Posted by & filed under Conferences, Courses/Workshops, Fungi, Presentations/Demonstrations, Soil Biology, Soil Composition, Soil Rehabilitation, Structure.

Albert Bates talks about biochar at APC11 (Turangi, New Zealand)
Photo © Craig Mackintosh

I’m personally unsure about biochar. This is not because I have anything significant to say against it (at the small, localised scale, at least), but rather just because I find it hard to promote a technique I’ve never, myself, seen developed and applied in real-world circumstances. Albert Bates‘ presentation was very interesting, as you’ll see, and Albert is obviously well versed with the topic, but like most conference situations, it’s rather impossible to talk and also showcase the practical application — and this gap in my own knowledge and experience is one that I’d dearly love to see filled! It would be excellent to receive on-the-ground reports from Albert and others who are working with biochar systems and who have tangible data to share on its EROEI, its general impact and benefits — and, of course, on how to actually make the stuff! (Those interested in sharing their biochar experiences can send photos and text to me on editor (at) for potential publishing.)

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Posted by & filed under Community Projects, Courses/Workshops, Presentations/Demonstrations, Social Gatherings, Village Development.

Celebrates all things permaculture around the world. Get involved with International Permaculture Day!

Permaculture in Ecuador

The Permaculture Day concept is one that celebrates all things permaculture around the world on the same day or weekend, if possible. The events are hosted and funded by local permaculture people, groups or businesses with the benefits accruing to your local area whilst spreading the word about permaculture. By coordinating the events worldwide at the same time we want to present a unified face to the broader community and show just how innovative, productive and fun permaculture events and projects can be.

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Posted by & filed under Consumerism, Deforestation, Food Shortages.

by Janet Larson, Earth Policy Institute

More than a quarter of all the meat produced worldwide is now eaten in China, and the country’s 1.35 billion people are hungry for more. In 1978, China’s meat consumption of 8 million tons was one third the U.S. consumption of 24 million tons. But by 1992, China had overtaken the United States as the world’s leading meat consumer—and it has not looked back since. Now China’s annual meat consumption of 71 million tons is more than double that in the United States. With U.S. meat consumption falling and China’s consumption still rising, the trajectories of these two countries are determining the shape of agriculture around the planet.

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Posted by & filed under Presentations/Demonstrations, Social Gatherings.

Bay FM Community Radio is a volunteer run, not for profit radio station committed to keeping the community informed on local and global issues, presenting music and information not available on other media in this area, and on creating and maintaining a positive spirit in the community.

From May 4 – The Bay FM Permaculture Hour will be on from 10-11am (on alternate Fridays).

The aim of the show is to promote permaculture awareness and networking in the Byron Shire and beyond.

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Posted by & filed under Compost, Potable Water, Soil Erosion & Contamination, Soil Rehabilitation, Waste Systems & Recycling, Water Conservation, Water Contaminaton & Loss.

Photos © Craig Mackintosh

You’ve heard the Zaytuna Farm composting loo story before, but since this is the first time I’ve personally seen ‘the great chamber changeover’ take place myself, during one of my own visits, I thought I’d share the tale once more.

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

Permaculture Design Certification Course Hosts Roster of Instructors from around the World. Quail Springs Permaculture launches Permaculture Design Certification Course for International Development Professionals and Social Entrepreneurs.

Quail Springs, California
Photo © Craig Mackintosh

Monetary assistance and training without stewardship ethics seems to be the standard for international aid today. With over 14 billion given by the U.S. Agency for International Development alone, it is increasingly important to ensure the results of aid are regenerative. Today, giving a man to fish, opposed to teaching him to fish, means that he will overfish. Quail Springs is not only teaching people how to “fish” but they are equipping people with the ethics and tools that lead to multi-generational ecological, social and economic sustainability. By using permaculture as a sustainable design framework to help secure community and individual stability, Quail Springs is innovating a new pathway for the international development community. Their upcoming Permaculture Design Certification course (PDC), taught by professionals with experience in international development projects, will teach participants sustainable systems thinking, design strategies and provide a comprehensive approach to permaculture as a tool for future development projects.

The instructors, hailing from Quail Springs Permaculture in southern California, all the way to Africa, span a gamete of professions whose various experiences make up an impressive group whose international efforts have seen much success.

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Posted by & filed under General.

PRI Australia Permaculture Design Certificate (PDC) graduates, April 2012
Click here for larger view, or here for even larger!
All photos © Craig Mackintosh

I recently briefed you on the fact that I was visiting New Zealand. Today I put up a little more evidence of this (don’t worry, I’ll be adding more from the NZ trip over the ensuing weeks, as I have time). Anyway, now I find myself in Australia, staying at the PRI home base — Zaytuna Farm, in northern NSW.

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Posted by & filed under Conferences, Consumerism, Peak Oil, Society.

Susan Krumdieck, speaking at the Australasian Permaculture Conference (APC11)
in Turangi, New Zealand, April 2012
Photo © Craig Mackintosh

Susan Krumdieck is an Associate Professor working in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Canterbury, Christchurch, New Zealand. Originally gaining her PhD in the U.S.A., her home country, Susan decided to relocate to New Zealand, where her desires to be more proactive along sustainability lines would be less likely to end in job termination!

Susan has since used her position and considerable talent, and that of her students, to collect data pertinent to dealing with the plight of urban centres in a peak oil context.

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Posted by & filed under Courses/Workshops.

Course Date: June 1 — 7, 2012

About Edible Forest Gardens: Edible forest gardens mimic the structures and functions of natural ecosystems while producing food and other products, with an emphasis on low-maintenance perennial crops. These gardens (and larger-scale operations) can provide critical ecosystem services while meeting human needs. Design and plant selection help provide fertility, control of weeds and pests, and more. This 6-day residential course will emphasize the design process, with hands-on design work for all participants. Participants will also learn the art and science of habitat mimicry, polyculture assembly, plant demonstration forest garden and observe and maintain plantings from previous courses.

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Posted by & filed under Food Plants - Annual, Food Plants - Perennial, Medicinal Plants, Plant Systems, Seeds.

I’ve been interested in indigenous land management for many years, but since the publication of M. Kat Anderson’s phenomenal Tending the Wild: Native American Knowledge and the Management of California’s Natural Resources I’ve been engaged in active research. This has included collaboration with the Woodbine Ecology Center and my work on a publication (read an excerpt here) for them about indigenous management in the prairie and Rocky Mountain regions where they are located. As part of this learning process I’ve created several short videos.

Here’s my overview of indigenous management practices with examples from the Woodbine region:

The next video covers one of our efforts at eco-cultural restoration at Woodbine, enhancing a “wild” edible riparian area:

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Posted by & filed under Consumerism, Society.

From a very early age in modern society we are taught that we are not responsible for things that happen to us. This article deals with how we can change that attitude.

From a very early age in modern society we are taught that we are not responsible for things that happen to us. In kindergarten and day care facilities, and even park playgrounds have to have a bouncy soft floor to minimise injury. The equipment has to have certain size restrictions and everything is made to ensure the kids can play without hurting themselves. Tree climbing is now forbidden. Children are not allowed to eat mud pies, crawl in dirt, play with sticks, insects, etc., or get into contact with any germs. Besides the fact that we now discourage kids from interactions with our natural environment (nature), we are wrapping our kids up in (synthetic) cotton wool, which is becoming detrimental to our society.

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