Simple Solutions Newsletter
Permaculture for Ending Hunger

Though the problems of the world are increasingly complex,
the solutions remain embarrassingly simple
. ~Bill Mollison

No. 5 May 2010 
In this issue...
What is Permaculture?
Kinesi Village Orphans' Permaculture Garden
Failure to Yield: GE Crops
Great Permaculture Resources
Ojai Artisans
Working to Establish
Sister Co-op in
Musoma, Tanzania

In March 2010, Ojai Artisan, Peggie Williamson, visited Musoma with GRA directors Lyn and Tara. Williamson was introduced by GRA to three basket makers trying to support large extended families. These three women, members of a women's craft cooperative, were among the few artists in Musoma able to make any sort  of living from their craft. There is no market for art in Musoma, due to the extreme poverty.

Peggie purchased all the baskets the three women had. Upon her return, she presented the women's stories and baskets at the monthly meeting of Made in Ojai, an artists' cooperative store in Ojai, California, and the idea of a sister co-op was born.

Stop by Made in Ojai at 323 E. Matilija  St. (Ojai, California) to see baskets from across the world and learn more about how you can participate in this new project. Store hours are daily from 10:00 a.m.-6:00p.m.

Growing Seeds in Recycled water bottles

Buzz-Off Malaria Campaign
Round 2

Double your donation to Buzz-Off and protect 500 families from malaria infection with 1,500 nets!

We're happy to report that 200 nets and 500 bottles of homepathic neem tincture have already been distributed to remote Ingri Juu Village to orphaned children, widows and others without access to malaria preventatives! Thank you for your contributions!

An anonymous foundation has pledged a $3000 matching grant to help GRA raise the $6,000 still needed for the distribution of 1,300 additional nets.

Your $15 donation  provides a family of six with three nets plus a year's supply of homeopathic neem tincture to prevent malaria.
2010 Goals
Progress Update

Maji Mengi
Well Drilling Project

2010 Goal: Drill 36 wells
Drilled So Far: 4
2,000 more people now have access to a clean source of water!
Funding Still Needed:
Kinesi Permaculture Garden Project

2010 Goal: Develop 10 acres for the Kinesi community and 75 families caring for orphans
Developed So Far: 2.5 Acres
The new garden is already producing food for participants- see updates on Facebook. We recently received money to develop gardens at the homes of 30 families living with orphans in Kinesi village. We hope to create a dry region demo garden in the near future.
Funding Still Needed:

Solar Cooking Workshops

2010 Goal: 50
Held So Far: 0
We've already received enough funding to reach our goal of holding 50 workshops this year! Workshops are about to begin with the wet season drawing to a close.
Funding Still Needed:

Micro Mortgage Fund

Goal: $15,000
Raised So Far: $0
GRA would like to work with local microfinance organization, UVIMAKI, to provide low-interest mortgages to their clients of approx $6,000 for the construction of 2 bedroom compressed earth block homes.
Capital Still Needed: $15,000

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Garden Bag Let me share my two favorite things about permaculture with you. One, it gives me hope that six billion plus people can be well fed while simultaneously regenerating the beauty, abundance and biodiversity of our planet. And two, permaculture connects me to the world through the microcosm of my own backyard. That is, permaculture is a sustainable solution to many of the environmental and food security issues facing the world that can be replicated anywhere from Tanzania to California on the scale of an entire community to one household, including my own. 

The primary focus of permaculture is sustainable agriculture (permanent-agriculture), however, unlike large-scale agriculture production, the many systems connected to food production- home, community, labor and environment- are of equal significance and completely integrated in permaculture design. Permaculture has provided Global Resource Alliance with a dynamic and effective framework to unite and strengthen our programs in alternative heathcare, sustainable technology, well drilling, education, microfinance, orphans support and, of course, organic food production. It has also connected us to the global community, as well as our local community in Ojai and Santa Barbara, California.

We want to share our experience in permaculture with you in this issue of the Simple Solutions Newsletter with the hope that it will open as many doors and provide as much practical information for you and like-minded organizations as it has for GRA.

Best wishes,
Monica Marshall
Global Resource Alliance

Please take a few minutes to rate GRA on We only need 6 more reviews by May 31st to make the list of Top-Rated Women's Empowerment Nonprofits.

Please become a Fan of Global Resource Alliance on Facebook!
Check out recent photos and project updates on the Kinesi Village Permaculture Garden.

Global Resource Alliance
Family Hunger
More food than ever is being produced - more than enough to feed every man, woman and child on the planet - yet there are more hungry people in the world today than ever before:
  • For the first time in history, over one billion people do not have enough to eat - more than the populations of USA, Canada and the European Union combined.
  • The World Health Organization estimates that 1/3 of the world is well-fed, 1/3 is under-fed and 1/3 is starving.
  • Every six seconds a child dies because of hunger or related causes.
We now live in such an interconnected world that hunger is more an issue of unequal distribution and poverty than the planet's inability to feed everyone. Permaculture is important to this issue, because it allows small scale farmers to participate in intensive food production without expensive and technologically advanced commercial farming techniques. Additionally, permaculture design can transform poor and barren landscapes into fertile food forests when farmers utilize the plants and animals designed and perfected by nature for such conditions. As the human population rapidity increases and resources must be shared by more and more, a self-sustaining food production system is the only viable solution to ending hunger.

Read more Hunger Stats from the United Nations World Food Programme...
Kinesi Orphans' Garden on Lake VictoriaWhat is Permaculture?

Permaculture or permanent agriculture is the harmonious integration of landscape and people providing their food, energy, shelter, and other material and non-material needs in a sustainable way. As described by Bill Mollison, the founder of permaculture, in his book Introduction to Permaculture:

"Permaculture is based on the observation of natural systems, the wisdom contained in traditional farming systems, and modern scientific and technological knowledge. Although based on good ecological models, permaculture creates a cultivated ecology, which is designed to produce more human and animal food than is generally found in nature."

GRA's tilapia pond in Kinesi Village, Tanzania is our favorite example of permaculture's practical application. Tilapia is a hearty, rapidly reproducing fish that can withstand highly murky waters and temperatures from 10-35C. The pond was placed centrally in the garden for easy disposal of any pest affected vegetable matter to be happily consumed by the fish as well as ducks. Fallen sweet potatoes and peas were planted on the inner edge of the pond to compliment the fishies diet of algae and weeds. The pond water is replenished and oxygenated by overflow from a water tank. Once in the pond, the overflow water becomes fertilized by the tilapia and ducks and can be released into spillways and used to enrich the garden. 

Permaculture offers a truly sustainable, high yielding system of food production without the use of genetically engineered seeds or expensive, polluting agricultural inputs. Billions of dollars and corporate partnerships are not a necessity for implementation and uncertain sustainability. You can implement permaculture in your own backyard or community with little more than a well conceived design plan, plants, animals, people with skills in farming, gardening, ecology, carpentry.... and a little land.
Class at the Kinesi Garden
Class at the Garden
Kinesi Village Orphans' Garden 

Last year, Ireland's Freedom from Hunger Council (Gorta), awarded GRA-Tanzania a generous grant to bring food security to the 75 families caring for orphans in rural Kinesi Village. With the help of visiting permaculture experts from Zimbabwe, Australia and the United States, a 2.5 acre plot is being designed and developed by GRA personnel and some 30 villagers. Another large plot has been offered by the village for expansion of the garden. As the garden matures, fruits, veggies and grains from the garden will provide a self sustainable replacement for participants' vital monthly rations of beans, maize and rice.  Already, it is producing Chinese cabbage, okra, tomatoes, kale, maize and beans.  A small pond has been created on the site to raise tilapia, a local fish, and provide a habitat for ducks to produce eggs and organic fertilizer.
The site also hosts a newly constructed, three bedroom compressed earth block house that will serve as a home for one caretaker and up to four visiting volunteers. The demonstration home includes a composting toilet and other simple, alternative technologies. In the future, we hope to work with UVIMAKI Rural Development Assoc., a local NGO, to provide microfinance mortgages to villagers wishing to build new, environmentally friendly earth block homes in Kinesi.

This year, GRA received another generous grant from The Ferguson Foundation to assist 30 families design and development permaculture gardens on their individual plots. The project will provide expert permaculture advice, seeds, fencing materials and tools. The process is just starting now, and will continue over the remainder of the year.
Compressed Earth Block Home
Compressed Earth Block Home

Corn FieldFailure to Yield: GE Crops

Organic, permanent agriculture (PERMACULTURE) can provide what genetically engineered (GE) plants, genetically modified organisms (GMOs), synthetic fertilizers and chemical pesticides cannot... large yields of food plus environmental, economic, community and long-term sustainability. The Union of Concerned Scientists and the United Nations have both released extensive reports that support this.

A study released in 2009 by the Union of Concerned Scientists reports that despite 20 years of research and 13 years of commercialization, genetic engineering has failed to significantly increase U.S. crop yields. Read Failure to Yield: Evaluating the Performance of Genetically Engineered Crops...

A 2008 United Nations report on organic agriculture in Africa concluded that, "Organic agriculture can increase agricultural productivity and can raise incomes with low-cost, locally available and appropriate technologies, without causing environmental damage. Furthermore, evidence shows that organic agriculture can build up natural resources, strengthen communities and improve human capacity, thus improving food security by addressing many different causal factors simultaneously. Read Organic Agriculture and Food Security in Africa...

Permaculture Books
Introduction to Permaculture by Bill Mollison
 Permaculture Resources

Online Resources

Introduction to Permaculture, by Bill Mollison with Reny Mia Slay
Farmers' Handbook, by Craig Mackintosh


Greening the Desert

Upcoming Permaculture Design Course in Africa
Malawi June 21st - July 3rd
Read Brochure...

About Us

Global Resource Alliance (GRA-USA) is an all-volunteer US 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to bringing hope, joy and abundance to communities in the Lake Victoria Region of Tanzania.  By sharing ideas, volunteers and financial resources with local, community based organizations we seek to promote natural, holistic and sustainable solutions to the challenges of poverty, malnutrition and disease. We believe that empowering local communities to address pressing social, economic and environmental challenges according to their own vision and their own creative potential is the key to lasting solutions.

100% of your donation will go directly to programs and projects in Tanzania and is fully tax deductible.

For more info, contact Monica at or by replying to this newsletter.