Community Projects — by Craig Mackintosh PRI Editor May 22, 2013
John D. Liu of the EEMP treats us to another look at permaculture solutions in application — this time with the Tamera project in Portugal.
Tamera is a peace research village with the goal of becoming “a self-sufficient, sustainable and duplicatable communitarian model for nonviolent cooperation and cohabitation between humans, animals, nature, and Creation for a future of peace for all."  It is also often called a “healing biotope."  Literally translated, "biotope" simply means a place where life lives. In Tamera, however, “healing biotope” is also described as a “greenhouse of trust,” “an acupuncture point of peace,” and “a self-sufficient future community."  It is located on 335 acres (1.36 km2) in the Alentejo region of southwestern Portugal. — Wikipedia
Kudos to Dr. Vandana Shiva for kicking this off. Watch the videos to find out more, and get involved!
Building, Energy Systems — by Craig Mackintosh PRI Editor May 20, 2013
With deforestation still moving ahead apace, dealing with the global demand for fuel wood is critical. Life without heat and hot water would be very unpleasant. Life without trees is impossible…. And to satiate our hunger for heat, richly biodiverse forests are being replaced with ’sterile’ monoculture tree plantations which give rise to tree diseases and other ecological vulnerabilities. The pressure for fuel wood is on in most parts of the world. Removing tree cover from the upper watershed is particularly damaging, but persistent demand can cause too many to shift the goalposts on how much should be allowed to remain….
Along with passive solar building designs, a rocket stove hot water heater can dramatically reduce the amount of wood used to heat a given amount of space, or a given amount of water — down to as little as a fifth as much as a regular fire. In this video Geoff Lawton takes you through the design of the rocket stove mass hot water heater that very efficiently provides reliable daily showers for the many students we receive at PRI Zaytuna Farm. This particular stove is specifically for heating water, but other designs can produce thermal mass space heaters as well.Comments (3)
Animal Housing, Bird Life, Fencing, Rehabilitation, Working Animals — by Craig Mackintosh PRI Editor May 12, 2013
Almost everyone who is exposed to permaculture concepts has seen the above graphic (from Bill Mollison’s Introduction to Permaculture). It’s a great way to get people thinking about how to create whole, functional systems that use different elements (like a chicken) in combination with other elements (like those found in your garden), to save labour and increase productivity. It is for many an eye-opening concept, but one that is quickly grasped, and one that encourages observation on the products and behaviours of many other elements — be they ‘animal, vegetable or mineral’.
It’s a great lead-in to permaculture thinking.
The gentleman in the video below well exemplifies this thinking. He clearly knows how to ‘manage’ his little chicken workforce. He knows what they love to do, and he knows they’ll charge him little to nothing for it. He recognises that to get the most out of the chicken, can also mean giving most to the chicken. This is a typical permaculture win-win.Comments (3)
Building — by Craig Mackintosh PRI Editor April 26, 2013
Photos © Craig Mackintosh
The main buildings at the PRI’s Zaytuna Farm remind me a little of those cute homes I saw in tales in children’s books as a kid. You know — the edible type, made of sugar, etc. The natural colour, texture and shape all lend themselves to this nostalgia. But, despite appearances, most of these structures are actually made of straw bale (with a daub and lime render over top), so even though they look great, I wouldn’t encourage you to try to eat them.Comments (1)
Biodiversity, Deforestation, Desertification, Food Shortages, Global Warming/Climate Change, Plant Systems, Rehabilitation, Soil Erosion & Contamination, Trees — by Craig Mackintosh PRI Editor April 23, 2013
John D. Liu of the EEMP, who has partnered with us in spreading the permaculture message, has created yet another excellent documentary — this time focussing on drylands, their past function and their present dysfunction through a broadscale loss of forest cover, and its impact on soil loss and on the hydrological cycle.
In this video we travel vicariously with John as he takes us from Jordan to Africa to Asia and the Americas, showing us both degradation and restoration — and sharing the inspirational message we all need to hear: that we can undo the damage we’ve inflicted on planet earth, our home.Comments (3)
Community Projects, Demonstration Sites, Education Centres, Food Forests, Food Plants - Annual, Food Plants - Perennial, Plant Systems, Seeds, Trees, Urban Projects — by Craig Mackintosh PRI Editor April 21, 2013
The home of Robert and Robyn Guyton stands amidst an abundance of food
All photos © Craig Mackintosh
Robyn Guyton stands in the Zone 5 area of her food forest
Riverton is a quaint little windswept fishing settlement on the far-south coastline of New Zealand’s beautiful South Island (map). As well as being one of the southernmost inhabited towns in the world, and one of New Zealand’s oldest European settlements, Riverton has another, more relevant, claim to fame — that of hosting one of the best food forests I’ve ever seen! With this post, and the video included, I want to give you a bit of a look at this temperate climate, biological cornucopia.Comments (11)
General — by Craig Mackintosh PRI Editor April 6, 2013
A little (no more than 2cms long!) tree frog adds to the diversity of Zaytuna Farm
Photos © Craig Mackintosh
It’s been a rewarding time here at Zaytuna Farm. I’ve been busy taking footage, and a few photos too (like our little friend above — and thanks to eagle-eyed Geoff for spotting him). Thanks for your patience over the last few weeks, while postings have been a little more intermittant than usual. (And I know some can get a little grumpy if they don’t get their regular dose of permaculturenews fare!) Hopefully you’ll find it all worth it, after I’ve had a chance to put some articles together and edit the video for you all.
Tomorrow I make my way back home, so you’ll need to give me a few more days yet before this blog’s life returns to normal.
Courses/Workshops — by Craig Mackintosh PRI Editor March 27, 2013
Geoff Lawton, above the PRI’s Zaytuna Farm
Photos © Craig Mackintosh
Some of you may have noticed I’ve been a little intermittant in my (visible) work for you all of late…. I thought I’d better let you know I’m still alive and well, and that the reason for my tardiness in posting is due to travelling. I’m now, as the photo above indicates, at the PRI’s Zaytuna Farm, working on an update to last year’s Zaytuna Farm Video Tour. (On that note, if you have particular aspects of the farm that you’d like to see, do let me know via comments below, and, if at all possible, I’ll try to work those aspects in — but be quick, as I won’t be here long!)Comments (15)
Demonstration Sites, Education Centres — by Craig Mackintosh PRI Editor March 24, 2013
The top valley dam, nestled amongst rainforest
All photographs © Craig Mackintosh
After Geoff’s Urban Permaculture talk at the Noosa Permaculture Group meeting on March 21, 2013 (watch for the video, which I’ll upload in about a month from now), we headed a few kilometres north, to the Permaculture Research Institute Sunshine Coast, where Tom and Zaia Kendall kindly put us up for the night. It was a great opportunity for me (and thus you) to see their site. We arrived in darkness, and soon drifted peacefully off to sleep to the sound of frogs, fruit bats, and other critters that I, and my tiredness, failed to identify.
After a sound sleep, however, I awoke early, grabbed my camera, and headed out to take a few pics to share with all you interested folk, in the couple of short hours I had before we needed to head south once again!Comments (9)
SOIL (Sustainable Organic Integrated Livelihoods) Turns Problem into Solution With Composting Toilets (Haiti)
Aid Projects, Community Projects, Compost, Conservation, Rehabilitation, Urban Projects, Village Development, Waste Systems & Recycling — by Craig Mackintosh PRI Editor March 3, 2013
A few months ago I shared a three minute video from John D. Liu of the EEMP about the work of SOIL (Sustainable Organic Integrated Livelihoods) — an organisation that’s doing great work in Haiti to improve sanitation in a sustainable and affordable way, whilst simultaneously turning the problem (human waste) into a solution (improving agricultural production whilst reducing the incidence of diseases like cholera). John has just sent me the latest edit from his video work on the impoverished island nation, so below you’ll find an extended look at the work of SOIL, and its context. This video makes an excellent follow-up to the article we just posted a couple of days ago: Recycling Animal and Human Dung is the Key to Sustainable Farming.
General, Podcasts — by Craig Mackintosh PRI Editor February 15, 2013
Geoff Lawton at the Zaytuna Farm entrance
Photo © Craig Mackintosh
This is Part B of the fourth installment in our popular Q&A series. In case you didn’t catch it on previous occasions, we added a new sub-forum titled ‘Put Your Questions to the Experts!‘, where our forum members put their questions to experienced permaculturists we’ll approach over the weeks and months ahead. First up to be the target of our combined curiosities and the salve of our perplexities, is the PRI’s own Geoff Lawton. Geoff, currently teaching at Zaytuna Farm in NSW, Australia, spends 80 minutes with us, sharing from his wealth of experience in permaculture teaching and consulting in dozens of countries worldwide.
Click play below to hear the podcast!Comments (2)
General, Podcasts — by Craig Mackintosh PRI Editor February 1, 2013
This is the fourth installment in our popular Q&A series. In case you didn’t catch it on previous occasions, we added a new sub-forum titled ‘Put Your Questions to the Experts!‘, where our forum members put their questions to experienced permaculturists we’ll approach over the weeks and months ahead. First up to be the target of our combined curiosities and the salve of our perplexities, is the PRI’s own Geoff Lawton. Geoff, currently teaching at Zaytuna Farm in NSW, Australia, spends 60 minutes with us, sharing from his wealth of experience in permaculture teaching and consulting in dozens of countries worldwide.
Note: In this episode you’ll find the answers to only the first five questions in Round 4. Geoff was called away in the middle, so we’ll attend to the rest of the questions in a subsequent video.Comments (5)
Biological Cleaning, Conservation, Dams, Earth Banks, Gabions, Irrigation, Land, Material, Potable Water, Regional Water Cycle, Rehabilitation, Soil Erosion & Contamination, Storm Water, Swales, Terraces, Water Contaminaton & Loss, Water Harvesting — by Craig Mackintosh PRI Editor January 31, 2013
This excellent little 20-minute video does a great job of covering the basics of watershed management and landscape rehydration. You won’t hear the words ‘permaculture’ or ’swales’ once, but it’s clear that both are in use here, to great effect. If we can get these simple but profound concepts driven into social consciousness, and applied broadscale, we would see that investment in labour pay dividends, as many of our increasingly expensive natural disasters and resource limitations would simply disappear, as we reinstate nature’s own moderating capabilities.Comments (7)
Aid Projects, Community Projects, Demonstration Sites, Education, Education Centres, Urban Projects — by Craig Mackintosh PRI Editor January 23, 2013
Watch the video above, and be inspired. I suspect that if many of our schools had been incorporating this kind of permaculture education over the last few decades, the world would today be in a far better situation, as many of the adults and young adults of the present generation would now already be eco-literate doers and changers. But, let’s not talk about what could have been, but instead do what we can to get permaculture education into a school near you….Comments (4)