Posted by & filed under Plant Systems, Soil Biology, Soil Composition, Soil Conservation, Soil Erosion & Contamination, Soil Rehabilitation, Structure, Water Contaminaton & Loss.

Recently, I had the honor of attending a national conference on cover crops and soil health. The conference was held in Omaha, Nebraska on February 17th to the 19th, sponsored primarily by the Howard G Buffett foundation and SARE (Sustainable Agriculture and Research Education). The attendees represented university specialists, seed vendors, farmers, non-profit groups, and government organizations focused on how to improve the health of our nation’s soils.

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Posted by & filed under Biological Cleaning, Food Plants - Perennial, Irrigation, Plant Systems, Waste Water, Water Conservation, Water Harvesting.

Banana circles can be used in tropical and sub-tropical areas to utilise waste water, run-off or overflow from rainwater tanks, and even urine waste from dry composting toilets.

It is possible to use other plants in a similar system, but bananas are an excellent choice as they are very heavy feeders and also need a lot of water to be productive. The fruit from banana palms is highly nutritious and so in developing countries banana circles are a great way to turn waste into a valuable food source for the whole family.

At Kesho Leo in Tanzania, banana circles are used as a part of our compost toilet and grey water systems.

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Posted by & filed under Courses/Workshops.

Following the success of our three PDCs in 2012 and 2013, foodwatershelter is pleased to offer you the chance to join USA-based instructor Steve Whitman and a team of local teachers in Arusha, Tanzania from May 26th to June 6th, 2014, for two weeks of intensive learning and an incredible networking opportunity.

You’ll gain direct permaculture design experience through Kesho Leo’s farms and other projects in the Arusha region, while sharing this experience with a diverse group of the international community; from farmers to NGO workers, teachers to lodge managers.

Permaculture is a framework for working towards greater sustainability and self-reliance. It is these principles that underpin the systems of the Kesho Leo project, and not only work to meet the needs of Kesho Leo’s residents, but also provide opportunities for community education and income generation.

Throughout this PDC you’ll learn hands-on from our livestock, organic vegetable gardens and aquaculture ponds, food forests and poultry systems, compost toilets and rainwater harvesting systems; all while supporting the promotion of self-reliance within Africa. For more information visit and to secure a place early, contact: pdc (at)

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Posted by & filed under Food Forests, Food Plants - Perennial, Seeds, Urban Projects.

Excerpted from Paradise Lot by Eric Toensmeier with contributions from Jonathan Bates.

Bates and Toensmeier will be hosting a perennial vegetable tasting and edible landscaping workshop at their garden in Holyoke, MA, USA this April 26, 2014.

Jonathan Bates with spring perennial vegetables

From the beginning of my interest in plants for permaculture and edible landscaping I identified perennial vegetables as a real gap in the available information. Nobody seemed to know what perennial leaves, roots, and shoots could grow under or between fruit trees, nut trees, and berry bushes. I spent a number of years accumulating information on the species which culminated in the publication of Perennial Vegetables in 2007. Since then I’ve presented many workshops for master gardeners groups, organic growers, and landscape professionals. Everyone seems shocked to learn that we have such a fine palette of long–lived and low–maintenance vegetable crops for cold climates. The fact that many of them are fine ornamentals is a lovely bonus as well.

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Posted by & filed under Courses/Workshops.

Learn how to manage our exciting native forest for saw logs, pole wood, fence post, firewood, etc., while having a very beneficial effect on the structure of the forest itself – increasing bio-diversity from the forest floor up to the canopy. You will also learn the basics of portable sawmills. Find out how relatively easy it is to set up a portable sawmill, then be ready to start milling in 30 to 40 minutes, urban or rural – it’s do-able!

Find out more and book here!

Posted by & filed under Courses/Workshops.

Update: Sorry, course registrations have now closed for 2014.

There are only a few hours left to go before we close the 2014 Online PDC Course to new students.

Seats are filling fast with just a few seats left to go. If you’ve been thinking of taking my online course, now is the time to do it. You get a 30 day money back guarantee if you change your mind.

This is the course all the experts do to take Permaculture to the next level.

We will close the course tonight, at 12 midnight Californian time Sunday 6th April!

Your next chance to do this course will be sometime in late 2015!

We’ve had over 3,502 comments from new students since last Sunday. We hope to see you there as we’re building a fantastic community. Be a part of this 2014 Online PDC Course as we go forth in this life changing event!

Sign up here at this link Now!

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Posted by & filed under Courses/Workshops.

Update: Sorry, course registrations have now closed for 2014.

We’ve had a terrific response to the start of the 2014 Online PDC Course and want to thank you all for the tremendous support you’ve given us towards making this first week a resounding success. Seats are filling up fast and the doors are closing this weekend. We’ve had over 2400 comments since Sunday from our new students, who are making new friends and already benefitting from the assistance of last year’s students (‘Veterans’). We’re hoping this Online PDC Course will only get better from here!

The response from students has been phenomenal and humbling!

Heavens! How will I consume all that is offered, both from the curriculum and the posts. Gracious, Geoff! — from a student living in Alameda, Northern Coastal California

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Posted by & filed under Economics, Society.

The Supreme Court just issued its ruling on McCutcheon V. FEC (see background on this case here if you’re not familiar) and it’s a disaster for our democracy. Five justices sided with Shaun McCutcheon, the climate-denying coal baron, opening the door for near-unlimited campaign contributions from individuals.

We’re still figuring out all the implications of this decision – and ways to fight it – but in the meantime, one thing is clear: it’s time to get organized.

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Posted by & filed under Building, Courses/Workshops, Village Development, Waste Systems & Recycling.

People are ditching mortgages and finding community through earthship building

The past few years have seen a dramatic increase in accessible earthship building and sustainable lifestyle workshops across Australia and Internationally. The basic message for participants is empowerment through action and networking which provides the opportunity for communities and individuals to develop skills and community support for building and other types of projects that rely upon voluntary labour — similar to the successful permablitz movement which has taken off across Australia.

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