Even when the weather is wild outside, we can grow food indoors. Rooms that have some sunlight can have plants growing at the sill. Lots of yummy sprouts love the cozy indoors. Indoor plants also help improve air quality by trapping dust and toxins then releasing healthier air. Caring for plants also improves our mental well being. Best of all, a growing plant reminds of us of our our own need for natural light, when the plant is happy, the conditions are better for us too.
This year we granted a full scholarship in honour of Paulo Mellett. The scholarship recipient is a recent migrant from Brazil who plans to better his life, his family’s health and share the experience with gratitude.
Paulo Mellett helped translate our work at the International Permaculture Convergence in Cuba 2013 and has sadly passed away since. We wish to celebrate his humble yet powerful influence and continue to bridge the gap between rich and poor, detached and sensitive cultures, dysfunctional and harmonious societies.
We aim to keep the memory of Paulo Mellett, his work and ambition alive through investing good will in others. Join us, pass on the good will in your own teaching and demonstration of sustainable living.
Credit: Sculpture by Herman A McNeil The Moqui Runner Chicago Museum of Art
Cordwood construction exercises patience. When we don’t wait for the timbers to fully dry before the installation they crack and let breezes through. The binding materials also needs to dry very slowly to be strong and durable. It even starts with an exercise in patience with the planning, sourcing of matching bottles, cutting the tops of pieces to fit and taping them top-to-top.
Patient planning, selection and preparation can create spectacular durable constructions. Here is an excellent example from Kinstone Permaculture USA
Alley cropping along the contour lines and working with a keyline system is a highly productive, sustainable way to farm. Here is a shot from Mark Shephard’s co-operative farm, New Forest Farm in the Driftless region Southwestern Wisconsin, USA. The secret is the prune the roots regularly by running a deep blade-shaped plough in the pathway between the trees and perennial vegetable rows. This forces the roots to dive deep and not compete with the next row of crops.
The understanding of soils is valuable for all permaculture designers. We can design a permaculture system that works with and not against the nature of that particular soil-type. We can plan a succession of plants, reintroduce micro-organisms and cleansing plants and ultimately achieve higher productivity for the site using nature as our guide rather than importing mined resources (ie. phosphate, lime or minerals) to change the soil-type.
In permaculture we seek to understand the web of life in our unique climate and bioregion.
From the initial source (sun, rain, wind, and animals) energy is diverted, used, released again and transferred from one element to another. Energy connects these elements. Their common use of energy forms a web of relationships. From the source to the sink (the place where the energy leaves the system):
- Diversity increases
- Energy stores increase
- Organisational complexity increases
The chickens were SCREAMING. The Channel Billed Cuckoo was hovering with menace and so all the chickens run to hide under the bushes. In the permaculture garden there are lots of layers of vegetation, the smaller plants that enjoy living under fruit trees include Monstera Deliciosa, pineapple sage, hazelnut, native raspberry, orchids, begonia.
Chickens love hiding places. You can see this Cuckoo has been feasting on our Mulberries. He was so fat and heavy that the branches of the trees were waving goodbye as he moved from tree to tree.
What Is There Not To Love
The dark colour advertises their high nutritional value, they make wonderful juice and food for us and the poultry, they resist most pests including fruit-fly. They also feed a multitude of native animals and reptiles. Mulberry trees are hardy, able to be shaped and easy to propagate. The timber is suitable as fuel for heating the home, they make excellent shade in summer. In cooler climates, they drop their leaves to allow light into the picnic areas, home and garden.
Here is a scrumptious Mulberry Pancake by Ella Whyman:
There is an abundance of Mulberry (black and white varieties), flowers (begonia, sage, roses, bottlebrush, nasturtiums), choko sprouts, sweet potato (Kumara) leaves, banana leaves, watercress, grape leaves, peruvian ground apple, curry leaf, Kaffir lime, Jerusalem artichokes and much more.
Nutrient rich salad greens include bitter lettuce, and herbs.
The fresher the food, the higher the nutritional value.
Romaine Lettuce is one of the highest nutritional foods, it even contains high levels of protein. If we take these salads greens and fresh egg from happy hens, we can have a enriching lunch, and you get a few minutes outside in the fresh air reconnecting with nature instead of pushing a trolley in a supermarket or standing in a queue with hurried people!
Each morning you too could be greeted with energetic and enthusiastic workers who will follow you eagerly to start weeding and fertilising the garden. All you would need to do is plan their work and and feed them in a new area where the path needs to be cleared or a garden bed is resting and needs fertiliser.
With very little support we were able to pioneer teaching online by putting the student needs first.
“One-on-one mentorship was long ago found to be dramatically more effective than group instruction. Having the full attention of an instructor accelerates an individual’s learning by focusing them on the right problems at the right times, and having a real relationship with one person provides students with accountability.”http://techcrunch.com/2014/09/11/the-mooc-revolution-that-wasnt/
When we began in 1993, we had a vision to help people in physically and socially remote situations. We aimed to focus on mentoring people in remote locations as much as helping working mothers. We have slowly built a student base in 60 countries and are very proud of our graduates.
“We’re all still searching for the right formula, but the ingredients will be the same as they’ve always been: Learning through exploration, thoughtfully designed for the right behaviors, with great teachers providing support.” http://techcrunch.com/2014/09/11/the-mooc-revolution-that-wasnt/
Permaculture Visions offers Learning through exploration by connecting participants with their broader community socially, physically and online. It constantly re-evaluates their Permaculture Course program and material for relevance and encouragement of beneficial behaviours that build a rewarding lifestyle and a cleaner planet. And it constantly aims to provide experience and personable teaching support through it’s basic goal of student-focused learning. We believe that there is never a wrong answer, perhaps just an answer that needs a bit more research.
All learning leads to a discovery of the truth. All learning invites us to look beyond ourselves and our own needs and connects us with the greater world.
Setting limits to growth is essential to many systems that desire to be sustainable.
Rather than trying to rule the world, aim to rule your life. This is actually much trickier than we think.
Rather than governing a large organisation, step back. Design and start a structure where the people who value the work can help build the network. Then, participants can replicate this model on a smaller scale and feed directly into the system you wish envision.
In about 1998 this design was made by our head tutor April Sampson-Kelly for an elderly couple in Callala bay NSW Australia. They had giant mounds of felled timber and didn’t know what to do with the mounds, so the design incorporated the mounds into hugelkulture, wind protection and these were used to build diversity of micro-climates. The mounds form dry beds in contrast to the swampy flats. Another unusual feature of this design is the removable dance floor built over the large cement tank and a mound rising beside it for seating and privacy. We often design to have ponds reflect light into the home and intensive keyhole beds on the sunny side of the home.
lemons you are beautiful,
with little flaws each one of you is unique,
You shine brightly and long into the night your fragrance persists.
Your flowers look as good as they smell.
With leaves that are glossy and pert,
and a trunk that is strong, resilient and compact.
Lemon tree, you are the best friend any cook has ever had.
And yet, lemon, you are not phased by fame and good fortune,
Lemon you endured a long history, travelled the seas to far flung countries, pickled and preserved many other foods
You have saved sailors from death and disease and brought smiles to children.
Sadly, out of sweet’s spite, you were sometimes associated with bad things such as unfunctionable design and useless cars.
Lemon you will live as long as man remembers how to cook
and will always be remembered for your nutrition and aid in digestion.
We all have feelings and passions and we all have ethics and values. Yet, very few of us put the feelings, passions, ethics and values first as a way to determine what to do next.
When we put our ethics and values first and work from this desire, when we listen to our passion and let ourselves be creative exploring ideas, dreaming of possibilities, then it is easy to make plans. We are empowered and every action that follows has purpose, brings us joy and peace to many others.
This is based on the teachings of Professor Stuart Hill and John Herron.
The work that you spend on the portal will be free for the wider community, help many permaculture projects get recognition. It will help permaculture students around the world find online resources that are specific to a PDC and your work can be documented toward one of your units in your Diploma in Permaculture.
Permaculture is centered on the development of a rich and harmonious culture, building a resilient society and nurturing sustainable lifestyles. When we watch how nature turns loss and tragedy into new beginnings we can be inspired to the same. Nature is programmed to adapt, to adjust and to respond to change. By observing our impact, adapting to climate change and adjusting our methods, we can thrive.