Posted by & filed under Courses/Workshops.

What: Regenerative Farm Enterprise Planning Workshop
Where: Shannon Farm Community in Afton, Virginia, USA
When: October 18-23, 2014
Who: With Eric Toensmeier, Rafter Sass Ferguson, and Elizabeth Ü

Register through Blue Ridge Permaculture.

Scaling up ecological agriculture is one of the critical challenges we face in addressing climate change and the global food crisis. Integrated perennial farm businesses are a key part of the solution when planned and managed effectively; join us to learn and practice how!

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Posted by & filed under Biodiversity, Community Projects.

Narrated by film-maker and ecologist John D. Liu, “Abode of the Clouds” is about how local communities in the Garo Hills, North East India are taking the lead in mitigating and adapting to climate change.

Since time immemorial people and the wilder beasts have co-existed in the Garo hills. The land, blessed with abundant water, fertile soil and thick forest cover, is home to one million people and wild animals — like elephants, gibbons and leopards. Since ancient times, the forests around the village communities are seen as sacred groves and have been preserved and worshiped. They appreciated and respected the fact that the forests provided them with food, water, shelter and everything they needed for life.

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Posted by & filed under General, Global Warming/Climate Change.


Monthly climate normals graph

Having accurate climatic data is an important part of designing a resilient and productive ecological system capable of diverse yields from year to year. This is especially true as we live through the uncertainty of climate change.

For those living in the US, a great resource for finding long-term tabulated and graphical climate data is the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

NOAA recently upgraded their NOWData software, making it one of the easiest to use free tools for the American Permaculturist looking for climate data for site assessments.

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Posted by & filed under GMOs, Health & Disease.

EU rapporteur state Germany recommends re-approval with daily intake increased by 67 %; its re-assessment was carried out by Monsanto and a consortium of chemical companies in Europe based almost entirely on studies from industry; it should be rejected outright.

by Dr Nancy Swanson and Dr Mae Wan Ho

Preposterous verdict of “acceptable” risks for glyphosate

Germany, acting as the European Union rapporteur member state (RMS) submitted their glyphosate renewal assessment report (RAR) to the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) in January 2014, recommending re-approval of glyphosate for use in Europe with increase in the acceptable daily intake (ADI) from 0.3 to 0.5 mg per kg body weight per day [1].

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Posted by & filed under Demonstration Sites, Urban Projects.

How would you feel about replacing your lawn by a natural, low-maintenance system that would also give you a bounty of fruits, vegetables and herbs? Écomestible is a young business that specializes in the design and implementation of edible landscapes. Co-founder Jonathan Pineault tells us about their approach and shows us around a few of their designs in residential and commercial settings.

Posted by & filed under Commercial Farm Projects, Demonstration Sites, Land, Livestock, Plant Systems, Soil Biology, Soil Conservation, Soil Rehabilitation, Structure.

Meet Allen Williams, Gabe Brown and Neil Dennis — heroes and innovators! These ranchers now know how to regenerate their soils while making their animals healthier and their operations more profitable. They are turning on their soils, enabling rainwater to sink into the earth, rather than run off. And these turned on soils retain that water, so the ranches are much more resilient in drought. It’s an amazing story that has just begun.

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Posted by & filed under Community Projects, Markets & Outlets, Urban Projects, Village Development.

The month of June was designated as ‘Eat Local Month’ in Columbia, Missouri. The Sustainable Farms and Communities and the Columbia/Boone County Department of Public Health and Human Services, in conjunction with many other local organisations made this declaration in order to recognize and support the large amount of food production from local farmers and to encourage good health through food choices. The Columbia Mayor, Bob McDavid, and the Boone County Commission, considering it as an initiative that enriches life and promises improved health, gave their full support.

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Posted by & filed under Food Forests, Food Plants - Perennial, Trees.

One of the more challenging environments for food production is cold and arid. I’ve been investigating useful perennial plants for that climate for many years. A few years ago I purchased Robert Nold’s High and Dry: Gardening with Cold-Hardy Dryland Plants. Robert isn’t interested in growing these plants for food, but he has an incredible wealth of knowledge and years of experience in growing plants in his Littleton, Colorado garden with 10″/250mm of precipitation a year and -10°F/-23°C winter temperatures.

I was fortunate to be able to visit Robert and his garden with a class last year. It was fascinating to see his collection, and I was struck by the beauty of these tough high desert survivors.

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Posted by & filed under GMOs.

Europe’s status as one of the most rigidly regulated and GM-controlled agricultural zones in the world (1) is being severely tested in a number of ways: regulations allowing member states to choose whether or not to support genetic modification (2) (3), corporations suing the European Parliament for banning dangerous pesticides (4), and the mysterious TTIP (see for example 5, 6) lurking shadily in the background.

Growing

Last week, however, a decisive victory was achieved by those who prefer their food with less poison, as chemical company Syngenta withdrew an application to the British government which, if it had gone through, would have enabled the use of a pesticide whose danger level has been decided as “unacceptable” (20) – for three years, at least. The “emergency” exemption being sought by Syngenta was for the lifting of the Europe-wide ban on the use on flowering crops of one particular neonicotinoid chemical, thiamethoxam (7).

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Posted by & filed under Energy Systems.

by J. Matthew Roney, Earth Policy Institute

China installed a world record amount of solar photovoltaics (PV) capacity in 2013. While this was the first time the country was the number one installer, China has led all countries in making PV for the better part of a decade. China now accounts for 64 percent of global solar panel production — churning out 25,600 megawatts of the nearly 40,000 megawatts of PV made worldwide in 2013 — according to data from GTM Research.

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Posted by & filed under Insects.

Biologist Sara Lewis has spent the past 20 years getting to the bottom of the magic and wonder of fireflies. In this charming talk, she tells us how and why the beetles produce their silent sparks, what happens when two fireflies have sex, and why one group of females is known as the firefly vampire. (It’s not pretty.)