Aid Projects, Commercial Farm Projects, Community Projects, Courses/Workshops, Demonstration Sites, Education Centres, Gabions, Land, Material, Roads, Soil Conservation, Storm Water, Water Harvesting — by Alex McCausland March 1, 2013
We previously published a report on the development of our site’s flood control and defense infrastructure in October 2010. This is an update on that which goes on to describe some of our plans for developing that infrastructure more in the future.
Just to recap on the basics of our situation: in times of rain, the run-off from the western part of Karat Konso Town (South Ethiopia) runs down the side of the road which heads uphill to the south of our site. This flash flood creates a temporary stream which impacts the south eastern corner of the site. The flash floods can be pretty intense.
Western town watershed, running past SE corner of SFEL site
Land — by E. Ray Gard February 23, 2013
Photo© Craig Mackintosh
In one of the first segments of the Permaculture Design Course DVDs with Bill Mollison and Geoff Lawton, in addition to the massive amount of information, a few comments made by Mr. Lawton struck a chord with me. The nature of his comment, as I understood it, was that the PDC is intended to empower the course participants to go out and start designing at any and every scale. This one passing remark still stands out to me as transformational and applicable across every aspect of life that permaculture design can influence, which is all of them.
With that comment in mind, I set about making the following list of ways that I can break the momentum of being the spectator that modern life lets so many of us slide into without realizing it.
This is my list, but I hope it helps you along your path as well. Feel free to add or edit and please leave any more great suggestions in the comments below.Comments (6)
Conservation, Dams, Irrigation, Land, Rehabilitation, Surveying, Swales, Water Harvesting — by Mark Feineigle February 22, 2013
Freshly keyline plowed (Photo: Kirsten Bradley)
Plan the work then work the plan. — P.A. Yeomans
In the mid 1950s, Australian engineer P.A. Yeomans demonstrated a new system of land management he called the Keyline system. The consensus of the time, championed by people like Dr H.H. Bennett, was that soil was a finite resource and that once depleted “it was irretrievably lost as if consumed by fire”. P.A. understood that long natural carbon cycles create soil, but also knew that this process takes hundreds or thousands of years. By adjusting the conditions in the soil with his plowing and management techniques, P.A. was able to speed this process and create dozens of millimeters of fertile topsoil in just one year.Comments (5)
Compost, DVDs/Books, Demonstration Sites, Food Forests, Food Plants - Annual, Food Plants - Perennial, Land, Plant Systems, Rehabilitation, Soil Conservation, Trees — by David Bartlett February 21, 2013
The world is dotted with individuals that are driving change from the inside out, inspired by the principles and approach of permaculture.
I wanted to share with you “Stories from our Food Gardens” an e-publication made possible by the Saville Foundation here in South Africa, written by Melveen Jackson. Their partnership is an example of what is possible when certain individuals are backed by opportunity and funds. To me it emphasizes the well-talked-of potential that permaculture has to flow out of our backyards and influence mainstream development. South Africa (and in this particular case, the province of KwaZulu-Natal), without doubt provides a great canvas on which to show these dynamics at work, so we get excited to see it happening in reality.Comments (3)
Land, Livestock, Plant Systems — by John David Mitchell February 13, 2013
Occam’s Grazer provides an introduction to Holistic Management and holistic grazing as well as many powerful insights, philosophies, and useful ideas from people who are using the framework and practices every day. This video is a must for anyone who wants to learn more about taking a holistic approach to grazing in their ranch business, how it works, and the potential benefits. It was designed to be a resource for ranchers, potential ranchers, environmentalists, and educators, but is also being well received by the general public.
Further Reading/Watching:Comments (6)
Aid Projects, Community Projects, Land — by David Spicer February 8, 2013
Recently I received a photolog update on the Wadeye permaculture project in the Northern Territories (see previous posts here and here), where myself and other great permaculturist were employed by Earth Ethics to install a permaculture garden system. I like to describe the earthworks as the bones of the system and the living components — pioneer species, fruit trees, cover crops and ground covers — the muscle and flesh. As you’ll see by the most recent pic at bottom, the site is getting well ‘fleshed out’.
Installing swale and level sill spillway
Community Projects, Demonstration Sites, Land, Markets & Outlets, Retrofitting, Social Gatherings, Urban Projects, Village Development — by Catherine Griggs February 7, 2013
If you want to make permaculture happen, then just start. This is the story of how one garden ended up providing work, food and fun for people in the community of Gwynedd, Wales.
It was autumn, March 2012, and unemployment was at an all time high in North Wales. I was a qualified permaculture consultant wandering the lands searching for my next project, but also suffering the strain of recession. I then stumbled upon some unusual funding from an organisation called Nacro. The organisation provides paid work experience for people who are generally deemed antisocial or who are long term unemployed. The organisation had funding left for the year and needed somewhere to put it. So I went dressed, suited and booted, and proposed an idea to Nacro that would help at least three people find work in the future. Luckily the man I encountered empathised with me and I managed to secure a paid job for myself and two others, implementing a permaculture garden for three months only.
So I had 3 months to find the land and build a garden with only enough money to pay a small wage and no materials. Quite the challenge! I asked my friends Lizzy and Dwynwen if they would help and of course they were up for the challenge.Comments (8)
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)
Land — by Penny Kothe
Continuing from the last post, the last few months of 2012 at ‘Caroola’ were a hive of activity, with many visitors taking the opportunity to help out along the way….Comments (0)
Building, Eco-Villages, Energy Systems, Land, Retrofitting, Village Development, Waste Systems & Recycling — by Marcin Gerwin January 30, 2013
Marcin Gerwin: In many cities there are problems with traffic jams. The streets are clogged with cars and as a response mayors build new roads or widen the streets. Old buildings are demolished to make way for new lanes so that a highway running through the middle of the city could be built. Would you say that this is the right way forward?Comments (0)
Aid Projects, Community Projects, Earth Banks, Gabions, Irrigation, Land, Regional Water Cycle, Rehabilitation, Storm Water, Water Harvesting — by Salah Hammad January 9, 2013
Shibam: UNESCO World Heritage site
I was recently privileged to be part of the team that accompanied Geoff and Nadia Lawton along with Mr. Tashi Dawa in a very interesting consultancy in the Southern Yemen, specifically The Hadhramaut Valley, or Wadi Hadhramaut.
Geoff was invited by the “Reconstruction Fund of Hadhramaut and Al-Mahra” to give his opinion on what could be done in the valley in terms of flood mitigation and water harvesting from a permaculture point of view.Comments (10)
Animal Forage, Commercial Farm Projects, Demonstration Sites, Land, Livestock, People Systems, Plant Systems, Rehabilitation, Trees — by Steve Hanson December 24, 2012
by Steve Hanson
2012 is our eighth year of small scale farming in France and has seen us move from income dependence to financial security and independence. Looking back over the last eight years at our mistakes and our successes in getting to this point demonstrates the value of an integrated approach.
When we arrived in France we had a single idea to provide us with income; that of breeding pigs and selling high quality organic free range pork and pork products. This worked well for three years but in our fourth year, 2008, a poor global grain harvest sent the price of grain skyward almost doubling the price from our local farmer. This gave us cause to rethink our future dependency on outside sources for anything which the global market could affect — this is of course everything!
So how do we remove ourselves as far from external influences and gain self-reliance at the same time?Comments (14)
Aid Projects, Community Projects, Demonstration Sites, Education Centres, Land, Project Positions, Village Development — by Lily Bunker December 14, 2012
In an isolated corner of northern Mozambique great things are being done. A demonstration farm run by the Manda Wilderness Agricultural Project, an offshoot of a local trust organization and set in the picturesque region of Manda Wilderness, is held together by the efforts by five local staff and an occasional international volunteer. The farm acts as a platform for teaching villagers agricultural techniques and serves as an experimentation ground for testing new farming methods and yielding a new variety of crops.
I came to Manda Wilderness in early October as a volunteer, and was immediately impressed by the scale of the farm and the commitment of the staff. After working on other projects within the sixteen communities of the Manda Wilderness region, I have recently spent my time working directly at the farm, developing projects based on methods of permaculture with other volunteers as we strive to increase the farm yield in sustainable and efficient ways.Comments (3)
Aid Projects, Community Projects, Land, Swales — by David Spicer December 7, 2012
While at Wadeye, Northern Territory, Australia, installing a permaculture design for Earth Ethics, this video was taken when I was explaining how to install swales and level sill spillways and what their function is, to some of the guys working on site.
So if you want to understand how to install swales and spillways, this might help.
Apologies for the unbuttoned shirt, I was not aware this was being filmed.
Further Reading:Comments (1)
Land, Urban Projects — by Elspeth Brock December 4, 2012
So you’re renting and think why bother working on the garden when you’ll only have to leave. In my experience it’s always worthwhile. For one you may end up staying longer than you think, and much can be done in a short time for not much money. When it is time to move on I always think of my gardens as charity for the next person and for the earth and its creatures. There is great saying — whoever “plants a tree, or sows a field and men and beasts and birds eat from it, all of it is charity from him” (Sahîh al-Bukhârî (2320), so whoever or whatever is fed from your plantings is in your favor also.Comments (3)