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End-of-year message from Belipola Training Centre

End-of-year message from Belipola Training Centre

As the earth has travelled around the sun in this year that we call 2014, the forest garden at Belipola has been slowly re-entering the consciousness of the world. It had been quietly fermenting for some years, in a sense it has been composting the challenges of the past. In the creation of new soil it has captured the energy and spirit of new custodians, eager students, and the interest of people who have been seeking, but who have previously been unable to find inspiration.

In 2014 Belipola has hosted local and international trainings, student groups, visitors and of course the permanent and transient biodiversity that makes up the forest. This year we have spread the ideas and tools of analog forestry through the people who have come here. Through them, the idea of what a forest is capable of becoming has spread to 17 countries across all of the continents of the world.

The organic gardens at Belipola. Photo: K. Garden

The organic gardens at Belipola. Photo: K. Garden

We have watched people react to the forest and the possibility of the forest as the answer to how we might restore abundance in the face of scarcity. We have listened to people express their motivation and willingness to share this process and carry the work forward. We have answered questions, been challenged by new perspectives and we have tried our best to represent the original vision of analog forestry in its myriad of colors, structures and functions.

In living and learning the processes of the forest, in listening to her breathe, we have found comfort and safety under the canopy, and we have meditated on the opportunities and challenges before us. Belipola has always sought to be a model for restoration and sustainability and we intend to share this with as many people as possible at the local, regional, and global scales.

We have been building up the training center so that we can teach this system to more people who are drawn here from around the world. We have recruited and up-skilled an amazing team of people who have become the caretakers of this forest ecosystem. We have built a business model that is based on our own forest garden products and created a producer group that empowers forest gardeners in our village through training and direct access to organic outlets. We continue to explore, create and innovate towards meeting our goals of sufficiency from the forest.

Belipola forest garden, right, and degraded tea landscape on the left. Photo: S. Zivetz.

Belipola forest garden, right, and degraded tea landscape on the left. Photo: S. Zivetz.

Looking forward, we have been challenged to make the centre financially self-sufficient. We have taken this challenge and we are determined to demonstrate that with a creative vision and mindful work, analog forests can realize the ambition of creating sustainable livelihoods for people. It is important to us that we continue down this path, despite the challenges that we face, because we have seen first-hand that generating income motivates, empowers and helps people meet their needs for sufficiency. We want Belipola to inspire people to meet their basic needs for survival and restore, protect and enhance ecosystems.

We invite you to join us, to share in our abundance and to learn alongside us as we continue down this path. Please get in touch via our website and Facebook page.

We offer respect and gratitude to our teachers and mentors, collaborators, supporters and friends who have been by us and with us this past year.

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