Help rebuild Sunrise Farm in Nepal
"This is worth your time and support - real bottom-up permaculture relief and development in Nepal"
My name is Chris Evans and I've worked in Nepal for nearly 30 years, starting as a volunteer forester. In 1988, I came across the concept of Permaculture and embarked on an ambitious alternative.
Starting with a local friend, £500 and an acre of degraded farmland I helped found a demonstration and training centre in a remote area of western Nepal, which grew organically into the Jajarkot Permaculture Programme, a diverse array of projects spanning 4 districts, 65 villages, 8 resource centres (working farms), 120 staff and volunteers, and a membership of 12,000 farmers. During that time I also lived on a farm in Kathmandu where local villagers formed a committee to help manage the demonstration and training facilities there. One of the members was Shyam Shrestha, who went on to develop his own land in a similar way, starting in 1990.
Photo: Farmers learning advanced growing techniques for the cultivation of rice (SRI rice cultivation ) at Sunrise Farm
Shyam’s house and land became Sunrise Farm, which has blossomed over the past 25 years, and although the city of Kathmandu has grown all around, it remains a green jewel of biodiversity, peace and productivity. As the closest organic and permaculture centre to the city, it is a crucial resource for organisations and farmers wanting to find out about permaculture, sustainable and organic agriculture, which is why, since the earthquakes hit Nepal in April and May 2015, with a team of people we are working hard to rebuild it.
What is Sunrise Farm?
Image : Sunrise Farm Est.1993 Map
Sunrise Farm is a community farm program committed to the demonstration and training of sustainable agriculture and community development techniques. It is a working farm, and offers facilities for demonstration, training (in sustainable agriculture, agroecology and permaculture) and distribution of seed, seedlings, and educational resources.
Sunrise Farm is part of a growing network of similar farms and village programs coordinated by the Himalayan Permaculture Centre (HPC), a registered NGO based in Surkhet District and also working in Humla and Kathmandu districts.
Photo : Companion Planting in the Forest Garden
Over the past 25 years, the farm has welcomed thousands of visitors from all corners of Nepal and internationally to observe, learn and volunteer. The farm has also been a marketing hub for farmers elsewhere in Nepal, selling their products such as honey, pulses and garlic, helping rural farmers gain an income from their land.
Photo : Women from the Ladakh Ecological Development Group (started by Helena Norburg Hodge , and featured in her film/book "Ancient Futures ") who, on their annual pilgrimage to Buddhist stupas in Kathmandu, regularly visited Sunrise Farm to view the demonstrations and receive training.
During this time, we have also written a book, called the Farmers' Handbook in collaboration with local farmers in Nepali to help spread know how. Today, it is available both in English and Nepali to teach a wider number of people.
Photo: Sunrise Farm, July 2014 before the Earthquakes
Photo : Urban rice cultivation (SRI rice training) at Sunrise Farm
Photo : 20-year-established Fukuoka no-till method demonstration site at Sunrise Farm
What is the actual situation?
After the huge earthquakes, over 8000 people were killed and nearly a million buildings were destroyed or damaged beyond repair. The farm, because of its open spaces, became a sanctuary where hundreds of people could be safe from falling masonry, and many families have been camping there, too scared to return to unsafe buildings.
Unfortunately Sunrise Farm was badly damaged suffering large cracks throughout the house. The livestock shelter was destroyed, and the main house will need to be pulled down and re-build. The families are now living in cramped conditions in what used to be the rabbit shed.
But out of the disaster has come the opportunity to re-build afresh, using techniques for green building that are more sustainable and safer should an earthquake hit again.
Photo : Families in makeshift shelters on Sunrise Farm
Photo : The destroyed livestock shelter at Sunrise Farm
Photo : Nepali farmers onsite at Sunrise Farm
Photo : Families taking shelter on Sunrise Farm
Sunrise Farm is a well-known training center, and by re-building with green building techniques, it can be used as an example for organisations and families that need to reconstruct their homes and livelihoods. It can show how good architecture and building can be combined with health and sanitation, sustainable food growing, fair-trade income generation with energy from solar and biogas systems to produce a resilient, low-maintenance and productive household.
To continue to offer training to people and to be able to fix the farm, we need to raise £20,000 - for materials, tools, food for volunteers and to create and distribute training materials for villagers coming to the training sessions.
We are extremely grateful for every donation, but if you give more than £25, to thank you we would like to offer the choice of the following gifts:
· £25 tree planted at Sunrise Farm and we will send you a picture of it
· £75 "I supported Sunrise Farm" embroidered T-shirt (hand embroidered in Kathmandu, available Nov 2015)
· £100 free place on Applewood Forest Gardening course 2016
· £150 free food & accommodation at Sunrise Farm for 1 week (whenever you visit)
· £300 free food & accommodation at Sunrise Farm and any Himalayan Permaculture Centre Farm in Western Nepal for up to 3 weeks (whenever you visit)
· £500 free teaching fees on any Applewood course in 2016 (pending dates) - note this applies to teaching fees only, you would be required to pay food & accommodation (camping) costs
**Once you have donated**
**please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org **
- which gift you would like,
- date / time and amount you donated,
- your address and contact email and/or telephone.
For the tee-shirt, please state your preferred size and colour.
We will be very pleased for you to visit and see how your donation has helped so many people in Nepal.
For more information
See more pictures of Sunrise Farm:
Article on PermacultureNews.org 06/11/15
"REBUILD SUNRISE FARM IN KATHMANDU APPEAL – PLUS UPDATES"
Thanks a lot
The rebuild has started! Despite delays mainly caused by the Indian blockade of Nepal (nobody mentioned that when Modi was here!) the first work of pulling down the damaged parts of the farm and constructing pillars to support the new structure is underway. There's some photos below. PLEASE NOTE we've only achieved half our target so far so please continue to share amongst your friends and colleagues, and tell them what a great cause this is. This is the closest permaculture/organic farm to Kathmandu and is a crucial resource for those looking to learn about regenerative systems. THANK YOU!
At the farm the family (and any volunteers that visit) are continuing to live in the "Rabbit Shed". Plans are continuing to develop for the re-build, and it would have started by now if only India had not blockaded the border preventing fuel and other essentials to be imported. This has had the effect of quadrupling prices of most commodities and transport, and so the team has decided to delay start of the rebuild until prices have returned to normal so they can make best use of the funds received. As posted in an earlier update, the front of the house needs to be pulled down and concrete pillars erected to provide a strong frame. This frame will be infilled using different techniques such as stabilised earth bricks, recycled fired bricks from the old house, and gabions made from the rubble. At the same time a training hall and new livestock shed will also be designed & built.
Otherwise SF has already started to run training courses on the farm and hosting volunteers, all be it with basic accommodation until the build can be done. The family are keen to get on with this asap - just waiting for India to stop being a bully!
So we're nearly half way to our target and please remember to keep sharing around, and if you know of any sources of funding however small, please let us know & we can provide proposals.
With thanks once again and will post another update soon.