Green Gold – Rehabilitating Large-Scale Damaged Ecosystems

John Liu happens on to a solution to our problem of desertification in agriculture’s wake. He travels the world to countries like JordanChina and Ethiopia to show the possibilities in re-greening areas turning into desert.

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Toby Hemenway 2-Day Patterns and Permaculture Workshop

 

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More info here

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Farm-Scale Permaculture with Mark Shepard (3 day course)

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More info here.

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2014 North American Permaculture Convergence

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We are pleased to announce that we are hosting the 1st North American Permaculture Convergence.

This is a historic event you won’t want to miss! The NAPC will include workshops for all levels and ages, open panels, as well as super-fun, hands-on activities and a design implementation that will leave the site better than when we arrived (sometimes you just need to put your hands in soil).

And there’s more! Before and after the NAPC, there will be urban and rural site tours plus multiple-day workshop intensives led by some of North America’s most respected permaculturists like Toby Hemenway, Jude Hobbs and Mark Shepard.

Practitioners and designers from rich, diverse backgrounds—urban and rural, young and old, men and women—will impart their wisdom and expertise. There’s so much to learn and share!

The North American Permaculture Convergence will help to connect and advance North American networks of permaculture practitioners. The NAPC will also create opportunities for in-person and virtual connections, sharing resources and defining the structure, function and organization of our collective groups moving forward.

For the latest information and to purchase tickets go to: NorthAmericanPermaculture.org 

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How the Soil Micro-Ecosystem Works

Learn how beneficial soil microbes can provide soluble nutrients and plant disease suppression to your farm or garden.

 

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A 5-acre Commercial Permaculture Orchard In Southern Quebec

Twenty years ago, Stefan Sobkowiak bought a commercial apple orchard with the intention of converting it to an organic orchard. He did just that, but eventually understood the limitations of the organic model originating from monoculture. He then decided to tear out most of the trees and replant in a way that would maximize biodiversity and yield while minimizing maintenance. Inspired by permaculture principles, the orchard now counts over 100 cultivars of apples, plus several types of plums, pears, cherries, and countless other fruits and vegetables.

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Center for Deep Ecology Gets Permaculture on Local News

Permaculture Movement Gains Ground

(ABC 6 NEWS) — As rising fuel prices and a turbulent growing season have driven up the cost of food, some are looking for new, more permanent and sustainable ways to farm.

About twenty students gathered at Harmony Park in Clarks Grove on Friday to study permaculture.

What is it? Well…

“It’s very hard to fit permaculture in a nutshell,” said Wayne Weiseman, a world-renowned permaculture expert who led Friday’s workshop. “It’s a comprehensive system of design for sustainability.”

So what does that mean exactly? Well, permaculture involves everything from sustainable farming practices, to green building techniques, to responsible energy use.

“It’s a complete lifestyle,” Weiseman said. “I guess one of the ideal goals of permaculture is to create a zero-waste environment.”

And Harmony Park itself looks to be a leader in the permaculture movement.

Officials say they’ve been expanding their garden every year and plan on adopting new practices to make the park more self-sufficient.

“When we have events like we have now with food waste, we give that to the chickens,” said Jay Sullivan, the park’s owner. “The chickens in turn lay eggs, and we gather those the next day which feed us, so it’s a really nice cycle that we’re a part of.”

And while experts say many aspects of permaculture are very simple and easy to learn, there are still a number of barriers preventing it from gaining widespread recognition, including start-up costs and a lack of educational resources.

“The issue is that we’ve built this infrastructure on most farms with corn, soybeans, etc., that it’s very difficult to make that change,” Weiseman said.

But despite the obstacles, Weiseman said they’re making progress.

“It’s a slow process. But there are a lot of younger people getting into this now and a lot of younger people working on farms all over the world,” Weiseman said. “So we’re starting to see a bit of change in the way things are done.”

During Friday’s workshop, students were able to get their hands dirty, building a more efficient garden plot and designing conservation systems to lessen the park’s environmental impact.

Source: KAAL TV

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Paul Wheaton Preaches at Southern California Permaculture Convergence

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Nine Layers of the Food Forest

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From: TCPermaculture.com

Food Forests have been around for thousands of years in tropical and sub-tropical climates. In fact, there is a Food Forest currently still producing food in Morocco that was established 2,000 years ago! The concept of food forestry was almost lost to the annals of history when Robert Hart decided to adapt this design to his temperate climate in the UK in the 1960′s. The idea of a Forest Garden was brought to the public’s awareness when Robert wrote a book documenting his grand experiment. Bill Mollison, the co-founder of Permaculture, visited Robert’s site in 1990, and he quickly adopted this design element into his teachings and work. Initially, when Robert Hart described the layers of the Forest Garden, I believe he did so based on what he had and what he studied. Since then, Robert Hart’s categorization of the layers of the Forest Garden has stood unquestioned.

Until now.

I am not actually arguing about the existing layers. My issue is that there are certain layers that have been ignored or overlooked. My goal is to resolve this discrepancy today. As you can see in my illustration above, I believe that there are 9 layers in a Forest Garden. The first 7 are identical to Robert Hart’s initial design. The missing layers are the Aquatic or Wetland Layer and the Mycelial or Fungus Layer.

Here are my Nine Layers of the Edible Forest Garden:

  1. Canopy/Tall Tree Layer
  2. Sub-Canopy/Large Shrub Layer
  3. Shrub Layer
  4. Herbaceous Layer
  5. Groundcover/Creeper Layer
  6. Underground Layer
  7. Vertical/Climber Layer
  8. Aquatic/Wetland Layer
  9. Mycelial/Fungal Layer

1. Canopy or Tall Tree Layer

Typically over 30 feet (~9 meters) high. This layer is for larger Forest Gardens. Timber trees, large nut trees, and nitrogen-fixing trees are the typical trees in this category. There are a number of larger fruiting trees that can be used here as well depending on the species, varieties, and rootstocks used.

2. Sub-Canopy/Large Shrub Layer
Typically 10-30 feet (3-9 meters) high. In most Forest Gardens, or at least those with limited space, these plants often make up the acting Canopy layer. The majority of fruit trees fall into this layer.

3. Shrub Layer
Typically up to 10 feet (3 meters) high. The majority of fruiting bushes fall into this layer. Includes many nut, flowering, medicinal, and other beneficial plants as well.

4. Herbaceous Layer
Plants in this layer die back to the ground every winter… if winters are cold enough, that is. They do not produce woody stems as the Shrub layer does. Many cullinary and medicinal herbs are in this layer. A large variety of other beneficial plants fall into this layer.

5. Groundcover/Creeper Layer
There is some overlap with the Herbaceous layer and the Groundcover layer; however plants in this layer are often shade tolerant, grow much closer to the ground, grow densely to fill bare patches of soil, and often can tolerate some foot traffic.

6. Underground Layer
These are root crops. There are an amazing variety of edible roots that most people have never heard of. Many of these plants can be utilized in the Herbaceous Layer, the Vining/Climbing Layer, and the Groundcover/Creeper Layer.

7. Vertical/Climber Layer
These vining and climbing plants span multiple layers depending on how they are trained or what they climb all on their own. They are a great way to add more productivity to a small space, but be warned. Trying to pick grapes that have climbed up a 60 foot Walnut Tree can be interesting to say the least.

8. Aquatic/Wetland Layer
This is my first new layer to the Forest Garden. Some will say that a forest doesn’t grow in the water, so this layer is inappropriate for the Forest Garden. I disagree. Many forests have streams flowing through or ponds in the center. There are a whole host of plants that thrive in wetlands or at the water’s edge. There are many plants that grow only in water. To ignore this large list of plants is to leave out many useful species that provide food, fiber, medicinals, animal feed, wildlife food and habitat, compost, biomass, and maybe most important, water filtration through bioremediation (or phytoremediation). We are intentionally designing Forest Gardens which incorporate water features, and it is time we add the Aquatic/Wetland Layer to the lexicon.

9. Mycelial/Fungal Layer
This is my second new layer to the Forest Garden. Fungal networks live in healthy soils. They will live on, and even within, the roots of plants in the Forest Garden. This underground fungal network transports nutrients and moisture from one area of the forest to another depending on the needs of the plants. It is an amazing system which we are only just beginning to comprehend. As more and more research is being conducted on how mycelium help build and maintain forests, it is shocking that this layer has not yet been added to the list. In addition to the vital work this layer contributes to developing and maintaining the forest, it will even provide mushrooms from time to time that we can utilize for food and medicine. If we are more proactive, we can cultivate this layer intentionally and dramatically increase our harvest.
UPDATE: I have received numerous comments and questions about this layer. I wrote a more detailed description of this layer here.

So this is my proposal to the Permaculture world. Let’s consider all nine layers when designing our Forest Gardens.

This has been reposted from TCPermaculture.com.  Thanks, John Kitsteiner, for all of your good work.

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The Secret of El Dorado – BioChar

Biochar is what we call charcoal when it is used as a soil amendment. Like all charcoal, biochar is created by pyrolysis. Under investigation as an approach to carbon sequestration to produce negative carbon dioxide emissions, Biochar has the potential to help mitigate climate change, via carbon sequestration. Biochar can increase soil fertility, increase agricultural productivity and provide protection against some foliar and soil-borne disease.  Biochar is a stable solid, rich in carbon and can endure in soil for thousands of years.

Watch “Biochar: The Oldest New Thing You’ve Never Heard Of

Wae Nelson was employed as a mechanical engineer in the aerospace and defense industries for many years, working both as a designer and as a manager in manufacturing. Now he publishes the magazine beloved by local gardeners, Florida Gardening, and pursues his passion for biochar — a diy, scalable technique to both improve horticultural yields and sequester carbon simultaneously.

Watch “Making Biochar: with Peter Hirst of New England Biochar”

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