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Plant Systems — by Stephanie Ladwig-Cooper August 8, 2012
Four O’Clock plants have a long history of cultivation and use around the world as well as serve many useful functions, with more to experiment with — like as a dye and dynamic accumulator.
Our family lives in a historic neighborhood of Chico, California called the Barber Neighborhood. Our neighborhood was named after O. C. Barber, the founder of the Diamond Match Company, who had a factory built nearby to process lumber for matches at the turn of the twentieth century. Our home was built in approximately 1909. Because of the age of this neighborhood we have found in around our property an abundance of old trees and shrubs of what many this day would consider cottage garden or great-grandma plants. One of these is the four o’clock plant, growing prolifically near our garage and mandarin tree. Not many people go out of their way to buy and grow this plant in their gardens anymore. Why? I couldn’t say as I’ve found it is a really interesting and beautiful plant with a long history of cultivation.Comments (12)
Aid Projects, Community Projects, Podcasts — by Sustainable World Radio August 7, 2012
Julious Piti is a Permaculture designer and teacher, organic farmer, and conflict facilitator based in Zimbabwe. Julious has been using permaculture in Africa to restore the health of both land and community. A founding member of the Chikukwa Ecological Land Trust (CELUCT) and now the Director of PORET (Participatory Organic Research Extension and Training), Julious’ work shows that degraded land can be transformed. PORET supports farmers in dry-land areas and works to address hunger, malnutrition, and poverty. In 2007, PORET won the Zimbabwe National Environmental Award.
Click play to hear the interview!Interview with Julius Piti Comments (3)
In the name of saving the natural world, governments are privatising it.
by George Monbiot: journalist, author, academic and environmental and political activist, United Kingdom.
The first man who, having enclosed a piece of ground, bethought himself of saying "this is mine", and found people simple enough to believe him, was the real founder of civil society. From how many crimes, wars and murders, from how many horrors and misfortunes might not anyone have saved mankind, by pulling up the stakes, or filling up the ditch, and crying to his fellows, "Beware of listening to this impostor; you are undone if you once forget that the fruits of the earth belong to us all, and the earth itself to nobody"(1).
Jean Jacques Rousseau would recognise this moment. Now it is not the land his impostors are enclosing, but the rest of the natural world. In many countries, especially the United Kingdom, nature is being valued and commodified so that it can be exchanged for cash.
The effort began in earnest under the last government. At a cost of £100,000(2), it commissioned a research company to produce a total annual price for England’s ecosystems. After taking the money, the company reported – with a certain understatement – that this exercise was “theoretically challenging to complete, and considered by some not to be a theoretically sound endeavour.”(3) Some of the services provided by England’s ecosystems, it pointed out, “may in fact be infinite in value.”Comments (2)
Food Plants - Annual, Food Plants - Perennial, Insects, Medicinal Plants, Plant Systems — by Briana Lyon
It was recently reported in a research study conducted by Michigan University that predatory insect attracting plants saved American farmers “an estimated $4.6 billion last year on insecticides.” Let us hope they continue to up their creativity in their predatory insect attractant planting techniques and quit using insecticides at all!
Having predatory insect attracting plants will dramatically improve your garden’s safety and health, especially from herbivorous insect plagues. And the best part is that you probably already have a lot of insect attracting plants in your garden already!Comments (4)
Consumerism, Energy Systems — by Juan Pablo Martinez August 6, 2012
Trying to live more sustainably and save a buck or two….
Sustainability and economics
Almost every time, more sustainable systems are far more expensive than our regular way of doing things. This may be the most difficult obstacle to overcome when converting. However, this observation only takes money and cash flow into consideration. There are other points of view that need to be included in a truly objective discussion of this topic.
We may tend to see things in absolutes, and the easiest ‘absolute’ to monitor is the amount in your bank account. In the case of sustainable systems, however, there is a lot more to evaluate. Even though it may be difficult to assess these benefits, they are as real as cash and you should consider them as tangible as the temperature you’re experiencing.Comments (5)
Commercial Farm Projects, Courses/Workshops, Demonstration Sites, Education Centres — by Lewis Jackson
Looking out over the lifeless brown quilt of drought-stricken Midwest corn monoculture from the window of a Boeing 747, it was immediately apparent to me that permaculture farming practices would have prevented this ecological catastrophe. The hottest summer on record in the United States combined with aggressive commercial farming practices has created the potential for a biblical famine!Comments (5)
Aid Projects, Community Projects, Demonstration Sites, Education Centres — by Lucie Bradley August 4, 2012
During June this year Tanzania hosted its second ever permaculture design course. Twenty-eight participants from around the globe gathered in the bustling northern town of Arusha for 11 wonderful days of learning and sharing. The Australian based non-government organization (NGO) FoodWaterShelter (FWS) initiated the organization of the PDC, motivated by their desire to see permaculture spread into wider circles throughout East Africa through the ‘ripple in the pond effect’.Comments (0)
Seeds — by Restoration Seeds
Germinating Your Seeds is Fun and Easy. Methods vary by plant type. Seeds of annual plants have a shallow dormancy and do not need a winter to germinate, they only live one season. Annuals generally are buried to a depth equal to the size of the seed in moist well drained soil. Some, like tomatoes and peppers, require warm soil or a heat mat to germinate.
Perennial Seeds Need a Winter
Long-lived perennial plant seeds have mechanisms to prevent germination until conditions are right for successful growing. Perennial seeds go dormant over the winter and then need their dormancy broken in the spring. The techniques below are for perennial seeds only, do not use these techniques on annual or bi-annual vegetable, herb or flower seeds.Comments (1)
Learn More on a Working Permaculture Farm
What: Permaculture Design Certificate (PDC) course
When: September 9–22, 2012
Where: Southern Oregon Permaculture Institute, 1133 Old Highway 99 S, Oregon, USA
Cost: Earlybird price — $1,250 (ends August 9), Regular price — $1,450
Two Week Intensive PDC, 72 hour international curriculum plus seed saving workshop: crop planning, propagation, harvesting, threshing, cleaning dry and wet seeds. Includes camping and three vegetarian meals per day. Discount for couples $50 each.
You will gain real-world design experience with your group design project. A typical course day is half classroom and half hands-on. Bring your work clothes and get ready to learn by doing. Your will engage in a real permaculture site design for your final project.
Click here to find out more and to book!Comments (0)
Global Warming/Climate Change — by George Monbiot August 3, 2012
The environment is being trashed because of a failure to reform campaign finance.
by George Monbiot: journalist, author, academic and environmental and political activist, United Kingdom.
“The best lack all conviction, while the worst / Are full of passionate intensity.” These words, from WB Yeats’s poem The Second Coming, came to mind as I read the testimony from Wednesday’s Senate hearings on climate change.
They’re not a precise description of what took place, as the two most eminent climate scientists who testified before the environment and public works committee, Christopher Field and James McCarthy, were not lacking in conviction. But they were, as scientists should be, careful and meticulous, laying out their evidence calmly and sequentially, saying nothing that was not supported by the data.Comments (1)
Welcome back to my Step by Step permaculture process.
We have been studying the uses of passive solar space heating around the house; now it’s time for solar water heating.
Solar water heating can be as simple as filling a transparent PET bottle with water and leaving it in sunlight, nevertheless, efficiency and high output both come as a result of precise engineering and attention to detail.
Before making a decision to change from your electric or gas system to solar, you must learn a few things to dismiss the myths and learn the reality about solar water heating.Comments (4)
Dramatic Health Recoveries Reported by Patients Who Took Their Doctor’s Advice and Stopped Using GMO Foods
Are genetically modified (GM) foods making you sick – I mean really sick? Up until recently, all that we could say was thank goodness you’re not a lab rat; GM feed messes them up big time. GMOs (genetically modified organisms) appear to trigger the immune systems of both mice and rats as if they were under attack. In addition, the gastrointestinal system is adversely affected, animals age more quickly, and vital organs are damaged. When fed GM foods, lab animals can also become infertile, have smaller or sterile offspring, increased infant mortality, and even hair growing in their mouths. Have I got your attention?
Biotechnology corporations such as Monsanto try to distort or deny the evidence, sometimes pointing to their own studies that supposedly show no reactions. But when scientists such as French toxicologist G.E. Seralini re-analyzed Monsanto’s raw data, it actually showed that the rats fed GM corn suffered from clear signs of toxicity – evidence that industry scientists skillfully overlooked.Comments (1)
Richard Heinberg, one of the world’s foremost peak oil educators, is finally making a much anticipated speaking tour of Australia in September this year (2012). See the speaking schedule further down this post to find a location near you.
This video introduces you to Heinberg’s concepts, as he discusses The End of Growth.
Aid Projects, Community Projects, Demonstration Sites, Education Centres, Project Positions, Society, Village Development — by Ben Humphrey August 2, 2012
The Annapurna Range from the beautiful Pokhara Valley,
the future site of MVEF
For two months in late 2010 I had the pleasure of volunteering with the Sustainable Agriculture Development Program of Nepal (SADP). Situated in an ‘off the beaten track’ valley of Central Nepal, the demonstration farm is surrounded by unreal beauty, including the very prominent Manaslu Massif (group of Himalayan mountains) of the main Himalayan Range, alongside another range visible from the Valley which marks the border of Nepal and Tibet. Many late afternoons were spent watching these Himalayan ranges turn from brilliant white, to orange to vibrant pink as the sun set – something that should be on everyone’s ‘bucket list’. The terraced fields found throughout Asia flank the floor and sides of the valley, and the tops of the valley are largely forested – a source of timber for the community and invaluable habitat for illusive animals that call it home — leopards and possibly the odd tiger included (but that’s a story for another time).Comments (0)
Energy Systems — by Trish Allen August 1, 2012
In certain parts of Austria, firewood igloos are a traditional way of storing firewood without needing a permanent shelter. Placed in a windy spot for good air flow and topped with overlapping shingles, the igloos are a convenient way to season, dry and store firewood. In winter a cap of ice and snow keeps the wood snug and dry.Comments (0)