Posted by & filed under General.

Photos © Ingrid Pullen


Though we are less than three months into 2015, already the year has seen some momentous occasions in the sphere of changing attitudes towards food and agriculture. The UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) (1) has designated this year the ‘Year of Soils’ (2): a positive sign, perhaps, that soil is becoming recognised by international organisations, although the time designation does seem to beg the question of whether or not they plan to continue caring for soils next year as well.

New ways becoming more popular?

The ‘Year of Soils’ at least shows that soil-care is permeating into ‘mainstream’ thinking; even governments and corporations are recognising that when we care for our natural systems, it’s better for everyone. Some current examples of people coming together to do this are the International Conference on Natural Resource Management for Food and Rural Livelihoods (3), which is being held in New Delhi, India, this week and is sponsored by the Indian government; and next month’s International Ecological Forum (4) in Marbella, Spain which will bring together “entrepreneurs, government officials, top managers of banks, state corporations [and] international investors” to:

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Posted by & filed under Courses/Workshops, Education, Events, Resources & News, General.


Geoff Lawton’s Online Permaculture Design Course

Over the last few days we’ve been inundated with people seeking admittance to do Geoff Lawton’s Online PDC course. People have been phoning and emailing us for help and advice.

Some people say they’ve only discovered the course after it was officially closed . Others needed more time to get their tuition funds together. If you’re one of these people and feel like you’ve missed out, Geoff has announced a 24 hour extended period of time for people eager to do this years course to register. It starts Now!

It’s not too late to start. You’ll have to catch up, as we are now moving into Week 3 of the course.

This offer will not be repeated again this year.

Click on this link to get started.

Related articles:

Geoff Lawton’s Online Permaculture Design Course: Is it Worth Doing?

Tour of Geoff Lawton’s Online PDC and Farm!

Online PDC Has Me Talking to Myself

Online Permaculture Earthworks Course Bonus

Posted by & filed under Community, Design, Food & Food Support Systems, General, Nurseries & Propogation, Plants, Trees.


Raised beds and other experiments

Besides the area dedicated to the food forest several other small agronomic trials are carried over in raised beds or small plots between the young trees in the Picasso Food Forest. In particular, 10 raised beds were built during the winter 2014 to:

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Posted by & filed under Community, Events, Resources & News, General, News, Population, Society.

One man’s struggle for sustainable farming on his land in the occupied West Bank is not only a fight against occupation. It suggests that international environmental law provides a legal avenue for Palestinians to sue for their rights.


Fayez and Muna Taneeb harvesting beans in one of their polytunnels (photo Alice Gray)

Fayez al-Taneeb is an energetic man with a vision – of community resilience and sustainability. He is an organic farmer, a union member and an activist with the Popular Committee Against the Wall and Settlements, who has steadfastly resisted displacement from his farm for several decades. He believes that Permaculture, a comprehensive design strategy for sustainable living and farming that originated in Australia in the 1970s and has a growing global following, forms an important component of any Palestinian non-violent resistance strategy

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Posted by & filed under General.

The absurdly efficient, ridiculously cheap, surprisingly comfortable way to heat your home

About this project – Paul’s Kickstarter can be found here

The annual cost of a rocket mass heater is less than a tenth of the annual cost of natural gas – and that’s if you buy the fuel instead of harvest it yourself. And a rocket mass heater emits less than a tenth of the greenhouse gasses. Many rocket mass heaters will heat a home with a tenth of the wood of what a conventional wood stove will use. The trick is to mix modern science with knowledge from hundreds of years ago: Burn the smoke; capture heat from the exhaust; focus on the more efficient forms of heat (radiant and conductive heat are favored over convective heat); and, most of all, use a mass to hold the heat for days

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Posted by & filed under Animals, General.

An educational film on raising chickens with nature from hatching to the plate (and everything in between).

Justin’s Kickstarter Project can be found here


The Film

Chickens are the gateway towards complete self-reliance.

Chickens are a perfect starting point for anyone who wants to be more connected to their food. Not only are they fun to raise; they offer eggs, meat, fertilizer, and they are capable of all kinds of work! I guarantee, that if you follow the methods we teach, you’ll gain valuable partners in your future food adventures!

We’ll show you everything you need to know to grow 100% of ALL your own chicken products! By using simple permaculture techniques you’ll learn how to work with nature to minimize input, while maximizing output.

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Posted by & filed under General, Medicinal Plants, Plants.

Thyme – Thymus spp.



photo Daniela Longo

The second in the series ‘Medicinal plants and Permaculture’ is the hardy and highly aromatic Thyme (Thymus vulgaris). Although this time of year in the northern hemisphere is a slow one for plants, this herb is highly useful for winter ailments, for adults and children alike. Considering stacking functions; as a vigorous perennial this plant also provides year-round ground cover and foliage through the long winter months even in the coldest climates. Whilst during the summer, it is adored bee fodder giving a distinctive flavour to the honey (1), a carpet of pretty delicate flowers and full aroma. Like permaculture, herbal medicine forms part of a strategy that helps to build resilience and reduce disasters by maintaining a healthy, optimal equilibrium. A variety of herbs can be used through the year in advance of changing seasons to build resistance and immunity within the body. Thyme is a great herb to use as a pre-cursor to the onset of winter, and through winter to maintain optimal health and well-being (although also highly useful at other times too, depending on the ailment and constitution of the individual).

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Posted by & filed under Animals, General, Population, Society, Why Permaculture?.

I love to travel. Whether that’s camping, road trips, conventions, visiting family… I enjoy all of it. I feel most alive when exploring a new place, or being a part of the natural world, or experiencing something new. Perhaps because I work from a home office most of the time, getting out and about is especially gratifying. And we have a need to experience things for ourselves – looking at a picture of the Rocky Mountains is not the same as going there.

As a child I travelled quite a bit, from England to visit all my family, to California on road trips, camping treks across BC, and the highlight of each summer was a trip to the Oregon coast. I am so fortunate to have been born in British Columbia and explored the southern regions of this diverse province. And my favourite place on planet earth, if I had to choose one, would be the Oregon coast. It’s a magical place, with the dark skies at night, beautiful uncrowded sandy beaches, and of course the never-ending roar of the ocean. Perhaps because my mind always seems to be busy, the white noise of the surf seems to shift my brain down a few notches.


Yaquina Head, December 27th 2014

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Posted by & filed under General.


Time moves slowly in Rutherford, NSW. Or at least it did until the developers moved in. What was once a rolling expanse of beef country, has over night become burning roofs and hot black bitumen. You will of course see the occasional small grass yard, but no other plants inside sustain it.

Agriculture still does take place here, and will again, once the developers and their bagmen have done their work and moved on to greener pastures. New South Wales is currently trapped in one of the biggest housing bubbles in the world and Maitland (the district that Rutherford falls into) is the fastest growing region in the state. A bad omen for all the new home owners and small businesses that have just moved in. The good news is that tucked in behind the grey concrete haze there are still farms. Purple Pear Farm is one such and is where I became accustomed to this land.

The earth here is red clay with no top soil to speak of. During dry periods, which is most of the time, huge cracks appear in the earth, two centimeters wide and as much or more than ten meters deep. Nobody really knows. I’m told that some people once tried to fill a crack with sand. It took three barrow loads and could have taken more, but they gave up.There was no end in sight. Needless to say, the market garden here is thirsty and the dams empty fast.

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Posted by & filed under Animal Housing, Animals, Design, Fencing, General, Livestock.


The Big Scrub is gone; destroyed by loggers and cattle farmers a century ago. What was once Australia’s largest subtropical rainforest—900km2 of biodiversity—is now largely home to cows and grass. Even between these two components many landowners still struggle to enforce balance. Thistle-covered paddies, eroded hillsides, compacted soils with sparse vegetation—scars from this struggle cover the region’s rolling lowlands..

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