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Energy Systems, Land, Trees — by Eric Toensmeier April 12, 2013
This article is an excerpt from my forthcoming book Carbon Farming: A Global Toolkit for Stabilizing the Climate with Tree Crops and Regenerative Agriculture Practices, and is part of a series promoting my kickstarter campaign to raise funds with which to complete the book.
Coppiced firewood species trial at ECHO
These firewood species grow rapidly, fix nitrogen, and re-sprout (coppice) quickly after cutting. All have high-quality firewood. They are thus a productive, self-fertilizing and perennial firewood source. Intensive blocks of these species can produce a tropical family’s cooking fuel needs on 0.15ha (0.37 acres; according to interviews with staff at both Las Cañadas and ECHO). Use of rocket stoves and other conservation technologies can reduce the area even further.Comments (12)
On the 18th of March we started our biogas project. This project involves making a bio-digester which will turn manure into methane gas for cooking and other energy needs.
Outline of the bio-digester
Tom had to re-do some fencing and clear the site for the bio-digester. He calculated that with the amount of manure we are getting (around 30kg per day), we need a 5 cubic metre bio-digester, which will give us around 1 1/2 cubic metres of gas per day.
Lead up time to get the gas going will be around 60 days once we start filling the bio-digester. But we are not there yet, and here I have documented the start of the project.Comments (1)
They’re a staple in stews, a flavor in fried foods, and that ’sting’ in salads. The sharp, savory taste and juicy crunch give them versatility in the kitchen cooked and uncooked — but they really deserve a place in your permaculture medicine cabinet.
That’s right–the ordinary onion.
I’d never have believed it either, but one day, in the agony of an ear infection, I read that an onion sliver could help quell the infection and calm the pain. My ear ached so badly I would have tried almost anything short of shooting the Queen of England, so I heated a tiny onion ring and slipped it into my ear for a while. We had some extremely potent, weep-your-eyes-out young yellow onions; I could actually feel the fumes moving around in my ear. Ear pain like that usually continues for days for me, but repeated applications of onion cleared everything up within about half a day. It helped that my infection had just started, but still, the results aroused curiosity. Does the onion really have antibiotic effects, or did the potent fumes just clear up a painful pressure inside my ear? More importantly, can you lasso the power of this plant to heal you, too?Comments (5)
by Lester R. Brown, Earth Policy Institute
The world is in transition from an era of food abundance to one of scarcity. Over the last decade, world grain reserves have fallen by one third. World food prices have more than doubled, triggering a worldwide land rush and ushering in a new geopolitics of food. Food is the new oil. Land is the new gold. 1
The abrupt rise in world grain prices between 2007 and 2008 left more people hungry than at any time in history. It also spawned numerous food protests and riots. In Thailand, rice was so valuable that farmers took to guarding their ripened fields at night. In Egypt, fights in the long lines for state-subsidized bread led to six deaths. In poverty-stricken Haiti, days of rioting left five people dead and forced the Prime Minister to resign. In Mexico, the government was alarmed when huge crowds of tortilla protestors took to the streets. 2
After the doubling of world grain prices between 2007 and mid-2008, prices dropped somewhat during the recession, but this was short-lived. Three years later, high food prices helped fuel the Arab Spring. 3Comments (0)
Click to download (5.8mb PDF)
This guide is geared towards starting a new forest garden from scratch. It is geared to the west coast of Canada — temperate / cold climate — where my business, Hatchet & Seed Contracting is primarily based.
I hope it can be used to help propagate both more food forests and more food foresters! It is also geared towards Do-It-Yourselfers, on a relatively low budget. Commercial installs do require a much more thorough design planning process. But for those just wanting to get started, I sure hope it helps navigate through the plethora of information out there.Comments (4)
This year, May the 5th 2013, is the celebration of International Permaculture Day. In keeping with the theme of this important event, we need to be aware of the importance of producing and using “local”, especially with regard to forestry and use of timber.Comments (2)
Education — by Nelson Lebo
by Nelson Lebo, The University of Waikato, Hamilton, New Zealand
Some people describe permaculture as a system of science and ethics. While ethics guide permaculturists, it is the use of science to design and develop sustainable and regenerative systems that places them in a position to contribute to the improvement of science teaching and learning worldwide. Over the last four years, I have been researching a permaculture approach to junior secondary (years 9 and 10 in New Zealand) science, but my findings can be applied to all levels of schooling. Through the research process, I have identified five characteristics of permaculture that can be employed to engage students in transformative, relevant, and local learning experiences. Those characteristics are: permaculture thinking; permaculture techniques; permaculture properties; permaculture practitioners; and, the transformative nature of permaculture. This article explains the five characteristics and provides examples of how practicing permaculturists can partner with local science teachers in symbiotic relationships.Comments (2)
Society — by George Monbiot
Why are 97% of our rivers shut to the public? A millionaire minister’s amazing conflicts of interest give you a clue.
Nowhere in Britain is power more concentrated than in the countryside. Some people claim we have the second lowest distribution of land in the world, after Brazil.
Because (thanks to the resistance of the landlords) there is no comprehensive record of who owns what, we can’t be completely sure. But in 2002 Kevin Cahill’s book Who Owns Britain and Ireland estimated that 69% of the land is owned by 0.6% of the population. It has intensified since then: government figures show that between 2005 and 2011 the number of landholdings in England has fallen by 10%, while the average size of holding has risen by 12%.Comments (0)
Courses/Workshops — by Bonnie Freibergs April 11, 2013
Get in quick — space is limited!
- Ten-week Internship Program, April 22 – June 28
- Permaculture Earthworks, April 29 – May 3
- Urban Permaculture Design, May 13 – 17
- Learn How to Teach Permaculture Creatively, May 20 – 24
- Permaculture Project Establishment — Permaculture Aid in Action, June 10 – 14
- Sustainable Soils Management, June 17 – 21
General — by Craig Mackintosh PRI Editor April 6, 2013
A little (no more than 2cms long!) tree frog adds to the diversity of Zaytuna Farm
Photos © Craig Mackintosh
It’s been a rewarding time here at Zaytuna Farm. I’ve been busy taking footage, and a few photos too (like our little friend above — and thanks to eagle-eyed Geoff for spotting him). Thanks for your patience over the last few weeks, while postings have been a little more intermittant than usual. (And I know some can get a little grumpy if they don’t get their regular dose of permaculturenews fare!) Hopefully you’ll find it all worth it, after I’ve had a chance to put some articles together and edit the video for you all.
Tomorrow I make my way back home, so you’ll need to give me a few more days yet before this blog’s life returns to normal.
Presentations/Demonstrations, Social Gatherings — by Bonnie Freibergs April 4, 2013
The graphic says it all. We hope to see you here!
Land, Terraces — by Jonathan Davis
Every geographic area has a resource waiting to be used. I want to talk about areas that have stone easily accessible. Rocks can seem to be a huge obstacle to design and productivity, but there are some valuable advantages that come with having usable stone. Some advantages to using stone in a design can be: freeing the soil of obstacles to plant growth, being able to use that removed stone for retaining walls or other structures, using land far beyond what common ideology says it is worth, using otherwise unused material and simple beauty. Rocky landscapes can be very advantageous to a permaculture designer.Comments (12)
Consumerism, Economics — by Kim Hayes
Click here for more details
Most folks familiar with permaculture understand how zones are used in the design of a piece of property. Depending on slope, contour, house placement, hydrology, and functional use, amongst other criteria, zones are never created as concentric circles like a bulls-eye or dart board. Use of the land, and the flow of activities, becomes a primary driver of the shape of a zone.
As it turns out, money has its own flow as well. This series of maps show how dollar bills move about or flow between humans during commerce in the US. You will notice the dollar bills ignore State lines, rivers and major highways that people travel on regularly. I feel this map can be used as a fantastic tool assisting in creating hub areas for evaluating goods and services, the creation of local currencies and a myriad of other transition focal points.
The ideas are endless. The ‘all seeing eye’ on ol’ George has opened my eyes with a new perspective on local money.Comments (0)
I’m writing "Carbon Farming: A Global Toolkit for Stabilizing the Climate with Tree Crops and Regenerative Agriculture Practices"
To save the planet we may need to turn it into an edible paradise… help me write the book that explains how and why.
Perennial crops and regenerative farming practices can help stabilize the climate by sequestering carbon. How does it work? Plants use photosynthesis to turn atmospheric carbon dioxide into carbohydrates in their tissues. In perennial plants (like trees) this carbon is stored or "fixed" in their woody parts and below-ground roots. But there’s more: in no-till systems where the soil is not turned over, substantial quantities of carbon can be stored as organic matter in the soil. This book focuses on non-destructively harvested perennial crops that can provide staple foods and other essential products, and on no-till or reduced-tillage farming systems that help soil hold carbon.Comments (0)
Take a PDC with Geoff & Nadia Lawton – in Barcelona, Spain, June/July 2013 (Plus Optional 3-day Practicum)
Courses/Workshops — by Bonnie Freibergs April 3, 2013
This is a unique opportunity to take a Permaculture Design Certificate (PDC) course with renowned permaculture designers, consultants and educators, Geoff and Nadia Lawton, in Barcelona, Spain. In addition, after the PDC, there will be an optional 3-day Dryland Strategies and Earthworks practicum.
Click here to find out more, and register!Comments (2)