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  • Writer's pictureJohn Wages

International Permaculture Convergence, India 2017

Updated: Dec 21, 2019

The 13th International Permaculture Convergence (, a biennial event, is set to take place in India this year. Why India? India boasts a diversity of climates and resulting landscapes, from deserts to alpine tundra to rain-forests to islands. Each of these regions come with their own unique challenges that have been solved through local, traditional practices in sustainable ways. A gathering of experts from these traditions could offer a significant impetus to the permaculture movement in India and around the world, as well as a new perspective on sustainable livelihoods. People from other parts of the world may be facing similar issues, and will benefit directly or be inspired by these shared experiences and solutions. Cross-cultural learning will be at the heart of the event.

When Narsanna Koppula, a permaculture pioneer in India and the co-founder of Aranya Agricultural Alternatives, was chosen as the convener for this International Permaculture Convergence, he envisioned an event where participants experience hands-on learning and get the opportunity to share their knowledge first-hand. Narsanna has always engaged with farmers at the grassroots level and is a strong believer in the experiential learning of getting one’s hands ‘clean’ by working directly with the land. He was keen to hold the Convergence on a local farm in rural Telangana, where he has been working with farmers for the past 30 years. He has also taken up the formidable challenge to design the entire event to ensure that there will be no waste, or that all waste will be used locally through well integrated composting and grey water systems.

The conference and convergence are being hosted by Aranya Agricultural Alternatives, an environmental and developmental NGO based in Hyderabad. Aranya Agricultural Alternatives is focused on providing alternative solutions to existing industrial, chemical-based agriculture. Their vision is to achieve ecological and sustainable agricultural livelihoods through permaculture farming practices. They have been actively promoting and implementing permaculture in the states of Telangana and Andhra Pradesh since their inception in 1999. They have been working with local farmers and tribes on a diverse range of permaculture projects involving participatory irrigation, diversified cropping and companion planting, and watershed management, amongst other things.

Aranya organized the National Permaculture Convergence in February 2016, for the very first time in India. 1200 people from a wide range of sustainable living schools of thought (organic farming, zero budget farming, permaculture, natural farming and so on) took part in the event. Aranya aspires to make the IPC India 2017 an equally joyful and fruitful event for both international and Indian delegates. This event will guide and inspire more than 1200 participants from 100 countries. IPC India 2017 welcomes individuals, farmers, policy makers, researchers, academicians and anyone engaged in any initiatives contributing to sustainable farming practices and livelihood to come together to think, share, innovate, learn, and dialogue in a diverse and engaging programme, and strategize about the future of permaculture.

In this era of recurring economic, ecological and societal crises it is more important than ever to conserve and rejuvenate our natural resources! Based on the three ethics of Earth Care, People Care & Fair Share, permaculture initiatives around the globe are striving to create regenerative systems within a wide range of disciplines like farming, building, economics and education that help achieve sustainable livelihoods and secure basic human needs while protecting the environment. As part of this all-embracing shift towards more stable, harmonious, and resilient living systems, the main theme of the IPC India 2017 is ‘Towards Healthy Societies’. It is supported by six sub-themes:

Women as Agents of Change - Women are the largest untapped reservoir of potential in the world! Women, in their role of preservers, nurturers and renewers of life, are key to the success of the global permaculture movement. A more sustainable and productive approach to agriculture can be achieved through reinstating the system of farming in India that is more centered on engaging women and giving them personal agency.

​​Permaculture as a Social Responsibility - Bill Mollison said that "The only ethical decision is to take responsibility for our own existence and that of our children." People Care begins with ourselves and expands to include our families, neighbours and wider communities. It is about a collaborative effort of sharing knowledge and experience, to bring change to one’s own life and that of others.

Grassroots Permaculture in Action – Permaculture can help grassroots level communities achieve ecological and social justice, be it through healthy, non-exploitative subsistence farming practices, or equal distribution of land, or combining modern and indigenous knowledge through community based activities, or food sovereignty. It puts those who produce, distribute and consume at the heart of systems and policies rather than the demands of markets and corporations, establishing new social relations free of oppression and inequality between men and women, racial groups, social classes and generations.

Sustainable Water Resource Management - A continuing task of water resource planners and managers is to identify and value the possible impacts of what we are doing, or are thinking about doing in the distant future with our water resource systems. This task must involve professionals from other disciplines in a context much broader than just water management. Once these impacts and tradeoffs are identified, it is then up to the political process to make choices when they are in conflict. All of us need to be a part of this decision-making process.

Preserving and Revitalizing Traditional Practices - Environmental conservation is not a recent phenomenon. Past generations knew about environmental degradation and the need for preservation. This found expression in traditional practices and the belief that there must be a relationship of mutual obligations between people and nature. Indigenous communities hold worldviews and perspectives that are vitally needed to help us come back into balance with the natural world. We must build and repair relationships across cultures and communities on a basis of respect, and give prominence to these traditional practices.

Permaculture and Climate Change Adaptation - Both the use of fossil fuels and the mismanagement of land and resources are driving the climate crisis. Efforts to address the climate crisis must be rooted in social, economic, and ecological justice. We must shift from fire to flow - from burning oil, gas, coal and uranium to capturing flows of energy from sun, wind, and water in safe and renewable ways. For decades, permaculture practitioners have devised creative responses to changes in local climatic conditions. In doing so, they have developed a collective knowledge and experience invaluable to global efforts to address climate change.

The IPC India 2017 will be held in two parts:

  • A 2-day Conference at Professor Jayashankar Telangana State Agricultural University in the city of Hyderabad from Nov 25 – 26, and

  • A 5-day residential Convergence at Polam farm near Hyderabad from Nov 27 – Dec 2

IPC team - a part of the larger Aranya Agricultural Alternatives team - is working around the clock to get everything ready for November. The team is striving to apply permaculture principles to every aspect of the event.

The food that will be served during IPC India 2017 will be sourced, cooked and managed keeping in mind permaculture practices. The goal is to produce 90% of the food that will be consumed during the events at Polam farm (also the venue of the 5-day Convergence), a 96-acre farm, and located 85 km away from Hyderabad, next to a water reservoir with picturesque views of the surroundings. 70% of the food that should be served has already been grown and harvested! A nutritionist with in-depth knowledge of local and wild cuisines from different regions of India is working with IPC team to design the menu using one of India’s primary local ingredients – a wide variety of millets.

For the Conference they are inviting speakers from each continent, emphasizing their diversity of backgrounds, experience, and local practices. Almost 40 people have already agreed to share their knowledge on a wide range of topics. Vandana Shiva, an environmental activist and a major figure in the global ecofeminist movement, and Robyn Francis, a permaculture educator and founder of Permaculture College Australia, will be opening the Conference with focus on the role of women in permaculture. Other topics will include, but not be limited to, growing a food forest in climates like Iceland, permaculture in Syrian refugee camps in Lebanon, integrating beekeeping in an urban environment, and climate change activism.

To register as a participant for IPC India 2017, go to:

Early bird tickets for participants are available until April 15, 2017 on

To have a truly international event, that really represents permaculture as a whole, IPC team needs your help to support delegates from developing countries to come to IPC-India 2017. If you wish to support this scholarship fund, watch out for a crowdfunding campaign that will be launched simultaneously in India and worldwide in April.

In addition to Conference, Convergence and Farm tours, there will also be: Pre-IPC India 2017 Permaculture Design Certificate Course Telangana, India Dates: November 3 - 22, 2017 Location: Polam Farm, Medak District, Telangana, India This Permaculture Design Certificate Course (PDC) is part of the 13th International Permaculture Convergence (IPC) in November 2017 and is hosted by Aranya Agricultural Alternatives. Happening in the year of the 30th anniversary of the first ever PDC in India that was conducted by Bill Mollison and Robyn Francis in 1987 at the University of Hyderabad, this course is a first of its kind, introducing a new, expanded course format over 20 days with a total of over 100 hours of curriculum and hands-on work: Expanded 72+ hour PDC program – Four focus streams to choose from: Agriculture, Water and Earthworks, Urban, Social . It brings together 120 students with facilitators and practitioners from India and all over the world.

Instructors: Robyn Francis, Rico Zook, Clea Chandmal, Govinda Sharma, Gopi Sankarasubramani, Narsanna Koppula, Starhawk, Roshan P Rai, Jude Hobbs, Hui-i Chiang and local guest presenters Cost: $1,400 (discount available)

Contact: or email Nina at Pre-IPC India 2017

Teacher Training Telangana, India

Dates: October 21 - 30, 2017

Location: Polam Farm, Medak District, Telangana, India

Description: One-week Permaculture Teacher Training: Empower yourself to advocate for change through whole systems design and teaching! This Permaculture Teacher Training course will improve and expand your abilities and make you a more versatile, engaging and effective educator. In this dynamic and interactive course, you will learn significant teaching techniques to communicate Permaculture principles and strategies in a wide variety of educational settings. Our goal is to encourage and inspire your unique strengths and talents by demonstrating diverse teaching modalities such as lecture, facilitating class discussions, storytelling, and using visual aids. In this setting of active learning, you will experience essential hands-on practice by preparing and co-teaching several presentations.

Instructors: Jude Hobbs, Robyn Francis and Rico Zook Cost: $1,000 (discounts available)

Contact: or email Roman at

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