Making a layer bed

Click on the link to download the 8 steps with pictures…

Biodynamic and organic layer bed farming

 

 

Green-Ed

GreenEd – learning naturally!

Green-Ed is a framework – or series of frameworks designed to interleave with curriculums that are flexible and already have an applied, student centred and critical thinking culture. Green-Ed is a combination of changing the physical environment to create productive organic and landscaped “greening” to current buildings – particularly in urban contexts in Indonesia.

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Click here to read “Material Intelligence”

Having been involved with the Green School in its 2nd and 3rd year of existing and also being a builder by trade, an educator by profession and an experimenter in integrated systems and aquaponics, I have a passion for seeing material intellegence grow in students of all ages. Material intelligence is what connects us with stuff so we come to know and understand where things come from and we do project based learning and create, design, make, build and produce. These activities link us back to the natural world. We discover more about the plants and animals that our food comes from and we learn about conservation, recycling, product choice, product recognition, organic farming, the web of life or food chain, human health, the biospere, eco-systems and environments.

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We aim to develop ‘natural’ skills using our hands and bodies as well as our thinking capacity and technology. But we ask the questions: where does this product come from. Who made it. Is there an economical alternative that is less wasteful, damaging or difficult to waste manage? We also look at solutions to problems and seek to build them, make them, discover them one way or another.

Click here to read “Head Heart and Hands” learning

Aquaponics and Animal Farm from the sky
Aquaponics and Animal Farm from the sky
English teaching
1st Grade kids planting and watering seeds
Cooking with Usha

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Natural – Material Intelligence (MI)

 

Natural Intelligence – Material Intelligence (MI)

Jonathan Wright – December 2018
www.5EyesFarm.com
WA: +61 401177048

 

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Over time as we have come to rely on modern systems in an increasingly global and contemporary world, and as we have become less connected with the natural world, we have also ironically become less connected with understanding the many “things” we consume. We use all sorts of things, with more choice between brands and competing manufacturers and markets. But we seem to understand ’things’ less and less. What exactly is the difference between these ten types of tuna on my supermarket shelf? Do I know I can use an app on my SP to show me where these were sourced, how they where fished, info on transportation, process and packaging and even sustainability gradings and comparisons between brands? Same is starting for eggs. We are beginning to use tech to help us understand which is a real change. We need to take it further though.

Initially, through the force of change brought by the printing press, and later by the industrial revolution, we started creating lifestyles that did not rely on sensitivity to natural ecosystems and natural or other resources. Before this revolution, we were more connected with the sensibilities needed not just to work with a multitude of fragile ecosystems but to be part of those ecosystems, symbiotically connected. When we used fire to cook and protect and also to heal wounds and shape tools – when we planted, harvested, gathered, sought for water or raised animals, we were integrated with these natural systems. Apart from isolated tribes and those still living by ancient ways, there is very little ‘natural’ intelligence or what has been termed ‘Material Intelligence’ (see Glenn Adamson AEON MAGAZINE Dec 2018).

 

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It seems crucial to foster sustainable thought and practices connected to the material world, the physical world, the real world. Like a yoga teacher imparting physical intelligence, we need to impart Material Intelligence (MI) through education. MI reconnects us to the reality of material things: what they are, where they come from, how they grow and who made them as a start. Later, more mature MI can discern between types of products, do careful product choice and selection, understand the impact of logistics in transporting products, help others to make simple changes and teach about aspects of waste management, improved plastics and purchasing choices. We all need to start somewhere!

And it is not only for a good cause, or to save the planet or to ‘go green’. Learning MI is essential to our future survival and development. We are entering unsteady waters and many areas of life will be affected. We have less water, we have overfished the oceans, we are losing land to deforestation, drought, climate change and bad management.

 

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A recent documentary called The Evolution of Us (Netflix Nov 2018) shows how we humans are designed to run long distances. We still carry a small amount of the genes associated with hunting in the African Savanna which our ancestors passed on. The longest muscle in the human body is the thigh muscle and we are designed to sweat when we run so that we can outrun almost any grazing animal. The ability is still in us genetically and physically. The common practice, however, is that the majority of us do not run. Natural intelligence is also in us. We need to overcome a few elemental fears and try our hands at something to start connecting more.

Developing natural intelligence or MI is not only important from a sustainability and environmental perspective. It is hugely essential wisdom, hidden wisdom connecting us with the real world. Until not so long ago people made things with their hands. The world moved slowly and it was not overpopulated. It was the combination of agriculture and technology that has so populated our planet with humans. Most people before around 100 years ago had a hand in growing, making, preparing that connected them to the real world. They were not squeamish around killing and cooking their food, for example, just a normal part of life.

 

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Today we see whole cities full of ten’s of millions living in tiny concrete box’s driving shiny metal boxes to the school, the mall, the workplace each box with AC on full. The mall and the supermarket today are the jungle and the valley of yesterday – not just geographically but in every way. Grade 8 students tell me that their food comes from the supermarket. Most things to them come from TV or the internet. It is as if these mediating devices have a universe of their own in the popular imagination. While no one can argue the convenience of all this tech and the mediation of realities, with the growing conveniences, if we apply MI to it all we may find ways to keep the convenience while exercising better choices in what we consume, how we select, where we buy, know what we are buying, where it came from or how it was made or grown etc. That is the only way to change things – the power of the people.

 

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Marketing companies would not have it though. They are aggressive and use subliminal ways to hypnotise that masses into consuming not just for convenience but as far as possible for ignorance if they can smoke screen us all into just buying it without asking all those pesky questions then all the better for them. However, many humans don’t realise they have choices and indeed, most of us don’t realise that almost all we have in our favour to get ahead is the exercise of those choices. For example, we cannot control circumstance or fate. We can only really control our response and approach to life. But this gives us huge choice and potential.

Ironically it is technology that has insulated us from reality. If the internet went down permanently (say a massive solar flare or two from the sun), we would not survive for long, only because all the food is moved around the globe by sophisticated computer systems. All our other systems would go too, banking, finance, communications, everything. Indeed, we are a fragile little rock floating around in the middle of nowhere in this obscure corner of the galaxy.

The industrial revolution and the advent of tech have increasingly separated us from reality. We call this progress because it feels like something better is happening. More choice, more convenience. For many if not most a good portion of the day also includes screen-mediated realities. Phone screens, tablets, TV screens, computer screens, advertising screens, security screens. We live in such an advanced and convenient society because of all this tech and we are influenced so much by the ceaseless screen-mediated marketing. Supermarkets were the first step towards this culture and now with online shopping, Uber Eats and their kind it is all so convenient we don’t need to get up off the couch!

 

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The current systems are not safe to merely rely on though. Dr Google is excellent for shallow and wide information but the way it is set up does not encourage deeper understandings. We go there merely for information. If we want to know materially, neither the internet, our phones or screen-mediated communication will lead us there. They function in 2D. Reality is in 3D. We need to touch it, explore it, discover it.

I showed a friend a blueberry fruit on the bush in the garden. He was surprised. Didn’t realise that was how they produced. Also didn’t know that the fruit comes from the flower, that the flower needs pollinating, that population relies on insects, particularly bees and that our fruit and vegetables would shrink and perish without the bees alone.

Einstein reportedly said we would starve as a race in four years if we lost the bees. Thankfully there are lots of bee species and we are still here despite the huge losses around the globe in recent years. And besides, if worst came to worst, we could do what they are doing now in parts of Southern China. They climb up tall ladders and decked in mask and suit and gloves they delicately collect pollen from fruit flowers, tweezers and sterile bag. Their pollen will, in turn, be placed on the flowers elsewhere to pollinate and cross-pollinate, so fruit will grow. At least these Chinese bee replacement workers are getting back in touch with reality. We live within fragile ecosystems and we have become ill-equipped to manage if the slightest thing changes or goes out of balance.

 

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Some folks have strong material intelligence. Artisans and makers, farmers and builders. People who use their hands and bodies to perform or create or refine skills. Most sports require the physical side of material intelligence within the confines of the playing culture. As soon as we pick up a hammer, a spade, touch the wood, the soil, walk in nature, make a garden we are causing the connection to flood us. Something unspeakable takes place when a group of young people arrive at the farm. An absolute wonder comes over them. They experience hands-on activities, planting seedlings, watering plants, picking fruit. Much more is going on for these kids than information download. They are making connections. The students are realising where things come from. They are seeing the processes and experiencing dozens of new understandings.

In turn, a context like this which accelerates the material connection through living things and to the uses of innate things, dead things, unmanageable things (like recycling 13500 recycled car and motorbike tyres in our infrastructure projects at 5EyesFarm), creates a tremendous new canvas in the student for the learning process to take new form, advance, interconnect. And it affords many teaching opportunities as well. Creative teaching comes from being connected with the material world. We use tech as aids (tech), but we get our hands dirty to advance our material intelligence (MI). If for example, we create a raised organic layer bed to grow a kitchen garden. The project then becomes a nature project with many ecosystems involved and many processes learned. First, we learn with our hands (doing), then with our hearts (passion) and then with our heads (knowledge).

 

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There is no point in theorising when we encounter this project. We need to touch it, feel it, see it, experience it. We till our soil, then carry leaves, plant seeds, mulch beds, make compost, protect plants (pest/climate). Also, enhance naturally and maybe combine with other useful systems. Doing this or any small part of it empowers the learning process. It activates interest and I would suggest that there is a deeper part of us that is satisfied working in the natural world with our whole selves. It is from here that it is easy to learn the theories, the sciences, the Latin names, the chemistry, biology and physics of it all.

It is possible to apply the arts to our expression, communication and reiterations of what we experience and discover in the natural world project — a painting, a song, a presentation, an essay, a lab session, a finger painting, a group dance or any other creative expression. A theory is easy to discover when interest is present. Students learning like this learn quickly and it seems to cross-pollinate all their other learning.

Students can also learn things that often get missed in school settings. They learn to communicate and advocate well through built confidence in being instrumental in the design, plan, building, creating, making, growing, processing, marketing, cooking, selling, inventing of the projects undertaken. There is a social and relational advantage in this learning context too. As students problem solve in groups and work together in cohorts to accomplish their goals, they develop strong loyalties and bonds and motivate each other forwards. We don’t mean group work where everyone is bored and only one or two people do all the work. It is a culture where everyone is involved; everyone has some part to play, some new thing to discover, explore or learn.

 

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Alternative schools like Montessori and Steiner have educated through connecting natural intelligence. The GreenSchool in Bali where I helped with the pioneering phase is the best example of this vital practice that I know and the students will undoubtedly be effective green leaders of the future. Imagine this natural learning taking place within communities involving all ages, an emphasis on gender equality and inclusion. Imagine transforming a district of around 80,000 people across ten villages with programs and business initiatives all centred around learning, improving the local environment, creating opportunities. Not too difficult if you are working together with people who have good MI and a bit of motivation. We need some outside resources but surely that is possible (calling all philanthropists). We think this might work, over time, with patient guidance and mutual support.

With 5EyesFarm (Kebun Mata Lima) we have more than a farm and more than a school on the cards: it is starting/modelling a series of learning opportunities, an informal school that spreads through the community in different ways. Cooking classes, English lessons, applied learning through making, creating, designing. Small business development through workshops on making hygienic Tempe, sambal, to sell, raising fish or animals for profit and whatever emerges through need or inspiration. A learning community that develops from within, village-up power, not top-down handouts. And not programs that reinforce our distance to MI. Capitalising on that intelligence and empowering it to flourish. “Calling all leaders and teachers of a new kind to step forward”.

 

©Jonathan Wright (PJ), Dec 2018©

Two years on at 5EyesFarm

d667c92e-bae3-4074-a31e-e8a8115f63b1It was the 13th November 2016 that we negotiated for the first piece of
land that is now connected with several other parts to make up 5EyesFarm. And as the past year has taken shape so has our vision. First up we are creating essential partnerships. These are a two-way partnership where we help to implement GreenEd and GreenPractice in schools and universities and other organisations. In turn, these organisations, schools and universities will assist us in establishing GreenEd in the villages around the farm.

We will start on the farm and spread from there into the district in partnership with the community and its leaders. We are starting a revolution of contemporary applied education in English learning, applied small business skills, integrated and organic farming practices, clean living and related practices.

Along with the community, we will start a recycling centre and launch a campaign cleaning up the common areas, the streets and waterways. The village has already begun cleaning some drains and waterways and populating them with fish. And while these are small steps, the fish breed and become a small business. People have no spare cash here. They cannot afford any sudden changes like the need for medicine if they get sick. Those who are not educated formally are smart with their hands and hearts. The village has already been planning a revolution within the district. They are trying to start eco tourism and they have mapped the region with a drone so as to plan well. They are hoping to start a small bakery and other small business initiatives. They are making sports fields and improving the infrastructure of the state schools. These projects usually require funding but people are generous with their time and labour.

 

The partnership with the villages is substantial and particularly with help from others, we can start something good here. So – two-way partnerships… We help a school to green up, and we work with the teachers and community to weave GreenEd into their program. In turn, they will help us develop a unique model of community-based applied learning and affect a region, slowly over time.

One beautiful school is already helping by donating books for a library to be created (which some of their senior students will make happen as part of their community development program), musical instruments and old computers. Another teaching network wants to use the farm regularly for their 35 students to stay, possibly weekly. The farm will be where they do their learning for those days. In turn, the organisers will help with teaching English in the Village. Several other Indonesian teachers around the wider region have offered to help teach conversational English and other subjects and skills.

Kebun Mata Lima is not only an organic farm, but it is also a model and a place for integrated and holistic learning. We live in an age where we have all become disconnected with where things come from, how they are made, what alternatives might be available, what we can make instead of buy, how we manage waste, where our food comes from and so on. Typically, we do not get our hands dirty. Generally, we have a barrier between our lifestyles and an understanding of how our foods or other products are processed, packaged, what chemicals are involved.

In other words, we have an opportunity to reconnect, through the organic farm, the animal farm and the aquaponics. We have a chance to create solutions to problems by starting to use alternative energy, by recycling and careful product choices, by planning how to use the space we have effectively. This is also an opportunity to work together and learn together around the many things involved in these areas. Community and community building is essential. The village up approach is the way forward for real lasting change to be made with a particular focus on the younger generations.

We have come a fair way in the last 12 months. Apart from these and other wonderful partnerships emerging there is talk of financial support through an aid agency and also through some private philanthropists and donors. We need this to establish GreenEd as a foundation and to build upon what we have started. The past 2 years have used most of our resources to fund and while the farm will pay for itself and its staff, the GreenEd needs funding to succeed.

We have almost completed the Family House (Rumah Keluarga) and the Teaching House is well underway. The animal farm is mainly built and we are starting to add stock – Marino sheep, goats, rabbits, guinea pigs, quails, more chickens, more ducks. We have also begun the stage one Aquaponics and it is up and running with Tilapia Nile and floating rafts. The next beds we do will have a solid medium in them. Another will have towers and tubes. It will take time. We are redesigning the roof at present.

Completing means we can focus on the critical stuff, helping the groups we partner with, developing GreenEd, establishing projects in the village. With all that goes on with building these areas, we are still growing and maintaining the organic farm, and its composts, mulches, harvests, seed saving, seed planting, seedling transfers, watering, shading. For the animal farm, there is ongoing work cleaning, feeding, improving things. Other gardens and areas need ongoing attention as well.

Marketing and selling food is also a big area we have been working on these past 12 months. Veggie box’s, markets, the organic expo in JKT, and various regular customers who pick up fresh from the farm. We aim to make Gado Gado from our organically grown peanuts and Sambals from our aquaponics tomatoes (best we have ever tasted!!!)

Integrated farming is exciting. It is also challenging. The ducks need a pond to swim in, but the chickens will drown if there is a pond nearby. So we have the ducks separated at the moment with their own great pond. They still meet the criteria: serving more than 2 purposes – producing eggs, compost and one-day meat. Ideally, we would have them fully integrated sharing the same space as the other animals. These are some of the livestock challenges, but there are also mechanical ones: machines needing parts – the human ones – community spirit lacking elevation, the logistical ones: officials imposing levies. Workers getting ill.

It has been an incredible 12 months, and a great deal of progress has happened. Mainly we have really strengthened the community ties and the team spirit of all who are associated with our work. It is exciting to think where the next 12 months will take us.

 

  

  

 

  

            

GreenEd- learning naturally!

Green-Ed is a framework – or series of frameworks designed to interleave with curriculums that are flexible and already have an applied, student centred and critical thinking culture. Green-Ed is a combination of changing the physical environment to create productive organic and landscaped “greening” to current buildings – particularly in urban contexts in Indonesia and offering real green learning on our farm.

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Click here to read “Material Intelligence”

Having been involved with the Green School in its 2nd and 3rd year of existing and also being a builder by trade, an educator by profession and an experimenter in integrated systems and aquaponics, I have a passion for seeing material intellegence grow in students of all ages. Material intelligence is what connects us with stuff so we come to know and understand where things come from and we do project based learning and create, design, make, build and produce. These activities link us back to the natural world. We discover more about the plants and animals that our food comes from and we learn about conservation, recycling, product choice, product recognition, organic farming, the web of life or food chain, human health, the biospere, eco-systems and environments.

We aim to develop ‘natural’ skills using our hands and bodies as well as our thinking capacity and technology. But we ask the questions: where does this product come from? Who made it? Is there an economical alternative that is less wasteful, damaging or difficult to waste manage? We also look at solutions to problems and seek to build them, make them, discover them one way or another.

Click here to read “Head Heart and Hands” learning

Aquaponics and Animal Farm from the sky
Aquaponics and Animal Farm from the sky
English teaching
1st Grade kids planting and watering seeds
Cooking with Usha

Aquaponics in Action

Come and join us on November 3rd for a special day at 5EyesFarm where we are hosting “Aquaponics in Action” – an intro workshop with hands-on and theory.

MORE HERE

  • Are you interested in any kind of farming, gardening, fish culture?
  • Have you heard of aquaponics and want to learn more?
  • Interested in building your own home aquaponics?

This is a solid introduction with handouts and revision materials (good for secondary and tertiary students (we have a different set of programs coming up for primary students and other groups). Have a look at 5Eyes aquaponics development test phase one here…

 

 

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A year since we began

Much has happened at 5eyesFarm in the last year or so when we started out. We have been designing and building infrastructure and establishing a 60,000 litre aquaponics system. We have tilled land, established composting systems (and a compost house, established a seedling house and enriched the soil on nearly 6 acres. Roads, retaining walls and other related structures have been started along. With a unique recycled fence design which is a good way to completion. In respect to recycling and using natural, available and local products we have cut many dozens of tonne of basalt rock to use in building and we have installed over 6000 tyres in a range of very useful applications that will be long lasting and hard wearing. Finally we have started growing a range of beautiful fresh organic produce and we are really starting to see results. Have a flick through the following pic journal. We encourage you to visit, to make contact and to share in the vision we have for an integrated organic farm in an unlikely location. Until then…

And we have been growing good food

And as mentioned, building with tyres, stone, bamboo, glass bottles etc

And we have produce

More on Wormfarming

“Worm farms recycle your food waste into ideal natural fertilisers to improve the health of your garden”

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A worm farm produces vermicast, a soil-like material, and a ‘juice’ which are both nutrient rich and make ideal natural fertilisers to improve the health of the plants in your garden.

Our models for cow manure worm farming and for a compost tumber

Using food grade 44 gallon drums cut longways in half there is a simple system to establish a great worm farm.

 

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