Posted by & filed under Food Forests, Food Plants - Perennial, Land, Medicinal Plants, Plant Systems, Urban Projects.

Perennial Fruit and Herb Garden

Note: The plants listed below are as a guide — it is not a list of edible species. Please refer to culinary fruit and herb text books before using any plants in the kitchen or consuming any plants.

Not many people use their front garden. Front gardens are often laid to turf. Except for mowing the grass, or using the front door, the front garden goes largely ignored. Some people plant a mixture of plants including pollen plants which bring colour and can contribute towards the local ecosystem.

Using the following simple design, you can design and build your own garden, which will provide you with fresh and seasonal fruit, herbs for the kitchen, for delicious healthy teas, plus lovely fragrances and flowers throughout the year — with very little input. In fact this type of garden requires less maintenance than the regular mowing of a lawn.

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Posted by & filed under Commercial Farm Projects, Community Projects, Ethical Investment, Financial Management, Urban Projects.

A crowdfunded planting

As many farmers and founders of food-based businesses have discovered, crowdfunding is a tool that can enable you raise anywhere from thousands, to tens of thousands, to hundreds of thousands of dollars to launch projects that might never have gotten off the ground otherwise.

But what type of crowdfunding are we talking about? The conversation can get confusing quickly, because people use the term “crowdfunding” to refer to any of several techniques to raise funds from a large number supporters, customers, and/or any other stakeholders. Different laws apply in each case, and what might work for one project might not make any sense at all for yours. So before you start investigating options for financing your permaculture project, it pays to get clear on the three different types of crowdfunding.

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Posted by & filed under Food Plants - Annual, Food Plants - Perennial, Nurseries & Propogation, Plant Systems, Trees, Urban Projects.

Here is an interesting and simple-to-manage technique that will promote better root growth for your potted plants. It can be applied to plants that will stay permanently in pots or for those that will end up in your garden.

Those interested in this should also check out the ‘Air Nursery’ chapter of the Farmers’ Handbook.

Posted by & filed under Commercial Farm Projects, Health & Disease, Markets & Outlets.

Many farmers and growers are in massive amounts of debt. Many still want to go organic but the time and red tape needed to do so will deliver them into bankruptcy. I have outlined a few steps a farmer/grower can take to move around the red tape and speed up the process of producing and selling high quality, in demand, profitable, beyond organic food called Nutrient Dense Food (the next phase of food).

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Posted by & filed under Community Projects, Conferences, Social Gatherings.

by Sandra Bartram and Cheri McCabe

We must be stewards, druids of the future because we can only achieve peace through food security, and we can only have food security with healthy ecosystems that exist both upon the soil and within it.

At this time of year it is hard to get motivated to leave our gardens, but the intensive three-day Permaculture Convergence in Frelighsburg, Quebec, Canada did just that. Standing in my garden on the morning of departure, surrounded by vegetables and flowers in full bloom, I asked myself, "Why leave my personal Garden of Eden when I can turn on my computer and read all about permaculture on the Internet?" But this attitude vanished as soon as I arrived at Oneka Farm. After setting up my tent, I stood upon the hillside and surveyed the valley below. As the sun set, I looked south to the lake highlighted against the rolling, darkening hills. I heard voices in the distance as over six hundred people gathered for the opening circle. I made my way across the field to join them. Gatherings such as these have the power to reach deep into our ancient ancestry and bring forward such festive celebrations of our lives and identities. We can become connected by a spirituality that is impossible to replicate by modern technological networking.

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Posted by & filed under Food Forests, Plant Systems.

by Roger R.B. Leakey, Department of Marine and Tropical Biology, James Cook University, Cairns, Australia.


Shifting agriculture in the tropics has been replaced by sedentary smallholder farming on a few hectares of degraded land. To address low yields and low income both, the soil fertility, the agroecosystem functions, and the source of income can be restored by diversification with nitrogen-fixing trees and the cultivation of indigenous tree species that produce nutritious and marketable products. Biodiversity conservation studies indicate that mature cash crop systems, such as cacao and coffee with shade trees, provide wildlife habitat that supports natural predators, which, in turn, reduce the numbers of herbivores and pathogens. This review offers suggestions on how to examine these agroecological processes in more detail for the most effective rehabilitation of degraded land. Evidence from agroforestry indicates that in this way, productive and environmentally friendly farming systems that provide food and nutritional security, as well as poverty alleviation, can be achieved in harmony with wildlife.

Read the full report here (1mb PDF)

Posted by & filed under Courses/Workshops, General.

Permaculture designers Mark Garrett and actress Daryl Hanna, Soneva Fushi, Maldives

Meeting Mark Garrett

I can always recall the moment I first meet someone, the impression they made.

But not Mark Garrett.

How many years since I met him? I just can’t say.

He’s one of those understated people, always chipping away at things in the background, just merging into the background of the Permaculture world like a blue heeler dog on a bluestone verandah.

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Posted by & filed under Commercial Farm Projects, Courses/Workshops, Demonstration Sites, Education Centres, Plant Systems.

At Hill Top Farm the functions and dynamics of healthy natural ecosystems provide the framework and inspiration for our on-farm decision-making, as well as the structure and content of our Permaculture courses.

Nature has had millions of years to fine tune the process of designing sustainable self-maintaining ecosystems. Natural ecosystems, whether they are rainforests or desert scrublands, do not produce waste or pollution. Non-renewable resources are not part of the system. Natural ecosystems do not need anyone to spread mulch, fertilisers, control pests, weed or mow. They take care of these things themselves.

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Posted by & filed under General.

Usually people participating in a PDC have a land project which they would like to develop using the common sense design principles offered by permaculture. As a side effect, some might feel the urge to make sweeping changes to their life direction during or after doing a PDC. Often a PDC either creates the need for change, or it comes along at a time when people are open to change or indeed craving it.

If one felt the urge to change their career direction after doing a Permaculture Design Certificate course, I guess the most obvious direction would be to become a permaculture design consultant. In my case, I was already a gardener and landscaper so it was a logical and relatively seamless transition for me to move into doing permaculture-oriented garden designs. In fact I had already started this transition naturally, before doing a PDC, motivated by changes which I wanted to make in my working life, in order to have it fit with my own environmental ethics and way of life.

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Posted by & filed under GMOs, Health & Disease.

The precision, complexity, and all-pervasiveness of natural genetic modification leave organisms and ecosystems particularly vulnerable to artificial genetic modification.

by Dr Mae-Wan Ho

Invited lecture at 1st Forum of Development and Environmental Safety, under the theme “Food Safety and Sustainable Agriculture 2014”, 25 – 26 July 2014, Beijing, China.

A fully referenced version of this article is posted on ISIS members website and is otherwise available for download here, or with the accompanying powerpoint presentation here.

The new genetics and natural genetic modification

Genetics has been turned upside down beginning the mid-1970s and especially since the human genome was announced in 2000. The tools of genetic manipulation have been advancing and improving in leaps and bounds. Today, geneticists can dissect and analyse the structure and function of genes and genomes in minute detail down to the base sequence of a nucleic acid in one single cell using ‘next generation deep sequencing’ (see Box 1 reproduced from [1]).

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