Gaja Cyclone in late 2018 was a humanitarian catastrophe whose effects are still devastating lives. Tree replanting will not only restore farmers' livelihoods and promote community wellbeing, but help slow global warming. Using permaculture practices will increase yield and reduce the impact of the next storm.
When the winds of the Gaja Cyclone slammed into Tamil Nadu on November 16, 2018, 90% of the trees were downed, leaving the area's coconut and plantain farmers with drastically reduced incomes, and the region with less cheap, locally grown food. Even clearing the land of all the debris is a slow process, and where will the farmers get the money to replant? The lost trees also played a critical role in cleaning the air and stabilizing the soil.
We will donate plantain saplings and supplies which we will encourage farmers to plant in a circle around a compost pit, with yams and pawpaw interspersed. At a workshop explaining the principles and benefits of these permaculture "magic circles," we will offer farmers a choice between trying this new technique or sticking with traditional practice. This will give us a trial and a control group that we can use to evaluate the success of the circles after a year.
The trees we plant will assure farmers economic stability and provide food security in their village, while sequestering tons of carbon dioxide in the years to come. The magic circles will reduce costs, increase yields, provide an immediate source of nutrition, and help stabilize the soil in the event of future storms. Our evaluation will provide invaluable data as we scale our project across all of Tami Nadu.