Issues of food security and land degradation are quickly becoming major threats to the livelihoods of millions across the world. In East Africa, rapid population growth and climate change exacerbate these issues, leaving populations vulnerable to disease, malnutrition and drought. However, through the use of regenerative permaculture practices, human needs can be met by building resilient, sustainable living systems whilst also expanding and returning balance to the natural ecosystems they rely upon. Permaculture is the theory of ecological design with the core ethics of care for the Earth, care for people, and sharing of surplus. Permaculture solutions are scalable, and students will be exposed to case studies on both Brackenhurst and the Idili Farm Project Demonstration site.
This module is set to equip and empower participants with methods of design, and the skills to observe and apply practical solutions to the needs of specific target groups through the implementation of regenerative practices focused on diversity, resource management and energy capture.
Approximately forty kilometers north of Nairobi extend the fertile rolling hills of Limuru, most famous for vast tea fields and farmland. Here lies Brackenhurst Learning Center, a conference center and educational campus known for the beauty of its grounds, its refreshingly cool climate and first-class hospitality toward guests. Rooms are comfortable with en-suite bathrooms and hot showers, and Brackenhurst provides tasty, nutritious food ranging from traditional Kenyan to international cuisine. The conference center is equipped with an LED projector, TV multi-system, CD/DVD player and excellent Wi-Fi Internet access, creating an extremely conducive learning environment for students. Brackenhurst is proud to be home to one of the largest collections of indigenous plants in Africa with over a thousand tree and shrub species, making it a unique destination for inspiration, exploration, and learning.
Brackenhurst Botanic Gardens is restoring indigenous forest in a valley and hilltop that was previously planted with exotic timber plantation species. One of the main challenges is controlling aggressive invasive plant species which soon shade out native species if not kept in check. In 2011, an alliance of botanic gardens was formed between six large botanic gardens (New York, Missouri, Chicago, RBG Kew, Edinburgh and Perth) and 100 smaller botanic gardens worldwide to embark on carrying out ecological restoration of natural ecosystems. BBG was one of the founding members of this Ecological Restoration Alliance, which was launched in May 2012.
Practical: Design and mapping through transects walks and contour marking; garden design from lay out to companion planting; regenerative agroforestry and forestry systems; species selection, soil tests and regeneration through composting, mulching, and double digging; Integrated Pest Management (IPM); vermiculture systems; waste water treatment systems; and tropical highland farming.
Theory: Introduction to soil science pest and plant species identification; design and planning of projects of different scales; sector planning and zones 1,2,3,4, & 5; understanding of ecological processes and renewable energies.
The minimum length of this course is four days for a Practical Permaculture Workshop (PPW). The maximum length is 14 days, where participants can complete a Permaculture Design Certificate (PDC) (the longer modules will incorporate additional study locations).
Meet the Lecturers
Michael grew up in Kenya and developed a passion for the people, cultures and wildlife of East Africa. He has a Bachelor of Science degree in Sustainable Development with a focus on Community Development and GIS. Michael has worked on GIS database development and training for the Orkonyil Community Welfare Association, a community organization driving their own development from the grassroots.
He is now working as a consultant and part-time teacher with two international schools, incorporating practical environmental education into their curriculums. He is developing two Permaculture Demonstration Farm sites to showcase various Permaculture practices including COB building, vermicomposting, agroforestry, earthworks and intensive gardening practices.
Dr. Mark Nicholson
Mark has worked in 17 African countries on environmental and agricultural issues, living permanently in Africa since 1969. He has three science degrees and a PhD in Physiology from the University of Cambridge. His main interests are ecological restoration, biodiversity conservation and environmental education.
He specializes in historical and environmental trips to Ethiopia, particularly on the endemic plants and over 80 bird species in the Horn of Africa. He is currently running a thirty-year forest restoration project at Brackenhurst.
Customize Your Program
Thank you for your interest in this module and developing a faculty-led program with EDU Africa. We pride ourselves in our ability to customize a program that will meet your requirements, exceed your expectations and make your vision come to life.
Kiambethu Tea Farm
Touring the Kiambethu Tea Farm gives insight into the colonial history and economics of Kenya, as well as the process undergone to transform the leaves of a tea bush into one of the most well known beverages of all time. The tour includes a walk through indigenous forests rich with medicinal trees, as well as a delicious colonial luncheon on the lawn.
River Rafting Rapids Camp
River Tana is the perfect place for white river rafting, with rapids ranging from grades three to five. It is also the only place in for white river rafting in Kenya. Upstream and downstream currents, including waterfalls, provide different technicalities that challenge beginners as well as more experienced rafters. Rafting River Tana is a worthy adrenaline rush!
Big Cat Monitoring
Incredible wildlife is one of Africa’s most appealing icons, and is desperately in need of protection through conservation and educational projects. Many conservation efforts give rise to amazing volunteering programs, such as the opportunity to research and monitor big cats. Taking part in this project gives students a chance to deeply experience and engage with some of Africa’s most powerful and breathtaking wildlife.
Brackenhurst Botanic Gardens
Brackenhurst Botanic Gardens is a vibrant gateway into the world of pre-colonial climate diversity. Rising out of misty, rolling hills of emerald-green tea, these gardens stand as a testament to the power of environmental restoration and protection. The project began in the year 2000 and includes an arboretum of rare tree species that are critically endangered across the continent.