Posted by & filed under Compost, Soil Composition, Soil Rehabilitation.

The Phayao Permaculture Center (PPC) is a two acre permaculture design implemented to be the retirement farm for myself and my Thai family. It is located in the wet/dry tropics at 19 degrees north latitude in Northern Thailand.

Having taken the Permaculture Design Certificate (PDC) course with Bill Mollison on Maui, Hawaii in 1982, it has been my vision to retire on my own permaculture designed land. This came about in 2012 when I purchased land for my Thai family.

The design was formulated and implementation began. Of the many elements designed in permaculture fashion, soil enhancement was a major priority from the beginning as the tropical soil on this property was very deficient of nutrients as is typical of some tropical soils.

We consulted with the local Phayao Province government soil office, explained we were developing an organic farm and had soil strategies to make soil alive and healthy in lieu of chemical fertilization. We took soil samples for them to analyze and they came back with the recommendation to add 20-20-20 fertilizer.

O.K. So they didn’t get it.

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Posted by & filed under Courses/Workshops.

What you will get:

  • A 72-hour Permaculture Design Certificate (PDC), and
  • Bill Mollison’s book, Permaculture, A Designers’ Manual
  • A grounding in all aspects of permaculture
  • Relative hands-on experience working on various projects at Phayao Permaculture Center
  • The experience of living, eating, working and having fun with the Phayao community!

About Phayao Permaculture Center

The Phayao Permaculture Center is a 2-acre permaculture farm, demonstration and education center in Pa Daeng, Phayao, Northern Thailand, dedicated to the application of Permaculture ethics and principles.

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Posted by & filed under Biodiversity, Consumerism, Economics, Fish.

Only 0.01% of our seas are protected, and even the top conservation sites are up for grabs.

A few days ago, I visited the Flamborough Head “no take zone”, one of the UK’s three areas in which commercial fishing is prohibited. Here marine life is allowed to proliferate, without being menaced by trawlers, scallop dredgers, drift nets, pots and all the other devices for rounding it up, some of which also rip the seabed to shreds. A reef of soft corals, mussels, razorfish and other species has begun to form, in which plaice and cod, crabs and lobsters can shelter, unmolested by exploitation. Fantastic, isn’t it?

Well curb your enthusiasm. Here’s a map of the no take zone, from the display board above the beach. It’s the area in dark blue:

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Posted by & filed under Fish, Plant Systems, Water Harvesting.


Trailer only – watch full video here!

Geoff Lawton visits the Hawaiian Island of Molokai where an 800 year old traditional fish farming system is being restored. Fish farming has been practiced for centuries in many cultures. The Hawaiians built a sustainable system that worked from the top of the mountain range and ran right down to the base and out to sea.

The Hawaiians built a network of terraced gardens – small spring systems in the upper slope of the island to grow their starch crops of taro. Excess water ran from terrace to terrace, over the most distance to build an abundant food harvesting system. Taro ponds in the upper slopes gathered nutrient and algae and enabled it to flow downhill into smaller collection ponds before being discharged out to sea.

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Posted by & filed under Food Shortages, GMOs, Soil Erosion & Contamination, Water Contaminaton & Loss.

by Canadian Biotechnology Action Network

The Claim: We need GM crops to feed the world


Full Report (550kb PDF)

Supporters of genetically engineered (also called genetically modified or GM) crops claim that we need this technology to feed a growing global population. However, the promise to “feed the world” with GM crops overlooks the real causes of hunger, and disregards the many harmful impacts of using GM technology.

The Real Problem

The claim that we need GM crops to feed the world ignores the real, root problem: Hunger is caused by poverty and inequality.

  • The truth is that we already produce enough food to feed 10 billion people, which is the number our population is predicted to reach by 2050. A third of food produced around the world is wasted every year.
  • People are generally hungry not because of insufficient food production, but because they do not have money to buy food, access to land to grow food, or because of poor food distribution systems and a lack of reliable water and farming infrastructure. GM crops do not help solve these causes of hunger.

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

by David C. Holzman

A small but growing body of literature reports associations between pesticide exposures during pregnancy and characteristics of autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) or actual autism diagnosis.(1,2,3) A study published this month in EHP adds to the weight of this evidence, reporting an increased risk of ASD diagnosis among children whose mothers lived during pregnancy near fields where pesticides were applied.(4)

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Posted by & filed under Plant Systems.


Agroecology is a different way of seeing the food system because it deals with issues
related to who gets access to resources and the processes that determine this access.
(Photo credit: UN Photo)

“It is time for a new agricultural model that ensures that enough quality food is produced where it is most needed, that preserves nature and that delivers ecosystem services of local and global relevance” – in a word, it is time for agroecology.

The call came from Pablo Tittonell of Wageningen University, one of the world’s leading institutions in the field of agriculture science, speaking at the International Symposium on Agroecology for Food Security and Nutrition, organised by the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).

The symposium, held at FAO headquarters in Rome on Sep. 18-19, gathered experts from many backgrounds, including scientists, scholars, policy-makers and farmers.

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Posted by & filed under Food Plants - Annual, Plant Systems.


SRI-grown rice in China

The world record yield for paddy rice production is not held by an agricultural research station or by a large-scale farmer from the United States, but by Sumant Kumar who has a farm of just two hectares in Darveshpura village in the state of Bihar in Northern India. His record yield of 22.4 tons per hectare, from a one-acre plot, was achieved with what is known as the System of Rice Intensification (SRI). To put his achievement in perspective, the average paddy yield worldwide is about 4 tons per hectare. Even with the use of fertilizer, average yields are usually not more than 8 tons.

Sumant Kumar’s success was not a fluke. Four of his neighbors, using SRI methods, and all for the first time, matched or exceeded the previous world record from China, 19 tons per hectare. Moreover, they used only modest amounts of inorganic fertilizer and did not need chemical crop protection.

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