Himalayan Permaculture Centre (HPC)
Examples of visitors' work
For example Biodiversity - in 1994 a British anthropologist working in Jajarkot studied non-timber forest products (NTFPs - fibres, medicines, food plants, etc). He catalogued in detail plant species, their habitats, uses, and the extent to which they are exploited - are they locally consumed, traded with other villages, or exported to India for processing. In the case of the latter, where do they go, in what quantities, and how are they processed. The objectives of his research include direct application to the HPC's development work. Are the NTFPs over exploited i.e. in need of conservation? Can they be grown in farmers' fields? If so, the HPC looks to use them in farm diversification projects - or do they require undisturbed forest habitat? With the latter, habitat conservation is the only way of "managing" the NTFP, also giving the forest an economic value and thus ensuring its conservation. This study is on going, and many applications are yet to be explored. One application has been in the establishment of a clinic for women's reproductive health problems (which also provides general health services) at HPC's new Resource Centre in Tadikhet, Chingar Municipality, Surkhet. Here, herbal medicines are being used and further researched for local production and use.
Other present research involves input-output analysis of agroforestry and farm diversification systems and other forms of low external input and sustainable agriculture, such as SRI comparing them with both traditional and high external input systems. This would look at energy, time, social, economic and ecological parameters
Illustration and design of newsletters, technical bulletins, this website! and other information packages for use by farmers is another area where volunteers skilled in information search, cataloguing data, illustration, graphics, desk top publishing and internet may be able to contribute.
Apart from projects like these, and others still to be identified after asking villagers, volunteers are encouraged to play a part in the running of HPC resource centre, which is a working farm set up to demonstrate, train and resource sustainable agriculture development programmes. This will give volunteers a taste of traditional village life – caring for livestock, grain crops, and the general running of the household. In addition, they will get direct experience in the introduction of improved technologies alongside traditional ones. This may be beekeeping, weaving, fruit tree production, kitchen gardening, tree planting, and a plethora of other activities that HPC is involved in. Finally, there are frequent cultural activities such as song, dance, and festivals to observe and enjoy. These are as much a part of the HPC's work as the planting of trees, and equally important when working with holistic systems.