Dams, Food Forests, Land, Swales — by Geoff Lawton April 22, 2013
Geoff Lawton, with Zaytuna Farm behind (upper left)
Photo © Craig Mackintosh
I’ve been staggered by the reaction to my latest video I put up on the weekend. Over 500 comments, with most people telling me it’s my best video yet.
If you haven’t seen it, check it out. We hit the design wall on a 5 acre cow paddock and redesigned it with 7 dams and a huge food forest system for under $20 thousand.
Most people couldn’t believe what can be done on the small scale.Comments (11)
Food Plants - Perennial, Material, Plant Systems, Trees — by Eric Toensmeier April 15, 2013
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 in papermaking. Unlike many industrial crop categories, there is no “synthetic starch” being made from fossil fuels. The situation, however, is not much better. All, or virtually all industrial starch comes from annual food crops, grown in conventional tillage systems. In fact, 17% of European grain goes to papermaking every year. So first we’re using annuals where perennials might fill the gap, and second we’re using food to make cardboard and drywall. This seems like a waste of food, and if we want to minimize the use of annuals we need to find another strategy. Efforts are also underway to genetically modify plants to produce particular starches useful to industry. Given the wide range of starch types available in nature, and the ingenuity of chemists, I think this is unnecessary and somewhat alarming.
Osage orange is a perennial inedible starch with excellent potential as a
feedstock for industrial products like cardboard and bioplastics.
It is cold- and drought-hardy. Image courtesy Wikimedia Commons.
Land, Terraces — by Jonathan Davis April 4, 2013
Every geographic area has a resource waiting to be used. I want to talk about areas that have stone easily accessible. Rocks can seem to be a huge obstacle to design and productivity, but there are some valuable advantages that come with having usable stone. Some advantages to using stone in a design can be: freeing the soil of obstacles to plant growth, being able to use that removed stone for retaining walls or other structures, using land far beyond what common ideology says it is worth, using otherwise unused material and simple beauty. Rocky landscapes can be very advantageous to a permaculture designer.Comments (12)
Aid Projects, Commercial Farm Projects, Community Projects, Courses/Workshops, Demonstration Sites, Education Centres, Gabions, Land, Material, Roads, Soil Conservation, Storm Water, Water Harvesting — by Alex McCausland March 1, 2013
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 side of the road which heads uphill to the south of our site. This flash flood creates a temporary stream which impacts the south eastern corner of the site. The flash floods can be pretty intense.
Western town watershed, running past SE corner of SFEL site
Conservation, Dams, Irrigation, Land, Rehabilitation, Surveying, Swales, Water Harvesting — by Mark Feineigle February 22, 2013
Freshly keyline plowed (Photo: Kirsten Bradley)
Plan the work then work the plan. — P.A. Yeomans
In the mid 1950s, Australian engineer P.A. Yeomans demonstrated a new system of land management he called the Keyline system. The consensus of the time, championed by people like Dr H.H. Bennett, was that soil was a finite resource and that once depleted “it was irretrievably lost as if consumed by fire”. P.A. understood that long natural carbon cycles create soil, but also knew that this process takes hundreds or thousands of years. By adjusting the conditions in the soil with his plowing and management techniques, P.A. was able to speed this process and create dozens of millimeters of fertile topsoil in just one year.Comments (5)
Biological Cleaning, Conservation, Dams, Earth Banks, Gabions, Irrigation, Land, Material, Potable Water, Regional Water Cycle, Rehabilitation, Soil Erosion & Contamination, Storm Water, Swales, Terraces, Water Contaminaton & Loss, Water Harvesting — by Craig Mackintosh PRI Editor January 31, 2013
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 expensive natural disasters and resource limitations would simply disappear, as we reinstate nature’s own moderating capabilities.Comments (7)
Aid Projects, Community Projects, Earth Banks, Gabions, Irrigation, Land, Regional Water Cycle, Rehabilitation, Storm Water, Water Harvesting — by Salah Hammad January 9, 2013
Shibam: UNESCO World Heritage site
I was recently privileged to be part of the team that accompanied Geoff and Nadia Lawton along with Mr. Tashi Dawa in a very interesting consultancy in the Southern Yemen, specifically The Hadhramaut Valley, or Wadi Hadhramaut.
Geoff was invited by the “Reconstruction Fund of Hadhramaut and Al-Mahra” to give his opinion on what could be done in the valley in terms of flood mitigation and water harvesting from a permaculture point of view.Comments (10)
Aid Projects, Community Projects, Land, Swales — by David Spicer December 7, 2012
While at Wadeye, Northern Territory, Australia, installing a permaculture design for Earth Ethics, this video was taken when I was explaining how to install swales and level sill spillways and what their function is, to some of the guys working on site.
So if you want to understand how to install swales and spillways, this might help.
Apologies for the unbuttoned shirt, I was not aware this was being filmed.
Further Reading:Comments (1)
Aid Projects, Earth Banks, Gabions, Land, Material, Soil Conservation, Storm Water, Swales, Terraces — by Daniel Halsey November 29, 2012
This year I have been in Haiti after a downgraded hurricane, and then in New Jersey a week after Sandy. While in New Jersey two tornadoes passed by my old house. What do they have in common?
In each case water was being limited in its flow by developement or the removal of natural structures that diffuse its energy. While working in Haiti and trying to build large enough swales to catch water, it was instantly apparent after the first five-inch rain that what we needed to do was slow it down and catch the sediment.Comments (1)
Aid Projects, Community Projects, Demonstration Sites, Earth Banks, Education Centres, Land, Plant Systems, Rehabilitation, Soil Conservation, Swales, Village Development, Water Harvesting — by Sabrina Faubert November 22, 2012
I’m not sure it’s possible, looking back now, to say exactly what I was expecting when I hopped on that plane and flew to Ethiopia for an internship at Strawberry Fields, but one thing I am sure of is that it’s been one of the most transformative, edifying experiences I’ve had in my life.Comments (2)
Courses/Workshops, Land, Livestock, Swales, Working Animals — by Penny Kothe November 21, 2012
Capturing water before it runs off your property is key to rehydrating parched landscapes. Building ‘swales’ or channels along contour with uncompacted mounds is one way of assisting water infiltration.
Building swales can also be an expensive exercise utilising heavy machinery which is expensive to transport and hire.
Nick Huggins, of Jacmarall Farm uses an innovative way of building smaller swales that is within the economic reach of most small farmers. Using pigs to do the bulk of the digging work, Nick calls this ‘pigscavation’.Comments (2)
DVDs/Books, Dams, Food Forests, Food Plants - Annual, Food Plants - Perennial, Food Shortages, Global Warming/Climate Change, Irrigation, Land, Plant Systems, Rehabilitation, Swales, Trees, Water Harvesting, peak oil — by Geoff Lawton November 12, 2012
At time of writing, our Zaytuna Farm Video Tour video has had almost 11,000 views, after only six months. A lot of people expressed their appreciation for this video, with some describing it as a "free DVD". Where we can, we want to provide more inspirational/instructional material for free, and today I’m writing to let you know about our latest effort towards fulfilling this goal.
Click here to go to an introductory video titled ‘How to Survive the Coming Crises‘. This is a FREE 34-minute video that looks at:Comments (5)
Aid Projects, Community Projects, Conservation, Demonstration Sites, Food Forests, Irrigation, Land, Plant Systems, Rehabilitation, Soil Conservation, Swales, Trees, Water Harvesting — by Neal Spackman November 9, 2012
This week the project started planting the swales with 1000 very hardy desert trees. The team is working in shifts of laying drip line, digging holes, manuring and mulching swales, putting in compost, planting, mulching again, and then adjusting the drip emitter.Comments (7)
Aid Projects, Community Projects, Compost, Conservation, Food Forests, Food Shortages, Irrigation, Land, Rehabilitation, Soil Composition, Soil Conservation, Structure, Swales, Village Development, Water Harvesting — by Stephanie Blennerhassett October 31, 2012
PDCs are tricky. For two weeks we tumble into this community of unfamiliarly familiar, curious strangers. The constant whirlwind of habits, obligations, and distractions that composes our lives momentarily dissipates and we are thrust into this world where our main responsibility is to be open-minded, observe, think, learn, and connect. Yet, at the end of the day, we are singular beings and we all have our lives that we will return to. As PDC participants, we are exposed to this new paradigm together, share bemusement at fractal patterns and individual inspirations, and then suddenly depart the entropy we fell into and hopefully go off with the intent to use permaculture as a framework for making society and the environment more resilient.
However, after I was formally introduced to permaculture, as a nomadic recent college graduate, I was not sure how permaculture could be a tangible part of my life. The fulfillment from a sense of belonging and purpose I experienced during the PDC instilled within me a restless need to contribute to a project and/or community. So, I found myself asking, “Now what?”.Comments (4)
Aid Projects, Biological Cleaning, Community Projects, Compost, Conservation, Fencing, Irrigation, Land, Material, Nurseries & Propogation, Plant Systems, Potable Water, Rehabilitation, Seeds, Soil Composition, Soil Conservation, Structure, Swales, Trees, Village Development, Waste Systems & Recycling, Waste Water — by Alex McCausland October 25, 2012
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, 2012. Your tuition fees directly support this important educational aid work.
The Hafto Solar Community Water Project site project is a solar powered water supply facility for the surrounding community of Hafto in the Hadiya Zone, South Ethiopia. The project was planned and implemented by a German NGO called DWC and is owned and run by a local NGO called SMART. The facility supplies water to about 1500 surrounding community members within an approximate 1km radius. There is a small charge for the water of about 0.01 Ethiopian Birr per liter (1$=18Birr) which covers the running costs of the project. The community members currently come to the site with donkeys to collect the water in jerry-cans which they take home for use.Comments (3)