Animal Forage, Biodiversity, Biofuels, Deforestation, Food Forests, Food Plants - Annual, Food Plants - Perennial, Food Shortages, Global Warming/Climate Change, Land, Medicinal Plants, Plant Systems, Regional Water Cycle, Rehabilitation, Soil Conservation, Soil Erosion & Contamination, Trees, Village Development, Water Contaminaton & Loss, Water Harvesting — by Eric Toensmeier March 1, 2012
Trees are one of our most powerful tools to pull carbon from the atmosphere and sequester it in the soil for long-term storage. This is why reforestation and protecting intact forests are such important parts of plans to address climate change. Conventional climate change science tells us that the planet’s capacity for reforestation is limited, however, by the need to preserve land for agriculture.
But movements like agroforestry and permaculture show us that farming and trees are not mutually exclusive. From tree crops to contour strips of nitrogen fixing trees between bands of annual crops, there is a wealth of techniques that can give us the best of both worlds. These techniques, should a global effort get behind their implementation on a large scale, could have a major impact on climate change. They would also have numerous other benefits to the planet and its people.
A century ago, writer-farmers like J. Russell Smith coined the term “permanent agriculture” to describe food forestry and other farming practices that combated a key issue of their day — erosion and degradation of farmland. From Smith and his compatriots we in permaculture have taken the name of our movement, though our movement has grown to encompass much more than food forestry. Today these visionary ideas are more essential than ever, to address an environmental crisis on a scale Smith and his contemporaries could not have imagined.Comments (4)
Biological Cleaning, Compost, Rehabilitation, Society, Soil Conservation, Soil Erosion & Contamination, Waste Systems & Recycling, Water Contaminaton & Loss — by Milkwood Permaculture February 29, 2012
Recently Nick gave a talk at TEDx Canberra. He talked about stewarding nutrients, how we can solve the problem of peak phosphorous (See ‘Phosphorous Matters’ Parts I & II here and here), and about how to grow the best cumquats ever.
Yes, Nick was talking about why taking responsibility for our poo and our wee — our most basic waste streams — is so crucial to our future. For a long time, a mark of superiority in some cultures has been how far you can get your shit away from you. But now, we need it back.Comments (5)
Animal Forage, Animal Housing, Commercial Farm Projects, Conservation, Dams, Earth Banks, Fencing, Irrigation, Land, Livestock, Rehabilitation, Soil Conservation, Water Harvesting — by Ben Falloon February 28, 2012
How To Move Your Farm Animals
Taranaki Farm shows you how to move a herd of cows, a flock of laying hens, some sheep and a stowaway frog in only 20 minutes… and in the process, heal farmland and local community.
Autumn Rain & Keyline Earthworks
Pairing Keyline Design farm layout to Polyface Farming methods makes Taranaki Farm genuinely unique in the world of sustainable/regenerative agriculture. Now with ten interlinked keyline dams and catchment road, drains and irrigation features, Taranaki Farm continues its investment in keyline design as a strategy for dryland water management which supports direct marketed, salad bar beef, pigerator pork and pastured chicken and egg enterprises.Comments (1)
Compost, Project Positions, Rehabilitation, Soil Biology, Working Animals — by Robert Burns February 25, 2012
Aloha. This is an introduction to my TEDx talk and my WWOOFing experience here at the PRI’s Zaytuna Farm at The Channon, NSW, Australia.
I came here the day after Christmas 2011. I knew about Geoff Lawton and Zaytuna Farm from my time in Hawaii on an organic, educational farm there where I had seen the DVDs on permaculture that Geoff had made. I wanted to see what permaculture was all about. I had had an introduction to it there and so I ventured out. In my TEDx talk I mention going on a journey and it led me here to this permaculture farm and it is a wonderful experience. This has mostly been due to the people I have met here, the students/interns and the food is incredible. I tell everybody I am here for the food and chef Ish and chef Tee do a fantastic job.Comments (6)
Aid Projects, Biological Cleaning, Community Projects, Compost, Fungi, Rehabilitation, Waste Systems & Recycling — by Richard Higgins February 23, 2012
In January 2010 Richard Higgins, founder and CEO of Well End Permaculture International, arrived at the epicentre of the Haiti earthquake in Port au Prince.
We sat the visiting NGOs down to lunch just to the left of this picture
(see next picture, below). Each double pallet contained 1,200 fresh
human wastes and nobody had any idea they were there
After arrival in Haiti I presented my researched technology at various WASH cluster meetings at the UN information site, near the airport. After the third presentation — made before the meetings had started, I was spotted by the regional director for Water and Sanitation for Latin America of the NGO giant CRS (Catholic Relief Services).
One week later I began work in a contracted position to set up a pilot project at the Sainte Marie Community Convent for the remediation of the toilet waste and other refugee camp generated wastes, into fertilizer, for 200 people.Comments (5)
Food Forests, Land, Plant Systems, Rehabilitation, Trees — by Mike Wood February 16, 2012
A brief discussion on the merits of Ghetto Palm (Ailanthus altissima)
by Mike Wood
First, so we know what we’re talking about, see the Wikipedia entry on the ‘Tree of Heaven’ here.
This tree is considered to be an invasive species in Colorado, and no doubt in other places. Our fearless leaders have decreed it to be undesirable. There are no active eradication efforts to my knowledge. I will not discuss its demerits here, as those can be found in any official literature on invasives. Rather, I hope to demonstrate its utilities in the context of permaculture — pioneering, succession, land improvement, and ecological niches.
An interesting factoid I found in my research: one of these trees survived the Hiroshima A-bomb, 300 meters from where the bomb went off. It still lives today. Tough bugger. I have read much wailing and gnashing of teeth on forums about how difficult it is to kill. This is, in my opinion, a fact very much in its favor in the high desert steppe climate here, Colorado’s Front Range. It can gain a foothold nearly anywhere; I’ve observed it growing from minute cracks in sidewalks, hard, nearly-granitic sand, gravel beds, and highly salted areas near roadways — making it an ideal candidate for land reclamation.Comments (16)
Compost, Fungi, Rehabilitation, Soil Biology, Soil Composition, Soil Conservation — by Niva Kay February 4, 2012
Many have heard of EM mixtures, sold worldwide with cultures of effective microorganisms, that due to their symbiotic relationships with each other can benefit the microorganisms’ ecosystem in our soils, compost piles and toilets. They are known to boost yield and speed the composting process and are sold worldwide for their positive effect.
You can read more about the commercial brands of EM and the process of their discovery by Dr.Teruo Higa from Japan in Wikipedia.
There are three types of microbial life that come together to form the mixture. It is not a certain strain of microbes that holds the key, but rather the combination of the different groups that gives the positive effect we are looking for.Comments (5)
Land, Rehabilitation, Soil Biology, Soil Composition, Soil Conservation, Structure — by Sunny Soleil February 3, 2012
Carbon pirates bury black gold… so future generations will be richer. – John Rogers
Biochar is being promoted as the soil saving miracle of the century promising outrageously high yields of crops as well as removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. The first video ‘The Promise of Biochar’ explains what biochar is, how valuable it is and how the Amazonian Indians used it to enhance fertility of the soil and promote carbon sequestration.
200 year old Brazilian soil [Terra Preta] which has been treated in this way was found to be ultra fertile and bio-diverse even centuries later. Also shown is an in-field experiment comparing the vast increase in crop production through using biochar techniques versus slash/burn or mineral fertilizer methods.
Courses/Workshops, Livestock, Rehabilitation, Soil Conservation, Structure — by Bob Nekrasov January 25, 2012
What better way to become more of a danger to the modern realm of earth destruction and technological torment than to team up Permaculture knowledge with Holistic Management training.
Teaming HM with Permaculture has an exceptionally powerful effect on building soils, repairing large landscapes and assisting with an holistic framework of decision making. A perfect tool to add to a PDC making you a true humus-building rebel.Comments (5)
Community Projects, Conservation, Courses/Workshops, Deforestation, Demonstration Sites, Eco-Villages, Education Centres, Energy Systems, Gabions, Irrigation, Land, People Systems, Processing & Food Preservation, Regional Water Cycle, Rehabilitation, Society, Soil Conservation, Soil Erosion & Contamination, Storm Water, Swales, Village Development, Waste Water, Water Contaminaton & Loss, Water Harvesting — by Dan Smith January 21, 2012
A certain coal-strewn road in Madrid, New Mexico
— the remnants of a now defunct railway.
Alternately barren and spectacular, the southwest United States has piqued the imagination of Americans and people across the world for generations. The site of gold rushes, Native American homelands, and a culture of lawlessness that has yet to fade completely, much of the land was degraded and destroyed long before Hollywood discovered how to cash in on retelling stories from its checkered past. Films may glorify the breadth and scope of the iconic terrain, but the essence and character of the Southwest ecology has been drastically altered; it little resembles what it once was.Comments (6)
Conservation, Food Forests, Irrigation, Land, Nurseries & Propogation, Plant Systems, Rehabilitation, Soil Composition, Structure, Swales, Trees, Water Harvesting — by Greg Bell January 20, 2012
Editor’s Note: It’d be great if more people would share their successes and failures in similar fashion as Greg has below. The reason I say this is three-fold — 1) you get valuable feedback from readers on how to overcome your challenges, 2) readers can learn from your mistakes and thus hopefully avoid them, and 3) people new to permaculture will have a decent dose of reality as they start their on-the-ground work, and so won’t give up in despair the moment things don’t immediately pan out as anticipated! Send your articles to editor (at) permaculturenews.org !
Incredible results from the master after just three months
in the same temperate climate as us.
Did you and our family have the same experience? Did you watch
Geoff’s Food Forest DVD with mouth agape, saying “wow” to yourself at
least a dozen times?
You saw it — plan, excavate, mulch, plant. Stand back and be amazed as your planned accelerated succession of productive plants unfolds.
We were lucky enough to have the property and funds to give it a try. I think we’ve failed. Here I’ll explain what we did, mistakes we know about, and the results. Maybe you can spot more mistakes and give us some ideas of where we can go from here.Comments (38)
Compost, Conservation, Food Forests, Food Plants - Annual, Food Plants - Perennial, Irrigation, Rehabilitation, Urban Projects, Village Development, Water Harvesting — by Leigh Glenn January 19, 2012
The Kniskerns’ yard is a sustainable smorgasbord
Over a period of less than 10 years, James and Mary Kniskern transformed their sod-based lawn into a vibrant, blooming habitat that not only reduces their impact on the land but also rewards them with a bounty of edible plants as well as honey-producing bees.
The fifth of an acre where James and Mary Kniskern live in Arnold [Maryland, USA] was about what you’d expect for a suburban dwelling: grass, azaleas, daffodils in the spring, pachysandras year-round. As you’d expect, it required the drone of a mower and sweat non-equity to keep it in shape.
“I didn’t like to mow,” says James.
But what was the alternative?
Less than a decade later, the Kniskerns are living the alternative. Their yard is like none other on their block. It’s the eco-gardener’s version of The Limbo Song. The how low can you go? part involves occasional weeding, plenty of harvesting… and no mowing.
Before the Kniskerns headed down the wood-chipped path to zero grass, they considered buying into an eco-village, so they visited several throughout the Mid-Atlantic. Each had its quirks, but what they really didn’t care for was the landscaping, which was not as tidy as what they were used to.
“It looked ugly,” James says.
But their desire to reduce their impact on the land propelled them.Comments (2)
Conservation, Demonstration Sites, Eco-Villages, Education Centres, Global Warming/Climate Change, Land, Rehabilitation, Soil Biology, Soil Conservation, Soil Erosion & Contamination, Structure, Water Contaminaton & Loss, Water Harvesting — by Albert Bates January 13, 2012
Former stockbroker Brian Bankston now calls himself the “Keyline Cowboy” after a carbon farming course at The Farm’s Ecovillage Training Center transformed his life. He quit his job, bought a keyline plow and compost tea brewer, and moved to The Farm.
For the past 10 years or so, the land management decisions of The Farm (a 40-year-old intentional community on 1750 acres in rural Tennessee, pop. ~200) have been informed by permaculture. Permaculture was influential in the design and early curricula of The Farm’s Ecovillage Training Center in 1994, and since many, if not all, of the community’s residents have now been exposed to it, it is not surprising to learn that a number of people serving on various village committees, as well some in public office in the surrounding county, have Permaculture Design certificates.
Our relationship with permaculture traces back to our connection to Bill Mollison, one of permaculture’s founders, who received the Right Livelihood Award, sometimes called the “Alternative Nobel Prize,” in the year after we did. RLA winners are a gregarious lot and gather from time to time to swap tales, so we have been fortunate to share such meetings with Bill over the past 30 years. We are also fortunate to have had the influence of an erstwhile neighbor, Peter Bane, who for many years published the quarterly Permaculture Activist from his former home in Primm Springs, Tennessee.
Today, as a permaculture instructor, I travel to many of the convergences of the movement and have come to know many practitioners. Our Farm team has taught permaculture courses on six continents and in 27 countries now, so it would only be surprising if The Farm did not have permaculture going on.Comments (5)
Aid Projects, Community Projects, Compost, Consumerism, Courses/Workshops, Economics, Food Shortages, Fungi, Rehabilitation, Salination, Society, Soil Biology, Soil Composition, Soil Conservation, Soil Erosion & Contamination, Village Development, Water Contaminaton & Loss — by Beatrice Yannacopoulou
A group of community-minded gardeners have turned a former Athens airport into a blooming vegetable plot, showing how Greece’s eroded soil holds the keys to a revival in farming and a way to buck the jobless trend.
by Beatrice Yannacopoulou. Article originally published on The Ecologist
All photographs courtesy: Dimitris.V.Geronikos
"If we want to survive on this land we must first help to heal the earth," said Nicolas Netién, agro-ecologist, teacher and co-creator of the NGO Permaculture Research Institute Hellas. He was talking to a group of some fifty people of all ages who had gathered for two days of workshops on self-sufficiency, how to self-organize, agro-ecology and composting. This small gathering was taking place on a beautifully sunny autumn day at the former Athens airport, Ellinikon.Comments (3)
Compost, Conservation, Food Forests, Food Plants - Annual, Food Plants - Perennial, Fungi, Irrigation, Land, Plant Systems, Rehabilitation, Soil Biology, Soil Composition, Soil Conservation, Structure, Trees, Waste Systems & Recycling, Water Harvesting — by Mark Feineigle January 4, 2012
What is it?
Hugelkultur is a composting method that uses large pieces of rotting wood as the centerpiece for long term humus building decomposition. The decomposition process takes place below the ground, while at the same time allowing you to cultivate the raised, or sunken, hugelkultur bed. This allows the plants to take advantage of nutrients released during decomposition. Hugelkultur, in its infinite variations, has been developed and practiced by key permaculture proponents such as Sepp Holzer and Masanobu Fukuoka for decades.