Posted by & filed under Consumerism, Economics, Food Shortages, Peak Oil, People Systems, Population, Society, Village Development.

In a world of decreasing energy excess, will ancient hostilities get reignited or defused? What will peak oil and economic collapse mean for our human relationships if we fail to prepare for the stress ahead?

“It was a dark and misty night…”

So begins many a dramatic work of fiction. I am not going to begin a novel in this way – rather, just a short description of my first major contact with a Roma (known as ‘Gypsy’ to many in the North, but this word is regarded as derogatory by many Roma).

It was only my second visit to this region, in December 1993, and on this very cold and bleak night I almost got into a physical scuffle with a rather large and inebriated Roma man, due to some very inappropriate attentions he was giving my wife – and every other attractive female, one by one, on the train we were travelling on. We were travelling from Prague to central Slovakia – a seven-hour journey through the night to our stop – and, being the eve of Christmas eve, the train was absolutely jam-packed with people trying to return to their families, many from working in Prague or Germany. After coming to the aid of my wife, I was quickly surrounded by several of his Roma friends. In such circumstances, one has visions of being thrown off the train into the snow, or worse. Through translation they learned the ‘woman’ was my wife, and one man subsequently apologised for his friend. The Mexican standoff was seemingly defused.

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Posted by & filed under DVDs/Books.

Many advanced civilizations vanished because they did not take care of their soil. This film is about a new, progressive, and advanced practice of agriculture, that will regenerate the soil. With Regenerative Agriculture we create healthier food, build communities, and, most importantly, increase the top soil. Top soil, the skin of the earth, is where the life of the plant exists, and that is where our food comes from. Top soil sequesters CO2, turning a poison (in atmosphere) to food. According to many scientists, ranchers, and environmentalists worldwide, if we increase the top soil by 1.6%, the top soil sequesters so much CO2 that the amount of CO2 in atmosphere goes back to the amount before the industrial revolution in less than 10 years. The film documents different methods of advanced practices including water management through keyline design, the reintroduction of animals in to landscape, fertility management, and relocalization. Shot on three continents in some of the most beautiful farms on the planet, featuring interviews with some of the most incredible scientist, farmers, environmentalist, and visiting amazing organizations like Earth Island Institute, Orella Ranch Stewardship,…. A full 2nd production team is in pre-production in amazing farms near Caspian Sea, including my sister Talieh Sefidkoohi as the 2nd Director and my niece and nephews, Azi, Mamali, and Reza. Mr. James Arnold Taylor, Obi-Wan Kenobi’s (Star Wars) voice over talent has also shown interest. The voice over you hear in this trailer is also the voice of Mr. James Arnold Taylor.

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Posted by & filed under DVDs/Books, Urban Projects.

by Frank Gapinski

Editor’s Note: A few days ago I shared the latest on the Urban Permaculture DVD. Frank, who is the video genius behind our DVDs, gives his own inside view of working with Geoff in this latest creation, below.

It’s been a whirlwind trip over the last six months putting the pieces together for what is to become The Urban Permaculture DVD with Geoff Lawton.

Nothing goes quite according to script and yet making a video like this is a bit like herding cats. It’s chaotic — like walking into a jungle of vines, monkeys and snakes, you are not sure where you are heading or if the whole project will sink into a disaster.

Permaculture is a bit wild and rampant and just when you think you have it all figured out, neat and tidy-like and have it organized and in the bag — a spanner gets thrown into the works and you realize there is so much more to the story that can be told in 90 minutes.

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Posted by & filed under Commercial Farm Projects, Courses/Workshops, Food Plants - Annual, Food Plants - Perennial, Land, Markets & Outlets, Plant Systems, Seeds, Village Development.

This week I received all our yearly seed catalogs, and, as usual, started planning feverishly. How many is too many weird and wonderful heirloom watermelon varieties? And then I paused. Wait a minute, we’re aiming for community scale in our vegetable production this year. This shifts the goalposts entirely.

I’m now realizing that, for our organic market garden adventure, we will no longer be focusing on the craziest colored tomatoes. At least for this first year, while we learn the ropes, we will be going for yield and nutritional density as top priority. Pragmatic organic, here we come.

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Posted by & filed under Biodiversity, Community Projects, Deforestation, Economics, Food Shortages, Global Warming/Climate Change, Health & Disease, Plant Systems, Soil Biology, Soil Composition, Soil Conservation, Soil Erosion & Contamination, Soil Rehabilitation, Terraces, Village Development, Water Contaminaton & Loss.

Many of you will remember the inspiring and encouraging example of earth restoration found in the story of the Loess Plateau in China (see links at bottom). John Liu was the man heavily involved in this amazing and very large scale initiative. In this new video, below, you’ll see Mr. Liu turning his eyes toward Africa, where Rwanda is now the focus of an earnest bid to restore its degraded forests and farmland, whilst simultaneously improving the lives of the communities they host. You’ll see many excellent examples of holistic thinking in this short documentary.

You’ll also learn of the praiseworthy work of Dr. Rene Haller, whose observational skills are highly adept at tailoring biological solutions towards rehabilitating the most degraded of lands.

Rwanda – Forests of Hope
Duration: 26 minutes

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Posted by & filed under Consumerism, Health & Disease.

When I first remember seeing the ‘conventional’ way of cleaning bathtubs, with my mum bent over with a scrubbing brush, groans of effort and beads of sweat on her forehead, with the chemical smell of Jif (or Cif in other countries) floating through the air and her nostrils, I knew there had to be a better way. So it’s in the spirit of helping others avoid these chemicals, that I have decided to compile some of my favourite Green Household/Health tips that are cleaner, easier, more effective and in most cases much more enjoyable than conventional methods.

You will have the added benefit of keeping those toxic chemicals out of your house and body and will save money as well. I will start with household first and health in the second part of this article.

1. Household

Bicarb Soda is brilliant for bathtubs.

Poor Ahmed wishes the Americans didn’t bomb so close to the oil well.

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Posted by & filed under Community Projects, Courses/Workshops, Urban Projects, Village Development.

by Vanessa Fernandes

The Beginnings of an Urban Agriculture Project

In conjunction with the Gold Coast City Council sponsored Active and Healthy Programme, Gold Coast Permaculture is initiating a series of workshops designed to encourage city residents to involve themselves in growing food for their own use as well as improve the awareness of permaculture and its potential in the urban environment.

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

by Lester R. Brown, Earth Policy Institute

Many countries are facing dangerous water shortages. As world demand for food has soared, millions of farmers have drilled too many irrigation wells in efforts to expand their harvests. As a result, water tables are falling and wells are going dry in some 20 countries containing half the world’s people. The overpumping of aquifers for irrigation temporarily inflates food production, creating a food production bubble that bursts when the aquifer is depleted.

The shrinkage of irrigation water supplies in the big three grain-producing countries—the United States, India, and China—is of particular concern. Thus far, these countries have managed to avoid falling harvests at the national level, but continued overexploitation of aquifers could soon catch up with them.

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Posted by & filed under Courses/Workshops.

The night before our workshop with Joel Salatin at Jamberoo, there’s going to be an awesome evening. It’s the Australian premiere of The Greenhorns, a new and funky film on young farmers. And Joel Salatin will be there, slurping soup and talking farming.

The Greenhorns is a great new film we discovered recently and have brought to Australia. It’s made by young farmers, for young farmers, and for young wanna-be farmers. The Greenhorns tells it like it is: farming is hard work, a super worthy cause, and the ultimate in rebellion in the face of our current food system.

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Posted by & filed under Aid Projects, Community Projects, Courses/Workshops, Demonstration Sites, Education Centres.

The ‘master plan’ concept is alive and well in Ethiopia – allowing low-income
locals to have their permaculture training subsidised through the tuition fees
of western students, who in turn benefit from indigenous wisdom
and exciting cultural immersion

This PDC will take place in Konso, south Ethiopia, from October 17 – 30th, 2011, at Strawberry Fields Eco Lodge. It will have a special focus on the application of Permaculture to rural African communities where the successful application of PC is a way to develop long term food security and community empowerment.

Facilitators: Rhamis Kent, Tichafa Makovere, Alex McCausland
Dates: October 17th to 30th
Location: Konso, South Ethiopia
Venue: Strawberry Fields Eco Lodge
Cost: US$1000
Includes: Course fees, food and accommodation for the period of the course
Excludes: Transport, accommodation in Addis, travel insurance etc.

Download Course Info and Application Form: Word doc (400kb) or PDF (130kb), and read on below for more….

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