Charlotte Ashwanden (nee Haworth)

Charlotte Ashwanden (nee Haworth)
I got my Permaculture Design Certificate in 2011, from Treeyo at Permaship in Bulgaria, and since then have been traveling the world learning about and practicing permaculture. Born in London, I’ve lived in a number of places in England, Spain, the Basque Country, and Italy. My mum lives in Leipzig (Germany) so I’ve spent some time there. In 2015 I got married in a pagan ceremony in a field to David Ashwanden and changed my surname to Ashwanden. A professional dancer, I do fire and hula dance and have recently become interested in dance meditation. Currently, I live in Thailand in a Forest Buddhism community school, so you can expect lots of tropical permaculture related articles in future.

Water-Farming Part 2: Practical Ways to Harvest Your Sky-Fruits

In Part 1 of this article (1), I went over the importance of incorporating water and water flow into any design you make, as well as sharing some ideas about how, if we want to encourage using water in a way which is beneficial for ourselves and our environment, we need to also reconsider how we relate to this element  (for more ideas about this see 2). The easiest and […]

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Gardening with Woodchips: What, Why, How and Who?

With permaculture, we can grow plants using imaginative techniques and materials, negating or diminishing the need for synthesised chemical additions to the soil and using nature and the ‘soil food web’ as our guide. Because we need to ‘Observe and Interact’ with what is going on in our system before adding things in, every site is unique and so what works for one person may be ineffective in a different […]

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Water Farming Part 1: Why And How Can We Start Farming Water?

farming, gardening and agriculture concept - watering cans at farm water tank

Permaculture design is about working with energies. If you have already got lots of elements in your design, such as trees, buildings and animals, it may not be very practical to design a water system from scratch. However, it seems energy efficient to take into account the flow of water as the starting point of any design. As much as possible, it’s advisable to plan where the water is going […]

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Where Are We Really Building Walls? – How to use Permaculture to Help Create More Connected Society

Last month the order was signed (1) to begin construction of a wall, planned to stretch 3,100 km along the border between the two countries of Mexico and the USA (2). The impact such a project could have on human society means it has received criticism from many diverse angles (see for example 3, 4). Yet humans are also part of a wider ecosystem, and the proposed wall would also […]

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Why Are Banana Circles Important? What Are The Benefits?

Banana circles are a popular and fairly easy-to-make addition to any tropical permaculture system. As there is already a lot appropriate literature out there on how to make banana circles I will not focus on the practicalities in this article (see for example 1, 2, 3). But why exactly are they so important? Can they be integrated into any system? And what are the benefits? Read on to explore these […]

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Mental Permaculture, Part 3: Energy Flows

Permaculture: a set of design tools, a way of creating gardens, of perceiving connections, of gaining insights into our environment. But can it also be rebellious? Co-founder of permaculture Bill Mollison once remarked about a book review describing Permaculture Two (1) as “seditious”,

“If you’re a simple person today, and want to live simply, that is awfully seditious. And to advise people to live simply is more seditious still.” (2)

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Corporations Seeking More Power than Governments: Ideas for working with power-flow

Last month a report (1) was published by five international rights groups analysing the possible side effects of a new free trade agreement, the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (2), currently being negotiated among 16 Asian and Pacific states. The main concern of the report is that the agreement would put into law the ISDS, or Investor-State Dispute Settlement, essentially giving multi-national corporations the right not to adhere to national legislation […]

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Manuka Honey’s Healing Power: Exclusive Property or One of Many?

Manuka honey is well-known for its health benefits (see for example 1).Though famous as a product from New Zealand, the results of recent studies (2) show that the Australian variety is just as potent as its New Zealand cousin. But how does this affect the global honey market? And is it even appropriate, from a permaculture perspective, to place such importance on ‘manuka’ as oppose to other honeys? What is […]

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Virtual Reality to Help Us Make Mistakes: Smart Failure and How it Relates to Permaculture

Many people have spoken or written about the importance of thinking that reflects the changing world around us; “Everything you’ve learned in school as “obvious” becomes less and less obvious as you begin to study the universe,” (1) as R. Buckminster Fuller put it. The universe is constantly changing, so it doesn’t make sense for us to learn “obvious” answers because every situation we find is uniquely different. Permaculture as […]

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Mini-Documentary Trio: Forest Gardening, Edible Landscapes and Urban Permaculture

Three unfortunately not great picture-quality but information-packed UK ‘mini-documentaries’ by Iota. First, an introduction to temperate permaculture pioneer Robert Hart (1913 – 2000), one of whose “guiding principles” is given as Mahatma Gandhi’s vision of “democratically organised, self-sustaining communities”. Next, a visit to The Field in Cornwall, where plant database Plants for a Future founder Ken Fern introduces his work. Finally, an interview with Mike and Julia Guerra, who grow almost a fifth of their food in their city back garden. “Nature is the biggest teacher”, says Mike.

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Permaculture: Green Gold

John D Liu tells how “it’s possible to rehabilitate large-scale ecosystems”. In 1995 he filmed the Loess Plateau in China where “local people transformed an area almost the size of The Netherlands from a …desert into a large green oasis” and since then has been involved in “greening deserts” around the world. The film begins with world problems but if you get past this the solutions are imaginative and inspirational: from re-introducing “thought to be extinct” species in Jordan to reforestation and rehydration in Ethiopia. Featuring Geoff Lawton.

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Permaculture: A Quiet Revolution

Film from 8th International Permaculture Convergence (IPC8) (1) which was held in four permaculture communities across Brazil in 2008. Featuring Rosemary Morrow, the film focuses on how the participants were “preparing for, and mitigating, our looming global crisis”. Still very much relevant now as it gives a useful introduction to each of the four sites used to host the IPC8 and some of their features, as well as a short […]

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