The Interdiocesan Environment Commission has teamed up once again with the Maltese OFM Province of St Paul the Apostle and the Centre for Environmental Education and Research of the University of Malta in the organization of another course inspired by the spirit of Pope Francis’ Encyclical Laudato Si’.

The course ‘Mimicking Natural Ecosystems – Growing Food Sustainably’ was meant to be yet another tool in the rediscovery of a better quality of life through simple and archaic processes such as agriculture. It aimed at helping participants to strengthen their connection to all that exists, while learning clean and sustainable ways of practising agriculture.

This is the first time that this course has been offered, but the organizers’ intention is to offer it every year. This particular session has been designed in collaboration with the Foundation for Social Welfare Services that is responsible for a number of initiatives among which the running of a therapeutic community for drug and alcohol addicts. The friars have been collaborating with the community for the last few months, giving their assistance to create and sustain a therapeutic environment following principles that belong to Franciscan spirituality and permaculture alike. Permaculture is a design system for creating sustainable human environments.

A specially designed brochure, poster and banner were prepared which were sponsored by the Interdiocesan Environment Commission. The event was offered free of charge and hosted twenty eight participants.

Mimicking Natural Ecosystems’ was conducted over four sessions of two hours each, held once weekly on Saturday mornings, during the month of October, 2019. Sessions were held in the premises of the ‘Santa Marija’ community, precisely to offer the opportunity to participants to experience a close encounter with the world of some of the marginalized of our society. And the experiment proved to be very fruitful, both for guests and residents together with members of staff.

A certificate of participation was given to each participant.