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Strawberry Fields Eco Lodge: Report on Piped-Water System, Current Status and Design Update (Ethiopia)
Aid Projects, Commercial Farm Projects, Community Projects, Demonstration Sites, Education Centres — by Alex McCausland March 8, 2013
We are an eco-lodge and Permaculture training centre based in Konso, south Ethiopia.
Our only current water source for potable water and garden irrigation is the Konso Town municipal supply, which is drawn from a bore-hole situated just across the road from our site entrance. The supply facility is a manned pumping station with an electric water pump, backed up by a diesel pump for times of power outage, which are frequent. Even this back-up pump may fail on occasion due to lack of fuel or mechanical fault. There are also times when there is a problem in the water line, meaning that the municipal water supply is far from reliable. There are occasional water supply failures of up to a week, perhaps once a year, and more frequent shorter failures of 1 to 3 days every few months. These failures seem to be more frequent during the dry season when there is additional pressure on the system to supply greater community needs. When there is water, the supply is usually on for a couple of hours in the morning 5am – 7am and evening 4pm – 6pm.
The main supply line enters our site directly from the water pump station under the road via the storm drains situated just to the north of the old foot entrance, delivered by a ¾” poly-pipe.Comments (3)
Modern agriculture, industry and finance all extract more than they give back, and the Earth is starting to show the strain. How did we get in this mess and what can we do to help our culture get back on track? The ecological design approach known as permaculture offers powerful tools for the design of regenerative, fair ways to provide food, energy, livelihood, and other needs while letting humans share the planet with the rest of nature. This presentation will give you insight into why our culture has become fundamentally unsustainable, and offers ecologically based solutions that can help create a just and sustainable society. This is the sequel to Toby’s popular talk, "How Permaculture Can Save Humanity and The Planet, but not Civilization."Comments (5)
What: Advanced Permaculture Design with Eric Toensmeier, author of Perennial Vegetables and co-author of Edible Forest Gardens with Dave Jacke
When: April 5-10, 2013
Where: Hosted by Earth Learning in Homestead, Florida, USA
Instructor: Eric Toensmeier
You will learn how to design and plant a food forest, hands-on!
Edible forest gardens produce delicious food while imitating natural forest ecosystems. Trees, shrubs, herbs, vines, groundcovers and fungi can combine to form healthy edible ecosystems. Design and plant selection help provide fertility, control of weeds and pests, and more.
How can you design an edible garden that works like a healthy ecosystem? Learn simple guidelines, based on real experience, for designing mixed-species polycultures of useful perennials. Small-group design exercises will give you the tools to create productive harvests and positive relationships between plants in your forest garden.Comments (0)
by Emily E. Adams, Earth Policy Institute
As the earth warms, glaciers and ice sheets are melting and seas are rising. Over the last century, the global average sea level rose by 17 centimeters (7 inches). This century, as waters warm and ice continues to melt, seas are projected to rise nearly 2 meters (6 feet), inundating coastal cities worldwide, such as New York, London, and Cairo. Melting sea ice, ice sheets, and mountain glaciers are a clear sign of our changing climate.
In September 2012, sea ice in the Arctic Ocean shrank to a record low extent and volume. The region has warmed 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) since the 1960s—twice as much as lower latitudes. With less snow and ice to reflect the sun’s rays and with more exposed ocean to absorb heat, a vicious cycle leads to even warmer temperatures. Thinner ice combined with rising temperatures makes it increasingly difficult for the sea ice to recover. The historically ever-present white cap at the top of the globe could disappear entirely during the summer within two decades.Comments (7)
Land, Plant Systems, Trees — by Eric Toensmeier March 6, 2013
Ecosystem mimicry is one of the concepts at the heart of permaculture. The food forest or edible forest garden, for example, strives to replicate the structure, relationships, and successional pathways of natural forest ecosystems. I’m fortunate to have had the chance to travel and teach in different regions and ecosystems. In many cases I return and teach on the same site every year. This gives me a chance to get to know the ecosystem deeper and deeper, and try experiments and see what happens.
Pods of the lovely native nitrogen fixer Lysiloma latisiliquum
Land — by Jonathan Davis
What do you think about residential sprinkler systems? You know, the in-ground kind of sprinkler system used to keep the grass green in the front yard? Well, I am not a fan. As a landscaper, many people have told me how they have grown frustrated with such systems in their yard, how they want to go to xeriscaping and how the droughts we have in south Texas lead to restricted watering and dead plant material. The front and back lawn can go as far as I’m concerned. I know many of us have this same view, however I don’t mind a little area of nice pleasant grass. It’s the waste of space, waste of nutrients and other misused resources I don’t like. Picture this, a small grassy area in your front yard and beautiful thickly mulched beds all over the remaining yard. This is the best of both.Comments (7)
Community Projects, Conferences, Courses/Workshops, Presentations/Demonstrations, Social Gatherings — by International Permaculture Day
International Permaculture Day is approaching fast and it’s time to think about how you will celebrate it this year and help support and promote the event. International Permaculture Day (IPD) showcases the practices of permaculture to the public. Businesses, groups and individuals show permaculture in action – through markets, demonstrations, films, ‘open houses and gardens’, and local events in city and country. Last year we held the very first international day with some 125 events in 26 countries — take a look at the amazing diversity of celebrations that took place worldwide: www.permacultureday.org/eventcategory/australia/?etype=past
IPD 2013 promises to be an even bigger, bolder and better day this year and will have the theme of Grow Local! to highlight the benefits of going local, including growing your own food. As with last year, we’ll be interviewing leading permaculturalists and bioneers. Please add your events to the IPD calendar and sign up for regular updates on our website and social media channels:Comments (0)
Looking back to 2011, I recall the fond memories of our internship at PRI Australia. We had been volunteering and travelling round the world for four years looking for adventure, excitement and meaning. I have been reading about permaculture for some time, but so far it has only been an intellectual pursuit and fascination. But recently, Viktoria and I found ourselves at Geoff Lawton’s Permaculture Research Institute in New South Wales, Australia. We were here for 3.5 months to study, work and live permaculture on one of his intensive internship programmes. Normally, the internships are booked out 6 months to a year in advance, but due to a last-minute cancellation, we were able to secure a place just a few days prior to commencement.
Paradise Dam at the Permaculture Research Institute
Very soon we realised that in this permaculture internship we are not just learning how to be farmers. This is a way of life. You can’t separate how food is grown from human existence. It is deeply intertwined with life itself. No, the more we learn about permaculture the more we realise that you must explore all areas of life to be truly sustainable: food systems, plants and animal systems, energy systems, people systems, ecological systems and not forgetting legal, financial and political systems. It’s a lot to learn. One should not try to be a specialist in everything, but rather a generalist that has a solid understanding of each discipline and integrates them together.Comments (1)
Courses/Workshops — by Bonnie Freibergs March 5, 2013
Geoff Lawton leads instruction at the PRI’s Zaytuna Farm
Photo © Craig Mackintosh
Ever considered becoming a ‘Permaculture Professional’? Here is your chance. We still have a few free places on the Permaculture Research Institute’s upcoming 10-week Internship Program, starting April 22nd, 2013.
This program runs for 10 weeks from Monday the 22nd of April to Friday the 1st of July 2013. The internship is an in-depth and practical permaculture experience. It encompasses all the other courses provided by PRI plus six more weeks of intensive permaculture studies that provide participants with the tools to participate in all areas of the permaculture world.Comments (0)
I attended the Community Gardens Conference in Canberra in 2010. Myles Bremner, CEO of Garden Organic, Europe’s main organic gardening organization, was speaking about how surprised he was that in Australia there was no unified network of Community Gardens. In fact in Australia no one even knows exactly how many there are. This highlighted for me the importance of building local networks to improve the credibility of local food growing and share experiences and resources.
I wanted to share my experience of The Moreland Food Gardens Network (MFGN) in Melbourne, Australia, to show how a local network can work. It began with a group of people all somehow involved in community gardens and there are now a wide range of organisations and individuals involved, such as horticulturalists, community members, local schools, community health organisations, local council and academics.Comments (0)
Desertification, Global Warming/Climate Change, Land, Livestock, Presentations/Demonstrations, Rehabilitation, Soil Conservation, Soil Erosion & Contamination — by Bob Nekrasov
I have been waiting so long for Allan to get on Ted Talks! Now, here it is. Prepared to have your minds blown, ok?
I am sure you’re going to want to know more about HM in Australia and where to learn? The best training for HM comes out of InsideOutside Management. As it happens, they have a training beginning in April 2013. Although located in NSW they are able to travel across Australia to organise training, so get in touch! You will want to after seeing this.Comments (15)
Green Beat is happy to announce its third PDC, which will take place in Tulum, Mexico at our Permaculture Center.
The Green Beat Institute of Tulum opened its doors to the public in November 2012, with Green Beat’s second PDC. We have been working on this 4,000m2 plot of land since June 2012 with the aim to provide a center for local and Mayan peoples to receive training and education in fields such as organic bio-intensive agriculture, rainwater catchment systems, wastewater treatment, waste management, creating soil by composting and mulching, as well as business skills in order to sell their surplus in local co-ops and to local restaurants and hotels.Comments (4)
Take a ringside seat as a giant company beats the living daylights out of itself.
“Who breaks a butterfly upon a wheel?” The current answer to Alexander Pope’s question is the power company Électricité de France (EDF). It is suing 21 climate change activists for £5m as a result of their week-long occupation of its power station at West Burton in Nottinghamshire.
In doing so it has made the biggest strategic mistake since McDonalds pursued two impoverished activists – and inflicted more damage on its brand than its critics had ever managed. The campaign against EDF’s vindictive bullying is snowballing with astonishing speed. During daylight hours yesterday, signatures on the petition against this lawsuit were coming in at the rate of 1,000 per hour.
Already the company’s customers are leaving in droves, and letting other people know why. And the backlash has scarcely begun. This, if EDF does not pull out, will turn into the biggest anti-corporate campaign in the UK for at least a decade.Comments (0)
SOIL (Sustainable Organic Integrated Livelihoods) Turns Problem into Solution With Composting Toilets (Haiti)
Aid Projects, Community Projects, Compost, Conservation, Rehabilitation, Urban Projects, Village Development, Waste Systems & Recycling — by Craig Mackintosh PRI Editor March 3, 2013
A few months ago I shared a three minute video from John D. Liu of the EEMP about the work of SOIL (Sustainable Organic Integrated Livelihoods) — an organisation that’s doing great work in Haiti to improve sanitation in a sustainable and affordable way, whilst simultaneously turning the problem (human waste) into a solution (improving agricultural production whilst reducing the incidence of diseases like cholera). John has just sent me the latest edit from his video work on the impoverished island nation, so below you’ll find an extended look at the work of SOIL, and its context. This video makes an excellent follow-up to the article we just posted a couple of days ago: Recycling Animal and Human Dung is the Key to Sustainable Farming.
Aid Projects, Commercial Farm Projects, Community Projects, Courses/Workshops, Demonstration Sites, Education Centres, Gabions, Land, Material, Roads, Soil Conservation, Storm Water, Water Harvesting — by Alex McCausland March 1, 2013
We previously published a report on the development of our site’s flood control and defense infrastructure in October 2010. This is an update on that which goes on to describe some of our plans for developing that infrastructure more in the future.
Just to recap on the basics of our situation: in times of rain, the run-off from the western part of Karat Konso Town (South Ethiopia) runs down the side of the road which heads uphill to the south of our site. This flash flood creates a temporary stream which impacts the south eastern corner of the site. The flash floods can be pretty intense.
Western town watershed, running past SE corner of SFEL site