Aid Projects, Community Projects, Economics, Society, Urban Projects, peak oil — by Andrew Willner May 9, 2013
We live in dangerous times, when economic collapse, climate chaos, and peak oil threaten the foundations of society, abundance, and all we hold dear. “Business as usual” will no longer suffice, because that way leads to certain pain, peril and impoverishment.
Unspeakable acts of violence like the slaughter at the Sandy Hook school or the Boston Marathon bombing; natural disasters like Katrina and Sandy; economic uncertainty; technical failure; “peak everything;” and climate change can offer opportunities for either despair and disengagement or innovative collaboration. In the aftermath of such disasters communities often experience a surge of purposefulness to deal with the crisis. As a result, there is a need for better understanding of the specific and general resilience of communities, ecosystems, organizations, and institutions to cope with change.Comments (0)
Aid Projects, Community Projects, Demonstration Sites, Education Centres, Urban Projects — by Eric Seider
As we look around our planet we should need no further evidence of the urgency with which we should dedicate ourselves to establishing and demonstrating sustainable systems for human settlement. We especially should need no further evidence as permaculturists. With this in mind and with the intention of facilitating the rapid establishment of more educational, demonstration sites (aka ‘master plan sites’), The Permaculture Research Institute (PRI) would like to announce a change to the naming strategy concerning master plan sites.
We feel it would be a much more effective way to encourage the rapid development of master plan sites if we focus on local naming. Currently we have whole country denominations like PRI Australia, PRI New Zealand, etc. This creates an issue if another PRI site wants to be established within one of those countries, and we hope to facilitate as many demonstration sites as possible. Ideally the name of a master plan site should be: The Permaculture Research Institute "Property Name and Location".Comments (32)
Aid Projects, Community Projects, Demonstration Sites, Education Centres — by Serena Aurora May 2, 2013
In El Salvador Mauricio and Gloria have bought an abandoned Hare Krishna complex. With this they have created something very special. They are growing an organic garden and teaching children from their local community about living sustainably, as well as English. This project has the opportunity to create such a positive impact on the local community, by keeping the children off the streets and giving them something to be passionate about and keeping them in touch with nature. They invite volunteers from all over the world to come and help them by sharing their skills.
This film, which I shot in March 2013, is created to show the amazing work Gloria and Mauricio have accomplished and to make other people aware of this superb project. I stayed with them for a week and had a truly amazing time. I would recommend this experience to anyone.Comments (1)
Aid Projects, Community Projects, Demonstration Sites, Education Centres, Urban Projects — by Salah Hammad April 26, 2013
It’s spring time for the Jordan Valley Permaculture Project (aka "Greening the Desert – the Sequel"), the lowest place on earth (400 metres below sea level) and one of the hottest and driest, and our trees and gardens are full of produce. During the internship that was held at the project in November 2012 the students worked on installing a new irrigation system that has obviously made a big difference!Comments (7)
Aid Projects, Community Projects, Demonstration Sites, Education Centres, Financial Management, Village Development — by Alex McCausland March 30, 2013
Pioneering is an essential function in the establishment of eco-systems. It refers to the initial colonisation of previously uninhabited habitat by a class of species (‘pioneers’) which are specially adapted to living in the harsh conditions of an otherwise uninhabited environment. Pioneers are generally short lived with small and abundant seed and have long range dispersal mechanisms suited to their ecology. Often the seeds are wind pollinated. In habitats which are maintained in a perpetual state of degradation by over-stocking and unregulated grazing, the pioneers tend to have seed which is dispersed by animals — it may be sticky, spiky or with velcro-like micro-hooks on it — so the animals spread them around. In this kind of environment the plants themselves also support defence mechanisms — e.g. spiky, obnoxious, bitter etc., and this is why referring to someone as “a pioneer” in permaculture terminology is a veiled way of saying they may seem ‘difficult’ (as in imbued with the kind of defence mechanisms that pioneer species utilise) but nevertheless they serve an important function – that of “getting the ball rolling” so that other more sociable, lusher, greener, more palatable and cooperative species can move into the system.
Old Bill himself has sometimes been referred to as a pioneer. Most of us are well acquainted with his charm and wit! So, on that basis, I will take having being referred to as a pioneer myself as a compliment! So the point is that pioneers may not be very fluffy, kind and sociable, but without these spiny, stubborn, bitter little plants there would be nothing at all, but with pioneers, we have a chance to get succession going.Comments (2)
Strawberry Fields Eco Lodge: Kitchen Grey-Water System Report of Implementation and Design Update (Ethiopia)
Aid Projects, Biological Cleaning, Community Projects, Conservation, Demonstration Sites, Education Centres, Irrigation, Land, Plant Systems, Waste Systems & Recycling, Waste Water, Water Harvesting — by Alex McCausland
As most of us know, grey water is a term used to refer to “waste” water that has been used once in any domestic system except for toilets (which is referred to as black water). However grey water from the kitchen may be considered as “dark grey” water on account of the fact that it tends to contain a lot more fats and protein from the grease and grime that comes off pots and pans than say shower outflow water which is quite dilute. If you let kitchen grey water sit around it quickly goes rancid and doesn’t smell a lot different from sewage. The grey water coming out of our kitchen also has some pretty nasty detergents in it (Ajax) and we can’t really get hold of anything more eco out here in Ethiopia. Initially we tried putting this grey water directly into an infiltration pit, but that didn’t work very well as it tended to fill up and start to reek and kill the surrounding plants, especially in the rainy season.Comments (3)
As permaculture-, environmental-, or philanthropic-based tourism is becoming increasingly promoted by the media, I often feel like I am being sold an idea, experience, or even indulgence for my unsustainable lifestyle. If I want to have an ‘experience’, as a tourist, I want to be introduced to new thought patterns that challenge me to notice what I notice, such as how I have been trained to seek validation through institionalization. This provocation is what I believe is inherent to permaculture, and is why I find it tricky to adequately explain ‘permaculture’ to someone for the first time. Even defining permaculture can feel counter-intuitive and unsatisfying. Because permaculture can take time, skilled wordsmithing, and visual examples to explain, permaculture-theory is increasingly over simplified, redundant, or sensationalized when adopted by the mainstream media, especially in film. Often, when watching a permaculture film, I find myself feeling as if like I have seen it already. However, One Day, Everything Will Be Free, a feature-length permaculture documentary about Sadhana Forest Haiti, released in Spring 2013, is different.Comments (2)
Aid Projects, Community Projects, Demonstration Sites, Education Centres — by Sheena Shah March 15, 2013
Putting in a Papaya Circle at Nyumbani Village
In an innovative PDC program, following the PRI ‘Master Plan’ template, University students from University of Wisconsin Stevens Point (UWSP) learn permaculture alongside Kenyan students, project managers and small-holder farmers at different community development projects integrating permaculture into their work. The course, which is spread out over three weeks to allow lots of time for practical implementation activities, gives ample opportunity for students to learn about implementing permaculture in a community development context, whilst providing real and long-lasting change for the orphan children and small holder farmers who are beneficiaries of these projects.Comments (3)
Seeking Support for Worthy African Participants to Attend PDC and Internship in Konso, Ethiopia in April-May 2013
Aid Projects, Community Projects, Courses/Workshops, Demonstration Sites, Education Centres, Village Development — by Alex McCausland March 11, 2013
Editor’s Note: As many of you know, we (the PRI) seek to spread permaculture take-up to all people everywhere, but a main focus, as we are able to finance it, is to help establish and support self-replicating permaculture demonstration/education sites in some of the world’s neediest regions. Many of you will have followed Alex’s noble and determined/persistent efforts in Ethiopia (see Alex’s author profile), and I trust you’ll see that he, his team, and the valuable work they are undertaking is more than deserving of our support and encouragement. I have personally worked hard to build traffic on this site over the last several year for the very purpose of being able to focus more eyeballs on worthy projects such as this. I sincerely hope you’ll take the time to read this post, and assist if you can. And, if you’re not in a position to help financially right now, then please at least take the time to share this page with your contacts via email, Facebook, etc. Thanks in advance to you all for your continued support!
Greetings to all of you Permaculturists out there. This is coming from Konso, south Ethiopia where we were able to establish our Strawberry Fields Eco Lodge (SFEL) permaculture demonstration site as a PRI Master Plan satellite site in January. As a PRI site we run trainings for international students, whose fees help us fund local students (i.e. students from Konso to get onto the courses we run — we mostly work with school teachers and students to start and mobilise our schools project sites) to take the training alongside the internationals themselves. We are running a PDC-Internship Combo this spring and have been promoting it here and elsewhere with updates on our work in Konso. However, much of the interest in taking these courses at the moment is coming from students elsewhere in Africa (e.g. Sudan, Zimbabwe, Uganda, Tanzania, etc.) where people are not exactly swimming in spare cash either. Hence we are looking for support to offer scholarships to help these African students attend our program. For each international (African) student that attends, another local Ethiopian student will be able to take the training, working towards the development of our local community outreach program — the Permaculture In Konso Schools Project — so you would be helping two people that need funding to get PDC certified. If anybody out there has the resources and the big heart to help us in this endeavour then their reward is in the good thing that they do. Please see more info on the PDC and internship programs here and here, respectively.
Applicants seeking Support to attend the April/May PDC-Internship are:Comments (2)
In this inspiring TED talk, Ron Finley teaches us all how to be ‘Gangster Gardeners’ and how to let your shovel be the weapon of choice. In his own words, "Growing your own food is like printing your own money". Let that be our new battle cry across the land. Ron and his volunteer gang are showing us how to end the scourge of cities — ‘the food desert.’Comments (2)
Strawberry Fields Eco Lodge: Report on Piped-Water System, Current Status and Design Update (Ethiopia)
Aid Projects, Commercial Farm Projects, Community Projects, Demonstration Sites, Education Centres — by Alex McCausland March 8, 2013
We are an eco-lodge and Permaculture training centre based in Konso, south Ethiopia.
Our only current water source for potable water and garden irrigation is the Konso Town municipal supply, which is drawn from a bore-hole situated just across the road from our site entrance. The supply facility is a manned pumping station with an electric water pump, backed up by a diesel pump for times of power outage, which are frequent. Even this back-up pump may fail on occasion due to lack of fuel or mechanical fault. There are also times when there is a problem in the water line, meaning that the municipal water supply is far from reliable. There are occasional water supply failures of up to a week, perhaps once a year, and more frequent shorter failures of 1 to 3 days every few months. These failures seem to be more frequent during the dry season when there is additional pressure on the system to supply greater community needs. When there is water, the supply is usually on for a couple of hours in the morning 5am – 7am and evening 4pm – 6pm.
The main supply line enters our site directly from the water pump station under the road via the storm drains situated just to the north of the old foot entrance, delivered by a ¾” poly-pipe.Comments (3)
SOIL (Sustainable Organic Integrated Livelihoods) Turns Problem into Solution With Composting Toilets (Haiti)
Aid Projects, Community Projects, Compost, Conservation, Rehabilitation, Urban Projects, Village Development, Waste Systems & Recycling — by Craig Mackintosh PRI Editor March 3, 2013
A few months ago I shared a three minute video from John D. Liu of the EEMP about the work of SOIL (Sustainable Organic Integrated Livelihoods) — an organisation that’s doing great work in Haiti to improve sanitation in a sustainable and affordable way, whilst simultaneously turning the problem (human waste) into a solution (improving agricultural production whilst reducing the incidence of diseases like cholera). John has just sent me the latest edit from his video work on the impoverished island nation, so below you’ll find an extended look at the work of SOIL, and its context. This video makes an excellent follow-up to the article we just posted a couple of days ago: Recycling Animal and Human Dung is the Key to Sustainable Farming.
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
Aid Projects, Fungi, Village Development — by Lucie Bradley February 22, 2013
The desire for sustainable projects for non-government organisations and the need of reliable sources of income for small scale farmers is ever increasing in Tanzania and the ‘developing world’. Within international development ‘sustainability’ is a buzz-word often bandied round, with many communities and organisations slowly helping to transform traditional top-down development models to investing in more grass-roots, long-term, locally applicable solutions. Small scale income-generating businesses such as mushroom production may be one of many viable options for many rural Tanzanian communities gaining greater sustainability, and has captured the interest of the small NGO, Food Water Shelter (FWS), in Arusha, Northern Tanzania.
Inspired by possibilities demonstrated at Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (JKUAT) in Nairobi and the apparent simplicity and low tech requirements of growing mushrooms, FWS have been growing oyster mushrooms (Pleurotus spp). With a commitment to sustainability, appropriate technology and practising permaculture through the implementation of income-generating food production systems, aquaculture and animal husbandry, FWS have included oyster mushroom production into their existing systems.Comments (3)
Aid Projects, Commercial Farm Projects, Community Projects, Demonstration Sites, Education Centres, Village Development — by Ben Humphrey February 20, 2013
Actual view from Mountain View Eco Farm site
As some readers may remember, I wrote an article last August outlining my experience at the Sustainable Agriculture Development Program of Nepal, and of the farm manager’s (Govinda Paudel) dream of establishing his own permaculture inspired education and demonstration farm.
Well, at long last, Govinda has managed to buy a small plot of land near Pokhara, overlooking Begnes Lake and the mighty Annapurna Range of the Himalaya, to establish Mountain View Eco Farm. Govinda has worked tirelessly to make his dream a reality – setting up a fantastic website, networking extensively and seeking out the land to build his dream. In December of last year, his parents sold some of their land in Bardiya, near the border of India, to help Govinda make his dream a reality. They plan to sell the rest of their land soon and move to Pokhara to help Govinda with the running and management of the farm in the not too distant future. Although Govinda now owns some land from which to begin developing Mountain View Eco Farm, more land is needed along with farm animals and items to make sure that Mountain View Eco Farm can become self sufficient and sustainable in the long run.
Govinda’s plan for the farm is inspiring. The objectives of Mountain View Eco Farm are basically three fold. They include:Comments (0)