shangrila" is within one inch on the map! But all this are superficial! People there are better off from the illusion for the tourists, and most of them, if not everything, is commercial. For the rest in the mountains, Yunnan is one of the poorest place in China, and people especially young people there, not different from other part of China, want to escape the country area and seek fortunes in cities.
For your question, when I say peasant, I mean the manual field worker on the land that does not belong to themself.
As for people working on sustainable-way there, yes, just read the book "Farmers of Forty Centuries: Organic Farming in China, Korea, and Japan", and Permaculture have taken many ideas from the pre-industrial agriculture ( as the Na Si people still is ).
I wish to visit Bai Sha again and enjoy coffee in your shop.
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