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Rural Community Design for 25-500 Families (on undeveloped land in warm regions)

Community Design for25-500 Families

Based upon Permaculture & Socialist Principles

Initiative for INTI* Land Reclamation Process in Venezuela



To create a plan which:

         1. ensures ecological sustainability

         2. ensures economic viability

         3. protects against economic & political corruption of the organic and ethical evolutionary process

         4. nurtures and enhances values of the new sustainable paradigm


Before (and in some cases after) land is allotted, the following resources and services must be implemented or provided:

         1. a permaculture land assessment must be carried out in order to understand what there is to work with and what obstacles or problems must be dealt with so that the above criteria can be achieved (hydrology, soil types, regional and local climatic factors, existing flora & fauna, edge habitats, surrounding habitats, previous natural history and indigenous knowledge of the area (if possible to obtain).

         2. after the first imperative is carried out a hydrology plan must be implemented (potential earth-moving activity to create a series of linked small dams, streams and a reservoir(s))

         3. sites for renewable energy, composting system(s), and shared food resources

         4. sites for shared community resources (energy production, shared food production) and services (school(s), community centre(s), cultural centre(s) and recreational site(s)

         5. interlinking for each individual parcel of land (water, energy, telecommunications & transport)

         6. EMERGY calculations estimate that global capacity of land required to sustainably support each human being is 2.2 ht/. Work on an average of 2ht/person and 3 to 4 person households. Attempt to limit individual allotments to 1 ht for a family average of 3 (we must reduce human populations) and devote the remainder (5 ht) to infrastructure, social production and wildlife integration.

         7. permaculture instruction BEFORE recipients work their parcels of land with continuing consultation for problem solving

         8. No secrecy! After implementation of infrastructure stage, all processes must be agreed upon by communal consensus and all information made public (outside as well as internally) available through ALL stages

         9. Use ONLY organic procedures and materials, ban use of all synthetics (fertilizers, pesticides, fungicides)

10. Prohibit:

scorched earth agriculture (burning the land for a quick carbon boost which destroys natural biological processes in the soil),

mono cultures

and concentrated or large scale livestock ranching


The Plan



Initiate construction of infrastructure after the assessment is completed:

         1. during dry season conduct earthmoving work for dams, roads, paths, community structures, social production sites (services and value added products) composting sites and wildlife corridors

         2. put into place energy infrastructure for community projects (turbines for dams, for wind on exposed areas not used for other activities, biogas sequestering from compost piles, etc) and wiring networks

         3. during wet season when dams are full (or filling) plant -shared community trees, (fruit, nut, medicinal and insect control (eg. Neem), for nature (food for wildlife and beneficial insects), aromatic and for furniture/crafts. Bamboo (4-7 year harvest cycle) for construction materials, food, natural barriers, fire retarding capacities and land erosion prevention. Seasonal staple foodcrops (grains, pulses, legumes) Stock dams and reservoir with fish and water hyacinth for water purification, beneficial insect and fish/wildlife habitat, humanure and composting admixture materials and mulches (carbon, fungi) for agriculture

         4. plant adaptables (bananas, papaya, yucca, bamboo) and pioneers (nitrogen fixinglegumes and green manures for soil building) on individual sites during this initial stage so that immediate yields are produced as well as initiatingcritical soil building procedures

         5. employ labour of prospective stakeholders. Provide food and temporary shelter deducting from wages one third for amortization of materials, one third for amortization of services.

         6. Plan for 4 days work, 2 days of permaculture class, one day of leisure/family per week

7.   Consult with individual stakeholders after completion of basic permaculture course (6days of 6 hour days (3 weeks) =72 teaching hours) regarding specific components towards design of community site and prospects for individual sites



After basic infrastructure is established and consultation with all stakeholders:

         1. move stakeholders onto individual parcels (no more than 1 ht each)

         2. pool labour and resources to construct core shelters for each site

         3. prioritize humanure, greywater and recycling design systems (humanure composts for community trees, animal manures, food scraps and carbon debris for garden composts, rooftop catchment of rainfall, sediment filters, separation of metals, plastic, paper and glass for re-use or transformation for new uses)

         4. 5 days work, one day permaculture education for site specific challenges and emerging problems, one day leisure/family

         5. plant more specific polyculture crops on individual sites and encourage SMALL scaleanimal systems (foul, dairy and pigs/rodents) for use as insect foraging, manure production as well as food production  (always integrated in guilds with other systems on site)

6.   implement small scale renewable power generation (where applicable -solar panels on rooftops, small turbines from moving water thru site, geothermal, etc)



         1. develop community infrastructure (work on school(s), communication system (wireless,radio & video centre(s), shared electric vehicle co-op, internal democratic organizational structures

         2. develop capacity for social production as self regulating co-op services (education/culture, restaurants, technical repairs, etc) and co-op value added product industries (bakery(s), furniture, crafts, processed foods, etc)

         3. develop products and uses for recycled materials

         4. incorporate permaculture/socialist principles at all educational levels:

         require gardening class at school entry level

         require more advanced courses in permaculture & political/economic theories as students ascend grade levels

         remedial and advanced courses for adults

         new stakeholders (over 16 yrs old) MUST take at least 72 hour PDC course before acceptance (no exceptions regardless of age)

         all stakeholders must participate in an agreed upon minimum time per week or month in community harvests and maintenance programs



Community increases self sufficiency but should also be able to evolve additional capacities and dimensions as:

         1. Bamboo is harvested (on a continuing basis) for construction, furniture and craft uses)

         2. surpluses increase for shared community resources (fruit, nut & Neem trees) & aquaculture when less time is required for maintenance as systems evolve

         3. individual sites evolve complimentary differences incorporating additional capacities as time becomes more available to stakeholders

         4. implement eco restoration projects for buffer and surrounding contiguous areas if necessary (reforestation, waterway reclamation, soil reclamation, etc)

         5. develop mycological production/research facility to enhance soil fertility, reduce and control pests and blights, use for additional food and medicinal production

6.   as overall surplus exceeds the needs of the community they can be applied for use in communities of need or towards new similar community developments


Why this plan shall work

         1. the economic plan is based upon ecological principles and is thus environmentally stable (if implemented faithfully)

         2. integrated community resources and services create conditions suitable for economic transactions supported by strategies embracing principles of solidarity, which reduces individual risk and promotes internal, participatory democracy while reducing or eliminating the possibility of internal bureaucratic inertia

         3. size of individual plots (coupled with above #2) at one hectare prevents external financial manipulation (forcing people to sell their plots back to the oligarchy)

         4. no secrecy clause prevents corruption from gaining even the smallest foothold anywhere, at any level in the system

         5. permaculture/socialist educational initiatives create the foundation for shifting values of the current dysfunctional paradigm toward a paradigm supporting sustainable values

         6. shutting out all corporations from participation and internalizing surplus redistribution controls the profit motive which is most responsible for the success of  ‘divide and conquer’ strategies of corporate aggression

         7.  because stakeholders participate from the beginning there is a definitive connection and recognition between the association of self interest with community and environmental integrity


* -INTI is the department in the Venezuelan ministry of Agriculture responsible for assessing and redistributing undeveloped lands (both public and private) to peasant farmers and co-operatives and is an integral part of the agrarian land reform process underway in the Bolivarian revolution.

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