Posted by & filed under Food Plants - Annual, Land, Plant Systems.

by Frank Gapinski

Making use of vertical wall space located in a sunny spot is a great way to grow your garden. In fact you don’t need pumps or complicated equipment to start growing your own vegetable garden. As long as you have a consistent amount of sunshine of around 6 hours per day and a collection of plastic drink containers and some ingenuity you can create a mini vegetable garden and have it self-water the system. Consider this novel approach to harnessing gravity to feed your garden.

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Posted by & filed under GMOs.

by Helen Wallace, GeneWatch

Selling fish, meat and milk from GM animals will be controversial but the new draft rules will also allow billions of GM insect eggs and caterpillars to be spread in fruit and vegetables — claims campaign group.

The European Food Safety Agency’s new draft rules for approving genetically modified insects, fish, farm animals and pets should give farmers, food producers, retailers and consumers pause for thought. Selling fish, meat and milk from GM animals will be controversial but the new draft rules will also allow billions of GM insect eggs and caterpillars to be spread in vegetables and fruit.

British company Oxitec’s GM moths and flies are likely to be approved by the European Union under the new rules. The GM insects have been genetically engineered so their caterpillars die inside olives or tomatoes or on the leaves of cabbages. The company plans to release GM pests across the EU to mate with wild pests, in an attempt to reduce their numbers. Millions of GM pests must be released each week to have any effect on wild populations.

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Posted by & filed under Peak Oil.

This is a guest post by Sadad al-Huseini, now a petroleum consultant and formerly executive vice president of Saudi Aramco for exploration and production, and is a response to the recent article in PIW (Petroleum Intelligence Weekly) by Leonardo Maugeri on his new study Oil: the Next Revolution, challenging his optimism about future oil supplies (PIW Jul.2’12). This article originally appeared in the July 23, 2012 edition of PIW. Originally published on the Oil Drum.

Leonardo Maugeri’s recent paper Oil: The Next Revolution on the presumed future abundance of oil supplies rejects the pessimistic outlook of limited increases in oil capacity over the next decade. It suggests global oil capacity will exceed 110 million barrels per day by the end of the decade, putting an immediate end to concerns regarding constrained long-term oil supplies. This conclusion is based on an assessment of new projects with a reported capacity of 49 million b/d before a downward adjustment to 29 million b/d to allow for completion risks and reserves depletion. Maugeri holds two PhDs, one in Political Science and one in Economics, and has extensive executive experience with ENI in strategies and developments and in petrochemicals.

In putting forth this optimistic thesis, Maugeri apparently sets aside a variety of technical realities, including the difference between natural gas liquids (NGLs) and conventional oil, reserves depletion versus capacity declines, and proven reserves as opposed to speculative resources.

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Posted by & filed under Aid Projects, Community Projects, Demonstration Sites, Education Centres, Village Development.

The children having fun learning about
how to care for the trees

Greg Knibbs, from Edge 5 Permaculture, has been working with John O’Reilly from Committee Assist, Australia, since 2009 as a casual advisor on its Development Aid Project which started with the implementation at Rainbow Ridge, Mailisita, Tanzania. Greg was instrumental in introducing permaculture in West Africa, Ghana and helping with the birth of the Ghana Permaculture Institute, and also teaching permaculture from 1997 in the Philippines. Greg also helped to set up Permaculture Action Asia, a non-government (NGO), non-profit organization dedicated to spreading permaculture.

The AIDS epidemic has had a devastating effect on families globally. In sub-Saharan Africa alone, there are in excess of 13 million children orphaned by AIDS. Committee Assist aims to teach and develop sustainable methods, knowledge and skills in local communities to better address this epidemic. The focus is working with local communities so they are better able to care for all their children — orphans and abandoned children too.

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Posted by & filed under Aid Projects, Community Projects, Demonstration Sites, Education Centres, Land, Plant Systems, Surveying.

by Rick Pickett, Eco-Ola

In our three-years of experience in the Peruvian Amazon we’ve learned that equipment and techniques tried and proven elsewhere often don’t function well here. The combination of primitive infrastructure, intense heat, and high humidity wreaks havoc with equipment. Luckily for us, and the community of Mazán, we have Rick Pickett to apply truly useful technology to our project. (And, thankfully, his technology has yet to fall victim to the jungle.)*

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Posted by & filed under Aid Projects, Building, Community Projects, Consumerism, Demonstration Sites, Energy Systems, Land, Society, Urban Projects, Village Development, Waste Systems & Recycling.

Edible City is a feature-length documentary film that tells the stories of extraordinary people who are digging their hands into the dirt, working to transform their communities and do something truly revolutionary: grow local Good Food Systems that are socially just, environmentally sound, and economically resilient.

Posted by & filed under Global Warming/Climate Change.

Climate breakdown is right here, right now.

by George Monbiot: journalist, author, academic and environmental and political activist, United Kingdom.

(Image taken from Arctic Sea-ice Monitor)

There are no comparisons to be made. This is not like war or plague or a stockmarket crash. We are ill-equipped, historically and psychologically, to understand it, which is one of the reasons why so many refuse to accept that it is happening.

What we are seeing, here and now, is the transformation of the atmospheric physics of this planet. Three weeks before the likely minimum, the melting of Arctic sea ice has already broken the record set in 2007(1). The daily rate of loss is now 50% higher than it was that year(2). The daily sense of loss – of the world we loved and knew – cannot be quantified so easily.

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Posted by & filed under Aid Projects, Community Projects, Demonstration Sites.

If you read my last article (Inspiration and First Moves), you might know already that when I got motivated to do something with permaculture my financial situation wasn’t the best. To be precise, it was rather precarious. Nevertheless, as a dreamer that tries to see not the evidence that would discourage others, I kept on going, being sure that when the right piece of land appeared, the way to buy it would appear as well.

No money, no partner, no credit

I had no money, no partner, no credit and a negotiation half-way through with the Boca de la Angostura ranch in the Guatemalan Caribbean. It was, to be sure, the materialized expression of my dream. In a few words: The perfect spot. Maybe it was not quite perfect, since there were a few issues to resolve, but the land had everything I needed to start and execute my demonstration site using Bill Mollison’s books as a guide. Check out the aerial picture.

Click for larger view

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Posted by & filed under Biodiversity, Consumerism, Deforestation, Economics, Food Shortages, Global Warming/Climate Change, GMOs, Society, Soil Erosion & Contamination, Water Contaminaton & Loss.

Although recorded back in May, for International Permaculture Day (see here and here), I found out about the interview below only yesterday. In the interview, PRI PDC Teacher, Rhamis Kent, talks to renowned environmental filmmaker, John D. Liu, whose fantastic work we’ve featured on this site multiple times (here, here, here and here for example). John covers a lot of ground in the 90-minute discussion, sharing, amongst many other things, the great need for systemic socioeconomic and political change. John explains, as regular readers know I have myself many, many times before, how permaculturists can be a big part of the solution, but that unless the system itself changes, the ability to practice permaculture will remain a pipe dream for most.

The video is a little choppy in a few places, but still very watchable. It’s well worth taking the time to hear what John has to share from his very broad experience.

Part I

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

Note: this is a piece that was originally to be published in Edible Forest Gardens, which I coauthored with Dave Jacke. Yes, there are parts we cut out, it would have been even longer! Dave reviewed and edited that version of this article, though I have substantially updated it here and he is not to blame for any errors that have crept in. This article only addresses the species present in the Matrix of Edible Forest Gardens and, as such, only covers the eastern forest region of the US and Canada from Zones 4-7. Using the hotlinks in this and my last few posts you can construct a similar layout for any climate.

Compositional diversity, the mix of plant species and other living and non-living elements, is a critical element of a stable forest garden ecosystem. This is particularly important in the case of pests and diseases, which frequently only attack closely related plant species. For example, many of the fruits that grow in our climate are from the Rose family, including apples, pears, cherries, peaches, and plums.  While these are delicious fruits, they share many pests and diseases, like the dreaded plum curculio. By diversifying the forest garden to include unrelated fruits like kiwi, pawpaw, and persimmon, you can make sure that curculios will not ruin all of your harvest in a bad year. Maximizing compositional diversity can also help to create resource-partitioning guilds, because plants from different families frequently have different strategies and use different nutrients, have different root patterns, or may be otherwise less likely to compete. For example, plants in the lily order tend to have bulbs or tubers close to the soil surface, while many members of the Apiaceae (in the aralia order) are typically taprooted or have deep, branching roots.

Edible fruits of blue bean, Decaisnea fargesii. A member of the very minor
Lardizabalaceae family, in the buttercup order Ranunculales. This species
is barely related to common forest garden fruits like pears, blueberries, or
grapes, sharing few or no pests and diseases with them, and thus an
example of omega level diversity in action. Plus it looks super cool!

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