Posted by & filed under Courses/Workshops.

Permaculture Essentials for the Pacific NW, 36-hour class, only $5 per hour — schedules vary by location.


Photos © Kerry McQuaid

Permaculture is “Earth Care, People Care, and Return of Surplus,” combining traditional and innovative methods that are sustainable and energy saving, enriching to the soil and all life. Design a system to feed your family, or complete additional short classes to earn your certificate and work as a consultant.

Permaculture Essentials for the Pacific NW covers permaculture history and ethics and goes into depth on the core concepts for creating sustainable systems by observing connections and capturing energy. Explore the energy transactions of trees, the roles of fungi, and the many functions of living soil. Learn pH, mineral availability, and enriching your soil with worm beds, weeds as repair tools, and compost fixing strategies. Study landscape effects on climate and temperate climate design for your home and landscape from balcony or kitchen gardens to main crops and food forests. This course prepares you to design a sustainable system for your yard or small farm in the Pacific NW.

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Posted by & filed under Aid Projects, Community Projects, Demonstration Sites, Education Centres.

Summary

Our demonstration gardens reduce reliance on chemical pesticides and fertilizers while increasing agricultural productivity and providing better nutrition. This project will help children in six Cameroon schools design, plant and maintain a demonstration garden. Their new knowledge, tools and skills will help the whole community eat more nutritiously with less work for years to come. Surplus produce can be sold to generate extra income.

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Posted by & filed under Food Shortages, Global Warming/Climate Change, Plant Systems, Society, Soil Erosion & Contamination, Village Development, Water Contaminaton & Loss.

Governments must shift subsidies and research funding from agro-industrial monoculture to small farmers using ‘agroecological’ methods, according to the UN’s Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food. And as Nafeez Ahmed notes, her call coincides with a new agroecology initiative within the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organisation.

Modern industrial agricultural methods can no longer feed the world, due to the impacts of overlapping environmental and ecological crises linked to land, water and resource availability.

The stark warning comes from the new United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food, Prof Hilal Elver, in her first public speech since being appointed in June.

“Food policies which do not address the root causes of world hunger would be bound to fail”, she told a packed audience in Amsterdam.

One billion people globally are hungry, she declared, before calling on governments to support a transition to “agricultural democracy” which would empower rural small farmers.

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Posted by & filed under Peak Oil, Soil Erosion & Contamination, Water Contaminaton & Loss.


Download report (2.7mb PDF)

In many ways, fracking is the environmental issue of our time. It’s an issue that touches on every aspect of our lives — the water we drink, the air we breathe, the health of our communities — and it is also impacting the global climate on which we all depend. It pits the largest corporate interests — big oil and gas companies and the political leaders who support them — against people and the environment in a long-term struggle for survival. It is an issue that has captivated the hearts and minds of hundreds of thousands of people across the United States and across the globe. And it is an area in which, despite the massive resources of the Frackopoly — the cabal of oil and gas interests promoting this practice — we as a movement are making tremendous strides as our collective power continues to grow.

Food & Water Watch is proud to work shoulder to shoulder with communities across the country and across the world in this effort. With mounting evidence about the harms of fracking and the immediacy of the impending climate crisis, this report lays out the urgent case for a ban on fracking.

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Posted by & filed under Animal Forage, Commercial Farm Projects, Livestock, Plant Systems, Soil Rehabilitation, Trees.

Permaculture principle #11:

Use edges and value the marginal. The interface between things is where the most interesting events take place, these are often the most valuable, diverse and productive elements in the system. — Holmgren

Let’s talk about clearcuts in Northern BC. Clearcuts are edges, between the forest and cleared land where fast growing broad-leafed plants like fireweed and alder outcompete conifer seedlings. We think of clearcuts as ugly but they are a valuable food source for browsers like deer and sheep.

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Posted by & filed under Courses/Workshops.

What is a Weed?

When we look at the ecological definition of a weed; we are looking at something that is a pest, reproduces rapidly, grows very quickly, an opportunistic kind of organism, it produces a huge number of offspring. In the case of a weed, we are looking at something that grows best in a soil that lacks oxygen and structure and is often compacted.

If we don’t have structure in our soil and we are preventing those roots from growing deep, and now the weed and some other plant is competing with each other, the weed wins.

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Posted by & filed under General, Health & Disease, Soil Erosion & Contamination, Water Contaminaton & Loss.

With global food prices rising (see for example 1), concerns over climate change causing major disruptions in the food supply system (see for example 2), and the dubious nature of many food additives or products (see for example 3), it is no surprise that there appears to be a growing trend towards foraging for wild food. But how can we be sure that what we pick is good to eat? Indeed, doesn’t this apply to food wherever we get it — whether it is picked from the hedgerow or the supermarket shelf?

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Posted by & filed under DVDs/Books.

After eight years of work that enlisted a small army of contributors, Sustainable [R]evolution: Permaculture in Ecovillages, Urban Farms, and Communities Worldwide, is finally in print!

Urban gardeners. Native seed-saving collectives. Ecovillage developments. What is the connection between these seemingly disparate groups? The ecological design system of permaculture is the common thread that weaves them into a powerful, potentially revolutionary — or reevolutionary — movement.

Permaculture is a philosophy based on common ethics of sustainable cultures throughout history that have designed settlements according to nature’s patterns and lived within its bounds. It is taking form as a growing network of sites developed with the intention of regenerating local ecologies and economies. Permaculture strategies can be used by individuals, groups or nations to address basic human needs such as food, water, energy, and housing, and the movement has been building momentum exponentially for the past 40 years. As a species, humans are being called forth to evolve, using our collective intelligence to meet the challenges of the future. Yet if we are to survive our collective planetary crisis, we need to revisit history, integrating successful systems from sustainable cultures. To boldly confront our position on the brink of the earth’s carrying capacity and make change that incorporates the wisdom of the past is truly revolutionary.

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Posted by & filed under General, Society, Village Development.

Sharing is the path to a greener, more peaceful world.

by Ruth Wilson

Human decisions and human activities are imposing enormous costs on the life-support systems of planet Earth. Left unchecked, the results will be catastrophic for all living things, including humans. Some of the damage to life and the systems that support life is irreversible. Fortunately, the message is out there to “save the environment.”

What may be equally important is a message about the need to save ourselves from repeating the kind of decisions and actions that brought us to the environmental crisis in the first place. In the framing of this message, we might critique a theory proposed by Garrett Hardin in an essay, “The Tragedy of the Commons.”

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Posted by & filed under Compost, Fungi, Soil Biology, Soil Composition, Soil Rehabilitation.

This short article is a chapter from my book “Fertilizer for Free: How to make the most from Biological Nitrogen Fixation”.

One important question permaculture designers should ask themselves:

Is there anything you can do to increase the rate of biological nitrogen fixation?

The benefits of having more nitrogen rich organic matter in the soil are myriad. Starting with:

  • higher general productivity
  • richer and more diverse soil life
  • more available phosphorus
  • higher availability of various other nutrients
  • higher capacity to hold nutrients

Fortunately there’s actually quite a lot you can do to make sure your plants are growing the fastest and they fix the most nitrogen! Here are nine methods you can use in your permaculture design to make sure your nitrogen-fixing plants are giving you and the whole ecosystem more benefits.

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