In one of the most picturesque settings in Mahawila, Sri Lanka,
also lies a permaculture garden – the Amuura Permaculture Garden. What was once a former conventional cinnamon plantation on bare land has now been transformed into a place where permaculture principles are applied every day.
When former dentist, Claire Offermann left Germany with her two daughters Paulina and Carlotta Tafel in 2012, she was determined to develop and lead a sustainable lifestyle. This is when they acquired the abandoned Ceylon cinnamon plantation that is today called Amuura Permaculture Garden.
With over 2.5 acres, the family, along with a handful of workers, are working toward their dream: to have a self sustaining garden where there is no need of external energy or resources such as artificial fertilizer, buying compost or the need of electricity.
What is permaculture?
Permaculture is often confused with organic farming, as they have similar stance on avoiding chemical-use on their crops, although they ultimately operate in a much different manner. For instance, permaculture is known to apply 12 principles to the agricultural design and would never produce only one type of food.
So, with that in mind, it’s important to put thought into the design. It will vary depending on the land, surrounding countryside, wildlife, climate, daylight and much more. These all play a key role when it comes to developing a permaculture garden.
Here is a great info graphic, explaining the 12 principles of permaculture.
Photo Credit: http://ifarmboxford.com/10-permaculture-principles/
Although it has been four years since they began, it is still an early beginning when it comes to permaculture design. The permaculture way is to create a natural network where plants and animals alike all have a place and function, including the pests.
Applying Principles of Permaculture
Soil, of course, was the starting point for designing the Amuura Permaculture Garden.
As permaculture seeks to maintain the sanctity of the soil, they used their most precious resource to design their garden –
They began by transitioning the plantation to organic by cleansing the crops for two years. This year alone, they harvested more than 800 kilos of handcrafted Organic Ceylon Cinnamon.
Now, we also see grouped crops that help one another. For example, they have planted nitrogen-fixing trees such as Gliricidia that provide ground cover so that the land doesn’t dry out and revitalize the soil with nitrogen. Nutmeg has been paired with the Organic Ceylon Cinnamon, as this intercrop is known to grow and harvest successfully.
Flowers, vegetables, herbs and spices have been planted and successfully growing around the farmhouse. In fact, many of them are used for cooking meals on site! Of course, all food scraps are then composted here as well.
In fact, they have also chosen to use a compost toilet to fertilize the soil. What’s really interesting is that no odours are emitting from it, as they use dried cinnamon bark to cover each use, making it odourless and extremely beneficial for the soil.
In the next foreseeable future, they will be building their own irrigation system that will include two small cleaning basins with sand and water plants that can filter the permaculture garden’s grey water. Recently, a small canal was developed beside the house to capture the rainwater and direct the grey water towards the soon to come basins.
It’s amazing to see what such dedication, hard work, and creativity will blossom. This is an amazing sustainable initiative that L’Autre Couleur is thrilled to have discovered!
How To Support The Amuura Permaculture Garden
The nearby countryside is home to an abundance of beautiful lizards, monkeys and colourful birds, many of which can be seen around the Amuura Permaculture Garden. The German trio, Claire, Carlotta and Paulina, are the people you will find behind this beautiful sustainable initiative in Sri Lanka’s stunning countryside.
Many travelers and tourists come here specifically to discover and learn for themselves the trials and successes the Amuura Permaculture Garden has endeavoured over the last four years and of course, try the Organic Ceylon Cinnamon!
One more interesting thing to note, should you plan a visit to Sri Lanka, is that visitors can stay at the beautiful Amuura Beach House located in Beruwala. Located just thirty minutes away from the permaculture garden, visitors will feel as though they have stepped into a sustainability paradise.
Here is a bonus for animal lovers; the German trio has even rescued a street dog and two cats!
Of course, for those of you that consider Sri Lanka to be a bit too far also have the opportunity to try Amuura’s Organic Ceylon Cinnamon by ordering it on their website.
By purchasing either their Organic Ceylon Cinnamon powder or sticks, you are directly supporting the development of the Amuura Permaculture Garden.
Whether a fan of Organic Ceylon Cinnamon or not, let’s take a moment to applaud Claire, Carlotta and Paulina, who are persevering and pioneering a permaculture garden in Sri Lanka!