Community Projects, Demonstration Sites, Food Forests, Land, News, Society, Urban Projects, Village Development — by Andrew Beard March 1, 2012
In the Beacon Hill community of Seattle a revolutionary community garden is being developed to feed her people. The Beacon Food Forest is transforming a previously unused piece of public land into a vibrant food forest filled with hundreds of different varieties of edible plants, fruits and nuts. The seven acre plot uses perennial crops and sustainable methods rooted in permaculture to create a source of food available to all.Comments (3)
Aid Projects, Biodiversity, Community Projects, Deforestation, Developments, Food Shortages, Global Warming/Climate Change, Land, Population, Soil Erosion & Contamination, Trees, Village Development, Water Contaminaton & Loss — by Elin Lindhagen February 28, 2012
FMNR workshop, Feb 2012, Kenya
Rusinga Island is situated in Lake Victoria in the Western parts of Kenya. It is known for its prehistoric findings of primate fossils dating from 17 million years ago and for being the birthplace of the famously assassinated Kenyan politician, Tom Mboya, whose scholarship fund enabled Barack Obama’s father to study abroad. Not too many years ago it was still known to be a beautiful forested island, rich in unique bird species and with access to great fishing. Today the island is considered a vulnerable ecosystem with marginal agricultural land, leading one author to call it ‘one of the driest and most environmentally marginal agricultural zones in the region’(1).
Rapid population growth in the 1980s led to intensified pressure on natural resources such as trees and fish. At the same time, other communities started coming into Rusinga’s fishing waters to exploit the fish resources. Fish stocks started declining and the fishermen of Rusinga were forced to start looking for other ways of making an income. Many turned to agriculture but the Luo’s on Rusinga were traditionally fishermen, not farmers. Trees were cut down to make houses for a growing population, firewood to feed an increasing number of hungry stomachs and charcoal to make an income. Within a generation, what was once a richly forested island had become bare — suffering increasing droughts, soil erosion and crop failures due to the loss of trees.Comments (1)
Community Projects, Consumerism, Food Shortages, Land, Society, Urban Projects, Village Development — by Wyan Carter
My partner and I have recently bought a house in Melbourne. I’m proud to say that we have deliberately avoided any pressure to buy a large house; our entire property is 170 square metres, and at least half of that is garden. I realise that’s not tiny, but it’s plenty smaller than places owned by a number of my friends and family. One of my cousins has recently built a house on a block of land, and his house alone would swallow our entire property three times over.
But as proud as I am of our small house mentality, I’ve started to realise that this does put some serious constraints on our ability to be independent and self-sufficient. Personally I’ve never been that committed to the dream of being self-sufficient on a good sized, rural block; I’d much rather be community-sufficient within a city suburb. But I don’t want to be vulnerable to crises and shocks, and growing food, fibre and fuel yourself is a big part of reducing that vulnerability.Comments (2)
Community Projects, Courses/Workshops, Social Gatherings, Village Development — by Penny Pyett February 22, 2012
Sponsorship opportunity in permaculture: businesses, local groups, entrepreneurs, consultants & trainers.
Dear Permaculture Practitioners and Local Groups
National Permaculture Day (NPD) showcases the practices of permaculture to the public. Businesses and local groups show permaculture in action — through markets, demonstrations, ‘open houses and gardens’, and local events in city and country.
The day has run nationally for three years, supported first by individuals and local groups, and last year by a grant of $17,900 from the federal government. It is part of the developing move for a national presence for permaculture.Comments (1)
Alternatives to Political Systems, Consumerism, Deforestation, Economics, Food Shortages, Global Warming/Climate Change, Health & Disease, Population, Society, Soil Erosion & Contamination, Village Development, Water Contaminaton & Loss, peak oil — by Richard Heinberg
As economies contract, a global popular uprising confronts power elites over access to the essentials of human existence. What are the underlying dynamics of the conflict, and how is it likely to play out?
by Richard Heinberg (Article originally published on www.postcarbon.org)
As the world economy crashes against debt and resource limits, more and more countries are responding by attempting to salvage what are actually their most expendable features — corrupt, insolvent banks and bloated militaries — while leaving the majority of their people to languish in “austerity.” The result, predictably, is a global uprising. This current set of conditions and responses will lead, sooner or later, to social as well as economic upheaval — and a collapse of the support infrastructure on which billions depend for their very survival.
Nations could, in principle, forestall social collapse by providing the basics of existence (food, water, housing, medical care, family planning, education, employment for those able to work, and public safety) universally and in a way that could be sustained for some time, while paying for this by deliberately shrinking other features of society — starting with military and financial sectors — and by taxing the wealthy. The cost of covering the basics for everyone is within the means of most nations. Providing human necessities would not remove all fundamental problems now converging (climate change, resource depletion, and the need for fundamental economic reforms), but it would provide a platform of social stability and equity to give the world time to grapple with deeper, existential challenges.Comments (1)
Aid Projects, Community Projects, DVDs/Books, Demonstration Sites, Education Centres, Village Development — by Monika Goforth February 18, 2012
Gillian Leahy (a documentary maker) and Terry Leahy (permaculture researcher) are making a film about the Chikukwa project in Zimbabwe.
This is a feel good story out of Africa. For the last 20 years an amazing permaculture project has been working in Zimbabwe. Where once the people of the Chikukwa villages suffered hunger, malnutrition and high rates of disease, this community has turned its fortunes around using permaculture farming techniques. Complementing these strategies for food security, they have built their community strength through locally controlled and initiated programs for permaculture training, conflict resolution, women’s empowerment, primary education and HIV management. Now they have a surplus of food and the people in these villages are healthy and proud of their achievements. Their degraded landscape has been turned into a lush paradise. This film shows how this has happened.Comments (2)
Aid Projects, Community Projects, Food Shortages, Health & Disease, Village Development — by Craig Mackintosh PRI Editor February 17, 2012
USAID Permaculture Technical Brief
The growing food crisis has struggled to stay in the headlines since being highlighted broadscale in the mainstream media back in 2008, but it moves apace regardless, and I can assure you it will continue to do so, likely at a frightening rate. A 2012 Save the Children report shares that "Half a billion children could grow up physically and mentally stunted over the next 15 years because they do not have enough to eat" (BBC).
With this in mind, it’s excellent news that the United States Agency for International Development (USAID — "the United States federal government agency primarily responsible for administering civilian foreign aid" Wikipedia) is moving to incorporate permaculture design into its aid work for orphans and vulnerable children (OVC). They’ve just released a technical brief (right) to help expedite this.
From the document:Comments (10)
Alternatives to Political Systems, Bio-regional Organisations, Community Projects, Eco-Villages, People Systems, Society, Village Development — by Millo Magnocavallo February 11, 2012
I have seen a possibility and a lot of factors that are working in favor of this possibility, so it has motivated me to start working on my idea. It’s about collaboratively re-occupying and regenerating abandoned rural land, starting here, where I am in Portugal. Since I know of no other cases of this here in Portugal I will be starting with my own land as a lead case study, lead example or pilot project for lack of a better term. I am currently in the process of investigating this further, but let me explain the idea….Comments (36)
Alternatives to Political Systems, Consumerism, Economics, Population, Society, Village Development — by Kyle Chamberlain February 10, 2012
To everyone feeling screwed over by the economy,
We are told that our problem is that there aren’t enough jobs. This message is everywhere. The media gauges our plight with regularly updated unemployment statistics. Politicians debate theatrically over who can create more work. People everywhere clamor for scarce positions at factories and corporations.
I’d like to point out the great irony of this situation — people hate their jobs. How many people do you know who love their job? The truth is, most of us who have ordinary jobs can barely tolerate them. All else being equal, we’d rather not do them.Comments (65)
Community Projects, Demonstration Sites, Land, Society, Urban Projects, Village Development — by Elspeth Brock February 9, 2012
Ilma Lever Gardens garden designed for wheelchair access
When working in various gardens for community usage I found we often needed to consider access for gardeners of a range of abilities without compromising the overall function of the design. I want to outline some things I have found useful to make spaces disability-friendly whilst also maintaining the permaculture principles of multiple use values and productive landscapes. Access issues you may need to consider include wheelchair movement, limited bending, blindness, unstable gait from stroke or acquired brain injury.
Many permaculture systems are beneficial as they already aim to reduce the amount of physical labour e.g. no dig, animals doing the work for you, zoning, etc. So here I will focus on more specific elements.Comments (3)
Community Projects, Consumerism, Courses/Workshops, Economics, Global Warming/Climate Change, Social Gatherings, Village Development, peak oil — by John Shiel February 8, 2012
When: 9 — 11 March 2012, starting on the evening of March 9
Where: Hamilton Public School, corner of Tudor Steet and Steel Street, Newcastle, NSW, Australia
Theme: "Transitioning to connected communities, localised fair economies and sustainable lifestyles."
Please put this event in your diaries, and ‘like’ us at www.facebook.com/#!/FairShareFestival
In this second and expanded festival we will explore issues related to social justice, sustainability, innovative social enterprises and strong resilient communities through panel discussions, interactive workshops, and engaging debates.
Alternatives to Political Systems, Consumerism, Education, People Systems, Society, Village Development — by Nikos A. Salingaros February 7, 2012
by Nikos A. Salingaros, The University of Texas at San Antonio
This essay presents desirable social functioning as basically a matter of free individual decision. I discuss two basic polarities: Left versus Right, and P2P (Peer-to-Peer) versus Global-mass-society. Each polarity takes certain distinctions and concerns as key to understanding political life. A self-organizing P2P society is driven by individuality, publicly-shared patterns, and common culture based on shared loves; whereas Global-mass-society is based upon groupthink, expertise, and glitzy consumerism, and is run by a small group of intertwined political, economic, and knowledge elites. These two polarities Left/Right, and P2P/Global-mass-society are split in their basic attitudes towards the past, towards authority, and towards religion. I argue that the concerns that have divided Left from Right are less important now than formerly, and that the P2P/Global-mass-society polarity is a better way to understand many important issues today. I then propose that the concerns that have motivated both Left and Right suggest the possibility of enlisting both on the side of P2P. We can overcome the traditional Left/Right distinctions in the name of a new political humanism.Comments (6)
Aid Projects, Community Projects, People Systems, Society, Village Development — by Alice Gray February 2, 2012
The Bedouin of the Negev are an ancient people whose cultural history spans centuries, if not millennia. Historically, the Bedouin have been semi-nomadic pastoralists, who made the desert their own through a combination of dry-land farming of forage crops and cereals, rainwater harvesting and seasonal mobility: rotating their presence between their winter and summer grazing grounds. When water and forage ran short, they would move on to another place where they knew they could find what they needed – a cistern that would probably be full, an area where small shrubs would be abundant.
Like all people, everywhere, they created a complex cultural landscape through their activities: modifying the environment they lived in to suit their needs. Like all people, everywhere, they developed their own codes of conduct for sharing the resources upon which they depended among themselves, between different families and tribal groups. Grazing rights, water rights and rights of safe-passage were enshrined in cultural codes, tribal territories were known and respected (or disrespected at the peril of transgressors).Comments (13)
Alternatives to Political Systems, Bio-regional Organisations, Community Projects, Education, People Systems, Society, Village Development — by Dann Zealley January 31, 2012
Back in 2008 I spent 6 weeks in Venezuela. I have a Venezuelan friend who believes as I do that permaculture could and should be a driving force for positive change. We both also believe that the Bolivarian Revolution, championed most famously by the charismatic and controversially colourful personality of Hugo Chavez, despite many serious ‘growing pains’, provides the most pragmatic model for the social transformation of humanity towards a truly just and ecologically sustainable world. Already tremendous social and political changes have taken place since Chavez was elected in 1998. Despite corporate media propaganda to the contrary, his government’s record of accomplishment is undeniable (particularly when contrasted with the dramatic economic and social decline of the so-called ‘developed’ nations and the disturbingly increasing deficit of democracy occurring in Europe and North America.)*Comments (8)
Permaculture and Wall Street — We Must Tackle the Runaway Fiscal Economy Head On, “We Must Face Up and Fight”
Alternatives to Political Systems, Economics, Financial Management, People Systems, Society, Village Development — by Craig Mackintosh PRI Editor January 30, 2012
I admire the efforts of the permaculturists at the Occupy Wall Street camp, and I think, judging by his statement way back in 1983 (see below), that Bill would admire them also.
Hunger is rising, absolute hunger is rising, food’s badly distributed, not distributed at all often. The waste of food, the whole deal of it….it’s eh, a shocking situation, it’s just inhuman. It’s what nobody would intend, and somehow what we’ve arrived at, and we arrived at it by the erection of financial structures, totally divorced from resources. So that the fiscal economy has been a runaway system. We’ve gotta tackle that head on. That is, what I’m trying to tell you, it’s no good any longer just being an organic gardener or farmer, we have to be effective financial and political units. And we’re gonna have to face that. Just as it was very hard for us to learn to garden, then hard for us to learn to collect seeds, once the multinationals took over the open-pollinated seed market; we had to become seed growers. Now it’s very difficult, we have to become bankers. There’s no good trying to pretend we don’t have to. We can run away to the bush, build a mud hut and grow ducks in the garden, it’s not gonna do it. The coals will still be burnt, the land will still be eroded, and the forests will still be cleared for newsprint if we run away to the bush. So, there’s no escape, we’ve just gotta stop running away, stay where we are and start to face up and fight. Good, as long as you’re fully persuaded of that we can get on with the course…." — Bill Mollison, 1983 PDC (emphasis added)