Posted by & filed under Consumerism, Food Shortages, Society.

When you grow your own food, you know for a fact that every piece does not look as ‘perfect’ as those sold in stores. They are each unique, sometimes odd-looking, but taste delicious nonetheless.

In our industrial world, these so-called imperfect fruits and veggies go straight to the dumpster and contribute to a shocking amount of waste. Intermarché, a French supermarket, came up with a brilliant concept – The Inglorious Fruits and Vegetables.

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Posted by & filed under Alternatives to Political Systems, People Systems, Society, Village Development.

Government sponsors research on how to transition to commoning and open networks.

by David Bollier

A child during a parade in Ecuador by mavik2007, Flickr Creative Commons

In 2013, the government of Ecuador launched a major strategic research project to “fundamentally re-imagine Ecuador” based on the principles of open networks, peer production and commoning.  Michel Bauwens, founder of the P2P Foundation would be leading the research team for the next ten months, and seeking to “remake the roots of Ecuador’s economy, setting off a transition into a society of free and open knowledge.”

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Posted by & filed under Commercial Farm Projects, Demonstration Sites, Trees.

Last week I had the chance to visit the Bambra Agroforestry Farm and see a great example of tree growing for timber production in action. Rowan Reid, the owner and driving force behind the farm, has been planting a whole selection of different tree species on site for over 25 years — as shelter for stock animals that graze below the trees, to repair degraded land, for conservation purposes and as a harvestable product to mill high quality timber for craftsmen to build with.

One thing I hadn’t anticipated was the open spacious feeling beneath the trees. I had in my mind the suffocating feeling I get in an industrial pine plantation, but the trees on Bambra Farm are planted out at a decent distance and the branches are pruned as they grow so that the canopy casts dappled shade and grass can grow for the stock to graze.

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Posted by & filed under Musical Interlude.

Here’s a funny and entertaining rap by Rowland and Craig (J1P) with an important message: Eradicate Ecocide.

Ecocide is the extensive damage to, destruction of or loss of ecosystem(s) of a given territory, whether by human agency or by other causes, to such an extent that peaceful enjoyment by the inhabitants of that territory has been or will be severely diminished.

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Posted by & filed under Courses/Workshops.

What: Study integrated ecological design with two of the foremost instructors and practitioners in permaculture.
When: Friday July 25-Sunday August 8th
Where: Woodbine Ecology Center, Colorado, USA

Longevity. Abundance. Regeneration. Oases. Beauty. Bounty. Plant the Rain. Garden Like a Forest. Design With Natural Patterns.

Learn water harvesting and earthworks techniques, and how to create edible forest gardens, for easier, more long-lasting, beautiful yields and resiliency. Through studying examples and hands-on work, this course will give participants an opportunity to delve into both basic and advanced permaculture techniques and develop a thorough understanding of ecological design, which would benefit one and all. This course will also focus on better preparing for climate change, carbon faming techniques and indigenous management practices.

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Posted by & filed under Food Forests, Food Plants - Annual, Food Plants - Perennial, Land, Plant Systems, Trees.

The Inspirational Stumpery by Jane-Ann Liddle

I’m crazy about hugelkultur. I love the concept of burying old fallen and felled trees to provide years of slow-release compost for crops to come. I love using waste material for something useful. I love not having to turn or move compost about. I love the chance to sculpt a really raised bed, something behemoth — hulking if you will — that makes a beautifully bountiful mound of vegetables. I love telling people about it, how it works, how by building it up and making it curve, all sorts of microclimates are created, how from the same square footage, hugelkultur makes it possible to grow so much more and to harvest without having to bend over all day to boot. Then, I found something that made me like it even more.

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Posted by & filed under GMOs, Health & Disease.

Mosquitoes engineered with a jumping gene vector to express a DNA-cutting enzyme produce >95 % male offspring; unfortunately both enzyme and vector target genomes of diverse species from slime moulds to humans.

by Dr Mae Wan Ho

This commentary has been sent to the editors of the journal Nature Communications, inviting them and the researchers who have reported the creation of the new transgenic mosquitoes in the journal to reply.

A good trick but no consideration of risks

A team led by Andrea Crisanti at Imperial College London in the UK was widely reported to have made a breakthrough or even a ‘quantum leap’ in creating transgenic mosquitoes that could eradicate malaria [1]. Unfortunately, it is potentially the most hazardous genetically modified organism (GMO) to have been created, and should go no further from the laboratory. The researchers have not considered the risks involved, which would have been obvious from a casual review of existing literature.

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Posted by & filed under Economics, Society.

Is the government preparing to dispose of our forests and other public land?

Planning laws inhibit prosperity. That’s what we’re told by almost everyone. Those long and tortuous negotiations over what should be built where are a brake on progress. All the major parties and most of the media believe that we would be better off with less regulation, less discussion and more speed. Try telling that to the people of Spain and Ireland.

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Posted by & filed under Community Projects, General, Society, Soil Conservation, Soil Erosion & Contamination, Soil Rehabilitation, Water Contaminaton & Loss.

I believe that a revolution can begin from this one strand of straw. Seen at a glance, this rice straw may appear light and insignificant. Hardly anyone would believe that it could start a revolution. But I have come to realize the weight and power of this straw. For me, this revolution is very real. — Masanobu Fukuoka, The One-Straw Revolution (1)

Under the guidance of Patrap C. Aggarwhal, the Friends’ Rural Centre (FRC) in India, part of a nationwide network of rural development co-operatives established over a century ago to support rural communities in a variety of ways, had experimented with revolutionary farming methods for approximately five years before their discovery of Fukuoka’s landmark work in 1983. Located outside Hoshangabad in Rasulia, Madhya Pradesh, for much of its long history the FRC had survived thanks to funding from abroad. By 1987, however, and for the first time in a century, the FRC was able to claim its independence from foreign aid. Consistently high levels of productivity coupled with drastic cuts in operating costs made for a decidedly viable concern. This, as Aggarwhal emphatically asserts, became possible as a direct result of implementing rishi kheti, or ‘natural farming of the sages’, as he dubbed the natural farming methods first reintroduced by Masanobu Fukuoka. “We practised rishi kheti at Rasulia for about eight years,” he writes. “I can state with full confidence that the community gained in every conceivable way.” (2)

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Posted by & filed under Community Projects, Eco-Villages, Urban Projects, Village Development.

Living in a large city does not mean you cannot live permaculturally. Indeed, it can be quite the opposite. While most permaculture pillars deal with designing your land, and your immediate environment, it is crucial to focus on the people aspect. A culture without an eclectic community of entities is a monoculture. Cities are the quintessential ground for polyculture….

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Posted by & filed under Courses/Workshops.

What: A course in permaculture design with Lisa DePiano, Jonathan Bates, Javiera Benavente, and friends
When: On weekends, staggered across September – December 2014
Where: Holyoke, MA, USA

Note: Early Bird Rate ends August 1st, save $250!

Be a part of a global movement to regenerate our communities and create the world we want to live in.

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Posted by & filed under Demonstration Sites, Food Forests, Food Plants - Annual, Food Plants - Perennial, Fungi, Soil Biology, Soil Composition, Soil Rehabilitation, Structure, Urban Projects.

Soil before and after

After ten years of learning from and collaborating with a mega-diverse, globally inspired, edible forest garden, new wonders are under foot. Paradise Lot, here in Holyoke, Massachusetts, USA, has a soil story to tell, and we are finally getting around to deciphering its wonders.

Since 2004, each year we installed a portion of our design of perennial polycultures of multi-purpose plants into sheet mulched garden beds. Although we knew adding copious amounts of carbon and nitrogen rich materials onto the nutrient poor, lifeless ground, would one day “bear fruit", we got real fruit and lots of it, along with fruit of another kind — humus.

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