The Edible Classroom, Yogi Art Center, Goa, India, 2018

In February 2018, I was invited by the Yogi Art Center, an alternative school in Goa, India to pilot a project that’s very close to my heart. I have been dreaming of finding a place open to permaculture as a subject on the school curriculum.

The seed for the outdoor edible classroom was planted.

The vision is to co-create an interactive learning space with the kids as co-designers. To enable dialogue between the space and the little humans. To allow for dreaming big and imagine the most inviting, stimulating, delicious to eat space to learn, play, connect and enjoy. What would it look, smell, taste and feel like? What plants will live here and how can we best care for them? What can we learn about ourselves, each other and the natural world?

To bring clarity and a working framework for the project I am using Looby Macnamara’s Design Web. The Design Web is, in my humble opinion, the most versatile permaculture design tool to help map out the project. Once we had the vision (the edible classroom), we explored what will help us realise it (tools, resources, people, plants, knowledge, etc), what can limit us (money, time, experience). What permaculture principles are we working with (using slow and small solutions, obtaining a yield, using the edge and valuing the marginal, capturing and storing energy, everything gardens, etc).

The design is a work in progress and after only two months, with the help of the kids and volunteers we created a boundary around our chosen space, build a raised bed with a play den and sand pit in the centre and set the structure for an living dome that will be offering shade as well as producing fruit and vegetables.

We are using Clea Chandmal’s forest floor method to build soil. More updates and the complete design will be published part of my Diploma work.