Posts filed under ‘Permaculture’

Permaculture As a Political Act

renewable-energyWhile many of us come to permaculture for a sense of independence, a way of becoming self-sufficient and responsible for our own destinies, by no means does that explain the gravity of what we are really doing, what in fact permaculture was intended to do. In a larger political context, we are replacing societal systems that have become toxic and damaging in favor of something—permaculture—that accepts only that which is positive and productive for everyone (and thing). Looking at the manner in which greater society produces food, builds homes, dispenses energy, and creates waste, permaculture puts us directly at odds with the politics, theories and proponents of most modern lives.

This is not just a trendy word or nifty means of designing we are embracing but rather an upheaval of what is, and there is nothing so political as change.

Read Permaculture As a Political Act by Jonathan Engels at Permaculture News.

November 7, 2016 at 11:01 am Leave a comment

Can agroecology feed the world and save the planet?

africaThe big question often asked is: can agroecological farming really feed the world, with the global population hurtling towards 9.6 billion by 2050? It’s clear that there’s increasing evidence it could.

A landmark 2001 study by Jules Pretty and Rachel Hine examined 208 projects from 52 countries and found yield increases of 50-100% for rain-fed crops like maize. The cases studied involved 9 million farmers on around 3% of all of the farmed land in Asia, Africa and Latin America and the increases were typically bigger at lower yields, indicating greater benefits for the poorest farmers.

Read Can agroecology feed the world and save the planet? by Henrietta Moore at The Guardian.


“The climate is changing. Food and agriculture must too.”

Sunday, October 16, 1:00 – 3:30 pm

Knox-St Paul’s United Church, 800 – 12th St West (off McConnell)

Join Transition Cornwall +Food Action Group, All Things Food SDG Community Food Network, and Knox – St. Paul’s United Church for a FREE day of discussion, learning, and food in celebration of United Nations World Food Day 2016.

In honour of World Food Day, we have invited special guest, Kate Green from USC Canada, to address this year’s theme “The climate is changing. Food and agriculture must too.” Key talking points will include food production, globalization, climate change, and the role of local versus global communities. For anyone curious about the local versus global food system issues and opportunities, this is a presentation and discussion not to miss!

Following Kate Green’s presentation, we will host “Frugal Food Preservation”, a hands-on educational activity to help attendees learn the basic for harvest food preservation. If you have ever wanted to learn to pickle, ferment or dehydrate, our experts will be on site to help guide and answer all of your questions. 

Soup, bread, and refreshments will be provided courtesy of Transition Cornwall +.

October 10, 2016 at 10:48 am Leave a comment

Why Our Lawns Are Bad for the Environment and How to Change Them for the Better

lawnmowerWhile nobody is suggesting that we inherently begin detesting grass, growing it on the scale we do and with all that effort to keep it cleanly cut, fertilized and free of weeds, i.e. natural biodiversity, is proving a huge burden on the planet, its animals (who aren’t allowed to graze on lawns), and the people so determined to have a perfectly picturesque front garden. Amazingly, we have found a way to both destroy the environment and ruin animal habitat, all the while giving ourselves heaps of work without any real return on the effort.

But, there is a revolution afoot, and it’s not about whether or not the grass is greener here or there but reinventing the lawn itself. In a word, we are revolutionary real estate spectators who notice the productive potential of these open spaces around our homes, and we are making gardens abundant with food and with a splendid array of colors, species, flowers, microclimates, water catchments, animal habitats, and patios (for the humans). Rather than crushing the spirit of nature, mowing her down every weekend, we are encouraging new growth, and new thinking, our minds not locked into the “need” to prove we can grow grass. We are not a cult, but rather cultivators, and we are looking for people to join us.

Read Why Our Lawns Are Bad for the Environment and How to Change Them for the Better by Jonathan Engels at Permaculture News.

June 27, 2016 at 10:29 am 1 comment

How to Make a Productive Patio

It would be great if we all had an acre or two, the time, and inclination to grow our own food, but the realities of the day are that the majority of people have moved into more confined, urban and suburban settings in order to be closer to jobs, entertainment, school districts, conveniences, and whatever else tickles our fancies. It’s the world as it is: Over half of us live in cities and suburbs.

While this can be a bit restricting when it comes to home food production, it certainly doesn’t spell the end to it. For every suburban lawn, there could be a beautiful herb spiral providing fresh, medicinal ingredients for breakfast, lunch and dinner. For every bathroom, kitchen window, or sunny corner of the living room, there could be productive, edible houseplants. Then, those small outdoor spaces like patios and balconies can be amazingly abundant as well.

Read How to Make a Productive Patio by Jonathan Engels at Permaculture News.

May 2, 2016 at 9:23 am 1 comment

Seeing Beauty: A Necessary Skill for the Future

Garlic blossomOne only needs to watch the evening news or scroll the endless facebook feed to see what is wrong with the world today. At every opportunity we are given a choice on whether to see goodness or something which could leave us rendered with despair, heartbroken and down trodden. We wonder often why we bother, what difference do we make?

In this time it seems now that seeing the beauty in life is no longer an easy thing. Yet it is not just a throw-away new-age thought but a necessary skill to be cultivated now more than ever before. A skill which we must add to our tool box in order to evolve in consciousness, make connections and to make good with the earth and with each other.

It is an absolute truth that beauty is in the eye of the beholder. It all comes down to perception and attitude yet goes deeper than that. Most of us all have the inner wisdom to feel what resonates as beautiful, good and sacred in this life. It is drawn up from the well of our souls and like finger prints, individual to us all and simply requires tapping back into. This is what keeps us dreaming and creating new ways of being. We need to want this more. We need to ache for beauty and it’s moving and inspiring qualities.

Read Seeing Beauty: A Necessary Skill for the Future by Eleanor Young at Permaculture News.

November 23, 2015 at 11:57 am Leave a comment

Finding the Land That’s Right for You

How do you choose land to live on from a permaculture perspective? Whether it’s big acreage or a town lot, intelligently evaluating the fit between you and a parcel of land is the key to living comfortably and meeting your land-hunting goals.

I’ve made some good decisions in choosing land, and I’ve made some not so good ones. I’ve also been around many people while they were searching for a place to live, and I’ve learned some important lessons. Those lessons may not apply to everyone, but I hope you’ll at least think long and hard before ignoring these basic guidelines.


Read Finding the Land That’s Right for You by Toby Hemenway at Pattern Literacy.

October 19, 2015 at 10:19 am 1 comment

Permaculture: the design arm of a paradigm shift


I’m finding that the most fruitful way for me to think about permaculture is that it is the design arm of a paradigm shift. To be more specific, it’s the design approach for achieving the goals of the sustainability movement. And I mean sustainability in the largest sense, not just environmental sustainability but social and ethical as well.

The genius of permaculture is that it is both a tool for enacting the new paradigm of whole-systems thinking and a way to learn how to make that paradigm shift. To use permaculture effectively, we need to have made the transition to the holistic worldview. Until we have done that, permaculture can look like a set of gardening techniques, or at most a set of practices guided by a list of dogmatic principles and three ethics. We can’t get good at it until we have moved beyond the reductionist view that most of us were brought up in. But the beauty is, simply practicing permaculture teaches us to think in whole systems.

Permaculture, then, is a systematized program for enacting the worldview of the social justice and sustainability movements and for bringing the wisdom of indigenous knowledge into contemporary life. It is whole-systems thinking in action. It’s what we need to do to be living in alignment with the new paradigm, so nicely phrased by Rafter Sass Ferguson, of meeting human needs while retaining and enhancing ecosystem health.

Read Permaculture: the design arm of a paradigm shift, by Toby Hemenway at Pattern Literacy.

June 3, 2015 at 9:01 am 1 comment

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