IPES works with both actual and potential community leaders and places particular emphasis on women and young people. They take part in a year long, locally held permaculture course which ia accredited with the internationally recognised “Certificate in Permaculture Design”. Participants commit to practice what they learn, developing a demonstration permaculture plot to show how to improve and diversify family food production without the use of chemicals.
They also commit to sharing their learning with the other members of the community using the Farmer to Farmer methodology. During the 26 days of the course (2-3 days per month), participants learn to analyse the environmental, economic and social problems which affect them and design ecologically sustainable solutions. They learn about the background to their current food production crisis, the cause and effects of climate change and conventional agro chemical production.
They learn to create productive ecosystems which provide for their food, fuel and other needs without degrading the natural resources. They learn to improve the soil, diversify production, replenish and cleanse the water sources and recycle their waste. They learn how to develop their resilience to climate change, planting native and more resistant crops and preventing soil erosion.
Students learn to implement the permaculture ethics of care for the earth, caring for each other and sharing our resources.
“We have to assume the knowledge of our ancestors and combine it with the new technology that we are creating. We must recover the land for the next generation” Gertrudis Perez Luna, Cacaopera – IPES volunteer community worker