The idea of keeping chickens at home is one that appeals to a growing number of people around the world. It’s not just that you’ll get “free” eggs and chicken meat, it’s also that the produce from the chickens you keep is known to be free from all the unsavoury “stuff” (including harmful antibiotics and synthetic colouring) commercial chicken eggs and poultry are known to contain. But if you’re going to keep your own flock of chickens, you need to set it up the right way, and then maintain the flock so that they stay healthy, and so do you.
Having decided to set up your own flock of chickens, there are several routes you can take. The two that usually work the best are:
1. Buy one or more adult hens from a reputable source and give them fertilized eggs (also from a reputable source) to sit on. If you start with properly pedigreed chickens, your ultimate flock will be superior. 2. Buy a flock of young chicks, please ensure that the chicks are not separated from the mother hen at an inappropriate age, from a reputable breeder. Then wait for the hens to grow up and lay their own eggs that your best rooster will fertilize, and they will sit on.
The option to avoid is having chickens shipped in the mail.
Ultimately, anyone wanting a sustainable flock of chickens should be focusing on quality of bird, and not quantity. If you buy from commercial hatcheries, you should be aware that they don’t usually breed selectively, and because of this, aggressive traits are not ruled out.
No, they are not the Beatles! These are enthusiastic students having just completed our advanced weekend course on semi-stand alone, battery based, (hybrid) 24-hour solar power systems. In front of them is instructor Mike Haydon’s state of the art C.I.G.S thin film solar array comprised of 10 x 160 watt UNI-SUN modules.
Well hello; and thanks for following this story about our journey towards installing a solar power system that works for us and is simultaneously good for the planet and future generations. If you missed my 1st article click here to catch up.
It is important to note that we reduced our energy consumption dramatically with little effort, so installing the “Solar Hybrid Energy System” is now going to be much less expensive than would otherwise have been the case. (To get the free report on how to easily reduce electricity demand click here)
Fortuitously I have friends and associates who actually install solar P.V (Photo-Voltaic) systems as well as those who use them! I have others who work as linesmen on the grid and I even have contacts in large energy companies, so with this unusual and poignant perspective, I decided to ask some lingering pertinent questions, to try and ascertain why grid feed P.V solar seems to be an eternal source of disappointment, confusion and consternation for the consumer, the energy companies and the government alike.
I arrived early for my interview with Vivian Kaloxilos, and as I waited at a small student-run co-op café called “The Hive” at Concordia University in Montreal, I reflected on the first time I heard her perform at the Northeastern Permaculture Convergence almost two and half years before. As I closed my eyes, I could still see her in the twilight performing her song, “Radical” and laying bare her soul upon the grassy stage. I heard her perform this song again a year later at the Quebec Permaculture Convergence, and her performance was as powerful and moving as it was the first time. Her music is one of her creative outlets. Her passion makes a powerful statement as she appeals to the audience’s sense of reason and justice, encouraging, supporting and further arousing a commitment to change. She says she doesn’t write love songs. Instead, she writes thought-provoking pieces, symbolic and poetic music that is a reflection of the greater social and environmental consciousness sweeping the globe today. She is following her excitement towards a more sustainable and equitable future.
Well known and respected author and pioneer in dry land water harvesting strategies, Brad Lancaster, sits down to an upbeat and revealing interview with Nicholas Burtner where he opens up about his life, permaculture, experience, and of course dry land strategies. Enjoy!
This is Part Three about ARCAH Therapeutic Permaculture Yard.
Part One can be found here.
Part two can be found here.
Edited by James Turner
Throughout 2014, our permaculture experience at the social-farm therapeutic community allowed all kinds of new patterns in our daily lives. We started to identify natures’ knowledge around us as we got deeper and deeper into the permaculture lectures. For instance, the community’s pathways got a new meaning, becoming niches of opportunity for life, yield, beauty and productivity. Now our walks are between flowers, medicinal plants, spices and food.
The most valuable material in class were the lessons we could achieve in a practical way and that eventually would come back to us through the kitchen as healthy meals. During a carbon cycle class we decided our next challenge would be Mushrooms!
Almost 25 years ago I had THE big dream, THE self-sufficient, Permaculture lifestyle dream that is. From that moment on I worked hard towards it, both economically and educationally. Then finally, after five years my family and I swapped the mayhem of the city for a fresh air country plot of land on the Sunshine Coast, QLD Australia.
Hooray! We did it! We arrived as a family of five which included myself, my husband and our three sons. We fondly called our new home ‘The Farm’, and we looked a lot like the Beverley Hillbillies but in reverse order, arriving in the country with the bounty of the wasteful city. We had raided Sydney’s North Shore council kerbside pickups over some years in preparation. We arrived at ‘The Farm’ stocked to the hilt with everything including three (animal trough) bathtubs and a kitchen sink!
I sit here today with a glass of homemade wine in my hand. I am overlooking what we have created, nearly 20 years on. I am very content with having the inspirational dream delivered to us and others so cleverly by Bill Mollison in his Global Gardener series screened on the ABC some 30 years earlier. I recall one episode where Bill luxuriously laid back in a hammock and feasted on overhanging fruit. He went on to show simple, easy ‘Garden of Eden’ style gardening that included fruit trees with their own mulching plants, guilds and lush Food Forests with helpful birds and bees without any chemicals. I was SOLD, and I wanted some of that! He planted a seed in me, and I was off!
A sustainability evaluation of urban agriculture (UA) projects in specific wards in Nelson Mandela Bay in 2012 (Phase I) and 2014 (phase II) has shown that 97% of the school garden were not sustainable. Most projects did not aim to empower gardeners to the point of rendering the garden autonomous. A recommendation was therefore made to test a permaculture – based model of urban agriculture and promote the latter if proven sustainable.
The proposal made is for establishing a Permaculture Design based vegetable gardening cooperative (or some such suitable entity), which, by becoming self–sufficient in term of effective resource use and able to generate both food and income for the members of the cooperative, would be both socio-economically and environmentally sustainable.
B. Overall Aims
In addition to testing the permaculture model of food production, it is aimed at building a functioning suitable entity which is based on the real empowerment of the members.
It is also hoped that this set up becomes a centre where Asset Based Community Development (ABCD) and Permaculture Design Courses (PDC) would be taught and promoted.
Finally, should the above be successfully established, it would thereby promote the localization of food production and related inputs/outputs in the ward where it would be situated.
This would fully respond to the UA survey recommendations and establish the centre as reference model for sustainable socio-economic development.
Join us for a tour of Kinship Urban Farm as we show a young group of students service learning in how farms work. Kinship Urban Farm is a project I volunteered on several years ago and it has developed into a full blown urban agricultural project. It’s located on 1/2 acre behind the West Pasco Habitat for Humanity Re-store at 4131 Madison Street, New Port Richey, FL. Local community members volunteer to grow fresh organic vegetables for local community to enjoy nutrient dense food. We are practicing permaculture year round in New Port Richey at this great non profit.
Support Tom and Zaia Kendall with Daniele Bettini and Anne Blanc, to establish a Permaculture Research Institute Master Plan site in Luganville, Vanuatu. The site will be a permaculture demonstration site where we will run PDCs and longer term practical experiences for local people.
‘We aim to show them that they have such wonderful traditions and such an abundant natural environment, that they will be able to support that abundance by learning how to work with nature in the Permaculture way.’ Zaia Kendall
In 2013 Tom went to Vanuatu to teach a PDC Course to 10 local students who took this knowledge back to their villages. He returned in 2014 on a sponsored visit to do more trainings, and again saw various problems on the islands which he felt inspired to find solutions for.
Want to know what happens in your body when you switch from eating conventional food to organic? Watch this! The study was conducted by the Swedish Environmental Research Institute IVL, and the full report is available here: https://www.coop.se/organiceffect
Of all the countries in Europe, Spain could be arguably said to be the most destructive and irresponsible when it comes to agriculture: widely condoned cultivation of genetically modified crops (see for example 1), high-input intensive farming and notably heavy use of chemicals for fertilisers, pesticides and herbicides (see for example 2). This is especially true in Andalucía, where the most common method of agriculture is use of controlled environments requiring high chemical input inside plastic greenhouses (2).
Yet despite these trends, Andalucía is also home to some of the most inventive and experimental land-based projects on the continent, one of which is the newly opened permaculture demonstration project and retreat centre La Loma Viva (3).
Last month I spent two weeks working at La Loma Viva and finding out about the project, much of which is inspiring highly inspiring for others interested in this kind of work.
The view in full moonlight from La Loma Viva. Photo by David Ashwanden.
NIOO Seminar by Chinese-American filmmaker John D. Liu. Title: ‘The Healing of the Earth’. The seminar took place on 26 January 2015 in the Colloquium Room at NIOO-KNAW in Wageningen.
Using excerpts from his films, Liu talks about his life’s work of convincing the world that ecosystems damaged by human activity can in fact be repaired by human activity. Why, Liu asks, aren’t more students, academics and others embracing ‘the great work of our time’?