& Practical Training for International Development
For 20 years the Center for Creative Ecology on Kibbutz Lotan has been at the forefront of developing and environmental justice.
We strongly believe that the experience we have gained over the years can provide important capacity building skills and sustainable solutions to non-industrialized nations, particularly in areas such as sub- Saharan Africa where the development of low-tech decentralized systems that can raise quality of life are of paramount importance. We believe that there are methods and techniques that can be employed at low cost and that require minimal equipment that have the potential for increasing food security, improving sanitation and preserving water resources.
On Lotan, a community situated in one of the most extreme arid regions of the world, a bio-diverse small- scale organic farm has been developed that is based on composting techniques that have created a nutrient- rich, thriving soil where once there was sand and gravel. Food scraps, foliage and animal dung are all transformed into this rich soil, enabling a wide range of vegetables to be grown without the use of chemical fertilizers. The bio-diversity of the farm attracts birds and insects that help control outbreaks of pests, eliminating the need for chemical pesticides, and crop rotation is practiced in order to avoid soil depletion and eliminate disease. The farm is a thriving, living desert oasis that provides healthy food to the community members and the surrounding region.
Other technologies that are in use on Lotan include composting, waterless toilets that eliminate the need for extensive, centralized wastewater systems and turn human waste into soil-benefiting material, and home-made bio-gas systems that convert food scraps into fuel for cooking. We have experimented extensively with building methods using both natural materials such as earth and straw bales, and recycled materials such as discarded plastics and tin cans, turning inorganic trash into a resource that can be utilized instead of at best being landfilled. Through employing energy efficient designs for structures and using natural, insulating materials, we have constructed housing that save up to 70% of heating and cooling costs when compared to conventional construction.
Our Green Apprenticeship permaculture design course has trained nearly 700 students from all over the world and from all walks of life to be active agents for positive change. In many cases, the experience they had on Lotan changed their path and they have gone on to become environmental educators, ecological designers, natural builders, environmental engineers and sustainable agriculturalists.
In terms of available infrastructure, climate, environment and most importantly expertise and experience, we believe that the Center for Creative Ecology on Kibbutz Lotan can make a positive contribution to the capacity building needed in order to successfully deal with the sustainability challenges facing the Global South and particularly sub-Saharan Africa. We will be happy to discuss programming options for tailor-made group workshops or opportunities for relevant individuals to participate in our existing courses.
For more information, please contact:
Center for Creative Ecology,
Kibbutz Lotan firstname.lastname@example.org