The Gumbi Alton Paradise Project

Alton Climate Action Network (ACAN) is now part-owner of a plot of land in Malawi! You can help to ensure it becomes a productive permaculture plot providing food for local people despite the ravages caused by climate change, by joining us in donating to this wonderful project.

In 2019 ACAN heard about an inspiring project led by the Gumbi Education Fund , a charity set up nearly twenty years ago to help educate young people in the villages around Gumbi in Malawi in Southern Africa.

In recent years the people had become completely dependent on an annual maize crop, grown from seed sold by international corporations. Now climate change is causing erratic rainfall and drought, so that in bad years the crop fails and there is widespread malnutrition and poverty in the villages.

Then the Gumbi trustees learned of a farm in Malawi – the wonderfully-named Permaculture Paradise Institute – which was running residential courses to teach people how to take advantage of the subtropical climate and grow a rich variety of fruit and vegetables all the year round using permaculture methods. This involved interplanting trees and different crops, saving water, and growing food with manures and mulches instead of expensive chemicals.

A year ago, Malawi closed all the schools, but farming was an essential activity and with ACAN’s help the Gumbi fund has been able to send 4 young men to train at the Paradise Institute for 6 months.

Once the men returned to their village, 5 young women asked if they could also learn the techniques. They had never left the village before, but thanks to ACAN, they have now  finished a three-month course at the Institute and returned full of enthusiasm and new knowledge.

And the latest exciting news is that ACAN and the Gumbi Fund have been able to buy a three-acre plot of land where the nine students will apply their newly-learned techniques as an example to other farmers and young people – there is no reason why this revolution should not ‘go viral’. The Fund has also funded tools and seeds to get them established, and even now they are preparing the land and starting to build the first structures

ACAN made a short video which is on YouTube with Director Luwayo Biswick explaining more about the Paradise Institute and its inspiring work.

We are now fund-raising to send three more students on the 6-month course at the Permaculture Paradise Institute to build knowledge in the local population. This project transforms lives – see this heartfelt letter of thanks from the students.

All donations, however small, would be gratefully received. Please go to the Donate page on the ACAN website. Thank you.