Design and implementation of sustainable development programs using permaculture as a guiding methodology

HP i-community Permaculture Medicinal Gardens

Hewlet Packard’s (HP) i-community approached Afristar Foundation (Afristar) in Late April 2004 to develop a garden project at the HP i-community based at the Makopane Multi–Purpose Education Facility (MMEC).

The aim of the garden project was to address the effects HIV/AIDS and other diseases are having on the socio-economic fabric of South African society through the development of preventative and primary healthcare solutions based on food and medicinal gardens; that draw extensively on local indigenous knowledge and the role of nutrition.

Through a consultative process with HP and Permaculture Facilitators, Afristar designed and implemented a programme for integrated Permaculture Medicinal Gardens to showcase the role and function of healing plants in primary and preventative health care.

The program had the following objectives:

  • Development of gardens showcasing HIV medicinal plants and plants that can be utilised to treat secondary infections of HIV.
  • Capacitation of nursery for medicinal & indigenous plant, tree and shrub production
  • Research and dissemination of traditional knowledge of medicinal plants and local foods
  • Design and implementation of Permaculture gardens
  • Development of a food forest orchard and barrier plants

On-ground implementation included a medicinal plant wheel, mulched food gardens, rainwater harvesting swale systems, and signage to showcase indigenous knowledge links.

The Permaculture Medicinal Garden was launched in the second week of September 2004, with the visit of Carly Fiorini, a host of senior HP executives, and the President Thabo Mbeki.