Development & Property Trusts, Eco-Villages, People Systems, Village Development — by Bob Corker December 22, 2009
Shifts and Closures
The Koanga Institute originally developed out of a mission to save heritage seeds in New Zealand. Over a period of 20 years it has built up a national collection of over 700 varieties, which are regularly grown out, distributed and maintained. For most of the last 20 years this was done just outside of a Kaiwaka, a small village about 100 kms north of Auckland, NZ’s largest city. Increasingly over the last 5 years the Institute has focussed on how we learn to live sustainable lives, believing that we can’t save the seeds if we don’t save the gardeners, and we don’t save the gardeners unless we build communities that honour and support gardeners. Then completely out of the blue, three years ago, Kay Baxter and Bob Corker, the founders of the Institute decided to leave Kaiwaka and have taken the Institute on a nomadic journey.
The main reasons for leaving Kaiwaka, were a sense of impending suburbanisation of our once rural district (one lifestyle block at a time), and the sense that the eco-village we had designed had some major limitations in its economic and governance structure, and that these combined limitations were unlikely to change. We had a dream of taking what we have learned from our years of observation, study and experimentation and do something more bold, with more potential to engage our personal visions and those of others. The dream hasn’t got a home just yet, but our nomadic ways are about to end. Over those last few years we’ve continued to shape our vision and we’ve had some major shifts along the wayComments (2)
Alternatives to Political Systems, Consumerism, Economics, Education, People Systems, Society, Village Development — by Craig Mackintosh PRI Editor
From looking at site stats, I see that significant numbers of people have read my recent ‘Carbon Trading – and What Should Be on the Negotiating Table at Copenhagen‘ post. The climate talks are over now, and appear to have achieved little more than add to a global atmosphere of discouragement, and so it’s left to us, the average guy on the street, to do what they should have done – that being to deeply consider what the world we want to develop should look like and to then consider how we can get from where we are now to that destination.
One of the key points I raised in the aforesaid article is the need to educate, educate, educate. The kind of education I’m referring to is not your contemporary, institutionalised, factory-type schooling that churns out faithful drones of consumption – but rather more practical-based education that enables individuals to take on the very real social, ecologic, resource challenges we now face.
The clip below, I think, is a good way to get one thinking about the topic in an outside-the-box fashion:Comments (12)
Aid Projects, Alternatives to Political Systems, Community Projects, People Systems, Society, Village Development — by Craig Mackintosh PRI Editor December 18, 2009
The 2300 year old sacred fig of Anuradhapura in north central Sri Lanka
All photographs © Craig Mackintosh
It was kind of humbling, and strangely reassuring, standing next to one of the oldest living trees in the world. It is, in fact, the oldest known human-planted tree. Its limbs are aided by vertical supports now, lest they tumble, but despite being 2300 years old, its wide spreading branches were still flush with green leaves.Comments (3)
Community Projects, Demonstration Sites, Eco-Villages, Education Centres, Markets & Outlets, People Systems, Social Gatherings, Village Development — by Jay Kimber December 15, 2009
Jay Kimber at the stall
Recently Zaytuna Farm, home base for the Permaculture Research Institute, took their surplus produce and information to the (very) local craft and produce market in the Channon, situated less than 2 km from the farm.Comments (7)
Alternatives to Political Systems, Community Projects, Consumerism, DVDs/Books, Eco-Villages, Economics, Food Shortages, Global Warming/Climate Change, People Systems, Society, Urban Projects, Village Development, peak oil — by Craig Mackintosh PRI Editor
In Transition 1.0: from oil dependence to local resilience, available now!
The title says it all. Sit back and enjoy the latest work from the Transition Towns movement. You can watch in parts via YouTube below, or if you prefer, catch the whole thing in one hit on Vimeo.
‘In Transition’ is the first detailed film about the Transition movement filmed by those that know it best, those who are making it happen on the ground. The Transition movement is about communities around the world responding to peak oil and climate change with creativity, imagination and humour, and setting about rebuilding their local economies and communities. It is positive, solutions focused, viral and fun. – TransitionCulture.org
Bird Life, Commercial Farm Projects, Community Projects, Consumerism, Eco-Villages, Food Shortages, Markets & Outlets, People Systems, Society, Urban Projects, Village Development — by Sarah Gorman December 10, 2009
Bronwyn’s urban backyard is teeming with diversity. It is providing local families with nutritious food through her Community Supported Agriculture (CSA), but she doesn’t think she is doing anything exceptional. Students from Mulloon Creek Natural Farm’s Permaculture Design Certificate course recently visited Bronwyn Richards’ home in Braidwood, NSW, Australia. They learnt how an urban gardener manages to provide a constant supply of organic vegetables not only for her own family, but five others.Comments (3)
Aid Projects, Deforestation, Demonstration Sites, Developments, Eco-Villages, Education Centres, Food Forests, Food Plants - Perennial, Food Shortages, Land, News, Plant Systems, Project Positions, Rehabilitation, Trees, Village Development — by Craig Mackintosh PRI Editor December 9, 2009
The video embedded in this page spotlights the excellent work of Willie Smits I profiled a little while ago, where rainforest restoration in Borneo not only restored biodiversity and gave increased livelihood opportunities to local people, but it also increased cloud cover and rainfall as well. It’s well worth a watch:
We’re pleased to announce that we’re partnering with the makers of the video above, WeForest, to help establish self-replicating permaculture reforestation demonstration sites in accordance with our Permaculture Master Plan, in several worldwide locations – starting in Zambia in the first instance. Our Geoff Lawton has just agreed to be on their advisory board, and we’ll be working to supply guidance, knowhow and staff to pioneer these projects.
This is just one example of the many encouraging collaborative results we get as people boil current events down to their only logical conclusion – discovering we need to quit battling nature and get busy harnessing biological synergies to repair the earth and rebuild sustainable community interactions.Comments (4)
Alternatives to Political Systems, Bio-regional Organisations, Consumerism, Eco-Villages, Economics, Ethical Investment, Financial Management, People Systems, Society, Village Development — by Craig Mackintosh PRI Editor December 6, 2009
Fishing boats rest on the shores of a lake in Sri Lanka
Photos © Craig Mackintosh
Anniversary celebrations for the fall of the Berlin Wall have just recently ended. It was twenty years ago that the most symbolic, and literal, barrier between two economic ideologies was pulled down by restive, festive spirits. But, the celebrations of November 2009 were tempered with a heightened sense of objectivity – in a way perhaps never seen before in modern history, and certainly not seen in 1989.
A recent BBC poll indicates widespread discontent with the now all-pervasive capitalist system. Global economic meltdown tends to dampen party spirits, and this is especially true when what you’re celebrating is a major milestone for the very system responsible for the collapse.Comments (4)
Consumerism, Food Shortages, Global Warming/Climate Change, News, Society, Village Development — by Earth Policy Institute December 2, 2009
by Lester R. Brown, Earth Policy Institute
In the United States, there has been a surge of interest in eating fresh local foods, corresponding with mounting concerns about the climate effects of consuming food from distant places and about the obesity and other health problems associated with junk food diets. This is reflected in the rise in urban gardening, school gardening, and farmers’ markets.
With the fast-growing local foods movement, diets are becoming more locally shaped and more seasonal. In a typical supermarket in an industrial country today it is often difficult to tell what season it is because the store tries to make everything available on a year-round basis. As oil prices rise, this will become less common. In essence, a reduction in the use of oil to transport food over long distances—whether by plane, truck, or ship—will also localize the food economy.Comments (3)
Alternatives to Political Systems, Consumerism, Economics, People Systems, Society, Village Development — by Craig Mackintosh PRI Editor September 21, 2009
Part II of a series – If you haven’t already, read Part I before continuing.
What do we really need?
Grandma and grandchild in their home garden, near Telulla village, Sri Lanka
All photographs © Craig Mackintosh
Civilization is not an incurable disease, but it should never be forgotten that the English people are at present afflicted by it. – Gandhi
Sarvodaya – ‘Everyone Wakes Up’
The word Sarvodaya, originally coined by Mohandas Gandhi from two Sanskrit roots – sarva (all) and udaya (uplift) – meant ‘universal uplift’, or ‘progress/welfare of all’. Dr. A.T. Ariyaratne also redefined it to reflect the Buddhist ideal – becoming ‘the awakening of all’, or (my preference) ‘everyone wakes up‘.
Gandhi created the term for the title of his 1908 translation of John Ruskin’s book Unto This Last, that, according to his autobiography was a major turning point in his life – and thus, in the lives of many millions of people….Comments (4)
Alternatives to Political Systems, People Systems, Village Development — by Craig Mackintosh PRI Editor September 13, 2009
Note: Despite the title’s preamble, I’m no longer actually in Sri Lanka. Over the next weeks I’ll be writing a few posts on my discoveries there from notes and recordings, and will keep the ‘Letters from Sri Lanka’ label going to ensure these posts are easy to spot and search for. As I do so, I would also invite people that have had their own experiences with the Sarvodaya network, and who may have observations that they think I should be aware of, to send these to me [editor (at) permaculturenews.org] as the more viewpoints the better as we examine potential solutions.
Sri Lanka is a little smaller in land area than Ireland, but with five times the
population density. Millions of people in more than one third of Sri Lanka’s
villages are involved in what is effectively a large scale, non-violent,
bottom-up, democratic revolution – the Sarvodaya Shramadana Movement
All photographs Copyright © Craig Mackintosh
Shramadana – a Gift of Labour
In 1958 a village of Rodiya social outcastes living in the tropical backwoods of Sri Lanka became the target of an attempt by concerned citizens to reach out and improve their lot. Villagers lived in ramshackled mud and daub houses, wore little or nothing in the way of clothing, and ate by plucking wild yams and leaves, hunting in the forest and from begging in neighbouring villages. These were Sri Lanka’s ‘untouchables’.Comments (3)
Bird Life, Breeds, Community Projects, Social Gatherings, Society, Village Development — by Craig Mackintosh PRI Editor June 14, 2009
Profuse apologies for the lack of posts over the last week. I’ve been organising and actioning travel to PRI’s headquarters – Zaytuna Farm in northern NSW – from where I live in Europe. Now that I’m here, I hope to give you better insights into the life and developments on the farm and with the training centre that makes its home here.
Zaytuna’s straw bale buildings at sun-up
Yesterday I felt like the walking dead, after 45 hours of travel from door to farm. As such, I went out like a light in the very early evening. My otherwise deep sleep was broken intermittently by sounds I’m not accustomed to hearing, like Blue (an Australian stumpy tailed cattle dog) keeping our farm animals and crops safe by chasing off foxes and/or kangaroos; kookaburras – the ‘laughing jackass’ – were seemingly mocking me as I tried to slumber, as were various other frogs, insects and birds that work the night shift in this neck of the woods. I’m sure I’ll soon be attuned to them, and won’t hear them at all after a while.Comments (6)
Aid Projects, Alternatives to Political Systems, Bio-regional Organisations, Commercial Farm Projects, Community Projects, DVDs/Books, Demonstration Sites, Eco-Villages, Education Centres, News, People Systems, Urban Projects, Village Development — by Craig Mackintosh PRI Editor May 7, 2009
Have you ever wished, when explaining to someone about permaculture, you had a visual, easily accessible book that demonstrated what it is all about, and what the world could look like if permaculture design systems became mainstream thinking?
We’ll – we’re making that book.
The Permaculture Research Institute is getting behind a project that would see the creation of a large format book that profiles, with creative writing and quality photographs, some of the many successful Permaculture projects underway around the world. The purpose of this page is to solicit your help with the same.
The final version is unlikely to look like this, but it gives you an idea….
Alternatives to Political Systems, Consumerism, Eco-Villages, Economics, People Systems, Population, Society, Village Development — by Chuck Burr April 28, 2009
Our political discussions and media coverage are far too shallow to be useful. We must go deeper and much further back to understand the world today and learn how to get where we want to go.
Almost everyone misunderstands what culture is. Most think it is soda pop, pop stars, blue jeans, language, and TV. Some think it is capitalism, communism, or progressivism. Some see culture as Western culture or Eastern culture.
Look at the motorcycle picture. The motorcycles will fool you. All of the people above belong to the same culture, as does a soccer mom in a Chicago suburb. Keep guessing. This makes a huge difference in how we understand what is happening today and where we are going.Comments (2)
Food Forests, Food Plants - Perennial, Medicinal Plants, Plant Systems, Village Development — by PIJ April 13, 2009
PIJ #58, Mar – May 1996
By Dr Danny Hunter
Editor’s Note: This decade-old article spotlights local indigenous knowledge found in the Maldives – a land today threatened by rising seas. The Maldive Islands have the unfortunate title of having the lowest highest point in the world – only 2.3 metres.
The atolls of the Maldives represent a delicate and unique ecosystem that is highly sensitive to changes resulting from human, climatic and environmental activity. Within this fragile ecosystem a number of indigenous farming systems have evolved that are ecologically and culturally sustainable. Of these, the homegarden has been the most enduring and diverse.
The Maldives is an archipelago made up of about 1200 islands that are scattered in a line running for 800km southwest of the tip of India. Although the total area of the country occupies 90,000km2 of Indian Ocean, its land area is a tiny 300km2.Comments (2)