Posted by & filed under Community Projects, People Systems, Village Development.

As a volunteer tourist I have really appreciated receiving tips before my trips from hosts. Now I return the favour. Here are some tips for volunteer managers, and many may also find the resources in the ‘References’ section at bottom of value.

Your ideal destination

Do you want to change the world? Most of us do, but how do we know we mean the same thing by this? To be more specific we might say ‘I want to bring about sustainability and justice’. Fine tuning further we could add ‘by stopping supermarkets’. However, none of these visions relate to our own field of interest. It is helpful to dig a little deeper, lest you may find your volunteers have different ideas and end up throwing the trowel in.

It is recommended that projects begin with a shared, written vision and a clear long term goal (1; 2; 3; 4; 5; 6; 7; 8; 9; 10). This is to provide coherence and effective working relations (6; 9). Specialisation is efficient when contributing towards a common goal, so that practical and idealist personnel become complementary.

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Posted by & filed under Compost, Fungi, Soil Biology, Soil Composition, Soil Rehabilitation.

Size of a pumpkin leaf: 42 cm, that’s 16.5″. Not bad for a sandy soil!

One of the problems a lot of people have is how to improve the fertility of sandy soil. One solution is to add more organic matter (compost, manure, wood chips), but unfortunately if you live in a hot and humid climate the stuff you put in the soil is going to decompose quickly, since microbial activity is so fast. That creates a serious problem, because your poor sandy soil is not holding nutrients. You can add fertilizers, but they are going to leech out of your soil very fast. Because of that your fruit trees, shrubs, and vines will be yielding poorly, and they will be susceptible to diseases and pest damage. What’s worse, the fruits (and vegetables) of your labor will taste plain and they will not have a lot of vitamins and minerals in them.

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Posted by & filed under Trees.

Cloaked in the snows of California’s Sierra Nevada, the 3,200-year-old giant sequoia called the President rises 247 feet (75.3 meters). Two other sequoias have wider trunks, but none has a larger crown, say the scientists who climbed it. The figure at top seems taller than the other climbers because he’s standing forward on one of the great limbs.

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Posted by & filed under Community Projects, Global Warming/Climate Change.

We are one month out from what could be a defining moment for the climate movement. On September 21st, 2014, thousands of people are going to flood the streets of New York City ahead of the landmark UN Climate Summit — and we need you to join us.

Click here today to RSVP and get involved with the largest mobilization demanding climate action in history.

Scientists have been sounding the alarm for years, but now a look out the window is all you need to know something is seriously wrong. Out my own window, I see a California that’s stricken with the worst drought in the past 100 years after the state’s warmest year on record. It’s easy to feel hopeless, especially given the state of politics, but I become hopeful when I think about marching in the streets with so many activists and communities from around the country.

It’s time to make sure that hope spreads far and wide, and to show that this movement is strong, diverse, and beautiful.

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Posted by & filed under Health & Disease, Livestock, Soil Rehabilitation.

This entry is about cows and pigs. But before we get down and dirty let’s start with some basic facts about humans’ and pigs’ nutrition to make sure we’re on the same page.

What does it take to fatten pigs efficiency?

It is said that all animals need proteins to be fattened efficient. Is it really true? Not entirely — in fact all we really need is a substance which proteins are made of: amino acids. Some of which the body can ‘produce’ on its own. These ‘self-made’ substances are called non-essential amino acids and they are synthesized mainly from carbohydrates and other amino acids.

And those amino acids that humans and pigs cannot produce themselves are called essential amino acids.

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Posted by & filed under Commercial Farm Projects, Financial Management.

VersaLand fields: Tree shelters protect an emerging 145 acre permaculture farm

Even though they do not know it, the Unites States Department of Agriculture (USDA) is supporting permaculture. You won’t find this word brandied within any official publications, and most extension agents would give you a quizzical look if you brought up a concept such as zonation, yet there exists a language and support system for many of the most important practices in permaculture farm-scale design.

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Posted by & filed under Courses/Workshops, Food Forests.

Small area of food forest


The Phayao Permaculture Center (PPC) is a new two acre permaculture design implemented to be the retirement farm for myself and my Thai family. It is located in the wet/dry tropics at 19 degrees north latitude in Northern Thailand.

Having taken the PDC course with Bill Mollison on Maui, Hawaii in 1982 It has been my vision to retire on my own PC designed land. This came about in 2012 when I purchased the land for my Thai family.

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Posted by & filed under Consumerism, Economics, Global Warming/Climate Change, Peak Oil, Society.

Samuel Alexander (1), Simplicity Institute

Climate change is not ‘a problem’ waiting for ‘a solution’. It is an environmental, cultural, and political phenomenon which is reshaping the way we think about ourselves, our societies and humanity’s place on Earth. — Mike Hulme

1. Introduction

In recent years the notion of a ‘carbon budget’ has entered the lexicon of climate science (e.g. IPCC, 2013; Meinshausen et al, 2009). This concept refers to the estimated maximum amount of carbon emissions that can be released into the atmosphere in order to retain a reasonable chance of keeping global temperature levels below a 2°C temperature rise above pre-industrial levels. This is the global temperature threshold reaffirmed during the Copenhagen conference in 2009 but which many climate scientists argue should be revised downward (see, e.g., Jordan et al, 2013). Although the science underpinning the carbon budget is increasingly robust (see Le Quere et al, 2013), many scientists, politicians, and the broader public have been slow to recognise its radical socio-economic and political implications.

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Posted by & filed under Animal Housing, Bird Life, Fencing, Livestock, Urban Projects.

I started my journey with chickens with two lovely ex-battery hens who were so friendly and were real pets. However, they made short shrift of my garden and tended to wander everywhere into other people’s lawns. No matter how often I clipped their wings, they kept getting out. Although I really loved those two characters, they were causing problems for me and my neighbours. Sadly, they were subsequently stolen and so I decided to give Silkies a try.

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