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Plant Systems — by David Spicer February 13, 2013
In Australia we really need to get back to our European roots of coppiced forest systems.
As Darren Doherty states, we push out the stump after we cut the tree, when the eucalypts coppice beautifully.
Ben Law, author of The Woodland Way, also talks about the various products that come from a coppiced forest in England.
In my travels to Morocco, I have seen quite clearly the value of coppicing, where there are eucalyptus trees coppiced about every five years for firewood, simple structures and formwork props for construction, just to name a few uses.Comments (15)
Biodiversity, Deforestation, Economics, Food Shortages, Health & Disease, Society, Soil Erosion & Contamination, Water Contaminaton & Loss — by Rhamis Kent
A student I had recently in my short course in California sent me a link to an award-winning NGO working in Haiti called SOIL (Sustainable Organic Integrated Livelihoods) — a nonprofit working within the country performing truly beneficial work, utilizing compost toilets to deal with the perennial problem of waste management.
In the following clip SOIL’s Co-Founder & Executive Director, Dr. Sasha Kramer, provides an excellent, well-contextualized explanation of her organization’s work as well as the legacy of ecological & environmental degradation (and its corresponding effects on impacted human populations) often missing from discussions about colonial history:
Further Reading:Comments (1)
How the government betrayed its promises to protect our seas.
If the European Union decides to ban fishing boats from discarding the edible fish they catch, it’ll land the British government in a spot of bother. It’s been using the discards issue as its excuse for justifying overfishing.Comments (0)
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)
Bio-regional Organisations, Courses/Workshops, Development & Property Trusts, Ethical Investment, Society, Village Development — by Neil Bertrando February 11, 2013
Giving opportunities for young people to make a living improving the world
is the great need of the hour
As more and more people in developed nations (and the USA in particular) become aware of the effects of their personal decisions on ecologies and economies at local and global scales, both the supply and demand of permaculture design education has seen a dynamic increase over the past decade. With a whole-systems solutions-oriented design concept that encourages practical application, the permaculture movement is poised to provide a positivistic world-view and skill-based design platform for the development of a society that actively improves ecosystem health while meeting human needs and improving quality of life at a community scale.
With the stage set for a fast-tracking of permaculture design education, action and implementation, I believe that there exist both social and economic bottlenecks that are being addressed through creative solutions to provide permaculture career opportunities and shifts in local governmental policy to incentivize eco-literate communities and ecologically beneficial developments and retrofits.Comments (2)
Bee Friendly Planting Guide (8mb PDF)
I just came across an excellent new resource for beekeepers. It is published by the Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation and entitled Bee Friendly — a planting guide for European honey bees and Australian native pollinators.
It contains over 300 pages of information on bee forage plants for Australia, for urban open space, private gardens and farms with a climate specific plant selection. The sections on street scapes is an excellent resource for people in urban areas who want to improve local biodiversity and not just plant street trees for aesthetics. It gives specific recommendations on species of eucalypt, tea tree, hakea and grevillea for bees — great if you only have room for one tree or want to plant out a native section of a farm.
There are a few plant surprises for me, such as Pig Face, a succulent native ground cover that will grow on tough slopes and verges, and gives you an excuse to include flowers in your permaculture garden — daisies, Zinnia, Coreopsis and Californian lilac are named as excellent bee fodders. Oregano, peppermint, lemon balm and rosemary are amongst other herbs listed as most beneficial to bees.
What’s best is it’s downloadable for free.
- How to Revive the Honeybee
- How to Attract Beneficial Predators & Pollinators
- Colony Collapse Disorder – a Moment for Reflection
Alternatives to Political Systems, People Systems, Society, Village Development — by Lisa DePiano February 8, 2013
Photo by Lisa DePiano
Permaculture as a movement has most of the knowledge, tools and resources that we need to create a regenerative society in the physical sense. Just Google ‘passive solar design’ or ‘aquaculture’ and you will find hundreds of books, articles and how-tos. Certainly we can fine tune and experiment but the harder task lies in transforming our social and invisible systems. This becomes even more crucial when we are taking permaculture out of the private realm (backyards, homes) and into the public (community gardens, business and governance).
How do you practice ‘fair share’ living in an economic system that is based on accumulation and inequality? How do you change laws to make permaculture systems legal? How do you learn to collaborate?Comments (5)
Pictures and Text by Bill Wilson of Midwest Permaculture
For a second year we co-delivered with the Cal-Earth teaching staff a combined Superadobe Earth Building and Permaculture Design Certificate Course. At the close of our course we were pleased to host Geoff and Nadia Lawton of PRI Australia who shared their work in desert environments with us in a workshop that was also open to the general public. Here is a quick picture summary of this October 2012 training and of Geoff and Nadia’s visit.
These combined Superadobe and PDC Courses take place in Hesperia, CA, at the
Cal-Earth campus. Class might be held any place on site, including here outside
of Earth One, Cal-Earth’s flagship building.
Recently I received a photolog update on the Wadeye permaculture project in the Northern Territories (see previous posts here and here), where myself and other great permaculturist were employed by Earth Ethics to install a permaculture garden system. I like to describe the earthworks as the bones of the system and the living components — pioneer species, fruit trees, cover crops and ground covers — the muscle and flesh. As you’ll see by the most recent pic at bottom, the site is getting well ‘fleshed out’.
Installing swale and level sill spillway
These days organic food is a major trend and a multi billion dollar business. We find organic food in supermarkets in all shapes and forms. Advertising would have us believe that this organic food comes from idyllic small farms where farmers work the land by hand using traditional methods. It is a wonderful concept, but is it true? Is this the same high quality food that comes from home gardens and local farmers’ markets?
The TV advertisement below is from Ja Natürlich (translated: Yes Naturally), the organic brand of the German Rewe Group, which owns several supermarket chains in Austria such as Billa (Billiger Laden, translated: Cheap Store). This is how they describe their organic products:
What a cute ad. It starts off with the piglet saying, "Dear happy chickens, the farmer wants to take your picture." It goes on like this and certainly gives the impression that a decision for Ja Natürlich eggs is a choice that is healthy for us and supports small farmers still using traditional hand tools. The peaceful countryside setting is complete with chickens, an adorable talking piglet running freely around in an old barn yard, and even the farmer’s old-timer Nikon rangefinder camera is used to take their picture. The ad makes quite a bold claim: "Eggs from overly happy chickens." It would be wonderful if it was true, but is this really from where our precious store-bought organic eggs come from?Comments (10)
Biofuels, Food Shortages, Global Warming/Climate Change, Population, Soil Erosion & Contamination, Water Contaminaton & Loss — by Earth Policy Institute
by Lester R. Brown, Earth Policy Institute
The world is in transition from an era of food abundance to one of scarcity. Over the last decade, world grain reserves have fallen by one third. World food prices have more than doubled, triggering a worldwide land rush and ushering in a new geopolitics of food. Food is the new oil. Land is the new gold.
This new era is one of rising food prices and spreading hunger. On the demand side of the food equation, population growth, rising affluence, and the conversion of food into fuel for cars are combining to raise consumption by record amounts. On the supply side, extreme soil erosion, growing water shortages, and the earth’s rising temperature are making it more difficult to expand production. Unless we can reverse such trends, food prices will continue to rise and hunger will continue to spread, eventually bringing down our social system. Can we reverse these trends in time? Or is food the weak link in our early twenty-first-century civilization, much as it was in so many of the earlier civilizations whose archeological sites we now study?Comments (2)
Juli Gillies (a Verge PDC grad) and her husband Jeff (a PDC student of Barb Hazenveld from Gorgeous and Edible Gardens and Ron Berezan from The Urban Farmer) are demonstrating a wide array of permaculture homesteading techniques on their 5 acre parcel near Rocky Mountain House, AB. In just a couple of years they have transformed their land – an old junk yard – into a beautiful and productive garden, complete with food forest and up-cycled raised beds. They’ve used their technological know-how and a “get-er-done” approach to test everything from solar electricity and heating to rainwater harvesting, energy efficient retrofits, food storage, and large scale soil production through their business Taimi Soil Projects. Their acreage, the Rancho Relaxo, has quickly become a leading example of off-the-grid homesteading solutions for cold climates, and they will be showcasing it all as the hosts of the 2013 Western Canada Permaculture Convergence this August.Comments (1)
Community Projects, Demonstration Sites, Land, Markets & Outlets, Retrofitting, Social Gatherings, Urban Projects, Village Development — by Catherine Griggs February 7, 2013
If you want to make permaculture happen, then just start. This is the story of how one garden ended up providing work, food and fun for people in the community of Gwynedd, Wales.
It was autumn, March 2012, and unemployment was at an all time high in North Wales. I was a qualified permaculture consultant wandering the lands searching for my next project, but also suffering the strain of recession. I then stumbled upon some unusual funding from an organisation called Nacro. The organisation provides paid work experience for people who are generally deemed antisocial or who are long term unemployed. The organisation had funding left for the year and needed somewhere to put it. So I went dressed, suited and booted, and proposed an idea to Nacro that would help at least three people find work in the future. Luckily the man I encountered empathised with me and I managed to secure a paid job for myself and two others, implementing a permaculture garden for three months only.
So I had 3 months to find the land and build a garden with only enough money to pay a small wage and no materials. Quite the challenge! I asked my friends Lizzy and Dwynwen if they would help and of course they were up for the challenge.Comments (8)
Aid Projects, Commercial Farm Projects, Community Projects, Demonstration Sites, Education Centres, Village Development — by Lily Bunker
Nelson Mandela once said that education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world. Help to change the world by changing one life — the Manda Wilderness Agricultural Project’s very own Assistant Manager and Agriculture Training Specialist, Hilda Cangoma. Your contribution, large or small, will help Hilda become the first local woman in the Manda Wilderness region to receive a Permaculture Design Certificate. She will use this new set of skills and expertise to train others in permaculture at the Manda Wilderness Agricultural Project and share her knowledge in Mbueca, her home village in northern Mozambique.Comments (2)
BioIntensive Gardening Workshop and Food Security & Seed Saving Workshop with Kay Baxter, 23rd – 29th of February, 2013, at the PRI’s Zaytuna Farm, NSW, Australia
Photo © Craig Mackintosh
We at PRI Australia are excited to have Kay back for 2013! She will be teaching two of her highly sought after workshops — BioIntensive Gardening and Food Security & Seed Saving. Book on both courses, and get 20% off!Comments (1)