One of the pillars of permaculture is community and social engagement and thus the basis for a new project that we started here at MAARA. We deeply believe that supporting children from early childhood to develop a sensitive, compassionate and cooperative relationship with each other and the natural world is a crucial step in creating a consciousness about how we treat our environment and our planet.

To pass on this idea, in partnership with the Municipal Education Department of Nova Friburgo, we are receiving pupils from the local rural school to participate in an eco-pedagogical project here at MAARA. During the next three months, the children will have diverse agroforestry, environment and sustainability experiences, making this contact in a very hands-on way: by seeing and observing, listening and listening, touching and feeling, asking and understanding. To realize the connections and interrelationships of natural cycles is essential for recognizing that we, humans, are part of these cycles. We will awaken children’s natural curiosity by actively engaging them in different sustainable topics divided into themes such as ‘water’, ‘soil’, ‘biodiversity’, ‘plants’ and then bringing it all together for the main message that we are all connected within a system.

Therefore, the children will learn and understand the importance of bees and earthworms, of compost and manure, the significance of the diversity within the nature and around us. For instance, they will learn about the energy cycle of food, starting from very beginning – by planting a seed. What does a plant need to grow strong and healthy? How different seeds look and the plants that grow out of them? What part of the plant can we eat and what can we do with the rest? All these questions and many more will be answered by making their little hands dirty here at MAARA.