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


Saving wildflower seeds can be a great way to spread biodiversity
– like this selection harvested by Josie Jeffrey

Having learned some background knowledge on why you would want to save seeds in the first place (see Part I), you may now be wondering how to go about doing it.

There are many ways to do this, and though it can be as simple as keeping a few leftover tomato seeds from your salad, you can gain a lot more success in growing and certainty of what you are actually saving if you understand a few basic practical techniques.

Thanks to the Heritage Seed Library (1), run by Garden Organic (2), UK, I now feel equipped to share these basics in a guide which hopefully will help you to preserve biodiversity and encourage more plant growing.

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Posted by & filed under Food Plants - Perennial, Medicinal Plants.

In this intriguing talk, biologist Ameenah Gurib-Fakim introduces us to rare plant species from isolated islands and regions of Africa. Meet the shape-shifting benjoin; the baume de l’ile plate, which might offer a new treatment for asthma; and the iconic baobab tree, which could hold the key to the future of food. Plus: monkey apples.

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Posted by & filed under Courses/Workshops.

The PRI Maungaraeeda, Sunshine Coast (Queensland, Australia) will be running Permaculture Certificate and Diploma courses. These career courses are not government accredited, but are fully sponsored by PRI Maungaraeeda.

In 2015 we will start our inaugural Certificate and Diploma courses. These courses are:

  • The Certificate of Permaculture Farm Leading Hand
  • The Diploma of Permaculture Demonstration, Teaching and Consulting.

These are targeted career courses, only for people who wish to make a career out of Permaculture. The objective of the courses are to train people to run a Permaculture Demonstration and Training site (Certificate) and to set up a PRI Master Plan site, be a confident consultant on other people’s properties and to be able to apply to become a PRI accredited teacher (Diploma).

The Certificate is a 12-month program. The Diploma is a 24-month program, with the Certificate program taking up the first 12 months of the Diploma. We have decided to offer these courses on a scholarship basis, as part of our return of surplus. This means there is no monetary cost for participants (food and board are included), but we do require a time commitment. These courses are not for the faint hearted! We expect total commitment for your nominated time (12 or 24 months). The days will be long and you will be learning new things every day.

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Posted by & filed under Global Warming/Climate Change, Society.

Our visions of the future are defined, like the film Interstellar, by technological optimism and political defeatism.


Yawn: "Hey, we can make it out here!"

“It’s like we’ve forgotten who we are,” the hero of Interstellar complains. “Explorers, pioneers, not caretakers…. We’re not meant to save the world. We’re meant to leave it.” It could be the epigraph of our age.

Don’t get me wrong. Interstellar is a magnificent film, true to the richest traditions of science fiction, visually and auditorally astounding. See past the necessary silliness and you will find a moving exploration of parenthood, separation and ageing. It is also a classic exposition of two of the great themes of our age: technological optimism and political defeatism.

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Posted by & filed under Health & Disease.

Frequent use of mobile and cordless phone link to malignant brain tumour confirmed in new comprehensive analysis based on the largest number of cases in Sweden; 3G phones more damaging than 2G, and children more at risk; “current guidelines for exposure should be urgently revised”.

by Dr Mae-Wan Ho

The latest analysis includes pooled data from two case-control studies of malignant brain tumours in Sweden diagnosed during 1997-2003 and 2007-2009 compared with controls matched on age and gender. Mobile phone use increased the risk of glioma (the most common form of malignant brain tumour) up to 3 fold with a latency period of >25 years from first exposure. Cordless phone use increased the risk of glioma up to 1.4 fold in the >15-25 year latency group. The highest risks were found for tumours on the same side of the brain that the phone is used and on the temporal lobe next to the phone [1]. In addition, 3G phones appear more damaging in increasing the risk more than 4-fold with latency period >5-10 years. And people who began using mobile phones before the age of 20 are at higher risk than older age groups.

These findings do not come as a surprise. They confirm a string of previous studies (see [2] Wireless Phones and Brain Cancer and other articles in the series, SiS 51). The principal investigator Lennart Hardell, a professor of oncology at University of Örebro in Sweden first warned of the link between mobile phones and brain tumours in a paper published in 1999 [3].

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Posted by & filed under Community Projects.

Communities are often built like forests – without a master plan. It all starts with one seed. Artists Jeroen Koolhaas and Dre Urhahn create community art by painting entire neighborhoods. The first colorful seed was planted in the favelas of Rio de Janeiro and ended up spreading throughout the world. Their success lies in involving those who live there, and throwing barbecues! Throughout their talk, you will be able to see most of the permaculture principles being put to use, almost step by step. They observed and interacted, accepted feedback, integrated rather tan segregated, found slow solutions, and valued the marginal amongst other things. For more about this inspiring project, check out Favela Painting.

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Posted by & filed under Biodiversity, Biofuels, Comedy Break, GMOs, Health & Disease, Soil Erosion & Contamination, Water Contaminaton & Loss.

inDUSTrial agriculture is a parody commercial about sustainable farming. Chemical agriculture bears an uncanny resemblance to the pharmaceutical industry. Both produce patented drugs that are meant to eventually fail so new ones need to be invented.

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Posted by & filed under Animal Processing, Animals, Bird Life, General.

Edited by Bonnie Freibergs


Photo: Ingrid Pullen

Chickens are sometimes described as a gateway domestic animal. Meaning the first domestic animal that people, new to keeping domestic animals, start with. Once successful and satisfied with the results they then feel more confident to move onto other domestic animal systems. Chickens have been intensively and extensively integrated into most human cultures from their wild origin ancestors in the tropical forests of the South East, where the wild jungle fowl still roam, out to the driest hot deserts, to the deep snows of the cold temperate regions. Where ever there are people with some remnants of food self reliance there are roosters crowing at dawn. In fact, if you wake at dawn to the sound of a whole capital city of garden chicken flock roosters crowing, you are in an interesting place and you can be sure there is also quite at lot of good local food being grown there too.

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Posted by & filed under DVDs/Books, Plants, Seeds.

The recent UN Climate Change Summit, the marches in New York and around the world, once again brought into our collective consciousness the need for real change. As did the shocking news of the global loss of species. The vital need to protect our ecosystems is part of a cry that embraces the whole earth, from the smallest creature to the vast oceans. And in the midst of this call to cease our globally self-destructive behavior is a story that touches each of us, every day.

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Posted by & filed under Commercial Farm Projects, Demonstration Sites, Food Forests, Food Plants - Perennial, Plant Systems, Trees.


Trailer only – watch the full video here!

Imagine you owned your own farm planted full of apple trees. You used no herbicides, no fungicides, no pesticides and no industrial fertilizers. Instead, the trees were treated with Sheer Total Utter Neglect, and still bore copious amount of fruit.

Sounds crazy, right?

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Posted by & filed under Economics, General.

About a week ago, my son and I worked out in the garden, preparing for fall – pulling up old plants and spreading seeds for a cover crop to help enrich the soil with nitrogen before winter approaches. We also dug up our first ever potato crop which gave us about 3-4 ice cream pails full of potatoes (I probably should have left more of them in the ground to mature longer, but we got excited when we saw the creamy skins peeking out of the soil).

Later that day I went to the local grocery store and the first thing I see is a big display of potatoes: 99 cents on sale (regular price $3.99). Even at $3.99 the price is ridiculously low, but at 99 cents, nobody is even breaking even with their costs. The farmer/landowner, field workers, grocery store/distributor/transportation all need to be paid… from a dollar?

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Posted by & filed under Demonstration Sites, Peak Oil, Urban Projects.

KrisCan visits Eric Toensmeier in his Holyoke, Massachusetts home garden that was transformed from a bleakly barren backyard into a thriving oasis of year-round, productive perennial fruits and vegetables. Eric talks about how waste heat from factories and power plants can be utilized for greenhouse gardening; urban food security and self-reliance in the face of diminishing petroleum supplies; edible forest gardens and how they mimic the patterns and designs of ecosystems to create productive perennial polycultures.