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

In just 30 days support has flowed in from all across the globe for the Marda Permaculture Farm, to initiate Phase 1 for the Eco-Teaching Building Murad and the Marda Team have long dreamed of. We are so grateful and excited!

We now have just 40 hours left, and have raised 84 percent of our full goal! Reaching or exceeding it means a lot to us because it reduces the percentage we must give back to Indiegogo.

All we need is $653. Can you pitch in?

The Marda Permaculture Farm is a working farm and demonstration site for permaculture principles, techniques and strategies in Palestine. Based in the picturesque ancient village of Marda, the project promotes food sovereignty, health, self-reliance and empowerment. This is accomplished through modeling water harvesting, recycling, energy conservation and home-scale garden production with readily available and locally-appropriate materials.

Farm Founder and Director Murad AlKhufash has long dreamed of a teaching building using natural materials and techniques such as earth bag construction, cob, adobe, and local building technologies. The building, which would maximize space with two stories would provide a much needed office, indoor space for workshops, and lodging for interns and volunteers.

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Posted by & filed under Fish, Plant Systems, Water Harvesting.


Trailer only – watch full video here!

Geoff Lawton visits the Hawaiian Island of Molokai where an 800 year old traditional fish farming system is being restored. Fish farming has been practiced for centuries in many cultures. The Hawaiians built a sustainable system that worked from the top of the mountain range and ran right down to the base and out to sea.

The Hawaiians built a network of terraced gardens – small spring systems in the upper slope of the island to grow their starch crops of taro. Excess water ran from terrace to terrace, over the most distance to build an abundant food harvesting system. Taro ponds in the upper slopes gathered nutrient and algae and enabled it to flow downhill into smaller collection ponds before being discharged out to sea.

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Posted by & filed under Food Shortages, GMOs, Soil Erosion & Contamination, Water Contaminaton & Loss.

by Canadian Biotechnology Action Network

The Claim: We need GM crops to feed the world


Full Report (550kb PDF)

Supporters of genetically engineered (also called genetically modified or GM) crops claim that we need this technology to feed a growing global population. However, the promise to “feed the world” with GM crops overlooks the real causes of hunger, and disregards the many harmful impacts of using GM technology.

The Real Problem

The claim that we need GM crops to feed the world ignores the real, root problem: Hunger is caused by poverty and inequality.

  • The truth is that we already produce enough food to feed 10 billion people, which is the number our population is predicted to reach by 2050. A third of food produced around the world is wasted every year.
  • People are generally hungry not because of insufficient food production, but because they do not have money to buy food, access to land to grow food, or because of poor food distribution systems and a lack of reliable water and farming infrastructure. GM crops do not help solve these causes of hunger.

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

by David C. Holzman

A small but growing body of literature reports associations between pesticide exposures during pregnancy and characteristics of autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) or actual autism diagnosis.(1,2,3) A study published this month in EHP adds to the weight of this evidence, reporting an increased risk of ASD diagnosis among children whose mothers lived during pregnancy near fields where pesticides were applied.(4)

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Posted by & filed under Plant Systems.


Agroecology is a different way of seeing the food system because it deals with issues
related to who gets access to resources and the processes that determine this access.
(Photo credit: UN Photo)

“It is time for a new agricultural model that ensures that enough quality food is produced where it is most needed, that preserves nature and that delivers ecosystem services of local and global relevance” – in a word, it is time for agroecology.

The call came from Pablo Tittonell of Wageningen University, one of the world’s leading institutions in the field of agriculture science, speaking at the International Symposium on Agroecology for Food Security and Nutrition, organised by the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).

The symposium, held at FAO headquarters in Rome on Sep. 18-19, gathered experts from many backgrounds, including scientists, scholars, policy-makers and farmers.

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Posted by & filed under Food Plants - Annual, Plant Systems.


SRI-grown rice in China

The world record yield for paddy rice production is not held by an agricultural research station or by a large-scale farmer from the United States, but by Sumant Kumar who has a farm of just two hectares in Darveshpura village in the state of Bihar in Northern India. His record yield of 22.4 tons per hectare, from a one-acre plot, was achieved with what is known as the System of Rice Intensification (SRI). To put his achievement in perspective, the average paddy yield worldwide is about 4 tons per hectare. Even with the use of fertilizer, average yields are usually not more than 8 tons.

Sumant Kumar’s success was not a fluke. Four of his neighbors, using SRI methods, and all for the first time, matched or exceeded the previous world record from China, 19 tons per hectare. Moreover, they used only modest amounts of inorganic fertilizer and did not need chemical crop protection.

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Posted by & filed under Building.


The inaugural use of the clay oven

If you are into permaculture, eco-construction and/or just cool garden projects, then building your own pizza oven has undoubtedly made a blip on the radar at some point. For me, I first encountered them on Ometepe Island in Lake Nicaragua, where it seemed every other hostel, hotel or farm was hosting a weekly pizza night. I was volunteering at a small permaculture project (Totoco Farm), and we were no different — for all the volunteers, Wednesday night was pizza night.

At that point, I was still relatively new on the scene, and while I had done some eco-construction with earthbags, I had never taken on my own project. So, when the farm’s owner Martijn told me about the building process, I noted it but didn’t really think I’d be building my own within the year. My, how times change. Just a couple of months after leaving Totoco, I took a job in Panama with the idea of putting organic gardening and permaculture practices into play on a small piece of vacation property. Building a pizza oven immediately came to mind.

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Posted by & filed under Compost, Deforestation, Fungi, Global Warming/Climate Change, Soil Biology, Soil Composition, Soil Conservation, Soil Rehabilitation, Structure.

In this documentary a legendary civilization thought to be too good to be true on the basis of the stories told by the Spanish explorer Francisco de Orellana, is found to be a real part of history. We can separate fact from fiction here, in that the golden riverbanks the Spaniard told of were not golden with precious metal strewn along them, but with something far more precious — crops!

Posted by & filed under Economics, Food Shortages, General, News, Soil Erosion & Contamination, Water Contaminaton & Loss.

Editor’s Note: On Monday The Independent published an article titled "Britain has only 100 harvests left in its farm soil as scientists warn of growing ‘agricultural crisis’". We are all too aware of why Britain’s (and other nations’) soils are becoming so depleted (if not, please see here and here, for example), and with the Western world standing on the precipice in regards to its food supply, it is insane for us to repeat the same mistakes on healthy soils elsewhere. And yet, that is exactly what we’re doing — financed by ‘investments’ and ‘offset mechanisms’ that empower the rich to extract and destroy ever more efficiently, behind the veil of distance. The colour-by-numbers kind of agriculture that has depleted soils and health in the North, is being aggressively, forcefully and rapidly applied to precious living soils in Africa, and elsewhere — and in too many cases also turning the poor residents of those lands into serfs at the same time. The sensible — and humane — thing to do, is to make a rapid transition to the kind of agriculture we continually write about…. Grow your own food people, and support your local growers, and you will not be contributing to this inhumane, biologically impossible madness.

Plight of Kenya’s indigenous Sengwer shows carbon offsets are empowering corporate recolonisation of the South.

Originally published July 3, 2014

Between 2000 and 2010, a total of 500 million acres of land in Asia, Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean was acquired or negotiated under deals brokered on behalf of foreign governments or transnational corporations.

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