Category: Food Plants – Annual

Addressing the Causes of Land Degradation, Food/Nutritional Insecurity and Poverty: a New Approach to Agricultural Intensification in the Tropics and Subtropics

by Roger RB Leakey, Agroforestry and Novel Crops Unit, School of Marine and Tropical Biology, James Cook University, Cairns, Australia. Photo 1: A multifunctional agriculture landscape in Viet Nam with many income-generating tree-based production systems on hillsides surrounding an area of intensive food production on the most fertile soils. Abstract The shortage of new land for agriculture and the poverty of smallholder farmers in the tropics are serious constraints on […]

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My Visit to the Greening the Desert Sequel Site, November 2013

The Jordan Valley Permaculture Proejct (aka ‘Greening the Desert – the Sequel’) in November 2013. (Photo: Geoff Lawton) I experienced a very diverse range of activities during my two weeks in Jordan, teaching a tree care course and helping in the farm activities, at the PRI Jordan Valley Permaculture Project (aka ‘Greening the Desert – the Sequel’ site) at 400 metres below sea level in the Dead Sea Valley. I […]

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Permaculture Paradise at Val & Eli’s Garden (Jacksonville, Florida)

Val and Eli take us on a tour of their permagarden in Jacksonville FL. They have created a wonderful, natural space filled with self-sustaining fruits, vegetables, herbs, medicines, colors, water, fragrances, and wildlife… at their fingertips. And below, Val and Eli continue to harvest the organic riches of their food forest and now cut back their garden to nourish their fruit trees with natural, free fertilizers. No artificial fertilizers, herbicides, […]

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China and the Soybean Challenge

by Lester R. Brown, Earth Policy Institute Some 3,000 years ago, farmers in eastern China domesticated the soybean. In 1765, the first soybeans arrived in North America, but they did not soon catch on as a crop. For 150 years or so the soybean languished as a curiosity in gardens. 1 Then in the late 1920s, a market for soybean oil began to develop, moving the soybean from the garden […]

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Mohamed Hijri: A Simple Solution to the Coming Phosphorus Crisis (video)

Biologist Mohamed Hijri brings to light a farming crisis no one is talking about: We are running out of phosphorus, an essential element that’s a key component of DNA and the basis of cellular communication. All roads of this crisis lead back to how we farm — with chemical fertilizers chock-full of the element, which plants are not efficient at absorbing. One solution? Perhaps … a microscopic mushroom. — TED […]

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Hill Country Permaculture: The Way of the Fox (Central Texas)

Foxes are renowned for being clever and nimble — elusive when sought as prey and very hard to keep out of a chicken coop when on the prowl. Many years ago, sitting at dinner with some long time "Hill Country" (AKA central Texas USA) farmers, I learned something about foxes that’s stuck with me ever since. A fox’s tail weighs as much as the rest of its body and thus […]

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A Hugelkultur Pumpkin Patch (Netherlands)

This year I made a hugelkultur area in my veggie garden. I love it — they bring a nice shape into my flat garden and now we have so much pumpkin and squash, because of the hugelkultur, that we can’t eat them all, and so we give them away. All the other gardeners around were laughing about me and my wood chips and now the hugelkultur. But they don’t laugh […]

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What Plants Talk About

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T7MOe5clOtI In 1973, Lyall Watson, a South African botanist, claimed that plants had emotions that could be recorded on a lie detector test. His research was fiercely dismissed by many in the scientific community. Recently, researchers at The University of Western Australia relaunched the debate by revealing that plants not only respond to sound, but that they also communicate to each other by making "clicking" sounds. (The article was published […]

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Pseudo-grains for Lesotho – Permaculture Design for Disaster

Quinoa This year’s very dry autumn, winter and spring in Lesotho is ringing alarm bells throughout the country. The capital city, Maseru, is down to a very limited supply of potable water. There is no significant rainfall forecast until the summer season, December / February. Last year’s grain crop was slightly better than the two previous years. This improved situation still left 40% of the population, some 725,000, reliant on […]

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Conventional Vs. Organic Vs. The Future of Food

People are awakening to a vision where they can see themselves as less stressed, having more quality time to spend with family, and real food laced with nature’s nutrition. Our great grandparents and, for some, grandparents could have told you of a time when there was no such thing as a supermarket. As a point in fact it was not until 1915 that Vincent Astor came up with a ’mini […]

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Food from Perennial(ising) Plants in Temperate Climate Australia, for August 2013

Editor’s Note: I want to express my heartfelt thanks to Susan for taking the initiative for this excellent series, and, I’d also like to second Susan’s request for volunteers to continue it! There may also be individuals who would like to start a similar series for other climate zones. Either way, you’re encouraged to contact Susan, as outlined below, to find out how to proceed. This is the late Winter […]

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OrBio – a Cover Crop Strategy for Market Gardens

A bug’s eye view of the sky, from a stand of cover crop Photo © Craig Mackintosh A recent post by Australian permaculture aid worker, Miles Durand, writing from Lesotho, reminded me to share a method of growing vegetable crops alongside cover crops that I learned when I studied organic biological horticulture many years ago. In the context of the holistic soil science and natural pest control studies I was […]

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