Posted by & filed under GMOs, Health & Disease, Village Development.

A press release from the African Biodiversity Network

We demand the recognition of organic agriculture and other agro-ecological farming practices in Kenya’s agriculture policies and practices.

The developers of GMOs have exerted great pressure to ensure that our recently enacted Biosafety Act of 2009 serves the interests of foreign agribusiness, rather than farmers and consumers. The introduction of patented seeds and related chemicals into our farming systems threatens our agricultural practices, our livelihoods, the environment, and undermines our seed sovereignty. We believe that we can feed our communities and this country with organic and agroecological farming practices that do not destroy, pollute and contaminate food, land and seeds. Our ability to feed Africa through agro-ecological practices is recognised and supported by UN reports [see also], the IAASTD report and many research findings. We call upon the government to support small scale farmers in having access to water and capacity building in agro-ecology and for this to be enshrined in our Kenyan policies.

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Posted by & filed under Consumerism, Food Shortages, Global Warming/Climate Change, Health & Disease, Society.

by Lester R. Brown, Earth Policy Institute

Heat waves clearly can destroy crop harvests. The world saw high heat decimate Russian wheat in 2010. Crop ecologists have found that each 1-degree-Celsius rise in temperature above the optimum can reduce grain harvests by 10 percent. But the indirect effects of higher temperatures on our food supply are no less serious.

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Posted by & filed under Consumerism, Courses/Workshops, DVDs/Books, Food Forests, Food Plants - Annual, Food Plants - Perennial, Food Shortages, Global Warming/Climate Change, Health & Disease, Medicinal Plants, Peak Oil, Society.

Planting a garden with food potential is one of the most valuable things we can do. Will we always have a free country with unlimited food supply? Could a major calamity or drought affect the supply and the price of food? Could rolling strikes disrupt electricity, water, telephone, transport and other amenities to shops and our homes… and how would no petrol affect every household? We need to encourage one another to be as self sufficient as possible… now… in our gardens, as this is the most nutritious fresh food… and is the cheapest way to live in these times of rising prices. Growing our own food is very satisfying as well as beneficial to our health and well-being.

Australia has truly been a ‘lucky country’ — plentiful food, running water in our homes, sewerage systems which take away our wastes, comfort and luxuries in our homes. We truly are blessed. However, it may not always be this way in the future. Would families be prepared if a catastrophic disaster struck?

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Posted by & filed under Courses/Workshops.

It’s project time and all the interns at Zaytuna are busy working away at their individual endeavors. The past two months has been a real roller coaster ride – a wild dive into a vast new world of information and knowledge and everyone is enjoying the practical opportunity now given to delve into their own area of specific interest. Students have chosen their own projects involving Aquaponics, Aquaculture, Food Forests, Compost, Kitchen Gardening, Solar Energy, Cobb Building and a human powered Water Pump!

Working with the specialist Zaytuna crew led by Geoff Lawton, Interns have taken the solid theoretical base that has formed the Internship core and applied it to work in the field.

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Posted by & filed under Economics, Energy Systems, Health & Disease, Peak Oil, Society, Soil Erosion & Contamination, Water Contaminaton & Loss.

Hungry for energy? Worried that oil is running dry and coal is getting squeezed out? Well, don’t panic — now we have gas on the menu (literally…)! It doesn’t matter where it is, or how hard it is to reach. We will just drill, baby, drill!

Hydraulic fracturing (otherwise known as ‘fracking’) is now all the rage — more, it’s the new frontier — and for good reason. It’s the hippest new way to get the energy we need to fuel our modern lifestyles. Yes, it may give you exploding drinking water and make your livestock radioactive, but imagine the fun you’ll have hosting parties — people will marvel at your flame-throwing kitchen entertainment before retiring to the porch with a cigar and whiskey to watch your glow-in-the-dark cows light up the evening like Chinese lanterns.

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

by Ian Douglas

In welcoming the call by Federal Greens Senator, Sarah Hanson-Young, for a national audit of water licence holdings, national coordinator of Fair Water Use, Ian Douglas, commented today, “We have longstanding concerns about the sale of water licences to overseas interests, as there can be little doubt that off-shore investors care less about the health of the Australian environment than the majority of our traditional farmers.”

Fair Water Use has been voicing concerns about this process for several years, and has been attempting to gain access to the database of water licences, but has been advised by the National Water Commission that such information is not publicly available.

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Posted by & filed under Building, Consumerism, Economics, Population, Society, Village Development.

As Sydney residents are being paid to leave the city, the case for compact, high-density settlement becomes clearer than ever.

by George Monbiot: journalist, author, academic and environmental and political activist, United Kingdom

For at least a century, governments have tried to urbanise their nations. Communist states sought to drag people out of what Marx and Engels called their “rural idiocy”. Capitalist governments – Mahatir Mohammed’s administration in Malaysia is a good example – tried to persuade and bully indigenous people into leaving the land (which then became available for exploitation) and move to the cities to join the consumer economy. Urbanisation was equated with progress and modernity.

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Posted by & filed under GMOs, Health & Disease, Soil Erosion & Contamination, Water Contaminaton & Loss.

Editor’s Note: In addition to the post below, check out this, this and this. It seems that Monsanto, and even industry regulators, have known for decades that glyphosate (the main ingredient of Roundup) causes birth defects, even in very low doses "comparable to levels of pesticide residues found in food and the environment". The philosophy of ‘caveat emptor’ doesn’t work well in this situation, where industry are outright lying to us, and when regulators, the supposed guards at the door, are not taking their job seriously. Banning Roundup everywhere would not only help protect our health from glyphosate, it could also be the death knell for Monsanto. It sounds like a plan to me.

Glyphosate has been linked with escalating rates of birth defects and other
health impacts in Argentina. Photo: Dr Graciela Gomez

The main ingredient of Monsanto’s Roundup weed killer is being linked to cancer, birth defects and Parkinson’s disease and should be banned, according to campaigners behind new report.

The use of the popular weedkiller, ‘Roundup’, in public parks and on agricultural crops is a danger to public health, according to a new analysis of scientific evidence.

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Posted by & filed under Demonstration Sites, Food Forests, Food Plants - Annual, Food Plants - Perennial, Fungi, Markets & Outlets, Medicinal Plants, Plant Systems, Recipes, Trees, Urban Projects.

Pit-falls, projects and laughs from our Permaculture journey.

Ah… Autumn… beautiful!

“It’s just too hard!” the voice in my head said. “How am I going to cope with the house, garden, turbo-charged grass and eroding drive-way on my own, now that Chris has moved back to Brisbane for work?”

Then my eye was caught by something orange on the swale. Wandering over, I noticed flies were buzzing around it like mad. Closer inspection revealed, draped under the new navel orange tree, this!

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Posted by & filed under Consumerism, Food Plants - Annual, Food Plants - Perennial, Food Shortages, Health & Disease, Irrigation, Medicinal Plants, Plant Systems, Soil Rehabilitation, Water Conservation.

by Mari Korhonen

I’ve been exploring the world of edible weeds, and so found a new layer of bounty in the garden!

Edible weeds from left to right: Fireweed shoots, young galeopsis,
lamb’s quarter, chickweed, thistle shoots peeled, and corn spurry.

Things in the garden even way up here in Finland are well on their way now, including many plants that most gardeners would condemn as weeds, or things to get rid of. For me a bed full of weeds has become a salad bar, and weeding has gotten a fresh new perspective to it!

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