The Green Stars

In January we made a crowdfunding video for the Permaculture football team, also known as the Green Stars of Lilongwe. The idea was to raise sufficient funds for all the players to do a permaculture course, buy some football equipment and flatten the football pitch in the village which was in dire condition. We raised all the money we needed and I promised updates as the project developed so here goes.

We are planning on holding the permaculture course next month, having spent some time discussing different elements of it with the players and working out what it is they are particularly interested in. The result is that we will focus on providing a solid introduction to permaculture over six days with three different teachers: Eston Mgala, Luwayo Biswick and Isaac Banda, specialists in permaculture ethics and principles, permaculture design and trees respectively. This will provide our players with a wide range of knowledge that will all be locally applicable and tailored to make sense to their own communities.

In terms of football equipment, the team have now got just about everything they need to be able to train and compete, taking pride in their team and their local area. It is our hope that people will sit up and take notice of the permaculture team as they turn out in their great kits and put on a good show. Football is central to village life and getting people talking about the permaculture football team will, we hope, inevitably get them talking and interested in permaculture itself!

The football pitch has proved a little complicated. In our attempts to put things right we discovered that the source of the problem starts higher up in the village where the soil is unprotected and eroded. The result is that during the rains water comes rushing down the the hill to the football pitch creating river beds smack down the middle of it. Obviously the problem needs to be targeted at the source, there would be no point flattening the football pitch for one season and then watching it disappear come the rain season. We are in talks with people in the area and the chief to work out a way to improve water management high up in the village, a worthy goal in itself, before moving on to the football pitch. For now we have set up a partnership with a local school, whereby we will look after and improve their football pitch and in return we can use it to train and play our home games. It is our hope that this will lead to opportunities to work with the school on permaculture projects and on teaching permaculture to the children. The headmaster is very keen for us to work together so the possibilities are definitely there.

That’s where things stand at the moment but we will keep you posted with further developments, particularly after the permaculture course. Follow us on twitter to get all the results from our pre-season friendlies. Our first game was a thriller which we ended up losing by 4 goals to 3. We’re confident that our first win will come this weekend!