Posted by & filed under Commercial Farm Projects, Compost, Food Forests, Food Plants - Annual, Food Plants - Perennial, Fungi, Nurseries & Propogation, Seeds, Soil Biology, Soil Composition, Trees.

When most people think about nurseries and plant propagation, they conjure up rows and rows of black pots and the smell of moist palettes of artificial fertilizer. But there is no natural law which dictates this to be the only, or even a preferable way in which to propagate plants.

While in-situ propagation from seed has been proven to be the healthiest and most energy efficient means of mass propagating most plants, sometimes you need to create sheltered controlled conditions for certain plants to get established.

If you are in a situation where plant pots are not available, if you cannot direct seed your plants, or you want to avoid the pots altogether, there are several other methods to get plants established.

Here I share a few ideas about natural, simple nursery establishment and protocols.

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Posted by & filed under Compost, Demonstration Sites, Processing & Food Preservation, Recipes, Soil Composition, Soil Rehabilitation.

Stolen leaves over yucca plants with banana circle backer

The first time I did it I did so on the sly. I needed some mulch for a piece of dried up clay I was hoping to convert into a forest floor upon which I planned to grow a food forest. The piece of land next door was thick with leaves, and having seen the groundskeeper over there laboring with a rake on prior occasions, I decided to give him a hand. One morning, I started collecting leaves on a tarp, dragging them to the spot I was working on. I did it several times that day, and several times the next until I’d covered a space of about twenty square meters ankle-deep in leaves.

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Posted by & filed under Compost, General.

Inside a spare hotel room, on one of the most northern places on earth, something magical is happening. Plants are growing, worms are composting waste, and people are feeling re-connected to food in a world of mining and monetary extraction.

Meet Benjamin Vidmar, Director of Polar Permaculture Solutions. Benjamin has been working on creating a permaculture system in Svalbard, part of a group of Islands in the Arctic Ocean. A maze of bureaucracy and complexity, with contested land use and a transient population, are some of the challenges he is facing.

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Posted by & filed under Aid Projects, Alternatives to Political Systems, Bio-regional Organisations, Community Projects, Eco-Villages, Networking Sites, People Systems, Village Development.

Community Managed Sustainable Agriculture

Andhra Pradesh in India has been called the pesticide capital of the world.  Pesticides cost farmers a lot of money.  To recover these costs the fruit and vegetables the farmers produced had to be expensive too.  This put them out of reach for many poor families.  Not only that, but farmers themselves had been hospitalised due to pesticide poisoning.  This is why Self Help Groups of poor rural women in 8033 villages decided to help farmers learn to reduce their costs by gradually reducing their dependence on pesticides.  Farmers can support one another, since many in a village change their farming techniques at the same time.  Some farmers have seen their profits increase by 100%, and the schemes have gained support from the state government.

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Posted by & filed under Conferences, Courses/Workshops, Social Gatherings.

“Honouring the Past, Transforming the Future: The Challenge to Permaculture”

What: 12th Australasian Permaculture Convergence
Northwest Environment Centre, Penguin, Tasmania, Australia
When: Monday, 9 March 2015 at 6:00pm — Thursday, 12 March 2015 at 10:00pm (AEDT)

Event details:

The concept of Permaculture was developed in Tasmania in the late 1970s by Bill Mollison and David Holmgren, as a positive and proactive response to the many pressing social and ecological challenges of our time. From humble beginnings, Permaculture has spread to just about every corner of the globe, is being practiced in many different climates and applied in settings ranging from urbanised cites to rural communities. Permaculture is a holistic design system for creating sustainable human settlements and is based on ethics and principles that can be applied to all facets of our daily lives from food systems, the built environment, through to governance and economics.

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Posted by & filed under Insects.

An old queen (as evidenced by her tattered wings) surrounded by her attendants

Did you know that male honeybees have no father, but they do have a grandfather? That any fertilized egg can develop into a worker bee or a queen bee depending on what the hatched larva is fed? That bees feed their young a white, protein rich substance called “royal jelly” secreted from a gland in an adult bee’s head? (We would look pretty funny if our milk glands — our breasts — were on our heads!) Hungry for more? Here we go!

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Posted by & filed under DVDs/Books.

When in the graduation celebration of a PDC in 2009 with Bill Mollison and Geoff Lawton, I made a promise to Bill to translate his Introduction to Permaculture book into Chinese and get it published in China, the most populous country in the world. After teaming up with Pingping Li, a professor of agriculture and ecology in China, the Chinese version of "Introduction To Permaculture" has finally been published by Jiangsu University Press. The book is in Simplified Chinese, to suit the mainland Chinese readers.

China, the place that was heavily featured in the book Farmers of Forty Centuries, the place that gave us the sage Laozi who believes in the "trinity" of heaven (climate), land and people, the place where hundreds of mullions of peasants live, who derive most of their life-supporting nutrition for the whole family from 1/4 acre small-holdings, with a surplus. During my seminars in China, brainstorming permaculture, I found that many concepts in permaculture are very easily delivered because they are viewed as "common-sense", and the techniques promoted by permaculture seem familiar to the people, or are recoverable in memory. They already had a community agriculture network, and now a permaculture farm. Most of the bits and pieces are there — what I found was missing is better integration. And this is where permaculture, as a design science, comes in. Thus I sincerely hope the publication of this book fill that gap.

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Posted by & filed under Courses/Workshops.

What: Regenerative Farm Enterprise Planning Workshop
Where: Shannon Farm Community in Afton, Virginia, USA
When: October 18-23, 2014
Who: With Eric Toensmeier, Rafter Sass Ferguson, and Elizabeth Ü

Register through Blue Ridge Permaculture.

Scaling up ecological agriculture is one of the critical challenges we face in addressing climate change and the global food crisis. Integrated perennial farm businesses are a key part of the solution when planned and managed effectively; join us to learn and practice how!

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Posted by & filed under Food Forests, Food Plants - Perennial, Land, Medicinal Plants, Plant Systems, Urban Projects.

Perennial Fruit and Herb Garden

Note: The plants listed below are as a guide — it is not a list of edible species. Please refer to culinary fruit and herb text books before using any plants in the kitchen or consuming any plants.

Not many people use their front garden. Front gardens are often laid to turf. Except for mowing the grass, or using the front door, the front garden goes largely ignored. Some people plant a mixture of plants including pollen plants which bring colour and can contribute towards the local ecosystem.

Using the following simple design, you can design and build your own garden, which will provide you with fresh and seasonal fruit, herbs for the kitchen, for delicious healthy teas, plus lovely fragrances and flowers throughout the year — with very little input. In fact this type of garden requires less maintenance than the regular mowing of a lawn.

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Posted by & filed under Commercial Farm Projects, Community Projects, Ethical Investment, Financial Management, Urban Projects.

A crowdfunded planting

As many farmers and founders of food-based businesses have discovered, crowdfunding is a tool that can enable you raise anywhere from thousands, to tens of thousands, to hundreds of thousands of dollars to launch projects that might never have gotten off the ground otherwise.

But what type of crowdfunding are we talking about? The conversation can get confusing quickly, because people use the term “crowdfunding” to refer to any of several techniques to raise funds from a large number supporters, customers, and/or any other stakeholders. Different laws apply in each case, and what might work for one project might not make any sense at all for yours. So before you start investigating options for financing your permaculture project, it pays to get clear on the three different types of crowdfunding.

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Posted by & filed under Food Plants - Annual, Food Plants - Perennial, Nurseries & Propogation, Plant Systems, Trees, Urban Projects.

Here is an interesting and simple-to-manage technique that will promote better root growth for your potted plants. It can be applied to plants that will stay permanently in pots or for those that will end up in your garden.

Those interested in this should also check out the ‘Air Nursery’ chapter of the Farmers’ Handbook.