Posted by & filed under Courses/Workshops, Energy Systems, Irrigation.

People are always fascinated by ram pumps. I think partly because they achieve the seemingly impossible task of pumping water to a higher height than the water supplying the pump, and they do it for no added energy input. This is often misunderstood as needing no energy, but even a casual understanding of the laws of thermodynamics tells us this is impossible. You will notice I said no added energy input because fundamentally what a ram pump does is harvest the energy of a lot of water flowing through the pump from a low head source to pump a much smaller volume of water to a higher head. Head being the height of the water relative to the pump.

Imagine if you will a pipe with an internal diameter of 100mm with water flowing through it. If the pipe is around 25 m long then the weight of the water in the pipe is close to 200kg, remembering that one liter of water weighs one kg. This is basically one of those large oil drums full of water.

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

When people say we should adapt to climate change, do they have any idea what that means?

To understand what is happening to the living planet, the great conservationist Aldo Leopold remarked, is to live “in a world of wounds … An ecologist must either harden his shell and make believe that the consequences of science are none of his business, or he must be the doctor who sees the marks of death in a community that believes itself well and does not want to be told otherwise.”(1)

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Posted by & filed under Animal Forage, Building, Food Forests, Food Plants - Perennial.

Bamboo grows in most areas and has many important uses for communities. Generally, bamboo can be split into two categories: clumping bamboo (sympodial) and creeping bamboo (monopodial). Clumping bamboo grows in tropical climates and is more common, while creeping bamboo generally grows in subtropical climates. The process of planting and managing bamboo clumps properly is the first step for producing high quality and easy to harvest bamboo.

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Posted by & filed under Aid Projects, Community Projects, Demonstration Sites, Education Centres, Food Plants - Perennial, Food Shortages, Medicinal Plants, News, Soil Conservation, Soil Erosion & Contamination, Soil Rehabilitation, Trees, Village Development, Water Conservation, Water Harvesting.

Elin Lindhagen, Director, PRI-Kenya


Some members of the women’s group

Since it started in 2013, the Laikipia Permaculture Project in Kenya has rapidly grown with the help of the inexhaustible passion of Joseph Lentunyoi, founder and manager of the project. From the first women’s group, Nabulu, which approached the newly established Laikipia Permaculture Centre, wanting help and advice on how to grow their aloe, combat pests, improve productivity and also diversify, three women’s groups are now part of the project making it a total of 229 women. A fourth group is about to join, which will bring the total beneficiaries to around 300.

When the women’s groups approached Laikipia Permaculture Centre (LPC), their production of Aloe secundiflora that they have been focusing on for the last five years was in near complete devastation, with aloes being trampled by free ranging cows and goats and the roots of the plants attacked by a pest, causing it to rot. Large parts of their aloe plantations had been rendered unusable leaving the women feeling helpless.

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


Event organiser Diego Footer’s introductory address (Photo: John Newall)

Early morning on Sunday the 23rd of March I was brushing my teeth and wondering how I was going to structure my week. By mid morning, thanks to equal parts generosity of friends and unbelievable serendipity, I was rushing to book flights from Perth, Western Australia to Los Angeles — making my way to the Permaculture Voices conference in Temecula, California. After 24 hours of travel (and more beneficent synchronicity than I dare report) I found myself alongside six hundred other enthusiastic permaculturists signing in at the Pechanga Resort, nestled at the foot of classic, chaparral covered, southern Californian hills.

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Posted by & filed under Courses/Workshops.


Myself, Nadia & Geoff Lawton and Salah Hammad

"It depends — do you want to be a consultant, a designer, an implementer, aid worker? What do you want to do?" Dave asks. The problem with that question is I want to do it all. As the weeks have passed here on the Zaytuna Farm Internship I find myself thinking how fortunate I have been to learn from such great mentors.

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Posted by & filed under Building, Courses/Workshops.

Everything an Indian does is in a circle, and that is because the power of the world always works in circles, and everything tries to be round….. Everything the Power of the World does is done in a circle. The sky is round, and I have heard that the earth is round like a ball, and so are all the stars. The wind, in its greatest power whirls. Birds make their nest in circles, for theirs is the same religion as ours. The sun comes forth and goes down again in a circle. The moon does the same and both are round. Even the seasons form a great circle in their changing, and always come back again to where they were. The life of a man is a circle from childhood to childhood, and so it is in everything where power moves. Our tepees were round like the nests of birds, and these were always set in a circle, the nation’s hoop. – Black Elk, Oglala Lakota (Sioux) Holy Man

The strongest structures in nature are arches, domes, vaults, apses…. By trading corners for curves we fortify the structural integrity of our architecture, and use the least materials while providing the maximum amount of space.

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Posted by & filed under GMOs, Health & Disease.

Dr Michael Hansen debunks some of the many myths promoted about Golden Rice.

There has been a lot of misinformation and just plain propaganda about Golden Rice (GR) put out recently. It is stunning that so many are talking about this topic without even a basic understanding of the real issues. Bottom line, there are clear unanswered questions on basic efficacy and safety of GR.

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Posted by & filed under Building, Community Projects.


The permaculture Green house

This is the tale of the creation of a unique greenhouse built by an English woman and five Mayan men in the Yoga Forest in Lake Atitlan, Guatemala. This strange and wonderful place is focused on learning about sustainable living from your inner self and beyond. I am grateful to have worked there as the permaculture director for the last 10 months.

This greenhouse is built in the challenging environment of the inner slopes of an extinct super volcano. With only steep slopes and gullies available we utilised the terrain by building across a ravine and stream to help with airflow and thermo-regulation in this hot and humid environment. Bamboo forms the frame of this beautiful structure as it is highly durable and can withstand hurricanes and the battering of heavy rains.

What follows is the story and methods of how this artistic creation was designed and constructed by a group of indigenous Mayan men and myself.

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