Wednesday, 11 December 2013

The origins of the Permaculture Ambassador Programme: An Interview with the Network of Wellbeing

The Permaculture Association is excited to announce the launch of the Permaculture Ambassador programme, and with it the first post on the Association's brand new blog!

Florence together with some Wellbeing Ambassadors.
 From left to right: Jesus, Paul, Florence, Denise
A Permaculture Ambassador is a person who is passionate about permaculture and wants to tell the world about it. Being a Permaculture Ambassador involves actively promoting permaculture's story, and sharing information on the most inspiring projects and practices on our blog! It's a great way of practicing all sorts of useful skills and gaining confidence in using them.

The Permaculture Ambassador scheme was inspired by the Network of Wellbeing (NOW), an organisation which shares understanding and supports practice of wellbeing. NOW is running a similar Wellbeing Ambassadors project, which provided the original idea for our Permaculture Ambassadors project.

To celebrate this fruitful connection, our first blog post is an interview with Florence Scialom, the Network of Wellbeing's International Community Coordinator, who originally started the Wellbeing Ambassadors project at NOW.

During this interview we explore connections between wellbeing and permaculture, and how Permaculture Ambassadors and Wellbeing Ambassadors could potentially connect in the future. We hope you enjoy reading this post :)

If you have any comments or if you are interested in getting involved in the Permaculture Ambassadors project please contact Anna. If you would like to find out more about NOW’s work and the Wellbeing Ambassadors project please visit the NOW website and contact Florence via

Interview with Florence Scialom, International Coordinator at the Network of Wellbeing (NOW)

Question 1: Thank you for being here, Florence! Can you please tell us a little bit about NOW's work and your role?

Answer: Thank you for having me! It is great to have the chance to share our work and build a connection with the wonderful work of the Permaculture Association, too.

The Network of Wellbeing, or NOW, is a project which has a broad vision for a world in which everyone’s wellbeing needs are met within the planet’s resource limits. For NOW, wellbeing is a holistic concept which means not only healthier people and happier communities, but also a more sustainable planet.

As a starting point in our work, wellbeing is defined through the Five Ways to Wellbeing (Connect, Be Active, Keep Learning, Take Notice, and Give), and much of our work – including the Wellbeing Ambassadors project - is shaped through seeking to put the five ways to wellbeing into practice. However, we also see wellbeing as a participatory process and we are always open to exploring different definitions.
My role in particular is to focus on building an international community of those engaged in wellbeing-related work. I do this through online communications, building relationships with other wellbeing-related projects and also through managing a network of passionate global volunteers; also known as Wellbeing Ambassadors!

Question 2: What initially inspired you to set up your Wellbeing Ambassador project?

Answer: Through my work building up NOW’s international network I have found myself regularly speaking with people who are very passionate about wellbeing, and really enthusiastic about sharing this passion with others. Therefore this presented an opportunity: NOW could support these people in sharing wellbeing in their own communities and beyond, which could help amplify their wellbeing messages and help connect them with wider networks. So, this was the initial motivation for the Wellbeing Ambassadors project.

Being a Wellbeing Ambassador involves finding ways to promote wellbeing with the active support of the wider NOW network. Wellbeing Ambassadors can take on many different actions, large or small, which help to promote wellbeing. Many choose to write for the NOW blog about their experiences in wellbeing and what inspires them, in a similar way to how you are now inviting Permaculture Ambassadors to contribute. Other tasks Wellbeing Ambassadors can take on include hosting small events to share ideas about wellbeing with others, distributing accessible resources on wellbeing provided by NOW, or sharing experiences through NOW’s social media networks.
The idea is that all actions - large and small - carried out by different Wellbeing Ambassadors, will start to create a ripple effect, multiplying people’s wellbeing across the world. For, as Margaret Mead once famously said, “never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever has”.

Question 3: What do you think are the connections between wellbeing and permaculture?

Answer: Permaculture is a design framework based on understandings of nature combined with a valuable ethical framework. As the Permaculture Association points out, permaculture “is about living lightly on the planet, and making sure that we can sustain human activities for many generations to come, in harmony with nature.”

Wellbeing can actually be about looking at the same kinds of issues, just using a different lens. There is much evidence to show that connecting with nature is good for people’s health and wellbeing and that consuming more is not necessarily the best route to happiness. These are some of the main reasons why NOW’s vision is a world in which people’s wellbeing needs can be met within the planets limits.

At NOW we have heard plenty of examples about how what’s good for the environment can be good for us and how connecting to nature can be great for health. We therefore see it as important to connect with and support those seeking to help the movement towards a society that is good for the wellbeing of both people and planet.
Question 4: How do you think Wellbeing ambassadors and Permaculture Ambassadors might be working together in the future?

Answer: I have been discussing this with Anna at the Permaculture Association, and we have had plenty of exciting ideas! We could potentially co-host online discussions between Wellbeing Ambassadors and Permaculture Ambassadors, to explore shared areas of interest and the potential for collaborative action. We are also considering hosting a physical event bringing together a few key speakers from the fields of both wellbeing and permaculture to explore the areas of cross-over. We’ll be continuing discussions and planning on this in the New Year so watch out on the blogs of the Permaculture Association and the Network of Wellbeing for further news on these ideas as they develop!

Thank you for your time Florence, it was great talking to you! 
For more information on the Network of Wellbeing (NOW) you can visit:

1 comment:

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