Posted by & filed under Aid Projects, Community Projects.

I couldn’t watch. I couldn’t look away. Another Israeli bombing campaign in Gaza — the fourth such event since I moved to Palestine eight years ago. The mounting death toll, the blood-drenched images, the shattered buildings, the raids on UN shelters where people sought shelter, the bombing of hospitals and other vital infrastructure such as the power station. Water shortage, death, destruction. Again.

It’s enough to make you want to scream and bang your head on the floor. Gaza is bad enough already, even without the bombing.

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Posted by & filed under Processing & Food Preservation.

My mother-in-law, Amptee, is a very traditional Jordanian woman, having lived on and from the desert land all her life, and is a wealth of knowledge that has been passed on from generation to generation.

The olive is a very traditional part of the Jordan diet and culture, as it has for 1000s of years. In fact, not far from our site there are olive trees that are more than 2000 years old and still fruiting well.

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Posted by & filed under Animal Processing, Food Forests, Trees.

by Paul Kean, Tiger Hill Permaculture

Tiger Hill Farm is situated in the Southern Midlands in Tasmania and is set amongst 10,000 acres of mixed private forestry and crown land. The farm is 70 acres in size and is home to Tiger Hill Permaculture, a registered primary production business and private farm forestry project. The long term vision is to align with the PRI Master Plan by becoming an educational community demonstrating sustainable agriculture and self-sufficiency via Permaculture design.

Having been on the property now for 4 years and taking into consideration the effects of everything I do on the land, I have observed closely the local environment. As I am funding the project solely from a salary income, I have weighed up numerous options for a multitude of small to large projects on the site in the hope to create cost effective solutions to my design strategies.

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Posted by & filed under Animal Forage, Land, Livestock, Plant Systems, Soil Conservation, Soil Rehabilitation, Trees.


I don’t have rights to a photo of intensive silvopasture, but in this image we have high density
of leucaena with pasture below, thus a very similar pattern. Ethan Roland for scale.

As I research my book on carbon-sequestering agriculture I am occasionally struck by particularly promising techniques that mitigate climate change, build soils, and actually increase production of human food or other yields. One such system that has me excited this week is intensive silvopasture.

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Posted by & filed under Consumerism, Health & Disease.

We have all heard the terms ‘farm fresh’, ‘farm raised’, ‘cage free’, ‘free range’, ‘organic’, ‘pastured’, and, well, I am sure the list goes on and on, but what do they really mean and what are we getting?

Small farmers are not only farming nowadays but they have now also taken on the task of being educators and marketers (not by choice might I add).

Here is a look into understanding the market and making informed decisions about what we buy and where.

Posted by & filed under Aid Projects, Community Projects, Compost, Demonstration Sites, Education Centres, Soil Biology, Soil Rehabilitation.

Several years ago we were visited at our project site in Konso, South Ethiopia by an Australian lady called Elizabeth D’Avigdor and her daughter, May. We gave her a tour around our site and showed her what we were up to at the time. I vaguely remember her mentioning that she was working on a project somewhere up north. Several years later I heard from her again. She sent me several articles (here and here for example) about the project she had been instrumental in establishing in Fitche, North Shoa, an area north of Addis Ababa in Ethiopia.

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Posted by & filed under DVDs/Books.

I am honoured to announce the publication of Mark Burch’s new book, The Hidden Door: Mindful Sufficiency as an Alternative to Extinction, available here. Published proudly by the Simplicity Institute, this text brings together some of Mark’s finest essays on themes related to mindful sufficiency and voluntary simplicity, and includes a new introduction (posted below). A deep yet accessible book, here’s the blurb:

Many people sense that consumer culture is dragging us toward extinction. We feel trapped in a cell of our own making. If humanity is to have any sort of future worth living in, we must discover an exit from our confinement. There is a door, hidden in plain sight.

What sort of culture might appear if we took seriously the essential values and principles that form the deep structure of voluntary simplicity and used them to inform a new perspective of the good life? Might we discover an exit from the confining cell of consumer culture? Can we find the passage leading beyond individual lifestyle choice to cultural renaissance? This book aims to help seed this renaissance by widening the conversation about how we transition from the road to extinction to a path with heart that has a future.

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Posted by & filed under Economics, Society.

Corporate power is the real enemy within, but none of the major parties will confront it.

The more power you possess, the more insecure you feel. The paranoia of power drives people towards absolutism. But far from curing them of the conviction that they are threatened and beleaguered, it becomes only stronger.

On Friday, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne, claimed that business is under political attack on a scale it has not faced since the fall of the Berlin wall(1). He was speaking at the Institute of Directors, where he was introduced with the claim that “we are in a generational struggle to defend the principles of the free market against people who want to undermine it or strip it away.”(2) A few days before, while introducing Osborne at the Conservative party conference, Digby Jones, formerly the head of the Confederation of British Industry, warned that companies are at risk of being killed by “regulation from Big Government” and of drowning “in the mire of anti-business mood music encouraged by vote-seekers.”(3) Where is that government and who are these vote-seekers? They are a figment of his imagination.

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Posted by & filed under GMOs, Health & Disease, Soil Erosion & Contamination, Water Contaminaton & Loss.

Most comprehensive study reveals glyphosate and AMPA in the environment over 9 years and across 38 states.

by Dr Eva Sirinathsinghji

The most comprehensive research to date on environmental glyphosate levels exposes the widespread contamination of soil and water in the US, as well as its water treatment system. Looking at a wide range of geographical locations, researchers from the US Geological Survey (USGS) analysed 3732 water and sediment samples and 1081 quality assurance samples collected between 2001 and 2010 from 38 states in the US and the district of Colombia. They found glyphosate in 39.4 % of samples (1470 out of 3732) and its metabolite AMPA (α-Amino-3-hydroxy-5-methyl-4-isoxazolepropionic acid) in 55% of samples [1]. Water samples included streams, groundwater, ditches and drains, large rivers, soil water, lakes, ponds and wetlands, precipitation, soil and sediment, and waste water treatment plants.

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Posted by & filed under Animal Forage, Land, Livestock, Trees, Working Animals.


Photos: Ingrid Pullen

At Zaytuna Farm we have been using our Boer meat goats to fast-track the weed-tree-infested forested valleys’ succession and reforestation with a diversity of high quality tree species. This is being done around the pasture edges of the valleys and the gullies between our pastures, which are dominated by weed tree inundations of small and large leaf privet, camphor laurel and lantana.

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Posted by & filed under Aid Projects.

Imagine a durable, practically indestructible round plastic container that allows anyone (generally women and children) to harvest at least 50 liters of water and pull it home without breaking their backs, or necks.

Check out the Q-Drum and the Wello Water Wheel — two ingenious inventions that have the potential to make many people’s lives more wonderful by providing an average size family with enough drinking water.

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