Posted by & filed under Consumerism, GMOs, Health & Disease.

by Jeffrey M. Smith, Institute for Responsible Technology

11 minutes

It took the audience just 11 minutes to give up food brands they had grown up with and to commit to seek healthier non-GMO food. Of course this group had already been against genetically modified organisms as a concept. This was Greenfest after all; and in San Francisco no less. But when I asked them to honestly rate themselves on a scale of 1-100 how vigilant they had been at avoiding GMOs, the largest number of hands went up for the lowest category — 1-20. That’s typical of most US audiences. And so is what happened next….

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Posted by & filed under Building, Land, Society, Village Development.

by √ėyvind Holmstad

The problem is that we are adapting to the wrong things — to images, or to short-term greed, or to the clutter of mechanics. These maladaptations are known as “antipatterns” — a term coined not by Alexander, but by software engineers. An antipattern is something that does things wrong, yet is attractive for some reason (profitable or easy in the short term, but dysfunctional, wasteful of resources, unsustainable, unhealthy in the long term). It also keeps re-appearing. Sounds like our economy and wasteful lifestyle? — Michael Mehaffy and Nikos Salingaros


CC Gjøvik, an example of a multilayered antipattern

The permaculture focus is on tracking patterns in nature and design, to create pleasure for ourselves and to find good examples for the world. Patterns work in a multitude of connections with their surroundings, and the more connections there are, the richer are the pattern languages the patterns are part of.

Unfortunately, although our pattern languages might have a deep poetry, not all people feel attracted to their harmony (meaning "the quality without a name"). Today’s disconnected people are attracted by antipatterns, this is because they are profitable or easy in the short term, and human nature is greedy and lazy. We are short term thinkers — in a world of competition the winner takes it all, and today’s capitalism is all about materialism.

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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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