Category: Earth Banks

Earthworks Course – Zaytuna Farm, The Channon, May 2011

The sun works on an 11 year cycle over which it radiates heat at varying levels upon the earth. The cycle is observed by counting the frequency and placement of sunspots visible on the sun. Currently we are at a peak of the cycle whereby the sun is radiating a maximum amount of heat and energy. This means increased evaporation off the oceans’ waters and therefore increased precipitation over our […]

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Al Baydha Project, Saudi Arabia: Fence vs. Earth Berm

Editor’s Note: This is an update on the Al Baydha project we introduced here. In order to demonstrate our agricultural system, we need to keep goats, camels, and sheep off the site. Initially we were planning to build a standard chain-link fence, but decided we could do better. Instead, we are putting up a big earth berm — about 2.5 meters tall and between 4 and 5 meters wide, with […]

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PRI Ridge Point Dam Earthworks

by Gordon Williams On the 31st of January the Permaculture Earthworks course at Zaytuna Farm began with good weather and a group of enthusiastic students ready to see the process of laying the groundwork for functional rainwater harvesting features in landscapes. During the week a variety of works were conducted across the property, including a new dam and swale, swale pipe crossings, building site levelling and, to make everyone’s life […]

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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

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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Keyline Swales – a Geoff Lawton/Darren Doherty Hybrid

A swale on Zaytuna Farm – © Craig Mackintosh (Remaining images below © Cam Wilson.) Geoff Lawton and Darren Doherty are the two highest profile people in Australian Permaculture when it comes to broadacre water harvesting earthworks. They’ve both had success in some very tough environments, and yet it’s interesting that their styles are quite different, particularly when it comes to infiltration strategies. This article is a short comparison of […]

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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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