An Expat in Panama: Permaculture volunteers needed!


Hey guys this is Eve from "An Expat in Panama" and today I want to talk to you about Permaculture and what we've implemented so far at Habla Ya, the Spanish school that I'm part of, so, how did we start? We have this really cool building in the Caribbean in Bocas del Toro with this huge garden but you know, this garden was only grass, and you know it had some ornamental plants but it wasn't really used for anything, so we thought you know, why waste all this space for nothing and use it instead to produce something, so we decided to create our own urban garden and grow our own food. Now, we are pretty new to permaculture. Here is what we've done so far and Ludo is going to explain to you which aspects of permaculture we've implmented so far at the school. Check it out. Here in Habla Ya in Bocas we're trying to implement all the aspects of permaculture and the first step is to reuse whatever we produce here which for now has been only waste from the kitchen.

We have tons of wood chips. The island has several wood chippers so that is something that is great for us. It helps us here to make a nice path to walk around because the main problem we have in the Caribbean is soil erosion. So there is lots of rain, the soil goes away, it's clayish, you can't walk on it, it's muddy, it's not really nice. The other component we have is coconuts. There is plenty of them, they are falling all the time from the trees, they're totally free and they're not being used really, taken advantage of, so this here we are using it for the path, that is one application, also the fiber of the coconut when you open it, can be used as a mulch for the garden. Another thing that we have here that is really available are broken surf boards. Instead of throwing them around, since it's made of foam and it's not really biodegradable we are trying to reuse those to make signs.

This is the composting area here. Traditionally the compost you have to turn it around which is a bit of a physical task that can be a bit of a pain sometimes so here the idea is to have one of those barrels, the idea being to fill it with organic matter and carbonic matter. Instead of having to shovel around to mix it you just give it a spin. Here we are trying to separate our trash. Here we have organic matter and plastic and cardboard, here we have coconuts, and here we have another compost, here which is lasagna compost, where we layer organic matter, and wood or wood chips, again or coconut fiber and try to have a more slow, or a more traditional compost compared to the tumbling compost. The other resource we have easily available here is rainwater. The only problem is nobody really stores it.

There isn't any lakes here or places where the water stays so something I want to help local people to do more is to catch their water from the rain so that is really simple. You catch it from your zinc roof and you can drink the water or use it for your garden, especially in dry season. To demistify a little bit what is gardening about, trying to help local people, local families, to generate a little extra income and being exposed to organic food, and organic gardening and urban gardening. The idea is to be a demonstration center so people can come, see how easily it can be done and how much it can produce. The composting is something that we want to really implement in the host families we work with here. So we have this kind of garden bed here, which is fairly simple. It's called a wicking garden bed. It has a little layer of sand at the bottom, a third of it is with sand. And two thirds is soil.

There is a pipe here that goes all the way to the bottom and then spreads all over the rest of the garden bed through another PVC pipe. Water is poured into the PVC tube and spreads in the sand, and anytime the plants need water it will be absorbing water from the soil, right in the 2/3 layer here. The idea in the long term would be to have some of these garden beds in the host families. Also composting system like the tumbling compost we saw earlier and a water catchment system like we have at the school so every family here can produce a little bit in the garden without having to pay for the water or pay for the soil. Painting the signs, doing some research on different topics, designing a little bit of things to implement in the garden. If I have people who are more skilled and know a little bit about permaculture already, we can get into more implementing new systems or they can show us systems that they've been using at work. If people have no experience at all, then the idea is to assist me in the different tasks.

Once we have the garden ready and we can use it as a support the idea would be to do some workshops for the kids for example. Alright guys, I hope that you liked this video. I want you to know that we are currently looking for long term volunteers so 1 month or more to help us with this project. So the only requirements are that you need to have some expertise in permaculture, we want you to teach us how to improve. Not the other way around. So this is not a volunteer project to learn about permaculture, this is you improving our project. So we are looking for experts in the field and in exchange we'll give you free Spanish lessons, lodging and tours. So please contact us at the email address provided at the end of this video, and if you've enjoyed and want to see more of these videos I have my own YoutTube channel, it's called "An Expat in Panama" and you'll see the details below so let's spread the permaculture love. Thank you for watching!.