A couple of years ago whilst shooting the Food Forest DVD with Geoff Lawton he remarked how “only on edges do we get fertility” or words to that effect. At the time that phrase didn’t really make much sense to me but when you stop and think for a moment how nature creates soil, those words begin to ring true.
The ‘Transition Town’ movement burst onto the scene merely six years ago in Ireland, and yet already there are almost two thousand Transition Towns around the world. There are dozens right here in Australia. Given that some people are saying this is one of the most promising and important social movements on the planet at present, it is timely to ask ourselves: what exactly is a Transition Town?
In order to understand the concept of transition, one first needs to understand that the transition movement is a response to a certain set of social, ecological, and economic problems. Over the last two centuries, industrial societies have experienced unprecedented economic growth, fuelled by a cheap and abundant supply of coal, gas, and most importantly, oil. While this brought with it many benefits, industrialisation also has an ominous dark side that today threatens to overwhelm those benefits.
Over the weekend, my wife and I were discussing my last article (Permaculture, a Step by Step Change), and someone asked: And why are you doing this Permaculture thing? The answer somehow is quite difficult to address, but one has to have his thoughts and motivations clear in order to respond in a way that may inspire others to follow the path.
One of the first projects for anyone who wants to garden is building a garden bed. There are some pretty cost effective means for making a fast, aerated and high nutrient garden bed with no digging! This particular method I’d like to share with you has been practiced and written about by many, it is called ‘sheet mulching’, and it is a very valuable tool.
WeTheTrees.com has just officially launched their permaculture crowd funding platform, bringing a new and exciting tool to the permaculture world, and an ability to easily and creatively raise funds. This platform helps organizations and individuals around the globe gather the resources needed to meet their goals.
Effort, desire and passion do not tend to be limiting factors for the students and practitioners of permaculture. The ability to dream, design and use information and imagination does not hold back the permaculture community. The greatest limitation almost across the board is often that of economics. With access to the right resources, including those in the form of dollars and cents, the individuals, and the movement as a whole, could be achieving much more and be that much more effective at achieving their goals.
With this in mind, the launch of permaculture’s first and only crowd funding platform brings renewed optimism to many in the movement. WeTheTrees was designed specifically to bridge the gap between idea / design and the resources needed to make it happen.
Permaculture seed wizard Don Tipping takes us on a 10 minute animated tour of the epic Seven Seeds Farm in the Siskiyou Mountains of Southern Oregon, USA. The farm was designed using permaculture principles and keyline patterning. We follow the water system from top to bottom, and then the amazing downstream effects are revealed. This video was produced by Andrew Millison as part of the course content for his online Advanced Permaculture Design Practicum, Hort 485, taught through the Horticulture department at Oregon State University’s Extended Campus.
The precariousness of the economy is becoming increasingly apparent to the masses. Indeed, every day more and more people are falling below the bread line, or are spending sleepless nights wondering how to extricate themselves from the situations they find themselves in. In some ways, this is good — being short-sighted creatures, we don’t seem to be able to conversate on issues, even if critically important, if we don’t realise their direct implications for ourselves personally. Actually, I somewhat take that back. We truly do, as a race, have a powerful capacity to empathise with others, despite not being in their shoes, but the system we’ve wrapped ourselves up in has separated us all out, disconnecting and isolating us from almost everyone but our closest friends and family, and, to a large extent, often even those. This atomisation, and the empathy-eradication program that accompanies it, means that broadscale collaborative discussion on the great need for a widespread socio-political-economic transitional overhaul will never get beyond niche blog posts and private conversations, unless more and more people start to feel the pinch and wake up.
My husband Tom and I live with my 11 year old son in a small Queenslander on Australia’s Sunshine Coast. Our property is 34 acres, which we have converted to a permaculture demonstration site. We now run permaculture and self-reliance courses on the property.
Geese and chickens in the resource paddock, and goats on dam wall
Tom comes from a farming background. When he grew up there was no money or time (or a phone) to call someone when something broke down. So he learned from a very early age to fix things himself with whatever was available. He also learned that everything can become a resource, and knows what to look out for. A lot of people we know call us and ask us whether we would like something they are about to throw away. We hardly ever say no. Everything may have a use sometime.
In their book Cradle to Cradle: Remaking the Way We Make Things, American architect William McDonough and German chemist Michael Braungart conclude that waste and pollution are to be avoided entirely. “Pollution,” says McDonough, “is a symbol of design failure.”