Community Projects, Demonstration Sites, Land, Markets & Outlets, Retrofitting, Social Gatherings, Urban Projects, Village Development — by Catherine Griggs February 7, 2013
If you want to make permaculture happen, then just start. This is the story of how one garden ended up providing work, food and fun for people in the community of Gwynedd, Wales.
It was autumn, March 2012, and unemployment was at an all time high in North Wales. I was a qualified permaculture consultant wandering the lands searching for my next project, but also suffering the strain of recession. I then stumbled upon some unusual funding from an organisation called Nacro. The organisation provides paid work experience for people who are generally deemed antisocial or who are long term unemployed. The organisation had funding left for the year and needed somewhere to put it. So I went dressed, suited and booted, and proposed an idea to Nacro that would help at least three people find work in the future. Luckily the man I encountered empathised with me and I managed to secure a paid job for myself and two others, implementing a permaculture garden for three months only.
So I had 3 months to find the land and build a garden with only enough money to pay a small wage and no materials. Quite the challenge! I asked my friends Lizzy and Dwynwen if they would help and of course they were up for the challenge.Comments (8)
Building, Eco-Villages, Energy Systems, Land, Retrofitting, Village Development, Waste Systems & Recycling — by Marcin Gerwin January 30, 2013
Marcin Gerwin: In many cities there are problems with traffic jams. The streets are clogged with cars and as a response mayors build new roads or widen the streets. Old buildings are demolished to make way for new lanes so that a highway running through the middle of the city could be built. Would you say that this is the right way forward?Comments (0)
Aquaculture, Building, Demonstration Sites, Energy Systems, Fish, Land, Retrofitting, Urban Projects, Waste Systems & Recycling, Water Harvesting — by Rene Michalak November 6, 2012
The "MEGGA-watt" Project (Micro-Energy Generating Garage Assembly) is a demonstration / prototype to turn everyday detached garages from simple storage units (aka ‘car-holes’) into food-growing and energy-generating systems using permaculture design.
The basic concept is to partner a garage with an attached greenhouse and renewable energy to create sustainable 4-season growing systems with minimal fossil fuel input that serves both practical and recreational purposes.
Owners of a MEGGA can then customize how they want the system to function — what they want to grow and how they want to grow it.Comments (1)
Report on Implementation Activities in Konso Secondary and Jarso Primary Schools in July 2012 (Ethiopia)
Aid Projects, Community Projects, Compost, Conservation, Courses/Workshops, Demonstration Sites, Education Centres, Energy Systems, Food Forests, Irrigation, Land, Nurseries & Propogation, Rehabilitation, Retrofitting, Seeds, Swales, Trees, Village Development, Waste Systems & Recycling, Waste Water, Water Harvesting — by Alex McCausland August 17, 2012
In May 2012 we ran a PDC at Strawberry Fields Eco-Lodge on which we trained four local teachers, along with other participants, two from each of two local schools in Konso, South Ethiopia, where we are based. The selected teachers from the two schools, Konso Secondary and Jarso Primary, are science teachers responsible for the schools’ environmental clubs. During the training they produced permaculture designs for their school compounds, which they have gone on to begin implementing with their school communities.Comments (2)
Building, Consumerism, Eco-Villages, Land, Population, Retrofitting, Society, Village Development, peak oil — by David Holmgren July 31, 2012
Introduction by Samuel Alexander of the Simplicity Institute: I’m pleased to announce that David Holmgren, co-originator of the permaculture concept, has just published a Simplicity Institute Report, entitled "Retrofitting the Suburbs for the Energy Descent Future."
Sometimes well-meaning ‘green’ people like to imagine that the eco-cities of the future are going to look either like some techno-utopia — like the Jetsons’ , perhaps, except environmentally friendly — or some agrarian village, where everyone is living in cob houses that they built themselves. The fact is, however, that over the next few critical decades, most people are going to find themselves in an urban environment that already exists — suburbia. In other words, the houses that already exist are, in most cases, going to be the very houses that ordinary people will be living in over the next few decades (in the developed regions of the world, at least). So while it is important to explore what role technology could play in building new houses in more resource and energy efficient ways, and while there is certainly a place for cob houses, etc., for those who have such alternatives as an option, the suburbs are still going to be here for the foreseeable future. We’re hardly going to knock them all down and start again. It is important to recognise this reality, and not get too carried away with eco fairy tales about some distant future (although there is still a place for such visions). Rather than dreaming of a radically new urban infrastructure, a more important and urgent task is to figure out how to make the best of the existing infrastructure — and that is precisely what David Holmgren does in his Simplicity Institute Report, entitled "Retrofitting the Suburbs for the Energy Descent Future." David has been at the forefront of the environmental movement for several decades now, both in Australia and worldwide, and this essay is another example of how he constantly pushes at the edge of the sustainability debate. He is a penetrating thinker that deserves our most serious attention.
Retrofitting the Suburbs for the Energy Descent Future
(Simplicity Institute Report 12i, 2012)
1. Suburbia as Default Human HabitatComments (6)
Building, Energy Systems, Land, Retrofitting, Waste Systems & Recycling — by Bob Nekrasov June 14, 2012
Photo © Craig Mackintosh
It turns out that very few of those that do a PDC end up being consultants. It took me a while to actually become a paid consultant and I’ve only been doing it for a little while. I took so long to become one as I truly thought everyone who’d done a PDC would become a consultant and that I would just end up being ‘another consultant’. Wow, was I wrong! Of course, not everyone has to be one, many of us have other interests to pursue, but there are lots of us who do want to be consultants, but become defeated by things like a lack of knowledge, experience, confidence and other obligations (family, secure job, etc.).
What I decided to do for you my friend was to set myself up as an example of what is possible. So at the age of 33, with second child in wife’s belly, I decided to take the plunge and become a full time consultant. We had little money — nothing that would help establish a business. I did, well, jump into it head first. This could be bad advice as I am not into ruining lives! Well, maybe a little bit and for the best, wink wink.Comments (24)
Commercial Farm Projects, Courses/Workshops, Energy Systems, Land, Project Positions, Retrofitting, Waste Systems & Recycling — by Nick Huggins July 22, 2011
by Nick Huggins
I just purchased a farm in the New South Wales Southern Tablelands, 30min south of Goulburn and 50min east of Canberra, the Australian Capital, and a good friend of mine and of permaculture, David Spicer, has set his sights on the development of his consultancy business in the town of Tumut at the base of the Snowy Mountains, NSW. In moving to a new bio-region there is also an element of adjustment and making yourself known to the good people within it. As such, David and I have set ourselves individual goals that overlap so that we can both compliment each other’s skill sets to take permaculture to our wider communities.Comments (7)
Community Projects, Land, Retrofitting, Urban Projects, Village Development, peak oil — by Craig Mackintosh PRI Editor
This Korean tale of an ancient stream which got paved over to make a freeway, before becoming a nightmare of congestion and stress for inhabitants, and then being painstakingly restored, at great expense, back into a stream and pedestrian zone again, is an excellent case for permaculture observation, planning, ethics and design.
A little history on this:Comments (4)
Aid Projects, Building, Courses/Workshops, Energy Systems, Land, Retrofitting, Village Development, Waste Systems & Recycling — by Doug Weatherbee May 21, 2011
Note by Owen Hablutzel: This article from Doug Weatherbee speaks to why the skills and approach of Permaculture are becoming increasingly recognized among international development communities as being necessary and often more useful on-the-ground than conventional ‘development’ approaches for achieving often complex and practical goals in the difficult circumstances often encountered where people, livelihoods, basic needs, and struggling economies intersect. The Permaculture approach can broaden the scope and greatly increase the ‘toolbox’ available, while keeping these elements related and connected through attention to the context and larger whole. Now, more than ever, the world is ready for more Permaculture! What can you do to further prepare to meet this expanding need?
by Doug Weatherbee, Center for Appropriate Technology and Indigenous Sustainability
To a hammer, the whole world looks like a nail.
In many development aid projects around the world, not-for-profits (NFPs) are doing valuable work solving problems for communities and regions. Many of us who have done some sort of development aid work come to these communities with the NFP’s focus area (for example, clean drinking water, sanitation, or agricultural projects) and a set of NFP aid workers who are trained in the NFP focus area. However, when we land on the ground, in real communities and regions, the problems don’t necessarily stay contained within the narrow box of the NFP’s focus or the expertise of its workers. "The real world of people living, eating and growing food, having shelters, dealing with sanitation, having clean drinking water, staying warm or cool, creating families and communities, all of this is a rich mixture, and its problems and solutions don’t often fit into tiny neat boxes," says Jim Hallock, of Tierra Y Cal, who has experience building sustainable shelters in Haiti, South and Central America, and Africa. "When I show up in Haiti to help build a school or a clinic I’m asked about how to grow a food garden or deal with drinking water contamination."
The conundrum so often experienced is that NFP workers are unprepared to deal with aspects of the larger community or regional problems outside the scope of their skills or the not-for-profit’s focus. Sometimes aid workers need a screwdriver, and all they have is a hammer.Comments (2)
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
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)
Building, Energy Systems, Food Plants - Annual, Food Plants - Perennial, Food Shortages, Land, Plant Systems, Retrofitting, Urban Projects — by Cecilia Macaulay January 13, 2011
Conference room, Head office, Pasona Group Inc.
With all my Japan projects bedded down for the winter, I set out for some sightseeing in my final weekend in Tokyo (Dec 4th) with a visit to the head office of the Pasona Group Inc.Comments (20)
Building, Consumerism, Eco-Villages, Energy Systems, General, Land, People Systems, Retrofitting, Society, Village Development, Waste Systems & Recycling — by Oyvind Holmstad October 6, 2010
Photo © Craig Mackintosh
Could it be useful sometimes to replace the name permaculture with something else, because some people have wrong associations with the word? I’ve heard people discussing this, but they didn’t come up with any alternative. Here I have a suggestion: “integrated design”.
In a way, permaculture principle eight – integrate rather than segregate – has become like my most precious jewel among the design principles. And in fact I think the value of this principle is inestimable. To integrate rather than segregate is the core of life, without which life cannot exist, and life has no meaning.
Luckily, permaculture is all about how to integrate.Comments (9)
Animal Housing, Bird Life, Breeds, Building, Land, Livestock, Rehabilitation, Retrofitting, Waste Systems & Recycling, Working Animals — by Geoff Lawton September 3, 2010
So, we wanted to make an egg mobile for egg laying chickens to follow behind our dairy cows and fertilise the pasture while scratching the manure that the cows leave behind. The chickens also leave behind their own manure whilst free ranging across pasture. This technique allows the chickens to supplement their diet and produce some good eggs for us to enjoy.
So, first we started off with a 6 by 4 foot derelict old car trailer. Here is the trailer in our workshop with our current internship students learning how to do some metal recycling work to create a good solid egg mobile. This egg mobile is of minimal size to work on a small farm.Comments (10)
Building, Energy Systems, Food Forests, General, Land, Plant Systems, Retrofitting, Waste Systems & Recycling — by Adrian Buckley July 31, 2010
The modern-day education system is almost entirely bent on creating an army of university professors and other specialists. We have been systematically trained to specialize, and as a result we approach problem-solving by studying parts of a whole, where the connections between them are commonly ignored.Comments (15)