Maddy Harland |
Friday, 24th May 2013
This is an adaptation of an ancient method of irrigation that is thought to have originated in Africa 4,000 years ago. It uses the porous nature of clay pots to allow osmotic pressure to suck the water into the soil where it is needed. People use beautiful fired pots called Olla with a narrow neck buried in the soil. Unless you can make them... more
 
Maddy Harland |
Tuesday, 14th May 2013
Recently I reported on how Polyface Farm uses techniques such as mob grazing and mobile farm infrastructure to lock up carbon, build soil and create a diverse set of yields. I also explained how Joel Salatin, his family and his associates market and sell their products to create a $2,000,000 turnover on what is in reality a relatively small... more
 
Maddy Harland |
Friday, 3rd May 2013
How many times have you visited chemical or better compost loos at an event or festival and found the water reservoir has run out and you can't wash your hands? I spotted this clever use of recycled materials at Offgrid Festival in Somerset last year. (Incidently, Offgrid had to be my favourite last year, possibly because I bumped into... more
 
Maddy Harland |
Tuesday, 30th April 2013
Yesterday I described Joel Salatin’s pattern for carbon farming at Polyface Farm. He mob grazes cows and then follows them with chickens to spread the pats around, manure the pasture and eat the bugs, He regenerates pastures and forest areas with pigs in a ‘tractor’, fattening them in the process, grows shiitake under the eaves of shed, offer farm... more
 
Maddy Harland |
Monday, 29th April 2013
Joel Salatin, dubbed by TIME magazine to be the world's most innovative farmer, hit town yesterday and Aranya, who wrote our bestseller, Permaculture Design Step By Step, and runs RegenAg in the UK, invited me along to a one-day seminar hosted at Cowdray Hall in Sussex to learn more. I have long wanted to meet Joel, having heard about his work... more
 
Maddy Harland |
Wednesday, 24th April 2013
Last week the agriculture minister David Heath warned us that Britain may be on the verge of a new food crisis. A growing population, along with more crop failures as a result of increasingly unstable weather conditions, have already led to a significant increase in food prices. The biotech industry tells us that the solution to future food... more
 
Maddy Harland |
Thursday, 18th April 2013
Spring emerges after a cold, snowy and wet winter in our part of the northern hemisphere. Even in January, the green of bluebells and snowdrops began to push out through the snow in the woods and in my garden. My heart lifts as the days become longer and I plan the cycle of planting seeds, cleaning and preparing the greenhouse, adding soft fruit... more
 
Maddy Harland |
Saturday, 13th April 2013
This is sequel to the film, Ecovillage Pioneers, that presented the case for ecovillages and included the story of Lammas Ecovillage's struggle to obtain planning permission. Against the odds, Lammas in Pembrokeshire obtained planning, arguably a significant step forward in low impact development in Britain. It is, in Tony Wrench's words, "An... more
 
Maddy Harland |
Friday, 12th April 2013
Permaculture, a contraction of permanent agriculture but also increasingly permanent culture, means working with natural forces like the wind, sun, water, the forces of succession, animals and other 'natural' energies. These permaculture designs provide food, shelter, water and meet other needs required to build sustainable communities with... more
 
Maddy Harland |
Wednesday, 27th March 2013
Permaculture traditionally advocates small-scale intensive systems. Instead of large-scale monocultures with huge fields that can handle machinery running on fossil fuels, used for fertilising, sowing and harvesting, on the farm we see a more traditional patchwork of small mixed polycultures that rely on biolgical resources, minimise or zero the... more
 
Maddy Harland |
Wednesday, 20th March 2013
All too often, our conventional systems are linear in nature, causing energy sinks which leak resources out of the system. For example, sewage leaches into rivers and oceans where it pollutes habitats and the nutrients which agriculture could re-use are lost. We need to make energy systems that are cyclical, reconnecting energy movements to keep... more
 
Maddy Harland |
Wednesday, 13th March 2013
Wherever possible permaculture advocates the use of biological resources. The most obvious example is on the farm and in the garden. Instead of buying a bag of chemically produced fertiliser, we can grow nitrogen fixing plants on site, such as Siberian pea tree, gorse or broom. These feed the food plants around them, both from their roots and from... more
 
Maddy Harland |
Friday, 8th March 2013
Last night (7th March 2013), I heard Nicholas Stern speak about climate change. Lord Stern was the Chief Economist and Senior Vice-President of the World Bank from 2000 to 2003. He was recruited by Gordon Brown, then Chancellor of the Exchequer, to work for the British government where, in 2003, he became second permanent secretary at H.M.... more
 
Maddy Harland |
Thursday, 7th March 2013
Zones are rings of energy which usually spread out from the main centre of human activity on a site. Elements in a design are placed according to how often they are visited (and accessibility on the site). Areas which are visited most frequently like an annual vegetable garden, greenhouse or a chicken run are placed nearer the house. Orchards,... more
 
Maddy Harland |
Wednesday, 27th February 2013
Written into our history is the horror of the Irish Potato Famine, when a nation of working people's diet was almost exclusively provided by a variety of potato which failed. Another dramatic example of the poverty of monoculture was the American Dust Bowl of the 1930s, when arable farming laid waste the delicate ecological balance of the mid-West... more
 

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