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Demonstration Sites — by Rob Avis February 8, 2013
Juli Gillies (a Verge PDC grad) and her husband Jeff (a PDC student of Barb Hazenveld from Gorgeous and Edible Gardens and Ron Berezan from The Urban Farmer) are demonstrating a wide array of permaculture homesteading techniques on their 5 acre parcel near Rocky Mountain House, AB. In just a couple of years they have transformed their land – an old junk yard – into a beautiful and productive garden, complete with food forest and up-cycled raised beds. They’ve used their technological know-how and a “get-er-done” approach to test everything from solar electricity and heating to rainwater harvesting, energy efficient retrofits, food storage, and large scale soil production through their business Taimi Soil Projects. Their acreage, the Rancho Relaxo, has quickly become a leading example of off-the-grid homesteading solutions for cold climates, and they will be showcasing it all as the hosts of the 2013 Western Canada Permaculture Convergence this August.Comments (1)
Community Projects, Demonstration Sites, Land, Markets & Outlets, Retrofitting, Social Gatherings, Urban Projects, Village Development — by Catherine Griggs February 7, 2013
If you want to make permaculture happen, then just start. This is the story of how one garden ended up providing work, food and fun for people in the community of Gwynedd, Wales.
It was autumn, March 2012, and unemployment was at an all time high in North Wales. I was a qualified permaculture consultant wandering the lands searching for my next project, but also suffering the strain of recession. I then stumbled upon some unusual funding from an organisation called Nacro. The organisation provides paid work experience for people who are generally deemed antisocial or who are long term unemployed. The organisation had funding left for the year and needed somewhere to put it. So I went dressed, suited and booted, and proposed an idea to Nacro that would help at least three people find work in the future. Luckily the man I encountered empathised with me and I managed to secure a paid job for myself and two others, implementing a permaculture garden for three months only.
So I had 3 months to find the land and build a garden with only enough money to pay a small wage and no materials. Quite the challenge! I asked my friends Lizzy and Dwynwen if they would help and of course they were up for the challenge.Comments (8)
Aid Projects, Commercial Farm Projects, Community Projects, Demonstration Sites, Education Centres, Village Development — by Lily Bunker
Nelson Mandela once said that education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world. Help to change the world by changing one life — the Manda Wilderness Agricultural Project’s very own Assistant Manager and Agriculture Training Specialist, Hilda Cangoma. Your contribution, large or small, will help Hilda become the first local woman in the Manda Wilderness region to receive a Permaculture Design Certificate. She will use this new set of skills and expertise to train others in permaculture at the Manda Wilderness Agricultural Project and share her knowledge in Mbueca, her home village in northern Mozambique.Comments (2)
BioIntensive Gardening Workshop and Food Security & Seed Saving Workshop with Kay Baxter, 23rd – 29th of February, 2013, at the PRI’s Zaytuna Farm, NSW, Australia
Photo © Craig Mackintosh
We at PRI Australia are excited to have Kay back for 2013! She will be teaching two of her highly sought after workshops — BioIntensive Gardening and Food Security & Seed Saving. Book on both courses, and get 20% off!Comments (1)
Courses/Workshops — by Milkwood Permaculture February 6, 2013
Milkwood are proud to announce Dave Jacke is coming to Australia in March to share his extensive knowledge in designing both urban and rural regenerative food, fiber and community systems, using forest ecologies as a model.
This is a special chance to learn from a world leading permaculturalist and forest ecology designer, thinker and teacher.Comments (1)
Animal Housing, Bird Life, Breeds, Insects, Working Animals — by Catherine Griggs February 5, 2013
This article is for all those people out there who are under regular attack from the cursed slug. If you live in Great Britain or North Wales like I do, you know all to well about these little beasts. 2012 was a year of slug plagues for most gardeners in the UK due to the wet and humid weather which provided ideal breeding conditions. And with climate change these wet, humid summers are not likely to go away, so it’s best to get prepared.
Slug plagues are of course a symptom of an unbalanced ecosystem in that their natural predators and parasites are not abundant enough to balance the slug population. A balanced ecosystem takes time to establish so slugs can be a big problem in newly created permaculture gardens, especially when mulch is used. I would like to tell you about the fastest most entertaining and resourceful way of getting rid of your slugs.Comments (10)
Energy Systems — by Alex McCausland February 4, 2013
As an Eco-Lodge, showers are obviously an important facility which guests have certain expectations about. Our lodging facilities are comprised of local thatched circular huts which are wooden framed with mud rendered walls. We had originally planned to put showers inside the rooms. However, we changed our minds about this due to the potential problems of having a regular water source inside a grass, wood and mud house in our environment, relating to dampness, smells and decay, the latter being greatly accelerated by the presence of termites, where moisture is available in moderate amounts.Comments (5)
by J. Matthew Roney, Earth Policy Institute
The fish near the bottom of the aquatic food chain are often overlooked, but they are vital to healthy oceans and estuaries. Collectively known as forage fish, these species—including sardines, anchovies, herrings, and shrimp-like crustaceans called krill—feed on plankton and become food themselves for larger fish, seabirds, and marine mammals. Historically, people have eaten many of these fish, too, of course. But as demand for animal protein has soared over the last half-century, more and more forage fish have been caught to feed livestock and farmed fish instead of being eaten by people directly. A growing body of scientific evidence suggests that current fishing levels are dangerously high—both for the forage fish themselves and for the predators and industries that depend on them.Comments (1)
Ladbroke’s is offering odds on fish populations collapsing; the government is shortening them.
I’ve come across some odd ways to make a living, but few as strange as this. The gambling company Ladbrokes has been offering odds on the conservation status of various fish species. Until last night it was taking bets on mackerel; recently it has encouraged people to punt on the survival prospects of stocks of yellow fin tuna, swordfish and haddock. You can, if you wish, gamble on extinction.
It’ll be a while before I put my money on the recovery of any species in British waters.Comments (2)
Food Shortages, Population, peak oil — by Paul Chefurka February 2, 2013
The linkage is this tight:
In this graph "grain" is the world’s annual production of rice, wheat and corn, "oil" is the global production of all petroleum liquids, and people are people. I normalized the numbers so that they all start off from an index of 100 in 1985. This is a standard technique that makes the relationship between the three elements visible.
It’s obvious at a glance that food, oil and population are tightly related, but the nature of their relationship is open to interpretation. If you were an economist you could say that as the number of people grows, we go out and grow more food and find more oil to meet our growing needs. Conversely if you were an ecologist you might say that increasing supplies of oil and food allow our population to grow. Or you could say (as I do) that they all exist in a complex feedback loop.Comments (14)
General, Podcasts — by Craig Mackintosh PRI Editor February 1, 2013
This is the fourth installment in our popular Q&A series. In case you didn’t catch it on previous occasions, we added a new sub-forum titled ‘Put Your Questions to the Experts!‘, where our forum members put their questions to experienced permaculturists we’ll approach over the weeks and months ahead. First up to be the target of our combined curiosities and the salve of our perplexities, is the PRI’s own Geoff Lawton. Geoff, currently teaching at Zaytuna Farm in NSW, Australia, spends 60 minutes with us, sharing from his wealth of experience in permaculture teaching and consulting in dozens of countries worldwide.
Note: In this episode you’ll find the answers to only the first five questions in Round 4. Geoff was called away in the middle, so we’ll attend to the rest of the questions in a subsequent video.Comments (5)
Editor’s Note: The PRI Sunshine Coast starts their next Internship on February 11, 2013. Get in quick!
After being flooded in again recently (an at least once a year occurrence), this time with PDC students and volunteers on the property, we are very happy we are somewhat prepared….
by PRI Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia
Our road floods on both sides of our property
Disaster is a word that strikes fear into most people. We usually believe disaster is out of our control. The actual happening of the disaster may be out of our control, but how we deal with it and how we come out the other end, is fully in our control. Last weekend we had a major rain event here, from an ex-tropical cyclone swooping through the region. Wind pushed trees over and there was major flooding in this and other areas. We were flooded in for two days.Comments (3)
Aid Projects, Commercial Farm Projects, Community Projects, Courses/Workshops, Demonstration Sites, Education Centres — by Alex McCausland January 31, 2013
There are those points in life where it’s all up-hill struggle, when you know there’s so much to be done that it’s not even worth contemplating it all, you just have to keep your eyes on the ground in front of you and keep putting one foot in front of the other. Then there are those times when you seem to be drifting, there’s no challenge and no real satisfaction, you just roll along the path in front of you passing what goes by. Then, very occasionally, are those fantastic moments when you reach the top, the peak of a mountain, or, perhaps the foot-hill of a mountain, when you are able to stop, take a breath and admire the views of this fantastic spectacle we call life and feel a bit of satisfaction that you have achieved something, got to the peak of the challenge you were set. And that is really what makes it all worth-while. It’s those moments which we strive for, and its knowing that such moments lie ahead which keep us going, through the challenges, toil and even drudgery of every-day life.Comments (0)
Biological Cleaning, Conservation, Dams, Earth Banks, Gabions, Irrigation, Land, Material, Potable Water, Regional Water Cycle, Rehabilitation, Soil Erosion & Contamination, Storm Water, Swales, Terraces, Water Contaminaton & Loss, Water Harvesting — by Craig Mackintosh PRI Editor
This excellent little 20-minute video does a great job of covering the basics of watershed management and landscape rehydration. You won’t hear the words ‘permaculture’ or ’swales’ once, but it’s clear that both are in use here, to great effect. If we can get these simple but profound concepts driven into social consciousness, and applied broadscale, we would see that investment in labour pay dividends, as many of our increasingly expensive natural disasters and resource limitations would simply disappear, as we reinstate nature’s own moderating capabilities.Comments (7)