Posted by & filed under Processing & Food Preservation, Recipes.

One of the biggest challenges in permaculture is working out how to catch and store energy, especially when it comes to preserving food. I have been busy saving jars throughout the winter this year and I’m determined to find new ways of keeping food beyond the main growing season. I’m especially keen to learn about plants that have natural preservative properties so that I can avoid using sugar. Jams just don’t do it for me and there is only so much pickle one can eat.

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Posted by & filed under Consumerism, Economics, Society.

The more we consume, the less we care about the living planet.

That didn’t take long. The public interest in the state of the natural world stimulated by the winter floods receded almost as quickly as the waters did. A YouGov poll showed that the number of respondents placing the environment among their top three issues of concern rose from 6% in mid-January to 23% in mid-February. By early April – though the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change had just published two massive and horrifying reports – the proportion had fallen back to 11%.

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

At Kesho Leo we have tilapia, a freshwater fish species that is hardy and easy to farm in relatively small ponds. This makes it a perfect choice for farming families in our area. Tilapia are omnivorous, but the species we are farming (Oreochromis nyloticus, Nile tilapia) feeds primarily on phytoplankton and algae.

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Posted by & filed under Courses/Workshops.

Time has almost run out for you to register for Foodwatershelter’s fifth Permaculture Design Certificate (PDC) Course between 26th May to 6th June 2014. Course spaces are almost full and we don’t want you to miss out, so get your application (Word doc) in now to join us in Arusha, Tanzania, to become part of the growing number of people around the world who are improving their self-reliance and learning concepts for sustainable living through permaculture techniques.

Already students have registered from throughout East Africa, the USA, the Congo, Algeria and many other countries to join USA-based instructor Steve Whitman and a team of local teachers to study their PDC in English.

Based on the feedback and life changes from previous participants, you can expect this course to fill up quickly; so don’t delay in applying for a position. Hear what others had to say before committing to two weeks of intensive learning, and an incredible networking opportunity:

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Posted by & filed under GMOs, Health & Disease, Soil Erosion & Contamination, Water Contaminaton & Loss.

Dr. Don Huber is an award-winning, international scientist and professor emeritus of plant pathology at Purdue University. Today he spoke with Food Integrity about the dangers of GMOs and Glyphosate (Roundup). Dr. Huber’s 50+ years of research and expertise in the area of plant pathology with a focus on epidemiology and control of soil-borne pathogens gives him much credibility in discussing the science behind GMOs and Glyphoshate. He spoke about Glyphosate, which is the most widely used herbicide in the world, being many times more toxic than DDT. He explained how Glyphosate, a mineral chelator, herbicide and patented antibiotic, affects our human body as well as the environment and the inherent dangers associated with this chronic toxin.

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Posted by & filed under Building.

Staying cool without an air conditioner is possible. It is easier in hot, dry areas. A building that gets too cool in winter is a problem, but occupants can add a vest or jacket and be comfortable even with temperatures as low as 10-15°C. A building that overheats in summer is more problematic — even with minimal clothing it is hard to stay comfortable as the temperature rises above 27-30°C.

Passive cooling strategies for new and existing buildings will become increasingly important as global warming causes many more heat waves and increases the need for cooling for comfort in buildings that were historically comfortable in summer, but are no longer. It will also be important for net-zero energy buildings.

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Posted by & filed under Community Projects, Peak Oil, Soil Erosion & Contamination, Water Conservation, Water Contaminaton & Loss.

Just two days ago the community at Bentley was bracing for the arrival of hundreds of police to break up a peaceful and unprecedented blockade camp against invasive gas drilling in the Northern Rivers of NSW.

This morning, the most wonderful news has broken. NSW Energy and Resources Minister Anthony Roberts has announced that Metgasco’s approval to drill at Bentley has been suspended, and the company has been referred to the Independent Commission Against Corruption.

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Posted by & filed under Community Projects, Village Development.

The prevalence of bicycles in a community is an indicator of our ability to provide affordable transportation, lower traffic congestion, reduce air pollution, increase mobility, and provide exercise to the world’s growing population. Bike-sharing programs are one way to get cycles to the masses.

In early 2014, some 600 cities in 52 countries host advanced bike-sharing programs, with a combined fleet of more than 570,000 bicycles.

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Posted by & filed under Aid Projects, Community Projects, Potable Water.

An estimated 1.2 million residents of Lima, Peru, lack running water (far from potable in any case) and rely on unregulated private companies who charge an outrageous US$10 per cubic meter. Other wealthier residents pay 20 times less for their tap water!

The University of Engineering and Technology of Peru (UTEC) took this situation to heart and came up with a billboard (it might be the only billboard I actually like) that produces about 100 liters of drinkable water daily. The ingenious system they invented traps Lima’s humidity (averaging 70%), reconverts it into water and after being filtrated, comes out running from a faucet – the first one many Peruvians have ever seen.

Posted by & filed under Demonstration Sites, Food Forests, Plant Systems, Trees.

Well, the summer just past was interesting. Heat and drought were constant companions in all parts of the Australian continent other than the Northern Territory. Down in the south eastern corner of the continent the farm here had to deal with 10 days of temperatures exceeding 40°C (104°F) during January and February. At one point in early February a bush fire came closer here than I was comfortable with and I had to evacuate the area.

On a more positive note, over the past few years I have been experimenting with various edible and inedible plants and plant guilds to determine their suitability for this particular environment. The recent summer was an excellent test of those plants and now that the weather has turned cooler and the wet stuff has started falling from the sky again, I’ve been busily replicating the plants and plant guilds over an ever larger area.

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Posted by & filed under Waste Systems & Recycling.

Garden gnome in Nicaragua

Inspired by our experience volunteering on a farm in Ometepe Island in Nicaragua, my wife Emma and I became very excited about the prospect of reducing our personal waste. Totoco Farm and Totoco Eco-Lodge are both 100% waste-free zones, meaning every consumable that enters either stays or is recycled. What makes this achievement even more remarkable is that, in Nicaragua, recycling is basically nonexistent. So how does one go about reducing their waste to nada?

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