Community Projects, Compost, Demonstration Sites, Education Centres, Material, Rehabilitation, Society, Soil Biology, Soil Conservation, Urban Projects, Village Development, Waste Systems & Recycling — by Vanessa Fernandes October 18, 2011
The creation of soil biology and composting and the generation of soil health and fertility as the foundation of regenerative agriculture is a major part of any organic or permaculture design gardening process. It is no different at the Gold Coast Permaculture site at 270 Ferry Road where the creation of soil is a major priority for the group as we expand our operations to include a large community garden and double the size of our urban agriculture demonstration block.
In order to achieve this, Gold Coast Permaculture has decided it really should walk the talk. So, some of our members with both the organisational and “do” capability have been out connecting with different businesses in the community and tapping into waste streams. As a result, over 40 cubic metres of compost has progressively been started over the last three months with the first five metres being ready for use by mid-October. This is no mean accomplishment given that the only inputs outside of the composting materials are minimal numbers of bodies and compost forks.
Two of the four compost windrows built solely from local waste streams
Compost, Conservation, Demonstration Sites, Food Shortages, GMOs, Global Warming/Climate Change, Health & Disease, Irrigation, Land, News, Plant Systems, Rehabilitation, Society, Soil Biology, Soil Composition, Soil Conservation, Soil Erosion & Contamination, Water Contaminaton & Loss — by Craig Mackintosh PRI Editor October 13, 2011
The Rodale Institute’s 30-year
Farming Systems Trial report (1.3mb PDF)
The Rodale Institute has been, for a full 30 years now, conducting a long-term comparative Farming Systems Trial. Starting in 1981, when it was already abundantly clear that industrialising nature was creating far more problems than it solved, the Rodale Institute began documented research comparing organically fertilised fields and conventionally fertilised fields on its 330 acre farm in Pennsylvania, USA.
It’s the longest running comparative study of its kind in the world.
In time for their trial’s 30-year anniversary, the institute has put out a report outlining its documented observations. You can download this report via the link at right.
This report is one of several well-researched reports that have come out in recent years, including the Union of Concerned Scientists’ Failure to Yield report (which proves GMOs do not perform as claimed) and the IAASTD’s 400-scientist-strong, 3-year worldwide study (which concluded we need to quickly transition back to relocalised, diverse, agroecological methods).Comments (6)
Building, Community Projects, Land, Plant Systems, Society, Soil Conservation, Storm Water, Trees — by Craig Mackintosh PRI Editor October 10, 2011
It seems there is a plant able to fill almost any niche. In this case Strangler Figs are painstakingly trained over generations to stop massive soil erosion in the rainiest place on earth, and, more, to create almost indestructible living pedestrian bridges which will last for centuries despite mega rain events.
You have to admire the community thinking that goes into this beautiful work. These people, walking on centuries-old living bridges, realise the gift given them by their ancestors, and so they pay it forward by donating their labour to build more, even though they won’t benefit from it in their own lifetimes. Voices from the past, perhaps, urge them to follow their predecessors’ gracious example by investing a little energy into a wondrous gift to future generations. Imagine if we could spin our culture around to think like this.Comments (2)
Compost, DVDs/Books, Dams, Food Forests, Food Plants - Annual, Food Plants - Perennial, Fungi, Land, Medicinal Plants, Plant Systems, Rehabilitation, Seeds, Soil Biology, Soil Composition, Soil Conservation, Structure, Swales, Trees — by Paul Wheaton October 8, 2011
Click play to hear the talk!Review of Geoff Lawton's Food Forest DVD, by Paul Wheaton and Helen Atthowe
Paul Wheaton and Helen Atthowe (www.veganicpermaculture.com) watch Geoff Lawton‘s Food Forest video and Helen really loved it. It shows a food forest as they start it, at 6 months, a year, 3 years, 10 years.
Paul thinks it is one of the best permaculture videos. Lawton starts by talking about three concepts: the layering of systems (there are 7-10 layers of a forest), succession of systems (how nature repairs itself), and time (working with different events — eg: sun, shade, flood over time). Paul shares Helen’s hesitancy using the word “permaculture.” They also talk about the word “science” and “studies.” Lawton has 1st, 2nd, and 3rd recovery plants. The first are: annuals, nitrogen fixers, ground covers and leguminous shrubs. The second are medium size nitrogen fixing trees (later to be chopped at head height in order to nurture the longer term trees). The third are longer term nitrogen fixing trees.Comments (1)
Biological Cleaning, Conferences, Conservation, Food Shortages, Global Warming/Climate Change, Irrigation, Potable Water, Regional Water Cycle, Rehabilitation, Soil Conservation, Soil Erosion & Contamination, Storm Water, Urban Projects, Waste Water, Water Contaminaton & Loss, Water Harvesting — by Craig Mackintosh PRI Editor September 28, 2011
Brad Lancaster presents at the IPC10, Amman, Jordan, Sept. 2011
Photographs © Craig Mackintosh
Brad of harvestingrainwater.com has well-honed presentation skills — urban water harvesting has never been more interesting and compelling than after Brad has laid it all before you, and injected no small measure of fun and humour into it as well. I applaud Brad’s valuable contribution to the permaculture toolkit, as I’m sure will you after watching the video below!Comments (4)
Food Plants - Annual, Food Plants - Perennial, Land, Plant Systems, Rehabilitation, Soil Conservation, Structure — by Craig Mackintosh PRI Editor August 9, 2011
I like this lady!
Biodiversity, Community Projects, Deforestation, Economics, Food Shortages, Global Warming/Climate Change, Health & Disease, Plant Systems, Rehabilitation, Soil Biology, Soil Composition, Soil Conservation, Soil Erosion & Contamination, Terraces, Village Development, Water Contaminaton & Loss — by Craig Mackintosh PRI Editor July 26, 2011
Many of you will remember the inspiring and encouraging example of earth restoration found in the story of the Loess Plateau in China (see links at bottom). John Liu was the man heavily involved in this amazing and very large scale initiative. In this new video, below, you’ll see Mr. Liu turning his eyes toward Africa, where Rwanda is now the focus of an earnest bid to restore its degraded forests and farmland, whilst simultaneously improving the lives of the communities they host. You’ll see many excellent examples of holistic thinking in this short documentary.
You’ll also learn of the praiseworthy work of Dr. Rene Haller, whose observational skills are highly adept at tailoring biological solutions towards rehabilitating the most degraded of lands.
Rwanda – Forests of Hope
Duration: 26 minutes
Conservation, DVDs/Books, Dams, Earth Banks, Gabions, Irrigation, Land, Limonia, Material, Natural Swimming, Potable Water, Regional Water Cycle, Rehabilitation, Roads, Soil Conservation, Soil Erosion & Contamination, Storm Water, Surveying, Swales, Terraces, Water Contaminaton & Loss, Water Harvesting — by Owen Hablutzel July 14, 2011
The volume reviewed below comes highly recommended for all Permaculturists working in or around any water channels, and particularly on the broad-acre. While the methods happen to apply most immediately in drylands, they will apply directly anywhere that erosion, down-cutting, rapid gully formation, and other forms of channel incision occur. Keep in mind that these techniques will also apply in ephemeral channels that only carry water during rare rain storms, and are otherwise ‘dry.’
Importantly, even if you are working more within mesic environments and do not see a lot of actively incising channels, just the knowledge you will gain about stream dynamics and working with various stream powers and flood-regimes will be applicable and invaluable to your work. These factors, such as the ‘bankfull’ flood, and the specific inter-relations and ratios of multiple stream variables remain the same as basic physics of water flow no matter what the environment. These physics will dictate exactly where and where not to place any kind of built structure within an active water channel, and enable you to predict results of your efforts with much greater precision. How many of us doing this kind of work have lost stream structures to a “gully-washer”? The knowledge and approach in this book could have saved many a headache, cash outlay, and enabled construction of more durable, persistent, and ultimately useful work.
Aid Projects, Community Projects, Conservation, Dams, Demonstration Sites, Earth Banks, Education Centres, Food Shortages, GMOs, Global Warming/Climate Change, Health & Disease, Irrigation, Land, Plant Systems, Rehabilitation, Soil Biology, Soil Conservation, Swales, Terraces, Village Development, Waste Systems & Recycling, Water Harvesting — by Craig Mackintosh PRI Editor July 7, 2011
I’m adding the following clips as a positive supplement to the preceding post. I think it’s important to see that positive work is happening, and that GMOs are not only not needed, but they are a definite threat to these excellent efforts. Permaculturists working, or intending to work, in Kenya could potentially find ways to network with organisations like these, and to offer extra design tools to further strengthen their efforts.
The first video is from the Grow Biointensive Agricultural Center of Kenya (G-BIACK), who look to be doing some great on-the-ground work to educate and transform Kenyan communities and help them return to more resilient, affordable and healthy agricultural and community systems.
This second clip, from The Haller Foundation, will be especially appreciated by permaculturists — it’s a fantastic video show-casing some excellent permaculture action, also in Kenya:Comments (4)
Compost, Courses/Workshops, Fungi, Rehabilitation, Soil Biology, Soil Composition, Soil Conservation, Soil Erosion & Contamination, Structure — by Steve Grace June 25, 2011
One of the major global concerns we face today is the heavily depleted state and continued degeneration of our soil. Without healthy soil, we cannot produce healthy food and however obvious it might seem, the food that we eat directly affects the nature of our being. It’s funny how the most common sense is no longer at all common.
In 1907, Theodore Roosevelt said: "the nation that destroys its soil, destroys itself". Since that time we have had a salivating appetite for destruction. At present 90% of Australian soil is considered to be of poor quality….
In order to appreciate the significance of this statistic, it is important that we understand the society of microorganisms that exist beneath our feet. In one tablespoon of healthy soil there lives a population of microbes that is greater than the population of human beings on earth – over 6.9 billion microorganisms, working together to make available nutrients to the soil in which we produce the food that enables us to survive. If only the human population of the world was as resourceful and harmonious as our micro acquaintances.Comments (13)
Conservation, Irrigation, Land, Plant Systems, Rehabilitation, Soil Conservation, Storm Water, Trees, Urban Projects, Water Harvesting — by Stephanie Ladwig-Cooper June 16, 2011
A detailed account of the transition from a sparse and chemical dependent landscape to an ecologically diverse and resource efficient garden.
Our rural 1/3 acre of land in Northern California has been our home and office as well as a continual experiment in ecological land care and permaculture for over 6 years. Our decision to relocate to the ‘city’ this month has us pondering just how much we’ve improved this particular piece of land in the short amount of time we’ve been here… so I decided to take a journey back in time.
Unbeknown to us in 2005, we moved into a chemical dependent neighborhood; neighbors who rely on pest control companies, Round Up and weed/feed for regular property maintenance. Within our own property we found enamel paint had been washed out on the back lawn and evidence of recent herbicide and pesticide spraying around our new house (pest company sticker in the garage with the date of application). Having gardened ecologically for a long time, we have learned a lot about how to make the transition from a chemical dependent landscape to an organic and biologically based one, and how to do it with little time and effort.Comments (6)
Animal Forage, Food Plants - Annual, Food Plants - Perennial, Fungi, Plant Systems, Rehabilitation, Soil Biology, Soil Composition, Soil Conservation, Structure, Trees — by Campbell Wilson June 15, 2011
Pasture cropped & time control grazed
Traditional Crop and set stock grazed
When you are trying to decide which method of soil improvement to take, sometimes it seems like there are as many different approaches as there are bacteria in a teaspoon of healthy soil.
This isn’t necessarily a huge problem when you’re talking about a suburban backyard scale. It’s easy in that situation to: do some aerating with a broad fork; balance the Calcium:Magnesium ratio and whatever trace minerals your soil test says are missing; build and add compost and worm castings; brew up some compost tea; add some seaweed extract, a handful of basalt rock dust, a bit of Charlie carp and the humified eyeballs of some rare mountain lion to top it off.
But what about the farmer who is planting 1000 Ha of Wheat and Rye so the armchair permaculturalists of this world can munch their organic sourdough toast while checking the next important forum posting written by someone else sitting at a computer at 10.30am. That farmer would quickly go broke if they did all the things a backyard gardener can do. So how to decide?Comments (22)
Biodiversity, Deforestation, Global Warming/Climate Change, Livestock, Plant Systems, Rehabilitation, Soil Biology, Soil Composition, Soil Conservation, Soil Erosion & Contamination, Structure, Water Contaminaton & Loss — by Craig Mackintosh PRI Editor March 28, 2011
We’ve run posts on Alan Savory’s Holistic Management a few times (here, here and here for example), but for those who can’t get enough, here’s another for good measure. This is a 1-hour lecture given in Dublin at the end of 2009. It’s well worth a listen.
Allan Savory argued that while livestock may be part of the problem, they can also be an important part of the solution. He has demonstrated time and again in Africa, Australia and North and South America that, properly managed, they are essential to land restoration. With the right techniques, plant growth is lusher, the water table is higher, wildlife thrives, soil carbon increases and, surprisingly, perhaps four times as many cattle can be kept.
Compost, Fungi, Rehabilitation, Soil Biology, Soil Composition, Soil Conservation, Structure — by Nico Snyman March 10, 2011
7 week Border King maize produced with grass humus
There are many articles now written about organic farming and there are many experts in the field. Noteworthy from these articles is that the land as such is never addressed.
It does not suit us to acknowledge that we, as agriculturists, know nothing of the biological ground. It is claimed that we currently have only discovered 2% of the soil biology, this while everyone moans about food security and future shortages.
Billions of US$ are spent annually on space research, astronomy and basic nuclear research, while the knowledge of agriculture is controlled by private sector companies who are basically profit based. Such awkward problems are not researched. This situation lends itself to “experts” who advise the farmer and also manage his finances. The farmer is thus conditioned to always have a professional Hi-tech solution expectation.Comments (4)
Deforestation, Global Warming/Climate Change, Livestock, Plant Systems, Regional Water Cycle, Rehabilitation, Soil Biology, Soil Composition, Soil Conservation, Soil Erosion & Contamination, Structure, Water Contaminaton & Loss — by Craig Mackintosh PRI Editor March 7, 2011
This common sense, holistic approach is indeed worth sharing.
With this competition, we’re seeking to reverse the trend of online ads being aggressively forced on users. We want to nurture ads so good you choose to watch. On TED.com, ads run after our talks, not before. This means they can run longer than the TV-standard 30 seconds. And that’s the key! In 2-3 minutes, there’s enough time to really tell a story, share an idea, make an authentic human connection, become unforgettable. Instead of ambush, they offer pleasurable, intelligent engagement. — TED.com
Congratulations to Allan Savory!
See also: Holistic Management
Further Reading:Comments (5)