This June Shipibo permaculture experts, Fernando and Reuben, facilitated a workshop for the indigenous youth of Santa Clara at the San Francisco community permaculture demonstration site. Fernando and Reuben are leaders of the Alianza Arkana Bena Nii (New Forest) permaculture program, which has evolved into a self-created Indigenous Network of Amazonian Permaculturalists (RIPA – Red Indígena de Permacultores Amazónicos) of 30 members: a farmer cooperative for sharing permaculture techniques, seeds, and traditional ecological wisdom in the Peruvian Amazon.
School children in Santa Clara have been learning about the importance of consuming fruits and vegetables through Alianza Arkana’s nutrition program: Grow and Cook. So this permaculture workshop was a great opportunity for RIPA members, Fernando and Reuben, to teach the next Shipibo generation how to sustainably grow plants that will provide healthy food. This will advance ecological agriculture and food sovereignty, enhance nutrition, and ensure that RIPA continues to broaden its network for generations to come.
The permaculture workshop showed the children how totransplant seedlings in a nursery, including:
- How to make compost
- How to fill bags with soil ensuring they are compact and have no air pockets
- What size bags to use for various seedlings
- How to extract seedlings from trays so that the roots are not damaged
- How to know when the roots of seedlings need trimming in order for the plant to grow effectively
- How to transplant the seedlings
- How much mulch and water the plants need
Around 100 seedlings were transplanted, including zapote, avocado, mandarin, orange, mango, guava, vacapaleta, andaraza. Once these seedlings have matured, they will be planted in the San Francisco demonstration plot. It became clear that the children understood the importance of seed saving when at the end of the day they collected the seeds from their mandarins. Furthermore, many children felt inspired to take plants away with them to plant in their home gardens.
The next step is to educate these children on the strategies being used at the San Francisco community permaculture farm to regenerate degraded Amazonian ecosystems through agroforestry systems. This way, they can promote social and inter-generational equity by creating a sustainable future for the Amazon rainforest and the indigenous communities they call home.
Written by Josephine Zappia, Alianza Arkana Permaculture Intern, June 2015