Monday, December 1, 2008

100 Mile Diet: Local Eating for Global Change

There is some logic in eating only food that's locally raised and produced in a radius of 100 Mile...
Of course, in a heavy urbanized setting you'll have to be creative!

In 2005, Alisa Smith and J.B. MacKinnon began a one-year experiment in local eating.
Their 100-Mile Diet struck a deeper chord than anyone could have predicted, inspiring thousands of individuals, and even whole communities, to change the way they eat.
Locally raised and produced food has been called “the new organic" — better tasting, better for the environment, better for local economies, and better for your health.
From reviving the family farm to reconnecting with the seasons, the local foods movement is turning good eating into a revolution.

100 Mile Diet: Local Eating for Global Change

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Polar bears resort to cannibalism as Arctic ice shrinks -

"The Arctic sea ice melt is a disaster for the polar bears," according to
Kassie Siegel, staff attorney for the Center for Biological Diversity. "They are
dependent on the Arctic sea ice for all of their essential behaviors, and as the
ice melts and global warming transforms the Arctic, polar bears are starving,
drowning, even resorting to cannibalism because they don't have access to their
usual food sources."

On the other side....

Sen. John McCain's choice of a running mate, Gov. Sarah Palin of Alaska,
favors drilling for oil in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, questioned the
science behind predictions of sea ice loss linked to global warming and opposed
a state initiative that would have banned metal mines from discharging pollution
into salmon streams.

Sarah Palin is really into drilling mother earth...

Friday, September 19, 2008

Transition Towns

Recently I discovered an interesting article on Transition Towns with the following mission statement:

The mission of our embryonic charity is:

* to inspire
* to encourage
* to network
* to support and
* to train

communities as they consider, adopt, adapt and implement the transition model in order to establish a Transition Initiative in their locale.

The transition model emboldens communities to look peak oil and climate change squarely in the eye and unleash the collective genius of their own people to find the answers to this big question:

for all those aspects of life that this community needs in order to sustain itself and thrive, how are we going to:

- significantly rebuild resilience (in response to peak oil)
- drastically reduce carbon emissions (in response to climate change)?

Typically, self-determined solutions will involve some flavour of relocalisation.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Infoshop News - Permaculture Education Bus Seized by Twin Cities Police at RNC

Infoshop News - Permaculture Education Bus Seized by Twin Cities Police at RNC

Permaculture Education Bus Seized by Twin Cities Police at RNC POLICE SEIZE PERMIBUS
Please Post Far and Wide including any Media Contacts You May Have

At approximately 6:25 pm on August 30, 2008 Minneapolis Police, Minnesota State Troopers, Ramsey County Sheriffs, Saint Paul Police, and University of Minnesota Police pulled over the Earth Activist Training Permaculture Demonstration Bus (Permibus) by exit 237 on Interstate 94.
Initially the police told the people on the bus to exit.
When the people on the bus asked if they were being detained they were told that they were but police wereunable to provide justification.
When asked why they pulled the bus over they refused to answer.
After repeated requests to explain why the bus had been stopped Officer Honican of the Minneapolis Police explained that this was just a routine traffic stop though he did not explain the reason for the traffic stop.
The police then told Stan Wilson, the driver and registered owner of the Permibus, that they were going to impound the bus in case they wanted to execute a search warrant later.

After more than an hour of being questioned by Stan and Delyla Wilson as to the legalities of their detainment and the impoundment of the Permibus, the police then informed Stan that the bus, which is legally registered as a passenger vehicle in the state of Montana, was being impounded for a commercial vehicle inspection.

Shortly afterward Sergeant Paul Davis, a commercial vehicle inspector arrived on scene.
Despite the polices insistence that the reason for impoundment was for a commercial vehicle inspection the Permibus crew were not allowed to remove anything from the bus including computers, toiletries, and 17-year-old Megan Wilson's shoes.

The police finally allowed the animals to be removed from the Permibus before it was towed, leaving the Permibus family standing beside their chickens and dogs, homeless on the highway.

The Permibus was relocating from the Bedlam Theatre in Minneapolis, where they had spent the day teaching Urban Permaculture, to a friend's house in Saint Paul for a well deserved break.

The Permibus has been in the Minneapolis area since August 2nd when the crew appeared at the Midtown Farmers Market for a morning of Permaculture education including Permaculture 101, chicken care, seed ball making for kids, and the Permi-puppet show.

During the past month the Permibus has parked at several local businesses and, as a neighborly gesture of respect for local police, Mr. Wilson contacted the appropriate precincts just to let them know the Permibus was in the area and had permission from the business owners to be parked on their lot.
Through this, as well as other casual discussions with Minneapolis and Saint Paul police officers, the Permibus crew found the local police to be interested and respectful.

However on August 30th all that changed when, for no apparent valid reason
the police pulled over and seized the Permibus.
After the incident Stan Wilson said, "If the combined law enforcement of Minneapolis, Saint Paul, Ramsey County, and the State of Minnesota can pull over and impound a vehicle and home used to teach organic gardening and sustainability, one has to wonder what it is our government really fears.
After all, we seek to teach people that the real meaning of homeland security is local food, fuel and energy production.
For that we have had our lives stolen by government men with guns."

As of now, after repeated requests to be present at any vehicle inspection, with an list of what they are inspecting for, as well as requests to be served any warrants for searches of the vehicles prior to a search and to be present during the search the Permi-family has been unable to ascertain the current status of the Permibus.

On site Mr. Wilson was told that Officer Palmerranky was the inspector in charge of the case and would determine if the Permi-family's rights protecting them from unreasonable search and seizure would be respected.
Neither Officer Palmerranky nor his supervisor has yet to return Mr. Wilson's calls.

The loss of her home and possessions is particularly difficult on seventeen-year-old Megan Wilson. Megan, a shining example of what this country asks of today's youth, has dedicated herself to making positive changes in the world.
She was the youth keynote speaker at the Local to Global conference in Phoenix AZ, has taught conflict resolution at youth shelters and is the outreach coordinator for the Skills for a New Millennium Tour, the family traveling educational project.
Megan believes that, "While I understand that the world we live in is not as it should be I strive to live and teach in a way that shows the world how life could be.
What I don't understand is why I can't get dressed for an evening out with friends in my own home without armed men stealing my life out from under me."

The Permi-family, along with their dogs and Permaculture super-hero chickens are currently being housed by folks in the Twin Cities.
The Skills for a New Millennium Tour is a family education project that travels around the United States teaching homesteading, citizenship, and life skills at farmers markets, community gardens, churches, intentional communities, schools, and in people's living rooms.
The Skills Tour is a donation supported project dedicated to providing tools for sustainable living, including Permaculture, to anyone who is interested, regardless of income.
"We believe that any solution that is not accessible to the poor and urban areas is not a real solution for the future," states Delyla Wilson.

Permaculture is a design system with ethics and principles that can be applied to food production, home design, and community building in order to increase sustainability in food production, energy production, and social systems.

The Permibus is a rolling demonstration of small scale sustainable living with three people, three dogs, three chickens, and a box of worms as permanent residence.
The chickens and worms are part of a closed-loop food productions composting system that supports the Permibus's traveling garden.
For more information on the seizure of the Permibus, the Skills for the New Millennium Tour, or Permaculture, the Wilson's can be reached at 406-721-8427 or through email at
You can also see pictures and read stories about the last six months of their educational adventures at

To our supporters:

First we ask that as many people as possible contact precinct one in
Minneapolis, MN at 612-673-5701 and Mayor Rybak atPhone: (612) 673-2100 or call 311 or call (612) 673-3000 outside Minneapolis.
Also call the Ramsey County Sheriff Sheriff - Bob Fletcher 651-266-9300 and demand the immediate release of the Permibus.

We are also in desperate need of donations.
Though we do not yet know the full cost of getting the permibus returned we know that it will include tow fee, impound fees, and legal fees.
To donate contact us directly for a local address or...
Donate On-line: Go to:
Click on: Donate Now!
Under "Gift Information" write: Permibus
Under "Please send acknowledgment of this gift to" write:
Donate by Mail: Make check payable to: A.C.T.
On the "For" line write: Permibus
Send check to: A.C.T. 1405 Hillmount St.
Austin, TX 78704

a fair warning to all our permaculture fans: you might be considered an eco-terrorist in America!

Monday, August 18, 2008

BAGLAD(Y) Sustainable In Style

In Holland there is still this image of long-haired alternativo's on sandals, but sustainability might become cool and stylish:

Creating stylish bags from scrap and rags.
Project at the Willem de Kooning Academy in Rotterdam , oct. '07 By Sander
F. van Hest for Lifestyle Design Dept.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Swomp4 direct environmental action in Amsterdam - GroenFront! - EarthFirst!

Swomp4 direct action in the Rustenburgerstraat in Amsterdam squats piece of
land and starts urban regeneration permaculture project

On Friday July 11 a group of squatters occupied this piece of land in the
Rustenburgerstraat in de Pijp in Amsterdam.
Technically they are wild campers, as the law in Holland only allows you to
squat a building that has been empty for one year.
Within three days they already had running water and had started to plant
vegetables and develop an urban permaculture project.
This is direct action at its very best.

More on this:

Monday, July 21, 2008

Permaculture in Amsterdam Saturday 160808

Permaculture in Amsterdam Saturday 160808 (full moon in aquarius, partial eclips) 18.00
Baruch loves to offer a permaculture talk for whoever is interested.
The ethics and principles can be covered in an evening with a combination of discussion and games, can be fun and very useful. Anyone interested?
Date/time: Saturday 160808 (full moon in aquarius, partial eclips) 18.00
Costs: potluck & donation for Baruch
Location: Amsterdam

Monday, June 30, 2008

Workshop Urban Permaculture has been canceled!

Since there were not enough subscriptions, weekend Urban Permaculture 18,19, 20 july 2008 has been canceled; those who already payed the fee will be reimbursed.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Upgrading my tiny garden

After removing some tiles and the hortensia, my garden looked like a desert...
Watch that corner in the triangle, that's the place to start a small 'cold' compost-heap.

Now, a few months later, my garden is running wild!
Even the potatoes are flowering.
Now I have to figure out how to keep the potatoes in check; having potatoes in my garden for a long time will deplete the ground unless I find some other plants that will remedy this...

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

The Fukuoka Farming website

Masanobu Fukuoka was a Japanese farmer who developed what many consider to be a revolutionary method of sustainable agriculture. He is also the author of "The One-Straw Revolution" and several other books examining both his philosophy and his method of farming.
This website is an outgrowth and extension of The Fukuoka Farming Mailing List. Both were created as a place where people interested in Fukuoka's method can network and share resources and experiences.
  • Identifying and using plants
  • Trees, forest gardens, and agroforestry
  • Bioremediation
  • Using plants to detoxify soils and water
  • Edible wild foods
  • Foraging, growing, and using wild plants
  • Making and using seedballs

Tuesday, June 10, 2008


"Cold Outdoor Pile

Easy to start. Can add material continuously.
Very low maintenance and the resulting compost is very rich in soil organisms.

Takes more than a year to decompose. Some nutrients are leached and can also attract animals."

Intrepreting the system mentioned above, I just started piling up 'grown' waste (old straw, tough vegetable stems and hedge clippings) and 'green' waste (fruit, coffee grounds, cut flowers, grass clippings) in small amounts every week.
It looks I have to be very patient... that'll teach me for being a lazy gardener!

Sour Mulch

Beware of Sour Mulch

"..both drought and excess water can cause similar symptoms -- both damage roots, and the plant wilts and turns brown....When organic material used for mulch has been composted improperly, the result can be "sour mulch," which is toxic to lawns, bedding plants, and newly planted shrubs. "

Oops! There is a brown spot in my garden, just in the corner where I left a large pile of compost for a while...

Monday, June 9, 2008

Bokashi Composting

Bokashi (Japanese for "fermented organic matter") is a method of intensive composting.
It can use an aerobic or anaerobic inoculation to produce the compost.
Once a starter culture is made, it can be re-used, like yogurt culture.
Since the popular introduction of effective microorganisms (EM), Bokashi is commonly made with only molasses, water, EM, and wheat bran.
However, Bokashi can be made by inoculating any organic matter with a variety of hosts of beneficial bacteria/microbes.
This includes manures, spent mushroom compost, mushroom spores, worm-casting tea, forest soil tea, yeast, pickles, sake, miso, natto, wine and beer.
Molasses feeds the microbial cultures as they inoculate the organic matter.

Some more discussion on Bokashi:

Comment: I would like to learn how to make a Bokashi starter-set in a easy way, as in...Bokashi for dummies!

Illustration on youtube:

Monday, May 19, 2008

Rediscovering food

Do you know how your ancestors planted, reaped and prepared their food?
Most people consider themselves lucky if they still have grandmothers handwritten cookbook, but how about the really traditional dishes from older times?
Have a look at:

Food museum
Food timeline
Historic food
De Historische Groentenhof & De Kookboerderij
Vergeten Groenten

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Looking at a medium-sized Urban Garden

Now this is what I call a medium-sized garden in Amsterdam; in comparison with gardens in the countryside it is still tiny of course.

Which aspects of Permaculture can we apply at this place in one day's work with a few people?

Are there any specific topics we would like to learn about in this workshop? Do we have other places in mind for gardening?

Monday, May 5, 2008

Urban Permaculture in a tiny garden

Since 2005 I live in a part of Amsterdam that used to be a independent village. The small houses were made for the laborers at the wharves nearby; the gardens are really tiny. It took me a year to settle down, putting down my roots here, relating with my garden. For the first time in my whole live I felt really at home in a place! Working at my garden helps me to connect to this land, gives me a real rooting here and now. It heals some childhood-trauma's on having to pull out weeds as a punishment.

Starhawk's book 'Earth Path' inspired me to try some experiments on Urban Permaculture, beginning with a compost-heap, relocating plants etc. Starting to apply Urban Permaculture in my small garden is a real challenge!

How much Urban Permaculture can I apply in a small spot? I really feel strongly, these type of small gardens need Urban Permaculture. The greater challenge makes the need greater to do this at these spots. See those three tiles bordering the garden and also the hortensia? They had to go, to make space. Opposite the triangle, there is a small spot, usable for herbs. And after the change...Still a lot of work to be done on this site...

Food Shortages in the news

Every news outlet is reporting on food shortages and huge profits by multinationals who "own" the food supply.
Right now these events are reported from "developing" nations but soon they will be occuring in Europe and North America as well.
Just two weeks ago Japan ran out of butter!

What to do? Grow food! Save seed! Grow soil!

Now is the time to learn permaculture.
Now is the time to return to the ancient ways of honoring Earth, protecting soil, growing food, saving seed, and sharing!

We are heading into times of upheaval and change.
Many of us have seen this coming.
For some it is scary, for some it is exciting, for all of us it is an opportunity to learn to be what Human Beings really can be; in harmony with nature and with each other, in harmony with ourselves.

Whatever your spiritual background or beliefs, wherever you live, your survival and the survival of your descendants rests upon your actions now.
This summer, 2008, will be a time that is remembered for many years to come as the summer when the global economic system really began to show it's collapse, when capitalist militarism really "came out of the closet" and when millions of people remembered what they already knew, how to really LIVE!

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Why & How about Urban Permaculture?

Most of us live in cities – crowded and ‘far from the farm’
So how can we apply the principles of permaculture to our lives?

In URBAN PERMACULTURE we will learn some permaculture basics and as a team, develop a hands-on project in a small, urban back yard in a major Dutch city.

We will learn the Permaculture Ethics and Principles, come to understand some basics of site observation, assessment, and planning.

In addition, we’ll informally share such al resources as best books, videos, local seed banks and other support for the urban permie.

We will explain and demonstrate as many of the following activities as we can based on our demo site: basics of sheet-mulching composting, vermiculture (composting with worms), creating an herb spiral/tower, bioremediation to remove toxins from soil.

AND we will make sacred seedballs to take home and for guerilla gardening

Urban Permaculture

If you live in a city, you may wonder if it is possible to live a life in connection with Nature.
Is it possible to grow your own food?
Is the earth in your small garden healthy?
How do you compost if you live in an apartment?
What sort of edible, native plants will thrive in the changing Lowlands climate, on our balconies or in our backyard?
In URBAN PERMACULTURE, you’ll get a fast overview of the entire scope of Permaculture (from collecting and managing water to creating a ‘food forest’ to bioremediation).
Then we’ll work hands-on in a city garden or two to put the basic strategies of soil-building, food growth and composting into action.
URBAN PERMACULTURE is not a replacement for a permaculture design certificate.
It is a very practical way to ‘jump start’ your knowledge and abilities in growing food within the city, to gain confidence and to meet community!

What is Permaculture?

Permaculture is a holistic system of working with water and soil, energy and plants.The ideal is to create ‘sustainable hedonism’ – healthy, delicious and local organic food we grow for ourselves, for example.
Wikipedia includes a full description of Permaculture in many languages.
Permaculture was pioneered by Bill Mollison, David Holmgren and Geoff Lawton in the 1970s.
Today it is one of the passions of Starhawk, whose book THE EARTH PATH is about using permaculture principles; the Earth Activist Training (EAT) is a 2-week intensive in beginning permaculture.