Posted by & filed under Irrigation, Water Conservation, Water Harvesting.


The world water crisis is undisputable, yet surprisingly little work is being done to promote, develop and understand more efficient, low cost irrigation systems. Drip is considered the ‘choice’ but is ill suited for remote areas with low technology and unpressurized, unfiltered water systems. The systems described here will work well and use less water than drip. Capturing and utilizing any rain that falls is also desirable. First, make use of catchments and hard surfaces to collect rainwater in cisterns. Then save as much water on the land as possible with micro catchments, pitting, swales and imprinting. Check dams in the gullies of course. Mulch, compost or brush bits if you have them.

Alternative irrigation systems

I have worked with and tested many alternative systems from traditional cultures and worked on new methods that work well and use much less water. These generally also reduce weed growth, minimize disease problems and improve yield. These systems include many you may never have heard of, including:

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Posted by & filed under Community Projects, News.

Public access to scientific information and the scientists’ ability to make the information generally available to the public are both under threat simultaneously as tremendous opportunities are opening up to counter the threat. TheSparc has been created to take full advantage of the opportunities for distributing scientific information and promoting public access.

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Posted by & filed under Conferences, GMOs, Health & Disease, News, Presentations/Demonstrations.

Free online summit — April 26th to May 4, 2014

Joining John and Ocean Robbins are celebrities like Woody Harrelson, Jane Goodall, Alicia Silverstone, Amy Goodman, and more!

These cultural persuaders are joining with expert doctors and food activists because they’ve realized that if we don’t do something now, we’re in trouble.

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Posted by & filed under Community Projects, Education, Education Centres, Village Development.

Check out this charming short video for a look at kids of various ages learning about different plants and topics relating to permaculture. The video description even tells us that “they ran a farmers’ market that earned over $170” that was used to fund and sustain their project!

Tracker Kids is part of Trackers Earth, a Portland-based outdoor program provider. They teach both kids and adults outdoor skills, survival, artisan crafts, and gardening.

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

by Janet Larsen and Savina Venkova, Earth Policy Institute

Los Angeles rang in the 2014 New Year with a ban on the distribution of plastic bags at the checkout counter of big retailers, making it the largest of the 132 cities and counties around the United States with anti-plastic bag legislation. And a movement that gained momentum in California is going national. More than 20 million Americans live in communities with plastic bag bans or fees. Currently 100 billion plastic bags pass through the hands of U.S. consumers every year — almost one bag per person each day. Laid end-to-end, they could circle the equator 1,330 times. But this number will soon fall as more communities, including large cities like New York and Chicago, look for ways to reduce the plastic litter that blights landscapes and clogs up sewers and streams.

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Posted by & filed under Biodiversity, Deforestation, Economics, Society.

People who think they are protecting nature by costing it are stepping straight into the destroyers’ trap.

George Orwell warned that “the logical end of mechanical progress is to reduce the human being to something resembling a brain in a bottle”(1). This is a story of how it happens.

On the outskirts of Sheffield there is a wood which, some 800 years ago, was used by the monks of Kirkstead Abbey to produce charcoal for smelting iron(2). For local people, Smithy Wood is freighted with stories. Among the trees you can imagine your way into another world. The application to plant a motorway service station in the middle of it, wiping out half the wood and fragmenting the rest, might have been unthinkable a few months ago. No longer.

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Posted by & filed under Consumerism, Economics, Society.

The Light Bulb Conspiracy – Planned Obsolescence (Duration: 53 minutes)

‘Planned obsolescence’ is the deliberate shortening of a product life span so that customers are compelled to buy new products. The sole intention: to make profits. It all started a century ago, when in the late 1920s a group of businessmen came up with a concept — a product that refuses to wear out is a tragedy for business. This gave birth to planned obsolescence. Engineers who were paid to produce quality, durable products were forced to design products with a shorter lifespan — to maintain a high demand and thus keeping up high production.

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

by Peter Greg

The idea of how Permaculture parallels with politics has been a question that has been stuck in my mind for weeks now, and I’ve been fascinated with the idea of how we can use Permaculture to recover some of our political power. The more you look into politics in the modern day with an open mind, the more it starts to resemble a ‘mutated’ eco-system of sorts, and what better teacher than nature and its associated design science — Permaculture — to help us rebuild this important ecology to good health. As Geoff Lawton says “Let’s get to the core of the problem. Let’s get down to the mainframe of the issue,”and it struck me like a paradigm hammering my brain, as I was pondering how niches in an eco-system apply to political systems.

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

A silk tree in my garden, serving as living trellis to arctic kiwifruit; also shade provider for
shade crops including currant, mayapple, fuki, and edible hosta. Also fixes nitrogen.

Rafter Ferguson’s recent excellent article “Permaculture for Agroecology” (PDF) challenges the permaculture movement to read up on what’s happening in related fields like agroecology and agroforestry. I’m particularly interested in learning from the well-established agroforestry practices of the tropics to see what might be applied in cold climates. I’ve been learning a lot about what species are used in cold-climate agroforestry as I research the book I’m writing. Here are some species being used on farms for practices like alley cropping, contour hedgerows, living fences, wind breaks, living trellises, and shade for crops. They serve as our alternative to multipurpose tropical trees like Leucaena and Gliricidia.

Many more species could be used for these purposes and undoubtedly are. I’m focusing here on species that are reported in the literature and those that I have personally used or witness to be used for these purposes. My primary sources are Mansfeld’s Encyclopedia of Agricultural and Horticultural Crops, Participatory Agroforestry Development in DPR Korea (PDF), and Agro-Ecological Farming Systems in China. Please share your successes, failures, and observations — and set up some formal trials!

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Posted by & filed under Courses/Workshops.

Butternut, hazel, sunchoke and elderberry: nuts, fruits, tubers, and beneficial insects!

What: Forest Gardens and Commercial Food Forestry Workshop
Where: Huntington, VT, USA

Want to learn about edible forest gardens, agroforestry, and commercial food forest business development for cold, humid climates? This is the workshop for you! Choose from an introductory weekend and an advanced six-day intensive. For more information or to register click here.

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