Posted by & filed under Animal Forage, Animal Housing, Bird Life, Commercial Farm Projects, Compost, Fencing, Land, Livestock, Soil Rehabilitation, Waste Systems & Recycling, Working Animals.

Trailer only — watch full video here!

"Who can weld?" Geoff asks. Keen to impress, my hand goes up. “I will see you at the shed after dinner tonight then”, a twinkle of excitement in his eye. This is the story of the chicken tractor on steroids from concept to birth.

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Posted by & filed under Building, Energy Systems, Waste Systems & Recycling.

Alfredo Moser with his solar water bottle bulbs


Thomas Alva Edison lit up the world with his electric bulb in the nineteenth century. In this century it is the solar bottle bulbs of Alfredo Moser which are illuminating thousands of houses of under-privileged people in many countries. This simple invention of the Brazilian mechanic is going viral and is been implemented in remote villages throughout the world. This article is the story of this invention — the solar bottle bulb or “Moser lamp” and how it is transforming people’s lives.

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Posted by & filed under Energy Systems, Retrofitting, Waste Systems & Recycling.

by Mo Lohre and Will Redwine

Sorry for the hiatus, but would you believe we came across a few bumps in the road? Just like with any worthwhile quest, unexpected challenges emerged. Now that we’ve had some time to address them, we are excited to share our struggles as well as our findings.

When we began the Creating the Alternative Tour we were determined to design a regenerative lifestyle while visiting and learning from initiatives that were aligned with our mission. We sought out vehicles that had the potential to run on wasted vegetable oil, from diesel buses to old Mercedes. On one of our typical bike rides around town, in Portland, Oregon, we came across an RV tucked behind a church, two blocks from our house. Its brightly painted suns and name "SolTrekker" caught our eye. We immediately assumed that it had something to do with solar technology. We were right! We could see solar panels and a painted sign that read “Rainwater Collection!”. Was this a regenerative miracle? We had to find out more since we were in the midst of trying to create our own green machine. As soon as we got home, we looked it up online and were impressed with the vehicle and non-profit associated with it.

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Posted by & filed under Community Projects, Compost, Urban Projects.

4th-grader Carter Schmidt is the proud CEO of Carter’s Compost, a bike-powered initiative that aims to build a more resilient community by recycling an entire neighborhood’s organic waste. The 9-year-old visionary is not only helping his folks’ urban farm but he is also encouraging members to grow their own food by redistributing the final product to his community — for only $5 a month! No wonder he was awarded the 2013 Recycler of the Year!

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Posted by & filed under Aid Projects, Community Projects.

Peach blossoming in Lesotho

The white-edged black clouds embrace the craggy green tops of the Maluti Mountains with patches of blue sky in between them. The late afternoon setting sun gives a golden glow to this mountain panorama. This is the setting for my farewell to Lesotho. My two year placement with Phelisanong as part of Australia’s support of southern Africa is coming to an end. It has been the best of times with many memories to keep and stories to tell. It is hard to know where to start this farewell from somewhere on the road less travelled.

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Posted by & filed under Building, Courses/Workshops.

I’m sitting here writing this article surrounded by 35 people, here to build Australia’s first council-approved Earthship in the Adelaide Hills — a home made largely out of recycled car tyres, cans, bottles and dirt. Among these people are travellers, architects, comedians, town planners, university students, artists, musicians, business owners and a handful of builders.

Most of them have never built a thing in their life and are picking up power tools for the first time. They’ve struggled through consecutive 40°C plus days, with big winds carrying the sounds of nearby bush fire warning sirens. It’s quite the change from sitting at an air conditioned desk for a day job. They are constantly challenged and taken out of their comfort zone, but ask any one of them about their experience and they’ll tell you that community building has changed their lives.

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Posted by & filed under Courses/Workshops.

From the 16th of March, Agari Permaculture Farm and Mud Mob are running a two-week natural building, health and healing workshop.

The focus of the workshop is the build of a 10sqm Cob house using a number of natural building styles – cob, wattle and daub, light earth, recycled bottle walls, cordwood and a reciprocal roof – to give participants hands-on experience in a variety of building styles and the confidence to start their own building projects.

There’ll also be earthbag building and talks and demonstrations on earthships, permaculture, fermentation, mycology, creating communities, alternative energy and much more.

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Posted by & filed under Animal Housing, Bird Life, Livestock, Working Animals.

The scientific name for chickens is Gallus domesticus for domesticated chickens. Domesticated chickens have been bred by humans from Asian jungle fowls. The chicken is the closest living relative to the great Tyrannosaurus rex. In a Permaculture environment all animals are important, but by breeding smaller animals you will receive more benefits than breeding larger animals, because:

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Posted by & filed under Food Forests, Food Plants - Perennial, Medicinal Plants.

Turmeric (Curcuma longa) can handle 5°F/-15°C. The rhizomes make a great tea and are
wonderful shredded into stir-frys or cooked with rice.

When I visit tropical and subtropical forest gardens I often see ginger, turmeric, galangal, and cardamom in the understory, beneath and between the fruit trees. In fact, according to P.K. Nair’s fantastic Tropical Homegardens, ginger and turmeric are universally found in tropical homegardens (ancient, traditional food forests) around the world.

I was thus very excited the day my copy of T.M.E. Branney’s Hardy Gingers arrived in the mail. This book profiles perhaps 100 members of the ginger family (Zingiberaceae) and the related Costaceae. How nice to learn that many, many gingers can handle some cold, and are grown by gardeners in the US and UK as ornamentals.

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Posted by & filed under Community Projects, Village Development.

The world needs a better way to make decisions together

“The new era of digital democracy is one source of hope. New formats for web-based participation, like Loomio, and enablers of grassroots engagement… are flourishing.” — The Huffington Post

Democracy isn’t just about politics — it’s people getting together and deciding how things should be. It’s a skill we can practice with people wherever we are: in our workplaces, our schools, and our communities.

Loomio is a user-friendly tool for collaborative decision-making: not majority-rules polling, but actually coming up with solutions that work for everyone. We’re a small team in New Zealand, and we’ve built a prototype that people are already doing great things with. Now we’re crowdfunding so we can build the real thing: a new tool for truly inclusive decision-making.

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