Posted by & filed under Courses/Workshops.

Join author and educator Eric Toensmeier and friends for a hands-on and fun-filled weekend of Edible Forest Gardening (EFG) – gardens which mimic the structures and functions of natural ecosystems while producing food and other products, with an emphasis on low-maintenance perennial crops. Our learning and design exercises will be informed by our site, a homestead rich in gardens, young food forests and a plant nursery specializing in native and permaculture species regeneratively grown.

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Posted by & filed under Developments, Energy Systems, Food Forests, Food Plants - Perennial, Land, Plant Systems, Trees.

by Philip A. Rutter, B L. Rutter-Daywater, and S.J. Wiegrefe, originally published on the Oil Drum.

In any attempt to comprehend a puzzle, or choose a new path forward, the first requirement is to see and comprehend each of the possibilities. We wish to bring to the attention of the energy community a potential food and biomass energy paradigm, previously unknown, to your considerations.

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

A new front opens up in the war against nature.

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

I have long seen the Countryside Alliance as a neo-feudal organisation, run by the landowning class and resentful of the intrusions of democracy upon its traditional privileges.

The Alliance, whose board is populated by dukes, lords and baronesses, asserts the right of its members to kill what they want and how they want. When anyone objects, it characterises the objection as the oppression of rural people by urbanites. In reality, rural opinion on these and other matters is diverse and divided, while many of the most ardent killers (who spend a fortune on shooting grouse, stags and driven pheasants) make their money in the City and other parts of the urban economy. This is not a clash between rural and urban values, but a clash between aristocratic and democratic values.

Among its recent campaigns, the Countryside Alliance has supported the government’s proposal to persecute buzzards on behalf of pheasant shoots, defended people caught hunting illegally and lobbied (successfully) against the right to canoe and kayak in Welsh rivers. (So much for supporting the freedom to enjoy rural sports!). But for sheer pig-headed selfishness and wanton destruction, nothing beats the campaign to which it is now devoting much of its energy.

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Posted by & filed under GMOs.

by Richard Widows

The recent announcement that the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation have donated close to US$10 million to research what has been termed as ‘fertilizer free’ grain crops, whilst applaudable on the surface, only serves to distract us from the real solution to global hunger — agroecological (or natural farming) systems at the local level.

But first, let’s consider the concept of ‘fertilizer free’ food.  What is actually being referred to here is the concept of transferring the genes responsible for nitrogen fixation from legume plants into grain crops, such as wheat and rice. In theory this sounds great. The application of nitrogen fertilizers is one of the most unsustainable and damaging practices in agriculture; if all plants produced their own nitrogen life would be much easier.

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Posted by & filed under Food Forests, Food Plants - Perennial, Medicinal Plants, Plant Systems, Trees.

The Apios Institute for Regenerative Perennial Agriculture has spent several years developing a user–generated resource on food forests. Users can add content on species, polycultures, and sites. This content ranges from videos, text, recipes, and photos, and emphasizes personal experience or direct observation of species in other gardens and the wild. Thus far we have focused on cold climates, but we are working on building our system to include (over time) all the world’s climates. We have pilot tested a version in Spanish for Mesoamerica and the Caribbean.

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Posted by & filed under Food Plants - Annual, Food Plants - Perennial, Plant Systems, Urban Projects.

Now I will share with you my Beautiful Gardens with Little Work method, so you can enjoy a nice garden — and one that does not require your throwing a lot of chemicals, fertilizers and a ton of money at it in order for it to thrive.

Beautiful gardens are often created by designers and use exotic plants that need special soil and a lot of chemicals and fertilizers to look good. Without these inputs, if you are lucky enough for your exotic plants to survive at all, it will likely be little more than a green (or brownish) shrub, with few or no flowers.

Frequently, beautiful flowers only bloom because of chemicals. If you don’t add these to the soil (or leaves), plants will refuse to give you any bloom, and you will see only green, or the feared brown of an unhappy plant. Therefore, you will have to spend a lot, poison your soil and be aware at all times about the needs of your plants.

So, how can we get beautiful gardens without spending a lot of money, time and effort? Read on.

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Posted by & filed under Community Projects, Developments.

Participation in Permaculture is a web survey designed to help us learn about who is doing permaculture, how we are participating, and how it’s affecting our lives and landscapes. It’s part of a emerging phenomenon: doing research to systematically track and assess our impacts.

Holmgren and Mollison broke up with institutional science back when they forged the permaculture perspective and birthed a movement. They had good reasons for doing so — in the 1970s, there was virtually no scientific research to support the practical proposals they were making. Science wasn’t ready.

For the past 34 years, permaculture has largely stayed on the track of an independent grassroots movement. If you search the massive databases of peer-reviewed scientific literature, there is almost (but not quite) zero mention of permaculture. That’s not a criticism of permaculture’s history — we’ve been busy growing a movement, project by project.

But the separation between permaculture and science is becoming more and more arbitrary and unnecessary. Over the past three decades, parallel disciplines to permaculture have emerged and matured within the scientific community: agroecology, agroforestry, ecological waste and water treatment, resilience science, participatory research methods, and much more. All of these approaches have accumulated an invaluable and impressive body of empirical research and theory. Science is ready. Now we need to show up.

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Posted by & filed under For Sale, Irrigation, Potable Water, Regional Water Cycle, Water Conservation.

We now stock rain gauges of three different sizes, the Australian RainMaxx Rain Gauge System, from 90ml to 150ml to the large 280ml rain gauge.

These are essential tools for gauging one’s rainfall when monitoring the establishment of a permaculture project. All sites need a rain gauge so that you can carefully assess the amount of rain that you get over a period of time.

In some of the more arid regions it is essential that you know how much rain occurs and how quickly that rain arrives as in some of the desert regions of the world the bulk of the rain arrives in a small amount of time, with large rainfalls once or twice a year. It is essential to have these recorded so that you can carefully assess your expected growth rates and establishment phases — it’s an important part of making judgments on how quickly you can move forward with your pioneering systems and the results that can be expected. It is one of the best assessment tools that a permaculture practitioner can use to gauge their research results.

Whether you are actually timing your tree planting period or gauging your window of opportunity to establish a cover crop when pioneering a food crop or food forest, these instruments are very simple yet extremely essential for people everywhere to take their rain readings to be recorded in a diary along with the crop / harvest results and system establishment research photographs.

Posted by & filed under Biodiversity, Consumerism, Deforestation, Economics, General, Global Warming/Climate Change, GMOs, Health & Disease, Peak Oil, Soil Erosion & Contamination, Water Contaminaton & Loss.

National Food Plan, Green Paper
3.75mb PDF

The Australian federal government has issued a green paper on a National Food Plan for public consultation, which will include a series of public meetings in various places over the next several weeks, until September 30, 2012.

This is an excellent opportunity for permaculturists, localvores, agro-ecologists, etc., to get their message across and help ensure that it’s not just the big corporations who shape Australia’s food future (to their own disastrous ends).

Inset, at right, is the full Green Paper, and here is a summary. You’ll see that the focus is on dollars and exports, rather than sustainable peak-oil-generation resilience.

There are several ways you can give input on this topic. Find our more here, and register for a meeting near you here.

Please share this page, and encourage as many lucid souls as you can to get involved and breathe some sanity into Australia’s food future.

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

I’ve often seen people sign off their emails with "Peace, love and permaculture". Central to permaculture concepts is an anti-war message. Sustainable prosperity can equal peace. This video, complete with cameo appearances from Geoff Lawton and snippets of our DVDs, tells us that more and more people see this connection.

You can read the ‘Not in our name’ speech here.