08:00 - Bojca Janus - Slovenia

Bojca talking with us about how she started in permaculture, 
what inspires her and what she's been up to

Permaculture garden and biochar
Zaplana, Slovenia    

Hi, my name is Bojca Janus and I am from Slovenia, a very beautiful country in Europe, placed between Italy, Austria, Hungary and Croatia, at the top of Adriatic sea and on the sunny side of the Alps. 

There are only 2 mio Slovenian people, but 75 % of them are gardeners and 68 % of Slovenia is covered with forests. We also have very much water, so being self sufficient is not just a dream. Unfortunately we`ve made some bad decisions and the percentage of foods, that we grow and eat locally, has decreased in the last ten years. Still, it is never too late. 

I`ve started learning about permaculture a few years ago because I wanted to have an organical garden, but being a working mom I never had enough time for it - especially not for a conventional garden, which requires lots of work, because it is not a self sustainable system. So permaculture was a solution I embraced, also because it requires lots of creativity (I like to play :) and forbids hard work with no logic.

I`ve been sharing my permaculture gardening adventures for the last three years through my blog Permakultura za telebane (Permaculture for dummies).  People liked my blog, so I started to lead work shops and presentations. I have been writing articles for magazines, I have been interviewed for different magazines and I also wrote a book Permakulturni vrt (Permaculture garden), which has just been published and is the first book written in Slovene about permaculture. 

My goal is to share what I`ve learned about growing one`s own food in a permaculture way with others. The first thing I like to teach people is that we need to preserve our soil, to preserve the life that`s in it. Life cannot be born in dead environment (and soil, molested with chemicals and turned over sooner or later dies). If we understand that nature is alive, that everything around us is alive, as well as soil, our attitude changes.

Some two years ago I`ve first heard about biochar as a soil improver and preserver of soil`s life and have been talking and writing about it ever since. I think it is an idea that can be well used in permaculture. I`ve found the producer of TLUD stoves (with which one can make his own biochar and cook on it at the same time, while using any dry biomass residues) in India and brought them to Slovenia and connected with Craig Sams and his company Carbon Gold in UK and brought their certificated composts and biochar to Slovenia. 

Now I think more and more Slovenes are becoming quite well educated on that matter, but there is still very much to be done. Things are changing – people are more aware of the fact, that if we destroy the environment, we will destroy ourselves.

People like the idea I am trying to spread, that garden is a place of joy, creative solutions, as well as a source of healthy food; they like the logical and innovative solutions that permaculture offers. People like to use their brain – I often say, that brain is the most important tool in permaculture. And people like to play, no matter how old they are."

Here is a video about a permaculture workshop 
that was led by Jožica Fabjan, a Slovene permaculture teacher 

From Slovenia with Love

With a population of just 2 million it is one of Europe's smallest nations covering an area of less than 21,000 square km's. Slovenia lies at the heart of Europe, with Alps on her north border  and the Adriatic sea on her south-west. 

Her neighbors are Italy, Austria, Hungary and Croatia. Slovenia is stunningly beautiful - it is amazing how many different landscapes are squeezed in such a small place. 

More than one half of Slovenia is covered with forest, eve some of the eldest forests in Europe. Slovenes love living in nature and 75 % percent of them have their own gardens. 

With so much beauty, Slovenia enrolled for Unesco site with one of the most important cave complexes in the world, the Skocjan Caves, which represent the most significant underground phenomena in the Karst region

This last one is accompanied by a song sang by Aleksander Mežek, 
a Slovenian singer who lives and works in London