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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Posted by & filed under Courses/Workshops.

The village of Marda at sunset, with olive trees for as far as the eye can see.
Photo © copyright Craig Mackintosh

Join us September 25th – October 10th, 2014, for another exquisite opportunity to learn about permaculture principles and techniques from permaculture specialists Klaudia Van Gool, Leslie Buerk and Murad Al Khuffash, whilst experiencing the culture, food and traditions of beautiful Palestine! And much more!

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Posted by & filed under Economics, Financial Management, Markets & Outlets, Village Development.

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

by Rob Avis

A personal take on barriers to success

As with any career or business, there are barriers to achieving success. It is important to be aware of as many of these barriers as possible so that you can avoid the pitfalls. One of Darren Doherty’s sayings is that you need to “know what you don’t know” and know when you need to ask for advice. This is crucial to your success as one of the biggest pitfalls when starting a new project in a foreign area is you usually don’t even know what these unknowns might look like.

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Posted by & filed under Compost, Insects, Soil Biology, Soil Composition, Soil Conservation, Soil Rehabilitation, Structure.

This video gives an overview of the benefits of establishing and managing dung beetles. Dung beetles are fascinating insects, working tirelessly to bury dung around the country.

One cow per day produces approximately 18kg of dung. These beetles process the dung by burying it deep into the soil and helping the plant roots to access them directly. In a way they are also providing food for the earth worms.

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Posted by & filed under Community Projects, Health & Disease.

Help us conduct important research to determine the nutrient value in organic and conventional foods. Make a donation today.

Rodale Institute (Kutztown, PA, USA) is looking for your support! This campaign will fund research comparing the nutrient density of organically and conventionally grown produce. But, we can’t do it without the backing of our friends and supporters!

Last year’s report out of Stanford University called into question the health benefits associated with organic and conventional foods. While this study revealed health benefits associated with eating organic foods we believe that more research needs to be completed to truly see how organic and conventional foods stack up.

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Posted by & filed under Alternatives to Political Systems, Consumerism, Economics, People Systems, Society, Village Development.

by Silke Helfrich

The market has always been with us. What’s new about life in the last three hundred years — and especially the last thirty — is that the buying and selling of goods is the overriding goal of human civilization. The market is seen not just as an efficient way to do some things — it’s increasingly heralded as the only way to organize our society. The market has become the ruling paradigm of the world, a way of life that is wiping out efficient, equitable and sustainable commons-based practices.

Silke Helfrich — a commons activist based in Jena, Germany — explores what we lose when the market is deployed as the solution to all our problems and answer to all our dreams. In this chart, she illustrates how radically different a market-based society operates compared to a commons-based society. This is excerpted from the book The Wealth of the Commons, which she edited with David Bollier. — Jay Walljasper

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Posted by & filed under Economics, Global Warming/Climate Change.

Buried in the Infrastructure Bill is an astonishing and hitherto-unnoticed contradiction.

Sometimes there’s nothing to do but sit there and laugh. That’s what happened last week while I was reading the Lords debate on the Infrastructure Bill, and stumbled across something so amazing that I had to go back over it three times to ensure I’d read it right.

The bill, as several peers complained, is an odd one: published before half the measures it will contain have been inserted. This is how democracy works these days: our unelected legislators are asked to debate something they have not yet been allowed to see. So the bombshell I came across isn’t in it yet. But Baroness Kramer, who introduced the legislation, casually dropped it into her preamble.

Before revealing what she said, here’s a little background.

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Posted by & filed under Consumerism, Food Shortages, Society.

When you grow your own food, you know for a fact that every piece does not look as ‘perfect’ as those sold in stores. They are each unique, sometimes odd-looking, but taste delicious nonetheless.

In our industrial world, these so-called imperfect fruits and veggies go straight to the dumpster and contribute to a shocking amount of waste. Intermarché, a French supermarket, came up with a brilliant concept – The Inglorious Fruits and Vegetables.

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Posted by & filed under Alternatives to Political Systems, People Systems, Society, Village Development.

Government sponsors research on how to transition to commoning and open networks.

by David Bollier

A child during a parade in Ecuador by mavik2007, Flickr Creative Commons

In 2013, the government of Ecuador launched a major strategic research project to “fundamentally re-imagine Ecuador” based on the principles of open networks, peer production and commoning.  Michel Bauwens, founder of the P2P Foundation would be leading the research team for the next ten months, and seeking to “remake the roots of Ecuador’s economy, setting off a transition into a society of free and open knowledge.”

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Posted by & filed under Commercial Farm Projects, Demonstration Sites, Trees.

Last week I had the chance to visit the Bambra Agroforestry Farm and see a great example of tree growing for timber production in action. Rowan Reid, the owner and driving force behind the farm, has been planting a whole selection of different tree species on site for over 25 years — as shelter for stock animals that graze below the trees, to repair degraded land, for conservation purposes and as a harvestable product to mill high quality timber for craftsmen to build with.

One thing I hadn’t anticipated was the open spacious feeling beneath the trees. I had in my mind the suffocating feeling I get in an industrial pine plantation, but the trees on Bambra Farm are planted out at a decent distance and the branches are pruned as they grow so that the canopy casts dappled shade and grass can grow for the stock to graze.

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