University Combines Permaculture, Natural Materials and Survival Skills

Lorraine Ishak
Saturday, 15th September 2012

Photojournalist Lorraine Ishak reports from ProNatMat, which alongside Permaculture, aims to provide an academic platform for traditional skills in Finland.

ProNatMat - The Turku based organisation is working to promote natural materials. Finnish people have a great understanding of nature and all it provides, having retained many of their heirloom skills while continuing to research and develop them. The Turku University of Applied Sciences (TUAS), together with Pro Nat Mat and their Estonian partners attempt to provide an academic platform for these types of skills. 

Finland's First Permaculture Group Sets up Allotment Scheme

Working from an ancient site by the river, the university have a space to teach and practise old and new skills. They held Finland's first Permaculture design course here and very recently contributed to Finland's first successful registration with the European Permaculture Association. Here, an allotment scheme allows local people a chance to grow and connect with the land. 

Permaculture Brings Abundance to Short Growing Seasons

Despite a terrible summer of rain and a desperately short Nordic growing season, Permaculture know-how has still managed to produced an abundance of vegetables.

A Lost Englishman in Turku

David Stokes - a lost Englishman has found his home in Turku, where he teaches Permaculture at the university. He proudly demonstrates his greenhouse, fashioned from old window frames found in a skip and built in just 6 hours. 

Green Beauty Surpasses Decay

Sometimes a neglected green house can be just as beautiful - full of hope and potential.

Artisanal Crafts - Knife Skills with Birch

Using only a smalll craft knife and an ample supply of birch bark, Jarko Aallonloiske demonstrates the magic of his traditional flutes and whistles.

Creating Music with Permaculture Skills

Only fashioned with hand tools - twigs, horns and bark are transformed into a wind ensemble.

Sense Stimulation with Cob Wall Plastering 

Ilkka Lempinen is blind. The plaster is his own unique mix: 3-5 parts of natural sand with some dust sand + 1 part local grey clay with silt + 1 part fibre ( some wet newspaper, broken reed and mexican rice root). Ilkka plasters in a traditional way onto cob walls and teaches his technique in Finland and Europe.

Learning Valuable Skills at the Primitive Techniques Workshop

University students taking the primitive techniques course often come from archaeology and anthropology backgrounds. They reenact periods in human history, dated approximately 6000 years ago. Hanni Haapaniemi demonstrates the salmon skin leather she has prepared, which she will use to sew pouches and jewelry like the ones she is wearing.

Permaculture Crowd Gathers Around the Compost Toilet

What better excuse for a gathering - the grand opening of the compost toilet.

A better Future for us all, Step by Step...

An idyllic spot chosen by one of the volunteers at the site. He feels that through his actions he contributes, even if only in small ways, towards a greener cleaner future for all.

For more Permaculture articles, please visit us on Permaculture Online.

Please follow the links if you would like to find out more about the Turku University of Applied Sciences or ProNatMat.