Posted by & filed under Community Projects, GMOs.

by Richard Widows

I don’t think I could provide anyone with a better example of the madness and hypocrisy that plagues the Genetically Modified Organism (GMO) debate, than what is currently happening in California around the campaign to label GMO – or Proposition 37. 

What is Proposition 37?

This year, over 1 Million Californians signed a petition seeking a referendum on the labelling of GMO products, far more than the 500 thousand odd signatures required to force a ballot. Enter Proposition 37, a ballot to require mandatory labelling of GMO foods in California.

Why is it needed? Well, at this point in time, there is absolutely no requirement to label GMO products in the US.  This means that the entire US population is eating GMO foods every single day, without knowing it, and worst of all, without the ability to make the personal choice to avoid it.

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Posted by & filed under Irrigation, Regional Water Cycle, Water Contaminaton & Loss.

Comments yesterday by the Federal Minister for water, Tony Burke, following criticism of the proposed Basin Plan by the Wentworth Group of Concerned Scientists, provide long overdue acknowledgement that a significant proportion of Australians do not approve of current water reform.

The public is gradually coming to the realisation that, when given the responsibility of drafting the Basin Plan, the Murray-Darling Basin Authority was handed a chalice containing the most noxious of poisons – privatised water.

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Posted by & filed under General.

Tiny Eglington, who has been hospitalised in the Riverside Medical Centre, in Bacolod, in the Philippines for an infection is his leg, is now conscious and out of the Intensive Care Unit. Three days after Geoff’s post, PRI had raised $2174.01 which was sent to Tiny. This was enough funds for him to buy blood and have a small operation on his leg — and the good news is that they will not have to amputate. Since the 13th of August PRI has raise another $645.31, which will be sent along with any other funds to Tiny on Friday the 24th of August.

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Posted by & filed under GMOs, Seeds.

by International Permaculture Day

On Sunday 6th May 2012, we launched the first International Permaculture Day and were honoured to interview world-renowned environmental activist and seed defender Dr. Vandana Shiva. Dr. Shiva spoke to us about the importance of seed sovereignty as the basis for permanent (sustainable) agriculture and about the grave and growing threat of patented seeds to life, diversity and freedom. In response, she’s started a global campaign to “Occupy the Seed” and is calling on permaculturalists and others everywhere to join. For more information about the initiative, see her Invitation to join the Global Citizens Alliance for Seed Freedom below.

To spearhead the campaign, Dr. Shiva has also announced plans for a Seed Freedom Fortnight of Action and has asked the permaculture community to play a leading role in this; see Vandana’s Message to Permaculturalists, again below. International Permaculture Day is collaborating with her to promote to the fortnight — learn how you can participate via the following links:

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Posted by & filed under Biodiversity, Community Projects, DVDs/Books, Education, Food Plants - Annual, Food Plants - Perennial, Food Shortages, GMOs, Health & Disease, Medicinal Plants, Seeds, Society, Trees, Village Development.

by Navdanya International

The Manifesto on the Future of Seeds outlines ways and means to strengthen and accelerate the movement toward sustainable agriculture, food sovereignty, biodiversity and agricultural diversity and help defend the rights of farmers to save, share, use and improve seeds, as well as to enhance our collective capacity to adapt to the hazards and uncertainties of environmental and economic change.

English (EN) | Italiano (IT) | Deutsch (DE) | Español (ES) |
Français (FR) | Polski (PL)

The Manifesto on the Future of Food develops in detail principles on which to base the transition to a sustainable food and agricultural system as outlined in the Florence Declaration on the Global Rights to Food. Most importantly it sets out practical vision, ideas and programs toward ensuring that food and agriculture become more socially and ecologically sustainable, more accessible, and toward putting food quality, food safety and public health above corporate profits.

English (EN) | Italiano (IT) | Español (ES) | Français (FR) | Polski (PL) | Português (PT) | Русский (RU) | 日本語 (JA) 

The Manifesto on Climate Change and the Future of Food Security highlights the need to change to a productive model that minimizes the system’s vulnerability to external shocks and hazards and that contributes sustainably to mitigating the effects of climate change, based on a strong multifunctionality able to maximize the role of agriculture as a service of the ecosystem and as a tool to strengthen such system, and that guarantees family farming a pivotal role in a new system of production.

English (EN) | Italiano (IT) | Deutsch (DE) | Español (ES) | Français (FR) | Polski (PL)

The Manifesto on the Future of Knowledge Systems: knowledge sovereignty for a healthy planet makes evident that the multiple crises that face humanity today — the financial implosion and economic collapse, climate chaos and the energy and food crises — are rooted in a reductionist, fragmented and mechanical way of thinking, with the world being equated to a huge machine, free to be manipulated and improved at will. A new way of thinking is vital for the return to a balanced and healthy planet, one based on sustainability, resilience and equity. Some of the themes addressed include: corporate control of science and the merging of knowledge and power; the commercialization of knowledge and biopiracy; the need to integrate traditional and indigenous cultural knowledge with independent science.

English (EN) | Italiano (IT) | Español (ES) | Français (FR)

Posted by & filed under Courses/Workshops, Food Forests, Food Plants - Perennial, Trees.

With Eric Toensmeier, Jonathan Bates and Steve Breyer

October 19-20, 2012, Holyoke & Southampton, Massachusetts USA

The best way to learn about food forests is by eating your way through mature examples during peak fruit and nut season. Details can come later. Come eat delights like persimmon, paw paw, Asian pear, hardy kiwifruit, raspberry, fall strawberries, cucumber berry, chestnut, butternut, hardy almond, Korean pine nut, and so much more.

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Posted by & filed under Plant Systems, Trees.

Nitrogen fixation is an important ecological phenomenon and a critical element of agroecological systems. Nitrogen fixing plants, through a symbiosis with various microorganisms, can convert atmospheric nitrogen to essential nitrogen fertilizer. A great diversity of species from many widely-separated orders fix nitrogen. This is an interesting lens through which to view higher-order taxonomy, and see why it is of interest.


Wild tamarind (Lysiloma latisiliquum), a nitrogen-fixing legume native
from Florida through Central America.

There are several living great divisions of plants, representing ancient lineages. The enormous division of the flowering plants is only one of these. Here are some of the major groups and their relation to nitrogen fixation.

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Posted by & filed under Land, Soil Composition, Soil Rehabilitation, Structure, Urban Projects.

by Joel Dunn

Raised beds are great for deep, friable soil and good drainage, and also provide a nice structure for annual veggie rotations. However, the set-up costs for both the raised edging and imported soil to fill the beds can be a turn-off. This little photo journal illustrates a couple of simple cost savers I used for raised beds installed this year.

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Posted by & filed under Courses/Workshops.

We’ve had an overwhelming response in bookings for the PDC starting in Canberra, Australia on 21 September, with Nick Huggins, Martyn Noakes and Colin Mclean. This course is staggered over four weekends, to make it more accessible. We have only a few places left, so we have decided to extend the early bird offer until the cut off date of 7th of September at 12pm.

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Posted by & filed under Aid Projects, Community Projects, Compost, Courses/Workshops, Demonstration Sites, Education Centres, Energy Systems, Food Forests, Irrigation, Land, Nurseries & Propogation, Retrofitting, Seeds, Soil Rehabilitation, Swales, Trees, Village Development, Waste Systems & Recycling, Waste Water, Water Conservation, Water Harvesting.

In May 2012 we ran a PDC at Strawberry Fields Eco-Lodge on which we trained four local teachers, along with other participants, two from each of two local schools in Konso, South Ethiopia, where we are based. The selected teachers from the two schools, Konso Secondary and Jarso Primary, are science teachers responsible for the schools’ environmental clubs. During the training they produced permaculture designs for their school compounds, which they have gone on to begin implementing with their school communities.

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Posted by & filed under Consumerism, Water Contaminaton & Loss.

It might sound very reductionist and over-simplistic but the matter of fact is that everything is connected! We are one. You, me, them and every little atom existing on this planet (and beyond). Permaculture has clearly understood this message and is materializing the theory!

Our output will eventually become our input. It’s been said for centuries: You reap what you sow… and the good news is that you can empower yourself to sow the good stuff. It’s a matter of conscious choice, and a little bit of effort!

This short video illustrates this universal law by showing us the life of a plastic bag, from the moment it leaves a store to the moment it comes back to you….

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