Category: Urban Projects

Jack of All Trades, Master of None

I am always observing and making decisions on the run, doing a sequence of brief tasks and changing mid stream from what I had previously planned. Multi-tasking is the norm in a self-reliant way of life, so different from the specialisation and repetitive focus that characterises work in the conventional economy. When performing a long sequence of small tasks in a diverse and integrated permaculture system, [one] needs many different […]

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Permaculture for Pastoralists in the Jordan Valley – Part II

Note: If you haven’t already, you can read Part I here. A Dead Sea Valley family home with their typical front ‘lawn’. Photo © Craig Mackintosh The title may lead you to think we are talking about people who manage pasture or have access to wide areas of rangeland. In fact, we are talking about people whose parents and grandparents were nomadic pastoralists that ranged flocks of animals across vast […]

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Permaculture Site Establishment: Phases of Abundance

An abundance of jackfruit at Project Bonafide in Nicaragua Five years ago I had the opportunity to join a land-based project (Rancho Mastatal Sustainable Education Center in Costa Rica) already eight years into operation. At my arrival I found a site that had focused on infrastructure and program building over its initial life span. This was an important leverage point in building a financial base as an education center, but […]

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An Orchard Grows in Boston

Rebuilding the commons in an economically-divided, violence-scarred neighborhood by Orion Kriegman Egleston Square is a rapidly gentrifying neighborhood, straddling the borders of Roxbury and Jamaica Plain (JP) in the city of Boston. High condo prices and even higher rents are pushing long-term residents, to move elsewhere. This churning of the real estate market, to be expected in a profit-maximizing system, dissolves community and acerbates race and class divides. It is […]

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Permaculture for Pastoralists in the Jordan Valley – Part I

Awassi sheep ready to go to market (and random standards inspector) I’ve been to the Greening the Desert “Sequel” site three times now. Once was in 2011 when we were at the IPC in Jordan. Once was in 2012 when I went there to take an internship with Geoff and Nadia. This year I was able to go back there to teach a PDC myself. So I’ve seen some of […]

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A Bit About Bananas

In his fantastic book Complete Book Of Fruit Growing in Australia Louis Glowinski wrote that "the banana is the most important fruit crop of the wet tropics, and may have been the first fruit cultivated by man". That first caught my eye when I first read through the book, but living in Melbourne, Australia, a warm temperate climate, bananas weren’t the highest priority for me to grow. Having recently moved […]

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Guerilla Gardening in Rural Panama

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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Natural Swimming Pools for Passive Holistic Education, Increased Diversity, and Health

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. […]

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A Canadian Rocket Stove Powered Greenhouse

How does Permaculture function in cold climate latitudes? Recently Geoff Lawton and his crew visited engineers Rob and Michelle Avis at their home in Calgary, Canada. Rob and Michelle have transformed their urban garden into an outstanding example of good design. They run Verge Permaculture and actually encourage the neighbouring children to pick and sample the berries and vegetables that are grown in their front yard.

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Help Marda Permaculture Farm Fund its Dream to Construct a Teaching Center! (West Bank)

The Marda Permaculture Farm is a working farm and demonstration site for permaculture principles, techniques and strategies in Palestine. Based in the picturesque ancient village of Marda, the project promotes food sovereignty, health, self-reliance and empowerment. This is accomplished through modeling water harvesting, recycling, energy conservation and home-scale garden production with readily available and locally-appropriate materials. Farm Founder and Director Murad AlKhufash has long dreamed of a teaching building using […]

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Building Community Through Permaculture – an Interview with Mark Lakeman

Marcin Gerwin: You used to work as an architect for a large company. How did you come to be involved in permaculture? Mark Lakeman: I was working for a large firm in 1988 and I wasn’t exposed to permaculture while working in a corporate career, which was very typical. But fortunately for me there was a day in my firm when there was a huge toxic waste cover-up that I […]

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A Report on the April 2014 PDC at the “Greening the Desert Sequel” Site (Jordan)

I am in Jordan, where the monthly average wage is 300 Jordanian dinar. To put that into perspective, a phone card for one month cost me five dinar. But buying a car is the same as it is everywhere. Their major issue here is water. They have little rain, with an average of under 300mm a year. They use underground aquifers, and they say that will only last for another […]

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