Posted by & filed under Courses/Workshops.

Food forest designed by Doug Gosling of OAEC, featuring loquat, pineapple
guava, tree collards, passionfruit, and more. Note coquito palm in background.

What: Designing Edible Food Forests Course
Where: Occidental Arts and Ecology Center, Occidental CA
When: Nov 2 – 4, 2012
Who: Eric Toensmeier and Brock Dolman

Cost: $495, or $445 if registered three weeks in advance (includes meals and lodging). The deposit amount for this course is $100. For registration information, click here.

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Posted by & filed under Land, Plant Systems.

The Annual Toronto Balconies Bloom competition — the 2012 Edible Garden Container Photo Contest — ends on September 30, 2012. This year, I’m a guest judge — a kind of armchair judge.

by Cecilia Macaulay

If you have a lovely photo to inspire the gardeners of Canada with, send it in to their website. You might even win a prize. But if you live too far away, they will just keep it till you visit. The real prize of course is having a beautiful balcony garden bless your life daily.

Below is my interview with Fern, the grand balcony master.

Fern: What inspired your passion for growing edibles in pots?

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Posted by & filed under Commercial Farm Projects, Demonstration Sites, Economics, Ethical Investment, Village Development.

by Warren Brush of Quail Springs Permaculture

Regenerative Earth Farms panorama

In early September 2012, Regenerative Earth Farms, a family inspired and held endeavor, was born with the close of escrow of its first farm investment as part of a strategy to help people convert their economic capital into regenerative natural capital and soil building efforts that contribute to community food resiliency, and social and ecological stability. Our first farm is ideally situated 2.5 miles from the Pacific Ocean near Santa Barbara, California and is in a unique sub-tropical/Mediterranean micro-climate for optimal growing. It is also near to an ideal consumer constituency to market the type of farm produce, added-value products and services from the farm’s multi-enterprises. How did this come about you might be asking yourself?

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Posted by & filed under Insects, Soil Conservation, Soil Erosion & Contamination, Soil Rehabilitation.

It came to my attention recently that a lot of people do not understand the importance of healthy soil. This article attempts to explain the importance of soil health for plants and people.

People are very concerned about pests and disease in their garden — slugs, caterpillars, moths and numerous other critters that seem to make a scrumptious meal out of the fruits and vegetables so lovingly tended in back yards; molds and fungus that inexplicably appear on otherwise healthy looking plants.

What we have to understand is that pests and disease are symptoms. Just as a sore on your skin is only a symptom of a deeper, underlying issue, pests and disease are signs of unhealthy plants — the plant’s natural ‘immune system’ is unable to fight them off. So if we look at things holistically, as we do when approaching disease in our own bodies with natural medicine, we have to look at the cause. Squashing or spraying bugs is ultimately only a band aid solution.

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Posted by & filed under Biodiversity, Food Shortages, GMOs.

The evidence favors ecological approaches

New Delhi, September 24 2012: World renowned scientists, addressing a media briefing here, asserted that India’s lack of food and nutrition security is not just a technological problem. However, the solution will require both social and technological changes, they said. The scientists recommended a holistic paradigm emphasizing ecological farming, supported by conventional breeding to make optimum use of local knowledge and natural resources.

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Posted by & filed under GMOs, Health & Disease.

by Safe Food Foundation

Expert scientists warn that genetically modified wheat may cause Glycogen Storage Disease IV, resulting in an enlarged liver, cirrhosis of the liver, and failure to thrive. Children born with this disease usually die at about the age of five.

Australia is on track to be the first country in the world to grow GM wheat commercially, and to test this in human feeding trials.

Today in Melbourne molecular biologist and risk assessment researcher Professor Jack Heinemann of the University of Canterbury, NZ, and Associate Professor Judy Carman, a biochemist at Flinders University, will release expert scientific opinions on the safety of CSIRO’s GM wheat. These opinions have been reviewed by Dr Michael Antoniou, reader in molecular genetics at King’s College, London.

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Posted by & filed under GMOs, Health & Disease.

Editor’s Note: In the wake of the recent two-year GM corn and roundup study, Russia has suspended imports of Monsanto’s ‘Roundup Ready’ GM corn.

GM and Roundup linked to tumours in rats

by Safe Food Foundation

In the podcast below, ABC Rural talks to Mark Tester, Professor of Plant Physiology at the Australian Centre for Plant Functional Genomics, University of Adelaide and Scott Kinear, director of Safe Food Foundation. Click play to hear the interview:

ABC Rural Interview with Mark Tester and Scott Kinear

Consumers have been urged to make up their own minds as controversy rages over European findings linking tumors in rats with genetically modified corn and the world’s top-selling herbicide, Roundup. The paper, “Long term toxicity of a Roundup herbicide and a Roundup-tolerant genetically modified corn”, published by the scientific journal Food and Chemical Toxicology, reports on a study led by molecular biologist and endocrinologist Professor Gilles-Eric Seralini, of the University of Caen, France.

The first animal feeding trial studying the lifetime effects of exposure to Roundup tolerant GM corn and Roundup shows that levels currently considered safe can cause mammary tumours and severe liver and kidney damage, and can lead to premature death in laboratory rats.

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Posted by & filed under Consumerism, Economics, Food Shortages, Society.

Some time back, in the 1960s, someone had the brilliant idea to introduce Nile Perch into Lake Victoria. The voracious predator soon went to work eating everything, until there was not much left in the entire lake but Nile Perch and crocodiles.

But there’s always an upside to these things, isn’t there? According to Wikipedia, "The fish’s introduction to Lake Victoria, while ecologically negative, has stimulated the establishment of large fishing companies there. In 2003, Nile perch earned 169 million euro in sales to the EU. Another income is the sport fishing tourism in the region of Uganda and Tanzania which aim to catch this fish." Funny how ecological negatives can be so economically positive, eh?

This booming multinational industry of fish and weapons has created an ungodly globalized alliance on the shores of the world’s biggest tropical lake: an army of local fishermen, World Bank agents, homeless children, African ministers, EU-commissioners, Tanzanian prostitutes and Russian pilots. —

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Posted by & filed under Biological Cleaning, Consumerism, Economics, Irrigation, Potable Water, Regional Water Cycle, Society, Storm Water, Waste Water, Water Conservation, Water Contaminaton & Loss, Water Harvesting.

This is a must-watch video for all who need water (the rest of you are excused). I actually covered a lot of the material in the video in my Water Worries post, which I put together several years ago (but being one of the earliest posts on this site, when we had a far smaller audience, it barely got read, as evidenced by the fact that it didn’t attract even a single comment). This is a critical topic, and I’m pleased to say that, as did my earlier article, this video doesn’t just point out the problems, but also has an holistic view of the situation, so it also directs one to what must, and must not, be done about it.

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Posted by & filed under GMOs, Health & Disease.

We, unfortunately, live in a world where the dollar is king. It takes priority over everything, and everyone — well, except for those few who possess a lot of them. Any attempt to regulate profit-centric industry is proclaimed as ‘communism’ and deemed an injustice and an obstacle to everything from economic prosperity to world peace. This thinking somehow concludes that market forces and self-interest are always working in our best interest. But they are not.

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Posted by & filed under Alternatives to Political Systems.

I write to you from the UN in NY where I am in meetings and talks about the law of Ecocide. It’s been a busy few days; I have also been speaking at various classes in NYU and downtown to a group of students studying Corporate Governance. On Monday I shared a platform with Jill Stein, the US Green Party presidential candidate and we had a chance to touch base about the recent adoption of the motion to support a law of Ecocide by our Green Party back in the UK. I’m hoping she’ll do the same here. Then it was off down to Wall Street for a radio interview about Ecocide.

On Tuesday I met with a group of UN Ambassadors and other parties to discuss the legal implications of creating a global duty of care to assist nations most likely to be affected by rising sea levels; at the moment there are 54 small island states that have no recourse to emergency aid. A law of Ecocide will fast-track to a solution that can be implemented at the very highest level – unlike protocols and accords that have so far failed.

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