Posted by & filed under Alternatives to Political Systems, Economics, Society.

The US deficit reduction plan makes no sense – until you remember who’s behind the Tea Party movement.

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

There are two ways of cutting a deficit: raising taxes or reducing spending. Raising taxes means taking money from the rich. Cutting spending means taking money from the poor. Not in all cases of course: some taxation is regressive; some state spending takes money from ordinary citizens and gives it to banks, arms companies, oil barons and farmers. But in most cases the state transfers wealth from rich to poor, while tax cuts shift it from poor to rich.

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

In case you’ve not been paying attention, I thought I’d mentioned that in addition to what will be an awesome International Permaculture Conference & Convergence (IPC10), there are some courses both before and after the event which you may find to be valuable add-ons to your stay, and which will make your trip to Jordan even more worthwhile.

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Posted by & filed under Animal Housing, Bird Life, Building, DVDs/Books, Livestock, Urban Projects.

The biggest problem with chicken houses in urban settings has got to be the hyper-vocal rooster. If you want to avoid having tired grumpy neighbours, what can you do? Even giving them a few eggs per week is unlikely to assuage their wrath. There are obvious options to deal with this situation, but they’re not pretty — like a shotgun, for instance. Some say that if you want to ensure a rooster doesn’t crow on Sunday morning, then you have to eat him Saturday night….

Once again, permaculture turns the problem into a solution. Featured in this excerpt from our soon-to-be-launched Urban Permaculture DVD, is a great chicken house by Penny Pyett, from the Sydney suburbs. The solution to sound also brings other benefits as well — that being improved conditions for the chickens themselves. Watch the clip to see it in action, and you’ll also be treated to an excellent rooster impersonation by our own Geoff Lawton!

Further listening:

Posted by & filed under General, News.

We all know the world is looking for answers to very pressing questions — so it’s high time the mainstream media started to share them! As such, it’s great to see the following article on the New York Times website. Thanks to New York Times writer Michael Tortorello, and well done to Wayne Weiseman, David Cody, Scott Pittman and the many others involved in this piece:

As a way to save the world, digging a ditch next to a hillock of sheep dung would seem to be a modest start. Granted, the ditch was not just a ditch. It was meant to be a “swale,” an earthwork for slowing the flow of water down a slope on a hobby farm in western Wisconsin.

And the trenchers, far from being day laborers, had paid $1,300 to $1,500 for the privilege of working their spades on a cement-skied Tuesday morning in late June.

Fourteen of us had assembled to learn permaculture, a simple system for designing sustainable human settlements, restoring soil, planting year-round food landscapes, conserving water, redirecting the waste stream, forming more companionable communities and, if everything went according to plan, turning the earth’s looming resource crisis into a new age of happiness.

It was going to have to be a pretty awesome ditch.

That was the sense I took away from auditing four days of a weeklong Permaculture Design Certificate course led by Wayne Weiseman, 58, the director of the Permaculture Project, in Carbondale, Ill. — The Permaculture Movement Grows From Underground

As per the New York Times, "A version of this article appeared in print on July 28, 2011, on page D1 of the New York edition with the headline: Growing From Underground."

Read the full article here!

Posted by & filed under Courses/Workshops.

What: Permaculture Design Course for Women
When: 30 October — 12 November, 2011
Where: Just up the road from the PRI’s Zaytuna Farm, at Eternity Springs Art Farm
Cost: AU$950

Why set up permaculture design courses just for women? There are both practical and historical reasons to do so. Let’s begin with the practical and round off with a little permaculture history.

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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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