On Friday morning Lumia brought me to Hämeenlinna so that I could take the bus to Helsinki Vantaa Airport, in order to catch the plane to Oslo. Why Oslo? This years, 2019, Nordic Institute of Permaculture meeting was held in Oslo and the Finns requested their membership some weeks before.

Arriving at ByKuben

The Nordic Institute holds and binds together the National Permaculture Associations of Denmark, Sweden and Norway. The Diploma Process (the process of getting a Diploma in Applied Permaculture Design, short DAPD) for the participating countries is managed by the Nordic Institute. Bringing all those countries together under one umbrella makes it possible to have a shared Diploma process. Instead of each country having their own there is just one. This is beneficial especially for countries like Finland where there is currently only one Diploma Holder.

The meeting was held in ByKuben, Oslos center for city oekology. When I arrived at the ByKuben in Oslo the meeting of the Nordic Institute of Permaculture had already started. I sneaked in and took a place at the back. Basically observing the setting and having some delicious food.

The National Permaculture Associations

After some organizational stuff the presentation of the different member Permaculture Associations started. The Danish PA went first and gave an inside into their numbers. Lu had a nice presentation prepared showing us all what the Danish Association had done in 2018. Like for example getting a new LAND center, extending their membership base from 500 to 700 and integrating a teachers directory on their website as well as a newsletter.

The Swedish PA was talking about different funding possibilities or funding they tapped into. They got successful with an Erasmus+ application as well as with Nord+. They also mentioned their newsletter, which is sent to their members 3 times a year. What I found very interesting is that the Swedish PA doesn’t have a “head”. They manage their association using sociocracy.

The Norwegian PA told us about the Nordic Permaculture Festival, which was held in Yundal in 2018. They had several different types of courses running during that festival. They updated their website some time ago (which looks really good). It should be now more inspiring (which it is), attracting more people to get into Permaculture (which I hope it does). Currently they have about 450 members.

After the Permaculture Associations introductions we had an introduction round of the participants. I was telling about the Finnish PA, my work with the Blueprint Alliance and my interest in Biogas. As you can imagine that everybody standing up takes some time.

Hans Ryding from the Swedish PA presented the website of the Nordic Institute and its current status. We had a small discussion about its future and then went onto the next presentation:

Ruben from the Danish PA presenting about funding possibilities with Eramus for Youth education. He also showed the website of the upcoming, 2019, Nordic Permaculture Festival, which will be held in Denmark, on the 26th to the 28th of July 2019.

Back presenting is Hans. He explained Steve Charters initiative at the EuPN about a Europe wide education reform. He has a deep insight in when what and why which decision was made at the EuPN. He gave a very detailed insight of all the different dealings and initiatives.

Jona Elfdahl presenting his Diploma work

Saturday

On Saturday one of the main topics was the Diploma Presentation by Jona Elfdahl from Sweden.

The presentation was in Swedish, which I don’t speak. Robin was so kind to translate the presentation on the fly for Thomas, Céline and me. Jona’s diploma was about the premises he is living at and how he transferred it into a Permaculture using Permaculture Ethics, Principles and Techniques. He also incorporated Joesph Beuys term “Social Sculpture” in his work. At the end of his presentation he got feedback and later was granted the Diploma in Applied Permaculture Design (DAPD).

The next session was with Andreas Jonsson, rector of the Holma folkhögskola (a school entirely managed using Sociocracy) and Robin (who is a teacher for Non-Violent-Communication) gave us an introduction into Sociocracy, actually a hands-on workshop. The question for those participating in the workshop was: “How can we work with finding inspiring ways to spread permaculture?”, while the workshop itself focused on the consent decision making process:

1. Present Problem
2. Aspects
3. ? - Consent
4. Proposed solution
5. ? - Consent
6. select
7. tune present proposal
8. propose

The participants came up with a lot of solutions during that workshop. I found it very inspiring what Sociocracy could do within the realms of Permaculture.

Later on we went for a longer tour to different places, sat in a Tipi and drunk a hot Ginger drink. At the evening, we were back at the ByKuben, Thomas Krüger and Céline Huart presented their sites and work in Latvia. And then, after dinner, we had a small party at the ByKuben. In between there was a presentation of the Norwegian Forest Conservation Association, explaining the idea and principle of a continuous crop forest.

Sunday

On Sunday we had two main topics: LAND centers and the matters of the Nordic Institute.

Helena from the Norwegian PA presented about LAND centers (LAND = Learning, Action, Network, Demonstration). She used a set of cards to demonstrate the current process of accrediting a site the LAND center status.

The matters concerning the Nordic Institute were quite many. The most important one was the Finnish Permaculture is now part of the Nordic Institute. The Finnish PA can now use the existing system to get new people into their Diploma! Exiting times!

We had some guests from Extinction Rebellion Norway presenting about their current status. There presentation focused on how fast the feedback loops that are currently bringing us climate change are getting faster and basically running away from us. Running away means that whatever we do and however fast we do it, it is too late at one point. According to their presentation the arctic will be ice free in summer 2023. The 1,5° C degree we are talking about are not feasible. We outcome will probably more going towards 4,5° C. I don’t know if you can image what this means. But there is a reason they are called “Extinction rebellion”.

Later I helped with cleaning the ByKuben up a bit and then went to explore Oslo from the photographic point of view.

A lot of thanks go the organizers, hosts and the Finnish Permaculture Association! I enjoyed my time in Oslo. Marvelous people, good food, interesting talks and discussions. A lot new friends. Awesomesauce!

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Nick

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Gardener, Biogas Practitioner and Webdeveloper. Living beyond buckthorns since 2016.

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