Posted by & filed under Biodiversity, Food Shortages, Regional Water Cycle, Society, Soil Erosion & Contamination.

I love history. As they say, if you don’t learn from it, you’re destined to repeat it. The video below, circa 1937, is a fascinating look at how men forsook the crucial observational stage when making the best laid plans of mice and men and in doing so took an enormous swathe of stable prairie, steppe and grassland environments and literally turned them into dust.

As the narrative comments:

Settler, plow at your peril!



This version is without the epilogue.
A version with the epilogue is here, but in lower quality.

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Posted by & filed under Food Shortages, GMOs.

by Jeffrey M. Smith, Institute for Responsible Technology

The record suicide rate among farmers in India continues to rise, with one farmer now committing suicide every 30 minutes. Many media reports blame failed GM Bt cotton crops for the crisis.

More than a quarter of a million farmers have killed themselves in the last 16 years in what is the largest recorded wave of suicides in history. An article for Sky News reports that one farmer who committed suicide "had been persuaded to use genetically modified seeds by the possibility of a better harvest. What he wasn’t told was that they needed more rain than the region provided."

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Posted by & filed under Food Forests, Food Plants - Perennial, Plant Systems.

Edible Forest Gardens! This powerful concept of perennial polyculture design is finally gaining wide recognition, thanks in part to people like Dave Jacke, author of Edible Forest Gardens, Volumes I & II.

Dave Jacke was in Santa Barbara recently for a program sponsored by the SBCC Center for Sustainability as a benefit for Mesa Harmony Gardens, a food forest in the making. If you missed Dave’s talk, or just want a review all the great material he shared with us, the interview is now available to listen to.

Dave Jacke is a longtime permaculture teacher and designer. In this interview, he talks about the history of forest gardening, its many benefits, and how gardening like a forest can enrich your life. — Sustainable World Radio

Click play to hear the talk!

Edible Forest Gardens: Dave Jacke Interview with Jill Cloutier of Sustainable World Radio

Posted by & filed under Courses/Workshops.

Planetary Permaculture Pilgrimage with Rosemary Morrow

by Tamara Griffiths, Ali Ma and Delvin Solkinson

Day One

It was a beautiful spring day in this incredible eco-village when we met with our hero, Rosemary Morrow, the inspiring and resilient godmother of permaculture. Teaching and travelling since March, Rosemary Morrow seems to tirelessly teach. Over 27 years she has taught in so many war zones, refugee camps and crippled countries.

Rosemary’s beautiful grandmotherly presence makes us feel at home and comfortable in the first instant we meet her. She encourages us right away to begin thinking like teachers and not like students.

We three are sooo excited to be with one of our greatest heroes.

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Posted by & filed under Aid Projects, Community Projects, Compost, Demonstration Sites, Education Centres, Food Forests, Fungi, Irrigation, Plant Systems, Soil Biology, Soil Conservation, Soil Rehabilitation, Soil Salination, Swales, Urban Projects, Village Development, Water Conservation, Water Harvesting.

Many thanks to Jeremy, Christina, Erik, Lamia and Kristen for all the work that went into creating the French translation subtitle file for both Parts I & II of the Greening the Desert video below. As a result, I’ve been able to upload a version suitable for your French-speaking friends and family, should you have some.


After clicking play, click on the ‘CC’ button at bottom
of the video to enable the French subtitles

And, a big thanks must also go to Frank Gapinski for the Greening the Desert Part I video that has turned so many on to permaculture concepts. It’s amazing the impact a few minutes of video can have on the world!

P.S. Because of the hard-coded English subtitles in the original version of the video embedded above, English speakers would be better to watch it instead.

Posted by & filed under Food Forests, Food Plants - Annual, Food Plants - Perennial, Plant Systems, Trees.

An updated chart of basic companion plants we’ve grown successfully over the years

We recently received an e-mail from a gentleman in China looking for…

… what plants you may have in your garden that you can transplant next to your rose or your apple tree to see how they nurture each other over time.

As a result I thought I would post our own updated list of companion plants for him and anyone else interested. While I would love to say this plant or that plant are "best" I feel I must remind folks to keep in mind your climate, soil and many, many other factors that determine how well these plants cooperate together. Trial and error is the best choice to begin companion planting but the chart below should lead you in the right direction….

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Posted by & filed under Presentations/Demonstrations.

Matthew is a reformed capitalist exploring Regenerative Design Sciences at the forefront of human innovation. He spent two years wandering the planet, in search of people, places, and projects working to make our world a better place. His work in Regenerative Agriculture, Regenerative Business, and Regenerative Economic Development has taken him (so far) to Australia, New Zealand, Mongolia, Germany, and now Hawai’i. Matthew is the author of Regenerative Business 1.0: Beyond Sustainability and founder of The Asia-Pacific Center for Regenerative Design.

Posted by & filed under People Systems, Society, Village Development.

Community cooperation models the same design of Nature for self-prolific and self-sustainable systems. Through beneficial partnerships with each other we too can unlock the unlimited potential within each other through community cultivation.

by Chowgene Koay

Soil, light, darkness, and the cool refreshing gift of water. In all, they are supporters of life.

Soil bacteria, fungi, and insects infiltrate every niche and space in the underworld creating a rich soup of goodness for our plants known as humus (grow chick peas or garbanzo beans with herbs and spices to make hummus). Which leaves us with the critical question of how do you prepare the soil?

It depends, but this post is about community in relation to soil and gardening. (Give me some time and I’ll write about soil another day.)

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Posted by & filed under GMOs.

An explosion of glyphosate resistant weeds forces Monsanto to run away from farmers’ rising weed control costs

by Dr Eva Sirinathsinghji

Monsanto is surrendering to glyphosate resistant weeds [1], according to a new briefing by UK based GM freeze. They are spreading at ‘exponential’ rates in US farms and are increasingly documented in Australia, Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Europe and South Africa.

While Monsanto grandly claims that its GM technologies help the environment by reducing pesticide use, resistant weeds springing up across the world paints a different picture. Glyphosate resistance has developed as the result of large-scale use of their pesticides. Glyphosate is the active ingredient of Monsanto’s world best-selling herbicide, Roundup.

And now, Monsanto aims to combat this serious agronomic, environmental, socio-economic, and health problem with even further increases in pesticide use.

The company is refusing to accept responsibility for rising weed costs, stating that [2] “Roundup agricultural warranties will not cover the failure to control glyphosate resistant weed populations.” Rising costs are burdening farmers across the globe.

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Posted by & filed under Courses/Workshops.

by Tamara Griffiths, Ali Ma and Delvin Solkinson

Parrots announced the dawn and we knew we were officially on farmer time!

As the week progressed people felt more and more comfortable in the group and we had built up a lot of trust. After three days of presenting on our chosen topics we had become fluid in creative processes and Robin Clayfield said we were all flying. On day six we all did our final gifts to the class, and by this stage we were enjoying the creative process of coming up with ways to get core information across in an engaging way.

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