Sustainable relief in Haiti through permaculture

I had just finished teaching the first weekend of a Permaculture design course at Earth N Us Farm in Little Haiti, Miami, when the earthquake hit in Haiti. The response was instantaneous in the neighborhood, with fundraisers started the following day and the continued outpouring of support. Our discussion questioned how we could get aid to Haiti that would be truly sustainable and not just a temporary handout.

Talk turned into action and five permaculturist water and sanitation specialists arrived in Haiti last week, with a dozen more lined up to travel there. In the midst of getting first responders there, the Permaculture Relief Corps was formed.

For those not familiar with the term, permaculture means "permanent culture" and is a design science based on how nature and natural systems work – by working with nature, one can tap into the power and abundance of nature.

The beauty of permaculture design is that even in the most horrendous disaster, one can take action that will have long-term beneficial effects that will expand and last for generations.