Witnessing Trees is our pilot project for food security, regenerative livelihood, and ecosystem restoration. We are working with Balawag National High School in Tabuk, Kalinga province in partnership with the Department of Education.
We are working with community leaders representing farmers, women, youth, indigenous peoples, entrepreneurs, local government, and religious groups. We explored the concepts of Ecovillage and Permaculture design for development and connected it very closely to the indigenous peoples' practice and worldview, with indigenous communities and systems as the original ecovillages. Balawag is still a community with various tribes who still respond to emergencies together, celebrate together, and continue to dream together. They lost crops and got their properties destroyed after Typhoon Haima ravaged the region in 2016.
We are journeying with this community for 2-3 years through the support of the Sustainable LUSH fund in partnership with the Global Ecovillage Network.
Many trees of Balawag are slashed and burned to pave the way for corn plantation as animal feeds. This is one of the backdrops of our ecosystem restoration program.
Outgoing Principal Samuel Dawagan shares the vision of the school and how it complements with Witnessing Trees. Note: he refers it to the LUSH project as a quick recall.
Balawag National High School has allocated 1.5 ha of its property to become a demonstration site for a permaculture designed garden and food forest.
Using mental models, we go deeper into the issues behind our challenges on the cultural, social, economic, and ecological dimensions.
To start this project with their intentions in the process, we did a personal and collective visioning on how they want this project to be like.
Sharing personal and collective visions
Integrating shared visions into one
Their community vision has a special focus on education for ecological awareness to achieve peace and prosperity in their community. Sounds big but we had a meaningful time defining and designing it together as a mandala.
In the succeeding sessions until first week of September, we would engage on different activities covering social, cultural, and ecological dimensions before proceeding into the regenerative livelihood program of this project.