Posted by & filed under General.


Photography by Keveen Gabet

My wife thinks I’m hilarious. That’s a good thing I suppose. She also secretly gets annoyed with my fascination with permaculture – I know deep inside it’s a rather healthy obsession. Before I knew of the term, I was using an exotic array of self-made vocabulary, but now, all my practices and ideas fit nicely under one generic term. She gets the best of it though – I spend hours reading, watching, experimenting and researching and in turn, she gets the crème de la crème. I translate my findings into cute stories and it seems she now knows as much as me without ever reading a thing.

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Posted by & filed under Food Plants - Perennial, General, Plants.

Canna edulis is a perennial root crop also known as Achira or here in Australia as Queensland Arrowroot. I’m not sure where the Queensland bit came from because they originated from South America. They are quite stunning plants popular with ornamental growers, although the ornamental varieties produce smaller crops with flashier flowers. They can grow up to 2 meters plus in full sun or part shade in damp soils and it spreads underground via rhizomes to form large clumps even in poor soils.

It is commonly used in Permaculture designs as a windbreak, as chop and drop biomass, as fodder for pigs and possibly chickens and it can also be planted to form a suntrap. The rhizomes form large starchy tubers that are a great substitute for potatoes and the immature seeds and young shoots can be eaten as well.

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Posted by & filed under Demonstration Sites, General, Permaculture Projects, Why Permaculture?.


When I was younger, maybe 10 or so, I had this thing for frogs. I wanted frogs, and ponds with frogs. Lots of frogs.

At an abandoned gravel quarry by my house, in the unlikely place of the city of Athens, I would find tadpoles, hundreds of them, in rain puddles every spring. I also learned, weeks later, from the dry deflated specimens etched in the dirt, that when the puddles dried, the tadpoles died. So I decided to save them. I dug a small pond in our backyard, lined it with plastic, and started re-homing tadpoles.

I don’t know how many of them reached adulthood. As soon (or even before) they grew out all their legs they usually disappeared, and I suspect I fed the local birds more than raised amphibians. But through it all I learned. I learned things about frogs (they may have been toads) and ponds and birds that I would not have learned in school books. And I learned things in a way I could not have been taught by a teacher, because I discovered it by exploring on my own.

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Posted by & filed under Earthworks & Earth Resources, Education, Food & Food Support Systems, General, Plants, Soil, Soil Biology, Soil Composition.


This is Part one of a series of Articles, that critically discuss’s the Nottinghill Forest Garden Project from Analysis – to Implementation – to Future Idea’s.

Fall 2010: Initial Site Analysis & Goal Setting

An initial site analysis for our property was much easier than at others due to a variety of factors:

a) we have lived and observed (albeit with less attention to detail than now) the property throughout the past decade,

b) the yard is mowed and trimmed regularly, making line of sight observation straightforward, and

c) due to its location, high quality satellite imagery could be coupled with accurate climate data for meta data gathering.

From my perspective, it is beneficial to begin observation from afar- gathering information about the region in general before assessing details. This method allows the forces which interact with the property on a larger scale to be internalized into your thinking about the place before becoming wedded to any one potential future, only to realize later that due to outside factors, that vision is inviable.

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Posted by & filed under Earthworks & Earth Resources, Swales, Waste Systems & Recycling, Water.

Part One

Phil Williams of takes you through a two-part video of him installing a grey water and silt pond project he has. He explains some of the issues and he talks through resolutions to making it work.

Phil was a conventional landscape contractor and designer for twelve years. He learned quite a bit about how to run equipment and how to manage a job, but the lack of sustainability of the industry was too much and he walked away.

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Posted by & filed under General.

Photos © Ingrid Pullen


Though we are less than three months into 2015, already the year has seen some momentous occasions in the sphere of changing attitudes towards food and agriculture. The UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) (1) has designated this year the ‘Year of Soils’ (2): a positive sign, perhaps, that soil is becoming recognised by international organisations, although the time designation does seem to beg the question of whether or not they plan to continue caring for soils next year as well.

New ways becoming more popular?

The ‘Year of Soils’ at least shows that soil-care is permeating into ‘mainstream’ thinking; even governments and corporations are recognising that when we care for our natural systems, it’s better for everyone. Some current examples of people coming together to do this are the International Conference on Natural Resource Management for Food and Rural Livelihoods (3), which is being held in New Delhi, India, this week and is sponsored by the Indian government; and next month’s International Ecological Forum (4) in Marbella, Spain which will bring together “entrepreneurs, government officials, top managers of banks, state corporations [and] international investors” to:

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Posted by & filed under Courses/Workshops, Education, Events, Resources & News, General.


Geoff Lawton’s Online Permaculture Design Course

Over the last few days we’ve been inundated with people seeking admittance to do Geoff Lawton’s Online PDC course. People have been phoning and emailing us for help and advice.

Some people say they’ve only discovered the course after it was officially closed . Others needed more time to get their tuition funds together. If you’re one of these people and feel like you’ve missed out, Geoff has announced a 24 hour extended period of time for people eager to do this years course to register. It starts Now!

It’s not too late to start. You’ll have to catch up, as we are now moving into Week 3 of the course.

This offer will not be repeated again this year.

Click on this link to get started.

Related articles:

Geoff Lawton’s Online Permaculture Design Course: Is it Worth Doing?

Tour of Geoff Lawton’s Online PDC and Farm!

Online PDC Has Me Talking to Myself

Online Permaculture Earthworks Course Bonus

Posted by & filed under Community, Design, Food & Food Support Systems, General, Nurseries & Propogation, Plants, Trees.


Raised beds and other experiments

Besides the area dedicated to the food forest several other small agronomic trials are carried over in raised beds or small plots between the young trees in the Picasso Food Forest. In particular, 10 raised beds were built during the winter 2014 to:

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Posted by & filed under Community, Events, Resources & News, General, News, Population, Society.

One man’s struggle for sustainable farming on his land in the occupied West Bank is not only a fight against occupation. It suggests that international environmental law provides a legal avenue for Palestinians to sue for their rights.


Fayez and Muna Taneeb harvesting beans in one of their polytunnels (photo Alice Gray)

Fayez al-Taneeb is an energetic man with a vision – of community resilience and sustainability. He is an organic farmer, a union member and an activist with the Popular Committee Against the Wall and Settlements, who has steadfastly resisted displacement from his farm for several decades. He believes that Permaculture, a comprehensive design strategy for sustainable living and farming that originated in Australia in the 1970s and has a growing global following, forms an important component of any Palestinian non-violent resistance strategy

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Posted by & filed under General.

The absurdly efficient, ridiculously cheap, surprisingly comfortable way to heat your home

About this project – Paul’s Kickstarter can be found here

The annual cost of a rocket mass heater is less than a tenth of the annual cost of natural gas – and that’s if you buy the fuel instead of harvest it yourself. And a rocket mass heater emits less than a tenth of the greenhouse gasses. Many rocket mass heaters will heat a home with a tenth of the wood of what a conventional wood stove will use. The trick is to mix modern science with knowledge from hundreds of years ago: Burn the smoke; capture heat from the exhaust; focus on the more efficient forms of heat (radiant and conductive heat are favored over convective heat); and, most of all, use a mass to hold the heat for days

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