Category: Plant Systems

The Time Has Come for Agroecology

Agroecology is a different way of seeing the food system because it deals with issues related to who gets access to resources and the processes that determine this access. (Photo credit: UN Photo) “It is time for a new agricultural model that ensures that enough quality food is produced where it is most needed, that preserves nature and that delivers ecosystem services of local and global relevance” – in a […]

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SRI and SCI – How Millions of Farmers are Advancing Agriculture For Themselves

SRI-grown rice in China The world record yield for paddy rice production is not held by an agricultural research station or by a large-scale farmer from the United States, but by Sumant Kumar who has a farm of just two hectares in Darveshpura village in the state of Bihar in Northern India. His record yield of 22.4 tons per hectare, from a one-acre plot, was achieved with what is known […]

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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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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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World’s Largest Aquaponics Project, in China’s Third Largest Aquaculture Lake

Lake Taihu experienced its worst ever algal bloom at the height of summer 2004, pushing researchers to search for new solutions. They decided to try a new technology, floating wetlands, that are designed to remove nutrients that fuel algal blooms. An ambitious aspect of the project was to launch the world’s largest aquaponics system, over 4 acres in size, using new technologies in combination with old world bamboo that is […]

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Create a Hugelmound Landscape

Hugelmounds are a truly amazing regenerative landscaping technique. They could be your preferred method of soil re-building and regeneration, and here’s why. There’s a lot to consider when understanding the best and most environmentally balanced way of creating your new forest garden and permaculture landscape. Hugelcultures, or "hugel mounds", are a way of creating raised beds, which over time break down into mounds of fertility. They work on the principle […]

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Intensive Silvopasture – a Win-Win for Carbon and Yield

I don’t have rights to a photo of intensive silvopasture, but in this image we have high density of leucaena with pasture below, thus a very similar pattern. Ethan Roland for scale. As I research my book on carbon-sequestering agriculture I am occasionally struck by particularly promising techniques that mitigate climate change, build soils, and actually increase production of human food or other yields. One such system that has me […]

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Plants That Attract Beneficial Insects

by Fred Hoffman Nature wants to make your job as a gardener as easy as possible; but you have to help. So, let’s talk about putting in plants that attract the "good bugs", the crawling and flying creatures whose diet includes pests that are ravaging your garden plants. These beneficial predatory insects do not live on aphid steaks alone. They need other natural sources of food and shelter for their […]

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Mycelium Running: How Fungi Can Help Save the World

by Paul Stamets. Review by Sher June. When research biologist Paul Stamets suggests fungi can help save the world, he is absolutely serious. In fact, he contends they can rescue it in several different ways. There are the medicines to be derived from fungi, probably more than we can yet imagine. Fungi for insect pest control. Fungi can absorb and often digest toxins from their environments — toxins as diverse […]

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UN: Only Small Farmers and Agroecology Can Feed the World

Governments must shift subsidies and research funding from agro-industrial monoculture to small farmers using ‘agroecological’ methods, according to the UN’s Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food. And as Nafeez Ahmed notes, her call coincides with a new agroecology initiative within the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organisation. Modern industrial agricultural methods can no longer feed the world, due to the impacts of overlapping environmental and ecological crises linked to land, […]

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