Posted by & filed under Community Projects, Ethical Investment. has just officially launched their permaculture crowd funding platform, bringing a new and exciting tool to the permaculture world, and an ability to easily and creatively raise funds. This platform helps organizations and individuals around the globe gather the resources needed to meet their goals.

Effort, desire and passion do not tend to be limiting factors for the students and practitioners of permaculture. The ability to dream, design and use information and imagination does not hold back the permaculture community. The greatest limitation almost across the board is often that of economics. With access to the right resources, including those in the form of dollars and cents, the individuals, and the movement as a whole, could be achieving much more and be that much more effective at achieving their goals.

With this in mind, the launch of permaculture’s first and only crowd funding platform brings renewed optimism to many in the movement. WeTheTrees was designed specifically to bridge the gap between idea / design and the resources needed to make it happen.

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Posted by & filed under Dams, Irrigation, Land, Storm Water, Water Conservation, Water Harvesting.

Permaculture seed wizard Don Tipping takes us on a 10 minute animated tour of the epic Seven Seeds Farm in the Siskiyou Mountains of Southern Oregon, USA. The farm was designed using permaculture principles and keyline patterning. We follow the water system from top to bottom, and then the amazing downstream effects are revealed. This video was produced by Andrew Millison as part of the course content for his online Advanced Permaculture Design Practicum, Hort 485, taught through the Horticulture department at Oregon State University’s Extended Campus.

Posted by & filed under Alternatives to Political Systems, Consumerism, Economics, Financial Management, Food Shortages, People Systems, Society, Village Development.

The precariousness of the economy is becoming increasingly apparent to the masses. Indeed, every day more and more people are falling below the bread line, or are spending sleepless nights wondering how to extricate themselves from the situations they find themselves in. In some ways, this is good — being short-sighted creatures, we don’t seem to be able to conversate on issues, even if critically important, if we don’t realise their direct implications for ourselves personally. Actually, I somewhat take that back. We truly do, as a race, have a powerful capacity to empathise with others, despite not being in their shoes, but the system we’ve wrapped ourselves up in has separated us all out, disconnecting and isolating us from almost everyone but our closest friends and family, and, to a large extent, often even those. This atomisation, and the empathy-eradication program that accompanies it, means that broadscale collaborative discussion on the great need for a widespread socio-political-economic transitional overhaul will never get beyond niche blog posts and private conversations, unless more and more people start to feel the pinch and wake up.

We do seem to be, slowly, reaching this point.

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Posted by & filed under Consumerism, Courses/Workshops, Demonstration Sites, Education Centres, Energy Systems, Society, Village Development, Waste Systems & Recycling.

My husband Tom and I live with my 11 year old son in a small Queenslander on Australia’s Sunshine Coast. Our property is 34 acres, which we have converted to a permaculture demonstration site. We now run permaculture and self-reliance courses on the property.

Geese and chickens in the resource paddock, and goats on dam wall

Tom comes from a farming background. When he grew up there was no money or time (or a phone) to call someone when something broke down. So he learned from a very early age to fix things himself with whatever was available. He also learned that everything can become a resource, and knows what to look out for. A lot of people we know call us and ask us whether we would like something they are about to throw away. We hardly ever say no. Everything may have a use sometime.

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Posted by & filed under Consumerism, Soil Erosion & Contamination, Water Contaminaton & Loss.

by Lester R. Brown , Earth Policy Institute

In their book Cradle to Cradle: Remaking the Way We Make Things, American architect William McDonough and German chemist Michael Braungart conclude that waste and pollution are to be avoided entirely. “Pollution,” says McDonough, “is a symbol of design failure.”

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Posted by & filed under Animal Forage, Biodiversity, Livestock, Working Animals.

Browsing (feeding on vegetation other than grasses) may be an important aspect of the equine diet that is often overlooked, yet it may play an important role in the digestive health and the natural behaviour of horses. Scientists at the University of New England (NSW, Australia) are embarking on a research project to improve our understanding of an area of equine nutrition that is largely unknown.

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Posted by & filed under Alternatives to Political Systems, Economics, Food Shortages, Global Warming/Climate Change, GMOs, People Systems, Society, Village Development.

MST: The Landless Workers Movement

Raj Patel has been tracking the pathologies of the global food system for many years.  An activist and academic who teaches at the UC Berkeley Center for African Studies, Patel has just published a second, updated edition of his 2008 book, Stuffed and Starved The Hidden Battle for the World Food System

The problem with the food system is not that we don’t produce enough calories to eradicate hunger, Patel notes.  It’s that the food system has its own priorities of institutional consolidation and profit, which means that more than one billion people in the world are malnourished and two billion are overweight – which is worse than when the first edition of Patel’s book came out. 

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Posted by & filed under Alternatives to Political Systems, Community Projects, Consumerism, Eco-Villages, Economics, Peak Oil, People Systems, Society, Village Development.

This is the fate of young people today: excluded, but forbidden to opt out.

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

Hounded by police and bailiffs, evicted wherever they stopped, they did not mean to settle here. They had walked out of London to occupy disused farmland on the Queen’s estates surrounding Windsor Castle. Perhaps unsurprisingly, that didn’t work out very well. But after several days of pursuit, they landed two fields away from the place where modern democracy is commonly supposed to have been born.

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

This 13-day practical and demonstrative PDC will take place in Konso, south Ethiopia, from September 10th – 22nd 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 from 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.

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Posted by & filed under Aid Projects, Building, Community Projects, Land, Village Development, Waste Systems & Recycling.

Two hundred kilometers south of Addis we turn left at a little town called Achamo, and dive off the tarmac into a dusty, bumpy adventure somewhere in the middle of nowhere in the green rolling steppes of the south Ethiopian countryside. This is my first foray into Hadiyya country. We’ve just passed Siltie, my own tribe (by marriage). We’re en route into the deep south, but this little foray off the usual 14 hour slog down to Konso is going to be something different. The countryside is all populated. Open farmland, mostly beans and maize, dotted with little settlements. Donkeys, gangs of skinny cattle and groups of bearded men out on a Sunday morning stroll punctuate the forty minutes of grinding along the rough climes of the roadway, till we pull into the dusty market town of Bonosha. I call our contact, Tegene, and tell him we’ve arrived. He sends a couple of local lads to show us the way. They jump into the back of the car and direct us out of town. As it turns out, I’m off to do my very first commercial consultancy as a permaculturalist. It’s quite exciting really.

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