Each Permaculture Field School I’ve built, and it’s over 35 now, takes on its own style. Our Green Warrior Field School in Rizal, Palawan has been built in partnership with the local native people and Lionheart Agrotech (http://www.lionheartagrotech.com) The local native people have really had a hand in creating a distinctive indigenous flavour to our facilities. I think they have even surprised themselves. People close to nature who have no electricity, no TV and very little exposure to so called “civilization” tend to be very creative when given an opportunity. At Green Warrior we encourage creativity to the maximum. In fact you get your ass kicked if your student project isn’t creative!
The native people have never built with mud before but they took to it so well you’d think it was part of their culture somehow. Our simple system of building requires a woven bamboo frame plastered with a mix of earth, sand, rice husks and cement. Once the mud plaster is slapped onto the wall it can be rendered to have 3-D images like sculptures, which we call, wall tattoos. Wall tattoos give each wall a chance to display some kind of artwork or push a message. Some people use wallpaper or paint, we use mud.
Living in a mud walled house in the wet tropics is quite pleasant compared to concrete. Concrete blocks are the usual material used around here if people want to upgrade from a bamboo and thatch house to something more substantial. Sleeping on a hot night in a bamboo hut is comfortable which is exactly the opposite of sleeping in a concrete box house. The concrete retains the days heat until well past midnight. The reason they go for the concrete house is they last a long time compared to native materials.
We are developing the eco-alternative to concrete block structures. Our mud-crete walls are cool at night and radiate an earthen feel. They will last many years and are easily repaired using local materials. You can also change the tattoos when you get bored.
At this Green Warrior Field School the creative natives have been learning new skills and developing their new eco-building systems. Soon they will have the capacity to build their own new eco-style houses and even eco-resorts as commercial ventures. We have eco-toilets, which are a better type of compost toilet for the tropics, and in-ground rain water cisterns. To add to the mix we are also developing integrated food production systems to supply their communities with top quality organic produce. The natives will be able to develop world-class eco developments using mainly local materials.
Our current project is building the “Green Hall” which we will use to develop native nutrition and native gourmet cuisine. Music and theatre will also be part of our perma-culture toolbox to socialise eco repair, organic farming and sustainability. The Green Hall will have a pizza oven, a stage and should be able to squeeze 100 people in for a concert. Wait till you taste our organic pizzas!
If you want to join us here in Palawan we offer several ways you can become a Green Warrior. Visitors can become interns or students on one of our Permaculture Design Certificate courses or our Permaculture Aid Certificate courses. You can also sign up to be trained as a permaculture teacher or project leader.You will be trained alongside native people, international students and Filipinos from all over the country. It’s mostly all hands-on training too.
I will post the dates of our next courses soon. Stay tuned!