Posted by & filed under Community Projects, Markets & Outlets, Village Development.

by Rob Avis

Crystel Vultier is a true local food purveyor for her home town of Canmore, AB. Over the past several years she has been instrumental in creating the Canmore Community Garden which now provides plots for over 100 gardeners in the city and area. She has also created a project called Farm Box which sources local and organic food directly from farmers in Alberta and BC, and distributes it to 130 families in a weekly CSA program, as well as making the abundance of healthy produce available to the whole city through a booth at the local farmers’ market. Watch how one person’s potential to create positive change is realized through hard work and permaculture tools, and see how quickly the ripples have spread to effect her entire community.

Posted by & filed under Global Warming/Climate Change.

Editor’s Note: Australia’s Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, has just said that the entire country of Australia is being "challenged by nature". I think it’s a sad way of looking at what we’re facing — it’s as if we’re the innocent victims. Rather, I think nature is being challenged by us. Nature is having a hard time ‘keeping it together’ in the face of all we’re throwing at it. We are entering an age of potential runaway feedback loops that can render all our good work redundant, and yet at the just-ended World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, the key focus was still, predictably, about stimulating more economic growth. I don’t for a minute expect corporate-bought political systems to react appropriately, but I think a massive turn-out for a rally like the one below can at least give some hope for discussion on the issues that matter — an opportunity for systemic solutions to get their day in the sun.

On Monday during the inauguration, President Obama opened his term with a clarion call for action on climate change. Our response?

Time to organize.

President Obama said, “We will respond to the threat of climate change, knowing that the failure to do so would betray our children and future generations.”

These are great words, in a big speech. But pardon us if we’re not sitting on our hands basking in the glow of a job well done. We’ve seen good talk before, and the President’s talk – while very good in this case – is not the same as action.

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

Ripe Solanum muricatum (Pepino, Pepino Dulce, Melon Pear)

This is the first monthly post for Summer in the ongoing research project about perennial plants and perennialising annual plants that provide 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. The first monthly posts can be found by clicking on my author name (Susan Kwong), just under the post title above.

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Posted by & filed under Demonstration Sites.

by Rob Avis

Nestled deep in the forested mountains of the Slocan Valley in British Columbia, ex-urbanite Shawna Teare and her family have applied skills from their former lives in business and carpentry, along with gifted and innovative craftmanship to create a leading edge permaculture homestead complete with chickens, rabbits, interns and more! See how they have up-cycled materials en masse, created a diverse and plentiful organic garden, put their on-site resources to productive use, and networked within their community to create a truly resilient, sustainable, and enjoyable lifestyle.

Posted by & filed under Biodiversity, Deforestation, Food Shortages, Global Warming/Climate Change, GMOs, Health & Disease.

This is a good summary of what Vandana Shiva talks about lately. Even if you think you’ve heard it all before, I think this is a excellent one to watch and share.

Forbes Magazine called Vandana Shiva one of the seven most influential women in the world. A noted philosopher, scientist and author, Dr. Shiva addressed a full house at Coady International Institute at StFX University on the theme of food justice. — YouTube

Further watching:

Posted by & filed under Urban Projects.

Shed Bed

Continuing from my last post, after cleaning up our yard and several neighbors’ yards from another unusually strong storm here in south western Pennsylvania, I had a cache of branches to utilize in my garden construction. Our summers here have been getting hotter and drier so I wanted to take advantage of wood’s ability to help retain moisture, coupled of course with a blanket of straw to further retard evaporation.

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Posted by & filed under Animal Forage, Bird Life, Breeds, Food Forests, Insects, Livestock, Plant Systems, Working Animals.

Cattle grazing under alder in silvopasture system
at Las Canadas, Huatusco, Mexico

Integrating livestock seems to be the best way to have a larger-scale food forest (anything over one hectare or a couple of acres). If done properly, livestock integration can greatly reduce labor and fossil fuel needs. It can create the conditions for happy and healthy livestock. Done poorly, it can ruin soils and destroy crops. Here are a few things that I’ve been learning as I travel around and view this aspect of permaculture in action (plus some important tidbits from reading).

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Posted by & filed under Aid Projects, Community Projects, Demonstration Sites, Education Centres.

PRI Kenya starts the Laikipia Permaculture Centre, with the theme: Permaculture for Food Security and Environmental Sustainability in Kenya.

School children using most of their time fetching firewood from great distances

Location: Laikipia County, North of the Great Rift Valley, Kenya

By putting up a permaculture training centre, this would translate into direct education on food growing, indigenous tree propagation leading to return of forest cover, water harvesting and conservation strategies, henceforth leading to a healthy community, self reliance and a self sustaining life that we desperately need in the developing world.

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Posted by & filed under GMOs, Health & Disease.

by Safe Food Foundation

Cauliflower Mosaic Virus

Australian food regulators are being urged to investigate alarming reports from Europe that GM crops worldwide may contain a gene that is potentially poisonous to humans.

A study by the EU’s official food watchdog – the European Food Safety Authority – has revealed that the international approval process for GM crops failed to identify the gene when these food crops were being assessed for safety.

The discovery is the work of independent experts, the EFSA’s Nancy Podevin and Patrick du Jardin of the University of Liege in Belgium.

The findings will come as an embarrassment to pro-GM interests during their current PR blitz in Australia and overseas.

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Posted by & filed under Aid Projects, Community Projects, Demonstration Sites, Education, Education Centres, Urban Projects.

Watch the video above, and be inspired. I suspect that if many of our schools had been incorporating this kind of permaculture education over the last few decades, the world would today be in a far better situation, as many of the adults and young adults of the present generation would now already be eco-literate doers and changers. But, let’s not talk about what could have been, but instead do what we can to get permaculture education into a school near you….

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Posted by & filed under GMOs, Health & Disease.

by Jonathan Latham and Allison Wilson. Originally published on Independent Science News.

Cauliflower Mosaic Virus

How should a regulatory agency announce they have discovered something potentially very important about the safety of products they have been approving for over twenty years?

In the course of analysis to identify potential allergens in GMO crops, the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) has belatedly discovered that the most common genetic regulatory sequence in commercial GMOs also encodes a significant fragment of a viral gene (Podevin and du Jardin 2012). This finding has serious ramifications for crop biotechnology and its regulation, but possibly even greater ones for consumers and farmers. This is because there are clear indications that this viral gene (called Gene VI) might not be safe for human consumption. It also may disturb the normal functioning of crops, including their natural pest resistance.

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