Category: Plants

Trees Giving Up Battle, But Sustainable Farming Offers Hope

The silver bullet solution to climate change in many people’s book is to simply ‘plant a tree’. A recent study indicates that it might not be quite that simple… The ability of forests to soak up man-made carbon dioxide is weakening, according to an analysis of two decades of data from more than 30 sites in the frozen north. The finding published today is crucial, because it means that more […]

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A Pattern Revolution

by Warren Brush, Quail Springs All over the world, an ancient way of being has combined its elemental forces with the truths gained in the modern age to spark the fires of a new and imperative revolution. It is a subtle revolution of knowing the story of where all that sustains us comes from, and of honoring those things deeply. This revolution’s power draws from an ancient well of knowing […]

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Nitrogen Fixing Trees – The Multipurpose Pioneers

The myths about the wonders of nitrogen fixing trees are many. Craig Elevitch (see bio at bottom) and Kim Wilkinson explain how to use them effectively. Nitrogen Fixing Trees for Permaculture Flowers of the leguminous tree, Kowhai, the national flower of New Zealand Nitrogen fixation is a pattern of nutrient cycling which has successfully been used in perennial agriculture for millennia. This article focuses on legumes, which are nitrogen fixers […]

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The Development of Farmer Managed Natural Regeneration

Editor’s Note: Arguably one of the most successful land regeneration projects in the world, Farmer Managed Natural Regeneraton (FMNR), beginning in Niger during the 1980s, has revegetated three million hectares of arid land in that country alone – bringing back biodiversity in flora and fauna, increasing soil humus (and thus carbon) content, improving water retention and microclimates, and dramatically improving the health and viability of local communities. It is now […]

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Biodiverse Systems are More Productive

Sustainable farming across the world relies on cultivating a diversity of crops and livestock to maximise internal input, and this is in marked contrast to the high external input monoculture of industrial farming, which is proving unsustainable in many respects. Indirect support for the sustainability of agricultural diversity is coming from an unexpected quarter. Academic ecologists are discovering that biodiverse systems are more productive. by Dr. Mae-Wan Ho: Geneticist, Biophysicist […]

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Strange Fruit

A hard commercial logic dictates that the only way to get good fruit today is to grow your own. by George Monbiot – journalist, author, academic and environmental and political activist I feel almost shy about writing this column. It contains no revelations, no call to arms. No one gets savaged: well, only mildly. The subject is almost inconsequential. Yet it has become an obsession which, at this time of […]

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New Permaculturists in Kamiah, Idaho

While on a consultancy at the future site of the Kamiah Permaculture Institute at Kim and Julie Pagliaro’s FNA Ranch, Geoff and Nadia visit the neighbor’s (Carol and David Johnson) permaculture garden in Kamiah, ID. Just a little exposure to permaculture by their neighbour’s students set them off on the high road to sustainability. You know how the advert goes – you tell two people, they tell two people, and […]

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Efficient Glasshouse Design

A well designed glasshouse can serve many functions and be an extremely productive element in a permaculture system. It creates a self-contained environment in which the designer can modify conditions of heat, light, water and air for a variety of benefits. High value crops can be grown out of their normal climatic range or produced out of season, growing seasons can be extended by starting seedlings of annual plants early, […]

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Dynamic Seed Exchanges for the World

Exchanging seeds and other planting material, formally and informally, is nothing new. This is how societies have been adding new food, fibres and medicines to their cultures over centuries. Every culture has incorporated new genes and foreign varieties into their own strains. In developing countries, formal seed exchanges are either proven ancient seed systems or have been re-invented to counteract the damaging effects of the Green Revolution. Millions of farmers […]

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Build a Banana Circle

A banana-paw paw circle is an excellent way to grow fine fruit and root vegetable crops whilst using up excess water and organic wastes. by Jan Buckley Why it works so well The design is basically a circular swale, and it works well because there’s only one place to mulch, feed and water, which serves many plants. It’s a good spot to put all your kitchen scraps, to use as […]

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