Posted by & filed under Aid Projects, Courses/Workshops.

Permaculture Design Certification Course Hosts Roster of Instructors from around the World. Quail Springs Permaculture launches Permaculture Design Certification Course for International Development Professionals and Social Entrepreneurs.


Quail Springs, California
Photo © Craig Mackintosh

Monetary assistance and training without stewardship ethics seems to be the standard for international aid today. With over 14 billion given by the U.S. Agency for International Development alone, it is increasingly important to ensure the results of aid are regenerative. Today, giving a man to fish, opposed to teaching him to fish, means that he will overfish. Quail Springs is not only teaching people how to “fish” but they are equipping people with the ethics and tools that lead to multi-generational ecological, social and economic sustainability. By using permaculture as a sustainable design framework to help secure community and individual stability, Quail Springs is innovating a new pathway for the international development community. Their upcoming Permaculture Design Certification course (PDC), taught by professionals with experience in international development projects, will teach participants sustainable systems thinking, design strategies and provide a comprehensive approach to permaculture as a tool for future development projects.

The instructors, hailing from Quail Springs Permaculture in southern California, all the way to Africa, span a gamete of professions whose various experiences make up an impressive group whose international efforts have seen much success.

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Posted by & filed under General.


PRI Australia Permaculture Design Certificate (PDC) graduates, April 2012
Click here for larger view, or here for even larger!
All photos © Craig Mackintosh

I recently briefed you on the fact that I was visiting New Zealand. Today I put up a little more evidence of this (don’t worry, I’ll be adding more from the NZ trip over the ensuing weeks, as I have time). Anyway, now I find myself in Australia, staying at the PRI home base — Zaytuna Farm, in northern NSW.

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Posted by & filed under Conferences, Consumerism, Peak Oil, Society.


Susan Krumdieck, speaking at the Australasian Permaculture Conference (APC11)
in Turangi, New Zealand, April 2012
Photo © Craig Mackintosh

Susan Krumdieck is an Associate Professor working in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Canterbury, Christchurch, New Zealand. Originally gaining her PhD in the U.S.A., her home country, Susan decided to relocate to New Zealand, where her desires to be more proactive along sustainability lines would be less likely to end in job termination!

Susan has since used her position and considerable talent, and that of her students, to collect data pertinent to dealing with the plight of urban centres in a peak oil context.

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Posted by & filed under Courses/Workshops.

Course Date: June 1 — 7, 2012

About Edible Forest Gardens: Edible forest gardens mimic the structures and functions of natural ecosystems while producing food and other products, with an emphasis on low-maintenance perennial crops. These gardens (and larger-scale operations) can provide critical ecosystem services while meeting human needs. Design and plant selection help provide fertility, control of weeds and pests, and more. This 6-day residential course will emphasize the design process, with hands-on design work for all participants. Participants will also learn the art and science of habitat mimicry, polyculture assembly, plant demonstration forest garden and observe and maintain plantings from previous courses.

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Posted by & filed under Food Plants - Annual, Food Plants - Perennial, Medicinal Plants, Plant Systems, Seeds.

I’ve been interested in indigenous land management for many years, but since the publication of M. Kat Anderson’s phenomenal Tending the Wild: Native American Knowledge and the Management of California’s Natural Resources I’ve been engaged in active research. This has included collaboration with the Woodbine Ecology Center and my work on a publication (read an excerpt here) for them about indigenous management in the prairie and Rocky Mountain regions where they are located. As part of this learning process I’ve created several short videos.

Here’s my overview of indigenous management practices with examples from the Woodbine region:

The next video covers one of our efforts at eco-cultural restoration at Woodbine, enhancing a “wild” edible riparian area:

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Posted by & filed under Consumerism, Society.

From a very early age in modern society we are taught that we are not responsible for things that happen to us. This article deals with how we can change that attitude.

From a very early age in modern society we are taught that we are not responsible for things that happen to us. In kindergarten and day care facilities, and even park playgrounds have to have a bouncy soft floor to minimise injury. The equipment has to have certain size restrictions and everything is made to ensure the kids can play without hurting themselves. Tree climbing is now forbidden. Children are not allowed to eat mud pies, crawl in dirt, play with sticks, insects, etc., or get into contact with any germs. Besides the fact that we now discourage kids from interactions with our natural environment (nature), we are wrapping our kids up in (synthetic) cotton wool, which is becoming detrimental to our society.

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Posted by & filed under Consumerism, Waste Systems & Recycling.

Wood ash can be obtained by sieving the remains of burnt, non-treated wood. The composition and amount of the ash will depend on the type of combustion (higher temperatures will lead to fewer ash residues). Normally, remaining ash will represent 0.43 — 1.82% of the initial wood weight.

Although poor in nitrogen, wood ash is a source of calcium carbonate (30-40%) and potash (10%), so they have long been used in agricultural soil and composting as a liming and deacidifying agent.

But wood ash has a number of other possible uses at home. Some of them are:

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Posted by & filed under Conferences, Courses/Workshops, Social Gatherings.

The PDC graduates of the Mediterranean and the Middle-east will converge for the first gathering specifically for this region. This event will make possible the initiation of networking and sharing of knowledge & experiences for the region. The Mediterranean is one zone where we need this collaboration desperately; in response to severe soil loss due to population pressures, land/water mismanagement and climatic issues.

Sharing, documenting and database building for successes and failures in the region is a main theme for the convergence, taking place in Marmariç, Turkey between 17-21st of July 2012.

PRI Turkey will be hosting two other major events right before the Convergence:

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Posted by & filed under Courses/Workshops.

This 13-day practical and demonstrative PDC will take place in Konso, south Ethiopia, from May 7th – 19th, 2012, at Strawberry Fields Eco Lodge. It will have a special focus on the application of permaculture to communities in the developing world. It will involve practical demonstrations both form Strawberry Fields’ own model permaculture site and from schools sites in the area which are participating in the Permaculture in Konso Schools Project. There will also be the chance to do field trips into other climate zones in the Ethiopian highlands.

Facilitators: Alex McCausland with local assistant trainer, Asmelash Dagne, and guest appearances from local elders and intellectuals.

Dates: May 7th to 19th, 2011
Location: Konso, South Ethiopia
Venue: Strawberry Fields Eco Lodge
Cost: US$850 ($500 for Ethiopians)
Includes: course fees, food and accommodation for the period of the course
Excludes: Transport, accommodation en-route, travel insurance etc.

The Course

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Posted by & filed under General.


Photos © Craig Mackintosh

I thought I had better break the silence by letting you know I haven’t fallen off the edge of the earth, but am currently in New Zealand, collecting interesting notes, photos and video for you all. You should find it worth the wait, but thanks for your patience and I’ll write when I can!

Posted by & filed under Community Projects, Food Plants - Perennial, Village Development.

On a beautiful spring day in the heart of east Berlin, eight fruit trees are planted in Görlitzer park. The trees, mainly apples but also some plums and pears, were carefully laid into the ground. The project, ‘I heart Görli’, was organised by a group of locals with similar concerns and a shared desire to act. It started last year when they began planting trees in this same park. At first they received opposition from the local government with concerns that the plants would not be watered regularly. However, the group insisted it would be taken care of and successfully arranged volunteers to water the fruit trees. This year the local government, recognising the projects success, gave them free reign and even installed a watering system, as previously water had to be carried by hand from the other side of the park several hundred meters away.

So, who are these people?

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Posted by & filed under Animal Forage, Food Plants - Perennial, Medicinal Plants, Soil Erosion & Contamination, Water Contaminaton & Loss.

You might have seen the cotton growing out west — around St George, Gundiwindi and Dirranbandi in Queensland, Australia, and Moree and Narrabri in NSW.

It’s an annual crop — sown in the spring and harvested in the autumn — grown in flat plains country. The blocks are levelled by laser-guided machinery. However, they’re not quite level: there’s a slight slope from one end of the block to another, which allows flood irrigation.

Huge dams, in a country subject to long droughts, supply irrigation water. But these dams themselves take water from the rivers of the Murray-Darling Basin.

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