Posted by & filed under Fermenting, Food & Food Support Systems, General, Processing & Food Preservation, Recipes.

Apple-Cider-from-Above

Apple Cider from Above

I ran into a funny story in a Michael Pollan book not long ago: The American pioneer legend, Johnny Appleseed, used to stay two or three hops west of the colonial expansion in the USA, buying up large swaths of riverside land and planting apple trees. In most historical accounts (the Disney version), he is depicted as an angel of virtue, making sure that everyone got their apple a day to keep the doctor away. In actuality, he was planting apple orchards because settlers wanted to make their boozy apple cider wherever they went, so there he’d be with a load of apple trees mature and ready to sell when the arrived. The apple a day creed was a promotional quip by apple growers during the prohibition. That’s the long way round of saying, since those prohibitive days, many of us have lost some lesser noted, but equally valuable skills, for self-sufficiency.

One of the aspects of practicing permaculture that often gets overlooked—in the building of soil, the harvesting of water, the conserving of energy, and all those other great things we get up to—is some level of proficiency in the kitchen. It’s well and fine to grow a bunch of wonderful, nutritious food, but it’s also very easy to miss out on some of the basic, everyday products we could be making at home. Doing so would be one more effective way of stepping out of the industrial food production machines that have been steadily damaging the planet. For a fraction of the retail cost, we could easily be creating healthier, organic versions of some of the most important mainstays in the kitchen: booze and vinegar.

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Posted by & filed under Design, Energy Systems, General.

Rocket-Turbine

Please exercise due care when working with electricity

The Non Rocket-Scientists Guide To Building Your Own Wind-Powered Generator.

As you’ve probably found out by now unharnessed energy sources are literally all around us. Be it solar power from the sun or geothermal energy from the Earth’s constant core temperature we are definitely wasting money and resources when we rely on utility companies for power. Another huge asset that we can tap into, which is arguably the most reliable of all sustainable resources, is wind power.

Think about it for a second, we can’t create sunlight and digging 4′-8′ into the Earth’s surface and running geothermal tubes is a very costly and invasive process. On the other hand every time we ride a bike or wave a newspaper back and forth in front of our face on a hot day we are essentially creating wind. This wind can be harnessed to create electricity for perhaps the most self-sustainable of all resources. For example a fan turns creating electricity which can then be used to power a different fan so that more electricity can be made – the ultimate example of a perfect energy cycle.

The potential for wind powered generators is far and wide and large-scale operations can effectively supply current to homes and even industrial operations. Like any project dealing with self-sustainability building a wind powered generator involves a 3-pronged approach of – 1) starting small, 2) getting familiar, and 3) building your knowledge base and expanding. Therefore this guide will show you how to build a modest wind-powered generator to power a lightbulb so that you can see first hand how power can be created free of charge. Once you’ve mastered the bare essentials you can move on to powering your furnace with the bitter wind of Winter.

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Posted by & filed under General, Social Gatherings, Why Permaculture?.

Clea Chandmal at TEDxBITSGoa.

Clea Chandmal has a back ground in the Biological Sciences. She has completed an undergraduate degree in Natural Sciences, masters in Plant Breeding, and a stalled PhD in Plant Molecular Physiology; all from the University of Cambridge, UK. Clea did her Permaculture Design Certificate course (PDC) with Bill Mollison, Geoff Lawton and Greg Knibbs in Melbourne in 2008. Since 2005 she has been running a farm in Goa, India. A farm which she hopes to make a Permaculture demonstration site. When she started on the farm, it was largely infertile. Several farmers had tried their hand. By local folklore its infertlity was due to the local demon living in the big tree on the property. Today it has a flourishing food forest, vegetable plots, simple user friendly composing toilets, mud stone and wood architecture and more. Her farm has been described by many as a ‘Garden of Eden’. Her understanding of ecosystems has helped her in the practice of Permaculture. She teaches ‘Ecoliteracy’ – a unique course devised by her as a preamble to her Permaculture courses. Her ability to simplify and explain core underlying principles, has made her lectures and classes inspiring. clea hopes to address, using permaculture, the growing problem of farmers suicides in India.

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Posted by & filed under Building, Design, DVDs/Books, Energy Systems, Events, Resources & News, General.

The Greenhouse of the future Trailer.

This screening has now Concluded. Thank you to everyone who watched this film.

Hi Everyone, Curt from Greenhouse of the Future here.

This weekend we are very glad to offer you a free streaming version of our film: The Greenhouse of the Future on www.permaculturenews.org

Our mission is to help propel the Permaculture movement forward by developing an easy to build, 100% self-sufficient greenhouse/temple of health and abundance.

We hope that our film will inspire and support you on your quest to build a greener, more sustainable and ethical world.

To support anybody who would like to master these ideas and technologies, we wrote a complete 189 page eBook. And for those of you who would like to go one step further and build your own greenhouse of the future or some other version of it, we also created over 40 pages of professionally detailed plans.

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

The other day I came across this viral video titled ‘Dear Future Generations: Sorry’ from a poet named Prince Ea. In short, the video apologises immensely for all the damage we humans have created in this century due to our own selfishness and ignorance. Towards the end of the video Prince Ea ends his apology, flips the tone of the poem entirely, and reminds us humanity can make change if we get together and start acting together. Prince Ea is an inspiration for many, and his video bounces around a few good ideas as to how to go about change as it ends, yet in permaculture we like to provide practical solutions especially after reading or watching something that is inspiring. So in this article I would like to first take a look at some little-known facts about humanity, and then discuss a few simple ideas about how to put the words into action.

Societies and their inhabitant are the reason that ecosystems (such as the Amazon Rainforest) are abundant in bio-diversity and life. In Permaculture it is constantly reinforced that human disturbance leads to environmental degradation however new evidence strongly concludes that without human disturbance, eco-systems would not be as thriving if humans were out of the picture.

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Posted by & filed under Building, Design, DVDs/Books, Energy Systems, Events, Resources & News, General.

The Greenhouse of the future Trailer.

Hi Everyone, Curt from Greenhouse of the Future here.

This weekend we are very glad to offer you a free streaming version of our film: The Greenhouse of the Future on www.permaculturenews.org

Our mission is to help propel the Permaculture movement forward by developing an easy to build, 100% self-sufficient greenhouse/temple of health and abundance.

We hope that our film will inspire and support you on your quest to build a greener, more sustainable and ethical world.

To support anybody who would like to master these ideas and technologies, we wrote a complete 189 page eBook. And for those of you who would like to go one step further and build your own greenhouse of the future or some other version of it, we also created over 40 pages of professionally detailed plans.

Read more »

Posted by & filed under Design, General, Plant Systems, Plants.

tcp2

Chickweed (Stellaria media) is a popular Dynamic Accumulator.

To the untrained eye, a lot of scientific language appears superfluous – yet may best describe some detail or process within a broader concept. The scientifically trained eye, likewise, may be suspicious of superfluous language. Robert Kourik first uses the phrase ‘dynamic accumulators’, in 1986 to describe plants considered a valuable addition to composting due to their mineral/nutritional content.

Theoretically, dynamic accumulators take up high concentrations of useful nutrients (from the subsoil) into their biomass; the biomass then drops or is chopped as mulch, or composted. Ultimately nutrients are redistributed from the subsoil to the topsoil. It was highlighted in John Kitsteiner’s article that there is no scientific foundation for the term ‘dynamic accumulator’; and while a lack of evidence is not evidence of a lack, there is much work to be done to properly qualify and quantify these plants.

Here I further the discussion concerning dynamic accumulators. I present ideas to define dynamic accumulators as a group; methods for quickly pre-qualifying dynamic accumulators; and an example using plant-phosphorus concentrations to tentatively qualify dynamic accumulators of phosphorus, and identify shortcomings in the methods. The shortcomings are catch cries of scientists everywhere: “the data is in ill repair” and “we need more data”. Better qualification and some rough quantification are possible with a little bit of work & research as outlined. The post-harvest functions of dynamic accumulator materials are beyond the scope of this article.

Losses of nutrients from the topsoil via leaching, erosion and destructive soil practices are ubiquitous. Strategies to return leached nutrients from the subsoil to the topsoil appear relatively non-existent, except for the concept of deep rooting dynamic accumulators. For this reason alone, spending some time to qualify these plants is warranted. Shallower rooting species are still useful redistributors of nutrients, and are certainly worthy of addition for the original intent – good plants to compost (or mulch) with.

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Posted by & filed under Food & Food Support Systems, General, Plants, Seeds.

Seeds-ZF

In agriculture, sometimes even the simplest of concepts can encourage better practice and dramatically improve the qualities of your produce. Back in June 2014 I decided to hop on the bandwagon after a good friend of mine (and much better agriculturalist), recommended I start to save seeds for the benefit of both myself and my customers.

Now over the years I have grown a wide variety of food, so I was sceptical at first as to whether it was really worth the time to start ‘brownbagging’ and collecting seeds for reproduction. It’s more common these days to purchase seeds directly from a supplier on an annual basis, which many of you will know, isn’t cheap at all. Hence, saving seeds is similar to saving money – A seed saved is a seed earned!

You might, like I was, be pretty keen to get started on a little project of your own, so that you can see first-hand the pros (and minimal cons) of protecting and reproducing the seeds you already own for generations to come.

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Posted by & filed under Building, Demonstration Sites, Design, Education Centres, General, Permaculture Projects, Plants.

This march on a hot Saturday, I had the chance to plant a diversity of plants in 2 swales with a total length of 200 meters. The swale systems was implemented by Tom Kendall from PRI Sunshine Coast together with an excavator driver and 3 practical training students at the property of Tom’s client near Noosa.

Afterwards Jason Davis from Permaculture Noosa Group and myself planted together 54 different species of trees and also a few vines and bushes.The climate there is subtropical which means it supports a very high diversity of plant species from many regions of this planet.

1One-of-the-swales-before-planting-with-the-trees-still-in-pots

One of the swales before planting with the trees still in pots

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

(*scholarships are available through application for East African based participants, as well as group discounts)

Arusha, Tanzania, June 22nd to July 3rd, 2015

This PDC will be presented in Swahili

Foodwater shelter and the Kenyan Permaculture Research Institute (PRI Kenya) are pleased to offer Kiswahili speakers the opportunity to attend this Permaculture Design Certificate (PDC) Course.

foodwatershelter incorporated (fws) is a not-for-profit, non-denominational, non-governmental organisation that builds and runs eco-friendly children’s villages with education, social and health facilities for children in developing countries. We have bases in Australia and the United States of America.

This course will be presented 100% in Kiswahili, led by qualified permaculture trainer Nicholas Syano of PRI Kenya, together with a local team of presenters that includes representatives from one of Tanzania’s foremost agricultural institutes, staff of local NGOs and businesses, and foodwatershelter’s own staff and farm workers.

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Posted by & filed under General.

Tree-DeGrowth

Recently I was interviewed by Jen Wilton, a UK journalist and researcher, on the subject of degrowth. What follows is the transcript of our phone interview, originally posted here.

Q: What would a degrowth society look like?

SA: A lot of mainstream environmentalism still clings to the idea that we can dematerialise our ways of living without giving up what is essentially an affluent consumer lifestyle. One of the provocations the degrowth movement offers is whether true sustainability, one planet living, actually implies a rejection of the affluent consumer way.

Degrowth distinguishes itself from some of the philosophies of voluntary simplicity (VS) that have come out of the US in particular. VS in its first phase was an attempt to reduce consumption from within the capitalist way of life. Degrowth recognises that downshifting or living simply within growth, capitalist structures isn’t going to solve many of our problems and it tends to be limited to a privileged few.

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