Bernhard Gruber, Permakultur-Designer
Bernhard Gruber, Permaculture-Designer

Permaculture Project work in Tanzania

Hi – I’m Bernhard Gruber from Upper Austria, I am dealing with permaculture. In 2009 was my first time to come to Africa, I was with a project group in southern Sudan. The people there used to say: If you drink water out of the Nile river you will come back. The same year I had the opportunity to travel with Franz Hörmanseder to Tanzania.

Aloyce Massawe in seinem Waldgarten
Aloyce Massawe in his edible forestgarden

Franz and I are engaged in the issue of forest gardens, so we wanted to see typical forest gardens and flew on our own to East Africa. Looking for the Forest Gardens of Chagga people we met the farmer Aloyce Massawe, together we spent some time within his family. Aloyce showed us his farm, which he runs as a Forest Garden, his pride and joy are stingless honeybees, he has around 100 Hives.

Swale voll mit Wasser
Swale after the rainfall

There I saw for the first time how destructiv a tropical rain can be. We told Aloyce about permaculture and thought that we would have a simple solution to the problem. Across the field, which is most affected by erosion, we dug a swale to capture the water and stop the erosion. After the next rain Aloyce was so excited, that he wanted to know more about Permaculture, we agreed to arrange a permaculture course.

Kursteilnehmer beim Permakultur-Designkurs 2010
Participants Permaculture-Designcourse 2010

In October 2010, we traveled with a few people to East Africa and tought a two weeks Permaculture course with nearly 30 farmers. Starting with the ethics and principles of permaculture, strategies for dry areas and working with simple, local resources. At least we went to buy trees to enrich Aloyces Food Forest. He rejoiced like a little boy!


Lot of fruit trees for his forest garden. One and a half year later, we went on with our former students in the topic of Permaculture and dedicated Dr. Feleshi to teach a Naturalmedicine training. We took ourself also part of the training! Afterwards we traveled the country.

Ledergerbworkshop mit Waldläufer Gernot Mühlberger
Leather tanning with Gernot Mühlberger

In the following years we visited different people in Tanzania and Kenya. We delivered different inputs according to local needs. We organized trainings such as tanning leather, stonemason and mushroom cultivation and continued with Permaculture and Natural-Medicine trainings.

Permakultur-Musterdesign für eine Landwirtschaft in den Tropen
Permaculture example of tropical farmdesign

Permaculture is a tool to design a sustainable lifestyle. This is the idea we try to pass on to our partners. We have only one planet and we have to keep it loveable and liveable! Permaculture helps us with its ethics and the principles of design. The three points: earth care – people care – fair share and limit the growth- not even the trees grow into the sky!

Permaculture designprinciples

Permaculture designprinciples are:

Observe and interact
Catch and store energy
Obtain a yield
Let nature work for you
Use renewable resources
Produce no waste
From the big picture to the details

Steinmetzworkshop mit Julian Gruber
Stonemasonworkshop with Julian Gruber

Integrate rather than segregate
Small and slow solutions
Value diversity
Use edges and value the marginal
React with creativity

Aloyce Massawe, Dr. Peter Feleshi und Franz Hörmanseder
Aloyce Massawe, Dr. Peter Feleshi und Franz Hörmanseder

The ethics and principles of permaculture we try implement on our work. It is very important to us, that our friends in Tanzania are not dependent on us, because we dont know ourselve how long we have this opportunity to work together with them. Everything that is done by us is financed by our self and through the support of various friends, but without government support or subsidies.

Ärmlichste Verhältnisse in Chumwi, einem Dorf am Victoria See.
People in Chumwi live under poorest conditions

In recent years, we also began to support people from the region of Lake Victoria, we’d like to run in the near future a Permaculture-Training and a Natural-Medicine-Training with Dr. Feleshi. What is missing there are fruit trees, there is only grown maize and cassava.

Es bestehen bereits gute Kontakte nach Chumwi
We allready have good kontacts in Chumwi

Our goal is to show them how the erosion in the cornfields can be stopped and how fruit trees can be implemented. At this point we would appreciate financial support for the purchase of the trees!

Thank you that you have taken your time,
Bernhard Gruber