Russia’s Ukraine war highlights permaculture’s internationalism

“Our best activists joined army forces, territorial defence or help as volunteers, and with every day of this war we lose more and more of these change-makers. My best friends that we run community development projects together are dying, and I don’t know who will be the next member in our permaculture community to die, and how our organization can manage without its best activists and brains.”

That is Dr Pavlo Ardanov, cofounder the the NGO, Permaculture in Ukraine, speaking on the treehugger website. The NGO has switched from their usual work to respond to Russian aggression, working as local emergency coordinators, in the armed forces, as territorial defence or as volunteers.

The Treehugger piece goes on to explain how assisting Ukrainians in their hour of need is to implement permaculture’s ethical core of care of people and planet and distributing surplus resources to where they are needed. Permaculture in Ukraine has tried to get medical support to regional hospitals within Russian-occupied areas but have found it very difficult to do so.

Although a role for permaculture practitioners in Australia to assist their fellow-practitioners in Ukraine, who are now dealing with the destruction wrought by Russian fascism, has received little to no attention, the potential is there through fundraising for Permaculture in Ukraine and Global Ecovillage Network Ukraine (see below). Wouldn’t this be a good way to allocate all of Permaculture Australia’s Permafund grants for this year?

Now, permaculture practitioners across Europe are implementing permaculture’s peoplecare and sharing-the-surplus ethics by practically assisting those fleeing the conflict by offering refuge and sanctuary.

Solidarity and resilience

Permaculture in Ukraine writes that the permaculture community is demonstrating solidarity and is strong and resilient. They are “… helping each other — evacuating our members from combat zones, giving them shelters in other locations in Ukraine and helping children to go abroad. And those who are in more safe regions feel now the responsibility to grow more food to ensure the food security of the country given the risk of food crises in Ukraine.”

The NGO says that most needed now are:

  • “seeds and seedlings (we have enough of it in Ukraine but not all the locations have the possibility to buy it)
  • small agricultural machinery and equipment — two-wheel tractors, woodchippers, greenhouses, spandbond, wheelbarrows etc
  • small tractors
  • barrels for harvesting rainwater.”

“The permaculture community of Ukraine feels the need to contribute to the local food security of our country. Small scale farming has an advantage of being less dependent on fuel than huge agroholdings, and access to fuel is limited now in Ukraine.

“Small farms are not numerous in Ukraine because of our sad history: in the 20th century Russia erased individual farming and forced everybody to join collective agriculture. And after 30 years of independence when our country was finally thriving, Russia again ruined our lives.”

May 2022 estimate update of spending from GEN Ukraine:

Source: GEN Ukraine.

Mutual aid travels the Green Road

Not only did the Ukrainian military mobilise as the angry little man in the Kremlin sent his forces to attack its neighbour, so did citizens of Ukraine’s permaculture and Global Ecovillage Movement (GEMU — Global Ecovillage Movement Ukraine).

“In times of tragedy and disaster, people can come together and do extraordinary things. And so it is in and around Ukraine, where an amazing mutual aid network called the Green Road has emerged — organically, rapidly, and with impact. The Green Road has seen the global and the local Ukrainian ecovillage and permaculture communities involved in ongoing emergency support for people fleeing the war.”

So writes Anastasiya Volkova of Permaculture Ukraine in emphasising how cooperation between organisation is implementing the permaculture principle first enunciated by Bill Mollison: ’Cooperation rather than competition’.

The Green Road project is one we can support. With people streaming out of cities under Russian attack, GEMU set about finding and supporting rural refuges and finding locations out of the country to host refugees. By the beginning of May there were around 80 Ukraine host villages and ecovillages, and around 320 locations worldwide prepared to host Ukrainians had been found. According to Anastasiya Volkova, from February 24 Ukrainian ecovillages have given shelter to more than 2500 people (including 500 children) and now host up to 1400 persons (around 200 children), along with the existing members of the communities themselves.”

Donations came in and were used to purchase 23 greenhouses now installed and working. The biggest expenses are tools and building materials, household goods and food.

Anastasiya writes that improving living conditions for displaced families, developing agriculture, green technologies within the present fuel crises, installing playgrounds for children and creating new businesses remain challenges. Ecovillage residents themselves now have no income thanks to the Russia’s colonial war on their country.

Just as people opposed to the Russian war have established a new international brigade within the armed forces in a distant echo of that formed to fight fascism during the Spanish Civil War, so is Global Ecovillage Network Ukraine inviting volunteers to come and help in its food security program by constructing gardens: “For any questions you can contact us at

“We believe in a free and successful Ukraine and thriving ecovillage and permaculture movement.”

Permaculture likes to paint itself as a global movement. The Russian war in Ukraine presents it with the opportunity to show it is that. Thanks to its support for Ukraine, we see that permaculture is a pan-European movement at least.

Supporting people and permaculture in Ukraine

Donations to Permaculture Ukraine:

TransferGo: +380679678793 (Anastasiya Volkova, head of the organisation, UAH)

For transactions in EUR:

TransferGo: +380679678793 (Anastasiya Volkova, head of the organisation, UAH)

For transactions in EUR:
Account holder: NGO “Permaculture in Ukraine”
Account number (IBAN): UA903348510000000002600890545
Address: STR.GOLOSEEVSKIY 84/71, KYIV, Ukraine
Bank address: 4, Andriivska Str., Kyiv, 04070, Ukraine
Bank code (MFO): 334851
Correspondent bank: Commerzbank AG, Frankfurt am Main, Germany
SWIFT-code of the correspondent bank: COBADEFF
Purpose of payment: non-repayable financial aid.

We can support the Green Road project with donations:

Personal transfer by EUR into UA 4731185605364501 Zalevskyi Maksym

Support GEN Europe’s program for Ukraine:
Where possible, please donate by bank transfer to avoid high Paypal fees. You can make a bank transfer with the following details. IMPORTANT: Please write GEN UKRAINE in the transfer details:

Recipient: Global Ecovillage of Europe
Postbank Berlin, bank code 10010010,
Account no. 7681105
IBAN: DE 11100100100007681105

The funds will be used for:
• food, medicine and hygiene products
• sleeping bags, blankets and mattresses
• fuel to transfer people to ecovillages
• hobs and pots for food preparation/serving
• heaters and stoves
• routers/antennas
• refrigerators and dishwashers.

Permaculture in Ukraine

Treehugger story on permaculture response to Russian invasion.

Video with Ukrainian ecovillage activists by Global Village Network for Appropriate technology, Denmark.




Ideas, analysis and stories about the permaculture design system

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Russ Grayson

Russ Grayson

I'm an independent online and photojournalist living on the Tasmanian coast after nine months on the road in a minivan.

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