Posted by & filed under Community Projects, Society, Village Development.

Inspired by the principles of open source software, the concept of Open Social Innovation aims to document social innovations so they can be more easily shared.

How can we share and transfer sustainable social practices across communities?

Increasingly, we see individuals and communities experimenting with innovative sustainable practices, pioneering new ways to communicate, think, work, live, and share together. In that context the question arises as to how best practices can be shared across communities. To facilitate knowledge sharing of the best sustainable practices, the concept of "source code of a project" was proposed by Thanh Nghiem here as a way to apply the open source model to social innovation.

In computer science, a source code is a collection of written instructions that can be executed by a computer to run a piece of software. Likewise, the source code of a social practice or project is a set of instructions that can be executed by a user in order to implement a practice or project — similar to the principles for a culinary recipe, where a set of instructions are given in order to facilitate the replication of a cooked dish. From that initial idea, a network of organizations and individuals from France have been working on networking and scaling social innovations using the concept of open source innovation as an intellectual framework.

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Posted by & filed under Insects, Urban Projects.

Africanized honey bee with the corbicula full of pollen

Yummy, yummy! is the phrase that comes to our minds when remembering Winnie the Pooh eating all those pots of honey. Many of us may only have thought about honey bees for the first time when we were kids, thanks to that cute bear with the sweet tooth. Then we learned that we are not only indebted to honey bees for the wonderful miracle of honey, but also for the privilege of eating many of our delicious vegetables and fruits every day. Yes! Honey bees (Apis mellifera) are one of the most important pollinators of the crops that we the humans use all the time.

Some of us got so enthusiastic about this insect that we fell in love with it and became backyard beekeepers — we spend hours watching them buzzing around our sunflowers, pumpkins, lemons, sage and many other beautiful plants in our gardens.

What many of us do not know, however, is that there are other bees that can live and work in our gardens — and perform very important roles within them.

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

Earth Democracy promises to bring a deeper sense of democracy — one serving not only the people but our entire planet. This concept initiated by Vandana Shiva is in alignment with the permaculture ethics we relentlessly seek to promote and apply. I believe in a very fertile future and am convinced that a major shift of politics is happening. Remember that your voice is heard in your actions; the way you consume, speak, and live day by day is another way to vote for a more conscious future.

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Posted by & filed under DVDs/Books.

This book highlights the continuous cultural lineage that underpins current activism for an ecologically viable and spiritually nourishing life now and in the future. For permaculture practitioners and activists focused on building ecologically smart, localised economies, this book highlights how rethinking our attitudes and behaviour toward consumption can be a fruitful pathway to social and ecological harmony. — David Holmgren, Permaculture: Principles and Pathways beyond Sustainability

Simple Living in History challenges the mentality of waste and extravagance that defines modern industrial lifestyles, reminding us that the answers we need have been here all along, waiting for us to notice them. — John Michael Greer, The Wealth of Nature and Green Wizardry

This engaging book raises one of the key questions of our times, presenting a rich tapestry of perspectives on what it means to live simply.’ — Rob Hopkins, The Transition Handbook: From Oil Dependency to Local Resilience

The book is available here.

Table of Contents and Book Preface Below

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Posted by & filed under Economics, GMOs, Health & Disease, Soil Erosion & Contamination, Water Contaminaton & Loss.

Editor’s Note: The New Yorker carried an article in its 25 August 2014 issue “Seeds of Doubt” by journalist Michael Specter, dedicated ostensibly to Vandana Shiva and the anti-GMO campaign, but is in truth a none-too-subtle ploy to discredit both in the service of the biotech industry. Specter had already published a book in 2009, Denialism: How Irrational Thinking Hinders Scientific Progress, Harms the Planet, and Threatens Our Lives, purporting to defend science from its critics in denial of scientific progress (see a review of the book here: This is her reply.

I am glad that the future of food is being discussed, and thought about, on farms, in homes, on TV, online and in magazines, especially of The New Yorker’s caliber. The New Yorker has held its content and readership in high regard for so long. The challenge of feeding a growing population with the added obstacle of climate change is an important issue. Specter’s piece, however, is poor journalism. I wonder why a journalist who has been Bureau Chief in Moscow for The New York Times and Bureau Chief in New York for the Washington Post, and clearly is an experienced reporter, would submit such a misleading piece. Or why The New Yorker would allow it to be published as honest reporting, with so many fraudulent assertions and deliberate attempts to skew reality. ‘Seeds of Doubt’ contains many lies and inaccuracies that range from the mundane (we never met in a café but in the lobby of my hotel where I had just arrived from India to attend a High Level Round Table for the post 2015 SDGs of the UN) to grave fallacies that affect people’s lives. The piece has now become fodder for the social media supporting the Biotech Industry. Could it be that rather than serious journalism, the article was intended as a means to strengthen the biotechnology industry’s push to ‘engage consumers’? Although creative license is part of the art of writing, Michael Specter cleverly takes it to another level, by assuming a very clear position without spelling it out.

Specter’s piece starts with inaccurate information, by design.

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Posted by & filed under GMOs, Health & Disease.

Russell Brand, a ‘controversial’ British comedian and Truth activist has been posting weekly YouTube videos, in a series called The Trews (True News) — “What the news would say if the news were true” — where he dissects weekly headline news and mainstream news outlets, with the aim to raise awareness about how ‘news’ is presented as fact to the everyday citizen. Brand calls into question the slant of certain mainstream media outlets.

In one of his latest videos, a reader’s comments edition entitled, “How Terrifying is the Food Industry? (E135)” Brand addresses a comment made by a person who calls them self ‘Down-Under Observer’ who writes to Russell:

Russell… I really think the Trews should cover the food industry, particularly meat and dairy and how the same globalist corporations that bankrupt us and control us also commit atrocities and modify our food under the cover of clever advertising – your thoughts mate? — Down-Under Observer

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Posted by & filed under Biodiversity.

Y Gododdin is one of the few surviving accounts by the Britons of what the Anglo-Saxons did to them. It tells the story of what may have been the last stand in England of the Gododdin – the tribes of the Hen Ogledd, or Old North – in 598AD. A force of 300 warriors – the British version of the defenders of Thermopylae – took on a far greater army of Angles at a town named in Brittonic as Catraeth: probably Catterick in Yorkshire. Like the Spartan 300, they fought for three days, during which all but four were killed.

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Posted by & filed under Animal Housing, Insects, Working Animals.

A colony of bats in a mango tree

Permaculture designs, especially on a large-scale, incorporate domesticated animals. For organic gardening, it just makes life a lot easier. Manure is key in growing anything. A timed circulation of grazing means the land gets cleared, fertilized and tilled by the animals’ natural patterns as opposed to the farmer’s sweat. Then, at some point, animals equate to food. The efficiency and logic are there and simple, but domesticated animals aren’t always a possibility. There are housing restrictions, acreage issues, and even dietary choices to contend with; however, that doesn’t mean a garden should or needs to be without animals.

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Posted by & filed under Aid Projects, Community Projects, Demonstration Sites, Education Centres, Urban Projects.

To Sustainability and Beyond! Kickstarting a Permaculture school to teach people how to grow food, repair landscapes and build community.

Why an Education Centre for Permaculture?

Humanity is more than ever threatened by its own actions; we hear a lot about the need to minimize footprints and to reduce our impact. But what if our footprints could be beneficial? What if we could meet human needs while increasing the health and well-being of our planet? This is the premise of Permaculture: a design science for creating resilient and efficient systems inspired by nature.

The call is simple — to get our homes and gardens in order so they shelter and feed us. However, the design of efficient systems does not stop there… the knowledge, wisdom and skill of efficient design is being applied to the creation of abundant systems of business, livelihood, and community.

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Posted by & filed under Aid Projects, Courses/Workshops.

The Fertile Roots Foundation is delighted to have Darren Doherty coming to teach our first PDC, on the site of the embryonic Al Fayda Permaculture Cooperative. This project involves 39 families and their land just north of Essaouira on the Atlantic Coast. It’s an area that was until recently semi-arid, but with the rainfall patterns of the last decade it is now well and truly arid. There is talk among many families of leaving the land and some have already done so. We think permaculture can turn it around and this bi-lingual PDC is the first step on a long road. Darren Doherty is a leading pioneer in regenerative agriculture and if you come and take part in this dynamic two weeks you will also be part sponsoring a place on the course for a local farmer.

Full course and booking details can be found at