The Greening the Desert Project offers once-a-year internships at which students get to work side-by-side with Geoff while they learn, hands-on, permaculture techniques suitable for arid climates. In this video, Geoff takes us on a short tour of the first day of the 2019 internship program. One group has already begun on the major project of tidying up the food forest using the chop-and-drop technique. Much of the work is pollarding Leucaena trees, both opening up the forest to sunshine and adding bulk organic material to the forest floor.
The rains are about to start, and this is part of the preparation for that. Rudimentary walking paths are created with legume logs roughly on contour, defining where visitors can walk and allowing the rest of the forest to grow wild. This is the most dramatic visual change to the food forest each year, as well as the nutritive boon to prod the productive trees into substantial development. As we move through the site, passed mulched fruit trees, worm farms, and freshly harvested greens, we reach another group getting lessons on propagation as they prepare for nursery work. The compost group is making stone borders to protect trees growing alongside the chicken coop and providing shade for the birds. Inside the coop itself, materials have been gathered to make a new compost heap for the chicken tractor. There is yet another group next door working on separate a food forest and garden. Day one and everyone is already elbows’ deep into permaculture and getting the job done.