This is just a quick email to thank everyone for their
emails and response to our previous email to this group. We will be
sending out the booking forms for the course in the next few weeks.
Meanwhile there are still a few spaces left on the course the deatils
of which are below.
nick at the Dharmahouse
www.thedharmahouse.com email : info@...
Friday the 23rd - Friday the 30th of June 2006
A Course on Natural Agriculture in the Cevennes mountain range,
Drawing on the traditions of Permaculture and Synergistic Agriculture
This course will look at ways to maintain the processes of nature
with this 'do-nothing' farming approach.
with Jamie Nicol
`Natural Agriculture' is inspired by the practice of Masanobu
Fukuoka, using the temperate climate adaptations of Emilia Hazelip,
Marc Bonfils, Paul Moray and the `dry land' agriculture I have begun
to develop here in the South of France. This approach also draws
heavily on `Permaculture', whose holistic design process attempts to
find the best means of integrating human habitation into an existing
The idea is to return manual labour to the gardens, fields and
orchards, although wherever possible the approach resolutely seeks to
discover what not to do so as to not disturb the processes of nature.
The essential aspect of Natural Agriculture is to reconnect the
farmer (and the farming family/group) to the land in a relationship
of care: In other words, to return agriculture to a human scale.
Whilst yield is considered to be of importance, the defining factor
of the agriculture will be the health of the total system
concentrating on all `life', so that sustainable yields will be able
to be drawn year after year.
This agricultural path leads inevitably to ever-greater simplicity in
farming, derived from a more intimate understanding of natural
processes within a particular environment. To work with rather than
against the grain of nature is the work of observation, which is the
work of a gradual opening up of ourselves, which is, ultimately, the
work of a lifetime. Natural Agriculture attempts to return
agriculture from the science it has become in the West, to a craft,
which I would describe as a focussed knowing of the primacy of
During our week together the course with involve a hands-on
Synergistic Agriculture approach where we will construct some beds,
organise irrigation [greywater, roof-fed or otherwise], and plant
and/or seed veg) with a little background on soil's self-fertility,
companion planting, rotations and successions. There will be many
detailed planting schedules developed by Emilia Hazelip available to
the course participants, which have not been published elsewhere.
Alongside this will be something about trees and their role in
realtion to the community site which will include windbreaks, natural
orchards, soil building, prevention of soil erosion, the need for
trees to create a full water cycle etc, again with the hands-on
experience of planting whatever saplings, seedlings or seeds of trees
you will have ready. I would also like very much to organise a
Fukuokan seedballing session (perhaps for the last day) where we take
a whole load of seeds and coat them in clay and then, once dry, we
take them and as a group broadcast them on some of theland that has
been prepared by cutting the grass very low to the ground. It is an
important aspect of Natural Agriculture and the regreening of
disturbed land and a deeply fulfilling and fun thing to do.
The cost of the course is
Indoors - 370 Euros
Camping - 340 Euros
For the past 7 years Jamie Nicol has been exploring an unfolding path
toward greater sustainability in agriculture and building, having
moved with his family to a small French village in the Corbières
hills, close to the Mediterranean coast. Jamie does not specifically
identify with being a permaculturalist or a Synergistic Agriculteur,
but does utilise techniques from both. Jamie is currently working as
a builder using old, recuperated, sustainable materials and has just
bought 4 hectares and a ruin to develop a natural agriculture farm.
www.thedharmahouse.com email : info@...