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Information, activities, events


Information, activities, events

The Seed Severs' Network

"Seeds, especially of food and other useful plants, should be taken care of by the people. They are too precious for all of them to be placed under the exclusive control of the few. The more hands that hold them the safer they are." (The Seed Savers' Handbook)

This is the philosophy behind the Seed Savers Network. Seed Savers was formed in 1986 to insure long term survival of the Australian plant heritage. The Australian public is now well aware that the seeds of plants that feed, heal and clothe us are too important to leave solely in the hands of bureaucrats and international corporations. Seed Savers is a non-government organizations supported in totality by public subscriptions and the work and goodwill of many. It has an office and a central seed bank in Byron Bay with three full time workers, backed up by thousands of seed savers storing their seed harvest in jars, stoneware, cellars and fridges. Subscribers themselves exchange their surplus seeds via the newsletter.

Seed Savers' subscribers, their friends and families grow and save rare seeds in their gardens and on their farms. City seed savers do it on their balconies. The Network is not supported by seed sales: it is not a seed company. Seeds are given simply for caretaking and multiplication. After successful seed harvests they can be used for growing food. Exchange of seeds is facilitated by a list of offers and requests included in the spring newsletter.

When heritage seeds first reach Seed Savers they are entered in their books, repacked and sent to proven seed multipliers. When the seeds are returned in sufficient quantities they are sealed in oxygen- and moisture-proof packs and cold stored to retain their viability. Volunteers package the seeds into small packets which are sent free of charge to subscribers who need a good seed start, to schools, to inquirers and to Seed Aid Trust projects.

Seed Aid Trust is the overseas development are of Seed Savers which works with other NGOs and individuals on projects in the Solomon Islands, Palau, Sarawak, Nepal, Ecuador, Botswana, Sudan, Zaire, El Salvador, Nicaragua and several regions of India and Papua New Guinea. Seeds are sent over in accordance with local quarantine regulations. After trials on arrival, the most suitable varieties are regrown and their seeds are distributed to villagers. A Seed Savers' Handbook is often sent, as self-help is part of the package. Whenever there is a demand, The Seed Aid Trust advises and runs workshops on the setting up of local cooperatives for seed production end the establishing of botanical gardens for useful plants.

· For more information about this network, the Seed Savers' Handbook (a complete reference for growing, saving and storing traditional varieties of food plants), the Seed Savers' Education Kit (suitable for grades five to nine) and how to subscribe to the bi-annual new sletter and help Seed Savers in its work of conserving biodiversity in food plants contact: Michael Fanton, P.O. Box

975, Byron bay NSW 2481, Australia (Tel/Fax: +61 66 856624)

Participating in the rise of civil society

An open conference for NGOs focused on the challenges of the 21st century, Cairo Egypt. 24-30 September, 1996

Sponsored by ICA (Institute of Cultural Affairs) Egypt and ICA International this conference will provide an opportunity to share insights, ideas and discoveries on a new meaning for 'civil society'.

To guarantee the active participation of all the sectors concerned with human development, the Global Conference '96 will address issues from four perspectives: governance, development, business and culture. The conference will allow participants to dialogue with prominent men and women in different fields. World leaders, decision makers, experts, academics and practitioners will all come together to share their collective wisdom in talking about the future of global civic action.

What to expect at Egypt '96:0

· For more information about how you can be put on the conference mailing list and/or participate in this learning event contact: ICA International, Rue Amedee Lynen #8, Brussels 1030, Belgium (Fax: +32 2 219 0406; E-mail: icai@an.apc.org); or ICA MENA, P.O. Box 23 Maadi, Cairo, Egypt (Fax: +20 2 3751765; E-mail: ica@idsc.gov.eg)

Creating community economic' with local currency

Here in Ithaca, New York, we've begun to gain control of the social and environmental effects of commerce by issuing over $ 51 000 of our own local paper money, to over 980 participants, since 1991. Thousands of purchases and many new friendships have been made with this cash, and about $ 500 000 of local trading has been added to the Grassroots National Product.

We printed our own money because we watched federal dollars come to town, shake a few hands, then leave to buy rainforest lumber and fight wars. Ithaca's HOURS, by contrast, stay in our region to help us hire each other. While dollars make us increasingly dependent on multinational corporations and bankers, HOURS reinforce community trading and expand commerce which is more accountable to our concern for ecology and social justice.

Here's how it works: the Ithaca HOUR is Ithaca's $ 10 bill because ten dollars per hour is the average wage/salaries in Tompkins County. These HOUR notes, in five denominations, buy plumbing, carpentry, electrical work, roofing, nursing, chiropractic, child care, car and bike repair, food, eyeglasses, firewood, gifts and thousands of other goods and services. Our credit union accepts them for mortgage and loan fees. People pay rent with HOURS. The best restaurants in town take them, as do movie theaters, bowling alleys, two large locally-owned grocery stores, many garage sales, forty farmer's market vendors, and 200 other businesses. Hundreds have earned and spent HOURS who are not on the Ithaca Money list.

Ithaca's new HOURly minimum wage lifts the lowest paid up without knocking down higher wages. For example, several of Ithaca's organic farmers are paying the highest common farm labour wages in the world: $ 10 of spending power per HOUR. These farmers benefit by the HOUR's loyalty to local agriculture. On the other hand, dentists, massage therapists and lawyers charging more than $10 average per hour are permitted to collect several HOURS hourly. But we hear increasingly of professional services provided for our equitable wage.

Everyone who agrees to accept HOURS is paid two HOURS ($ 20) for being listed in our newsletter Ithaca Money. Every eight months they may apply to be paid an additional two HOURS, as reward for continuing participation. This is how we gradually and carefully increase the per capita supply of our money.

Ithaca's Money's 1300 listings, rivaling the Yellow Pages, arc a portrait of our community's capability, bringing into the market place time and skills not employed by the conventional market. Residents are proud of income gained by doing work they enjoy. We encounter each other as fellow Ithacans, rather than as winners and losers scrambling for dollars.

The Success Stories of 250 participants published so far testify to the acts of generosity and community that our system prompts. We're making a community while making a living. As we do so, we relieve the social desperation which has led to compulsive shopping and wasted resources. At the same time Ithaca's locally-owned stores, which keep more wealth local, make sales and get spending power they otherwise would not have. And over $4 000 of local currency has been donated to 20 community organizations so far, by the Barter Potluck, our wideopening governing body.

As we discover new ways to provide for each other, we replace dependence on imports. Yet our greater self-reliance, rather than isolating Ithaca, gives us more potential to reach outward with ecological export industry. We can capitalize new businesses with loans of our own cash. HOUR loans are made without interest charges.

We regard Ithaca's HOURS as real money, backed by real people, real time, real skills and tools. Dollars, by contrast, are funny money, backed no longer by gold or silver but by less than nothing - $4.5 trillion of national debt.

It is also lots of work and responsibility. To give other communities a boost, we've been providing a Hometown Money Starter Kit. The Kit explains step-by-step start up and maintenance of an HOURS system, and includes forms, laws, articles, insights, samples of Ithaca's HOURS and issues of Ithaca Money. We've sent the Kit to over 300 communities in 45 states so far, and our example is becoming national.

· Information from Paul Glover on Internet (http:// www.prairenet.org/community/religion/idf/currency.html)

· To get a kit send $25 (2.5 HOURS) or $35 from abroad to Ithaca Money, Box 6578, Ithaca, NY 14851, USA

Exploring traditional knowledge of tropical coastal ecosystems: Ethnoecology and participatory resource assessment in Ulugan Bay, Palawan, Philippines

Coral reefs and mangrove forests have served the people of the Philippines as productive, solar powered, natural resource factories. At present, it is estimated that 15% of the total Philippine fish population, worth as much as 1% of GNP, is associated with coral reefs. Tourism an important growing industry in the Philippines is also closely tied to the nation's famous reef ecosystems. Mangrove forests, while often seen as useless swamps, actually provide benefits to society which far exceed the market value of numerous goods they produce.

In recent times, coral reefs and mangrove forests have been called upon to produce goods and provide environmental maintenance services at rates even these efficient ecosystems cannot sustain. There are, however, important efforts underway to prevent the looming collapse of these precious natural resource systems by promoting management for sustainable use. Some of the most successful of these efforts have been participatory or community based projects, often referred to as special area management(SAM) projects. Participatory management involves resource-users functioning as primary decision makers in most production and allocation decisions.

Research is currently underway in Ulugan bay, Palawan to examine traditional ecological knowledge of Philippine fishers regarding coral reefs and mangrove forests within the current development context of participatory coastal resource management for sustainable use. This knowledge, such as specific times and locations of spawning aggregations or the presence of rare and endangered species, is invaluable in resource assessment and management planning. Broadly defined, traditional ecological knowledge can also include assessments of pressing management issues and the feasibility of various present and potential harvesting methods.

Ulugan Bay (approx. 7 500 ha facing the South China Sea) is fringed with coral reefs and mangrove forests which are used for subsistence and commercial purposes by a fishing and farming community of about 2 000 people. l he bay has been designated as a pilot site of the Coastal Environment Program (CEP) of the Philippine Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR). The research will be done in close collaboration with the DENR and the Ulugan Bay Foundation, a local NGO, which has been chosen by the DENR to direct the Community organizing component of the CEP. Traditional knowledge of Ulugan Bay's ecosystems will be synthesized into indigenous coastal resource assessments composed of maps, calendars, resource lists and classifications, as well as other visual and verbal models. Using qualitative and quantitative analytical techniques, local knowledge will be compared to expert assessments of the same ecosystems in an effort to elucidate ways in which traditional knowledge and western science might be most effectively integrated in management projects. Ecological knowledge of resource-users will also be compared to their activities with respect to coastal ecosystems to reveal the extent to which this knowledge is responsible for resource-related behaviour and human impact on coastal ecosystems.

· Information from Coastal Management in Tropical Asia

· For more information contact: Jeffrey S. Walters, Programme on Environment, East-West Center, 1777 East-West Road, # 1053, Honolulu, HI 96848, USA (Fax: 1 808 956 3512)

First Conference of CORRENSA

Kandy. Sri Lanka 4-7 November 1996

The First Conference of the Collaborative Regional Research Network in South Asia (CORRENSA) is to be held in Sri Lanka. The conference is open to anyone interested in promoting women in land and forestry sector development, primarily in the tropical region. This will provide a forum for the researchers to present their views with regard to emerging policy issues. It is also an opportunity for policy makers, activists and various institutions to discuss the present status and future directions to promote women in land and forestry development.

The general theme of the conference is: Women, Land and Forestry Development: A forum for emerging policy issues.

The main topics at the conference will include:

· For further information contact: Prof. Anoja Wiekramasinghe, Regional Coordinator, CORRENSA, Department of Geography, The University of Peradeniya, Peradeniya, Sri Lanka (Tel: +94 8 88301-5 +94 8 32517)

Courses

International training programme

The University of the Philippines Los Banos College of Forestry offers a training package that incorporates the state-of-the-art in various forestry and environmental disciplines. They fall under the following major topics:

· For more information contact: The Director, Institute of Forest Conservation, College of Forestry, U.P. Los Banos, P.O. Box 434, 4031 College, Laguna, Philippines (Fax: +63 94 3340/3206; E-mail: trv@mudspring.uplb.edu.ph)

Integrated forestry planning - Community needs and sustainable management

11 November - 20 December 1996

This course is designed for middle to senior level planners, foresters and other managers working in government or commercial forestry, and for rural development workers or NGO representatives involved in community forestry or land rehabilitation programmes. The first part of the course is held on the campus of ANU in Canberra, developing skills needed for identification, design, appraisal, monitoring and evaluation of forestry projects, as well as skills needed to engender community participation and to use computers for resource planning and financial control.

The second part of the course is built around practical field training in sub-tropical Queensland where participants examine modern approaches to sustainable environmental management' including those related to ecotourism at the World Heritage Site, Fraser Island. Participants also select one of two alternative field tours of forestry projects whose climatic conditions and land-use problems mirror those of their own regions. One tour examines dryland establishment and site rehabilitation techniques using drought tolerant but fast growing species, agroforestry technologies with fodder trees and community approaches to integrated catchment management. The other tour examines plantation and natural forest silviculture in Queenland's wet coastal zone, including selective logging, harvesting codes of practice, and regeneration techniques.

Comprehensive course fee covering all tuition and field tours and subsistence costs is A$ 11 400.

· For more information contact: Mr. David Brett, Course Coordinator, Forestry & Environmental Division, ANUTECH Pty Ltd. Canberra ACT 0200, Australia (Fax: +61 6 249 5875 or 257 1433; E-mail: david.brett@apelmail.anu.edu.au)

Forestry for rural development

Rural forestry focuses on the planning, management and controlled utilization of forests and trees in rural areas. The involvement of local people in the different stages of planning and implementation is a specific character of rural forestry.

The general objectives of this 11 month postgraduate diploma course is to develop the participants' knowledge and skills to enable them to prepare alternative models, suitable for integration in land use planning activities, which strengthen the place and role of trees and shrubs for sustainable development.

The curriculum is divided into four cycles: concepts and approaches, survey techniques and tools, fieldwork programme and applications. The training method followed in the course is based on the participants' experience and was especially developed for adult reaming.

The course is organized by ITC's Forest Science Division and starts in August 1996.

· For more information contact: ITC Student Registration Office, Attn: Mrs. A. Scheggetman, P.O. Box 6, 7500 AA Enschede, The Netherlands (Fax: +31 53 4874 238, E-mail: scheggetman@itc.nl)

Making forest policy work

1-26 July, 1996

This course confronts the central issues of forest policy and practice in an increasingly challenging global environment, building on the experience and expertise of key players, analysts and opinion leaders and decision makers in a diverse array of disciplines and organizations: academia, government, agencies at international, national and local levels, non-government organizations, and private enterprise.

The programme comprises: 1) a week of one-day seminars, which can be attended from one seminar only to the whole series; and, 2) three weeks of course work, of more specialist interest. Each is designed to promote constructive discussion and interaction between speakers and participants.

Organized jointly by OFI, IIED and SGA Forestry.

Agroforestry: Trees in support of agriculture

5-30 August, 1996

This course, being offered for the first time, will address the key issues of agroforestry emphasizing the role of agroforestry within national development, the place and management of trees within agroforestry systems, interactions between trees and crops, and the environmental and social aspects of agroforestry. Particular attention will be given to the philosophy and practice of agro forestry research. The facilitator of this course will be Dr. Peter

Huxley, former Director of Research and Development at ICRAF.

· For more information about the two courses above contact: Kate Harris, Course coordinator, Oxford Forestry Institute, Department of Plant Sciences, University of Oxford, South parks road, Oxford OX 1 3RB, United Kingdom (Fax: +44 1865 275074, E-mail: ofi@plantsciences.oxford.ac.uk)

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