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
 
Maddy Harland |
Thursday, 21st February 2013
In a permaculture design, each element has many functions, the minimum being three. Having three or more functions helps create a stable and diverse food growing system because each element is connected together, making energy cycle through the system rather than being lost as wastes, i.e. food production can be connected to animal husbandry,... more
 
Maddy Harland |
Thursday, 14th February 2013
Having been publishing permaculture books at Permanent Publications for 20 years, we are now seeing a trend on both sides of the Atlantic of mainstream publishers following suit. This is no bad thing. It gets the subject into a different arena, one that has marketing budgets and media contacts we could only dream of. We have survived on the... more
 
Maddy Harland |
Wednesday, 13th February 2013
'Relative location' is an early permaculture design principle. The concept of permaculture design principles first emerged in Permaculture: A Designer's Manual (1988) by Bill Mollison and Introduction to Permaculture (1991) by Bill Mollison and Reny Mia Slay. These principles were reviewed by David Holmgren (one of the co-originators of... more
 
Maddy Harland |
Wednesday, 30th January 2013
The 12 permaculture design principles are thinking tools, that when used together, allow us to creatively re-design our environment and our behaviour in a world of less energy and resources. These principles are seen as universal, although the methods used to express them will vary greatly according to the place and situation. Theycan be applied... more
 
Maddy Harland |
Wednesday, 23rd January 2013
Permaculture is primarily a thinking tool for designing low carbon, highly productive systems but its influence can be very pervasive! What can start as a journey towards living a more ecologically balanced lifestyle can go far deeper, even transforming our worldview and radically altering behaviour. This is the inspirational nature of... more
 

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