Miles Durand

Avocanoes at Zaytuna Farm

Near Geoff and Nadia Lawton’s house at Zaytuna Farm, there are a number of Avocanoes… What on earth is an Avocanoe? Geoff and I came up with the concept of Avocanoes a little while ago. At the time, we were looking for a secure position to plant a number of expensive avocado trees. This location had a few requirements. 1. It had to be close to people for regular care. 2. Close to water supply. 3. And it must be close to material for budding and grafting of avocados by the plant nursery staff.

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Worm farming cool, dark and wholesome

The importance of worms was recognised C. Darwin, author of Origins of species, in his last book, in which he considered that worms are nature’s ploughman. Worms, their associated organisms and by their behaviour play, are an essential part of soil formation and continued fertility. The lack of worms in the soil is an indication of a soil lacking fertilely and health. This situation became very clear to me during […]

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Baobs and Bunyas

The Boabs of Kimberley in the North West of Australia and the Bunyas of the north east coasts of Australia are two trees with outstanding appearance and function. These are two of my special interest trees the Boab Adansonia gegoeri and Bunya Araucaria bidwiili. My visits to the Kimberley began in the nineteen seventies and continued into the eighties. In the years 1999 to2003, I was living in the East […]

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Worm Farming at Zaytuna Farm

Photos © Ingrid Pullen Worms are an essential part of a permanent agricultural system. At Zaytuna Farm worm farming has been developed into a very productive system. The feed stock we use is the contents of composting toilets and animal manures. The worm farm product is included in the potting mix for the plants grown in the plant nursery of the farm, producing very healthy and productive plants.

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Leaving on a High (Lesotho, Africa)

Peach blossoming in Lesotho The white-edged black clouds embrace the craggy green tops of the Maluti Mountains with patches of blue sky in between them. The late afternoon setting sun gives a golden glow to this mountain panorama. This is the setting for my farewell to Lesotho. My two year placement with Phelisanong as part of Australia’s support of southern Africa is coming to an end. It has been the […]

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My Visit to the Greening the Desert Sequel Site, November 2013

The Jordan Valley Permaculture Proejct (aka ‘Greening the Desert – the Sequel’) in November 2013. (Photo: Geoff Lawton) I experienced a very diverse range of activities during my two weeks in Jordan, teaching a tree care course and helping in the farm activities, at the PRI Jordan Valley Permaculture Project (aka ‘Greening the Desert – the Sequel’ site) at 400 metres below sea level in the Dead Sea Valley. I […]

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Pseudo-grains for Lesotho – Permaculture Design for Disaster

Quinoa This year’s very dry autumn, winter and spring in Lesotho is ringing alarm bells throughout the country. The capital city, Maseru, is down to a very limited supply of potable water. There is no significant rainfall forecast until the summer season, December / February. Last year’s grain crop was slightly better than the two previous years. This improved situation still left 40% of the population, some 725,000, reliant on […]

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Chalback Reg-Op Lesotho

Chalback Reg-Op Lesotho is the story about a sustainable farming system suitable for Lesotho and other similar regions of southern Africa. Chalback Reg-Op was the name of the donkey which J. J Machobane and his wife depended on to power the Machobane farming system in Lesotho. Chalback Reg-Op translated from the Sesotho as hardworking and straight up. This is a very suitable name for the unnoticed and humble donkey — […]

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Maximum Yield Cropping System (MYCS)

There are many economic, social and environmental benefits to be gained by increasing the current yield from existing food production areas, including increased employment, food production and community food security, and most important, the prevention of clearing more forests for food production. Natural ecosystem services are essential for human existence, providing life support functions such as water and oxygen — and they are the models from which we can design […]

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Permaculture in Lesotho

The PRI editor has been encouraging me to give a little more background info on my work on the ground here, so you can all better understand the situation I’m working in. Here’s a short attempt to do so. I have been living in Lesotho for two years, as a volunteer with Australian Volunteers International (AVI ). This is part of the Australian government’s southern African aid programme for 2012-2014. […]

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