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In the quiet village of Saidoun in the Jezzine area of south Lebanon, a silent revolution is taking place. A fledgling organization founded by four Lebanese environmentalists, SOILS Permaculture Association Lebanon, is encouraging local farmers to abandon pesticides and chemical fertilizers in favor of self-sustaining agricultural methods such as composting, mulching and using natural, nontoxic insecticides.The word "permaculture" was originally an amalgam of "permanent agriculture," but as the movement has expanded and evolved, it has come to be associated with the term "permanent culture," emphasizing its social aspect.It is therefore crucial that locally informed expertise be available if permaculture is to take off in Lebanon.The idea for the organization started last summer, Baghdadi says, when he and project manager Rita Khawand began discussing the idea of how to promote the movement in Lebanon with two Lebanese permaculturist living in Canada.Today, the newsletter has over 300 subscribers, and the association is about to hold the first full permaculture training in Lebanon, a two week course in Jezzine led by British trainer Klaudia van Gool and Lebanese instructor Betty Khoury, who studied permaculture in Egypt.
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