Biodiversity, Food Forests, Food Plants - Perennial, Insects, Plant Systems, Trees — by Angelo Eliades February 12, 2013
Hearing Geoff Lawton speak about the effectiveness of natural pest control in food forests during my PDC studies is what originally prompted me to design and build a backyard food forest garden. Nature taking care of pests in the garden? It sounded too good to believe, and coming from a science background, I just had to test the concept out. After all, any good science can be replicated!
Four years later, after working out how to scale down a food forest into an urban backyard, and going through the designing, building, documenting and weighing of all produce, I inadvertently had created Melbourne’s first demonstration urban food forest and a proof of concept experiment that had more far-reaching outcomes than I first envisaged. Hundreds of people visit the garden each year to see it first hand and learn how it all works. Even our local government has taken a liking to the concept of permaculture and I’m often hired by them to present on the topics of permaculture and sustainable gardening to an equally interested general public. I put it down to a good teacher!
The garden productivity has been fantastic, and has been increasing steadily from year to year, but what has been even more impressive is how the garden I first designed has become a living ecosystem that has taken on a life of its own. Geoff warned us that would happen! With passing time, the system has increased in stability and resilience and the pests have clearly reduced. I would like to share some observations in this article which clearly demonstrate the proof of concept of natural pest control in food forests.Comments (17)
Food Forests, Food Plants - Annual, Food Plants - Perennial, Trees, Urban Projects — by Dan Palmer January 23, 2013
During the Christmas break VEG’s Dan & family paid a social call to customers-become-friends Julian & Linda in Eaglemont, Victoria, Australia. We documented the large-scale design and implementation project we completed for Julian & Linda last year (see the design and during photos here and some shots of where it was all at about 10 months ago here).
The place is maturing beautifully and we took a few happy snaps of the back and front yards.
The topshelf VEG bed with flowers and grapes growing up over
the trellised pergola is looking particularly lovely
Community Projects, Food Forests, Food Plants - Annual, Food Plants - Perennial, Medicinal Plants, Trees — by Susan Kwong January 19, 2013
This is the third monthly post for the research project about perennial plants and perennialising annual plants providing food in temperate climate Australia — we have now completed the posts for Spring 2012. The original article introducing this project, stating its aims, and providing participant instructions, can be found here. Growers are sending me information on a month-by-month basis, then this information is collated and published the following month. The first monthly posts can be found by clicking on my author name (Susan Kwong), just under the post title above.Comments (9)
Demonstration Sites, Food Forests, Food Plants - Annual, Food Plants - Perennial, Global Warming/Climate Change, Irrigation, Regional Water Cycle, Trees — by Chris McLeod January 15, 2013
What a difference six weeks has made to the food forest here! The change in climate between cool and wet to hot and dry happened in less than a week during early October and since that time there has been no significant rainfall. The rain probably won’t fall here now until about April based on past experience and records.
The abrupt change surprised me and I took a while to come to accept that the climate had altered here that quickly, but after this realisation I undertook to heavily mulch all 300+ fruit trees. The purpose of this is to keep the plants’ root systems cool and reduce the evaporation of ground water. The mulch does have the adverse effect of scavenging nitrogen from the top soil which causes further stress to the fruit trees, but this is only temporary and the impact is much less than the stress caused by the loss of ground water due to evaporation.Comments (13)
Conservation, Food Forests, Irrigation, Plant Systems, Trees — by Chris McLeod January 14, 2013
Someone remarked to me yesterday that the fruit trees in the food forests here at the farm must require an extensive irrigation system. But, in fact, the fruit trees in the food forest here have to survive on rainwater alone, as I only have enough water for the vegetables and herbs.Comments (4)
Animal Forage, Commercial Farm Projects, Demonstration Sites, Land, Livestock, People Systems, Plant Systems, Rehabilitation, Trees — by Steve Hanson December 24, 2012
by Steve Hanson
2012 is our eighth year of small scale farming in France and has seen us move from income dependence to financial security and independence. Looking back over the last eight years at our mistakes and our successes in getting to this point demonstrates the value of an integrated approach.
When we arrived in France we had a single idea to provide us with income; that of breeding pigs and selling high quality organic free range pork and pork products. This worked well for three years but in our fourth year, 2008, a poor global grain harvest sent the price of grain skyward almost doubling the price from our local farmer. This gave us cause to rethink our future dependency on outside sources for anything which the global market could affect — this is of course everything!
So how do we remove ourselves as far from external influences and gain self-reliance at the same time?Comments (14)
Food Forests, Food Plants - Perennial, Medicinal Plants, Plant Systems, Trees — by Albert Bates December 21, 2012
As we approach the winter solstice and the end of one long count and the beginning of another, our understanding of the Mayan world is rapidly being transformed by new knowledge.
The traditional Mayan narrative in western literature is perhaps best exemplified by the writings of Jared Diamond and Joseph Tainter, who ascribe the collapse of the Classic Period to an over-exploitation of resources, and in particular, a deforestation of the lowlands that exacerbated climate swings, leading to extreme drought, fire and famine. Some now-familiar scenes in Mel Gibson’s Apocalypto were of lime-quarry workers, dusted head-to-toe in white powder, slaking lime to make renders for buildings and pyramids. These images resonate with our stereotypes of tone-deaf ruling classes directing their work-slaves to perform catastrophically civilization-destructive activity.
There is another story of Mesoamerica that is emerging through the work of biologists, botanists, and ethno-agronomists exploring and attempting to replicate the ancient systems that produced traditional foods. One example now familiar to permaculturists can be seen the chinampas of Xochlimilco, near modern-day Mexico City, which combined urban waste-disposal, canal dredging, and plant and animal production from both aquatic and terrestrial horticultural complexes. The Aztec’s elegantly interconnected system, which was not confined to just that society or to the tropics, produces more food per hectare than any system discovered before or since, and it does it by cooperating with nature.Comments (2)
Animal Forage, Community Projects, Food Forests, Food Plants - Annual, Food Plants - Perennial, Medicinal Plants, Plant Systems, Trees — by Craig Mackintosh PRI Editor December 19, 2012
Fresh onto the interweb is a project that I had on my own things-to-do list for some time now, but this new site may well have saved me the pain. It’s a great new plant database, with over 7400 plant profiles and the very cool ability to drill-down to suitable plants by ticking off what you’re looking for based on the micro-situation of the spot you want to plant in (sun tolerance, water requirements, pH, soil type, etc.).
Being a wiki site, it’s open for everyone to help improve. And, unlike similar databases I’ve seen, this one is permaculture-oriented. As the name suggests, it is profiling ‘practical plants’ — i.e. plants with a use — as opposed to just edible plants.
Take a look around, and let me know your thoughts via comments below. My first impressions are that it’s an excellent start towards creating an extremely valuable resource.Comments (18)
Commercial Farm Projects, Food Forests, Food Plants - Annual, Food Plants - Perennial, Medicinal Plants, Trees — by Chris McLeod December 6, 2012
Writing the article series about Food Forests has made me aware of how much interest there is in them and how they can vary from region to region, but it also highlighted to me just how difficult it may be for people to actually visit a food forest.
However, thanks to the wonders of the internet and YouTube, people have the opportunity to take a virtual tour of a food forest and see how it progresses over time without leaving their chair!Comments (3)
Biodiversity, Community Projects, Conservation, Consumerism, Deforestation, Food Shortages, Global Warming/Climate Change, Plant Systems, Population, Regional Water Cycle, Rehabilitation, Soil Conservation, Soil Erosion & Contamination, Trees, Water Contaminaton & Loss, Water Harvesting — by John D. Liu November 17, 2012
Before (below) and after (above), Loess Plateau Watershed Rehabiliation Project
A Breakthough of Worldwide Importance
In 1995, as the Chinese government and people were beginning an ambitious effort to restore the cradle of Chinese civilization, I was asked by the World Bank to document the “Loess Plateau Watershed Rehabilitation Project”. Originally the Loess Plateau had been fully vegetated with massive forests and grasslands. Resources extracted from the giant forests, rushing rivers, and abundance of the earth in this place blossomed into the magnificence of the Han, the Qin and the Tang dynasties. The accomplishments of the early Chinese dynasties, based in this area, rank among the greatest human scientific and artistic achievements of any age. The Loess Plateau gave birth to the Han race, the largest ethnic group on the planet, and the plateau is generally considered by historians and geographers to be the second place on Earth where human beings began to use settled agriculture.Comments (9)
DVDs/Books, Dams, Food Forests, Food Plants - Annual, Food Plants - Perennial, Food Shortages, Global Warming/Climate Change, Irrigation, Land, Plant Systems, Rehabilitation, Swales, Trees, Water Harvesting, peak oil — by Geoff Lawton November 12, 2012
At time of writing, our Zaytuna Farm Video Tour video has had almost 11,000 views, after only six months. A lot of people expressed their appreciation for this video, with some describing it as a "free DVD". Where we can, we want to provide more inspirational/instructional material for free, and today I’m writing to let you know about our latest effort towards fulfilling this goal.
Click here to go to an introductory video titled ‘How to Survive the Coming Crises‘. This is a FREE 34-minute video that looks at:Comments (5)
Biodiversity, Deforestation, Global Warming/Climate Change, Plant Systems, Population, Rehabilitation, Soil Biology, Soil Composition, Soil Erosion & Contamination, Structure, Trees — by Craig Mackintosh PRI Editor November 10, 2012
I love the nice progression of logic in this presentation. Running the numbers like this shows not only how powerful a carbon sink our earth’s soils can be, under the right management, but also just how futile and what a goose-chasing diversion most contemporary technological ‘fixes’ for climate change really are.Comments (2)
Aid Projects, Community Projects, Conservation, Demonstration Sites, Food Forests, Irrigation, Land, Plant Systems, Rehabilitation, Soil Conservation, Swales, Trees, Water Harvesting — by Neal Spackman November 9, 2012
This week the project started planting the swales with 1000 very hardy desert trees. The team is working in shifts of laying drip line, digging holes, manuring and mulching swales, putting in compost, planting, mulching again, and then adjusting the drip emitter.Comments (7)
Aid Projects, Biological Cleaning, Community Projects, Compost, Conservation, Fencing, Irrigation, Land, Material, Nurseries & Propogation, Plant Systems, Potable Water, Rehabilitation, Seeds, Soil Composition, Soil Conservation, Structure, Swales, Trees, Village Development, Waste Systems & Recycling, Waste Water — by Alex McCausland October 25, 2012
Editor’s Note: Regular readers will have appreciated Alex McCausland’s regular and comprehensive reports from precariously positioned Ethiopia, and the great work he and his team have been doing on the ground. If you want to learn practical permaculture and gain real-world permaculture aid work experience in a location rich in agricultural history, then please consider taking Alex’s next PDC, to be held in southern Ethiopia between December 10 — 22, 2012. Your tuition fees directly support this important educational aid work.
The Hafto Solar Community Water Project site project is a solar powered water supply facility for the surrounding community of Hafto in the Hadiya Zone, South Ethiopia. The project was planned and implemented by a German NGO called DWC and is owned and run by a local NGO called SMART. The facility supplies water to about 1500 surrounding community members within an approximate 1km radius. There is a small charge for the water of about 0.01 Ethiopian Birr per liter (1$=18Birr) which covers the running costs of the project. The community members currently come to the site with donkeys to collect the water in jerry-cans which they take home for use.Comments (3)
Biodiversity, Economics, Society, Trees — by George Monbiot October 23, 2012
How conservatism turned into an orgy of destruction.
by George Monbiot: journalist, author, academic and environmental and political activist, United Kingdom.
There was a time when conservatism meant what the word suggests. It was an attempt to keep things as they are: to arrest economic and social change, to defend the position of the dominant class. Today conservatism has become a nihilistic festival of destruction: a gleeful Bullingdon dinner party of upper class anarchists, smashing other people’s crockery and hurling the chairs through the windows. Yet its purpose is still to secure the position of the dominant class.
It is no longer enough to own the land and most of the capital, to own the media and – through the corrupt system of party funding – the political process. To reinstate Edwardian levels of inequality, the feral elite must seek to reverse the political progress that has been made since then. This means dismantling the tax system, which redistributes wealth. It means ditching the rules which prevent the powerful from acting as they please.
Both are being consumed in what British Conservatives proudly describe as a bonfire(1,2). Nowhere is deregulation more destructive than in its treatment of the natural world.Comments (2)