Category: Earth Banks

Observations and Interactions at the Jordan Valley Permaculture Project (aka ‘Greening the Desert – the Sequel’)

Is it any wonder with daily reminders of the widening disparity between exponential population growth and water and food scarcity, so many of us begin to question the possibility of long term sustainable human habitation on the planet? Being a constant witness to damage caused by modern agricultural practices — motivated and driven largely by corporate greed — is proof enough that our ineffective systems have to change and come […]

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Permaculture at the Al-Baydha Project in Saudi Arabia – Neal Spackman, Video 1

Do you remember Geoff’s recent Saudi Arabia consultation? Well, left behind in the Kingdom as project manager to implement the work is Neal Spackman. Neal has kindly followed up on my request for reports, providing the video and images below. After the video I’ll give you a little more swivel-chair commentary based on info I’ve had via email. The new site recently sustained heavy rainfalls. Older locals said it was […]

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Piped Swale Crossings

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Permaculture is a connecting system between disciplines and elements in a matrix of design, and swales are a mainframe element. The efficiency of swales is that they can interrupt water surface flow high in a landscape where it is then infiltrated relatively quickly, on contour, and moves incredibly slowly through the landscape soil and subsoil profiles. This becomes a great advantage to the potential productivity of any property, especially a […]

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Strawberry Fields Update – Flood Protection and Water Control in Ethiopia

One of the biggest challenges of doing Permaculture in a semi-arid place like Konso is the drought-flood hydrology besets in degraded dry-lands. The whole of south Ethiopia has now been so deforested, added to the fact that the global climate is getting completely messed up, that rainfall is now completely unpredictable. The old folks are always talking about it here – “you can’t tell when it will rain any-more, it’s […]

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Thinking Outside the Square In Wagga Wagga: Thoughts on Contour

Permaculture solutions have come to life at a Wagga Wagga farm in the midst of a heated debate over water. What Kevin Rudd Claim’s will help the Murray Darling River system and the Lower Lakes region has some farmers in the area fuming. Farmers and residents throughout the Murray Darling region have larger concerns over the Australian government’s 3.1 Billion Dollar irrigation buyback scheme. The Rudd government is reacting to […]

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Vetiver – One Grass Revolution

During my relatively short time in the Permaculture movement I have only heard Vetiver mentioned a few times. Could it be that this profoundly important pioneer is not getting the attention it deserves? Although commonly and extensively used in permaculture sites in some parts of the world, its uptake in Australia in particular seems to be slow. Why would this be happening? How could a plant with such beneficial qualities […]

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Rosella Waters Earthworks, Phase I, Part B

The Mushroom Dam overlooking the beach area It’s taken a while to find the time to sit down and report on Part B of our earthworks here at Rosella Waters, near Cairns in far North Queensland. Phase I Part A was documented whilst the process was taking place. This latest update however will rely on memory and hurried notes made during the process, together with numerous photos. Large excavations such […]

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Rethinking Water: A Permaculture Tour of the Inland Northwest

Ever since I’d first read of it, I felt I would never understand the state of my bioregion until I saw the Milner Dam. So, when a road trip finally brought the opportunity, I made a somber pilgrimage. Unlike its famous counterpart, the Grand Coulee Dam, Milner Dam is not a tourist destination. It has no museum, no bronze statues, no gift shop, and no laser light show. Finding Milner […]

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Rosella Waters – Earthworks Phase 1, Part A

After many months of planning and waiting for the earthmovers to have their equipment available, the transformation of our humble 6 acres has begun. As with any major event in one’s life, there was an air of excited anticipation and a slightly sick feeling in our stomachs. Just like the one you can get when you go travelling in far-flung places. You feel as ready as you’ll ever be but […]

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Keyline Design – Mark IV


‘Soil, Water & Carbon for Every Farm’ – Building Soils, Harvesting Rainwater, Storing Carbon by Abe Collins & Darren Doherty Introduction Keyline Design was first developed by the great Australian, P.A. Yeomans (1904-1984), in the late 1940s & 50s initially as a practical response to the unpredictable rainfall regime he found on his new property, ‘Nevallan’, to the west of Sydney, New South Wales, Australia. Soil Conservation, as developed by […]

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Report on our Iranian Consultancy Trip of December 2008

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Editor’s Note: Iran has been making headlines in the media a great deal over the last few years. Here’s a side to the story you don’t normally get to hear, as experienced by our own Geoff Lawton. We are applying Permaculture techniques to restore the landscape in the hottest place on the planet In December 2008 it was our great pleasure and honour to be invited to Iran to work […]

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Making Contour Maps on the Cheap


by Darren Doherty of An example of the results Click for larger view I developed a technique in 2007 during a Keyline Design Course at Tuscon, Arizona for making a contour map using cheap available materials. One of our students didn’t have the cash to get a surveyor to do the job on his 40 acres, so I came up with this solution on the whiteboard and have since […]

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