You might have seen the cotton growing out west — around St George, Gundiwindi and Dirranbandi in Queensland, Australia, and Moree and Narrabri in NSW.
It’s an annual crop — sown in the spring and harvested in the autumn — grown in flat plains country. The blocks are levelled by laser-guided machinery. However, they’re not quite level: there’s a slight slope from one end of the block to another, which allows flood irrigation.
Huge dams, in a country subject to long droughts, supply irrigation water. But these dams themselves take water from the rivers of the Murray-Darling Basin.
Time is running out to join members of the international permaculture community for FoodWaterShelter’s Permaculture Design Certificate Course between the 4th to 15th June 2012 in Arusha, Tanzania. With applicants from England to the USA, South Africa to Germany and throughout Africa including Burundi, Uganda, Kenya Ethiopia and of course Tanzania, it is shaping up to be a course built on many varied and interesting experiences. Field trips have been organised to a number of projects and institutes — from an appropriate technology research centre to rabbit and honey production projects. It’s not too late for you to join USA based lecturer Steve Whitman and a team of local teachers for this incredible opportunity to learn the concepts of sustainable living and improved self-reliance.
For $950 (scholarships are available through application for East African based participants) you will receive an internationally recognised certification, the opportunity to visit projects and other NGOs in the Arusha area, gain hands-on experience designing and working on the farms of Kesho Leo, and meet a diverse group of the international community. Full paying students also assist to provide scholarships to East African students who will make up half the class.
At least after the International Permaculture Conference (IPC11) last September, Jordan is now well-known in the permaculture world. It is thus a pleasure to invite you to join a 2-week full PDC course that will be held in the scenic village of Bayouda — 20km north-east of Amman, Jordan, in between olive groves and ancient oak forests — in the first two weeks of June. The main instructor will be Rico Zook, a permaculture designer, consultant and instructor for over 15 years. Rico’s teaching method is very practical and hands-on. The course will be in English and is for local and foreign students of any age or background. It is organised by The Green Platform and the a local NGO form Bayouda village, the Abdel-Rahman bin Ouf Society, which will involve the local community in various parts of the course. This and the participation of various local and regional guest speakers will enable students to benefit from their generations-old wisdom and knowledge of the Levant area.
Click here to find out more and to register for the course!
In September 2008 Seed Savers released their first film, “Our Seeds: Seeds Blong Yumi”, a 57 minute documentary that celebrates traditional food plants and the people that grow them.
We have now released this documentary on the net for free viewing (with English audio and Portuguese subtitles — we will put French, Chinese and Japanese subtitled versions online in the future). Watch it now (or read more about it below the video):
Six years after we started farming in the tropics, in the upper catchment areas of the Congo basin, North Eastern Zambia, we discovered why farming in the tropics always goes along with constant deforestation. With cultivation, the nutrients are lost because everything captured in the biomass is removed. What we did not realize, was that the soil which is poor in nutrients is very rich in microbial life — and that is the important part.
With hindsight we now know that the first items you lose with cultivation of the soil are the different fungi, and then the bacteria. These fungi colonise the roots of the plants and help with the nutrient and moisture uptake by the roots and they have a tremendous effect on plant growth. These fungi are also the easiest to propagate and research. So that is why most firms that sell biological products sell fungi to farmers.
A series of free Sustainable Garden Design Workshops were held at various locations around Adelaide, South Australia, over the past couple of months and I was fortunate enough to be able to attend the one held in the suburb of Salisbury, along with quite a large number of other people. All of the events were basically booked out, which shows the growing enthusiasm for creating sustainable gardens.
The day was hot, but the participants were eager and undaunted by the heat, as they soaked up the gems of knowledge our guests had to share!
The Permaculture Path to Sustainability illustrates the steps we can take to transition to a life with a smaller footprint on the earth.
When I was completing my Permaculture Design Certificate (PDC), I wanted a simple way to plan the future of our house and garden. I was feeling a little overwhelmed by all the different ideas buzzing around in my head. I needed to capture these and create a clear plan of attack.
I started by writing down all of the elements found in a typical permaculture garden and divided them into different categories. The categories are food production, fauna, practices, flora, energy, water, and waste.
I then sorted the elements out into levels. Each level reflects an increase in the level of difficulty, commitment and/or expense.
If you are thinking of planting tomatoes, cucumbers, winter squash, peas, beans or any vining plant, it’s worth considering growing them vertically to save space in your annual garden area.
Permaculture principles urge us to create no waste and to find multiple functions for whatever we do.
Instead of rushing to your garden center to purchase ready made products, there are many innovative and ecological ways to help your plants grow to their best, and to save space while keeping your produce off the ground and more protected from predators and rot.
The Native Americans used the 3-sisters method, growing beans, corn and squash together. The beans climb up the corn and the squash spreads out to create ground cover. However, if you want to save space you might be advised to use alternative ground cover and help your viners trail upwards.
Many of you know of the excellent work of the filmmaker, John D. Liu. Amongst other projects, John documented, over many years, the amazing transformation of China’s massive Loess Plateau from being a significantly degraded, and dangerous land (the vegetation-free landscape made for seriously destructive — even deadly — floods and soil erosion) to the much-improved state it’s in today (see here and here). John has also been turning his visionary eye to Africa and beyond…. For a little background on John and his work, this interview will help.
Well, John is now working on an important new documentary that will showcase the importance and potential of investing in natural capital and working with natural laws to restore invaluable ecosystem services — and at very large scale, as is needed at this historical juncture! Part of this documentary will be devoted to the work of Geoff and Nadia Lawton in Jordan, covering projects — and aspirations for their rollout on a larger scale — there.
Curious what goes on at the PRI Zaytuna Farm? If you live close to the farm, or are passing by, you're welcome to book yourself on a farm tour (Wednesdays at 10am only). Contact the farm manager and we'll see you soon.
We will take a minimum of 3 people at $35 p/p (groups of less than 3 adults are $50 p/p). Large groups please call to discuss pricing (at least 48 hours prior required).