Dams, Food Forests, Land, Swales — by Geoff Lawton April 22, 2013
Geoff Lawton, with Zaytuna Farm behind (upper left)
Photo © Craig Mackintosh
I’ve been staggered by the reaction to my latest video I put up on the weekend. Over 500 comments, with most people telling me it’s my best video yet.
If you haven’t seen it, check it out. We hit the design wall on a 5 acre cow paddock and redesigned it with 7 dams and a huge food forest system for under $20 thousand.
Most people couldn’t believe what can be done on the small scale.Comments (11)
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)
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)
DVDs/Books, Dams, Food Forests, Food Plants - Annual, Food Plants - Perennial, Food Shortages, Global Warming/Climate Change, Irrigation, Land, Plant Systems, Rehabilitation, Swales, Trees, Water Harvesting, peak oil — by Geoff Lawton November 12, 2012
At time of writing, our Zaytuna Farm Video Tour video has had almost 11,000 views, after only six months. A lot of people expressed their appreciation for this video, with some describing it as a "free DVD". Where we can, we want to provide more inspirational/instructional material for free, and today I’m writing to let you know about our latest effort towards fulfilling this goal.
Click here to go to an introductory video titled ‘How to Survive the Coming Crises‘. This is a FREE 34-minute video that looks at:Comments (5)
Aquaculture, Compost, Conservation, Dams, Demonstration Sites, Fungi, Irrigation, Land, Material, Potable Water, Rehabilitation, Soil Biology, Soil Composition, Soil Conservation, Structure, Surveying, Waste Systems & Recycling, Waste Water, Water Harvesting — by Richard Perkins September 15, 2012
A reflection following a great time finding solutions for dryland water management in Portugal
I’m enjoying working on a job connecting up extensive irrigation in the mountains of Extremadura, Spain, and relaxing for a couple of days after a successful and effective Dryland Water Management intensive at the budding Permaculture Institute, Vale De Lama, near Lagos in the South of Portugal.
This week we have been looking at all aspects of water design, focusing mostly on this varied site where all manner of interventions are necessary to halt the onslaught of the desertification process and regenerate the diverse mixed polycultures and rich soils that had a biological diversity comparative to more tropical regions at one time.
Something that is clear after working so intensively with integrative and regenerative systems design around the globe in different climate zones is that most places I turn up at have been degraded heavily and the localized cultural approach and ecological understanding is often limited by familiarization with the current conditions and often destructive agricultural practices.Comments (7)
Aid Projects, Building, Conservation, Dams, Demonstration Sites, Irrigation, Land, Material, Potable Water, Village Development, Water Harvesting — by Juan Pablo Martinez September 13, 2012
To be sure, buying a nice piece of land requires a lot of effort and a few happy accidents. Things have to happen ‘just right’ in order for you to acquire a highly valuable property with little cash and a lot of complications, but, who said it was going to be easy?
As with everything in this life, when you overcome great complications, you feel like you’ve accomplished a great thing, and tend to think that things afterwards will be easier. Most of the time, things go the other way: once you’ve proved to yourself that you can do great things, you’ll probably find an even greater challenge lying ahead, so you can prove again that you have more capabilities than you ever thought you had.
So, this has been the case with La Angostura project.Comments (8)
Conservation, Dams, Irrigation, Land, Storm Water, Water Harvesting — by Andrew Millison July 19, 2012
Permaculture seed wizard Don Tipping takes us on a 10 minute animated tour of the epic Seven Seeds Farm in the Siskiyou Mountains of Southern Oregon, USA. The farm was designed using permaculture principles and keyline patterning. We follow the water system from top to bottom, and then the amazing downstream effects are revealed. This video was produced by Andrew Millison as part of the course content for his online Advanced Permaculture Design Practicum, Hort 485, taught through the Horticulture department at Oregon State University’s Extended Campus.Comments (5)
Conservation, Dams, Demonstration Sites, Irrigation, Land, Water Harvesting — by Andrew Millison June 28, 2012
Permaculture Elder Tom Ward takes us on a 10-minute animated tour of Wolf Gulch Farm in Southern Oregon, USA. It was designed using permaculture principles and laid out using Keyline patterning. Tom’s narrated journey explores water supply and storage, soil building, wind and air drainage, cropping, and an enlightened perspective on the watershed and the future of farming in harmony with natural forces.Comments (6)
Aid Projects, Community Projects, Conservation, Consumerism, Dams, Deforestation, Demonstration Sites, Food Shortages, Global Warming/Climate Change, Irrigation, Land, Plant Systems, Population, Potable Water, Regional Water Cycle, Rehabilitation, Society, Soil Biology, Soil Conservation, Soil Erosion & Contamination, Swales, Terraces, Trees, Village Development, Water Contaminaton & Loss, Water Harvesting — by Craig Mackintosh PRI Editor May 24, 2012
As most of our readers will know, John D. Liu caught a vision years ago, and, thankfully, he ran with it. We’ve shared John’s excellent media work before (see here and here), and today have the pleasure of doing so again….
This new video, Green Gold, was first aired last month on Dutch TV, and will be shared at the Rio+20 United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (to a captive audience of influential representative delegates during their dinner!), which is being held next month in Brazil (20-22 June 2012).
The video takes you to China, Jordan (more background on the PRI Jordan project here), Ethiopia, Rwanda and Bolivia, and features the PRI’s own Geoff Lawton (and a cameo appearance from Nadia!), who adds impetus and technical know-how to John’s impressive toolbox, as well as the ‘Permaculture Princess‘ (Princess Basma bint Ali of Jordan), and others.
It’s the story of healing landscapes at scale, and, with it, restoring life, livelihoods, security and a future.Comments (6)
Conservation, Dams, Food Forests, Irrigation, Land, Swales, Water Harvesting — by Rob Avis May 16, 2012
by Rob Avis
Michelle, Rowen and I were driving home from a vacation in the mountains when we passed by a swale on a farmer’s field in the middle of Alberta cattle country. Naturally, it piqued my curiosity and I had to stop the car to investigate. It was such a great example of how this simple technique can catch and store water on a large scale, we decided to make a short video about it….
What’s a Swale?
Rob walking along a swale after a huge rain
event at the Permaculture Research Institute
Simply put, swales are water-harvesting ditches, built on the contour of a landscape. Most ditches are designed to move water away from an area, so the bottom of the ditch is built on a modest slope, usually between 200:1 to 400:1.
Swales, however, are flat on the bottom because they’re designed to do the opposite; they slow water down to a standstill, eliminate erosion, infiltrate the surrounding area with water, and recharge the groundwater table. When water moves along the flat bottom of a swale, it fills it up like a bathtub — that is, all parts of the bath tub fill at the same rate. The water in a swale is therefore passive; it doesn’t flow the way it would on a slope.Comments (11)
Aid Projects, Community Projects, Conservation, Courses/Workshops, Dams, Demonstration Sites, Irrigation, Land, Material, Village Development, Waste Systems & Recycling, Waste Water, Water Harvesting — by Robert Cork March 9, 2012
Just outside of Arusha, Tanzania, is ‘Kesho Leo’– a sustainable home for vulnerable women and children operated by FoodWaterShelter. The principles of permaculture underpin the daily lives of the Kesho Leo residents. It is currently the home of seven families, each headed by a Tanzanian mama who cares for up to five children, including orphans. In addition to the daily essentials, Kesho Leo provides the many other aspects that a ‘home’ needs; access to family and social support, access to education and health, and very importantly – access to community.
Permaculture meeting the needs of the Kesho Leo residents
Revolving around the community and education aspects of Kesho Leo are the permaculture systems that strive to provide all of the food, water and energy needs of the residents. Basic needs of water, sanitation and power are provided through rainwater harvesting, innovative batch compost toilet systems, and solar power.Comments (7)
Animal Forage, Animal Housing, Commercial Farm Projects, Conservation, Dams, Earth Banks, Fencing, Irrigation, Land, Livestock, Rehabilitation, Soil Conservation, Water Harvesting — by Ben Falloon February 28, 2012
How To Move Your Farm Animals
Taranaki Farm shows you how to move a herd of cows, a flock of laying hens, some sheep and a stowaway frog in only 20 minutes… and in the process, heal farmland and local community.
Autumn Rain & Keyline Earthworks
Pairing Keyline Design farm layout to Polyface Farming methods makes Taranaki Farm genuinely unique in the world of sustainable/regenerative agriculture. Now with ten interlinked keyline dams and catchment road, drains and irrigation features, Taranaki Farm continues its investment in keyline design as a strategy for dryland water management which supports direct marketed, salad bar beef, pigerator pork and pastured chicken and egg enterprises.Comments (1)
Courses/Workshops, Dams, Earth Banks, Land, Swales, Terraces — by Bonnie Freibergs December 15, 2011
Photo © Craig Mackintosh
This is a courtesy reminder to mention that the 10% ‘early bird’ discount ($110) for the January Permaculture Earthworks course being taught by Geoff Lawton at Zaytuna Farm will expire on Monday the 19th of December. If you’re planning to take part in this fantastic course, now’s the time to book.Comments (0)
Conservation, Courses/Workshops, Dams, Land, Soil Conservation, Storm Water, Swales, Water Harvesting — by Craig Mackintosh PRI Editor November 1, 2011
Five days ago I edited together and uploaded some video files that Geoff Lawton sent through of a recent small dam and fish pond installation during the recent Earthworks course at Zaytuna Farm. Since then Geoff has sent through a few more clips that might interest you. You see, just after I uploaded the first video, Zaytuna Farm was hit by a pretty major rain event, so here you get to see how the new earthworks fared.
If you’d like to get a better understanding of the why and how of permaculture earthworks, you could purchase the Water Harvesting DVD, or, better yet, book on one of our upcoming Earthworks courses, listed in our Courses section.Comments (0)
Aquaculture, Conservation, Dams, Irrigation, Land, Natural Swimming, Swales, Water Harvesting — by Craig Mackintosh PRI Editor October 26, 2011
In this short video Geoff walks us through an overview of a small dam/fish pond installation at the PRI’s Zaytuna Farm in northern NSW, Australia. If you’d like to get a better understanding of the why and how of permaculture earthworks, you could purchase the Water Harvesting DVD, or, better yet, book on one of our upcoming Earthworks courses, listed in our Courses section. Small dams like this, appropriately situated and intelligently designed, can both drought-proof and flood-protect your property, whilst creating a foundational hydrological infrastructure from which can spring an abundance of biodiversity to create a foundation of resilient self-sufficiency.
For good measure I’ll throw in a few pictures that Nadia has just sent me of permaculture abundance at Zaytuna Farm. Earthworks like that shown in the footage above ensures food harvesting like this can continue at Zaytuna Farm even in the driest years, when neighbouring properties are shriveled and barren….Comments (7)