Posted by & filed under Food Forests, Processing & Food Preservation, Recipes.

We knew it was coming. Hell, we were excited about the fact that it was coming. We were returning to Panama just in time for mango season, taking the reigns of a piece of property with five or six large mango trees, and beyond those, we knew some of the neighbors let hundreds of fruits rot on the ground every year. Well, that wasn’t going to happen on our watch. We love(d) mangoes. We were going to utilize every one of them.

Then, it started happening. While we were lying in bed, a thunderous crash would awaken us in the night. And, a few minutes later, another one. Outside, the skies were clear, but the trees were raining mangoes. The first mornings were slow: a bag of 30, 40, 50 off the ground. Then, as the season progressed, it was two bags then three bags — we easily collected a 100 or more mangoes a day. It was too much for two people. When volunteers started arriving, it was too much for five people.

Read more »

Posted by & filed under Biofuels, Building.

by Mo Lohre and Will Redwine

Geoff Lawton, Rumi, poisonous berries, student activists, NASA lunar/Martian construction and breaking a vow…. The next leg of the Creating the Alternative Tour (see more here) is pretty legendary. Part of the reason we started this tour was because one of our team members, Mo Lohre, was speaking on student leadership at the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE) National Conference in Los Angeles. As we pointed out in our last article, we took a vow not to use petroleum earlier that year, so flying from Portland to L.A. was not an option. We sought out vehicles that would align with the regenerative lifestyle we were designing. By the time we found the SolTrekker and harvested/canned enough food we only had time to make one stop on the way down to the Solar Living Institute (SLI,) in Hopland, CA.

Read more »

Posted by & filed under Aid Projects, Courses/Workshops.

On a spring day in 2011 I sealed a thick envelope containing my freshly printed master’s dissertation and dropped it in a mailbox, bound for the Centre for Development and Emergency Practice in Oxford, England. The title of the paper was "Designing for Disaster: Evaluating the Potential for Application of Permaculture Design in Development and Emergency Practice". The project was my first attempt to sketch out a bridge between two distinct worlds that seemed fundamentally connected.

Read more »

Posted by & filed under GMOs.

Today we are deeply disappointed to inform you that Steve Marsh lost his case to stop GM canola coming on to his farm. Read our Press Release below.

The future of organic and non GM food in Australia is uncertain after a WA farmer today lost his legal battle with a neighbouring farmer.

Steve Marsh lost organic certification on his Kojonup farm – and most of his livelihood – when his farm was contaminated by GM canola. He sued his neighbour in the WA Supreme Court for his losses, and to protect his farm into the future.

Read more »

Posted by & filed under Biodiversity, Consumerism, Deforestation, Economics, Global Warming/Climate Change, Peak Oil, Population, Society, Soil Erosion & Contamination, Water Contaminaton & Loss.

Why collapse and salvation are hard to distinguish from each other.

Let us imagine that in 3030BC the total possessions of the people of Egypt filled one cubic metre. Let us propose that these possessions grew by 4.5% a year. How big would that stash have been by the Battle of Actium in 30BC? This is the calculation performed by the investment banker Jeremy Grantham(1).

Go on, take a guess. Ten times the size of the pyramids? All the sand in the Sahara? The Atlantic ocean? The volume of the planet? A little more? It’s 2.5 billion billion solar systems (2). It does not take you long, pondering this outcome, to reach the paradoxical position that salvation lies in collapse.

To succeed is to destroy ourselves. To fail is to destroy ourselves. That is the bind we have created. Ignore if you must climate change, biodiversity collapse, the depletion of water, soil, minerals, oil; even if all these issues were miraculously to vanish, the mathematics of compound growth make continuity impossible.

Read more »

Posted by & filed under Energy Systems.

by J. Matthew Roney

Denmark produced one third of its electricity from the wind in 2013. In no other country has wind’s share of annual electricity generation yet topped 30 percent. But the Danes are not stopping there — they are eyeing a goal of 50 percent wind by 2020, with most of the needed expansion coming from offshore wind farms. Recent experience shows that Denmark’s grid can accommodate this much wind power and more: wind-generated electricity exceeded 100 percent of demand the evening of November 3, 2013.

Read more »

Posted by & filed under Soil Biology, Soil Composition, Soil Conservation, Soil Erosion & Contamination, Soil Rehabilitation, Structure, Water Contaminaton & Loss.

In this video agronomist Mark Scarpitti of USDA-NRCS Ohio state demonstrates the differences between tilled and no-till soils by doing two simple tests.

Slide test: In this test, a piece of soil is put in water to check how soil structure is held together. When water starts to rush into the porous spaces in the soil, tilled soil starts falling apart as there are nothing to hold the soil particles together. In no-till soil polysaccharides, glycogen and other matter produced by micro organisms binds the soil particle together and the soil structure is maintained.

Runoff test: In this test, mimicking the rain droplets, water is allowed to fall on the soil surface. As water hits the tilled soil surface, it does not infiltrate the soil, but instead it dissolves and seals off the top layer of soil, resulting in runoff.

Read more »

Posted by & filed under Social Gatherings, Village Development.

City Repair is an organization that uses permaculture, natural building and art to catalyze grassroots sustainable culture-building or ‘placemaking’. Placemaking inspires creativity. Inherently, architecture, landscape, and nourishment are interconnected and all needs are met for all on Earth. By reclaiming and creating common gathering spaces for neighborhood communities, a village is born. Isolation encouraged by the colonial urban grid and profit-driven real estate corporations is reversed and our social ecology begins to regenerate. People find connection, realize their power and work to create resilient communities. Together we build beautiful places for people and plants. City Repair has facilitated over 350 placemaking sites in the Portland Metro area. The majority of placemaking sites were designed and manifested during the annual 10-day spring festival — the Village Building Convergence.
Read more »

Posted by & filed under Bird Life, Courses/Workshops, Livestock.

Instructor Jim Adkins teaching the Hogan Principles of Production at Heritage Creek Farm

With the industrialization of agriculture, dual purpose heritage breed poultry have been all but eliminated from Australia with a small number of exhibition fanciers being their sole keepers. These historical normal birds with their amazing hardiness, foraging abilities, delectable flavor, and production qualities not to mention visual appeal have been replaced by a hybrid bird not capable of breeding true to type and without the thriftiness of our old school varieties. Admittedly, these new, hybridized breeds do achieve huge growth rates and enormous egg production but at what cost?

Read more »