Posted by & filed under Insects.

Note: If you haven’t already done so, you can read Part I here.

Worker pupae

Hold on to your hats, ‘cause this story contains awesome parenting, sexual suppression, and murderous rampages!

A honeybee egg hatches after three days, and then emerges a tiny white larva that is completely helpless. It is meticulously cared for by its older sisters, who feed it a protein rich substance called royal jelly, from a special gland in their head. All bee babies get the same food for the first three days, and then an interesting phenomenon happens as the bees use nutrition to manipulate the development of workers vs. new queens.

Read more »

Posted by & filed under Food Forests, Food Plants - Annual, Food Plants - Perennial, Irrigation, Land, Plant Systems, Soil Composition, Soil Rehabilitation, Trees, Water Conservation, Water Harvesting.

One of the most exciting parts of taking the reins to a hectare of lakeside land in Panama was planning just exactly what kind of experimenting was going to be on order. We knew there would be a food forest. We knew there’d be a vegetable garden, fresh herbs, and lots of very dense clay soil with which to contend. Much of the space was steep hillsides, but at the bottom of those slopes sat a nice little swath of land that had already been dotted with plantains (the banana-like fruit, not the weed) and yucca. Beyond that, there was a lot of canvas to play with.

So, my wife Emma and I got out our notebooks and started sketching, putting this here, that there, and whittling out spots for all of the different types of no-till/one-till beds we’d discovered over the last half-year (from volunteering on farms). Some of the designs we’d only read about; some of them we’d helped to build. All of them were a step away from conventional garden rows. All of them were chosen with concern for the ground we were working — not being the most fertile we’d ever seen.

Read more »

Posted by & filed under Commercial Farm Projects, Demonstration Sites, Education Centres.

Caroola Farm Open Day

We are now coming into our second Spring at Caroola Farm after devastating fires in the Summer of 2013 and we are pumped at the progress we’ve made.

We had our first ‘Open Day’ on International Permaculture Day this year and were blown away by the attendance of over 500 people — it put a bit of pressure on the new compost toilets and was a freezing cold and windy day… but a good time was had by all!

Read more »

Posted by & filed under Conferences, GMOs, Health & Disease.

When: September 12 & 13 in Portland, Oregon — All Day Event
Where: First Congregational United Church of Christ, 1126 SW Park Avenue, Portland, OR 97205

Join the largest gathering in the US focused on educational campaigns related to Genetically Engineered Organisms. GMOs are one of the most common ingredients of commercial and industrial food in North America. Learn from the most important non-GMO advocates about successful campaigns, strategies and tactics. We will have colleagues working on various issues related to promoting a non-GMO food supply.

The 2014 Justice Begins with Seeds Conference will have plenaries and workshops that will explore an array of issues related to GMOs. Our goal is to have a diverse audience from various backgrounds and organizations join together to strategize around important issues related to reclaiming our food system. We want to include groups working on non-GMO campaigns at both the local and global level, including political campaigns. Topics range from labeling to banning GMOs as well as shareholder and consumer campaigns to stop the use of GMOs in our food supply. We are expecting over 700 attendees during the gathering and hundreds more during the pre-conference and post-conference events.

Read more »

Posted by & filed under Alternatives to Political Systems, Economics, People Systems, Society, Village Development.

Scots voting no to independence would be an astonishing act of self-harm.

Imagine that the question was posed the other way round. An independent nation is asked to decide whether to surrender its sovereignty to a larger union. It would be allowed a measure of autonomy, but key aspects of its governance would be handed to another nation. It would be used as a military base by the dominant power and yoked to an economy over which it had no control.

Read more »

Posted by & filed under Community Projects, Society, Village Development.

Inspired by the principles of open source software, the concept of Open Social Innovation aims to document social innovations so they can be more easily shared.

How can we share and transfer sustainable social practices across communities?

Increasingly, we see individuals and communities experimenting with innovative sustainable practices, pioneering new ways to communicate, think, work, live, and share together. In that context the question arises as to how best practices can be shared across communities. To facilitate knowledge sharing of the best sustainable practices, the concept of "source code of a project" was proposed by Thanh Nghiem here as a way to apply the open source model to social innovation.

In computer science, a source code is a collection of written instructions that can be executed by a computer to run a piece of software. Likewise, the source code of a social practice or project is a set of instructions that can be executed by a user in order to implement a practice or project — similar to the principles for a culinary recipe, where a set of instructions are given in order to facilitate the replication of a cooked dish. From that initial idea, a network of organizations and individuals from France have been working on networking and scaling social innovations using the concept of open source innovation as an intellectual framework.

Read more »

Posted by & filed under Insects, Urban Projects.

Africanized honey bee with the corbicula full of pollen

Yummy, yummy! is the phrase that comes to our minds when remembering Winnie the Pooh eating all those pots of honey. Many of us may only have thought about honey bees for the first time when we were kids, thanks to that cute bear with the sweet tooth. Then we learned that we are not only indebted to honey bees for the wonderful miracle of honey, but also for the privilege of eating many of our delicious vegetables and fruits every day. Yes! Honey bees (Apis mellifera) are one of the most important pollinators of the crops that we the humans use all the time.

Some of us got so enthusiastic about this insect that we fell in love with it and became backyard beekeepers — we spend hours watching them buzzing around our sunflowers, pumpkins, lemons, sage and many other beautiful plants in our gardens.

What many of us do not know, however, is that there are other bees that can live and work in our gardens — and perform very important roles within them.

Read more »

Posted by & filed under Alternatives to Political Systems, Society.

Earth Democracy promises to bring a deeper sense of democracy — one serving not only the people but our entire planet. This concept initiated by Vandana Shiva is in alignment with the permaculture ethics we relentlessly seek to promote and apply. I believe in a very fertile future and am convinced that a major shift of politics is happening. Remember that your voice is heard in your actions; the way you consume, speak, and live day by day is another way to vote for a more conscious future.

Read more »

Posted by & filed under DVDs/Books.

This book highlights the continuous cultural lineage that underpins current activism for an ecologically viable and spiritually nourishing life now and in the future. For permaculture practitioners and activists focused on building ecologically smart, localised economies, this book highlights how rethinking our attitudes and behaviour toward consumption can be a fruitful pathway to social and ecological harmony. — David Holmgren, Permaculture: Principles and Pathways beyond Sustainability

Simple Living in History challenges the mentality of waste and extravagance that defines modern industrial lifestyles, reminding us that the answers we need have been here all along, waiting for us to notice them. — John Michael Greer, The Wealth of Nature and Green Wizardry

This engaging book raises one of the key questions of our times, presenting a rich tapestry of perspectives on what it means to live simply.’ — Rob Hopkins, The Transition Handbook: From Oil Dependency to Local Resilience

The book is available here.

Table of Contents and Book Preface Below

Read more »