Animal Forage, Economics, Food Forests, Food Plants - Annual, Food Plants - Perennial, Livestock, Plant Systems, Rehabilitation, Society, Soil Conservation, Soil Erosion & Contamination, Trees, Village Development, Water Contaminaton & Loss, peak oil — by Rhamis Kent December 16, 2010
More and more articles are being written that continue to hit the proverbial "nail on the head". This one was posted to the Energy Bulletin website a couple of days ago. It does a great job of summarizing the problems with annual monoculture-based food systems and the advantages of those which are perennial polyculture-based.
The evidence is undeniable and overwhelming. It has been for a very long time. Now it’s just time to "do the damn thing".
I’ve included a portion of this piece summarizing "The Four Smiling Faces of Perennial Polyculture":Comments (4)
Animal Forage, Food Forests, Plant Systems, Trees — by Samantha Downing December 2, 2010
If you’re a first generation farmer and you manage to find a dirt cheap property to begin your farming endeavours, there’s a good chance there’ll be some kind of weed that you’ll have to deal with. In our case, it was Gorse, Ulex europeaus, a weed of national significance. In permaculture terms, gorse is a pioneer plant. It colonises disturbed ground, and is often seen in erosion gullies, which is the niche it occupies on my property.
Gorse with flower and seed pods
Like most weeds, gorse provides important ecosystem services. A member of the pea family, it fixes nitrogen and its prickly, bushy growth habit provides habitat for birds and animals whilst its dense root structure helps combat erosion. Given that it is a weed of national significance and in order to maintain good relations with our neighbours, managing the gorse was a priority. Most advice we received was to "cut and paint" — cut back gorse bushes and paint with the appropriate herbicide. Chemical management is not an avenue I was willing to pursue due to the potential effects of herbicide on soil and animal life. A permaculture approach requires an analysis of the species to understand its growing needs, potential harvestable uses and its interactions with other parts of the system.Comments (10)
Animal Forage, Land, Livestock, Plant Systems, Rehabilitation, Seeds, Soil Biology, Soil Composition, Soil Conservation, Structure — by Craig Mackintosh PRI Editor October 7, 2010
Allan Savory has an interesting background. Amongst his experiences, he is also a biologist. I think this will have served him well as he sought to address desertification in his native Zimbabwe.
While many call for less livestock, and for good reason, Allan blames their detrimental impact on management (or lack of, as the case may be), rather than absolute numbers. Allan’s Holistic Management techniques instead use dense livestock herds to increase fertility and biomass (and thus soil carbon) and to increase human prosperity.Comments (11)
Animal Forage, Compost, Medicinal Plants, Plant Systems — by Melissa Miles October 1, 2010
Comfrey (Symphytum spp.) has been cultivated and valued by many cultures for almost 2500 years. A native to Europe and Asia, the comfrey plant with which most are familiar, Symphytum officinale, has been used as a blood coagulant, a treatment for maladies of the lung, and as a poultice to aid in the healing of wounds and broken bones. Consumed as a tea, comfrey is said to treat a variety of internal ailments by various folk medicine traditions.
The word comfrey is Latin in origin and means "to grow together”. Though research has recently linked the consumption of comfrey with liver damage in mice, thus halting the development of comfrey as a modern food crop, the plant was once widely grown for its medicinal, food and forage value. Today it is still valued for its use in salves and other topical skin preparations and for its use as animal fodder and fertilizer.Comments (15)
Animal Forage, Bird Life, Commercial Farm Projects, DVDs/Books, Financial Management, Fish, Food Plants - Annual, Food Plants - Perennial, Livestock, Markets & Outlets, Medicinal Plants, Nurseries & Propogation — by Ethan Roland September 7, 2010
Resource alert: At bottom of this blog post is a download option for more than a thousand enterprise budgets.
Permaculture designers: It’s time to get serious about profitability.
Farmers & Greenhorns: You already know what I’m talking about. I’ve been working on an integrated ecological farm design for the Ashokan Center in the Hudson River Valley bioregion. The design calls for a mega-diversity of organic enterprises: Multi-species rotational grazing, hardy kiwi vineyards, mixed-fruit orchards, agroforestry & silvopasture, no-till & greenhouse vegetables, gourmet & medicinal mushrooms, and more. There are 200+ edible & useful species spread across 13 acres of farm and 200+ acres of forest.Comments (16)
Animal Forage, Commercial Farm Projects, Food Plants - Annual, Food Plants - Perennial, News, Plant Systems, Society — by Paul Douglas
There they go again, making liars out of us, undermining our critique that their industry is contributing to the wholesale destruction of water, soil, air and biodiversity.
You know what the farmers have done, don’t you? They’ve only gone and realised that a diverse range of endemic, perennial, drought-proof fodder crops are better for their farm animals, their soil, the atmosphere and their bank balance than introduced, annual, copyrighted fodder crops. Not only that, but there is a symbiosis occurring between the annual pasture crops and perennial natives which is causing both sets of plants to grow better than they would normally otherwise. I happened upon this information via the Landline show on TV last week. I am constantly amazed by how much farmers are warming to the benefits and joys of permaculture elements without even realising it. They’ve been trialling alternative fodder crops, starting with the admittedly non endemic tagasaste “to repair the land and provide feed and shelter for [their] sheep”, and farmers in rural Australia have also long been planting Old Man Saltbush, both as a stock fodder and a way of helping combat soil salinity. This was also reported on Landline in 2008. Recently, they’ve begun trying out other crops, especially native perennial shrubs and have been crash grazing the test paddocks with sheep and experimenting with plant and crop row spacings in order to maximise yield.Comments (7)
Animal Forage, Medicinal Plants, Plant Systems, Rehabilitation, Soil Conservation, Structure — by Rhamis Kent August 31, 2010
Editor’s note: Red clover is a useful leguminous green manure. Growing taller than
other clovers, it can be easily cut down with a scythe or other when it starts to
flower, so that it doesn’t scatter seed where you don’t want it.
You can never have enough information about Earth Repair/Ecosystem Restoration tools, techniques, and strategies. As most of you know, a couple among the many in use are green manuring and cover cropping.
Over the past year of my really digging into this topic I’ve come across a number of useful links to downloadable PDFs that allow for easy access and use.Comments (9)
Animal Forage, Animal Processing, Consumerism, Demonstration Sites, Education Centres, Health & Disease, Livestock, Medicinal Plants, Recipes — by Marcelo Severo August 13, 2010
I promised last week that I would tell you about the cows here at Zaytuna and I’m going to do just that. I’d like for the vegetarians out there (who will find most of this menu unpalatable) to still be interested in reading about these cows because it’s not just about the beef that ended up on our plates….
Photo © Craig Mackintosh
Animal Forage, Livestock, Working Animals — by Mariette van den Berg June 4, 2010
By Mariette van den Berg B.(Hons), MSc. (Equine Nutrition)
This photograph © copyright Craig Mackintosh
Within the Equine industry there is next to no research based on alternate feeding sources such as forage trees and shrubs for horses. Adding trees in and around pastures can be beneficial for a number of reasons; it not only plays a major role in the hydration of the land and the control of erosion, but it can also provide shade, shelter and fodder. Many of you may be familiar with feeding tree and shrub forage to livestock but not a lot of horse owners know about the use of fodder tree and shrub for horses. In this article I will describe the benefits of trees and scrubs as a fodder and will give a small selection of potential forage trees and shrubs for horses.Comments (15)
Animal Forage, Earth Banks, Food Forests, Land, Material, Plant Systems, Rehabilitation, Soil Conservation, Structure, Swales, Terraces — by Jonathan Chan April 19, 2010
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 be so disregarded? My stay with John Champagne of the Bega Valley, NSW, ingrained the great importance of this plant and introduced me to a few of many possible applications of the grass.
Animal Forage, Consumerism, Health & Disease, Livestock — by Rhamis Kent November 18, 2009
Joel Salatin runs one of the best examples of a fully functional & productive sustainable farming operation found anywhere in the United States at Polyface Farms. It may not fit the precise permaculture mold, but it does demonstrate what’s possible without the use of expensive and destructive chemical inputs & CAFOs (Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations).
He recently participated in the TEDxMidAtlantic (similar to TED Talks) series of lectures to discuss the significance of adopting more holistic, comprehensive methods in producing food and tending to the land. Very inspiring and thought provoking.
What are you doing to allow a chicken to fully express its essence of ‘chickenness’? Or a cow its essence of ‘cowness’? Joel has a few things to say about that.Comments (3)
Animal Forage, Aquaculture, Biological Cleaning, Fish, Food Plants - Perennial, Food Shortages, Natural Swimming, Plant Systems, Urban Projects — by Craig Mackintosh PRI Editor July 21, 2009
Could converting swimming pools into fish ponds be another way to increase food security as we head out onto peak oil’s downhill slope?
A Permaculture fish pond in development
Swimming pools get a bad rap in enviro-circles, and for good reason. They cost a great deal to construct – using a lot of CO2 intensive materials in the process – they waste huge amounts of water and energy for maintenance, use chemicals to keep them clear and ’safe’, and they take up a lot of space that could be utilised for more productive purposes (like growing veggies!). Many people also just find them a lot of work to look after, which is especially annoying when their usage is often only seasonal at best.
But, what if you’re already lumbered with a pool and are trying to make the best of the situation? Maybe it came with your property, or hindsight has kicked in after you’ve shelled out thousands to install something you almost never use…. What then?Comments (32)
Animal Forage, Compost, Food Forests, Food Plants - Perennial, Plant Systems, Rehabilitation, Soil Biology — by PIJ April 13, 2009
PIJ #63, June-Aug 1997
by Linda Woodrow
How to harvest weeds for their best nutrients
Sometimes gardening seems to me like alchemy. Organic material that is of no value to us is converted into organic material of high value, and, like alchemy, the process seems almost magic.
Soil micro-organisms and plants do the converting, but they can’t do it without something to convert. The role of humans is to set up the system, supply the raw materials, and harvest the product.
The first law of gardening is the law of conservation of matter
There are very many sources of organic matter, but the kinds I look for are rich in a wide range of nutrient elements, concentrated, easily collected, and easily converted. One source that beautifully satisfies all these requirements is weeds.Comments (10)
Animal Forage, Food Forests, Food Plants - Perennial, Seeds, Trees — by PIJ April 9, 2009
PIJ #58, March-May 1996
by Frances Lang
Carob, or St John’s Bread, is known in the botanical world as Ceratonia siliqua from the Caesalpiniaceae family. It is a small to medium sized, long-lived evergreen tree with dense foliage. Leaves are glossy, green, round and leathery, new growth is bronze coloured. Trees are single sexed and so will need a male and female tree to produce pods. One male tree can pollinate about 10-20 females. It is an excellent fire barrier as its leaves burn very poorly.Comments (19)
Animal Forage, Animal Housing, Bird Life, Breeds, Food Plants - Annual, Plant Systems, Working Animals — by Bill Mollison March 7, 2009
PIJ #58, Mar – May 1996
Aigamo ducks in rice paddy
Mr. Takao Furuno’s modest business card reveals that he is a farmer in a world where “one duck creates boundless treasure”.
He farms rice very successfully in Japan and is a private aid volunteer, working in Vietnam when I met him. He had a message for all rice farmers, perhaps all wet paddy farmers, and gave me his book (all in Japanese) on the duck-rice paddy design he has perfected. Luckily I also have a condensed translation.Comments (12)