Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Sustainability and Permaculture at Ciyanjano

This last week we hosted ACTION International's international director Nelson Reed and ACTION's sustainability coordinator, Martin Scholz here at Ciyanjano. We spend a fun evening with the power out sitting around a candle-lit table and swapping snake stories and missionary tales (they both served in the Philippines for many years). Martin gave us an introduction on how we can convert Ciyanjano to a permaculture system which includes rainwater capture, food forests, composting toilets, and biochar for improved composting. We've got a work to do in preparing and deciding if this is a good model for Ciyanjano. The big idea is to make the land more productive and produce food for the missionaries on our team and the community without pesticides and fertilizers. In order to really follow the permaculture model we'd need to do A LOT of work. Here's a little bit on what we'd do. First we'd survey the entire property and find where and how water moves through the land during rainy season. Then create gardens along canal-like systems in order to slow down water and keep it from running away with our little top soil. These gardens should be food forests with various types of veg and fruit growing together at various levels. Then improve our soils by composting, using humanure, and biochar, (a type of high temp charcoal used in composting to create living space for beneficial microorganisms). We heard about how other fields have used this model and created lush forests of fruits and veg in dry and arid places. If we could do it well we'd have a model for teaching pastors how to do it on a smaller scale and  help them in the compounds to grow food for their families and congregants and deal with sewage and water problems. Could be awesome!


Martin gives us the permaculture overview

getting the biochar cooker prepped with corncobs

starting the fire

putting the smokestack on

when the cobs are finished they retain their shape and look because the high temps sequester the carbon

day two test

cooking up some biochar

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

This is awesome :) We are praying for wisdom for you guys in how to best do this. - Love Jeff & Natalie (and Jack!)

Jeff said...

Let me know if you need some help with the design and other resources. I know some people that might be of good help.

Jeff Caldwell

Linda Sorenson said...

I think this sounds very exciting! I know someone with a composting toilet. It was pricy, but works well. I love the garden idea, sounds like a win-win venture. As the Lord prompts me I'll shoot up some prayers on this matter. Linda