By Katie Roche
After her successful course last year, Suzie Cahn, owner of Carraig Dúlra in Co Wicklow, is running another Permaculture Skills Exchange for the currently out of work and underemployed. The grassroots initiative aimed at revitalising communities is been funded by a Co Wicklow partnership.
Permaculture is more than just good gardening. It teaches us how to build natural homes, grow our own food, restore diminished landscapes and ecosystems, build communities and much more. It is a lifelong approach that results in better relationships, more functional systems and a clearer understanding of everything necessary for human communities to thrive.
“People’s minds are shifting: just because we’re told we’re broke doesn’t mean we have nothing, and this course just catalyses that. As people find shared interests and skills, they start to look at shared opportunities,” says Suzie. “Permaculture is the inspiration. It’s a way of thinking. It’s not the notion ‘if you work hard you’ll get to be part of the few who have all the stuff’ – that’s inequality.”
There’s nothing like this running in Ireland and that’s why Suzie created the course. “The statutory agencies like Solas and the VECS aren’t equipped to deal with people who already have skills and experience, they are only equipped to take on people who want to requalify in something new. That’s ignoring all the other people,” she says.
Last year, the Permaculture Skills Exchange finished with two sessions on natural beekeeping and willow. From willing local experts and the participants, it was exciting to see what can be done with volunteer labour, no budget, but lots of creativity and initiative. Inspired by the course last year, a group of students are researching a co-operative land share project and another group are starting a small entrepreneurial business.
Permaculture Skills Exchange is taking place at Carraig Dúlra in Glenealy, Co Wicklow.
Call Suzie on 086 806 9289.