Animal Forage, Food Plants - Perennial, Medicinal Plants, Soil Erosion & Contamination, Water Contaminaton & Loss — by Peter Myers April 5, 2012
You might have seen the cotton growing out west — around St George, Gundiwindi and Dirranbandi in Queensland, Australia, and Moree and Narrabri in NSW.
It’s an annual crop — sown in the spring and harvested in the autumn — grown in flat plains country. The blocks are levelled by laser-guided machinery. However, they’re not quite level: there’s a slight slope from one end of the block to another, which allows flood irrigation.
Huge dams, in a country subject to long droughts, supply irrigation water. But these dams themselves take water from the rivers of the Murray-Darling Basin.Comments (5)
Food Plants - Annual, Food Plants - Perennial, Medicinal Plants, Seeds, Soil Conservation, Soil Erosion & Contamination, Trees, Water Contaminaton & Loss — by Michel Fanton April 4, 2012
In September 2008 Seed Savers released their first film, “Our Seeds: Seeds Blong Yumi”, a 57 minute documentary that celebrates traditional food plants and the people that grow them.
We have now released this documentary on the net for free viewing (with English audio and Portuguese subtitles — we will put French, Chinese and Japanese subtitled versions online in the future). Watch it now (or read more about it below the video):
Compost, Fungi, Rehabilitation, Soil Biology, Soil Composition, Soil Conservation, Soil Erosion & Contamination — by Nico Snyman
by Nico Snyman: B.Sc. Agric (Agron.)Pret.
Six years after we started farming in the tropics, in the upper catchment areas of the Congo basin, North Eastern Zambia, we discovered why farming in the tropics always goes along with constant deforestation. With cultivation, the nutrients are lost because everything captured in the biomass is removed. What we did not realize, was that the soil which is poor in nutrients is very rich in microbial life — and that is the important part.
With hindsight we now know that the first items you lose with cultivation of the soil are the different fungi, and then the bacteria. These fungi colonise the roots of the plants and help with the nutrient and moisture uptake by the roots and they have a tremendous effect on plant growth. These fungi are also the easiest to propagate and research. So that is why most firms that sell biological products sell fungi to farmers.Comments (1)
Biodiversity, Biofuels, Consumerism, GMOs, Health & Disease, Soil Erosion & Contamination, Water Contaminaton & Loss — by Keveen Gabet March 22, 2012
In this short animated clip, USC Canada shares the sad realities behind the food industry. Another alarming call for the urgency to radically change the way we perceive food consumption.
- Supermarket Secrets
- Chemical Based Farming Systems Robbing Us of Nutrients
- The Rise and Predictable Fall of Globalized Industrial Agriculture
- The Story of Soil
Biodiversity, GMOs, Health & Disease, News, Soil Erosion & Contamination, Water Contaminaton & Loss — by Craig Mackintosh PRI Editor March 13, 2012
Back in 2009, Wikileaks released some diplomatic cables from the U.S. which revealed a list of priority countries for ‘GMO outreach’. Peru was amongst those on the hit list.
Well, now it seems Peru has opted out….Comments (2)
Biodiversity, Deforestation, Livestock, Soil Erosion & Contamination, Village Development — by George Monbiot March 5, 2012
A report on deer in the Scottish Highlands is a sycophantic paean to Balmorality and landed power.
by George Monbiot: journalist, author, academic and environmental and political activist, United Kingdom.
A remnant of the ancient Caledonian Forest, Scotland
I’ve read too many daft reports in the course of this job, but I don’t remember any as self-defeating as this. This morning the Scottish Gamekeepers’ Association launches its study on the economic importance of red deer to Scotland’s rural economy*. It succeeds in demonstrating the opposite of what it sets out to prove.Comments (2)
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)
Aid Projects, Biodiversity, Community Projects, Deforestation, Developments, Food Shortages, Global Warming/Climate Change, Land, Population, Soil Erosion & Contamination, Trees, Village Development, Water Contaminaton & Loss — by Elin Lindhagen February 28, 2012
FMNR workshop, Feb 2012, Kenya
Rusinga Island is situated in Lake Victoria in the Western parts of Kenya. It is known for its prehistoric findings of primate fossils dating from 17 million years ago and for being the birthplace of the famously assassinated Kenyan politician, Tom Mboya, whose scholarship fund enabled Barack Obama’s father to study abroad. Not too many years ago it was still known to be a beautiful forested island, rich in unique bird species and with access to great fishing. Today the island is considered a vulnerable ecosystem with marginal agricultural land, leading one author to call it ‘one of the driest and most environmentally marginal agricultural zones in the region’(1).
Rapid population growth in the 1980s led to intensified pressure on natural resources such as trees and fish. At the same time, other communities started coming into Rusinga’s fishing waters to exploit the fish resources. Fish stocks started declining and the fishermen of Rusinga were forced to start looking for other ways of making an income. Many turned to agriculture but the Luo’s on Rusinga were traditionally fishermen, not farmers. Trees were cut down to make houses for a growing population, firewood to feed an increasing number of hungry stomachs and charcoal to make an income. Within a generation, what was once a richly forested island had become bare — suffering increasing droughts, soil erosion and crop failures due to the loss of trees.Comments (1)
Alternatives to Political Systems, Consumerism, Deforestation, Economics, Food Shortages, Global Warming/Climate Change, Health & Disease, Population, Society, Soil Erosion & Contamination, Village Development, Water Contaminaton & Loss, peak oil — by Richard Heinberg February 22, 2012
As economies contract, a global popular uprising confronts power elites over access to the essentials of human existence. What are the underlying dynamics of the conflict, and how is it likely to play out?
by Richard Heinberg (Article originally published on www.postcarbon.org)
As the world economy crashes against debt and resource limits, more and more countries are responding by attempting to salvage what are actually their most expendable features — corrupt, insolvent banks and bloated militaries — while leaving the majority of their people to languish in “austerity.” The result, predictably, is a global uprising. This current set of conditions and responses will lead, sooner or later, to social as well as economic upheaval — and a collapse of the support infrastructure on which billions depend for their very survival.
Nations could, in principle, forestall social collapse by providing the basics of existence (food, water, housing, medical care, family planning, education, employment for those able to work, and public safety) universally and in a way that could be sustained for some time, while paying for this by deliberately shrinking other features of society — starting with military and financial sectors — and by taxing the wealthy. The cost of covering the basics for everyone is within the means of most nations. Providing human necessities would not remove all fundamental problems now converging (climate change, resource depletion, and the need for fundamental economic reforms), but it would provide a platform of social stability and equity to give the world time to grapple with deeper, existential challenges.Comments (1)
Health & Disease, Soil Erosion & Contamination, Water Contaminaton & Loss — by Jeffrey M. Smith February 21, 2012
Studies have already found Monsanto’s toxic herbicide Roundup in groundwater, in streams, and even in the rain and air of US agricultural areas. It’s been found in our blood and even crosses the placental barrier to enter our unborn fetuses. So are we surprised that a German university study has now found significant concentrations of Roundup’s main ingredient glyphosate in the urine of city dwellers?
Perhaps we should be surprised at the amount: all the samples had concentrations of glyphosate at 5 to 20 times the limit for drinking water.Comments (3)
Conferences, Consumerism, Courses/Workshops, Deforestation, Food Shortages, GMOs, Global Warming/Climate Change, Health & Disease, Soil Erosion & Contamination, Water Contaminaton & Loss, peak oil — by Cheryl Samarasinghe February 14, 2012
Editor’s Note: I would encourage all well-spoken permaculturists who can make it to Sydney for this event to go along and contribute your thoughts — to help show how permaculture can shift our planetary orbit onto a safer trajectory….
What: 2nd National Sustainable Food Summit
When: 2-4 April, 2012
Where: Dockside, Sydney, NSW, Australia
Last year, in April 2011, over 340 delegates including public health, primary producers and members of the business, government, education, community and not-for-profit sectors came together in Melbourne to share ideas that could inform a vision for Australia’s food system in 2030.
The Inaugural National Sustainable Food Summit generated extraordinary consensus for the need to collaborate and continue the conversations necessary to transform Australia’s food system.
The 2nd National Sustainable Food Summit has been designed to progress the discussion from 2011 — which focused on the limits and challenges to our current system — to begin to examine what new frameworks and emerging solutions will help support a sustainable and resilient food system for Australia now and in the future.Comments (1)
Biodiversity, GMOs, Health & Disease, Soil Erosion & Contamination, Water Contaminaton & Loss — by Craig Mackintosh PRI Editor January 25, 2012
It’s not as good as seeing all of Monsanto’s plants and chemicals getting taken ‘offline’, but at least I can get a little mischevious pleasure from learning that Monsanto has been on the hit-list of the Anonymous team. The following video apparently shows how Monsanto was taken offline (Note that I’m a bit slow on the uptake on this one — as the video is from the middle of last year — but since I’m in an anti-GMO mood today, I thought I’d run it anyway):
Anonymous DDOS attack on Monsanto.com
Here’s an Anonymous message to Monsanto, with transcript below:Comments (4)
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, 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)