Aid Projects, Building, Community Projects, Courses/Workshops, Demonstration Sites, Education Centres, Energy Systems — by Alex McCausland April 4, 2011
Editor’s Note: As many of you will have noticed, Alex has been making some great practical updates on the work going on at the Strawberry Fields Eco-Lodge. Below is yet another little update on the practical application of permaculture in southern Ethiopia. In addition to the Steve Cran Training of Trainers course, the PRI’s Rhamis Kent will be making a May 30 – June 11, 2011 Permaculture Design Certificate course at Strawberry Fields in Ethiopia. Both of these courses are worth some serious consideration.
Another structure we built in the last couple of weeks was a small cob-oven. This is a great thing for our project to save on fuel wood consumption and allow us to make more kinds of food, like pizzas as well as baking loaf-bread rather than only flat bread which we currently make.Comments (5)
Building, Courses/Workshops — by Sasha Rabin March 26, 2011
The first blocks coming out of the machine
We just finished the first Natural Building workshop at the Jordan demonstration site of the Permaculture Research Institute — the Jordan Valley Permaculture Project (aka ‘Greening the Desert’, the sequel). This workshop was co-taught by Hamzah Abu-Ragheb of Jordan, and myself, Sasha Rabin, from the US, with the intention of demonstrating and sharing building methods appropriate for this location.Comments (3)
Building, Courses/Workshops — by Hamzah Abu-Ragheb March 18, 2011
A few weeks prior to the recent (end of February, 2011) 5-day Natural Building course at the Jordan Valley Permaculture Project (aka ‘Greening the Desert – the Sequel’) in Jordan, I was feeling anxious. Not only was it my first time to teach a full-on workshop, but I had been planning to have a lot more of the building done. We had started working on one wall sometime close to the end of November, and we had not even finished that!
It all started after meeting Geoff and Nadia Lawton who were planning on starting work on the main building for the PRI Jordan site. We bounced ideas back and forth and were trying to make as good of a “model” as possible for a well planned, mostly earthen building. Soil samples were taken for earthen blocks, a local contractor was contacted for starting some foundations and things slowly started moving forward.Comments (6)
Biological Cleaning, Building, Conservation, Land, Soil Erosion & Contamination, Storm Water, Swales, Urban Projects, Waste Systems & Recycling, Waste Water, Water Contaminaton & Loss, Water Harvesting — by Nicola Chatham
Pit-falls, projects and laughs from our permaculture journey – Part 5
“What’s that smell?” asks Chris.
“I don’t know. It’s really familiar. It smells like… cat food,” I reply.
“It smells like shit,” he says.Comments (11)
Building, Consumerism, People Systems, Retrofitting, Waste Systems & Recycling — by Oyvind Holmstad March 17, 2011
First Earth: Uncompromising Ecological Architecture by David Sheen is meant as an inspirational film about earthen buildings, or more specifically, what they call ‘cob’. Cob is the oldest and easiest way of building from earth. You can find information and relevant literature here, and inspiring pictures here.
The architect Rolf Jacobsen at Gaia Tjøme, Norway, has, together with his son, built an experimental cob building on their property. Because of the cold climate they chose a two layer wall with perlite in between for insulation. You can read a discussion about cob in humid climates in this article, looking especially at the comments thread.
No matter whatever you live — in a hot, cold, dry or humid climate — lean back and watch the video below. If you enjoy it the DVD can be ordered here. (The DVD version of the film has high-quality video and audio and includes extras.)
Chapter 1: What’s Wrong With Architecture
Michael Reynolds has been doing some great things with his Earthship Movement. One example is that after the earthquake hit Haiti, he and his colleagues went to help the people by building environmentally sound, affordable, disaster-proof dwellings. With the experience of working in Haiti they have come up with a brilliant design for one of the ways they can really help Haitians — being that it has been over a year now and still over a million people are living in tents and malaria and cholera are now prevalent. This design is loosely based on permaculture principles as all Earthship Biotecture is.
If you are in a donating mood this is the project you should donate to. It is actually getting things done on the ground in Haiti and really helping the Haitian people help themselves, unlike many of the initiatives there.
You can keep up with Earthship’s progress at their YouTube channel which is updated often with videos of ongoing projects.Comments (1)
Building — by Judith Goldsmith March 9, 2011
The easiest, strongest, cheapest, and most durable material for building structures may now come from your garden. A new book describes best practices, and a workshop is coming up shortly in Australia.
When architect Darrel DeBoer first encountered bamboo as a building material, he knew it was going to be revolutionary. He had a long history of researching and teaching about building with non-toxic materials, using renewable materials such as straw-bale for building, and creating innovative designs; and bamboo is proving to be a new tool to extend these areas into new, very exciting areas. Now he’s written a book packed with photographs of beautiful design ideas, and hints for working with bamboo that he’s learned from numerous projects around the globe.Comments (7)
Building — by Geoff Lawton March 5, 2011
Here we are looking at options for building alternative structures, especially small buildings for the suburbs which can accommodate people in a sustainable way in urban gardens.
Small buildings made of natural materials like rammed earth, cob and straw bale with bamboo, timber, tile, slate and small stone inclusions, can all be built by hand in small urban permaculture gardens that provide good human food and sanctuary.Comments (21)
Biodiversity, Building, Community Projects, Consumerism, Eco-Villages, Economics, Markets & Outlets, People Systems, Social Gatherings, Society, Village Development — by Oyvind Holmstad March 4, 2011
All photographs © Craig Mackintosh
A taberna (plural tabernae) was a single room shop covered by a barrel vault within great indoor markets of ancient Rome. Each taberna had a window above it to let light into a wooden attic for storage and had a wide doorway. A famous example is the Markets of Trajan in Rome, Italy built in the early 1st century by Apollodorus of Damascus.
According to the Cambridge Ancient History, a taberna was a “retail unit" within the Roman Empire and furthermore was where many economic activities and many service industries were provided, including the sale of cooked food, wine and bread. – Wikipedia
Some people claim that the Markets of Trajan was the world’s first shopping mall. But there is a difference to today’s malls. Trajan’s Market was beautiful and it offered ingenious personal services and variety, something which is rare today. I’ve yet to see a beautiful shopping mall built in the era of consumerism. Those few nice examples are all reused train stations and so on, from a lost time. No, the Trajan Market was not at all like today’s ’supermarkets’ — it was a superb market!Comments (2)
Building, Courses/Workshops, Energy Systems, Land, Retrofitting, Waste Systems & Recycling — by Geoff Lawton March 3, 2011
Melbourne PDC Design
Photo © Craig Mackintosh
It is standard format, in the PDC curriculum, that students are given an exercise to design a landscape with a design brief so they can make the move into design while being mentored by their Permaculture Design Certificate (PDC) teacher. This is not a test but an exercise, enabling students to make the first step into design while still taking part in the PDC program.
During the 72-hour course students receive a body of diverse knowledge which, despite covering a number of disciplines and emphasising the connectivity between those disciplines, can seem surprisingly simplistic and easy to understand until students are put into design groups and given a challenge to design an area of landscape with a design brief. If the brief is likely to be a real life scenario then the possibilities expand and the design system complicates itself into innumerable choices of interactive complexity.Comments (17)
by Theron Beaudreau, Austin, Texas
Building slipform walls out of woodchip mulch and paper pulp. We put together this video to show how fun natural building can be… especially if you enjoy getting a little dirty!
Every Sunday I’ve been getting together with some friends to work on various permaculture projects. It’s something that’s become a trend for several years now. There have been several ebbs and flows over the course of that time but the general trend has been ever climbing. These days, Sunday workday/potlucks are the norm for me and my circle of friends. Just over this past year we’ve built several gardens, re-landscaped a housing co-operative’s front entryway and built a few aquaponics systems. During the month of February, we took to a natural building project that will soon become a large new greenhouse.Comments (3)
Building, Energy Systems, Land, Waste Systems & Recycling — by Kim Hayes February 28, 2011
How can architects build a new world of sustainable beauty? By learning from nature. At TEDSalon in London, Michael Pawlyn describes three habits of nature that could transform architecture and society: radical resource efficiency, closed loops, and drawing energy from the sun. — TED
Building, Consumerism, Energy Systems, Urban Projects, peak oil — by Chris McLeod February 21, 2011
Photo of the house showing some of the solar panels and solar hot water system
I was happy to read that Zaytuna Farm had installed an off grid solar power system for their electrical requirements — “Advanced Solar, and independence, at PRI’s Zaytuna Farm”. However, upon reading the comments relating to this, I could see that there was quite a lot of misunderstanding and misinformation relating to solar power. This inspired me to write a series of articles covering pretty much all things solar power, what it’s all about and how it works.
My solar power knowledge is comprehensive and growing all the time. This is because I live in the Macedon Ranges in Victoria in a house I built myself which has an off grid solar power system. Having a mild dose of technical geekiness (although this is not necessarily a prerequisite!), I obtained and installed all of the components myself . This system now provides all of the electrical needs of the house. I received no government subsidies or RECs (Renewable Energy Certificates) in the process (because it was cheaper not too) and maintained electrical compliance and Australian standards relating to the power system.Comments (19)
Update on the Jordan Valley Permaculture Project (aka ‘Greening the Desert, the Sequel’): “Leave All Expectations Behind”
Aid Projects, Building, Community Projects, Compost, Conservation, Courses/Workshops, Demonstration Sites, Education Centres, Food Forests, Food Plants - Annual, Food Plants - Perennial, Land, Plant Systems, Rehabilitation, Soil Conservation, Swales, Terraces, Urban Projects, Water Harvesting — by Christian Douglas February 19, 2011
I felt fully prepared leaving for Jordan three weeks ago. Equipped with a 55ltr backpack laden with books, a compost thermometer, a dumpy level as hand luggage and a few well chosen words of advice from former patrons of the land: "Leave all expectations behind". In fact, as i remember correctly, it was to "flush them down the toilet". Within hours of my arrival it became rapidly apparent that would become the most useful thing I was to bring with me, or rather didn’t bring, as the case may be.Comments (17)
Building, Energy Systems, Food Plants - Annual, Nurseries & Propogation, Urban Projects — by Rob Avis February 11, 2011
by Rob Avis
We live and garden on an urban lot in Calgary, Canada, located on the 51st parallel north and approximately 80 km east of the front ranges of the Canadian Rockies. This northern climate presents many design challenges, including less than one hundred frost-free days, an annual mean temperature of 4.1 degrees Celsius and summer cyclonic weather patterns (i.e. high risk of hail). We are also considered to be a moderate temperate desert as our precipitation is around 500mm including snow. However, one of the advantages of growing food up north is the long summer days. There is no better place to observe this than in Alaska which also has an average of 100 frost free days but is renown for growing the largest vegetables in the world. Also, despite being cold in the winter, it is rarely overcast and we enjoy mostly sunny days. These two factors combined result in Calgary having nearly the same solar potential as Florida.Comments (21)