Posted by & filed under Land.

Photo© Craig Mackintosh

In one of the first segments of the Permaculture Design Course DVDs with Bill Mollison and Geoff Lawton, in addition to the massive amount of information, a few comments made by Mr. Lawton struck a chord with me. The nature of his comment, as I understood it, was that the PDC is intended to empower the course participants to go out and start designing at any and every scale. This one passing remark still stands out to me as transformational and applicable across every aspect of life that permaculture design can influence, which is all of them.

With that comment in mind, I set about making the following list of ways that I can break the momentum of being the spectator that modern life lets so many of us slide into without realizing it.

This is my list, but I hope it helps you along your path as well. Feel free to add or edit and please leave any more great suggestions in the comments below.

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Posted by & filed under Demonstration Sites, Food Forests, Food Plants - Annual, Food Plants - Perennial, Global Warming/Climate Change, Plant Systems, Regional Water Cycle, Soil Conservation, Soil Rehabilitation, Water Conservation.

It’s nearing the end of summer here at Fernglade farm and what a summer it has been. Two inches of rain in over five months, and extreme heat for days on end, results in a most unpleasant experience.

Still, despite it all, things are still growing and there is still food to eat. The kangaroos, wallabies and wombats are also still eating from the farm and they are here often enough now that I’m assuming that conditions are harder elsewhere.

As a response to the extreme weather conditions, in very early summer I set about heavily mulching all of the plants in the food forest and whilst overall about 10% of the plants and trees here have died, 90% have survived.

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Posted by & filed under Courses/Workshops.

VXESJJHEQ84A Terra Sancta Permaculture and InsideOutside Management are having another Holistic Management training session in Lismore, Northern NSW. We have just finished up on our first and I can say that it’s the best training I have undertaken. For those that missed out the first time, you’re in luck.

Teaming Holistic Management with Permaculture has an exceptionally powerful effect on building soils and repairing large landscapes. But also, it’s an amazing journey of personal vision working with the Holistic scope of life systems.

We are looking for persons interested in some HM training who are located around the Northern NSW area. The training is flexible and subsidized by TAFE so incredibly cheap. This funding won’t last forever, and the course is set to start on April 3rd, so get in quick.

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Posted by & filed under Dams, Irrigation, Land, Soil Rehabilitation, Surveying, Swales, Water Conservation, Water Harvesting.

Freshly keyline plowed (Photo: Kirsten Bradley)

Plan the work then work the plan. — P.A. Yeomans


In the mid 1950s, Australian engineer P.A. Yeomans demonstrated a new system of land management he called the Keyline system. The consensus of the time, championed by people like Dr H.H. Bennett, was that soil was a finite resource and that once depleted “it was irretrievably lost as if consumed by fire”. P.A. understood that long natural carbon cycles create soil, but also knew that this process takes hundreds or thousands of years. By adjusting the conditions in the soil with his plowing and management techniques, P.A. was able to speed this process and create dozens of millimeters of fertile topsoil in just one year.

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Posted by & filed under Aid Projects, Fungi, Village Development.

The desire for sustainable projects for non-government organisations and the need of reliable sources of income for small scale farmers is ever increasing in Tanzania and the ‘developing world’. Within international development ‘sustainability’ is a buzz-word often bandied round, with many communities and organisations slowly helping to transform traditional top-down development models to investing in more grass-roots, long-term, locally applicable solutions. Small scale income-generating businesses such as mushroom production may be one of many viable options for many rural Tanzanian communities gaining greater sustainability, and has captured the interest of the small NGO, Food Water Shelter (FWS), in Arusha, Northern Tanzania.

Inspired by possibilities demonstrated at Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (JKUAT) in Nairobi and the apparent simplicity and low tech requirements of growing mushrooms, FWS have been growing oyster mushrooms (Pleurotus spp). With a commitment to sustainability, appropriate technology and practising permaculture through the implementation of income-generating food production systems, aquaculture and animal husbandry, FWS have included oyster mushroom production into their existing systems.

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Posted by & filed under Consumerism, Energy Systems, Global Warming/Climate Change, Peak Oil, Soil Erosion & Contamination, Water Contaminaton & Loss.

A fully referenced version of this article is posted on ISIS members website and is otherwise available for download here.

Shale gas could be a useful stop-gap substitute for more conventional fossil fuels on our way towards fully green renewable energies, but health and environmental risks including pollution to ground water remain to be addressed.

by Prof Peter Saunders

Click for larger view

Shale gas

Shale gas is being hailed as the new source of energy that will keep the world’s economy going as oil supplies start to dwindle. It will, so we are told, make developed countries less dependent on the politically unstable Middle East and it will contribute to mitigating climate change because it produces less greenhouse gas than coal or oil.

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Posted by & filed under Compost, Demonstration Sites, DVDs/Books, Food Forests, Food Plants - Annual, Food Plants - Perennial, Land, Plant Systems, Soil Conservation, Soil Rehabilitation, Trees.

The world is dotted with individuals that are driving change from the inside out, inspired by the principles and approach of permaculture.

I wanted to share with you “Stories from our Food Gardens” an e-publication made possible by the Saville Foundation here in South Africa, written by Melveen Jackson. Their partnership is an example of what is possible when certain individuals are backed by opportunity and funds. To me it emphasizes the well-talked-of potential that permaculture has to flow out of our backyards and influence mainstream development. South Africa (and in this particular case, the province of KwaZulu-Natal), without doubt provides a great canvas on which to show these dynamics at work, so we get excited to see it happening in reality.

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Posted by & filed under Energy Systems, Nuclear.

by J. Matthew Roney, Earth Policy Institute

Wind has overtaken nuclear as an electricity source in China. In 2012, wind farms generated 2 percent more electricity than nuclear power plants did, a gap that will likely widen dramatically over the next few years as wind surges ahead. Since 2007, nuclear power generation has risen by 10 percent annually, compared with wind’s explosive growth of 80 percent per year.

Before the March 2011 nuclear disaster in Japan, China had 10,200 megawatts of installed nuclear capacity. With 28,000 megawatts then under construction at 29 nuclear reactors—19 of which had begun construction since 2009—officials were confident China would reach 40,000 megawatts of nuclear power by 2015 and perhaps 100,000 megawatts by 2020. The government’s response to the Fukushima disaster, however, was to suspend new reactor approvals and conduct a safety review of plants in operation and under construction.

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Posted by & filed under Alternatives to Political Systems, Conferences, Economics, Society, Village Development.

The Economics of Happiness is a 2011 documentary film directed by Helena Norberg-Hodge, Steven Gorelick, and John Page, and produced by the International Society for Ecology and Culture. The film has been widely acclaimed and received numerous awards but most pertinently it has linked a number of cutting edge thinkers across the globe who are building the groundswell to see the wisdom from The Economics of Happiness film translated into action. The second of three international conferences will be taking place from 15-17 March 2013 in Byron Bay, Australia and you are invited!

The Economics of Happiness describes a world moving simultaneously in two opposing directions. On the one hand, an unholy alliance of governments and big business continues to promote globalization and the consolidation of corporate power. At the same time, people all over the world are resisting those policies, demanding a re-regulation of trade and finance—and, far from the old institutions of power, they’re starting to forge a very different future.

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Posted by & filed under Food Forests, Food Plants - Perennial.

Aronia, also known as chokeberry, is a bush with a long history. It seems to have been forgotten for many years as a food source but has recently been “re-discovered”. There are two well-known species, named after their fruit color — red chokeberry and black chokeberry — plus a purple chokeberry whose origin is a natural hybrid of the two (Aronia arbutifolia, Aronia melanocarpa, Aronia prunifolia).

Originally cultivated and used by native Americans in the eastern USA, it is not to be confused with chokecherry — Prunus virginiana. The berries can be used to in a wide variety of uses such as wine, jam, syrup, juice, soft spreads, tea and tinctures and in smoothies. As the properties and uses of this wonderful berry come into light it is becoming more and more popular and these benefits make it especially useful in permaculture design.

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Posted by & filed under Aid Projects, Commercial Farm Projects, Community Projects, Demonstration Sites, Education Centres, Village Development.

Actual view from Mountain View Eco Farm site

As some readers may remember, I wrote an article last August outlining my experience at the Sustainable Agriculture Development Program of Nepal, and of the farm manager’s (Govinda Paudel) dream of establishing his own permaculture inspired education and demonstration farm.

Well, at long last, Govinda has managed to buy a small plot of land near Pokhara, overlooking Begnes Lake and the mighty Annapurna Range of the Himalaya, to establish Mountain View Eco Farm. Govinda has worked tirelessly to make his dream a reality – setting up a fantastic website, networking extensively and seeking out the land to build his dream. In December of last year, his parents sold some of their land in Bardiya, near the border of India, to help Govinda make his dream a reality. They plan to sell the rest of their land soon and move to Pokhara to help Govinda with the running and management of the farm in the not too distant future. Although Govinda now owns some land from which to begin developing Mountain View Eco Farm, more land is needed along with farm animals and items to make sure that Mountain View Eco Farm can become self sufficient and sustainable in the long run.

Govinda’s plan for the farm is inspiring. The objectives of Mountain View Eco Farm are basically three fold. They include:

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Posted by & filed under Courses/Workshops.

When sustainable agriculture superstar Joel Salatin agreed to come teach for us, we knew we had to make it count. Joel’s message of reclaiming farming and food production has been so influential to us, and to like-minded people around the world, that we knew his three days of workshops in Alberta, Canada weren’t going to be enough.

So we decided to offer up his dirt-under-the-fingernails wisdom and lunatic farmer passion beyond the classroom – opening the doors to students 50 or 5,000 miles away with his first-ever live-streamed appearance.

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