Food Forests, Food Plants - Perennial, Plant Systems, Trees — by Fraser Bliss March 27, 2012
A newly established swale food forest at PRI Australia,
backdropped by an 8 year old food forest. Photo: Fraser Bliss
We have heard about the wonders of permaculture food forests, whereby nature does all the work and we can simply walk around harvesting more food than we can possibly eat. Bill Mollison, the founder of the permaculture movement, is known for saying that the world is "in grave danger of falling food". This is an incredibly appealing idea that certainly has its roots deeply embedded in the human psyche that craves for a paradise lost, a Garden of Eden and the freedom from the toils of work. But is this achievable? What data supports these claims?Comments (11)
Compost, Consumerism, Food Forests, Food Plants - Annual, Food Plants - Perennial, Irrigation, Land, Medicinal Plants, Nurseries & Propogation, Plant Systems, Rehabilitation, Trees, Urban Projects, Water Harvesting, peak oil — by Anthea Hudson March 14, 2012
Richard Heinberg not only talks the talk, but also walks the walk, as we get to see in the video at bottom. Peak Moment host, Janaia Donaldson, visits Heinberg and his partner Janet Barocco in their own venture in sustainable living in suburban Santa Rosa, California.
When they bought the place in 2001 it was a complete disaster, Richard tells Janaia, but it had advantages that drew them to it, such as being within walking distance of where they worked and shopping areas, having a large ¼ acre block and the house itself being small enough that they felt capable of remodelling and caring for it.
The ‘before’ shot
Animal Housing, Bird Life, Food Forests, Food Plants - Annual, Food Plants - Perennial, Irrigation, Land, Medicinal Plants, Plant Systems, Rehabilitation, Trees, Urban Projects, Waste Systems & Recycling, Water Harvesting — by Dan Palmer March 13, 2012
Two days ago Dan and Will returned to a large VEG permaculture design and implementation project that was completed about five months ago. Via the videos below, take a virtual walk about the front and back yards — warts, ducks, giant silver beet, gorgeous connected multidimensional abundance and all!
You can also check out the design and before, during and after photos of the project here and also in our downloadable portfolio (warning: 38mb PDF!).
Demonstration Sites, Food Forests, Food Plants - Annual, Food Plants - Perennial, Land, Medicinal Plants, Plant Systems, Trees — by Sunny Soleil March 12, 2012
If you are new to permaculture, these three videos provide a delightful living introduction to the topic. As Angie takes you through the different zones on her farm in Wales, UK, you can try to spot how many concepts are integrated into her enthusiastic, holistic descriptions of how permaculture works.
Permaculture is not Organic Farming
In this first video we meet Angie and her family and visit some areas of her farm as we hear explanations of the difference between permaculture and organic farming and why permaculture is important.Comments (0)
Aid Projects, Community Projects, Food Forests, Irrigation, Potable Water, Village Development, Waste Water, Water Harvesting — by Warren Brush March 8, 2012
In a land of contrast, mystery and years of imperialism, a small village of over 300 people on the edge of the Kalahari in Namibia germinated a new permaculture resiliency project in January of 2012. In talking with the headman of the village, he shared that their people, the San Bushmen, have lived in harmony with the land as hunter gatherers for eons. They are often cited as the first peoples of Africa and very likely all of humanity may have descended from their ranks many millennia ago.
The village elder sadly shared that colonialism has destroyed the San migratory way of life — a hunter gatherer tradition that was sustainable for thousands of years. He told us that they were no longer allowed to roam freely and trophy hunters destroyed the vast herds of game that formed their principal supply of food. Both Black and White farmers alike built up huge herds of cattle that destroyed the ecology of the Kalahari and subsequently the foods that had been their staple diet. They soon found they had to work for the farmers to be able to feed their families and hence a cycle of poverty and separation from their cultural roots ensued.Comments (6)
Animal Forage, Biodiversity, Biofuels, Deforestation, Food Forests, Food Plants - Annual, Food Plants - Perennial, Food Shortages, Global Warming/Climate Change, Land, Medicinal Plants, Plant Systems, Regional Water Cycle, Rehabilitation, Soil Conservation, Soil Erosion & Contamination, Trees, Village Development, Water Contaminaton & Loss, Water Harvesting — by Eric Toensmeier March 1, 2012
Trees are one of our most powerful tools to pull carbon from the atmosphere and sequester it in the soil for long-term storage. This is why reforestation and protecting intact forests are such important parts of plans to address climate change. Conventional climate change science tells us that the planet’s capacity for reforestation is limited, however, by the need to preserve land for agriculture.
But movements like agroforestry and permaculture show us that farming and trees are not mutually exclusive. From tree crops to contour strips of nitrogen fixing trees between bands of annual crops, there is a wealth of techniques that can give us the best of both worlds. These techniques, should a global effort get behind their implementation on a large scale, could have a major impact on climate change. They would also have numerous other benefits to the planet and its people.
A century ago, writer-farmers like J. Russell Smith coined the term “permanent agriculture” to describe food forestry and other farming practices that combated a key issue of their day — erosion and degradation of farmland. From Smith and his compatriots we in permaculture have taken the name of our movement, though our movement has grown to encompass much more than food forestry. Today these visionary ideas are more essential than ever, to address an environmental crisis on a scale Smith and his contemporaries could not have imagined.Comments (4)
Community Projects, Demonstration Sites, Food Forests, Land, News, Society, Urban Projects, Village Development — by Andrew Beard
In the Beacon Hill community of Seattle a revolutionary community garden is being developed to feed her people. The Beacon Food Forest is transforming a previously unused piece of public land into a vibrant food forest filled with hundreds of different varieties of edible plants, fruits and nuts. The seven acre plot uses perennial crops and sustainable methods rooted in permaculture to create a source of food available to all.Comments (3)
Bird Life, Consumerism, Demonstration Sites, Food Forests, Land, Soil Conservation — by Nicola Chatham
My property has been behaving itself since my last City Kids update. Without the tropical downpours and flooding Queensland suffered last summer, it’s been much easier to manage. The slope down under the house no longer hosts a makeshift waterfall, and the gravel driveway has stopped flowing like a river and getting washed down the storm water drain. I’ve learnt where the potholes are, filled most of them with gravel, and the remaining ones are easy to dodge once you know how.
My absolute delight this season, though, hasn’t been the orchard or the veggie patch, although they have made great progress, it’s been the five young ducklings whose parents honoured me by choosing my property to raise their precious offspring.Comments (6)
Animal Forage, Food Forests, Food Plants - Annual, Food Plants - Perennial, Medicinal Plants, Plant Systems, Seeds, Trees — by Eric Toensmeier February 25, 2012
This article reviews perennial staple crops, a little-known group of species with tremendous potential to address world problems.
Ricardo Romero of Las Cañadas in perennial staple food forest featuring
peach palm, macadamia, air potato, banana, and perennial beans.
Perennial Staple Crops are basic foodstuffs that grow on perennial plants. These plant sources of protein, carbohydrates, and fats can be harvested non-destructively – that is, harvest does not kill the plant or prevent future harvests. This group of crops includes grains, pulses (dry beans), nuts, dry pods, starchy fruits, oilseeds, high-protein leaves, and some more exotic products like starch-filled trunks, sugary palm saps, and aerial tubers.
These trees, palms, grasses, and other long-lived crops offer the unique possibility of crops grown for basic human food that can simultaneously sequester carbon, stabilize slopes, and build soils as part of no-till perennial agricultural systems. Such production models seem the most likely of all regenerative farming practices to approach the carbon sequestering capacity of natural forest, because they can mimic the structure of a forest most closely.Comments (22)
Food Forests, Land, Plant Systems, Rehabilitation, Trees — by Mike Wood February 16, 2012
A brief discussion on the merits of Ghetto Palm (Ailanthus altissima)
by Mike Wood
First, so we know what we’re talking about, see the Wikipedia entry on the ‘Tree of Heaven’ here.
This tree is considered to be an invasive species in Colorado, and no doubt in other places. Our fearless leaders have decreed it to be undesirable. There are no active eradication efforts to my knowledge. I will not discuss its demerits here, as those can be found in any official literature on invasives. Rather, I hope to demonstrate its utilities in the context of permaculture — pioneering, succession, land improvement, and ecological niches.
An interesting factoid I found in my research: one of these trees survived the Hiroshima A-bomb, 300 meters from where the bomb went off. It still lives today. Tough bugger. I have read much wailing and gnashing of teeth on forums about how difficult it is to kill. This is, in my opinion, a fact very much in its favor in the high desert steppe climate here, Colorado’s Front Range. It can gain a foothold nearly anywhere; I’ve observed it growing from minute cracks in sidewalks, hard, nearly-granitic sand, gravel beds, and highly salted areas near roadways — making it an ideal candidate for land reclamation.Comments (16)
Deforestation, Food Forests, Food Plants - Annual, Food Plants - Perennial, Land, Medicinal Plants, Plant Systems, Regional Water Cycle, Seeds, Soil Composition, Structure, Trees — by Chris McLeod January 24, 2012
As people become urbanised, they start looking at the world in urban ways. What does that car or house say about that person? How does that person’s occupation affect their social standing? People may not admit it, but they understand the answers to these questions intuitively. As permaculturalists, we need to apply these same observational skills to our permacultural adventures.
These observational skills are important for permaculture because they allow you to read a landscape. No two pieces of land are ever the same! Whether that land is in an urban area or a rural area you can gather a huge amount of information as to its suitability for your next permaculture project simply by observation over a period of time. These skills will also allow you to identify ways to adapt your land to your particular purpose.
Reading a landscape is an observational skill so I have decided to take you on a virtual tour of the mountain range that I live in and tell you what I see in the different spots that we stop off at. I will highlight things at each location that I have learned on my food forest permaculture journey, and that I hope to impart to you the reader. I hope you enjoy the tour!Comments (16)
Conservation, Food Forests, Irrigation, Land, Nurseries & Propogation, Plant Systems, Rehabilitation, Soil Composition, Structure, Swales, Trees, Water Harvesting — by Greg Bell January 20, 2012
Editor’s Note: It’d be great if more people would share their successes and failures in similar fashion as Greg has below. The reason I say this is three-fold — 1) you get valuable feedback from readers on how to overcome your challenges, 2) readers can learn from your mistakes and thus hopefully avoid them, and 3) people new to permaculture will have a decent dose of reality as they start their on-the-ground work, and so won’t give up in despair the moment things don’t immediately pan out as anticipated! Send your articles to editor (at) permaculturenews.org !
Incredible results from the master after just three months
in the same temperate climate as us.
Did you and our family have the same experience? Did you watch
Geoff’s Food Forest DVD with mouth agape, saying “wow” to yourself at
least a dozen times?
You saw it — plan, excavate, mulch, plant. Stand back and be amazed as your planned accelerated succession of productive plants unfolds.
We were lucky enough to have the property and funds to give it a try. I think we’ve failed. Here I’ll explain what we did, mistakes we know about, and the results. Maybe you can spot more mistakes and give us some ideas of where we can go from here.Comments (38)
Animal Forage, Bird Life, Food Forests, Food Plants - Perennial, Insects, Livestock, Medicinal Plants, Plant Systems, Seeds, Trees — by Nicollas Mauro
Design science is at the root of any definition of permaculture or put simply, permaculture is design science. — Bill Mollison
Permaculture is a design/holistic/integrative science, whereas the mainstream/academic science is reductionist — that is, to understand how things work, scientists break a system and study the tiny parts.
Nevertheless, permaculture can benefit from reductionist science, to find relevant knowledge and new design ideas, but above all to gain some academic arguments to demonstrate the validity and legitimacy of its principles and techniques.
This is an article which shows some of the links I’ve found between scientific articles published in national and international journals, while searching facts and numbers to help me design my property. During the process, some ideas just popped, so I included them to make the article a “live performance” of the usefulness of lurking in the scientific jungle sometimes.Comments (10)
Compost, Conservation, Food Forests, Food Plants - Annual, Food Plants - Perennial, Irrigation, Rehabilitation, Urban Projects, Village Development, Water Harvesting — by Leigh Glenn January 19, 2012
The Kniskerns’ yard is a sustainable smorgasbord
Over a period of less than 10 years, James and Mary Kniskern transformed their sod-based lawn into a vibrant, blooming habitat that not only reduces their impact on the land but also rewards them with a bounty of edible plants as well as honey-producing bees.
The fifth of an acre where James and Mary Kniskern live in Arnold [Maryland, USA] was about what you’d expect for a suburban dwelling: grass, azaleas, daffodils in the spring, pachysandras year-round. As you’d expect, it required the drone of a mower and sweat non-equity to keep it in shape.
“I didn’t like to mow,” says James.
But what was the alternative?
Less than a decade later, the Kniskerns are living the alternative. Their yard is like none other on their block. It’s the eco-gardener’s version of The Limbo Song. The how low can you go? part involves occasional weeding, plenty of harvesting… and no mowing.
Before the Kniskerns headed down the wood-chipped path to zero grass, they considered buying into an eco-village, so they visited several throughout the Mid-Atlantic. Each had its quirks, but what they really didn’t care for was the landscaping, which was not as tidy as what they were used to.
“It looked ugly,” James says.
But their desire to reduce their impact on the land propelled them.Comments (2)
Food Forests, Food Plants - Perennial, Nurseries & Propogation, Plant Systems, Trees — by Sunny Soleil
How to Graft a Fruit Tree
YouTube is full of ‘how-to’ videos but only a few give clear instructions with professional presentation, good sound and really clear visuals. This is why I give top marks to the series of three fruit tree grafting videos from Dave Wilson Nurseries which have comprehensive instructions, good camera close-ups and a very knowledgeable presenter.
In this 9-minute video (above), the presenter explains how to graft 3 different varieties of nectarine onto one nectarine tree. The two videos below are follow-ups showing the grafting after two and six months. You can find lots more at this channel including info on grape growing and a tour round their gorgeous elevated display garden with a definite permaculture flavor.Comments (3)