Together with a local partner El-Too, Central Asia Solidarity Groups works to promote permaculture principles and other innovative solutions for climate change adaptation in Kyrgyzstan, with the aim of preventing ecological problems, establishing sustainable livelihoods, and ensuring food sovereignty. You can read more about our collaboration here.
Within the framework of our cooperation, from August 10th to 11th, El-Too organized an exchange tour for project participants from nine villages in Issyk-Kul and Naryn, with a total of 55 participants. During the tour, they had the opportunity to engage in the exchange of ideas and experiences, learn best practices for climate change adaptation, and collectively explore ways to refine strategies for spreading permaculture principles.
On the first day of the exchange tour, El-Too organized a visit to project participants who have successfully integrated permaculture principles into their gardens, which sparked the interest of fellow participants. The first visit was to Emil’s garden in Kara-Koo village, where he cultivates a variety of vegetables, flowers, and berries. The garden stands out for its resourcefulness, as Emil repurposes old materials, crafting garden beds from discarded glass and plastic bottles, while also creating an aesthetically pleasing space.
Participants also visited Mirlan’s and Akyl’s gardens in Kongur-Olon and Tort-Kul villages, where they shared their experiences in successfully growing various flowers and black currants in harsh climatic conditions.
In the afternoon, El-Too organized a brainstorming session with the participants to improve the strategy for spreading permaculture principles and to exchange ideas. Additionally, they invited speakers to discuss organic agriculture and ecotourism. During this session, participants learned about the opportunity to open homestays and guesthouses offering organic food from permaculture gardens. El-Too connected the participants with the Bul-Bal organization, which specializes in creating a network of guesthouses across the country.
The day concluded with a small festival and an organic food fair named “Red Apricot” at the beach of Issyk-Kul lake. There, the participants had the opportunity to not only exchange ideas but also display and sell their products to each other and to people vacationing on one of the popular beaches of Issyk-Kul. This first day provided an excellent opportunity for participants to meet in person and learn from each other’s experiences.
The following day, El-Too organized a visit to two large-scale farmers in the southeast of Issyk-Kul who specialize in growing berries to motivate the farmers participating in the project. The first stop was Akyl’s farm, where he cultivates black currants, raspberries, honeysuckle, and other berries in a semi-desert area, demonstrating the feasibility of berry cultivation in water-scarce conditions.
Further, the participants went to Saruu village, where they explored the “Uzak Group” cooperative. Their leader, Azamat, gave the participants an informative tour of their land, discussing the cultivation of black currants, sea-buckthorn, raspberries, and other berries. He emphasized the use of water-efficient technology and shared their experiences with water conservation.
Follow CAG on social media for more updates about our projects in Central Asia: @centralasiengrupperna
You can find out more about El-Too’s via this link: @eltoo_kyrgyzstan
Read more about how you can support our work in Central Asia here.