Category: Material

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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Killer Natural Plaster Recipe

In this article I’m going to share with you my killer recipe for a final plaster that I have used and evolved over the last eight years. The final layer is what you will see day to day, so it’s worth making it nice. If you’re interested in a recipe that is non-toxic, made from easy to find natural materials and has a beautiful finish then read on. I first […]

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Health Benefits of Natural Earthen Construction

Somehow or another, the modern day, industrial world in which we live convinced us that dirt is unclean, impure, and well…. dirty. We worry when we see our children headed for a mud puddle, we agonize when a mud footprint makes its way onto our kitchen floor, and we´ll gladly walk an extra couple strides on the sidewalk to avoid even a step or two through the dirt. The idea […]

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Earthworks Course Introduction with Geoff Lawton (video)

If you’re considering doing Geoff Lawton’s Permaculture Design Certificate Course later this month and want to know more, check out the Bonus $1200 Earthworks course we are including for free. It’s a mixture of classroom and field lectures that will bring you up to speed and teach you how to build dams, ponds, swales, water features, spillways and house sites using excavators.

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Industrial Starch and Bioplastic from Non-Destructively Harvested Perennials

This article is an excerpt from my forthcoming book Carbon Farming: A Global Toolkit for Stabilizing the Climate with Tree Crops and Regenerative Agriculture Practices, and is part of a series promoting my kickstarter campaign to raise funds with which to complete the book. Though we rarely think of it, starch is the number two most used carbohydrate in industry, coming just after cellulose which is used in great quantities […]

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Strawberry Fields Update: Flood Protection and Water Control in Ethiopia, Part II

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 […]

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Ridge to Valley – a Holistic Watershed Perspective

This excellent little 20-minute video does a great job of covering the basics of watershed management and landscape rehydration. You won’t hear the words ‘permaculture’ or ‘swales’ once, but it’s clear that both are in use here, to great effect. If we can get these simple but profound concepts driven into social consciousness, and applied broadscale, we would see that investment in labour pay dividends, as many of our increasingly […]

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Update on Permaculture Implementation and Design Development at Hafto Site, Hadiya Zone, Ethiopia

Editor’s Note: Regular readers will have appreciated Alex McCausland’s regular and comprehensive reports from precariously positioned Ethiopia, and the great work he and his team have been doing on the ground. If you want to learn practical permaculture and gain real-world permaculture aid work experience in a location rich in agricultural history, then please consider taking Alex’s next PDC, to be held in southern Ethiopia between December 10 — 22, […]

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Reflections on Dryland Water Management in Portugal

A reflection following a great time finding solutions for dryland water management in Portugal by Richard Perkins I’m enjoying working on a job connecting up extensive irrigation in the mountains of Extremadura, Spain, and relaxing for a couple of days after a successful and effective Dryland Water Management intensive at the budding Permaculture Institute, Vale De Lama, near Lagos in the South of Portugal. This week we have been looking […]

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Tales from La Angostura, Guatemala, A Project in the Making – Chapter 3: Preparing to do Something

Click for larger view To be sure, buying a nice piece of land requires a lot of effort and a few happy accidents. Things have to happen ‘just right’ in order for you to acquire a highly valuable property with little cash and a lot of complications, but, who said it was going to be easy? As with everything in this life, when you overcome great complications, you feel like […]

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An Innovative Approach to Water Storage at a Sustainable Tanzanian Home

Just outside of Arusha, Tanzania, is ‘Kesho Leo’– a sustainable home for vulnerable women and children operated by FoodWaterShelter. The principles of permaculture underpin the daily lives of the Kesho Leo residents. It is currently the home of seven families, each headed by a Tanzanian mama who cares for up to five children, including orphans. In addition to the daily essentials, Kesho Leo provides the many other aspects that a […]

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Gold Coast Permaculture – Serious About Working With Local Waste Streams

The creation of soil biology and composting and the generation of soil health and fertility as the foundation of regenerative agriculture is a major part of any organic or permaculture design gardening process. It is no different at the Gold Coast Permaculture site at 270 Ferry Road where the creation of soil is a major priority for the group as we expand our operations to include a large community garden […]

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