IPC India 2017 - Themes, Talks & Workshops

Annaïk Le Net, edited by Smriti Agarwal (IPC India 2017 team)
Tuesday, 8th August 2017

A look at the themes and talks to be held at IPC India 2017, the International Permaculture Convergence.

IPC India is PM’s Event of the Year. Read the latest details and view a wonderful video about the site and what to expect.

From a twenty-year old lush, regenerative food forest, slightly bigger than ten acres, in the middle of an endless tough, dry plain of the Deccan plateau, are voices rising, singing in unison. At the edge of the start of the monsoon season, in the hot afternoon air sweeping across the land, the atmosphere of the farm is still full of life.

Sheltered from the blazing sun, a group of local farmers and eager-to-learn volunteers are cutting into pieces the neelalu mangoes that have just been harvested. Fresh from the trees, all those pieces are energetically mixed in large vessels with salt, chilli and mustard powders, fenugreek, garlic, and sesame oil turning into a delicious pickle that will be served during the 13th International Permaculture Convergence hosted by Aranya Agricultural Alternatives!

This year, India is adding a new festival to its already long list and not of the least importance: Sustainable living believers, permaculture practitioners, academics and policy makers amongst many others will gather in Hyderabad during the Indian winter to celebrate permaculture, its roots across the globe, and its way forward in terms of finding solutions to the global challenges.

And when we talk about a celebration, no celebration is complete without food in India. Preparing to welcome the international permie community for more than two years, Padma and Narsanna Koppula, the co-founders of Aranya Agricultural Alternatives, had a strong desire to cater to every fresh food connoisseurs’ palates by serving the best their region has to offer. Yes, the hosts of the event took an ambitious challenge: producing, processing and cooking around 90% of the food that will be offered to the more than 1,200 expected delegates during the seven days of the event (which means at least 25,000 servings!).

To make this a reality, they included their larger community, worked on their land at Aranya farm mentioned above and designed a brand new permaculture farm from scratch, which will be the Convergence venue: Polam farm. Across the seasons, local workers and diverse international volunteers joined the effort with the strong desire to take part in something big that still has the shape of a dream which will come true soon. Storage facilities are already full of sorghum, wheat, chickpeas, jaggery (made out of sugarcane), potato chips, safflower oil and soon sesame oil will join the shelves.

Not only do they wish to highlight all the treasures that Indian food have like foxtail millet khichdi, jowar (sorghum) roti or ragi porridge, but also share their importance and relationship with the history and Gandhian concept of Swaraj with their guests.

The programme will also showcase other forms of traditional knowledge from all over the country which are described, nowadays, as sustainable livings practices: oil processing, basket weaving, grain winnowing, seed saving, cotton clothes making or even wooden stove cooking. It is key to revive these practices, preserve them, build pride around them and ensure to close the generation gap that seems to be present at the moment especially in farming practices.

Today, the “office team” travelled from Hyderabad to the farm and the entire IPC India 2017 team, a flexible entity welcoming new elements with open arms and seeing some of them go with a tear in its eye, assemble to share news about the event with great excitement. The event promises to be hectic and eclectic: participants coming from at least 50 countries will share their local solutions for global challenges, observing similarities from one continent to the other.

Beyond the idea to meet again and exchange in a convivial and warm atmosphere, the IPC aims to soak itself in the definition of “healthy societies” and ensuring that each speaker plays his/her part in it. As Dr. Venkat, permaculture pioneer in India who invited Bill Mollison and Robyn Francis 30 years ago in the country for the first ever permaculture design course, mentioned "…Ecology itself, environmental awareness and activity by itself, nor even sustainable agricultural by itself, can ever be an end in themselves. All these have to be the necessary framework for the wider struggle of humankind in ushering in a new harmonious, non-exploitative, cooperative relationship between individual to individual, individual to society and People to Nature -- i.e. sustainable societies…".

This is the reason why the subthemes of this new IPC will be covering social skills and savoir-faire, focusing on sharing collective responsibility, both interweaving together in the numerous presentations that will be given during the Conference and the Convergence. “Women as agent of change” is one of the main subthemes as the shift needed in women consideration around the world could have one of the greatest impacts in numerous areas. Thus, Vandana Shiva will be addressing the audience during the opening ceremony on the role of women in communities followed by Robyn Francis who will bespeak worldwide women in Permaculture conveying their experiences while the topic will be taken from a research angle by Marty Branagan during the Convergence where he will account for “The Overlooked Role of Women in Environmental Nonviolent" or from an action point of view with Linda Kabaira talking about “Building resilience in west Zambia through female permaculture gardening”.

On one hand, more and more permaculture ethics and principles are unfolding in new fields, continuously adjusting to the global situation and contributing to build a new paradigm helping to answer the question of what our societies tomorrow will look like. These contributions will be highlighted with the two subthemes “Permaculture as a social responsibility” and “Grassroots permaculture in action”. Under these Amani Dagher and Ghassan Al Salman from Lebanon will present “Implementing micro gardens in Syrian refugee camps” introduced by a panel discussion on the topic lead by Rowe Morrow.

Nicholas McGuigan and Thomas Kern from Australia will share their views on “Designing the accountable accountant: utilizing permaculture principles to create a language of regenerative business", Manish Jain will address “Deschooling & Permaculture” and Tierra Martinez and Beatriz Ramirez Cruz from Argentina and Mexico will look at the topic "Building a new paradigm: Permaculture as a dream of peace". Many more speakers who are devoting their time and energy everyday to more social justice using permaculture as a tool for empowerment will come on the stage including Andy Goldring (the UK), Maddy Harland (Permaculture magazine editor - UK), Leigh Brown (South Africa), Seetha Ananthavisan (India), Walter Nyika (Zambia) and Stuart Muir Wilson (Australia). 

Experts working with nature will share their technical knowledge blending traditional practices and new discoveries and the IPC won’t miss to put demonstrations and hands-on experience at the forefront especially during the Convergence. These presentations will be articulated around three subthemes which are particularly relevant to the need of the hour both in India and in many more places around the globe and have been at the heart of Aranya Agricultural Alternatives work for the past twenty years.

Under the banner of "Sustainable water resource management", Jeremiah Kidd from the USA will speak about “Community drought solutions – building resilience and abundance through a holistic design approach", Sri Rajendra Singh, known also as the “waterman of India”, will present “Flow: an experience of Tarun Bharat Sangh (TBS) and Manisha Lath Gupta will share the experiences on “Water management in alternating flash flood and drought" she’s had at her farm in Haryana, India.

Such an event wouldn’t be complete without addressing one of the biggest challenges our planet and humanity is witnessing every day: climate change. Many of our speakers are highly inspired by our subtheme "Permaculture and climate change adaptations" amongst which Christopher Nesbitt from Belize will speak about “Permaculture as a tool for climate change mitigation and poverty alleviation", Starhawk from the USA will guide us through "Permaculture and climate change activism” and Brett Pritchard from Australia will share the outcome of his recent work in Asia on “Probiotic microbial to turn traditional wet paddy rice fields from methane emitters into carbon and nitrogen sinks".

Last but not the least, in addition to the many Indian speakers who will draw attention to the ingenuity and appropriateness of some of their ancient technologies, Raya and Freedom Cole from the USA, Chris Evans together with the team of the Himalayan Permaculture Centre in Nepal, Qinghua Yuan from China and Julia Wright from the UK will respectively talk about "Ancient Indian agriculture: a look at Sanskrit arboriculture text history and practices and ancient treatment of plant pathology", "Permaculture is more than gardening: application of design in project management on the roof of the world", “Revive urban lands in Chinese modern cities, according to the principles of permaculture” and "Quantum-based agriculture: It’s time for permaculturists to embrace the invisible".

Right now, intense discussions are taking place between bites of juicy mangoes. The IPC team members are steeped in nature and drawing energies from it to continue to work towards the colossal task of making IPC India 2017 a success for everyone. While some are typing frenetically on their keyboard to coordinate with speakers, volunteers, partners, sponsors, delegates and every person offering their great support, the others put their energy at the service of the temporary IPC village development - a confluence of sharing and learning, a crossroad for seasoned and newbies to bring their inspiration and expertise and leave with lasting memories of newly forged friendships, new skills acquired, new understanding of other cultures and new knowledge of Indian culture: a beautiful multicultural, multidimensional reality. At the heart of a country-continent, referred to as "developing", people from all around the world will gather to question modernity and the future, suggesting alternatives to the dominant system. Through a holistic model of permaculture, will be broached ways to feed ourselves, to share our resources, to raise our children, to care for the people and care for the earth, to move together “Towards Healthy Societies”. 

Join us for this epic event and be a part of the change. A group discount is offered to groups of 5 or more people - participants and students. Participants take home 15% discount on group registrations and students get 10%. Don’t forget to unite more comrades in this march.

Here is a little glimpse of what’s in store for you when you come for the IPC India 2017:

https://youtu.be/HoXUqiw9QKU

or on Facebook: www.facebook.com/IPCIndia2017/videos/1936774643263482/

See you in India!

Expanded version on the event is in PM93, News & Events page 37

Find out more about the event at: http://ipcindia2017.org/

Useful links

100 carbon solutions to climate change

11 regeneration projects from around the world

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