09orono lgh Perma may 03 illWant to try a helping of edible landscape? Mosey over to LongGreenHouse this Friday and Wednesday for a permaculture field day.

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Nov 072010

On our inner city permaculture farm we find heroin needles in between the broccoli plants. We have a barbed wire fence that wraps around the entire 2.5 acres of our “freeway food forest” — a food forest that is rising from the ruins of a freeway that collapsed and then lay dormant for 20 years. At night there is a pregnant cat that makes the place her own (all the sheet mulching has stirred up the mice and rats). Other folks crawl through the fence at night too. With perhaps one exception, the people that come at night aren’t the same people that come during the day. Often “fresh” needles appear in the morning. The stories we write about here all have to do with the chain link and barbed wire fence that was on site when we arrived. The forces it is meant to keep out, the forces it is meant to contain, the edge it creates around our site, the fact that it is there at all.

please join the chapter fourteen email list to read the rest of the post and the ensuing dialog. join the conversation!

/m

Hey all,

I’m writing from San Francisco, my home these days. San Francisco is at the forefront of an amazing urban gardening movement, and it is very exciting! I’ve been working very closely with one urban farm in particular, called Hayes Valley Farm. It’s a 2.3 acre food forest rising from a freeway that collapsed during the ’89 earthquake. I hold the title of Lead Researcher on the Biodiversity Team. Most recently for 350.org’s 10-10-10 global day of action to prevent climate change, we began an effort to research and steward what edible and medicinal plants do well in the multiple microclimates within the city. We gave away 150 permaculture kits to initiate healthy ecosystems in folks’ backyards, front yards, planter pots, or vertical wall gardens (we get creative in the city). Our ultimate question is “how many people can you feed on how little urban land?” I like to think it is possible to have sustainable cities, but I wonder too if they stay cities or become something new…. This teeters on an artistic and pedagogical piece I recently did for Mary Walling Blackburn’s Radical Citizenship: the Tutorials, called Root, City, Thorn.

Anyway, I’m also very involved in thinking about the human organizational models that encourage healthy ecosystems and healthy people. We are facing some very juicy challenges on the farm and are seeking answers from lots of different sources. To this end, and in the spirit of exchanging insight, I’ve just launched an email list called Chapter Fourteen. I hope all you UMaine alumns involved in permaculture and/or participatory models of communication will join this list and share what you’ve learned from your own communities, as well as stories about where you’re stuck.

Please join! http://lists.beforebefore.net/listinfo.cgi/chapter_fourteen-beforebefore.net Beginning on the new moon November 5th we’ll have roughly 2 week discussions around the topic a moderator initiates. Please let me know if you’re interested in facilitating a discussion, and I’ll sign you up!

Thanks Jon for getting NMDnet going!

xoxo

Touched by the expression of a dying baby Orangutan, Willie Smits and the Orangutan Survival Foundation regrew a destroyed rainforest in Borneo using satellite imagery and permaculture (though he doesn’t use the word in his TED talk). Why was the project so successful and long-lived (still going after twenty years)? The key, according to Smits, is not to swoop in like an environmental missionary with no regard for the economic plight of local people, but to factor human economic activity in the complex ecological solution.

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GardenpoolLooking to reduce your water and grocery bills simultaneously? Follow these three steps to thinking outside the box–er, pool. Via Bruce Sterling and William Emory.

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This “Dung Beetle” sounds farfetched until you realize that farming cooperatives are starting to compete for Hannaford’s food scraps.

The other good news is that drivers low on gas will now be happy that little Timmy “didn’t think about that before he got in the car.”

http://idle.slashdot.org/story/10/08/06/1545207/Volkswagen-Creates-Sewage-Powered-Beetle?from=rss via Byline Hugh Pickens writes “The Telegraph reports that Volkswagen is giving new meaning to the term ‘Dung Beetle’ with a prototype able to cover 10,000 miles annually on the waste from 70 households. The Bio-Bug was launched by Wessex Water, which is generating methane from human waste at a sewage treatment works near Bristol. ‘Our site has been producing biogas for many years, which we use to generate electricity to power the site and export to the National Grid,’ says one company official. ‘We decided to power a vehicle on the gas, offering a sustainable alternative to using fossil fuels which we so heavily rely on in the UK.’ The Anaerobic Digestion and Biogas Association says the launch of the Bio-Bug proves that biomethane from sewage sludge can be used as fuel. ‘This is a very exciting and forward-thinking project demonstrating the myriad benefits of anaerobic digestion (releasing energy from waste). Biomethane cars could be just as important as electric cars.’”

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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