Posted by & filed under GMOs.

Europe’s status as one of the most rigidly regulated and GM-controlled agricultural zones in the world (1) is being severely tested in a number of ways: regulations allowing member states to choose whether or not to support genetic modification (2) (3), corporations suing the European Parliament for banning dangerous pesticides (4), and the mysterious TTIP (see for example 5, 6) lurking shadily in the background.

Growing

Last week, however, a decisive victory was achieved by those who prefer their food with less poison, as chemical company Syngenta withdrew an application to the British government which, if it had gone through, would have enabled the use of a pesticide whose danger level has been decided as “unacceptable” (20) – for three years, at least. The “emergency” exemption being sought by Syngenta was for the lifting of the Europe-wide ban on the use on flowering crops of one particular neonicotinoid chemical, thiamethoxam (7).

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Posted by & filed under Energy Systems.

by J. Matthew Roney, Earth Policy Institute

China installed a world record amount of solar photovoltaics (PV) capacity in 2013. While this was the first time the country was the number one installer, China has led all countries in making PV for the better part of a decade. China now accounts for 64 percent of global solar panel production — churning out 25,600 megawatts of the nearly 40,000 megawatts of PV made worldwide in 2013 — according to data from GTM Research.

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Posted by & filed under Insects.

Biologist Sara Lewis has spent the past 20 years getting to the bottom of the magic and wonder of fireflies. In this charming talk, she tells us how and why the beetles produce their silent sparks, what happens when two fireflies have sex, and why one group of females is known as the firefly vampire. (It’s not pretty.)

Posted by & filed under General.


Laura Kaestele

Not many 20 year olds would be embracing permaculture, traveling the world and taking action to gain the skills they need for people care and ecological restoration. Laura Kaestele from Germany is an inspiring exception to the rule.

At 16 Laura moved into an intentional community, supporting it to grow from an idea into an established community, where she would develop a deep awareness of community life and what it means to be human.

My story is in parallel with humanity in general; growing up from being a teenager, not seeing the bigger picture, to being more responsible and caring.

As a teenager, permaculture was in the background of Laura’s life, as different courses were held at the community where she lived. She caught glimpses while she was still busy attending school. Finally she participated in a course and never looked back.

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Posted by & filed under Comedy Break, Consumerism.

In a land not too far from home, a gruesome war has been waged between The Organic Resistance and The Pesticide-Ridden Vegetables.

This is a battle on which our common future depends. May you choose to join Cuke Skywalker and the Organic Movement to fight unsustainable shortsighted practices.

Dark Tater and his chemically enhanced army will soon be a thing of the past!

May the Farm be with you.

Further Watching:

Posted by & filed under Courses/Workshops.

This workshop will be held at an experimental sustainable building property near Moe, Victoria, Australia. On the property already is a mini earthship and a beautiful cob cottage, each built from previous workshops exploring sustainable living practices.

You are invited to grab a tent and head down for a wonderful week of education through doing. The goal is to build a superadobe dome just over 3 metres in diameter, to add to the collection of sustainable buildings already present on the property.

Click here to find out more and to register.

Posted by & filed under Food Plants - Annual, Seeds.

Fully ripe disease-free tomatoes are the best candidates for seed saving. Seeds can be saved casually by squeezing them out onto a paper napkin and then air drying them, but fermentation is a better route.

Fermentation removes germination inhibitors and the gelatinous sheath from seeds, and it may treat some seed-borne diseases. Properly stored tomato seeds may remain viable for over six years.

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Posted by & filed under People Systems, Society.

It’s an unexpected side effect of globalization: problems that once would have stayed local—say, a bank lending out too much money—now have consequences worldwide. But still, countries operate independently, as if alone on the planet. Policy advisor Simon Anholt has dreamed up an unusual scale to get governments thinking outwardly: The Good Country Index. In a riveting and funny talk, he answers the question, "Which country does the most good?" The answer may surprise you.

Posted by & filed under Land, Plant Systems.

In this video, Daniel Catalaa of San Francisco explains the design for a planting pot which combines the benefits of self-watering and self-feeding in a single unit. This is not a new idea, but a combination of two existing ideas into a single unit. It has a large water storing capacity and uses earthworms to create and spread compost in situ.

It will take roughly about six hours to build it at an approximate cost of 100 dollars. The benefits of this design are free fertilization, plants stay watered when you are away and the device produces excellent yields.

Posted by & filed under Biodiversity, Regional Water Cycle, Working Animals.

The government’s decision to capture England’s only free-living population is unjustified and irrational.

An opinion poll in Scotland found that 86 per cent of respondents were in favour of reintroducing the beaver. As most people seem to understand, it’s a magnificent animal which can enrich our lives and our countryside. It was once part of our native fauna, but was exterminated by hunting. It’s also a critically important species, essential to the functioning of aquatic ecosystems.

So when beavers were discovered, living and breeding on the River Otter in Devon, after they escaped from a collection somewhere, the public reaction was, overwhelmingly, delight. It’s the first population to live freely in England for hundreds of years.

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Posted by & filed under Markets & Outlets, Village Development.

If you haven’t done so already, you can read Part I, Part II and Part III of this series.

by Rob Avis

What would you have done differently?

When asked this question, all of the experts resoundingly responded with the same answer that I give to people: I wish I had spent more time with a mentor before diving in. I get a lot of mentorship requests from my students and I honestly want to take them all, but with two young kids and a growing business there is just not enough time in the day. For anyone starting out, there are four main ways of getting mentorship:

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