Hoï An is a small touristic city in the center of Vietnam. This area is attractive because of its nature diversity, history and traditional architecture. In 2016, over 21 million of tourists visited this city of 120, 000 inhabitants. Hoï An is surrounded by lot of small subsistence farms and by one of the most-developed mono-crop in Vietnam: rice.
In 2011, a U.N. Report established that the city of Hoï An has a high environment risk level (flood, water pollution…). That is why, this city has been chosen by the U.N. to experiment a new large project which will “help the town to materialize its plan of becoming the first eco-town in Vietnam”. This project is part of the 2030 U.N. sustainable goals.
We met Christopher in a small garden in Hoï An city. Christopher is Australian, he lives in Vietnam for 3 years. He is passionate by permaculture mindset as the natural way to re-connect with soil, water and land. As an agricultural entrepreneur, he participates in lot of workshops and he teaches permaculture with a social perspective. Christopher explains us his vision on permaculture related to urban areas.
Christopher launched three years ago a “permaculture dynamic” in Vietnam. He created a large community to share knowledges and to educate about permaculture mindset. He is the founder and the CEO of Grow Your Life Social Permaculture Institute (https://www.facebook.com/GrowYourLifeSocialPermacultureInstitute/). This initiative strengthened the U.N. project to develop Hoï An as an eco-city.
For him, permaculture is above all a mindset: care for the Earth, care for the people, fair share. It is a holistic concept, at the head of all types of sustainable agriculture (organic, agro-forestry, agro-ecology, regenerative agriculture…).
Permaculture, for “Permanent” “Agriculture”, corresponds to thinking agriculture or breeding like being part of an all ecosystem, viable in the long term. Permaculture aims to limit the human action on cultures and to let the nature handles itself with its natural flows (sun, moon, water…). It is an old circular vision that can be adapted to urban areas like in Hoï An.
Indeed, urban agriculture can apply to permaculture mindset. Most of the principles can be replicated in urban areas: water management, compost, mixed crops, social integration, health respect…
Christopher provides his technical expertise to several farms near the city of Hoï An : like to An Farm Hoï An, which is an organic farm. It grows vegetables and plants for food or cosmetics uses.
On Sunday, this farm welcomes families to raise awareness on healthy agriculture and food. So, one of the actions of Christopher is to promote education.
Christopher creates also large online permaculture communities of several thousands people to share knowledges and to develop permaculture mindset in Vietnam.
WHAT NOW ?
For Christopher, the key for tomorrow is education! The goal is to maintain and develop public events in farms to raise awareness on environmental issues through permaculture.
The challenge in Hoï An is to maintain small scale farms with their old methods respecting permaculture principles and prevent intensive agriculture.
In response to the touristic boom in Hoï An, one solution promoted by the U.N would be to develop “eco-tourism”: eco-mobility with bikes, waste management for restaurants & hotels, tourist activities related to nature respect…
To conclude: one nice quote shared by Christopher that sum up permaculture concept is “I don’t want to protect the environment, I want to create a world when environment doesn’t need protection”.