This year marks the 13th year that Never Ending Food has been visited by students from the University of Rochester, New York.  These students have all been part of a program called the ‘Malawi Immersion Seminar‘. From their website:  “The Malawi Immersion Seminar, sponsored by the University of Rochester Department of Anthropology, is a three week study abroad/field school addressing cultural, health, social, political, and ecological issues in Malawi, Africa using the anthropological method. The seminar provides students with an immersive and transformative summer experience offering a unique focus on experiential learning and training in the methods of field research.”


The participants in this program are exposed to Malawian language and cultural training, they visit Never Ending Food to learn more about the use of Permaculture Design in International Development Work, and then they are ‘immersed’ in the Malawian experience by living and volunteering at a local Permaculture initiative, known as ‘Zisinthe Farm and Community Gardens‘.

This program has been developed and led over the years by a Returned Peace Corps Volunteer from Malawi named Joe Lanning.  Here is a brief bio on Joe Lanning from the Malawi Immersion Seminar website: “As an undergraduate at the University of Rochester, Joe had the transformative experience of studying abroad in Kenya, Africa. Following graduation in 2000, he spent two years serving as a Peace Corps volunteer in Malawi working on health and agriculture projects. Joe’s combined experiences in Kenya and Malawi inspired the Malawi Immersion Seminar, which has brought students to Malawi since 2003. In 2007, he completed his masterʼs degree in global history examining the age of exploration in southern Africa, and he is currently completing his PhD in Ecological and Environmental Anthropology at the University of Georgia. Joe has conducted fieldwork and coordinated teams of researchers in both Malawi and Kenya. His current fieldwork in Malawi examines agricultural decision-making, risk, social networks, and learning among rural Malawian farmers. Joe has also taught an ethnographic research methods course at University of Rochester and introduction to anthropology at the University of Georgia.”


Since its start, various participants of this program have used the knowledge they have gained about Permaculture to establish Permaculture gardens at their University, write research papers on the subject, and even go on to use Permaculture as the basis for their Doctoral research work.

Never Ending Food is honored to host this group as part of their annual calendar of events and we look forward to many more years of visits!