Posted by & filed under Aid Projects, Courses/Workshops.

Learn the concepts of sustainable living and improved self-reliance through foodwatershelter’s Permaculture Design Certificate (PDC) Course. Join USA based instructor Steve Whitman and a team of local teachers in Arusha, Tanzania between the 4th to 15th June 2012 for this incredible opportunity run in partnership with Tanzanian based NGO Global Service Corps.

For $950 (scholarships are available through application for East African based participants) you will receive an internationally recognised certification, the opportunity to visit projects and other NGOs in the Arusha area, gain hands-on experience designing and working on the farms of Kesho Leo, and meet a diverse group of the international community. Full paying students also assist to provide scholarships to East African students who will make up half the class.

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Posted by & filed under Aid Projects, Courses/Workshops.

Editor’s Note: As well as the course below, I should mention, in case you missed it, that Warren Brush will also be teaching at the PRI’s Zaytuna Farm in NSW, Australia in July. Find out more here.

Quail Springs Permaculture launches Permaculture Design Certification Course
for International Development Professionals and Social Entrepreneurs

What: Quail Springs First Annual Permaculture Design Course for International Development
Where: Quail Springs Learning Oasis and Permaculture Farm, near Cayuma, California, USA
When: June 18 — July1, 2012

1.4 billion people live in extreme poverty surviving on less than US$1.25 per day. More than two thirds of them live in developing countries. With the projected population growth to over 9.1 billion by 2050, global food production will need to increase by 70 percent per IFAD’s Rural Poverty Report 2011. With such heightened awareness of the need for sustainable solutions for international development, social entrepreneurship, and community building, permaculture has continued to rise as one of the most effective integrated, sustainable design methodologies that provides the framework for designing landscapes and living systems that promote stability, biodiversity, and resilience for individuals and communities around the world.

Quail Springs Permaculture is proud to announce the launch of their first annual Permaculture Design Certification (PDC) Course developed exclusively for International Development Professionals and Social Entrepreneurs hosting a dynamic lineup of world-renowned instructors from June 18, 2012 through July 1, 2012 at Quail Springs’ site in Southern California.

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Posted by & filed under Alternatives to Political Systems, Consumerism, Economics, Population, Society, Village Development.

Editor’s Note: If you enjoy the article below, and you missed Kyle’s past 3-part series, amongst others, be sure to check them out! (Part I, Part II, and Part III.)

To everyone feeling screwed over by the economy,

We are told that our problem is that there aren’t enough jobs. This message is everywhere. The media gauges our plight with regularly updated unemployment statistics. Politicians debate theatrically over who can create more work. People everywhere clamor for scarce positions at factories and corporations.

I’d like to point out the great irony of this situation — people hate their jobs. How many people do you know who love their job? The truth is, most of us who have ordinary jobs can barely tolerate them. All else being equal, we’d rather not do them.

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Posted by & filed under Community Projects, Demonstration Sites, Land, Society, Urban Projects, Village Development.

Ilma Lever Gardens garden designed for wheelchair access

When working in various gardens for community usage I found we often needed to consider access for gardeners of a range of abilities without compromising the overall function of the design. I want to outline some things I have found useful to make spaces disability-friendly whilst also maintaining the permaculture principles of multiple use values and productive landscapes. Access issues you may need to consider include wheelchair movement, limited bending, blindness, unstable gait from stroke or acquired brain injury.

Many permaculture systems are beneficial as they already aim to reduce the amount of physical labour e.g. no dig, animals doing the work for you, zoning, etc. So here I will focus on more specific elements.

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Posted by & filed under Aid Projects, Biological Cleaning, Building, Energy Systems, Irrigation, Potable Water, Waste Systems & Recycling, Water Conservation, Water Harvesting.

Beavers and wasps can build their own homes… — Michael Reynolds


Modern Earthships are shelters built to sustain their occupants by providing energy, water, and waste management through the use of passive systems. They have been designed to meet the rigorous criteria that are found in the building codes of so many western governments. While these modern Earthships are quite pleasing structures, they owe their heritage to a series of evolutions Michael Reynolds developed over a 40+ year period in remote lands surrounding Taos, New Mexico in the United States of America. While experimenting with recycled materials for construction, a design known as “the hut” was born of earth-rammed tires, aluminum cans, cement, and some metal framing. It is an ultra light house in every sense, except physically.

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Posted by & filed under Community Projects, Consumerism, Courses/Workshops, Economics, Global Warming/Climate Change, Peak Oil, Social Gatherings, Village Development.

When: 9 — 11 March 2012, starting on the evening of March 9
Where: Hamilton Public School, corner of Tudor Steet and Steel Street, Newcastle, NSW, Australia
Theme: "Transitioning to connected communities, localised fair economies and sustainable lifestyles."

Please put this event in your diaries, and ‘like’ us at!/FairShareFestival

In this second and expanded festival we will explore issues related to social justice, sustainability, innovative social enterprises and strong resilient communities through panel discussions, interactive workshops, and engaging debates.


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Posted by & filed under Aid Projects, Community Projects, Courses/Workshops.

Some of you may remember our call-out for donation support for Victor Monroy (see paragraphs below the video here), an organic agricultural engineer who is director of a large orphanage in Rwanda. Well, a couple of you kindly donated to help get Victor along to a PDC taught by PRI PDC Teacher, Warren Brush, in neighbouring Kenya. I need to mention that another NGO, who Victor is writing to below, subsequently offered to cover the whole amount for Victor, which meant Victor received a little more than he needed! (And PRI Kenya received the full course fee rather than the half-rate they generously offered.) Victor’s message below is therefore just as much for those of you who donated on this site. Given partial duplication of support for Victor with this, we (the PRI) have made the executive decision to request that Victor keeps the $275 excess as extra support for the orphanage he directs and to help him implement some of the extra knowledge he gained with his PDC participation. I trust that this is as our site donors would have it. Thanks to you once more.

Watch the video below to get an idea of Victor’s work, and you can read Victor’s letter of thanks below that.

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Posted by & filed under Alternatives to Political Systems, Consumerism, Education, People Systems, Society, Village Development.

by Nikos A. Salingaros, The University of Texas at San Antonio


This essay presents desirable social functioning as basically a matter of free individual decision. I discuss two basic polarities: Left versus Right, and P2P (Peer-to-Peer) versus Global-mass-society. Each polarity takes certain distinctions and concerns as key to understanding political life. A self-organizing P2P society is driven by individuality, publicly-shared patterns, and common culture based on shared loves; whereas Global-mass-society is based upon groupthink, expertise, and glitzy consumerism, and is run by a small group of intertwined political, economic, and knowledge elites. These two polarities Left/Right, and P2P/Global-mass-society are split in their basic attitudes towards the past, towards authority, and towards religion. I argue that the concerns that have divided Left from Right are less important now than formerly, and that the P2P/Global-mass-society polarity is a better way to understand many important issues today. I then propose that the concerns that have motivated both Left and Right suggest the possibility of enlisting both on the side of P2P. We can overcome the traditional Left/Right distinctions in the name of a new political humanism.

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Posted by & filed under Economics, Food Shortages, Peak Oil, Society.

What: Nichole Foss talk on the present and future crises
Where: The Channon Community Hall, near Lismore, NSW, Australia (and a stone’s throw from the PRI’s Zaytuna Farm)
When: 10th of February, starting at 5.30 pm
Cost?: Donation at door

Nicole M. Foss is co-editor of The Automatic Earth (TAE), where she writes under the name Stoneleigh. She and her writing partner have been chronicling and interpreting the on-going credit crunch as the most pressing aspect of our current multi-faceted predicament. The site integrates finance, energy, environment, psychology, population and real politick in order to explain why we find ourselves in a state of crisis and what we can do about it. Prior to the establishment of TAE, she was editor of The Oil Drum Canada, where she wrote on peak oil and finance.

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Posted by & filed under Building, Insects, Working Animals.

by Anthony Andrist

Go to the bee, thou poet: consider her ways and be wise.
— George Bernard Shaw, Man and Superman

Looking for simplicity and compatibility between styles, we moved next towards a top-bar design. Essentially, it is a wooden bar placed horizontally across the width of the hive and has a starter strip of foundation comb or a wax bead along the centre to encourage the bees to build comb. The bar can be flat on the bottom, have a notch along the centre to place a wax strip, a semi-circle, a triangle or even a comb footprint, to give the bees a starting point. The bars are set side by side across the top of the hive and can be any length. Most bars are between 3.175 to 3.5cm wide and from 40 to 50cm long.

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Posted by & filed under Fencing, Food Plants - Annual, Food Plants - Perennial, Land, Nurseries & Propogation, Trees.

A few hints and tips for dealing with these unique Australian characters

by Carolyn Payne

Kangaroo come on to the property every evening to drink

The 34 acre site that is now the home of Mudlark Permaculture is an open grassland strip 250 metres wide and 500 metres long, set between native Australian bush land and a 280 metre diameter artificially created wetland.

The land was considered so poor by its previous owner that it had not been fenced or stocked for 30 years. The only things to graze this land for years have been a few rabbits, hares, the odd wallaby and around 100 kangaroo.

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

Many have heard of EM mixtures, sold worldwide with cultures of effective microorganisms, that due to their symbiotic relationships with each other can benefit the microorganisms’ ecosystem in our soils, compost piles and toilets. They are known to boost yield and speed the composting process and are sold worldwide for their positive effect.

You can read more about the commercial brands of EM and the process of their discovery by Dr.Teruo Higa from Japan in Wikipedia.

There are three types of microbial life that come together to form the mixture. It is not a certain strain of microbes that holds the key, but rather the combination of the different groups that gives the positive effect we are looking for.

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