Posted by & filed under Courses/Workshops.

From the 16th of March, Agari Permaculture Farm and Mud Mob are running a two-week natural building, health and healing workshop.

The focus of the workshop is the build of a 10sqm Cob house using a number of natural building styles – cob, wattle and daub, light earth, recycled bottle walls, cordwood and a reciprocal roof – to give participants hands-on experience in a variety of building styles and the confidence to start their own building projects.

There’ll also be earthbag building and talks and demonstrations on earthships, permaculture, fermentation, mycology, creating communities, alternative energy and much more.

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Posted by & filed under Animal Housing, Bird Life, Livestock, Working Animals.

The scientific name for chickens is Gallus domesticus for domesticated chickens. Domesticated chickens have been bred by humans from Asian jungle fowls. The chicken is the closest living relative to the great Tyrannosaurus rex. In a Permaculture environment all animals are important, but by breeding smaller animals you will receive more benefits than breeding larger animals, because:

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

Turmeric (Curcuma longa) can handle 5°F/-15°C. The rhizomes make a great tea and are
wonderful shredded into stir-frys or cooked with rice.

When I visit tropical and subtropical forest gardens I often see ginger, turmeric, galangal, and cardamom in the understory, beneath and between the fruit trees. In fact, according to P.K. Nair’s fantastic Tropical Homegardens, ginger and turmeric are universally found in tropical homegardens (ancient, traditional food forests) around the world.

I was thus very excited the day my copy of T.M.E. Branney’s Hardy Gingers arrived in the mail. This book profiles perhaps 100 members of the ginger family (Zingiberaceae) and the related Costaceae. How nice to learn that many, many gingers can handle some cold, and are grown by gardeners in the US and UK as ornamentals.

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Posted by & filed under Community Projects, Village Development.

The world needs a better way to make decisions together

“The new era of digital democracy is one source of hope. New formats for web-based participation, like Loomio, and enablers of grassroots engagement… are flourishing.” — The Huffington Post

Democracy isn’t just about politics — it’s people getting together and deciding how things should be. It’s a skill we can practice with people wherever we are: in our workplaces, our schools, and our communities.

Loomio is a user-friendly tool for collaborative decision-making: not majority-rules polling, but actually coming up with solutions that work for everyone. We’re a small team in New Zealand, and we’ve built a prototype that people are already doing great things with. Now we’re crowdfunding so we can build the real thing: a new tool for truly inclusive decision-making.

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Posted by & filed under Courses/Workshops.

Fuki (petasites japonicus giganteus) has great
edible leafstalks and enjoys wet shade

What: Food tasting and workshop
When: April 26, 2014, 10am to 4pm
Where: Holyoke, MA, USA
Instructors: Jonathan Bates & Eric Toensmeier
Cost per person: US$120 (does not include meals or accommodations)

Spend a day with Jonathan Bates and Eric Toensmeier, the co-designers and managers of the garden that inspired the book Paradise Lot. We will tour the garden and sample the crops that are in season. You’ll taste the early perennial vegetables like seakale, turkish rocket, wild leek, toothwort, hablitzia and many more!

Expect to come away with an understanding of what inspired the garden, how it was designed, the opportunities and challenges along the way, and our vision for the future. We will touch on other garden elements including the bioshelter greenhouse, ecological tool shed, tropical garden, edible water garden, and our microlivestock: chickens, compost worms, soldier flies, silk caterpillars, fish.

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Posted by & filed under Alternatives to Political Systems, People Systems, Society, Village Development.

Peter Emerson is the director of the de Borda Institute in Belfast, Northern Ireland. He is a leading authority on voting systems for use in both decision-making and elections. See a previous interview with Peter here.

Marcin Gerwin: This autumn we will have local elections in Poland and instead of the proportional representation a new electoral system will be used in most places — first-past-the-post. Some politicians say that it is a great solution, because this method is very simple and easy to understand — whoever gets most votes in his or her constituency wins. They say it will beneficial for local communities. Would you agree with that?

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Posted by & filed under Community Projects, Food Forests, Seeds, Trees, Village Development.

I spent the last two months in the Philippines, and had a great experience with seed planting with local kids in the neighborhood.

After devouring as many of the cheap and delicious tropical fruits I can get my hands on (especially durian, mango, gaisano, mangosteen, avocado) I’ve been saving the seeds as much as possible, and recently decided to go out with some friends and plant some of them into the surrounding area to give something back to the local community and to see more fruit trees in the area. So, we scouted out a low lying fertile patch of land that was getting regular cow donations and which looked like a good area for water inflows.

The kids in the neighborhood caught on to to what we were doing, and in no time at all started digging holes, preparing seed patches, breaking up dry cow pats, and helping us collect some of the dark, clay-rich soil from a nearby mound. I had my own little squad of mini-gardeners, without even asking for their help.

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Posted by & filed under Insects.

Martin O’Callaghan has been keeping bees for nearly 20 years and was up for sharing his experience with us on Top Bar  bee hives and more natural forms of beekeeping. He is passionate about natural beekeeping and runs the Urban Hive, a Melbourne-based business that builds and sells Top Bar and Warre bee hives and removes bee swarms. He is a fountain of knowledge on beekeeping and bees in general!

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

I’d like to invite you to join me as I feature short videos on permaculture locations, farms, and projects in all the countries that comprise Latin America.

To kick start this series, I’m featuring a video on the Permaculture Institute of El Salvador, or IPES, which has been operating since 2000. In the video, director Karen Inwood speaks about the demonstration site and how they have applied various permaculture principles.

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Posted by & filed under Economics.

Do those negotiating the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership have any interest in democracy? Here’s a test.

Nothing threatens democracy as much as corporate power. Nowhere do corporations operate with greater freedom than between nations, for here there is no competition. With the exception of the European parliament there is no transnational democracy, anywhere. All other supranational bodies – the IMF, the World Bank, the United Nations, trade organisations and the rest – work on the principle of photocopy democracy (presumed consent is transferred, copy by copy, to ever greyer and more remote institutions) or no democracy at all(1).

When everything has been globalised except our consent, corporations fill the void. In a system that governments have shown no interest in reforming, global power is often scarcely distinguishable from corporate power. It is exercised through backroom deals between bureaucrats and lobbyists.

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