Aid Projects, Commercial Farm Projects, Community Projects, Compost, Conservation, Demonstration Sites, Education Centres, Energy Systems, Rehabilitation, Waste Systems & Recycling, Waste Water, Water Harvesting — by Alex McCausland December 18, 2010
We recently submitted a short report on our hot-fast-composting system, which gave some detail on the theory and practice of producing compost in as short a time as 21 days. But Permaculture principals tell us that we should always be looking to yield as many useful products and functions from any process or element as possible and it is obvious that one bi-product of hot-composting is heat. If you get it really right, a heap should reach 80°C, which is literally too hot to touch. Feeling is believing. Once we were getting to that stage with our compost competency I began pondering how we could effectively catch and store some of that heat so that it can be used for a hot shower.
I finally realised that lots of mucking about with coils and heat exchange loops, lagging and insulation etc. could be avoided if we simply have the hot water tank inside the compost heap. Jean Pain, the old French Roi de Compost did something like this in his place, but took it a lot further, even to the point of having a biogas digester inside a cooling jacket inside a giant compost heap. He was able to heat his house and get compost and biogas all out of the one system. Ours is simpler, but the good thing about that is that you don’t have to be a practical genius to do it.Comments (0)
Aid Projects, Community Projects, Demonstration Sites, Education Centres, Ethical Investment, Networking Sites, News, Society — by Craig Mackintosh PRI Editor November 30, 2010
Do you remember my mentioning we were amongst the finalists for the Humanitarian Water & Food Award for 2010? Well, it seems we stole the show with our Jordan work and won first place!
The Humanitarian Water and Food Award announced the 2010 winner last night, at its first ever award event held at LIFE, Faculty of Life Sciences, Copenhagen.
The prize, 10,000 Euros and a copy of the Award Statuette, was handed over to Rhamis Kent, representing The Permaculture Research Institute (PRI) for their initiative “Greening the Desert“.
Representing the Selection Committee, Professor Alfred Opubor, commented that “the initiative brings us hope. With approaches that are easy to carry out, and replicable, PRI have clearly demonstrated we can produce food where it is needed in a sustainable way”. — Water and Food Award
Aid Projects, Community Projects, Demonstration Sites, Education Centres, Land, People Systems, Village Development, Water Harvesting — by Geoff Lawton November 18, 2010
Geoff Lawton reports from a consultation trip to what will become the Al Bayda Project, Saudi Arabia
The Al Bayda Project in Saudi Arabia aims to help rehabilitate a large area of land, roughly 35 x 20kms (700km2 in total) containing 9 villages of Bedouin people who have been settled for 20-30 years in very basic conditions. The main mission is to develop a sustainable design demonstration system for how they can develop their villages and manage their environment and quite large herds of animals. Traditionally they would move with seasonal conditions around good grazing range-land patterns of management. Now, in settled villages, they don’t have the possibility to manage good range-land grazing with the appropriate patterning, and so the environment is greatly suffering from over-grazing and cutting of trees for firewood. As this grazing is their cultural heritage, they are not prepared to let it go and yet they don’t exactly fit into modern systems of settlement either.Comments (20)
Aid Projects, Commercial Farm Projects, Community Projects, Demonstration Sites, Developments, Education Centres, Networking Sites, People Systems, Social Gatherings, Society, Urban Projects, Village Development — by Craig Mackintosh PRI Editor
I just want to express immense gratitude for the donations towards our upcoming Worldwide Permaculture Network database-slash-social-networking-site. At time of writing, the ChipIn widget on our sidebar is showing 36 contributors giving a combined total of $2,125. There have been a couple of others who’ve donated by other means as well. Our development costs are obviously significantly higher than this, but every bit helps….Comments (9)
Aid Projects, Biological Cleaning, Building, Community Projects, Conservation, Demonstration Sites, Education Centres, Irrigation, Urban Projects, Waste Systems & Recycling — by Geoff Lawton November 17, 2010
The Jordan Valley Permaculture Project (aka ‘Greening the Desert – the Sequel’) in Al Jawaseri in the Dead Sea Valley (lowest place on earth), continues to develop as we gradually fund the project into action with our own permaculture education programs, volunteers and funding from Muslim Aid Australia and Kids are Sweet of Wisconsin, USA. The male and female shower and compost toilet block is now reaching completion using a basic faralone design system (PDF, with others composting toilet resources here, here, here, here and here). A reed bed has just been built as part of the shower block waste water system so that we can demonstrate grey-water reuse for garden crops. A small nursery has been funded by one of the volunteers involved in this project, Damien McAnany, and it is now producing a selection of vegetable, fruit and tree seedlings. Damien organized his own fund-raising initiatives in the USA then volunteered for a few weeks on site. Other volunteers Jesse and Tanya Lemieux, Eric Seider, Wade Tait, Dave Spicer have all put in time and work to help push the project along. The trees planted on the site have just survived one of the hottest summers on record and are still growing well. The lower areas of the site now have quite extensive vegetable gardens which are coming into their first winter production.Comments (8)
Aid Projects, Commercial Farm Projects, Community Projects, Demonstration Sites, Education Centres, Urban Projects — by Ecofilms November 16, 2010
Further Reading:Comments (2)
Aid Projects, Building, Community Projects, Demonstration Sites, Education Centres, People Systems, Village Development — by Craig Mackintosh PRI Editor November 12, 2010
The team from Ecoescuela El Manzano in Chile have just sent through this fine video on progress there.
If you’re new to the site, or otherwise don’t know what this is about, you might find the ten-part article series that starts here of interest:Comments (2)
Aid Projects, Commercial Farm Projects, Community Projects, Compost, Demonstration Sites, Education Centres, Fungi, Rehabilitation, Soil Biology, Soil Composition, Soil Conservation, Structure, Waste Systems & Recycling — by Alex McCausland November 8, 2010
At Strawberry Fields Eco-Lodge (SFEL) we use a fast hot composting system that can deliver well decomposed compost within 3 weeks. It was developed based on the technique we we’re taught by Dan Palmer when he co-facilitated two PDCs with us in 2008 along with Rosemary Morrow.
Hot composting is an aerobic process of fast oxidation which breaks raw organic materials into humus at temperatures of up to 80°C within three weeks. It is performed by a particular type of bacteria, that you can recognise as a white crust which starts to appear on the materials within the steaming interior heap once you really have the process working. I am not really up on the exact biological details of the bacteria, whether it is just one species or there are a range of species which can do the job, but once you have it working you have to maintain it, a bit like a culture of yoghurt, to get the best results. Like any living organism the bacteria has an ecological niche, that is to say a specific range of conditions in which it can live and within which it can thrive, so we have to maintain those as best we can if we want the organism to do this job of producing compost for us as best it can.Comments (5)
Aid Projects, Biodiversity, Community Projects, Demonstration Sites, Education Centres, GMOs, Village Development — by Craig Mackintosh PRI Editor October 29, 2010
During my time in Sri Lanka, although concentrating on Sarvodaya’s widespread work and influence in the country, I also took a few hours out to visit Ranjith de Silva, a man whose work I applaud.
In 1995 the European Patent Office in Munich granted patent rights to the US Department of Agriculture and the multinational W. R. Grace and Company for an antifungal product derived from the neem tree — a plant referred to by Indian villagers as ‘the village pharmacy‘. This made it possible for the corporation, one with a rather checkered environmental history, to market their ‘Neemix’ bio-pesticide and to hold monopoly over the substance — one that has been used by traditional farmers for thousands of years….
Ranjith de Silva stands in front of his neem tree — now safe from
corporate clutches with the help of his influence.
All photographs © Craig Mackintosh
Demonstration Sites, Developments, Education Centres, Energy Systems, Project Positions — by Geoff Lawton October 27, 2010
We need a registered electrician in NSW to help us finish wiring our three bedroom extension with lights, power points and smoke alarms. The building is straw bale construction and is council approved. We just need the final inspection for council approval for an occupation certificate. Once completed we will be refinancing the residence to secure finances for development of the commercial kitchen, classroom, ablution block, and five straw bale accommodation cabins to complete our educational infrastructure.
The electrician could then secure the contract to work on the whole project development.
Zaytuna Farm, next to the village of The Channon (near Lismore), is now powered by a huge state of the art solar power station mounted on the new 200 m3 commercial shed complex at the front gate — using the latest technology copper indium selenium panels. There are no silicon crystals involved. We can now arc weld and run large power tools all at the same time. This is also an opportunity to get in on a new technology shift that is far superior to anything before — we are the only ones in Australia with the technology so far. The people I am working with have imported the first container of panels into the country. These panels do not derate with temperature and partial shade.Comments (3)
Aid Projects, Biological Cleaning, Community Projects, Demonstration Sites, Education Centres, Land, Waste Systems & Recycling, Waste Water — by Alex McCausland October 26, 2010
Black water is the term applied to domestic waste water which carries solid organic waste materials and has a high level of nitrogen and phosphate containing compounds which may be in soluble and non soluble forms. Black water is generally assumed to refer to discharge from flush toilets, while grey water refers to outflow from showers, baths and hand basins, which contains no solid material and generally lower levels of nitrates and phosphates. Since all our toilets at Strawberry Fields are dry composting toilets our black water system does not have to deal with human waste at all. However, what we are dealing with is the waste water from the kitchen. Kitchen water can be considered as black water because dirty plates, frying pans and utensils carry a lot of fats, starches and protein. As well as this, the detergents which are necessary to remove all those from the surfaces of the utensils are stronger than body soap and carry a lot of phosphates which need some breaking down. The resulting mixture of soapy water, fat, protein and starch will quickly become very rancid if bacteria begin breeding in it, as it will go anaerobic and start producing swampy smelling gasses like nitrites which are poisonous to most plants (except for swamp plants which are adapted to deal with them).Comments (2)
Aid Projects, Community Projects, Courses/Workshops, Demonstration Sites, Education Centres — by Alex Metcalfe October 16, 2010
by Alex Metcalfe. Picture credits: Alex Metcalfe, Asiya Brock, Helen Evans and Houssa Yacoubi
Large house clusters would have originally had extended family groups living in distinct but connected households. The largest of these we saw had only certain parts being inhabited. As in other parts of Morocco labour migration has significantly reduced the local population.
The Journey to Igourdane: Igourdane
The local sheik or headman of the tribe came to meet us. An evidently old man yet of indeterminate age as was the Fakir, the local man responsible for religious instruction in the village.Comments (4)
Aid Projects, Community Projects, Demonstration Sites, Education Centres — by Samuel Baluti October 14, 2010
Editor’s Note: Project leaders and participants worldwide – please tell us your human interest stories!
My name is Samuel Baluti. I am Malawian by birth. I did two Permaculture Design courses and a Training of Trainers course last year. After that I was looking for a place to gain skills in designing, teaching, earthworks, veggie growing, organic farming, pest and disease control, zero waste management, seed saving, food and nutrition – pretty much everything connected with permaculture.Comments (6)
Community Projects, Courses/Workshops, Education Centres, Society, Village Development — by Ken Shaw October 13, 2010
Ken Shaw is a college science teacher based in Prince Rupert BC. When he is not in the classroom, bringing permaculture to the institutional environment, he can be found in his backyard or that of a friend using permaculture to design productive garden space in the unique and moist climate of the Northern Temperate Rain Forest on Canada’s west coast.
Just a little over a year ago I came home after taking my PDC with Jesse Lemieux all keen to make permaculture a reality at home. [Note: southern hemisphere folks should get in quick for the opportunity to learn from Jesse with his upcoming PDC at PRI's Zaytuna Farm in NSW, Australia!]. While one of the goals of the Permaculture Design Certificate (PDC) course is to inspire students to go on to teaching PDCs back home, teaching permaculture can have a much broader perspective.
As a college teacher in the sciences, I have all sorts of opportunities to introduce permaculture concepts into my existing courses. As I was teaching ecology that September, the subject was ripe for setting up a worm farm and compost demonstration. I had no idea where the project would take us, but before we knew it, we had a request from the high school for a tour and later to be featured in the 350 Day Event.Comments (3)
Aid Projects, Alternatives to Political Systems, Bio-regional Organisations, Commercial Farm Projects, Community Projects, Demonstration Sites, Developments, Education Centres, Networking Sites, People Systems, Social Gatherings, Society, Urban Projects, Village Development, peak oil — by Craig Mackintosh PRI Editor
I know some of you are itching to use the new Worldwide Permaculture Network system. Well, I hope to launch in just a few weeks!
One aspect that I want your input on is in regards to user guidelines. We want to make a clear list of guidelines for what kind of projects are and are not in harmony with permaculture principles, and what kind of behaviour is regarded as acceptable as far as profile information, profile updates, comments, etc. goes. This guideline list will be the basis upon which users can be reported for offences and potentially removed from the system if they persist. The guideline should create a protective fence around the system that encourages nurturing rather than criticism.
The most important thing is to ensure the system is used for its intended purpose – that of fast-tracking permaculture take-up in mainstream society, and helping people transition to a post-carbon world as peacefully and painlessly as possible. This incorporates helping people become permaculture consultants and aid workers, and helping share resources and knowledge and inspiration to get permaculture projects, large and small, started all around us. With this in mind, user guidelines will help us keep this system on track, and help give us the policing powers to stop misuse and/or intentional antagonism by people who do not understand or appreciate the basis and need of permaculture.
Please place listed suggestions in the comments below, and please write specific text as you’d expect it to be in the guidelines, rather than broad philosophical vagaries. I will take the best parts, aggregate them, and later create a final draft we can all revisit to finalise.
Thanks in advance for your support and participation in this important aspect of the new system.Comments (15)