Aid Projects, Community Projects, Demonstration Sites, Developments, Education Centres, News — by Alex McCausland March 8, 2010
Editor’s Note: This is an exciting update on progress from the Strawberry Fields Eco Lodge project in Ethiopia. Congratulations to the whole team in Ethiopia!
It was a moment of fulfillment for us at Strawberry Fields Eco Lodge (SFEL). The head of the Konso Woreda Education Bureau, Mr. Geyeto Gedeno, stood in front of those gathered, his fumbling speech soon beginning to gather momentum:
We now want to see this program expanded to all the schools in Konso, making us an example to the whole society and the rest of Ethiopia! Permaculture shows us how to achieve food security and environmental preservation, how to improve our nutrition and benefit our ecology, all through direct community action!” We all clapped and cheered heartily.
Gathered around the training room were teachers, parents and children from the three schools where the Permaculture in Konso Schools Project (PKSP), pilot project, had been underway since May 2009, when it began with training of teachers at SFEL, in a PDC that was part funded by a former volunteer (and a good friend of ours, Sarah Davis from Austin Texas) and part funded by Save the Children Finland (STCF).Comments (4)
News — by Craig Mackintosh PRI Editor February 25, 2010
Welcome to round two of our Weekly Linkfest! Where possible, I’ll put up a weekly roundup of interesting environmental and permaculture news – with the intention that it’ll be an easy way for readers to jump to important and/or interesting news and practical or inspiration material.
I would greatly appreciate readers getting involved in this weekly linkfest. Please email editor (at) permaculturenews.org with links (and ideally a summary sentence outlining the key point of each link) to noteworthy articles and news reports on the internet. Please put ‘Weekly Linkfest’ in the subject line, as I have a message rule that will move these messages into a specific folder for this purpose. This is a great way to share information of merit with the greater permaculture community.
Let’s get started:
Good News (coz we all need it):
- E. coli fears spark 4.9 million pound meat recall. I put this in the good news section, as it’s great to see BigAgri hurting financially from their own stupidity and inability to work ethically and within ecological constraints. These kind of recalls are on the rise – and are helping fuel an ever-increasing desire from citizens to see their food coming from more natural sources. A post from yesterday on this site shares a more humane, healthy and sustainable way to provide meat for those who refuse to be vegetarian.
- The Indian government puts controversial new BT Brinjal GMO crop on hold amidst rising concerns over the safety and efficiency of biotech ‘products’.
- Readers of the Chicago Chicken Ordinance post may enjoy this resource: It’s the Chickens In The Yard (C.I.T.Y.) Chicken Revolution, where you’ll find resources to help you legalise urban chicken raising in your area.
- David Holmgren’s book Future Scenarios gets reviewed.
- Neri Oxman gives an interesting talk on ‘Material Ecology’.
- If we can only get BigAgri to ponder this incredible act of principle-based decision making, we might see millions of landless being given land with which to develop small scale productive permaculture systems worldwide, and thus avoid revolution…: U.S. Teen Hannah Salwen Convinces Family to Sell Home and Donate Half the Proceeds to Charity.
- Cat food and ants may be biological answers to Australia’s cane toad problem?
News — by Craig Mackintosh PRI Editor February 10, 2010
Welcome to the first edition of our new Weekly Linkfest! Where possible, I’ll put up a weekly roundup of interesting environmental and permaculture news – with the intention that it’ll be an easy way for readers to jump to important and/or interesting news and practical or inspiration material.
I would greatly appreciate readers getting involved in this weekly linkfest. Please email editor (at) permaculturenews.org with links (and ideally a sentence outlining key points) to noteworthy articles and news reports on the internet (put ‘Weekly Linkfest Fodder’ in the subject line, as I have a message rule that will move these messages into a specific folder for this purpose). This is a great way to share information of merit with the greater permaculture community.
Let’s get started:
Good News (coz we all need it):
- Coming soon for UK residents are more permaculture-oriented material to arrive via mainstream media channels, with the BBC’s upcoming ‘The Edible Garden‘ series. This is perhaps due to popular reception of their ‘A Farm for a Future‘ feature they did recently.
- A leftover New Orleans FEMA trailer becomes a mobile garden and permaculture library.
- Even Richard Branson is warning the world about peak oil.
- Imagine that – product packaging, and maybe even buildings, made from fungus? (See also.)
- Indoor plants are good at removing toxins from the air of our living spaces, NASA studies show.
- While human powered bicycles in relocalised agricultural communities would be better, electric bicycles for China have got to be a better option than a billion cars.
Community Projects, Eco-Villages, Economics, Food Shortages, News, People Systems, Village Development — by Devinder Sharma January 31, 2010
Ten years from now, in 2020, when we try to look back, Indian agriculture can be transformed into a healthy and vibrant system where farmer suicides have been relegated to history, where distress and despondency has been replaced by the lost pride in farming, where agriculture becomes sustainable in the long run, and does not add on to global warming.
As we enter 2010, the script for a futuristic agriculture, which brings back the smile on the face of farmers, without leaving any scar on the environment, is being rewritten.
What began as a small initiative some six years back in a non-descript village in Khamam district, has now spread to over 2 million acres in 21 districts of Andhra Pradesh. I remember when I first talked about the miracle brought about in village Pannukula in Andhra Pradesh, many thought I was simply trying to romanticise agriculture. How farming can be done without the use of chemical pesticides, I was repeatedly asked.
Pannukula dug out a lonely furrow, but eventually blazed a trail. In the next four years, more than 318,000 farmers in 21 out of the 23 districts of Andhra Pradesh have discarded the intensive chemical farming systems, and shifted to a more sustainable, economically viable and ecologically friendly agriculture. A silent revolution is in the offing. In Kharif 2009 (the monsoon season), some 1.4 million acres was covered with what is now known as Community Managed Sustainable Agriculture (CMSA).Comments (3)
General, News — by Craig Mackintosh PRI Editor January 11, 2010
Australia’s Special Broadcasting Service (SBS) recently visited the Permaculture Research Institute of Australia to check out the work of Geoff Lawton at Zaytuna Farm.
Those who watched Greening the Desert II will recognise some of my footage from Jordan as well.
Having the mainstream media peek at our work is getting to be a habit. Now we just need to move them from looking at this as a ‘novel idea’ to regarding it as an urgent necessity.Comments (3)
Conservation, Demonstration Sites, Irrigation, Land, News, Rehabilitation, Soil Biology, Soil Conservation, Structure, Water Harvesting — by Craig Mackintosh PRI Editor December 19, 2009
One of the most influential people in sustainable agricultural systems development is the late P.A. Yeomans. Yeomans went against the contemporary fertility-in-a-bottle school of thought to develop ‘keyline’ concepts of land management that work in harmony with natural land features (working with contours), to maximise water harvesting in the landscape, minimise soil erosion and build lasting soil fertility. His observations and practice led him to design and develop the keyline plow, a deep chisel plow that maximises water infiltration and soil aeration – setting up conditions that soil macro and microorganisms can flourish in – but that doesn’t overturn the soil, with its associated destruction of soil structure and life, as other plows do.
The ABC just ran an interesting spotlight (video – or transcript here if you prefer) where we learn that one of Yeomans’ properties, ‘Yobarnie’, in Richmond, north of Sydney, is facing ‘development’ that would turn this important historical demonstration site into a housing estate. In the 1950s and ’60s the site attracted busloads of people on weekend tours where observers could see the transformation his methods effected and learn about their implementation.Comments (3)
Aid Projects, Deforestation, Demonstration Sites, Developments, Eco-Villages, Education Centres, Food Forests, Food Plants - Perennial, Food Shortages, Land, News, Plant Systems, Project Positions, Rehabilitation, Trees, Village Development — by Craig Mackintosh PRI Editor December 9, 2009
The video embedded in this page spotlights the excellent work of Willie Smits I profiled a little while ago, where rainforest restoration in Borneo not only restored biodiversity and gave increased livelihood opportunities to local people, but it also increased cloud cover and rainfall as well. It’s well worth a watch:
We’re pleased to announce that we’re partnering with the makers of the video above, WeForest, to help establish self-replicating permaculture reforestation demonstration sites in accordance with our Permaculture Master Plan, in several worldwide locations – starting in Zambia in the first instance. Our Geoff Lawton has just agreed to be on their advisory board, and we’ll be working to supply guidance, knowhow and staff to pioneer these projects.
This is just one example of the many encouraging collaborative results we get as people boil current events down to their only logical conclusion – discovering we need to quit battling nature and get busy harnessing biological synergies to repair the earth and rebuild sustainable community interactions.Comments (4)
Consumerism, Food Shortages, Global Warming/Climate Change, News, Society, Village Development — by Earth Policy Institute December 2, 2009
by Lester R. Brown, Earth Policy Institute
In the United States, there has been a surge of interest in eating fresh local foods, corresponding with mounting concerns about the climate effects of consuming food from distant places and about the obesity and other health problems associated with junk food diets. This is reflected in the rise in urban gardening, school gardening, and farmers’ markets.
With the fast-growing local foods movement, diets are becoming more locally shaped and more seasonal. In a typical supermarket in an industrial country today it is often difficult to tell what season it is because the store tries to make everything available on a year-round basis. As oil prices rise, this will become less common. In essence, a reduction in the use of oil to transport food over long distances—whether by plane, truck, or ship—will also localize the food economy.Comments (3)
Community Projects, Developments, Education Centres, News — by Grifen Hope November 27, 2009
Recently we had a whirlwind tour of Atacama in the north of Chile, the driest place on earth. This was a learning experience rather than teaching – in this hostile and vulnerable landscape that has been occupied for thousands of years we find strategies for building resilience.Comments (3)
Courses/Workshops, Demonstration Sites, Developments, Education Centres, News — by Ethan Roland November 18, 2009
Birds eye view of the Virgin Island Sustainable Farm Institute
St. Croix, a 6 x 20 mile island in the Caribbean, is exploding with positive action. Led by the Virgin Island Sustainable Farm Institute, locally grown food and ecological agriculture are seeding in with island people and travelers across the island. Now, in collaboration with AppleSeed Permaculture and Gaia University, the US Virgin Islands are being innoculated with the empowering principles and processes of permaculture design.Comments (1)
Community Projects, Developments, News, Social Gatherings, Urban Projects — by Leah Galvin November 17, 2009
We are having a Permablitz this weekend here on the Gold Coast, below are the details.
Event: Permablitz Gold Coast
Date: Saturday 21st November
Time: 9am onwards
Venue: Ingleside State School, 893 Tallebudgera Creek Road, Tallebudgera Valley QLD (15 minutes drive from Burleigh Heads Beach).
Details: Come along for a morning of gardening. We will be revamping the school’s existing garden beds and replanting. The school is super keen to get their veggie garden going! If you have any manure, compost, tools, and a plate of food to share… bring them along! There will be morning tea provided!
If you need more details, please contact me on leg30 (at) hotmail.comComments (0)
Aid Projects, Courses/Workshops, Demonstration Sites, Developments, Education Centres, News — by Craig Mackintosh PRI Editor October 15, 2009
Profuse apologies for being remiss on the posting front of late. I have more than a dozen posts queued in my head, but finding a minute to breathe and get ‘em down onto the keyboard has proven difficult. A few people have been pressing me for Part III of the Sarvodaya series, but never fear, it’ll come as soon as I can. In the meantime I have a little video mission in Jordan to fulfil.
For now, here’s a teeny glimpse at the latest:
Geoff, Nadia and I are currently stationed a stone’s throw from the Dead Sea in the Jordan Valley. At 400 metres below sea level, this is the lowest place on earth. Geoff and Nadia are teaching a Permaculture Design Certificate course (PDC) to 35 students from many different countries. With this course, and other previous Permaculture Research Institute efforts in the region, we have a really good wedge of influence in what is effectively the hub of the middle east – the very open-bordered country of Jordan. Although we have a few ‘westerners’ here, the bulk of the students are from either Jordan or surrounding nations – like Palestine, Syria, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Egypt, Qatar, Afghanistan, Turkey and even a couple of slightly further afield train passengers from Bulgaria. Other students come from Australia, Italy, UK, USA, Singapore and China. It’s been great getting to know them. A story could be told about many of these people alone. (Aah, so many blog post ideas, so little time….)Comments (2)
We’ve just happened upon a rather unusual way of sharing the Permaculture ‘get out there and do it’ message. Someone has taken an interview Geoff did in California last year, and turned it into a rather impressive animation. Although it was a bit strange for Geoff to see himself portrayed in such a way, if it helps get the message across, then we figure so be it.
The end of the clip even appears to have cameo appearances from Bill Mollison and David Holmgren:Comments (16)
News — by Craig Mackintosh PRI Editor October 13, 2009
A team from CNN recently came to Zaytuna Farm to get up close and personal with Permaculture. What a great idea.
Courses/Workshops, DVDs/Books, News — by Craig Mackintosh PRI Editor September 25, 2009
The Introduction to Permaculture Design DVD has finally been pressed and printed and will be dispatched to all pre-orders from Zaytuna Farm (base camp for PRI headquarters here in Australia) on Wednesday September 30. We said we’d do a September release and we meant it, and even made it – just!! A big thank you to all the many people who had faith in us but were wondering what happened to their pre-order. It is on its way!
We spoke with Frank Gapinski, the producer – who recorded and spent countless hours fine tuning and preparing this release – to find out a little more about this important DVD:Comments (11)