Posted by & filed under Biodiversity, Commercial Farm Projects, Compost, Demonstration Sites, Food Forests, Food Plants - Annual, Food Plants - Perennial, Fungi, Plant Systems, Soil Biology, Soil Composition, Soil Conservation, Soil Erosion & Contamination, Soil Rehabilitation, Structure, Trees, Village Development, Water Contaminaton & Loss.

Sage of a minimalist farming system based on non-violence and all of nature’s biodiversity that produces in abundance with no chemical inputs.

by Bharat Mansata

Bhaskar Save, acclaimed ‘Gandhi of Natural Farming’, turned 92 on 27 January 2014, having inspired and mentored 3 generations of organic farmers. Masanobu Fukuoka, the legendary Japanese natural farmer, visited Save’s farm in 1996, and described it as “the best in the world”, ahead of his own farm. In 2010, the International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements (IFOAM) honoured Save with the ‘One World Award for Lifetime Achievement’.

Indeed, Save’s farm is a veritable food forest; a net supplier of water, energy and fertility to the local eco-system, instead of a net consumer. His way of farming and teachings are rooted in a deep understanding of the symbiotic relationships in nature, which he is ever happy to explain in simple, down-to-earth idioms to anyone interested.

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Posted by & filed under Consumerism, Food Shortages.

by Lester R. Brown, Earth Policy Institute

Slim, healthy, happy bovines promote a ‘hip’ new McDonald’s meat based diet
to Chinese consumers from billboards across the country

Overnight, China has become a leading world grain importer, set to buy a staggering 22 million tons in the 2013–14 trade year, according to the latest U.S. Department of Agriculture projections. As recently as 2006 — just eight years ago — China had a grain surplus and was exporting 10 million tons. What caused this dramatic shift?

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Posted by & filed under Consumerism, Economics, Global Warming/Climate Change, Peak Oil, Society.

Originally published on

It is a rare occurence that I disagree with David Holmgren. One of my heroes, and the co-founder of permaculture, I generally find his intellect formidable, his insights on permaculture revelatory, and his take on the wider patterns and scenarios unfolding around us to be deeply insightful. But while there is much insight in his most recent paper, Crash on Demand, it also raises many questions and issues that I’d like to explore here. I am troubled by his conclusions, and although I understand the logic behind them, I fear that they could prove a dangerous route to go down if left unchallenged.

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Posted by & filed under Conferences, Presentations/Demonstrations.

Though the problems of the world are increasingly complex, the solutions remain embarrassingly simple. – Bill Mollison

Join Geoff Lawton, Sepp Holzer, Brad Lancaster, Joel Salatin, Stacey Murphy, Janell Kapoor, Peter Bane and many others at the free online Whole Earth Summit, March 11-13, 2014. There will be 42 actionaries and visionaries envisioning a world that is regenerative, resilitient and reachable. Don’t miss this!

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Posted by & filed under Biodiversity.

The results of a crowd-sourcing appeal prove that Discovery Channel engaged in fakery.

The photo of a whale carcass which Discovery claims to have “found”.

The suspicion that the Discovery Channel had abandoned its professed editorial standards was a powerful one. Its documentary claiming that the giant shark Carchardon megalodon still exists contained images which gave a strong impression of being faked; reports of incidents which don’t appear to have happened; and interviews with “marine biologists” no one has been able to trace.

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Posted by & filed under Community Projects.

Trailer only – watch full video here!

Geoff visits a number of different Permaculture gardens that are springing up and notices a common thread — a lot of people are growing food that should never be grown in that climate and zone and are doing it successfully. How do they do it?

Geoff even visits the University of Massachusetts and spots an unusual Permaculture garden that won The White House Challenge. Even the Chancellor wants a Permaculture garden!

Posted by & filed under Global Warming/Climate Change, Society.

A wild apple tree, on the side of the road

Not far from where I live, there is a wild apple tree. It is an old, well established tree that is in such an odd location that it can only have ended up there by pure chance alone. As you can see from the photos, it reliably produces plenty of apples, which are crisp and tasty. A few days ago I picked about 10kg of fruit and have since begun converting them into the very useful product apple cider vinegar. Even so, there are still more apples remaining unharvested on the tree.

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Posted by & filed under Building.

Cob is an earthen building material that is made of clay, sand, straw, and water. It has been used for thousands of years to construct homes and buildings. It has been used worldwide, but has only recently started to attract interest from Western countries. Cob has its origins in millennia of traditional building, in some of the oldest permanent human dwellings. Humans have made shelters this way for so long that we may carry a genetic memory of how to do it.

The word ‘cob’ comes from an old English word meaning ‘lump’ or ‘loaf’. The wet cob mixture is used to build thick earth walls; the building technique is very similar to sculpting with modelling clay. Because cob building requires no forms, we can build our walls into any shape we choose. Curves, niches, arched windows and built-in furniture are common features in cob buildings.

Cob building requires no cement, no expensive tools or materials and is a ‘people friendly’ way of building. Once the material is dry, cob is incredibly strong. The drying-out, setting process of clay products can be reversed if necessary, so even when the building material is hard and dry, you can usually alter it by wetting down whatever you want to change. This is different from lime and concrete products, which set and become hard through an irreversible chemical process.

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Posted by & filed under Irrigation, Urban Projects, Water Harvesting.

This summer we installed our last major rainwater harvesting feature on our property. This rain tank is unique because it is integrated into our hardscape (patio) so it’s completely invisible to the untrained eye. In this video I talk about how it was built, how it fills, what we use it for and details on the drains and overflows.

Take a look and let me know what you think!