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Pottery and Permaculture Usage, Recipe for Conserving, Regenerating Our Environment 

Pottery is one of the oldest forms of art that gained a lot of popularity around the world and is greatly attributed to helping mankind solve some of the challenges he faced.

In the new millennium, pottery has been viewed merely as a decorative art for improving scenery and aesthetics as opposed to helping address and solve some of the challenges the human race is currently facing. For instance it can be an undisputable answer to climate change, pollution, and lifestyle diseases.

For many years, pottery has been a process and the product of developing vessels and other objects with the use of clay and other raw materials that consisted of functional vessels, such as plates and bowls as well as decorative pieces like tableware, decorative items, and sanitary wares.

With the changing technologies and innovations, the world has been fast-moving from traditional earthenware to metallic and plastic products that have greatly contributed to world pollution and climate change.

According to Ms. Robbie Felix, a permaculturist and Founder President of Planeta Sano, ceramics or pottery are forms of earthenware that have been used since the inception of the art to conserve our environment.

Felix, a Costa Rican native says that the wrong modern mentality that everything should be disposable is what is ailing the world; creating human-made calamities like pollution and climate change.

The Planeta Sano organisation has been supporting women and youth groups in Kenya and Uganda in permaculture activities to enable them to safeguard their local environment as well as embrace traditional methods of agriculture for healthier living.

In Kenya, the organisation has been helping women groups like the ‘Rongo Women Permaculture’ to make pottery for economic development as well as a form of sustaining environmentally friendly surroundings.

In the twenty-first century, most traditional pottery craftsmen and women numbers have been diminishing and the few that have been left can only be found in remote villages across Africa. Felix says that it is important to pass the craftsmanship knowledge to the future generation on the importance of pottery in conserving our already polluted environment.

She pointed out that in Africa there is a high pool of educated youth that only requires minimum training to help them work in the sectors of agriculture and pottery to generate income.

Damaris Anyago, one of the members of Rongo Women Permaculture group disclosed that by embracing permaculture, the community can benefit from the health benefits and environmental conservation that pottery offers.

The usage of clay pots, for example, to cook meals makes it appealing, softens the food, and adds nutrients like potassium to food which dissolves during the cooking process.

Potassium, one of the minerals found in clay soil, has been known to play very important functions in the human body like allowing the nerves to respond to stimulation and muscles to contract and tighten as well as reducing the effect of sodium (present in table salt) on blood pressure. The mineral has also been attributed to helping to move nutrients into body cells and waste products out of the cells.

Anyago says that the group makes an average of Sh2,000 daily through the sale of pots, a sign that the Migori community has started to appreciate the forgotten artistic lifestyle.

She acknowledges that with the introduction of modern technologies in kitchen wares like metallic pans and plastic utensils, the population abandoned pottery saying that they were heavy, bulky, and difficult to use.

But modern technologies have brought a lot of problems like soil, water, and air pollution, contributed to lifestyle diseases like cancer, destroyed our environment, and brought climate change.

Her encouragement to the public is that they should embrace the usage of clay pots which have been known to be very sustainable and environmentally friendly items as opposed to plastics and metallic products.

“We are using the metallic sufurias that are usually cleaned with steel wool, and if not cleaned properly the iron residues can cause health problems if consumed,” elaborated Anyango.

Meanwhile, the Director and Founder of Sustainable Village Resources, Caleb Omolo, said that they have been working with women and youth enterprises in the country to sensitise and train them on the importance of embracing permaculture and pottery.

Permaculture refers to the development of agricultural ecosystems that embrace a traditional approach to agriculture to create sustainable and self-sufficient food production.

Omolo explained that the aspect of permaculture is bound by three fundamental principles of caring for the earth, caring for the people, and caring for the future.

The practice integrates knowledge and practices from the best traditional cultures like pottery and natural agricultural practices like crop rotation by linking them to solutions to meet human needs while ensuring a robust future.

Omolo acknowledged that the organisation will continue to train and equip the youth with permaculture skills to help them employ structural thinking, patterns, relationships, and flows to enable them to link solutions together into synergistic plans that work with nature to fit their local conditions.

He noted that by embracing permaculture in our society we can generate plenty of healthy things, share them justly, and limit overconsumption to benefit the whole society.

“We want to improve the healthy living of our people, conserve our environment, and improve our traditional modes of agriculture to reduce chemical usage that has continuously polluted our soils, rivers, and air,” said Omolo.

By Geoffrey Makokha and George Agimba

 

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