Life After Heaven

I spent three and half years at Zaytuna Farm, the home of the Permaculture Research Institute. I started out as a volunteer, and I finished up as a Farm Manager. Zaytuna Farm is where I milked my first cow. It’s where I planted my first ice cream bean tree, slaughtered my first animal and harvested my first crop of wheat. I taught my first Permaculture Design Certificate (PDC) Course there, and it’s where I found my better half who back then was an intern and is now my wife (or as I call her, my support species). I left last September not knowing what lay ahead of me, but I was pleasantly surprised.

I was expecting that when I left the heaven that was Zaytuna Farm and headed towards the real world, that it would be like heading towards hell! Although there’s a lot of things, in reality, that relates to hell in one way or the other, but the journey has been worth it. Let me give you a rundown of what I’ve been up to in the last nine months.

My schedule started filling up quick. At first, I headed towards London to attend the International Permaculture Convergence. I was then sent on a trip to the south coast of Malaysia to start consulting on a big project to establish a permaculture demonstration site in a botanical garden in Kuantan.

Date overstory with alfa grown understory.

It wasn’t long and I was off again. Recommended by my teacher and mentor, Geoff Lawton, I took a detour for two weeks to teach a Permaculture Design Certificate (PDC) course in the south of Italy.

Teaching in South Italy with Rhamis Kent and Ignazio Schettini.

Right after teaching the course in Italy, I flew directly back to Kuantan to continue the consultation process and start establishing systems and manage some earthworks that needed to be done on the site (details will follow in next week’s article). After spending almost two months in Malaysia, the rainy season started, and it was time to go to Egypt to teach another Permaculture Design Certificate (PDC) Course. While in Egypt, I also consulted on a small resort on the Red Sea.

Once that was done and dusted, I headed to Jordan to see my family and then off to London to get married! Right after we got married, I was scheduled to fly to Palestine and co-teach a Permaculture Design Certificate (PDC) course with Rhamis Kent and Murad Al Khuffash at his farm in Marda. Marda is a small village in the occupied West Bank. This project has sentimental value to me since I first heard about permaculture through Murad’s work in my home country, Palestine.

Centuries old olive tree in Palestine.
Centuries old olive tree in Palestine.

I left Palestine and headed back to the project we are establishing in Kuantan, Malaysia with the plan to stay until the start of the rainy season in October. I just finished teaching another Permaculture Design Certificate (PDC) course and a Soils Fertility course here, and we have now started work on establishing and running productive systems like food forests, main crop gardens, kitchen gardens, and small animal systems along with compost and natural fertilizer systems. We have four local interns on the site that are here to learn hands-on what tropical permaculture system establishment feels like.

PDC students happy after compost making.
PDC students happy after compost making.

And now I’m writing you this article while resting after a session of spraying the rice paddies with fermented dates solution as fertilizer. I’m still in Malaysia with the Kuantan project. We are visiting a farm in the northwestern state of Kedah to learn more about sustainable organic rice production, where we are looking at partnering with the owner of this farm to help us establish and teach people about sustainable rice production back in Kuantan.

Organic Rice Paddies
Organic Rice Paddies

So, why did I just go through all of that? Because I want to show you that a PDC graduate, with no previous experience in farming, plants, and animals, but with the will and passion can become a beneficial busy organism. Let us all be busy doing something beneficial!

I have no idea what’s ahead of me now, but I often think of Bill Mollison’s quote: “when you do the right thing, resources will gather around you and most of these resources will be people.”

If you would like to know more about the work we do please do get in touch.

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