Category: Retrofitting

How Dry Composting Toilets Work

Dry composting toilets are an efficient, cyclical way of dealing with human waste without using and/or fouling fresh water, which is in ever-dwindling supply on the planet. Using clean water to flush human excrement sends it into either a septic system, which eventually has to be pumped and the sludge moved to larger facilities where it will then be dealt with, or sewer mains, where it congregates into a horribly […]

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First Community Food Forest in the City of Melbourne

First Community Food Forest in the City of Melbourne

The Kensington Food Forest began with a dream, to provide healthy nutritious organic food for our local community, to build resilience around food security.  Kensington is an inner city suburb in Melbourne.  We wanted to grow our own food to reduce pressure on farmlands, reduce food miles and the subsequent use of fossil fuels in transportation as well as keeping chemicals off our plates and creating community.  After doing my […]

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Win-Win Situation. Retrofitting Farm Dams to Increase Freeboard and Increase Wildlife Habitat and Productive Edge

The first thing I look for in a dam retrofit other than the spillway, is the freeboard. The freeboard is the height of the dam wall above the spillway. The freeboards presence is critical to the safety of the dam.  After looking at the spillway and the freeboard, I would look at the batters of the dam wall bot. inside and outside.  What degree slope are they?  Can you build […]

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Battery Technologies for Off-Grid Living

There are so many battery technologies out in the marketplace, and it is highly likely between me writing this and you reading it there will be another new fandangled world’s best battery that has hit the market. What Elon Musk has done with Tesla is to create a market awareness of wanting to install home battery storage and reduce our impact on the environment from burning fossil fuels. This has […]

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Big Inspiration in Little Old England: Plant Life Abounds

Pond at New Shoots It was an unexpected phone call that sent my wife Emma and me from Colombia to England this past October. We’d not been in Bogota for a full day when we learned that her father was ill, and it wouldn’t be a bad idea for us to visit sooner rather than later. In the following twenty-four hours, we managed to cancel two volunteer posts at permaculture […]

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Creating the Alternative: Inside Look into the SolTrekker

by Mo Lohre and Will Redwine Sorry for the hiatus, but would you believe we came across a few bumps in the road? Just like with any worthwhile quest, unexpected challenges emerged. Now that we’ve had some time to address them, we are excited to share our struggles as well as our findings. When we began the Creating the Alternative Tour we were determined to design a regenerative lifestyle while […]

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Brooklyn Grange: A Rooftop Farm in New York (video)

Geoff Lawton at Brooklyn Grange Rooftop Farm “That view behind me is not a painted backdrop!” said Geoff Lawton to the camera. But the view looked great from where I was standing. Brooklyn Grange is a rooftop farm with a magnificent view looking over the Manhattan skyline. Sited on a concrete roof, totaling 2.5 acres and producing over 50,000 lbs of organically-grown vegetables each year, you need to walk its […]

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Report on a Permaculture Internship – Strawberry Fields Eco Lodge (Sept-Oct, 2013, Ethiopia)

Editor’s Note: Beginning 2 December 2013, Alex is running another PDC at the developing Strawberry Fields Eco Lodge in southern Ethiopia. Following that will be a four-week Internship, starting 16 December, 2013. Why not book your place and head off for the learning and cultural immersion experience of a lifetime! This is a write up based on a brief report by Jesse Wood which he wrote at the end of […]

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Retrofitting a Small Town

For the last four years, I have been dreaming of retrofitting a small town with a group of like-minded individuals with a diverse set of skills. I talk a lot about this in my courses, and it always gets a group of people charged up. It seems as though there are a lot of people that are tired of living in these massive, hyper-urban environments that meet our basic needs […]

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The Cynefin Permaculture Project (North Wales)

If you want to make permaculture happen, then just start. This is the story of how one garden ended up providing work, food and fun for people in the community of Gwynedd, Wales. History It was autumn, March 2012, and unemployment was at an all time high in North Wales. I was a qualified permaculture consultant wandering the lands searching for my next project, but also suffering the strain of […]

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From Traffic Jams to Ecocities – Interview with Richard Register, President of Ecocity Builders

Marcin Gerwin: In many cities there are problems with traffic jams. The streets are clogged with cars and as a response mayors build new roads or widen the streets. Old buildings are demolished to make way for new lanes so that a highway running through the middle of the city could be built. Would you say that this is the right way forward?

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The MEGGA-Watt Project Moves Forward

by Rene Michalak The "MEGGA-watt" Project (Micro-Energy Generating Garage Assembly) is a demonstration / prototype to turn everyday detached garages from simple storage units (aka ‘car-holes’) into food-growing and energy-generating systems using permaculture design. The basic concept is to partner a garage with an attached greenhouse and renewable energy to create sustainable 4-season growing systems with minimal fossil fuel input that serves both practical and recreational purposes. Owners of a […]

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