Consumerism, DVDs/Books, Food Forests, Food Plants - Annual, Food Plants - Perennial, Food Shortages, Medicinal Plants, peak oil — by Isabell Shipard February 2, 2010
When Derrick, Isabell, and children Angela, Vicky and RIcky, shifted to Nambour in the hinterland of Queensland’s Sunshine Coast over 30 years ago, our desire was have land to grow our own food and be as self-sufficient as possible. We bought an acre of land and soon realized that a bigger block of land would be the way to go, so that we could have our own milk, meat and eggs. We purchased a larger 20 acre block, with approximately 10 acres of cleared land on the outskirts of Nambour.
It was about this time, that we heard Bill Mollison speak on Permaculture, with zones, to encourage a design plan that integrates the environment, plants and people with a vision of possibilities.
Vegetable and herb gardens were started and fruit trees were planted. Poultry, dairy goats, pigs and milking cows were added. Derrick being very gifted with skills of building fences, sheds, and as ‘a fix-it man’ was able to do many and varied tasks on the farm. Derrick, being a butcher by trade, was also able to turn the animals into cuts of meat for the freezer, mince into sausages, meat into smoked hams.Comments (8)
Courses/Workshops, Food Forests, Food Plants - Annual, Food Plants - Perennial, Medicinal Plants, Plant Systems, Trees, Urban Projects — by Craig Mackintosh PRI Editor October 3, 2009
There’s alchemy and magic afoot in Melbourne, where we take a look at Bill and Geoff’s PDC and the garden of a certain urban magician called Angelo.
Bill Mollison at Trinity College, Melbourne
All photographs © Craig Mackintosh
I had never been to Melbourne before this week, but from my very short exposure to it over the last few days, I can already sense that it is a very strange place….
Take yesterday for example. I was in town, and noticed someone had dropped their purse on the sidewalk. There was a lot of foot traffic, and so, standing at a distance, I watched to see what people would do – you know, once they noticed it. Would they pocket it and hurry off? Would they look around for its owner, or maybe a policeman to hand it to?Comments (10)
Food Forests, Food Plants - Perennial, Medicinal Plants, Plant Systems, Village Development — by PIJ April 13, 2009
PIJ #58, Mar – May 1996
By Dr Danny Hunter
Editor’s Note: This decade-old article spotlights local indigenous knowledge found in the Maldives – a land today threatened by rising seas. The Maldive Islands have the unfortunate title of having the lowest highest point in the world – only 2.3 metres.
The atolls of the Maldives represent a delicate and unique ecosystem that is highly sensitive to changes resulting from human, climatic and environmental activity. Within this fragile ecosystem a number of indigenous farming systems have evolved that are ecologically and culturally sustainable. Of these, the homegarden has been the most enduring and diverse.
The Maldives is an archipelago made up of about 1200 islands that are scattered in a line running for 800km southwest of the tip of India. Although the total area of the country occupies 90,000km2 of Indian Ocean, its land area is a tiny 300km2.Comments (2)
Food Forests, Food Plants - Perennial, Medicinal Plants, Seeds, Trees — by Isabell Shipard April 11, 2009
Photo credit: Melanie Brown
Also known as Horseradish Tree, Marango Tree, Murunga, Kelor, Shobhanjan, Ben Tree and Moringa Tree. Moringa oleifera syn. M. pterygosperma F. Moringaceae
A handsome, multi-purpose, small legume tree, 3-8 metres tall, fast growing and drought hardy, with a shady, leaf canopy of very attractive tripinnate ferny foliage, making its presence appealing wherever it is planted. Small, waxy, creamy-white flowers, resembling miniature orchids, form in clusters on terminal stems, followed by 20-30cm long round pods. Pods look very much like drumsticks, a good reason for the plant’s common name. The shell of the pod splits into 3 sections revealing a row of neatly packed, wing-edged, round, brown seeds.
Propagation is by seed. Seed must be relatively fresh to give a good germination. Warm temperatures are important for germination. Keep planted seeds well out of reach of mice and wood lizards, as the seed is nutty and considered a tasty morsel by these little scavengers. Stem cuttings, 10-60cm long, can also be struck in spring and summer.Comments (12)
Food Plants - Annual, Health & Disease, Medicinal Plants, Seeds — by Isabell Shipard April 6, 2009
Editor’s Note: Today we get some practical tips from Isabell Shipard, a lady whose work I featured recently. You’ll hear from Isabell from time to time – helping us get to know a little more about the herbs and other plants whose attributes, uses and benefits are often unknown or ignored. For a lot more info like this, consider purchasing one of Isabell’s really excellent books – you can find them in our book section.
Chia (Salvia rhyacophila) is a hardy annual herb 1-1.5m high, that belongs to the Salvia family, with its name coming from the Latin ‘salare’ which means to save, referring to its curative properties. Blue flowers spike to 10cm long, set on terminal stems, and fill out to a seed head (that is similar in appearance to a wheat seed head) with pin-head sized, brown, shiny seeds. Plants adapt to a wide range of soils, climates and minimal rainfall.
In the plant’s native habitat of South-west America, it has been highly valued as a staple food for hundreds of years. In Mexico, it was used as money and to pay taxes. A small handful of seeds and plenty of water supplied energy and sustenance, for a man traveling for 24 hours, and it is said that an Indian can exist on it for many days if necessary. Several USA universities have researched the endurance properties of chia and found that a tablespoon of seed could sustain a person for 24 hours, with hard labour. Richard Lucas, in his book, ‘Common and uncommon uses of herbs for healthy living’, encourages anyone to try it, and discover its unique ability to provide the go power to get through a busy day with a hop, skip and a jump. The seeds have valuable medicinal properties and nutritional content, with essential vitamins, minerals, fibre and 30% protein. In USA it is grown as a commercial crop and seed is available in Health Food Shops.Comments (100)
DVDs/Books, Food Forests, Food Plants - Annual, Food Plants - Perennial, Health & Disease, Medicinal Plants — by Craig Mackintosh PRI Editor March 17, 2009
Isabell Shipard – herbalist/educator
One of the best aspects of Permaculture is being able to begin to take control back over our own lives. Rather than being just a captive cog in the huge destructive machine that is our present globalised industrial society (a machine running full speed towards a great yawning precipice), transitioning to Permaculture systems enables us to stand as individuals, making our own choices and, as far as possible, creating our own destiny.
One of the most important aspects of this is taking control back over our own health and personal well-being. In a world where industry profits from illness, and where institutions like the FDA (in cahoots with pharmaceutical companies and governments) seek to maximise their profiteering by outlawing more natural alternatives (see the disconcerting ‘Codex Alimentarius’ video at bottom, narrated by Judi Dench, and even has an appearance from Mel Gibson), the good news is that nature is always there for us – we just need to tap into the wealth of knowledge that is out there to help us to sustainably take advantage of it.Comments (0)
Animal Forage, Food Forests, Food Plants - Perennial, Medicinal Plants, Trees — by PIJ February 20, 2009
PIJ #48, Sep – Nov 1993
The graceful tamarind tree (Tamarindus indica) is believed to have originated in Africa and is now cultivated in many parts of the tropical world. Although in the legume family, it does not fix nitrogen; however, its many attractive qualities make it a splendid addition to the large permaculture garden. It is one of the most useful of tropical trees – for shelter, shade, food firebreaks, fuel wood, forage, fodder, bee food and mulch. Leaves, flowers and immature pods are eaten as vegetables, while these items plus the bark and roots have medicinal properties.
Also of high ornamental value, this semi-evergreen dome-shaped tree has graceful weeping branches that almost touch the ground. It can grow to 25m in height and 7.5 m trunk circumference on rich deep soils and live for hundreds of years. The leaves, which form the dense ferny foliage, are 7.5 – 15 cm long with leaflets in 10 – 12 pairs. The flowers which are yellow striped with red are held in a raceme.Comments (25)
Biodiversity, Food Plants - Annual, Food Plants - Perennial, Medicinal Plants, Plant Systems, Trees — by PIJ December 10, 2008
Reprinted with permission from the "Permaculture International Journal" (PIJ) (No. 61,
The world’s striving for racial tolerance doesn’t always extend to plants.
A key criticism of permaculture’s approach to building sustainable organic systems has been its perceived willingness to favour the introduction of exotic species.
Is it better to build systems that include exotics or should reforestation aim only to replace what has been taken away?
Is a rampant exotic a weed, or nature’s most effective first aid treatment?
It is a philosophical divide which has sparked heated debate within the permaculture community and strained relationships between groups that have otherwise much in common.Comments (2)
Aquaculture, Food Plants - Annual, Medicinal Plants — by Alanna Moore November 29, 2008
The Water Chestnut, Eleocharis dulcis, is a tropical/sub-tropical sedge that grows in water margins and bogs in many parts of India, South-East Asia, New Guinea, Northern Australia and Polynesia. It is an annual that has erect, narrow, tubular leaves (clums) half a metre to a metre tall. The plant spreads by a creeping rhizome which, through the summer months, produces additional sucker plants. The sweet corms are highly valued as a nutritious food. They are also used medicinally for a number of ailments, used either fresh, boiled or steeped in rice wine. The corms contain an antibiotic principle called ‘puchin’, which acts like penicillin, helping in immune functioning. The stems may be used for mulch, fodder, fruit and vegetable packaging, and crafts.Comments (4)