Category: Soil Conservation

SOIL Wins Land for Life Award for Composting Toilet Aid Work in Haiti

In June of this year, SOIL (Sustainable Organic Integrated Livelihoods) won the new UNCCD (United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification) ‘Land for Life Award‘ and received $40,000 to support their excellent practical educational work in biologically based sanitation — aka: composting toilets. Watch the video to hear our good friend John D. Liu of the EEMP tell us all about it. I’m sure you will all want to join me […]

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Fascine, Revetments, and Wattle Hurdle

by Daniel Halsey This year I have been in Haiti after a downgraded hurricane, and then in New Jersey a week after Sandy. While in New Jersey two tornadoes passed by my old house. What do they have in common? In each case water was being limited in its flow by developement or the removal of natural structures that diffuse its energy. While working in Haiti and trying to build […]

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My Experience of Permaculture Aid Work in Ethiopia

I’m not sure it’s possible, looking back now, to say exactly what I was expecting when I hopped on that plane and flew to Ethiopia for an internship at Strawberry Fields, but one thing I am sure of is that it’s been one of the most transformative, edifying experiences I’ve had in my life.

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Rwanda – Emerging in a Changing Climate (video)

Filmmaker and environmentalist, John D. Liu from the Environmental Education Media Project team, takes us to Rwanda again (last time was here), showing us how the country is seeking to leapfrog the disastrous ‘development‘ route most of the countries of the North have gone down, to instead head more directly towards sustainability. Given the horrors this country were awash with during the 1990s, it’s certainly encouraging to see the nation […]

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Finding Sustainability in Ecosystem Restoration

Before (below) and after (above), Loess Plateau Watershed Rehabiliation Project A Breakthough of Worldwide Importance In 1995, as the Chinese government and people were beginning an ambitious effort to restore the cradle of Chinese civilization, I was asked by the World Bank to document the “Loess Plateau Watershed Rehabilitation Project”. Originally the Loess Plateau had been fully vegetated with massive forests and grasslands. Resources extracted from the giant forests, rushing […]

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Planting Days Are Here! (Al Baydha, Saudi Arabia)

by Neal Spackman This week the project started planting the swales with 1000 very hardy desert trees. The team is working in shifts of laying drip line, digging holes, manuring and mulching swales, putting in compost, planting, mulching again, and then adjusting the drip emitter.

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Permagardens In Practice: Resilience in Action (Uganda, Africa)

PDCs are tricky. For two weeks we tumble into this community of unfamiliarly familiar, curious strangers. The constant whirlwind of habits, obligations, and distractions that composes our lives momentarily dissipates and we are thrust into this world where our main responsibility is to be open-minded, observe, think, learn, and connect. Yet, at the end of the day, we are singular beings and we all have our lives that we will […]

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Update on Permaculture Implementation and Design Development at Hafto Site, Hadiya Zone, Ethiopia

Editor’s Note: Regular readers will have appreciated Alex McCausland’s regular and comprehensive reports from precariously positioned Ethiopia, and the great work he and his team have been doing on the ground. If you want to learn practical permaculture and gain real-world permaculture aid work experience in a location rich in agricultural history, then please consider taking Alex’s next PDC, to be held in southern Ethiopia between December 10 — 22, […]

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A Computer Geek Starts a Garden, Part I – Background, Design and Initial Implementation

The yard in winter, before work begins… A great many people today are living in fear. The future looks uncertain, but bleak. Many cannot see a future at all. The post-WWII baby boomer generation, with their short-lived cheap energy era, have been largely calling the shots, shaping the world we have today. After the miseries of two world wars, they set a course for excess. They and their descendants have […]

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Food Forests, Part 5: Water – Friend and Foe

I always thought that rain was a nurturing and gentle aspect of nature. You know how it is, you get a bit of rain and it helps all of the plants to grow, provides water for us and the animals and generally stops the place from drying out. That was my thinking back in an urban environment. In that area, the drainage infrastructure had been developed and maintained over the […]

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Not Just Dirt

It came to my attention recently that a lot of people do not understand the importance of healthy soil. This article attempts to explain the importance of soil health for plants and people. People are very concerned about pests and disease in their garden — slugs, caterpillars, moths and numerous other critters that seem to make a scrumptious meal out of the fruits and vegetables so lovingly tended in back […]

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Imprinting Soils – Creating Instant Edge for Large Scale Revegetation of Barren Lands

With the U.S. and other countries caught in unprecedented droughts, and arid areas of the world growing in tandem, this simple method for speeding revegetation at scale offers a lot of promise. Imprinting roller Imprinted soil The barren, arid landscapes of the world are notoriously hard to revegetate. Indeed, the earth in these regions is usually very hard to describe as ‘soil’. As vegetation dies off, the soil gets exposed […]

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