Adventures in Czech permaculture

Submitted by tomas on Tue, 11/26/2019 - 12:01

Ziju Permakulturu: That’s “I live permaculture” in Czech – one of the few phrases I learned on my recent trip to Prague.

For a weekend in early November I was part of the Czech Permaculture conference, where I gave a presentation about – you guessed it – forest gardens. Most of the conference was held in Czech, of which I speak very little. The enthusiasm, creativity and determination of Czech permaculturists clearly came across to me regardless, and I had many breaktime conversations with people fired up about improving their land and their communities.

The conference was held at Tolcuv Dvor environment centre at the edge of the Czech capital, perched in a river valley between two high-rise housing estates. This was also the perfect setting for the advanced permaculture course “Changing urban landscapes with forest gardening”. This translated nto 4 days of learning, planning, sharing challenges and successes. We heard about a new market garden at the edge of Prague, a flood mitigation scheme in Northern Czechia and urban community garden in the suburbs of Bratislava. In case you are wondering, the Czech term for forest garden is jedli les, liiterally "edible forest".

In between the conference and the course I managed to fit in a visit to a community garden working with ex-offenders, and a lecture at the agricultural university where a small team of volunteers is also installing areas edible landscaping. I also took a bike ride down the local watercourse, was a great way to get a feeling for this part of Prague as a bioregion. My journey led me from the outskirts of the capital right into the industrial zone to the South of the city Centre – my kind of fun, if not the kind of adventure you’d find in any tourist guide!

I’ll leave you with another handy phrase I came across on one of the beautiful Czech posters I saw during the conference: Tvorjimje zahradu zhivota – We are tending the garden of life!

What’s next? A teacher training in Oxford over the winter, and then the Introduction to permaculture and PDC at Applewood!