Posted by & filed under Fungi, Soil Biology, Soil Composition, Soil Rehabilitation.

The great Amazon rainforest.
Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Bones. Charcoal. Ash. Blood. Feces. Food waste. Pottery shards. Before I began my journey into permaculture and regenerative ecology, if you asked me why someone would gather and bury these things together, I would have guessed at some kind of disgusting voodoo magic ritual. But for those initiated into the alchemy of composting and soil generation, this is actually a recipe for the most nutrient-dense, hyper-fertile soil on the planet — terra preta, or “black earth”.

The story of how terra preta was used by ancient amazonian peoples, rediscovered in modern times, and how it subsequently revolutionized our concept of the Amazon jungle and inhabitants, is a fascinating one, and it carries many lessons for us in modern times as we learn how to “leave no trace” (or even better, leave a regenerative trace) and develop a sustainable lifestyle and culture.

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Posted by & filed under Courses/Workshops.

Here at Zaytuna Farm we have a gallery of permaculture earthworks — 17 dams, kilometres of contour swales, roads, pads, gabions, cross pipes, and all sorts of different installations that involved some sort of machinery!

It’s one thing to be the artist designing this sort of gallery, but I always wondered how it feels to be the artist/craftsman moving all this earth. It is an art form of some sort — the subtleties, the details, the eye for curves and contours, are all as impressive as any piece of art in any gallery. The difference is that the Zaytuna permaculture gallery is producing food, building fertility, soaking water and rehabilitating land, working with nature to create an example of an abundant system that can be replicated.

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Posted by & filed under Community Projects, Demonstration Sites, Village Development.

Are you a passionate and knowledgeable permaculturalist? Would you like to live in a developing ecovillage for a year ‘rent free’ as part of a documentary project? Do you want to explore a life of frugal abundance? If so, read on!

Over the last 12 months the Simplicity Institute has been involved in the development of an ecovillage permaculture farm out near Moe, Victoria, Australia (about 1 hour 45 mins from Melbourne). To date the communities involved have built a small Earthship, a beautiful cob cabin, and last week we made great progress on an earthbag dome and a pizza oven. There are bees buzzing, beers brewing, water tanks collecting, and communities forming. We’ve also planted 40 odd fruit trees and have established some large vegetable gardens, with more to come. The 20-acre property has a large dam, a large shed, a large greenhouse and chicken coop, as well as a more conventional house.

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Posted by & filed under Community Projects, Demonstration Sites, Food Forests, Food Plants - Perennial, Health & Disease, Land, Medicinal Plants, Soil Rehabilitation, Trees, Urban Projects, Village Development, Water Harvesting.

A gnome (the author) in the Communal Garden

Make no mistake, the war is on. The commodity is food, the source needs to be sustainable, and the community needs to know about it. If you are already into permaculture, or just gaining an interest, then congratulations and welcome to the peace-loving yet active front lines. We call it guerilla gardening.

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Posted by & filed under Aquaculture, Biodiversity, Biological Cleaning, Community Projects, Natural Swimming, Plant Systems, Urban Projects.

Where I grew up, I had two swimming choices. The first was in various rivers and ‘swimming holes’ (deeper parts of rivers, where the shape of the riverbank creates a calmer, very slow-flowing area to bathe in) around the town I lived in, and the second was the local public swimming pool. The former, while preferable, required transport — which, back in the day, my family rarely had access to. The latter was better than many, in that it was an open air public pool (no roof), so, like in the rivers, we could swim with sunshine and the great blue sky overhead (or even in the rain). But, as is usually the case, the public pool, devoid of any natural biological cleaning elements, necessitated the use of chemicals — notably chlorine, with its associated negative health effects.

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Posted by & filed under DVDs/Books.

A summary of permaculture concepts and principles taken from Permaculture Principles and Pathways Beyond Sustainability, by David Holmgren

It contains an introduction to permaculture, thoughts about the future of the movement and the values and use of the permaculture principles. A great way to expand your knowledge in preparation for the full length book. This PDF eBook contains interactivity that is best viewed using Adobe Reader.

Available in the following languages – free to download and share:

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

50 million people in the world today have been forcefully displaced from their homes — a level not seen since WWII. Right now, more than 3 million Syrian refugees are seeking shelter in neighboring countries. In Lebanon, half of these refugees are children; only 20% are in school. Melissa Fleming of the UN’s refugee agency calls on all of us to make sure that refugee camps are healing places where people can develop the skills they’ll need to rebuild their hometowns.

Posted by & filed under Courses/Workshops.

Registration is now officially open for the 2015 Carbon Farming Course, to be held February 3-22, 2015 at the Taconic Retreat Center in New York’s Hudson Valley, USA. Based on your survey responses, the Carbon Farming Team chose a top-notch palette of topics and trainers for the event. Workshops include:

  • Holistic Management & Grazing
  • Keyline Farming
  • Carbon Farming Intensive
  • Financing Regenerative Agriculture
  • Living Soils
  • Restoration Agriculture
  • …and more!

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Posted by & filed under Seeds.

For many interested in permaculture, one of the first and perhaps simplest joys of becoming more involved in holistic design is the experience of being able to harvest something which you have grown yourself; whether it is pesto made of basil from your window-sill or a forest garden so packed with fruit, nuts and climbing vines that you are not sure what you will do with them all. If you have the space and are in one place for long enough, growing your own food can be a fantastically rewarding and efficient way of getting your nutrition.

You don’t need to have land to get growing. By moving the reliance of things we depend on for food into our own homes, gardens, allotments or parks — through projects with the council or local community or, if they are not keen, guerrilla gardening — we are accepting more responsibility for our health and actions, which can have an incredibly empowering effect.

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Posted by & filed under Aid Projects, Community Projects, Compost, Courses/Workshops, Food Plants - Annual, Food Plants - Perennial, Nurseries & Propogation, Seeds, Soil Conservation, Soil Rehabilitation, Trees.

Continuing from Part 1.

Sunday 21/09/14: Day 4

The group were very happy with the biole preparations we did on day 3. They were amazed that we could make fertilizer out of basic farmyard trash when they had all been paying though the nose for imported chemicals for the past years. So riding this wave of enthusiasm I hoped we would make good progress in covering the material today. Unfortunately it was a Sunday, so people were kind of half on holiday….

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