Update on the Jordan Valley Permaculture Project (aka ‘Greening the Desert, the Sequel’): “Leave All Expectations Behind”
Aid Projects, Building, Community Projects, Compost, Conservation, Courses/Workshops, Demonstration Sites, Education Centres, Food Forests, Food Plants - Annual, Food Plants - Perennial, Land, Plant Systems, Rehabilitation, Soil Conservation, Swales, Terraces, Urban Projects, Water Harvesting — by Christian Douglas February 19, 2011
I felt fully prepared leaving for Jordan three weeks ago. Equipped with a 55ltr backpack laden with books, a compost thermometer, a dumpy level as hand luggage and a few well chosen words of advice from former patrons of the land: "Leave all expectations behind". In fact, as i remember correctly, it was to "flush them down the toilet". Within hours of my arrival it became rapidly apparent that would become the most useful thing I was to bring with me, or rather didn’t bring, as the case may be.Comments (17)
Building, Energy Systems, Food Plants - Annual, Nurseries & Propogation, Urban Projects — by Rob Avis February 11, 2011
by Rob Avis
We live and garden on an urban lot in Calgary, Canada, located on the 51st parallel north and approximately 80 km east of the front ranges of the Canadian Rockies. This northern climate presents many design challenges, including less than one hundred frost-free days, an annual mean temperature of 4.1 degrees Celsius and summer cyclonic weather patterns (i.e. high risk of hail). We are also considered to be a moderate temperate desert as our precipitation is around 500mm including snow. However, one of the advantages of growing food up north is the long summer days. There is no better place to observe this than in Alaska which also has an average of 100 frost free days but is renown for growing the largest vegetables in the world. Also, despite being cold in the winter, it is rarely overcast and we enjoy mostly sunny days. These two factors combined result in Calgary having nearly the same solar potential as Florida.Comments (21)
Deforestation, Food Forests, Food Plants - Annual, Food Plants - Perennial, Global Warming/Climate Change, Medicinal Plants, Plant Systems, Rehabilitation, Soil Conservation, Trees — by Albert Bates February 9, 2011
by Albert Bates
Getting to the Maya Mountain Research Farm in southern Belize is its own wild side adventure. You can fly or bus to Punta Gorda Town on the coast and then bus or taxi up to San Pedro Columbia, a little village in the highlands of the Maya Mountains that is a jumping off point for river travel.
Toledo, with a population of 27,000, is the least globalized and most rustic district in Belize. The pyramid city of Lubaantun, near San Pedro Colombia, is a late classic Mayan ceremonial and commerce center where the famous crystal skull was found by the teenage daughter of archaeologist F.A. Mitchell-Hedges in 1926. The many small villages scattered at the edges of forests and along rivers look nearly the same today as they looked in 1926, 1826, or 1726.
From San Pedro, a boy with a dugout “dory” cedar canoe poles you up river past Lubaantun for two miles until you reach the shallow bend with the tall stands of bamboo on the starboard shore.Comments (3)
Animal Forage, Food Plants - Annual, Land, Plant Systems, Rehabilitation, Soil Composition, Soil Conservation, Soil Erosion & Contamination, Structure — by Milkwood Permaculture January 26, 2011
Pasture cropped oats growing in symbiosis with
native perennial pastures at Col Seis’s farm
Grain cropping is something that, for the vast majority of us, is someone else’s problem. We just eat the results; certainly every day, and nearly with every meal. Bread, rice, corn, soy, beans and so on. Produced somewhere out there, by someone else.
So a portion of our every single meal is coming from a grain crop, somewhere way out west. We wish it were grown organically, and in a way that doesn’t destroy too much of our topsoil. But we’ll eat it regardless of the farming practices, really. It’s in our diet. It’s what we do.Comments (7)
Biological Cleaning, Conservation, Food Forests, Food Plants - Annual, Food Plants - Perennial, Irrigation, Land, Plant Systems, Rehabilitation, Soil Conservation, Swales, Urban Projects, Waste Water, Water Harvesting — by Nicola Chatham January 19, 2011
Editor’s Note: This article was written in mid-December, when Queensland’s rains were nothing like that witnessed of late, and which have caused the catastrophic flooding in many towns and cities across the state. I mention this to ensure people realise Nicola was not being insensitive with timing of a Queensland- and water-based article. Our thoughts go out to all who have suffered in the recent deluges.
Pit-falls, projects and laughs from our Permaculture journey
If women knew diggers looked this good I think swales would pop up like weeds
around the globe. Gee whiz. Beats a four-tonne excavator in my books
– even if it had a swivel bucket.
Chris woke up the other day and declared, “I think I can dig those swales by hand.”
“Super,” I said, “go for it!”Comments (13)
Food Plants - Annual, Food Plants - Perennial, Land, Plant Systems, Rehabilitation — by Thomas Fischbacher
This is a fairly recent video about the Natural Farming pioneer Masanobu Fukuoka (1913-2008) that was produced by one of his former students, Larry Korn, who also translated Fukuoka’s best-known book "The One Straw Revolution" into English. One of the reasons why this video is especially interesting is that it contains video material showing Fukuoka in his fields that doesn’t appear to have been widely available before.
Unfortunately, Fukuoka’s seminal treatise "The One Straw Revolution" may be difficult to grasp for many people who grew up in western culture, especially due to philosophical ideas that are rooted in the Zen Buddhist concept of "Nothingness" (mu) which are all too easily misread as being nihilistic. His other — but less well known — book, "The Natural Way of Farming", is more elaborate, far more pragmatic, and contains a good deal of background about the observations, ideas, trials and errors by which Fukuoka developed his methods. Hence, it may serve well to make both his other writings and his work more accessible to a wide audience. (I would highly recommend to read the section "Second Thoughts on Post-Season Rice Cultivation" and the one immediately before it in Chapter 4 of that book before reading this work from the beginning.)Comments (9)
Building, Energy Systems, Food Plants - Annual, Food Plants - Perennial, Food Shortages, Land, Plant Systems, Retrofitting, Urban Projects — by Cecilia Macaulay January 13, 2011
Conference room, Head office, Pasona Group Inc.
With all my Japan projects bedded down for the winter, I set out for some sightseeing in my final weekend in Tokyo (Dec 4th) with a visit to the head office of the Pasona Group Inc.Comments (20)
Animal Forage, Animal Housing, Animal Processing, Aquaculture, Bird Life, Breeds, Courses/Workshops, DVDs/Books, Developments, Fish, Food Forests, Food Plants - Annual, Food Plants - Perennial, Land, Livestock, Plant Systems, Presentations/Demonstrations, Urban Projects, Village Development — by Ecofilms January 2, 2011
We’re planning a number of exciting new titles to be released in 2011.
Urban Permaculture DVD
One of the complaints we often get from people living in the city is that we focus a little heavily on Permaculture titles that require a large scale farm to get the most benefit from practicing Permaculture.
So we are happy to announce that in 2011 we will be working on the Urban Permaculture DVD with Geoff Lawton.
Actually, we really started shooting a lot of footage already that we were going to include in the Permaculture Soils DVD that we completed, but for various logistic reasons we found the segments would work best in a video that focuses in detail on adopting Permaculture techniques in small scale domestic environments instead.
From courtyards to backyards to places where you thought you could never do anything with, we want to make this DVD a Permaculture techniques DVD where people can be inspired by what is really possible.
Here’s an example of the kind of thing we mean. It’s a sneak preview of Geoff Lawton visiting a beautiful Mandala garden in an urban permaculture garden. It shows permaculture can be aesthetically pleasing to the eye with a richness of patterns as well as a productive food source:
Compost, Food Plants - Annual, Food Plants - Perennial, Land, Plant Systems, Rehabilitation, Soil Composition, Structure, Urban Projects — by Ecofilms
Building a mandala garden is a great way to break up your garden beds into a riot of living colour, allowing easy accessibility and visual interest. It looks great too. Whilst filming at the Yandina Community Garden with Geoff Lawton we came across this very easy to build mandala garden bed that was tucked away in the shady end of the garden. It’s circular in shape and has a number of keyhole paths or spokes that invite you to look closer at the assortment of plants on display.Comments (10)
Aid Projects, Community Projects, Demonstration Sites, Education Centres, Food Forests, Food Plants - Annual, Food Plants - Perennial, Plant Systems, Trees, Village Development — by Alex McCausland December 22, 2010
Following my recent trip to Siltie country I wrote a report on the Enset based agriculture of the area. Following that trip we brought some Enset plants back to Konso and we have planted them, 5 of them, on the Strawberry Fields Eco-Lodge (SFEL) site in Konso. We put them on places where our “pit-composting” toilets had previously been. Enset is a hungry plant and likes a lot of manure. We will see how they do over the next few months.
In the meantime I thought I would give a brief overview of Konso’s own agricultural system, which is equally fascinating and completely different to that in Siltie.Comments (5)
Commercial Farm Projects, Compost, Conservation, Demonstration Sites, Education Centres, Food Forests, Food Plants - Annual, Food Plants - Perennial, Plant Systems, Regional Water Cycle, Rehabilitation, Soil Conservation, Structure, Trees — by Jonathan Chan
Jonathon (Joni) is writing from his volunteer Permaculture position with the Social Policy Ecology Research Institute (SPERI), based at their Farmer Field School, Human Ecology Practice Area (HEPA), located in the Huong Son District, Ha Tinh Province, Vietnam.
Mr Chau and Mr Phuoc
Leaving the lush rain forest setting of HEPA and heading south for two hours, we arrive at Quang Binh Province, the site of another SPERI Farmer Field School (FFS), the Centre of Community Capacity Development (CCCD). Dave and I were on our first field trip as new members of the SPERI community, guided by the fantastic Mr Chau, and fellow Australian permaculturalist Robert Gray. CCCD was to be our base for the next few days as we visited a couple of ‘key farmers’ in the area – farmers who demonstrate what is referred to as ‘eco-farming’ in Vietnam. The first was Mr Phuoc, located in Quan Binh Province. We were told that all permaculturalists who visit Mr Phuoc’s farm get very excited when they see the work he is doing. But I can say that even with this in mind, the experience far outweighed my expectations.Comments (4)
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)
Comedy Break, Demonstration Sites, Food Plants - Annual, Food Plants - Perennial, Insects, Land, Plant Systems, Swales — by Nicola Chatham December 7, 2010
Pit-falls, projects and laughs from our Permaculture journey
“Andrew, I need to talk to you about something,” I’ve sought out the new president of the Community Garden at Peregian Beach, Andrew Maitland, to ask an important yet delicate question.
“It’s about slugs,”
“Yes, I have a lovely, bumper crop of slugs.”Comments (10)
Food Forests, Food Plants - Annual, Food Plants - Perennial, Land, Nurseries & Propogation, Plant Systems, Trees, Urban Projects — by Nicola Chatham November 25, 2010
Pit-falls, projects and laughs from our Permaculture journey
"How does a tree make a mango? I’ve never thought about it like that before, but isn’t that crazy? A tree can make a mango!"
"Yes, dear,” says Chris.
We’re driving around the back streets of Cooroy, getting to know our new extended neighbourhood, and we just passed a grove of mango trees.
"No one’s mangos have fruited this season. I’ve heard it’s due to too much rain," I say.
“So we could get some on our tree next year?"
“Isn’t that amazing? A tree can make a mango…" I’m aware my realisation sounds like someone who’s just tried smoking pot for the first time.
"I’m taking you home. You’re freaking me out today. You’re a bit hyper," jokes Chris, glancing at me side-ways.Comments (14)
Commercial Farm Projects, Economics, Food Plants - Annual, Food Plants - Perennial, Markets & Outlets, Medicinal Plants, Plant Systems, Village Development — by Judith Goldsmith November 3, 2010
Richard Alan Miller likes to tell the classic story of one of the first farmers who came to him for help.
He had 400 acres in Iowa in corn, which was infested with burdock. He had tried everything — spraying, everything — and he couldn’t get rid of the stuff. The bank was threatening him with foreclosure.
He came to a workshop I’d given at Charlie Walter’s Acres U.S.A. conference in Kansas City, and got in touch with me. When the bank heard I’d been hired to consult, the banker gave him a one-year stay of execution. I advised him to: sell half his land; sell half of his capital equipment; and then I had him get rid of his noxious weed — which was the corn! — and grow what nature wanted him to grow, which was the burdock!
I helped him sell all his burdock crop to Asian markets in Chicago, at two dollars a pound fresh (I advised him that he’d only get 60 cents a pound dried), where they couldn’t get enough of it for kim chee and fresh vegetables. After the first year, he was out of foreclosure. After three years, he owned his own land outright . . . and he started buying back his old land, and putting it into timber for his grandchildren!
Miller’s consulting does not always result in such dramatic conversion, but it has brought financial stability to many other small- to mid-size farmers and would-be farmers throughout the U.S.Comments (24)