Compost, Courses/Workshops, Fungi, Rehabilitation, Salination, Soil Biology, Soil Composition, Soil Conservation, Structure — by Bonnie Freibergs February 25, 2011
Join us at The Permaculture Research Institute, Zaytuna Farm in Northern NSW, for Paul Taylors’ Compost Soil Biology Natural Fertilizer Course starting on the 7th of March.
Learn how to repair the soil through both a deeper understanding of the fascinating science of soil biology and plant nutrition combined with techniques like composting and compost teas.
Use less water and replace your fertilizers! You will discover methods and DIY products that will convert your soil and increase your productivity.
Where: The Permaculture Research Institute, Zaytuna Farm, The Channon, NSW.
When: March 7th – 11th
Click here for more details and to book, or call +61 (0) 419 741 358 now!Comments (4)
The Need for Sustainable Agriculture – It’s So Obvious and Inevitable That Even The UN Has To Admit It
Biodiversity, Consumerism, Deforestation, Food Shortages, Global Warming/Climate Change, Rehabilitation, Society, Soil Conservation, Soil Erosion & Contamination, Water Contaminaton & Loss, peak oil — by Rhamis Kent
Editor’s Note: Quite some time ago, I shared the big 400-scientist-strong IAASTD worldwide study that concluded that small scale, localised, ecological agriculture was an imperative we cannot afford to ignore any more. The post was titled The Food Crisis: “A Perfect Storm” – and How to Turn the Tide. If you missed it, do check it out, and if you’re already conversant in the multiple crises we’re dealing with, then simply jump to the ‘The Solutions’ section. Now, halfway through 2010, whilst I had my head down, working on a tool to help fast track the aforementioned solution — www.permacultureglobal.com — yet another study shares the same holistic, science-based vision. Read on.
The great need to stop burning out our soils, wasting precious water, and polluting both, is no longer open to dispute. A rapid transition to sustainable methods of agriculture simply needs to be implemented on a massive scale — and it needs to be done yesterday.
This is the great task of our age.
"Agroecology outperforms large-scale industrial farming for global food security," says UN expert. — The United Nations Office at Geneva
In the aforementioned article (first reported 22 June 2010), UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food, Professor Olivier De Schutter "makes an airtight case for a global policy shift toward agroecological production."Comments (1)
Compost, Fungi, Rehabilitation, Soil Biology, Soil Composition, Soil Conservation, Structure — by Craig Mackintosh PRI Editor February 24, 2011
If you missed it, be sure to check out Part I of this interview, and then come back to this post to catch the finale.
Part II of Sustainable World Radio’s interview with Doug gets into the nitty gritty of bacterial/fungi ratios and how and when to favour them, carbon sequestration and how to protect and improve your soil quality.
Click play to hear the talk!Interview with Doug Weatherbee: Life Within the Soil, Part II Comments (9)
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)
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)
Compost, Fungi, Podcasts, Rehabilitation, Soil Biology, Soil Composition, Soil Conservation, Soil Erosion & Contamination, Structure — by Craig Mackintosh PRI Editor January 28, 2011
I had the pleasure of meeting Doug Weatherbee at Geoff Lawton’s PDC course at Quail Springs in California in August 2008. With his coming from an IT background, it’s great, and interesting, to see his metamorphosis into an expert in all things soil.
Given that the soil beneath our feet is the source of all we eat, breathe, possess, and are, and given that it’s disappearing fast, it is imperative that we begin to protect and even restore it. Understanding a little better how it works is one giant step towards accomplishing this.
The content of Sustainable World Radio’s interview with Doug brings one face to face with the absurdity of a monocrop, industrialised, product-based agriculture, as he looks at the real secrets of a healthy soil — mega-diversity in soil life — and its potential to bring not only resiliency, but also gift us with a self-perpetuating system.
Click play to hear the talk!Interview with Doug Weatherbee: Life Within the Soil, Part I
Continue to Part IIComments (4)
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)
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 December 22, 2010
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)
Food Forests, Food Shortages, Plant Systems, Rehabilitation, Soil Conservation — by 1080 Films December 21, 2010
by 1080 Films
Trailer: The Man Who Stopped the Desert
“The Man Who Stopped the Desert” is a full High Definition, one hour feature documentary telling the story of Yacouba Sawadogo, an illiterate African farmer who has transformed the lives of thousands of people across the Sahel.
Soil is essential to life on earth. But much of the world’s soil has become degraded and useless. As the global demand for food grows, millions of pounds and the latest technological advances have been invested in attempts to improve soil quality. Leading scientists and agriculturalists from around the world strive against growing world hunger to find the means to bring exhausted soils back into production, but it seems that a peasant farmer from one of the poorest countries on earth has finally achieved what these experts dreamt of; halting the desert.Comments (7)
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)
Compost, Demonstration Sites, Fungi, Plant Systems, Rehabilitation, Soil Biology, Soil Conservation, Soil Erosion & Contamination, Trees — by Niki Neave December 8, 2010
by Niki Neave
It’s not the soil itself — it’s the soil life that is the most important element. — Geoff Lawton, Permaculture Soils DVD
When the question came up, "How could permaculture be applied on a commercial scale successfully?" it led to an amazing opportunity to meet up with Nico Snyman, a long time South African farmer, and his wife Janie, who are using soil organisms to rehabilitate polluted and damaged soils.
Nico & Texas Grano onions. It was the 5th consecutive trial where the
soil is now fertile enough that it does not need GROW AGRA for the time
being, only raw material for food for the organisms. The image on the
right: a single onion was placed on a side plate with 18cm diameter.
These onions are too big for the market, but sweet and tasty. We donated
10 to the church fair where they fetched R4-00 each.
Over the years Mr. Snyman has noticed a decrease in the number of farmers countrywide due to ever increasing input costs. He mentioned that farmers’ major expenses are the purchase of fertilizers and pesticides. (Many farmers of his time were brought up and taught at university to farm with these products.) His son, Peter, B.Sc Agric (Hons.), who is farming in Zambia, also noticed that after a number of years of the soil been treated with fertilizers, it had become infertile, infested with eelworm and nothing would grow at all.Comments (6)
Animal Housing, Biodiversity, Deforestation, Food Forests, Global Warming/Climate Change, Land, Plant Systems, Regional Water Cycle, Rehabilitation, Soil Conservation, Trees — by Julia Mitchell December 2, 2010
When one thinks of trees and the benefit they have for us as humans, the obvious comes to mind: Trees help reduce the effects of global warming by reducing carbon dioxide concentration in the atmosphere. The photosynthetic process provides the trees with nutrients, and humans with the primary element required to sustain life — oxygen. Trees are often referred to as the “lungs of the world.”
All of the above is mainstream knowledge. It is the basic information we learn as children in grade school. But what if I told you it’s only the tip of the iceberg? Trees are more than just the “lungs of the world”. Their role on this earth is pervasive, yet so often taken for granted.
So, what is a tree?Comments (8)
Conservation, Gabions, Irrigation, Land, Rehabilitation, Soil Conservation, Water Harvesting — by Geoff Lawton November 25, 2010
Gabions are one of the crucial feature elements of dry land landscape water harvesting design. A gabion is a leaky rock dam wall built in a wadi, valley canyon or water flow, at a point where there would be a reasonable amount of water caught if there was a dam wall in the same position, but the gabion instead leaks through the rocks, slowly releasing a steady flow of water and retained moisture over time. As the water is slowed down by a gabion, it drops its sediments, organic materials, behind the rock wall. Desert catchments are often large and feature very infrequent rainfall events, and are an actively eroding landscape that is continually being blown away, with sediments either eroded or deposited by the wind if there are wind traps like desert tree systems and forests, but also by water flows which are usually strong and can carry large amounts of organic material and sediments away with them.Comments (9)
Compost, Global Warming/Climate Change, Rehabilitation, Soil Biology, Soil Conservation — by Craig Mackintosh PRI Editor November 21, 2010
We’ve been having a pretty lively discussion on biochar in a recent post. One of the commenters, Rhamis Kent, found the video below which I thought I’d put up for all to consider.
In it the Woods End Laboratories people question whether biomass should be turned into biologically inactive biochar, when it could instead be turned into biologically active compost — particularly when many find it necessary to pre-soak biochar in urine, compost or manure anyway, so as to reduce its yield-stunting effects (like binding nutrients so plants can’t use them, and the high pH of biochar).
My thoughts on the issue are to trial it at home by all means, and let us know about your well-documented results, but I’d hate to see people supporting large scale, energy intensive, profit-centric implementations of this.