Posted by & filed under General, Plants.

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Photography courtesy of Tom Nagy

Although reading about plants from trusted resources is an excellent introduction to the world of botany, experiencing plants as the creatures that they are in their natural context and in person is crucial to learning to distinguish them from any potentially poisonous or otherwise dangerous look-alikes and to grasp the physical changes that one species undergoes throughout the growing season as it matures, flowers and sets seed. Many plants have a variety of different uses that are only available at certain times of the year, so learning to recognize the changes that the same species undergoes as the seasons progress is essential to developing a well rounded understanding of the target species and it’s relative behavior.

Highbush cranberry is one of those plant names that, as an amateur botanist, fills me with a number of conflicting but equally reasonable emotions. It is one of those names that when taken in a literal context appears to be bewilderingly inaccurate and deliberately misleading but when observed under a different connotation is filled with a cultural charm that reveals much about the way we perceive and relate to the world, and perhaps even more importantly, how we communicate our understanding of that world to others. It’s funny how much one can learn from plants, even just by looking into the deeper meanings behind why they are called what they are called. We all benefit from attempting to simplify communication in order to limit misunderstandings or misinterpretations, but this only works up to a certain point. Inevitably, information can become skewed and it’s true meaning botched, especially if a single piece of information has exchanged many hands.

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Posted by & filed under Courses/Workshops, Education, Events, Resources & News, General, Why Permaculture?.

This is it! Geoff Lawton’s Online Permaculture Course is NOW OPEN for Registration

“This is the day you have been waiting for. This is the launch day for the new Online PDC for 2015. We have a very special event here, and we have only run it twice before, one a year, now we have moved it forward to the winter of the northern hemisphere for 2015. This is an online event and it runs for three months. You need three to four hours a week, to go through the course and theres a design exercise at the end so you can get your certificate.”

“We know that it works well, we know, we have the testimonials, we’ve got the results now. So What we have done is moved it up from two hundred videos inside the course to three hundred, we are giving you that extra information you have asked us for, so we have bought the game up for you. This is a very popular course, we don’t have to advertise, we can just keep this quiet and release it as an event, it will sell out in a week and then we take you together on this learning journey, as a community, together, on the website.”

“We fielded 1,000 questions in the first Online Course. 16,000 in the second online course. And I answered all your questions in Q & A direct to camera answers. And we’re listening, we’re listening to what your asking us, so we are facilitating your questions.” – Geoff Lawton

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Posted by & filed under Community, DVDs/Books, Events, Resources & News, General, Population, Society.

“Matt Powers is one of my students from last years Online ‪‎Permaculture‬ Design Course (via geofflawton.com). This is a true testimony to the quality of students we are producing all around the globe with this ever reaching course. He has produced this book within the first year of taking the online PDC! Congratulations The Permaculture Student.” – Cheers Geoff Lawton

Matt Powers Kickstarter Project for creating a curriculum for Children – This is the Middle School Edition

About this Project

Permaculture is the Future

Permaculture is a design science that uses the patterns and systems of nature to provide sustainably and regeneratively for both humans and the environment. It is also the best way to repair degraded, polluted and damaged environments. Permaculture solves all the insurmountable problems of our modern world. Loss of topsoil, deforestation, & pollution can all be addressed and reversed, & regeneration can be achieved. Not only can it be done, it already is being done by governments and individuals globally to be more resilient and to reverse damage to local climates (the Loess Plateau Restoration is perhaps the largest example of this).

The Permaculture Student Series

When I finished my permaculture design course with Geoff Lawton, the first thing I looked for was curriculum designed for my two young sons who are homeschooled. I couldn’t find anything for young students, only for teachers with school gardens. I wanted the PDC experience to be a normal part of my children’s education. I realized that no one else was doing it, and I was qualified (MA in education, certification in Permaculture and training as a writer), and I wasn’t the only one looking for it, so I felt compelled. I’m sourcing the experts as much as I can to review the work before the final print so I can make it perfect. I’ve already shared samples with numerous leaders in the permaculture world with only positive feedback – Geoff Lawton, Paul Wheaton, Diego Footer, Elaine Ingham & Diana Leafe Christian. My hope is that this becomes the standard for all public and home school programs, linking high school graduates into the college programs at their highest potential. Imagine the designs this generation will come up with. Imagine the exponential change for good they will innovate.

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Posted by & filed under Community, Development & Property Trusts, General, Society.

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Photography by Nick Vassallo.

Follow the winding highway up onto the shoulder of Maui; facing west on Haleakala’s rolling hills, gazing into the sunset and the sea, tucked into the district of Kula like a ripple in a comforter. Sooner than you think, you’ll arrive at Rancho Relaxzo–a 30 year young permaculture farm, our blissful destination.

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Posted by & filed under Building, Community, Design, General.

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Photos Courtesy of Sam Kenworthy

The use of living fences in the Central American region is prolific. Although installation techniques and application style of living fences varies across borders and climates, in Costa Rica the fences generally serve to delineate property and keep livestock within a boundary. Aside from their obvious uses, living fences generate far more benefits, both ecological and economic, than are typically noticed at first glance. Through careful selection of species and well planned maintenance, living fences can assist in boosting crop yields, generating animal forage, increasing soil fertility, producing food, stabilizing slopes and establishing microclimates, among myriad other benefits. This article seeks to focus on the methods used at a specific Costa Rican site, CIRENAS (Centro de Investigaciones de Recursos Naturales y Sociales), to establish living fences.

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Posted by & filed under General.

When it comes to tomatoes, it is clear that people love them. Tomatoes are the fourth-most-consumed fresh vegetable, and the average American actually consumes nearly 100 pounds of tomatoes per year. Yet this is not a large amount compared with Egypt and Greece, where eating more than 200 pounds per year is average. However, the United States is the second-largest global tomato grower, producing more than $2.5 billion worth annually.

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Images courtesy of www.fix.com

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Posted by & filed under Community, General, Society, Why Permaculture?.

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There is a reason why you see a chicken above. Keep reading ;)

The cross-roads

There is no doubt in the mind of scientists and environmentalists that the excessive exploitation of all kinds of resources in the past centuries have created much damage to the biosphere we live in. The Stockholm Resilience Centre has recently updated their Planetary Boundaries model

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Posted by & filed under Commercial Farm Projects, Community, General, Permaculture Projects.

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5 acre sustainable/regenerative farm design for family of 7

Over the last few years I have spent a good amount of time working on a variety of different permaculture designs and consultations in different parts of the US and abroad. Even though some techniques and strategies are similar, which mostly remain the same (chicken tractoring, cattle grazing, swales, contour plowing, sheet mulched gardens, water storage etc…), every consultation has presented their own set of challenges and restrictions that have produced a unique set of experiences for each one.

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Posted by & filed under Design, General, Why Permaculture?.

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Within every system there is the normal way of doing things and then there is your way. Finding work, hobby, career or passion, it’s important to, yes, learn the system, but then express it in your own unique way, leveraging your unique gifts, talents, insights and experiences.

I found a great permaculture podcast site (thepermaculturepodcast.com) and listened to an Australian, Dan French, being interviewed by a guy from Pennsylvania about “Permaculture as a Career.” After describing some of the challenges of starting a permaculture design business, they eventually talked about the importance of finding one’s niche within a system as diverse as permaculture.

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Posted by & filed under Community, Conferences, Events, Resources & News, General.

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Permaculture is a design system for sustainable living and land use that was conceived in Tasmania 40 years ago by Bill Mollison and David Holmgren. Permaculture One published in 1978 to world wide acclaim, coincided with an explosion of interest in organic gardening & farming, renewable energy, and other aspects of positive environmentalism that many people think have just happened in the last few years.

Over the decades permaculture teachers, designers and activists have been riding these peaks and troughs of mainstream interest. Ironically, media and public interest in permaculture has been highest when there is uncertainty and contraction in the economy. In the lucky (and richest) country in the world where our food, water, power and governance structures continue to function permaculture has often just seen as a cool form of lifestyle gardening or alternatively some weird counterculture ideology.

But Permaculture may also be Australia’s greatest intellectual export influencing positive environmental and social change all over the world including establishing deep roots in poorer countries where the mainstream economy has failed to provide for people’s basic needs. In previously rich countries such as Spain and Greece permaculture strategies for self and community reliance are exploding as the mainstream economy continues to decay under a burden of debt.

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Posted by & filed under Community, Courses/Workshops, Demonstration Sites, Design, Education Centres, General, Why Permaculture?.

An overview of what we do during our Permaculture Design Certificate course here at PRI “Maungaraeeda”, Sunshine Coast.

On the 26th of January we started another Permaculture Design Certificate course here at the Permaculture Research Institute Sunshine Coast. This article is to give you more of an idea how our PDC is run and what we do.

We ask all students to arrive the afternoon before the start of the PDC course, so they can set up their campsite and settle in. Students are then invited to eat dinner with us that night. We go through some logistics on the night, and people can have a chance to get to know each other and us a bit. The group is divided into smaller groups and they are shown the list of jobs that need to be done every day. This means that one group for example is on dishes for breakfast and lunch, another group needs to sweep the common areas and light the fire to heat the water for showers etc. Students enjoy being part of the routines of the property and they find the jobs a bonding experience, which usually breaks the ice very quickly.

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Volunteers and students at breakfast

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