Aid Projects, Biological Cleaning, Building, Community Projects, Conservation, Demonstration Sites, Education Centres, Irrigation, Urban Projects, Waste Systems & Recycling — by Geoff Lawton November 17, 2010
The Jordan Valley Permaculture Project (aka ‘Greening the Desert – the Sequel’) in Al Jawaseri in the Dead Sea Valley (lowest place on earth), continues to develop as we gradually fund the project into action with our own permaculture education programs, volunteers and funding from Muslim Aid Australia and Kids are Sweet of Wisconsin, USA. The male and female shower and compost toilet block is now reaching completion using a basic faralone design system (PDF, with others composting toilet resources here, here, here, here and here). A reed bed has just been built as part of the shower block waste water system so that we can demonstrate grey-water reuse for garden crops. A small nursery has been funded by one of the volunteers involved in this project, Damien McAnany, and it is now producing a selection of vegetable, fruit and tree seedlings. Damien organized his own fund-raising initiatives in the USA then volunteered for a few weeks on site. Other volunteers Jesse and Tanya Lemieux, Eric Seider, Wade Tait, Dave Spicer have all put in time and work to help push the project along. The trees planted on the site have just survived one of the hottest summers on record and are still growing well. The lower areas of the site now have quite extensive vegetable gardens which are coming into their first winter production.Comments (8)
Conservation, Earth Banks, Irrigation, Land, Soil Conservation, Storm Water, Swales, Waste Water, Water Harvesting — by Geoff Lawton November 13, 2010
Permaculture is a connecting system between disciplines and elements in a matrix of design, and swales are a mainframe element. The efficiency of swales is that they can interrupt water surface flow high in a landscape where it is then infiltrated relatively quickly, on contour, and moves incredibly slowly through the landscape soil and subsoil profiles. This becomes a great advantage to the potential productivity of any property, especially a property that is designed to be diverse and interactive with many ecosystem elements. When you design a property this way, a mainframe approach as a consultant designer is:Comments (2)
Biological Cleaning, Compost, Courses/Workshops, Food Plants - Perennial, Fungi, Irrigation, Land, Plant Systems, Rehabilitation, Soil Biology, Soil Composition, Soil Conservation, Structure, Waste Systems & Recycling, Waste Water, Water Harvesting — by Andrew Jones October 29, 2010
The dry tropics cover a significant land area of the planet, particularly around the regions of the tropics of Cancer and Capricorn. Characterized by a majority of the year when evaporation potential is greater than rainfall, they also support rapid biomass growth during and following the rainy season. Legume species normally form a significant portion of the species present, and provide for rapid biomass production.
Management of this biomass can be tricky, particularly when left above ground in dry mulch piles, as it normally stays dry, inhibiting both fungal and bacterial breakdown. On the flip side, dry tropics soils, whether sandy or clay-based are in need of organic matter to balance structure, enhance water retention or drainage and build humus. One approach for creating such conditions are mulch pit gardens.
Papaya, banana, and coconut circles are developed by digging pits up to two meters in diameter (for papaya or banana – up to three meters for coconuts) and about 1 meter deep. These are then filled with dampened, compacted organic material to a height of 1 meter above ground. Up to seven plants of the appropriate type are then planted in the rim of the pit. Taro or other moisture loving plants may be planted on the inside edge, and sweet potato along the outside edge to provide a living mulch as well as extra production.
Double mulch pit greywater system being developed at Baja BioSana, Baja
Conservation, Irrigation, Land, Swales, Water Harvesting — by Samantha Downing October 25, 2010
One of the major assets of our property in Central Victoria is a storm water culvert which brings storm water runoff from a number of roads nearby. Water begins to flow through the culvert whenever we have rainfall of more than 8mm. After 25 years of water pouring onto the property, a large gully has been washed away, and this is one of the places in which Gorse (Ulex europeaus) has found a niche.
This satellite pic shows the course the gully runs and the growth of gorse around it. The main swale bisects the water course and now directs water across the property on contour.Comments (8)
Food Plants - Annual, Food Plants - Perennial, Irrigation, Land, Urban Projects — by Tiny Eglington October 8, 2010
– Tiny Eglington’s method, educator Geoff Lawton
This is a photo report of a vegetable garden built for Ann Foster in Condobolin, NSW Australia, which shows basic steps that allow you to build your own permaculture veggie patch.
You don’t need much, but you do need:Comments (15)
Aid Projects, Community Projects, Conservation, Dams, Demonstration Sites, Earth Banks, Education Centres, Gabions, Irrigation, Land, Regional Water Cycle, Roads, Soil Conservation, Storm Water, Terraces, Water Harvesting — by Alex McCausland
One of the biggest challenges of doing Permaculture in a semi-arid place like Konso is the drought-flood hydrology besets in degraded dry-lands. The whole of south Ethiopia has now been so deforested, added to the fact that the global climate is getting completely messed up, that rainfall is now completely unpredictable. The old folks are always talking about it here – “you can’t tell when it will rain any-more, it’s not like the old days….” That makes planning plantings much harder for one thing. The other thing is that when it does rain, it pours.
Our site at Strawberry Fields is placed (purposefully) at the bottom of a watershed and at the junction of this watershed and a larger watershed which carries run-off down the main road from the town.
Rough Topographic sketch of the site at SFEL. Shows approximate
positions of the 3 ridges (R1,R2, R3 and 3 primary gulleys G1, G2 and G3
as well as the Main Gulley on as well as the 2 main flows of run-off
effecting the site.
Aid Projects, Community Projects, Conservation, Demonstration Sites, Education Centres, Irrigation, Land, Rehabilitation, Soil Composition, Soil Conservation, Waste Systems & Recycling — by Alex McCausland September 23, 2010
Prior to July 2010 we had been over-using water at Strawberry Fields. This disturbed me for a number of reasons. One was that it was a poor example to the local community who do not have a limitless water supply to spray all over the place. The second was the huge water bills we were receiving. The third was the un-sustainability of using huge amounts of ground-water in a semi-arid area. As project director I had not been in charge of operations on the ground, and I was not able to attack this issue myself, other than by trying to encourage the focusing of the zone 1 irrigated beds into as small an area as possible, with limited success. In July I took over the running of the Permaculture project on the ground and the first thing I did was to begin installing the drip system I had been dreaming of for almost 2 years.Comments (4)
Conservation, Irrigation — by Kevin Bayuk September 16, 2010
A Sri Lankan villager fills his olla
Photo copyright © Craig Mackintosh
I first encountered the concept of using unglazed clay vessels for sub-surface irrigation in Bill Mollison’s “The Global Gardener” film series. Mollison comments that the technique might be, to paraphrase, “the most efficient irrigation system in the world.” More recently I noted with interest that the fine folks at Path to Freedom were employing these clay pots for some of their raised beds, which led me to wonder about how I might experiment with them as a potential sub-surface irrigation system. Here’s what I found….Comments (19)
Commercial Farm Projects, Conservation, Dams, Food Forests, Food Plants - Annual, Food Plants - Perennial, Irrigation, Land, Plant Systems, Rehabilitation, Swales, Trees — by Craig Mackintosh PRI Editor August 6, 2010
Preamble: From my recent trip to Jordan, I shared with you all the news, with loads of pictures, about the International Permaculture Conference (IPC) that will be held there in September 2011. I also slipped over the border to take a quick peek at Murad Alkufash’s work in the West Bank, and took video of the Jawaseri school garden project. In my bid to multitask, I also had opportunity to accompany Geoff Lawton on a consultation in the Wadi Rum district in the south of the country, where we combined the consultation with our investigations for a campsite for the IPC (photos of the latter can be seen via the first link above).
The consultation on its own, however, is deserving of a post. It was highly interesting for many reasons that I shall outline here.
Permaculture designer/teacher, Geoff Lawton, looks at water pumped from
an aquifer under Jordan’s famous Wadi Rum desert region.
All photographs © copyright Craig Mackintosh
The Wadi Rum desert in the south of Jordan happens to be the site of Jordan’s largest mixed farm – Rum Farm. It might, for good reason, seem odd that this beautiful but largely abiotic location would host a large scale farm, let alone Jordan’s largest, but it begins to make sense when you learn that under the Wadi Rum desert (and stretching under the border mountains and well into Saudi Arabia) is a large aquifer. In fact, much of this desert nation’s water supply is dependent on this single water source.Comments (21)
Biodiversity, Compost, Conservation, Economics, Food Plants - Annual, Food Plants - Perennial, Food Shortages, Fungi, Global Warming/Climate Change, Health & Disease, Irrigation, Land, Plant Systems, Regional Water Cycle, Rehabilitation, Society, Soil Biology, Soil Composition, Soil Conservation, Soil Erosion & Contamination, Structure, Water Contaminaton & Loss, Water Harvesting, peak oil — by Christine Jones PhD July 22, 2010
Editor’s Note: Thanks to Darren Doherty of ReGenAg for sourcing and getting permission to run this.
The number of farmers in Australia has fallen 30 per cent in the last 20 years, with more than 10,000 farming families leaving the agricultural sector in the last five years alone. This decline is ongoing. There is also a reluctance on the part of young people to return to the land, indicative of the poor image and low income-earning potential of current farming practices.
Agricultural debt in Australia has increased from just over $10 billion in 1994 to close to $60 billion in 2009 (Fig.1). The increased debt is not linked to interest rates, which have generally declined over the same period (Burgess 2010).
Fig. 1. Increase in agricultural debt (AUD millions)
1994-2009 vs interest rates (%pa)
The financial viability of the agricultural sector, as well as the health and social wellbeing of individuals, families and businesses in both rural and urban communities, is inexorably linked to the functioning of the land.
There is widespread agreement that the integrity and function of soils, vegetation and waterways in many parts of the Australian landscape have become seriously impaired, resulting in reduced resilience in the face of increasingly challenging climate variability.
Agriculture is the sector most strongly impacted by these changes. It is also the sector with the greatest potential for fundamental redesign.Comments (12)
Aid Projects, Community Projects, Conservation, Deforestation, Education Centres, Irrigation, Regional Water Cycle, Rehabilitation, Society, Soil Erosion & Contamination, Urban Projects — by Alex Metcalfe July 21, 2010
Written by Alex Metcalfe. Photo credits to Alex Metcalfe, Asiya Brock, Helen Evans and Houssa Yacoubi.
The view from the course site ‘Ourthane’ which means ‘gardens’
In 2004, during my first visit to Morocco, one night in the desert with the full moon at its zenith I climbed an enormous dune with Francois and Vincent, two Québécois I had met on the bus journey south.
Ascending that great pile of sand, every step forward seemed to take us three steps back. Our beleaguered progress was painfully slow. The nameless mountain of sand we were climbing stood far above neighbouring dunes to shelter a small and equally anonymous oasis a few hours slow and ponderous journey by camel from Merzouga, a small, one road collection of pisé houses and auberges that sit amidst the bleak and stony Hamada. The only movements to catch the eye was the shimmering heat rising from the Earth and the tall, thin and spectral twisters that listlessly faded into existence only to fade out again, as if exhausted under the unforgiving glare of the desert sun from the effort of giving form to the eddying winds of the Hamada.Comments (4)
Aid Projects, Aquaculture, Biological Cleaning, Community Projects, Conservation, Demonstration Sites, Education Centres, Irrigation, Plant Systems, Soil Conservation, Waste Water, Water Harvesting — by Darren Bell July 8, 2010
It’s 2am. I’m sitting on a nice toilet in a nice hotel room in a nice little town in Africa. But I don’t feel very nice. Three weeks ago I arrived in the town of Musoma on the eastern shore of lake Victoria, Tanzania. It’s my second time here. It’s unusual to return to an old permaculture posting so it felt both strange and comforting to visit old friends. They had assumed I would return again as to them I was family and family never leaves for long. But I am mzungu, white man. And in the West, we never stay for long. But I had not been sick then.
I contracted diarrhea two days after arriving. Not crippling, but enough to make my trips to town short, consciously timed ones. Not bad enough to panic. Perhaps that is why three weeks later I’m sitting on the toilet once again at 2am in the morning. Only this time it’s a little more serious. I contracted malaria two days ago and had moved from the delirious, early stage effects of high fever to feeling just plain horrible. On top of that, I had unknowingly overdosed on a western folk remedy and have been violently vomiting for the past eight hours. My one small cause for relief was a by product of my tiny bathroom. I could release my bowels and vomit into the hand basin at exactly the same time. This I had adeptly managed several times this past evening although I over shot the bowl the first time. Must remember to tip the cleaning lady extra in the morning.Comments (3)
Aid Projects, Biological Cleaning, Community Projects, Conservation, Demonstration Sites, Education Centres, Irrigation, Water Harvesting — by Craig Mackintosh PRI Editor May 30, 2010
This great little clip by Emma Piper-Burket takes an early 2009 look at a couple of permaculture projects in Jordan. These are projects shown at greater length and at a later date (October 2009) in the Greening the Desert II video many of you will have already watched. I’m not sure what exactly what month Emma visited the project, but as our Eric Seider (one of the directors of PRI USA) was filmed there at the Jordan Valley Permaculture Project (aka Greening the Desert, The Sequel), it’d have to be January or February. Eric was key in the initial establishment of the site, which is now coming along nicely 18 months later. Expect some updates from this site in the next few weeks as yours truly will be heading there again.
Conservation, Irrigation, Land, Swales, Water Harvesting — by Adrian Buckley May 20, 2010
by Adrian Buckley, Permaculture Designer, B. of Community Design, Calgary, Canada
Good soil is nothing without water! Fortunately, there are simple and inexpensive methods available to us for capturing and storing rain water to meet our irrigation needs. It all starts from a firm understanding of how water flows on your property and designing to make the most use of it.Comments (7)
Commercial Farm Projects, Conservation, Dams, Demonstration Sites, Developments, Earth Banks, Gabions, Irrigation, Land, News, Regional Water Cycle, Rehabilitation, Soil Conservation, Swales, Water Harvesting — by P. David Stockhausen May 10, 2010
Permaculture solutions have come to life at a Wagga Wagga farm in the midst of a heated debate over water. What Kevin Rudd Claim’s will help the Murray Darling River system and the Lower Lakes region has some farmers in the area fuming. Farmers and residents throughout the Murray Darling region have larger concerns over the Australian government’s 3.1 Billion Dollar irrigation buyback scheme. The Rudd government is reacting to reduced productivity in the area and increasing demand for irrigated water downstream. Yet, some local farmers are curious as to how the proposed plan will affect production in the area, and reports show that many aren’t feeling optimistic.Comments (9)