[permaculture] alternatives to Poppies

kris kaul kriskaul at yahoo.com
Wed Dec 19 12:10:27 EST 2007

  For a long-term solution I would take a look at what Lambi Fund (www.lambifund.org) is doing in Haiti, or rather what the Haitian peasants themselves are doing with support from Lambi.  The focus is on giving seed money, training, and technical support to projects conceived by Haitians grassroots groups.  Although Haiti has a tropical climate, the extreme degradation of the land has led to erosion and drought in many parts of the country.  The focus on a return to local self-sufficiency in food and other goods would in any case apply to Afghanistan.
  Here are examples of some of the projects: 
  - agricultural cooperatives, including education and training in community farming, goat and pig breeding, water collection, and reforestation with valuable (food or lumber producing) tree species.
  - micro-credit and training for women.  Women in Haiti form the backbone of the agricultural economy and do most of the marketing.  Micro-credit allows them to take turns taking small loans for building up sustainable enterprises.
  - a small mill cooperative run by women.  Previously, women had to walk several days to mill their grain, and lost part of the grain's value in paying the miller, then had to carry the milled grain several more days to market.
  - reforestation nursery cooperatives.  Training and seed money were provided.  The nursery now serves not only to reforest the region around the community but also sells seedlings and provides technical assistance well beyond.
  - building cisterns and irrigation canals.  By working directly with peasant groups and their plans, the water projects completed by Lambi are still functioning and providing multiple benefits while other top-down "solutions" imposed from outside have failed.
  Some other projects include community honey production, grain storage, spice farms, and tool banks.  Lambi recently teamed with Wangari Maathai and the Greenbelt Movement to plant 1 million trees in Haiti.
  When I visited Haiti last month I was really struck by the level of empowerment and self-sufficiency in the people involved in these projects, especially given the utter lack of resources in the environment surrounding them.  (nb: I don't work for Lambi.)  
  Two projects that impressed me the most were the plantain "multiplication" center and the huge reforestation project undertaken by the peasants of Bige.  I have some pictures of the projects here:
  I think the keys to the success of these projects are their commity-based nature and democratic decision-making process.  I am sure it would look and feel different (as it should) once translated appropriately to the afghani culture.  

permaculture-request at lists.ibiblio.org wrote:
  Message: 7
Date: Tue, 18 Dec 2007 14:19:29 +0000
From: " roxann " 
Subject: Re: [permaculture] alternatives to Poppies
To: "permaculture" 

Message-ID: <20071218141929.6851.qmail at hoster905.com>
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well, it's possible by providing information i can also provide information about options. i agree that the current model of commerce is not good. not for afgans and not for us here in the US. they are also working with them to grow their own food, but unfortunately, i'm sure that mission is headed by Monsanto or the likes thereof. so, i'm just doing what small thing I can do and that is requesting information from the sources i know of to be rich in knowlege and suggestions to pass on. they need both immediate and long term possibilities. if someone has thought out a plan that might work, feel free to pass it on and i'll get it into the hands of folks who just might be able to implement some of those plans. but i doubt they'll get past the criticisms if some solutions don't follow right behind. where can i get some examples of sustainable solutions that have worked to provide both food and a means for a living to small communities? that is exactly the sort of thing i'd
to be able to provide info on. and how can any of this really work in a feudal system, anyway? is it hopeless? are there examples of sustainable systems that work in the feudal model?

i'm not really knowlegeable on how things actually work in those countries, and i'm certain that i've got too large a degree of naivete' and the glasses are a shade too rosy. but it does seem a great place to start a permaculture revolution if we can. even if they don't identify what they are doing with the word. the fact that there is someone on the inside who is hungry for information is encouraging. he might just plant the seed and even if it remains dormant for a long time, there is still the possibility of it one day breaking ground.

(i'm still catching up on emails, so Robyn, or Keith, I haven't gotten to your information about the Bedouin people yet. But thanks and I'll print it out and send it to him for ideas)

Roxann, NW AR

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