Animal Forage, Bird Life, Food Forests, Food Plants - Perennial, Insects, Livestock, Medicinal Plants, Plant Systems, Seeds, Trees — by Nicollas Mauro January 20, 2012
Design science is at the root of any definition of permaculture or put simply, permaculture is design science. — Bill Mollison
Permaculture is a design/holistic/integrative science, whereas the mainstream/academic science is reductionist — that is, to understand how things work, scientists break a system and study the tiny parts.
Nevertheless, permaculture can benefit from reductionist science, to find relevant knowledge and new design ideas, but above all to gain some academic arguments to demonstrate the validity and legitimacy of its principles and techniques.
This is an article which shows some of the links I’ve found between scientific articles published in national and international journals, while searching facts and numbers to help me design my property. During the process, some ideas just popped, so I included them to make the article a “live performance” of the usefulness of lurking in the scientific jungle sometimes.Comments (10)
GMOs, Health & Disease, Insects — by Ecofilms November 17, 2011
Monsanto versus the Corn Rootworm Beetle
in a dangerous game of tit for tat.
This story is almost a parable of two worlds, a battle between the natural and the man-made.
Like a boxing match, in the one corner we have Monsanto – a large company aided by big money and big investment, tinkering away in the science labs, discovering even more devious ways to develop the perfect pest resistant strain of GM corn that can be easily marketed and harvested to a massively large, over-subsidized monoculture industry.
The one aim is to develop the perfect foodstuff that can’t be attacked by pests or disease. Sounds good.
One the other side we have Nature, in the form of a humble beetle — the corn rootworm beetle — eying off all those wonderful acres of unblemished genetically modified corn, with their silk corn heads waving gently in the breeze signalling “C’mon over here little guy – come on over and eat me!”
The system is out of whack and out of balance. But pesky nature likes a balanced system.
So let the battle begin.Comments (8)
Insects — by Anthony Andrist October 1, 2011
With spring coming along steadily we thought it might be time to diversify our beehives into a more natural and sustainable medium. There are a number of designs available, but we wanted something simple and as natural as possible.
Beekeeper working a typical Langstroth apiary
Traditionally, the Langstroth design is a popular one, used mostly in commercial beekeeping. It has a bottom to top vertical arrangement, meaning the queen is in the bottom box and the extra boxes, or supers, are added on top. It also has removable rectangular frames making them easy to inspect and handle. The boxes can be stacked easily and loaded on trucks or pallets for long distances. Boxes can come in different depths, which make lifting a full box of honey much easier. The frames, which can come 8 or 10 to a box, are usually wired and have a wax foundation sheet attached. This begins to resemble more of an industrial agriculture system than a natural hive but can be productive, nonetheless. This is currently the design we use, but we’re curious about other alternatives.Comments (10)
Animal Forage, Animal Housing, Insects, Plant Systems, Working Animals — by Mari Korhonen August 19, 2011
I recently saw a new film, Queen Of The Sun: What are the bees telling us?, about the global honeybee crisis and colony collapse disorder. From a holistic perspective the movie tells a story of transformation of beekeeping and the relationship of humans and bees to explore what is really going on. Once there were times when honey was so appreciated it could not be sold but only given away, yet now we have moved into an era of ruthless one sided exploitation in the search of economical profits, both in beekeeping as well as the agricultural and land use practices surrounding it. As most of us are aware, we have now come to face the consequences of this transformation. Queen of the Sun is a fascinating prelude to rediscovering the synergistic relationship between humans and bees, and is complemented on a practical level by natural beekeeping. Bee guardianship, a natural beekeeping approach taught by Corwin Bell from Boulder, Colorado, encourages and appreciates the beeness of bees and helps to nurture their currently delicate existence by integrating top bar hives into our own backyards, gardens and farms. I think permaculturists could do a lot of good by linking up with these people.Comments (7)
Food Forests, General, Insects — by Craig Mackintosh PRI Editor July 17, 2011
Not too many permaculturists have to deal with problems as potentially destructive, and even deadly, as elephants. But, I have met some of these people in my travels (see here and here). For those around the world grappling with this oversized issue, here is some potential help born of good permaculture system observation:
A simple fence made from wood, wire and beehives can deter elephants from raiding farmers’ crops.
A pilot study in Kenya has shown that such fences reduce the number of raids by elephants by almost half.
The work is the culmination of previous research which showed elephants are naturally scared of African honey bees.
A much larger trial is now under way in the hope the fences will provide an elegant solution to years of conflict between elephants and farmers. — BBC
Insects, Livestock, Plant Systems, Working Animals — by Anthony Andrist June 25, 2011
You must learn from the mistakes of others. You can’t possibly live long enough to make them all yourself. – Samuel Levenson
Front Sign for The Dunoon Honey man
One of my recent experiences has been while beekeeping between Sydney and the PRI’s Zaytuna Farm, in The Channon. Over the last two years, I have learned a great deal from working and living in a Permaculture system but also from the endless advice from experienced beekeepers. One of the more experienced ones, Nevil Watts, lives just up the road from Zaytuna Farm in the township of Dunoon.
Just back in February, Nevil and I took a good deal of honey off the hives in order to have them lighter for transport. The honey was extracted and what was left on the bees would have sufficed until the move, as long as they were going to a good honey flow. When I didn’t make it back to move them, their stores dwindled. Between then and just the last week or so, they have been hammered with about six weeks of rain, which needless to say, didn’t help much.Comments (11)
Animal Housing, Biodiversity, Insects, Working Animals — by Zaia Kendall May 17, 2011
As the world’s bee population is becoming more and more endangered we are keen to embark on the journey of native bee keeping.
by Zaia Kendall
Australian Stingless Bee
As many of you already know, the world’s bees are in trouble. Colony collapse disorder, predator beetles and probably a range of other factors that have to do with our lack of care for the earth is slowly annihilating the world’s bee population. We have definitely noticed a decrease in bee activity in our garden this year and are extremely concerned about this problem, since a lot of our plants depend on bees to produce fruit or vegetables.
So, we were very excited to discover a native beehive in a log on our property.Comments (3)
Insects, Working Animals — by Ecofilms February 2, 2011
There are reported to be over 1600 varieties of bees in Australia, but only 14 species are stingless. Australian stingless bees are a lot smaller and darker looking than your average sized honey bee. There’s one good advantage in being small, and that’s being able to pollinate tiny, delicate, hard to reach blossoms.
That’s where the Australian native, stingless bees come into the picture.
Permaculture practitioner Anne Wensley has been keeping these bees for over 25 years. Whilst we were filming a segment with Anne about her chickens we spotted her bees in a log outside her door. Generations of these bees have inhabited the same log.
Watch the Youtube clip to see Anne show you her native bee hive.
Animal Housing, Aquaculture, Biodiversity, Demonstration Sites, Insects, Land — by Nicola Chatham December 25, 2010
Pit-falls, projects and laughs from our Permaculture journey
When Chris and I first got together, he used to wake up to his socks, t-shirts and towels carefully draped over his DJ equipment, where I’d laid them during the night to cover any glowing or flashing lights. A somewhat sensitive sleeper, trying to sleep in a discotech wasn’t my idea of a restful night’s sleep. So when we mention we’ve built a frog pond outside our bedroom window, more savvy and experienced Permaculturists respond with anything from a raised eyebrow to declaring we’re ‘very game.’ A polite way of saying ‘you guys have no idea what you’re doing, do you?’Comments (5)
Comedy Break, Demonstration Sites, Food Plants - Annual, Food Plants - Perennial, Insects, Land, Plant Systems, Swales — by Nicola Chatham December 7, 2010
Pit-falls, projects and laughs from our Permaculture journey
“Andrew, I need to talk to you about something,” I’ve sought out the new president of the Community Garden at Peregian Beach, Andrew Maitland, to ask an important yet delicate question.
“It’s about slugs,”
“Yes, I have a lovely, bumper crop of slugs.”Comments (10)
Animal Housing, Bird Life, Compost, Demonstration Sites, Fencing, Food Forests, Food Plants - Annual, Food Plants - Perennial, Insects, Land, Livestock, Medicinal Plants, Plant Systems, Rehabilitation, Seeds, Urban Projects, Village Development, Waste Systems & Recycling, Water Harvesting — by Geoff Lawton September 20, 2010
Editor’s Note: This post is a good reminder to ensure you take good before, during and after photos as you implement projects! Case studies like this become an awesome portfolio for yourselves, and help people to see the practical potential in permaculture. It can be totally inspiring, and help get people moving on the ground!
Case Study – Noela’s Garden, as installed by Geoff and Nadia Lawton
This is a story about a garden that Nadia and I were asked to establish in 2006. It’s a very small space – the area is 95m2. A friend of a friend asked if we could get involved to help to design and implement a garden. Nadia had only recently arrived in Australia and I wanted her and I to put a garden in together as a ‘start to finish’ job so she could get a feel for how we establish small space gardens in Australia, as she already had experience in small space gardening in Jordan.
The area on the North side of Noela’s house.
Insects, Processing & Food Preservation, Urban Projects — by Peter Dilley June 21, 2010
The photograph above is of my home made bee hive. This is the ultimate beginner bee hive and the one I highly recommend you consider. Its benefits are that it is horizontal and not vertical so you don’t break your back lifting heavy boxes. The legs are cut to make the top of the hive at your own waist level. Now you can tend your bees without much bending and in a very comfortable relaxed state. This hive does not use bee frames. Instead of forcing bees to make comb cells the size we humans want, bees in the hive design I run build their entire comb themselves with their own wax (store bought wax has chemicals and pesticides treatment that stores in the wax fat, so your bees get medication even if you don’t want them to, or other potential diseases). Because the bees make all their own wax you get lots of honey like with traditional hives but you also get lots of wax. This is perfect for the homestead as you can make so many useful things from wax – from furniture and wood polishes, to candles, and so on! This hive is also perfect for beginners because you don’t have to buy thousands of dollars of honey extraction equipment. I bought a bread knife from a dollar shop and use that to harvest comb.Comments (22)
Aid Projects, Deforestation, Food Forests, General, Insects, Plant Systems, Rehabilitation, Society, Trees — by Warren Brush January 30, 2010
For tens of thousands of years intact peoples from around the world have been intricately woven into the fabric of the landscape that nourishes them. Culture itself has sprung from the land through the people’s relationship with all that sustains them. This is not as esoteric as it sounds… Imagine a group of people who live in a particular watershed with a distinct mix and availability of flora and fauna, weather patterns, sun angles, sound resonance, distance to other bio-regions, etc. Everyday necessity would be provided for by these and other more subtle structures and influences that would provide unique implements for survival, foods, hunting practices, shelters, musical instruments, honoring practices, ceremonies and stories. These peoples have known the origins stories of all that give them life, this in turn became the foundation of true, intact culture where the land would express itself very tangibly through the peopleComments (10)
Biodiversity, Food Shortages, GMOs, Health & Disease, Insects — by Craig Mackintosh PRI Editor February 5, 2009
Preamble: The issue of massive bee die-offs was hot in the mainstream media news last year, but now it seems they’ve moved on to more ‘interesting’ things…. Despite the lack of recent coverage, this extremely serious issue is not going away. About a year and a half ago I wrote the article below, and since the content of the post is still very relevant, and as it attracted a lot of attention at the time (before the administrators lost them all through website adjustments, it had attracted more than 200 comments – from beekeepers, scientists, gardeners and other interested people), I thought I’d post it again here to bring some attention back to this subject. The beautiful thing about Permaculture is it is completely holistic in nature. Industry and reductionist science tend to look at things in isolation, thus never seeing the bigger picture. The article below is an attempt to join the dots. Unless we take a broad view of the impacts of our industrial systems, we will never find solutions to such potentially cataclysmic problems as Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD).
Our previous posts on the mysterious bee disappearances have been a very interesting exercise. We’ve had great feedback from farmers, amateur and professional beekeepers, scientists, and dozens of other interested/concerned observers. In the meantime, accumulating reports tell us that the problem is not constrained to the U.S. alone – but that, to one degree or another, empty hives are becoming common in Germany, Spain, Portugal, Italy, Greece, Switzerland, Poland, and now the UK.Comments (4)
The Furrow, Farm Facts and Fancies reports that electric bug zappers operated outdoors may be doing more harm than good in reducing mosquito problems.
A University of Tennessee study found that only 31 per cent of 14,000 insects collected from a bug zapper were biting insects. About half were non-biting aquatic insects and 14 per cent were beneficial insects that attack pests.
“From this study we estimate that as many as 350 billion non-target insects are destroyed each year by these traps,” said Gene Burgess, a Tennessee entomologist.
“Because so many predators and parasites are killed, the traps may actually be protecting mosquitoes and other pests. The zappers are of greater value indoors where you don’t want insects of any sort.”Comments Off