Sporos Regeneration Institute

By Konstantinos Tsiompanos

Sporos Regeneration Institute is located in Lesvos, Greece, one of the main gateways of refugees into Europe, due to its close proximity to the Turkish shores. Its mission is the regeneration of the environment, culture and human relations. Through its plethora of educational tools it aims to teach people of all backgrounds and ages how to live more sustainable, healthier lives while caring for each other and the environment.

We are currently running urban agriculture courses in collaboration with Re-alliance, a coalition of field practitioners, policymakers, educators, community leaders and humanitarian and development workers. The courses are part of the greater Regenerative Camps and Settlements project, which will pilot regenerative interventions within formal and informal camps for refugees and IDPs in order to develop content for further learning materials and knowledge sharing, aimed at promoting grass-roots, community-led interventions and influencing mainstream INGO activities. The first course took place in down-town Athens in May, at a community centre for refugees with 17 participants from 13 different countries. Next course will take place in October inside Kara Tepe refugee camp in Lesvos, the biggest refugee camp in Greece.

Ecohub is our therapeutic community garden project located across the Kara Tepe camp. It has been a source of beauty, joy, healing, learning, community building and fresh vegetables and herbs since 2017. Hundreds of volunteers – refugees, locals and internationals – have helped shape Ecohub into the project we are most proud of, with great effect to more people than we could ever imagine. It was one of the winners of the Permaculture Magazine Prize in 2021 and was the host of the PDC which P4R with Rosemary Morrow taught in Lesvos in 2019.

The Garden of Friends is our educational permaculture farm where most of our courses take place and most of the food we share is grown. It is currently in the care of our newest team member, Shahzaib, a refugee from Pakistan who received his refugee status after seven whole years of waiting and is now our new farm manager. He participated in one of our PDCs for refugees, it inspired him to start practicing permaculture and he asked to join our team. We were more than happy to welcome him into the Sporos family and the wider community of permaculturists.

We are anticipating a lot of new synergies in our future projects. Synergies which will help us grow and expand our mission to benefit as many people as possible. Future projects are oriented towards food and water sustainability, recycling and green spaces in refugee camps and an energy community to combat energy poverty.

Konstantinos Tsiompanos is a human rights barrister, environmental scientist, permaculture teacher and forest school teacher. He is the President of the Board of Directors of P4R and the Managing Director of Sporos Regeneration Institute.

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