Here we are in Queensland, May 2013, half way through an Earthship build. It is the first one to be built in Australia and has been experimental in many ways. We started the build in January with a very diverse group of about 50 people ranging in experience, age and cultural backgrounds. It was run as a workshop so people could attend and participate in the build to empower those who wish to be involved in Earthships to gain the necessary skills and connect with people who have complementary skills, so as to form Earthship building teams and meet skilled allies and new friends.
We are very excited to announce the finishes workshop for Australia’s first Earthship in Queensland, Australia. The Earthship design concept and systems have been applied to the subtropical climate of the area. Come and see the rammed earth tyres, the can walls, the earth berm, the hempcrete roof and all other components of this Earthship.
The Earthship was started in January this year. We ran a 3-week construction workshop on our residential permaculture plot. Our Earthship Finishes Workshop gives detailed attention to bottle walls, botanical cells and many more creative applications for the flooring, walls and the bathroom fit out.
Come and stay on this beautiful piece of land, learn with experienced Earthship crew members and work on a common goal.
In the mid 1980s, scientists unlocked the genetic keys to manipulating our world. Suddenly everything seemed possible! There would be no more hunger or malnutrition; diseases would be vanquished and poverty wiped out. But twenty years on the situation looks very different. From the loss of biodiversity to health scares about GM food, the effects of genetic technology are prompting more and more debate.
Across the world, multinationals like Monsanto are meeting with unexpected resistance to their genetically modified products. But are these concerns justified? Or are activists battling the forces of progress? Renowned filmmakers Bertram Verhaag and Gabriele Krober sets out on a global journey to explore the development of genetic technology. Spanning three continents and beautifully filmed, this high quality doc hears from the scientists, farmers and activists at the heart of the debate.
by the We Are All Farmers Permaculture Institute (Crystal Allene Cook, Edward Marshall; photos by PDC graduate Amanda Joy)
Participants in the We Are All Farmers free permaculture workshop
in Mingo County, West Virginia.
Why should you care about Mingo County, West Virginia?
You probably haven’t heard of Mingo County, West Virginia in the United States. And if you have recently, it may be for its new series of ATV trails named for the mythologized fighting of two local families, the Hatfields of West Virginia and the McCoys of Kentucky. In the case of the Hatfields and McCoys, land displacement, political differences, and resource extraction (timbering) fueled the disagreement between these two families; their fighting grew out of far more than any purported heritage of feuding. This is also the area of the United States famed for stuffing ballot boxes leading to John F. Kennedy’s election. Or, maybe you know of Mingo County’s Battle of Matewan, when coal miners shot it out with thugs hired to suppress the miners’ union. Family, timber, state lines, land, politics, and coal — certainly a complicated mix.
We are all pretty concerned these days about the ongoing battle for biodiversity and life on this planet. With new seed regulation in the EU, The Monsanto Rider in the US, the failure to prevent colony collapse of the global bee population, financial crisis, war crisis, humanitarian crisis, and probably countless other worrisome processes not on our radar yet, politics and economics prove to be disabled and defunct in setting off appropriate solutions. We find our society caught in a loop of ongoing cynical and senseless debates about a financial crisis and war on terrorism, witnessing billions if not trillions of euros and dollars being swapped around the globe, but knowing that these wasted energies won’t be able serve us any solution.
Amidst all these mind consuming and wasteful atrocities being played out against all species on this planet, we are distracted from the one big threat which is still severely ambuscading upon us in sub-visibility.
Last Sunday was International Permaculture Day and the launch of my new online permaculture course.
We had a lot of people visit my farm on Sunday and a lot of people decided to do an online course with me. In fact some of them turned up to meet me.
Check out this YouTube video of the farm tour and get a sneak peek at what’s going on inside my new course. We have already had over 1500 comments from people doing the course and watching all the videos and commenting how much they love it.
P.S. I have a very exciting free bonus I’m going to be releasing tomorrow. This is something that I’ve always wanted to do and it’s worth more than the price of the entire course and my other 6-pack of Geoff Lawton Permaculture DVD bonuses in their own right. It’s going to be yours absolutely free when you do my new online permaculture course.
I met Fabrice at the top of the hill in the lovely forest at Whangateau in New Zealand, a scenic spot in the middle of the North Island.
Fabrice was kind and smiling as usual, with an honest desire to talk about his project and share pure wisdom on natural building and carpentry. He has travelled extensively and has been working as a baker all his life.
‘Bread baking is a magic craft’, he said with a charismatic voice.
Warning: this article begins with a spoiler. If you have not read The Road already and intend to do so, please skip the first three paragraphs.
Cormac McCarthy’s novel The Road, which I still believe is the greatest environmental work ever written, ends with the shock and beauty that runs through so much of the book:
Once there were brook trout in the streams in the mountains. You could see them standing in the amber current where the white edges of their fins wimpled softly in the flow. They smelled of moss in your hand. Polished and muscular and torsional. On their backs were vermiculate patterns that were maps of the world in its becoming. Maps and mazes. Of a thing which could not be put back. Not to be made right again. In the deep glens where they lived all things were older than man and they hummed of mystery.
The trout are a cipher for all that has gone, in this novel about a world that has lost its biosphere. I think I know why McCarthy chooses to invest them with this role: in a way that is hard to explain, trout seem to be more alive than most other animals. Perhaps it has something to do with their flickering changes of mood – extreme caution, then bold display, skulking in the shadows, then splashing on the surface of the river, sometimes leaping clear of the water – their great speed, their extraordinary beauty, their ability to disappear then flash back into sight, their remarkable range of colour and pattern and shape. And the presence of trout means that other things are alive: they cannot survive and breed without clean, clear water, clean gravel beds and an abundant supply of insect life.
Somewhere in Mexico lives a small community few have heard of. Only by word of mouth can you hear about it. This community has 17 members and has opened its doors to others. They grow their own food, and try to live sustainably using great concepts and bio-construction. This community working together has resulted in a place of creativity and knowledge. It is so versatile and such an exciting place to be, with music, art, pottery, building, and projects within the local community. Within the community they make natural soaps, herbal remedies, hand crafted jewellery and organic coffee.
This film was created so I could share my experience of what it is like to live within a community. I was really inspired by this alternative way to live and feel there is much I have taken from this experience that I will incorporate within my own life.
I was fortunate enough to hear about this place through word of mouth by another fellow traveller in Guatemala. I stayed nearly three weeks and found it very difficult to leave. There are many positive aspects to this way of life, which I hope this film captures.
This is the early Autumn post for the ongoing research project about perennial plants and self-perpetuating annual plants providing food in temperate climate Australia. 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. All previous posts from this series can be found by clicking on my author name (Susan Kwong), just under the post title above.
I have changed the format this month to make it easier on some of my typing fingers that were caught in a car door, but by next month we’ll be back to the normal format. Please refer to previous articles for further information on the plants listed below.