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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Posted by & filed under Aid Projects, Building, Community Projects, Land, Urban Projects.

Daniel Diškanec checks out his new edible friends
Photos © Craig Mackintosh

I should have shared these pictures back in August, when the pictures were taken, but was too tied up with preparations for the Tenth International Permaculture Conference (IPC10) in Jordan. Though late, I trust you’ll appreciate them anyway.

If you didn’t catch them already, be sure to read the previous two posts on this homeless camp in the mountainous north-central part of Slovakia (here and here). It’ll help you appreciate my personal satisfaction from seeing the magic of developing abundance with this project — one that can truly use the additional health-giving produce pictured and the increased economic resiliency it brings.

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Posted by & filed under Commercial Farm Projects, Community Projects, Food Forests, Food Plants - Annual, Food Plants - Perennial, Fungi, Markets & Outlets, Medicinal Plants, Plant Systems, Soil Biology, Soil Composition, Soil Rehabilitation, Structure, Trees, Urban Projects, Village Development.

A holistic and most outrageous concept being turned into reality in Denmark.

From: Sepp Holzer’s Permakultur, Leopold Stocker Verlag, 2008

Fresh is the concept for an organic, living supermarket in cities and villages, where instead of taking the items off the shelf, the customer harvests the produce directly from raised beds!

It is a system that works with nature rather than against it.

By harvesting, the customer contributes to the work of producing to such a large extent that the produce can be offered at a never before seen quality and price. It’s almost for free. This is what you may call a win win win situation!

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Posted by & filed under Education, Society.

by Nelson Lebo, Centre for Science and Technology Education Research, University of Waikato, New Zealand


The profound lack of sustainable systems on our planet is of great concern to environmentalists, some of who are environmental educators and some of who are permaculturists. It can be argued that many of the problems facing the Earth and its inhabitants are caused by a lack of ecological literacy among much of the human population. Ecological literacy includes an understanding of the scientific principles of ecology, including the recognition of limits and possibilities. It also includes an attitude of care toward the environment and a commitment to act. Finally, it includes the ability to recognize interconnectedness; what some people call systems thinking.

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

by Tamara Griffiths and Delvin Solkinson

The ultimate compliment to a teacher is when your students make you redundant. — Geoff Lawton.

Day 5

The day started with storytelling. With twists and turns, laughs and
straight faces, Geoff tells us a bit about the origin of permaculture,
steeping us in a history rich with challenges and successes.

It was a wonderful yet exhausting last day. We all were to do 10 minute presentations but with 27 students and transition time this ended up taking more than 6 hours. A storm was brewing outside while the day stretched on, building a climatic climax to the experience here at Zaytuna.

It was 11:11:11 that day so at 11:11 am we joined people across the planet and meditated for peace and sustainability, praying that permaculture be empowered to do its work in the world.

It was amazing to see how many of us had been empowered and supported to grow through this dense week of training. Truly the people coming out of the course were not the same ones that went in. We had been upgraded and tooled to go back to all our different communities and to travel to places of need to help contribute in whatever way we could to advance permaculture education and practice.

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

The Urban Consultancy and Design Course experience at the Permaculture Research Institute.

Imagine, you’re perusing the Sunday paper, thumbing through various articles, world news, sports, opinion pieces… yea, we’ve all been there. What feelings arise for you as the images pass by your eyes? Article after article, world news and local… everything seems so dismal.

In disgust and with a freshly drained world view, you fold the paper up and drop it back down on the table. Just before looking away and try to forget the morning sorrow a small advertisement catches your eye.


Free garden? Sounds too good to be true. But it’s about the only positive thing you’ve seen this morning. What have you got to lose?

What you don’t know is that, behind the scenes, there are 20 knowledge-hungry permaculture students waiting to get out of the classroom and get their hands dirty in your very own backyard!

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Posted by & filed under Community Projects, Urban Projects.

Original asphalt

It began with a large area of asphalt and a dream of expanding our community garden. Mulberry Gardens is in Glenroy, Melbourne, Australia and operates entirely as a communal space. All members share in the upkeep and harvest the produce — which is mostly shared amongst attendees at the Saturday morning communal sessions. The number of fast food and alcohol shops vastly outweighs fresh food outlets in the area so a community garden was established to help give locals access to fresh organic produce and share the skills of growing produce.

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