Things are shifting quite rapidly in the small island of Cyprus. Bail out announcements over a year ago have managed to stir things for Cypriot people and the need for change has propelled the island’s people to look for alternatives; solutions that can turn them into more resilient and self-reliant.

Permaculture seems to be attracting an increasing amount of attention all across the world and since financial challenges have hit the island last April, people of Cyprus have started to respond to it even more. The design system of Permaculture offers people the tools that help them visualize and formulate their future into a more prosperous and positive one.

The last weekend of July 2014, the first Introduction to Permaculture Course was held in Cyprus at the private property of Petrera Permaculture Land, at Kalo Horio/Klirou area in Nicosia. The course was well attended by more than 20 people, coming from countries all over the world, such as France, Latvia, Portugal, Argentina, USA and Cyprus. With a fascinating synergy among the South-African permaculture designer, Caspar Brown and health and eco-advocate and member of the international Movement of Life, Sofia Matsi, the instructors guided the 2-day workshop participants along the contemporary global challenges in the sectors of energy, water and soil explaining the need for permaculture solutions today and giving a quick preview of the fundamental principles of permaculture.

The course gave its participants a first glimpse of how important it is to maintain a healthy soil and offered many solutions to reverse the current challenging soil-undermining state. In that same context a practical session on how to create our own warm compost heap in our back yard was held which was then followed by an extensive discussion on water crisis in Cyprus and methods that can help us be more resilient with our water. Simple techniques such as swales and grey water systems were analyzed and demonstrated on site.

The course concluded with a collaborative design analysis of three major challenges: Energy, Soil and Water where the participants recognized, discussed and pointed out both challenges and opportunities of working with these resources in Cyprus.

What was encouraging to see coming out of these short seminar was how mindsets of the participants started to shift towards the end of the workshop. More ambitious and more excited to become the positive change they want to encounter, participants, with the end of this seminar, went back home with simple everyday design tools ready for implementation.

This course is one of many that will follow in Cyprus with the goal of bringing awareness on Permaculture and applying its principles for the sake of evolving out of the paralysis and unemployment the financial crisis is imposing on our island. This is only one, of many classes that will be follow with the goal of achieving sovereignty and sustainability in regards to our water, food, energy and knowledge in order to live in more autonomous and healthy communities.

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