Rusinga Island is situated in Lake Victoria in the Western parts of Kenya. It is known for its prehistoric findings of primate fossils dating from 17 million years ago and for being the birthplace of the famously assassinated Kenyan politician, Tom Mboya, whose scholarship fund enabled Barack Obama’s father to study abroad. Not too many years ago it was still known to be a beautiful forested island, rich in unique bird species and with access to great fishing. Today the island is considered a vulnerable ecosystem with marginal agricultural land, leading one author to call it ‘one of the driest and most environmentally marginal agricultural zones in the region’(1).
Rapid population growth in the 1980s led to intensified pressure on natural resources such as trees and fish. At the same time, other communities started coming into Rusinga’s fishing waters to exploit the fish resources. Fish stocks started declining and the fishermen of Rusinga were forced to start looking for other ways of making an income. Many turned to agriculture but the Luo’s on Rusinga were traditionally fishermen, not farmers. Trees were cut down to make houses for a growing population, firewood to feed an increasing number of hungry stomachs and charcoal to make an income. Within a generation, what was once a richly forested island had become bare — suffering increasing droughts, soil erosion and crop failures due to the loss of trees.
Taranaki Farm shows you how to move a herd of cows, a flock of laying hens, some sheep and a stowaway frog in only 20 minutes… and in the process, heal farmland and local community.
Autumn Rain & Keyline Earthworks
Pairing Keyline Design farm layout to Polyface Farming methods makes Taranaki Farm genuinely unique in the world of sustainable/regenerative agriculture. Now with ten interlinked keyline dams and catchment road, drains and irrigation features, Taranaki Farm continues its investment in keyline design as a strategy for dryland water management which supports direct marketed, salad bar beef, pigerator pork and pastured chicken and egg enterprises.
Geoff Lawton and others will be participating in a short forum in Nerang, close to Brisbane, on Saturday March 10. Come along if you can!
What: Glocal Transition Forum Where: Nerang Bicentennial Community Centre,
833 Southport – Nerang Road,
Nerang, QLD When: Saturday March 10, 2012 — from 2pm-5:30pm Cost: $20 online, or $25 at the door (unless sold out)
The Glocals Forum is a platform for local, social, health & environmental leaders presenting practical approaches & solutions that can be measured & witnessed. We call them Glocals. They come from all walks of life and disciplines with one thing in common; they’re out there actualising transformative ideas that have the capacity to regenterate both society & the environment we live in. Each Glocal has an opportunity to give the essence of their transformational idea for our bioregion in 20 minutes & closes with a 2 minute practical “Transition Request” that you can action & contribute to glocal change.
This video is hands down the best I’ve seen yet at covering all the bases of our present converging dilemmas in one quick (35 minute) hit. Over the years I’ve presented all of the issues covered in this video — hitting them from various angles and in different ways to try to drive the point home — but it’s excruciatingly difficult to cover each element sufficiently whilst giving the casual or intermittant reader a full overview simultaneously. The excellent use of imagery has enabled the creators of this little video to touch on each subject whilst joining up all those dots into the fuller picture.
I’d encourage you to watch, and share widely. When sharing, you might want to do it by way of linking to this blog post, as I’ll put below a smattering of articles on these topics which some may look to for more details after watching:
Flinders Ranges, South Australia, Adnyamathanha Yarta
The old Adnyamathanha man places another log on the fire before sitting back down beside me. Uncle, as we will call him in the traditional Adnyamathanha way, stares into the flames for a minute, then begins to speak.
My partner and I have recently bought a house in Melbourne. I’m proud to say that we have deliberately avoided any pressure to buy a large house; our entire property is 170 square metres, and at least half of that is garden. I realise that’s not tiny, but it’s plenty smaller than places owned by a number of my friends and family. One of my cousins has recently built a house on a block of land, and his house alone would swallow our entire property three times over.
But as proud as I am of our small house mentality, I’ve started to realise that this does put some serious constraints on our ability to be independent and self-sufficient. Personally I’ve never been that committed to the dream of being self-sufficient on a good sized, rural block; I’d much rather be community-sufficient within a city suburb. But I don’t want to be vulnerable to crises and shocks, and growing food, fibre and fuel yourself is a big part of reducing that vulnerability.
What: Advanced Permaculture Design with Eric Toensmeier, author of Perennial Vegetables and co-author of Edible Forest Gardens with Dave Jacke When: May 18 – 23, 2012 Where: Hosted by Earth Learning in Homestead, FL Instructor: Eric Toensmeier
You will learn how to design and plant a food forest, hands-on!
Edible forest gardens produce delicious food while imitating natural forest ecosystems. Trees, shrubs, herbs, vines, groundcovers and fungi can combine to form healthy edible ecosystems. Design and plant selection help provide fertility, control of weeds and pests, and more.
How can you design an edible garden that works like a healthy ecosystem? Learn simple guidelines, based on real experience, for designing mixed-species polycultures of useful perennials. Small-group design exercises will give you the tools to create productive harvests and positive relationships between plants in your forest garden.
Farmer Faces Possible 3-year Prison Term for Feeding Community — Customers and Other Supporters Stand with Farmer
Baraboo, WI—Food sovereignty activists from around North America will meet at this tiny town on March 2 to support Wisconsin dairy farmer Vernon Hershberger and food sovereignty. Hershberger, who has a court hearing that day, is charged with four criminal misdemeanors that could land him in prison for three years with fines of over $10,000. The Wisconsin Department of Agricultural Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP) targeted Hershberger for supplying a private buying club with fresh milk and other farm products.
This article reviews perennial staple crops, a little-known group of species with tremendous potential to address world problems.
Ricardo Romero of Las Cañadas in perennial staple food forest featuring
peach palm, macadamia, air potato, banana, and perennial beans.
Perennial Staple Crops are basic foodstuffs that grow on perennial plants. These plant sources of protein, carbohydrates, and fats can be harvested non-destructively – that is, harvest does not kill the plant or prevent future harvests. This group of crops includes grains, pulses (dry beans), nuts, dry pods, starchy fruits, oilseeds, high-protein leaves, and some more exotic products like starch-filled trunks, sugary palm saps, and aerial tubers.
These trees, palms, grasses, and other long-lived crops offer the unique possibility of crops grown for basic human food that can simultaneously sequester carbon, stabilize slopes, and build soils as part of no-till perennial agricultural systems. Such production models seem the most likely of all regenerative farming practices to approach the carbon sequestering capacity of natural forest, because they can mimic the structure of a forest most closely.
Aloha. This is an introduction to my TEDx talk and my WWOOFing experience here at the PRI’s Zaytuna Farm at The Channon, NSW, Australia.
I came here the day after Christmas 2011. I knew about Geoff Lawton and Zaytuna Farm from my time in Hawaii on an organic, educational farm there where I had seen the DVDs on permaculture that Geoff had made. I wanted to see what permaculture was all about. I had had an introduction to it there and so I ventured out. In my TEDx talk I mention going on a journey and it led me here to this permaculture farm and it is a wonderful experience. This has mostly been due to the people I have met here, the students/interns and the food is incredible. I tell everybody I am here for the food and chef Ish and chef Tee do a fantastic job.
Getting and spending, we lay waste our powers. – William Wordsworth
by Samuel Alexander
Beyond our basic material needs for food, clothing, and shelter, how much is enough? In particular, how much money and how many possessions do we really need to live well and to be free? These are not questions that many people ask themselves in consumer societies today, but they are some of the most important questions of all.
Curious what goes on at the PRI Zaytuna Farm? If you live close to the farm, or are passing by, you're welcome to book yourself on a farm tour (Wednesdays at 11am only). Contact the farm manager and we'll see you soon.
We will take a minimum of 3 people at $35 p/p (groups of less than 3 adults are $50 p/p). Large groups please call to discuss pricing (at least 48 hours prior required).