Posted by & filed under Commercial Farm Projects, Food Plants - Annual, Medicinal Plants, Seeds.

The Hemp Farm is the world’s first public demonstration, education and working farm growing low-THC industrial hemp.

Based on the North Coast of NSW (Byron Bay), the hemp farm is dedicated to the many uses of this estranged plant. Grown under Government license, hemp does not contain psychoactive quantities of the drug ingredient.

The benefits of growing hemp fit with permaculture principles. Hemp requires no pesticides or herbicides, can clean up waste water (of which it does not require much) and offers many uses from both its stem and seed.

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Posted by & filed under Food Forests, Food Plants - Annual, Food Plants - Perennial, For Sale, Medicinal Plants.

Refractometers are used for quite a lot of things — drug diagnosis, gemology, veterinary medicine, aquarium upkeep and farming.

In gardens and farming it is an all-in-one tool that can be used to test the health of your crops, via a brix rating system. A refractometer uses refractive light passing through plant sap or fruit or vegetable juice to take a reading of nutrient levels. A high rating is good news for your crops — they should be healthy, disease and pest resistant, high in nutritional value and you’re likely to have a good harvest. A low rating means that your crop will not grow to its potential due to some external limiting factor, such as: a dilution of its nutrients due to high nitrate content, a mineral imbalance in the soil allowing weeds to flourish and take from your harvest, a low calcium content in the soil or a low/steady boron reading indicating an issue with the translocation of sugars within the plant.

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Posted by & filed under Gabions, Irrigation, Land, Regional Water Cycle, Soil Conservation, Soil Erosion & Contamination, Soil Rehabilitation, Storm Water, Water Conservation, Water Contaminaton & Loss, Water Harvesting.

Article and diagrams copyright © Cam Wilson

This is a pictorial tour of the degradation and dehydration process that the Australian landscape went through post European settlement, along with one of the major aims of Peter Andrews’ Natural Sequence Farming approach, namely the rehydration of the Australian landscape.

If you were one of the early explorers, walking into a wide floodplain system in the early 1800s, more than likely you would have found some form of discontinuous watercourse. One example is known as a ‘chain of ponds’, in which you’d find small bodies of open water, about a metre below the level of the floodplain, held in place and separated from the next pond by a marshy plug of reeds such as Phragmites.

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Posted by & filed under Courses/Workshops.

Our intern program is centred around learning by doing. Here at Mulloon Creek Natural Farms there’s a great mix of both the established bread and butter commercial operations, as well as a lot of innovative development that’s taking place over the coming years within our ecological agricultural practices. If you’re interested in the large-scale design and implementation side of landscape health within a productive farm environment, be sure to visit our website to find out more.

Posted by & filed under Courses/Workshops.

by Delvin Solkinson, Ali Ma and Tamara Griffiths

It was a beautiful day on this conscious community land. Kangaroos bounced by the window while all manner of tropical birds celebrated the sun with a chorus of beautifully orchestrated songs. We are staying in a bunkhouse which is clean and comfortable despite massive spiders that seem to go unnoticed by the locals.

Stumbling down to the common building we find a spread of delicious fruit, breads and spreads, tea, coffee and cereals. The day begins with a check in — we are all asked what kind of tree we felt like! Robin has us do a very interesting revision process where we all write memories of yesterday on small scraps of paper. On the floor she places cups symbolizing breakfast, morning tea, lunch, afternoon tea and dinner and we all place our little papers across the board in a representation of the day and when things happened. It’s amazing to see so many memory fragments spread out across the floor. This also gives us a sense of the highlights as things like our incredible thai dinner the night before are celebrated by many different scraps of paper.

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Posted by & filed under Aid Projects, Community Projects, Developments.

The ‘after map’ design — does not resemble the actual implementation

This is an update on my recent post on new school projects here in Ethiopia. We visited Karat Primary School again as a group on Friday 28th October 2011. The group comprised Alex McCausland, Tichafa Makovere, Rhamis Kent (an international permaculture trainer accredited by the PRI Australia) and five permaculture students; two Ethiopians from Fiche, North Shoa, two Mexicans and one American, who were participating on an international Permaculture Design Certificate course at SFEL.

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Posted by & filed under Courses/Workshops.

by Tamara Griffiths, Delvin Solkinson and Ali Ma

Day 6 : First Day of the Robin Clayfield Training

Joining with another Pilgrim, the ultra inspiring Ali Ma, we continued our learning adventure with renewed inspiration. After a 5am awakening before sunrise and a long drive we arrived at last at the fabled Crystal Waters Community. We had moved from sub-tropics into the tropics and got there just in time for the 9am start of class.

Robin welcomed us to Crystal Waters and acknowledged the traditional custodians of this land, the Gabi Gabi people, before we went into learning about our own learning styles — empowering us to take charge of our learning. There were a couple of questionnaires — one on how we learned, whether a visual, auditory or kinesthetic learner.

We were all visionaries!

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Posted by & filed under DVDs/Books, Livestock, Soil Rehabilitation, Working Animals.

Equine Permaculture: Regenerative Horse Property Design & Pasture Management
A collection of articles, 80 pages
by Mariette van den Berg & Nicholas Huggins

Generally, horse keeping is considered to be a costly hobby or business, especially with current price rises in living expenses and feed costs. On top of that, horse and land owners encounter high input costs or difficulties to maintain pastures and sustain the dietary needs of horses.

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

by Frank Gapinski

Monsanto versus the Corn Rootworm Beetle
in a dangerous game of tit for tat.

This story is almost a parable of two worlds, a battle between the natural and the man-made.

Like a boxing match, in the one corner we have Monsanto – a large company aided by big money and big investment, tinkering away in the science labs, discovering even more devious ways to develop the perfect pest resistant strain of GM corn that can be easily marketed and harvested to a massively large, over-subsidized monoculture industry.

The one aim is to develop the perfect foodstuff that can’t be attacked by pests or disease. Sounds good.

One the other side we have Nature, in the form of a humble beetle — the corn rootworm beetle — eying off all those wonderful acres of unblemished genetically modified corn, with their silk corn heads waving gently in the breeze signalling “C’mon over here little guy – come on over and eat me!”

The system is out of whack and out of balance. But pesky nature likes a balanced system.

So let the battle begin.

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