Target: Erle Rahaman-Noronha, permaculture farmer
Goal: Applaud his dedication to spreading awareness about sustainable farming practices across the Caribbean, a region highly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change
Nearly 80 percent of all food eaten in the Caribbean currently comes from elsewhere in the world, leaving residents in a precarious position dependent on fossil fuels and imports. Tropical island dwellers are uniquely vulnerable to the effects of climate change: in particular to rising sea levels, changing weather patterns, and increasingly strained food systems. A network of farmers spread across the Caribbean is turning to sustainable agriculture to address these considerable challenges.
Helping guide the movement is Erle Rahaman-Noronha, a permaculture activist and teacher living and farming on the island of Trinidad. Permaculture, short for “permanent agriculture,” is a system of farming, construction, irrigation and even raising animals for food modeled after natural systems in order to maximize sustainability. Rahaman-Noronha, for example, abstains from using chemical fertilizers or pesticides on his crops. He raises fish in a “closed loop food production system in which fish tanks and potted plants circulate water and sustain one another,” according to a recent interview with the Inter Press Service.
Rahaman-Noronha also travels throughout the Caribbean teaching others to use permaculture principles to lower food costs, sustain the long-term yields of local farms and simultaneously conserve the land. On his farm, named Wa Samaki which translates as “of the fish” in Swahili, he offers inexpensive space for farmers and beekeepers looking to practice permaculture but unable to secure the financing to do so.
As climate change continues to disproportionately impact island nations this growing trend is helping island-dwellers weather the storm. Applaud Rahaman-Noronha’s incredible dedication to spreading sustainable farming techniques and philosophy across the Caribbean region.
Dear Mr. Rahaman-Noronha,
Anyone concerned about the lack of sustainability in today’s food systems, or the ability of communities to adapt to a changing climate, would do well to learn more about your work on Wa Samaki farm and throughout the Caribbean. By both practicing and teaching permaculture principles you are helping island-dwellers across the region lower their food costs while conserving the land they love.
By more closely mirroring agriculture and aquaculture systems on those found in nature, farmers can reduce their dependence on fossil fuels, chemical fertilizers and pesticides. They can work to ensure that future generations will be able to draw wholesome harvests from the same fields.
This dream is possible, but it runs counter to the philosophies guiding industrial agriculture. I am deeply inspired by your commitment to showing that another way is possible–one which can heal both humans and the land we depend on. Thank you for helping demonstrate the tremendous value of permaculture and its ability to improve the lives of people in the Caribbean and beyond.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: CeGall via Wikimedia Commons