Posted by & filed under Compost, Food Plants - Annual, Fungi, Plant Systems, Soil Biology, Soil Composition, Soil Rehabilitation.

I’ve personally seen produce growing quite large in far northern latitude places like Alaska and Norway, where the summer sun goes around and around and around, giving plants a gentle but steady application of solar goodness. But, the vegetables in this video go even further…. This Alaskan gentleman has been breaking size records with his additions of aerated compost teas. His methods result in tasty, healthy, high-brix vegetables that repel insect attacks.

P.S. To learn more about these methods, check out one of Paul Taylor’s Sustainable Soil Management courses in our courses section.

Posted by & filed under Building, Food Plants - Annual, Land, Plant Systems, Urban Projects.

I am trying to get the most out of my balcony space. Obviously, the vertical direction is the way to go…

by Martin Korndoerfer

Inspired by other bloggers, I wanted to try my luck with the much acclaimed lettuce tree. Reported challenges have been to keep the soil in the upper part from drying out.

Alright, off I go to the hardware store. This time, spending 3.50 Euro for the polypropylene pipe (15 cm diameter). It didn’t hurt me or my wallet. The bottom is an old, broken rubber gymnastic ball — which was free.

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Posted by & filed under Courses/Workshops.

What: Intensive 6-Day Permaculture Seminar & Workshop
When: January 12 – January 14 & January 19 – 21, 2013
Where: Soulflower Farm (El Sobrante, California – SF Bay Area)
Who: Rhamis Kent (PRI PDC Teacher)
Price: $750 USD ($600 USD if booked before November 20th, 2012)
Deposit: $125 USD to secure course booking; the balance payment ($625 USD) is due by December 20th, 2012.

Over 6 days you will acquire the practical skills to set you on the path to regenerate any landscape and to design productive ecosystems.

Click here to book for this course!

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Posted by & filed under Demonstration Sites, Food Forests, Irrigation, Land, Potable Water, Regional Water Cycle, Soil Conservation, Soil Erosion & Contamination, Soil Rehabilitation, Storm Water, Swales, Water Conservation, Water Contaminaton & Loss, Water Harvesting.

I always thought that rain was a nurturing and gentle aspect of nature. You know how it is, you get a bit of rain and it helps all of the plants to grow, provides water for us and the animals and generally stops the place from drying out. That was my thinking back in an urban environment. In that area, the drainage infrastructure had been developed and maintained over the past 120 years and it just worked. In fact, the infrastructure was so good you never really thought about it.

In a rural location however, there is usually little to no infrastructure, so any change you make to the landscape will change the way water interacts with that landscape. Winter rain here is usually quite gentle with many hours of sustained drizzle and relatively high humidity. These conditions generally don’t present too many challenges. Or so I thought.

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Posted by & filed under GMOs, Health & Disease.

Last night I watched ‘Genetic Roulette’ online (trailer above). You can watch it for a paltry US$2.99 — or, better yet, add a little more as a donation, and you’ll help to get this important information much further, by subsidising its translation into many other languages, so people worldwide can learn of the dangers inherent in genetically engineering our food.

I won’t spoil your viewing experience by telling you too much, but you’ll learn about how the FDA ignored repeated warnings by their own scientists of the dangers of allowing these organisms into the food chain, and you’ll hear doctors and scientists explaining how they are linked to a massive rise in health issues — this rise beginning at the same time as their release. You’ll learn about issues farmers have faced worldwide, with their GMO-fed livestock going sterile and suffering a myriad otherwise inexplicable problems, and which ‘miraculously’ vanished after reverting to a non-GMO diet. You’ll meet scientists who have dared to stand up to Monsanto, and who have been fired for it, and you’ll learn how our Monsanto-financed universities are becoming academic puppets for BigBiotech.

This is a must-watch documentary which should serve to infuriate viewers into tossing GMOs out of their kitchens and shopping trolleys, with the huge potential for this to translate to lost market share for supermarket chains who will feel the pressure to also boycott these ‘products’. If we can get as little as five percent of the US population avoiding GMOs, then we could see the beginning of the end for this industry — an industry which, to me, is the ultimate representation of capitalism run amuck (and along the lines of ‘industries’ like Academi, formerly known as Blackwater, and Xe Industries).

Watch Genetic Roulette Now!

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

by Dr Samuel Alexander, co-director of the Simplicity Institute and a lecturer with the Office for Environmental Programs, University of Melbourne.

One of many ‘Hoovervilles’ during the Great Depression

1. Introduction

How would the ordinary middle-class consumer – I should say middle-class citizen – deal with a lifestyle of radical simplicity? By radical simplicity I essentially mean a very low but biophysically sufficient material standard of living, a form of life that will be described in more detail below. In this essay I want to suggest that radical simplicity would not be as bad as it might first seem, provided we were ready for it and wisely negotiated its arrival, both as individuals and as communities. Indeed, I am tempted to suggest that radical simplicity is exactly what consumer cultures need to shake themselves awake from their comfortable slumber; that radical simplicity would be in our own, immediate, self-interests. In this essay, however, I will only defend the more modest thesis that radical simplicity simply would not be that bad. Establishing that thesis should be challenging enough.

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Posted by & filed under Biofuels, Food Shortages, Global Warming/Climate Change, Soil Erosion & Contamination, Water Contaminaton & Loss.

Editor’s Note: It’s a pity this article is devoid of real holistic solutions, but I put it up as the data is important to know and appreciate.

by Lester R. Brown, Earth Policy Institute

“The U.S. Great Drought of 2012 has raised corn prices to the highest level in history. The world price of food, which has already doubled over the last decade, is slated to climb higher, ushering in a new wave of food unrest,” says Lester R. Brown, author of Full Planet, Empty Plates: The New Geopolitics of Food Scarcity (W.W. Norton & Company).

“This year’s corn crop shortfall will accelerate the transition from the era of abundance and surpluses to an era of chronic scarcity,” notes Brown, President of the Earth Policy Institute, a Washington, D.C.-based environmental research organization. “As food prices climb, the worldwide competition for control of land and water resources is intensifying.

“In this new world, access to food is replacing access to oil as an overriding concern of governments. Food is the new oil, land is the new gold. Welcome to the new geopolitics of food.”

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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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