Sunday, June 21, 2009

2009 International Permaculture Convergence

Dear all
Registration for all 9th International Permaculture Conference and Convergence (IPC9) events is now live on the conference website www.ipc9.org. The IPC9 events are:

1. The 9th International Permaculture Design Course (IPDC9a). Harare, Zimbabwe;18 to 29 October 2009

2. The 9th International Permaculture Convergence (IPC9b). Lilongwe, Malawi; 2 to 5 November 2009

3. The 9th International Permaculture Conference (IPC9c). Lilongwe, Malawi; 6 November 2009

4. The 9th International Permaculture Site Tour (IPC9d). Malawi, Zimbabwe and South Africa; 7 to 30 November 2009. (You can choose to participate in segments of the trip).
We kindly request all prospective participants to pre-register on line even if you are not yet ready to pay the fees. You can click on the link below to get to the conference home page and to get started. The pre-registration tab is at the top of the page.

We look forward to welcoming many of you in full moon and full sun to the warm heart of Africa in the fall (We will be at the end of our spring here south of the equator).
Please feel free to forward this message to your networks. For any enquiries please write to us at ipc9malawi@ymail.com
Best regards

Mugove Walter Nyika
IPC9 Coordinator

The Regional Schools and Colleges Permaculture (ReSCOPE) Programme
P.O. Box 32280
Chichiri
Blantyre 3
Malawi
Tel: +2651 831 373
Fax: +2651 831 363
Mobile: +2659 788 373
Email: rescope@sdnp.org.mw or zipscope@yahoo.co.uk



Traditionally IPC's take place every two years and switch between continents. Past host sites have been in Australia, USA, New Zealand, Scandinavia, Nepal, Croatia, Brazil, and will be held on the African continent for the first time in 2009. IPC9 is organized by a collaboration of African permaculturists, coordinated by ReSCOPE Programme in Malawi.


Permaculture has a long history in Africa with well know centers in Kenya, Zimbabwe, Malawi, South Africa and others. For the first time the International Permaculture Conference (IPC9) will be held on the African continent in 2009. Plan Africa - Food & Empowerment, is the theme for the Conference. A major goal of IPC9 is to establish the structure to bring permaculture training and knowledge to all countries of Africa. IPC9 will bring government and world press attention to grassroots permaculture work by showcasing the sites and projects already underway. African organizers are committed to bringing participants from every economic sector and region to attend.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009


樹的故事
The Story of the Tree (by Gregory Rosen)

從前,在距離我們不太遙遠的地方,有一株巨樹,延伸著嶙峋多節的枝枒覆蓋著一座叫做Paan-yah的小村落。
Once upon a time in a land not so far away, a giant craggy tree stretched its gnarled limbs over the small village of Paan-yah.

枝枒侵害了村民的農舍與花園,樹根破土而出,摧毀了圍牆與穀物。
The limbs attacked the villagers' cottages and gardens. The roots erupted violently from the ground to collapse walls and damage crops.

村民怨憤地與巨樹的生長搏鬥著,使勁地劈砍那蔓生的雜草,他們只管它為令人討厭的樹。
The villagers fought the growth with bitter prejudice, struggling to hack and slice the ever encroaching behemoth. The monstrous weed was known as "The Tree of Repugnance".

但是,他們逐漸沮喪了,巨樹的樹蔭與根群威脅著每個人的存在。
The villagers became desperate. The darkness and roots of the tree threatened their very existence.

正當大人們日復一日的爭執如何除去這個威脅時,一個叫做Banananana的小男孩輕輕的靠近了一位大家忽視的長者,向他尋求建議。
As the adults continued their daily arguments on how to destroy the menace one little boy named "Banananana" timidly approached a much ignored village elder for advice.

年老且佈滿皺紋,有一頭枯槁長髮與焦黑爛牙的Bobbarundum轉過頭去,他和煦的目光讓男孩更加靠前過去。
Old, wrinkly, "Bobbarundum" grinned widely, with his weathered skin, long forked beard and rotted teeth. His warm gaze gave the boy confidence to come closer.

「Banananana,很久沒人來跟我做伴了,快進來喝杯茶,告訴我你在想著什麼?」老者Bobbarundum說。
"Banananana, it's been so long since I've had company. Do come in and have some tea...and tell me what's on your mind." the old man said.

「是關於那棵討人厭的樹。你注意到嗎?我們如何拯救我們的村莊呢?」小男孩輕聲的說。
"It's the Tree of Repugnance! Haven't you noticed?! How can we save the village?!" the boy squeaked.

「嗯,雖然我只是一堆沒人記得的老骨頭,但是我想你可以問問看那條向東流的河,在過去,她一直很照顧我呢。」,老人緩緩的說。
"Well, I'm just an old, forgotten pile of bones, but perhaps you could ask the River to the East...she's always been good to me in the past..." the old man said slowly.

「什麼?你是說要我去問那條向東流的河?可是河不會說話呀!」,男孩疑惑道。
"What?! What do you mean - 'ask the River to the East?!' Rivers don't talk!" the boy said, incredulously.

「只要你直接發問,用心聆聽,你會驚訝發現她會回應!」,老人睿哲的說。 "What?!
"You'd be surprised what talks back when you ask directly and listen with an open heart." the old man said, wisely.

男孩帶著一絲的懷疑回覆說,「好吧,Bobbarundum,我試試看,反正這也不會有損失。不過,請不要和我的父母提起這件事,他們不會允許我們小孩來插手他們的事務的。」
Still a little confused, the boy said, "Alright Bobbarundum, I'll give it a try...Nothing to lose, I guess. Just, don't tell my parents; they don't approve of us kids meddling in their affairs." the boy said.

「我會保守秘密的」。老人邊說邊看著轉身向清涼茂密的森林跟向東流的河水走去的男孩。
"Mum's the word." said the old man said as he watched Banananana trot off into the cool, moss laden forest to consult the River Spirit to the East.

向東流的河水時而湍急流捲著泡沫,時而水流淙淙化成涓涓細流。
The river tumbled and bubbled, frothed and fizzled and trickled softly in some places too.

Banananana在水邊的樹幹上呆坐了一會,最後,嘗試以他最成熟的聲音問道:「河靈小姐,如果不太麻煩的話,可否請你淹沒那令人厭惡的樹來拯救我們的村莊呢?」
Banananana sat for a while on a log near the water's edge and, finally, in his most grown-up sounding voice said, "Mrs. River spirit...if it's not too much trouble, will you please drown the Tree of Repugnance to save our village?"

河流以甜美、流動的聲音答道,「親愛的小男孩,看看我如何輕鬆自如的在石頭與彎道間流動,我不會把你說的那棵樹淹沒的,但我希望你思考如何與自然共處,而不是對抗他。看著我那深邃的藍,你會找出神奇的手勢,它能應用到樹身上。」
The river answered him sweetly, her voice smooth and flowing, "Dear boy, watch how I move with ease around the rocks and bends. I will not drown the tree you speak of, but instead ask you to consider working with nature, not against it. Look into my sparkly blue depths for a magic sign to use on the tree."

注視著她的河水, Banananana看著並練習那個神奇的手勢,一邊默唸著向東流之河的話語,「與自然共處,而非對抗他;與自然共處,而非對抗他.......。」Peering into her waters, Banananana saw and practiced the magic sign while mouthing the words "Work With Nature, Not Against It..."

向東流之河接著說,「這是你們所繼承的眾多手勢之一,一個你們族人曾經熟知,但現在卻遺忘了的手勢。這些神奇手勢一起運用,可以帶來很大的轉變。現在,去和土地之靈尋求另一個手勢吧!」
The river then said "It is one of the heritage signs, once known by all of your people, but now long forgotten. The magic signs, used in combination, can bring great change. Now go seek the Soil Spirit for another magic sign."

受河流之靈的教誨鼓舞,Banananana跑回到森林中一處。他知道在那裡有最厚最深紅褐色的泥土,而且滿溢著生命。
Encouraged by the lesson the River Spirit had taught him, Banananana sped off back into the forest to a place where he knew the soil was a deep, dark, red-brown hue, teaming with life.

他四肢匍匐在地上祈求著,「土地的靈呀,向我顯示下一個手勢吧,我或許可以幫你悶死並埋葬那令人厭惡的樹。」
On his hands and knees he implored, "Mr. Soil Spirit, show me the next sign so that I might help you suffocate and bury the Tree of Repugnance in an earthen grave!"


土地之靈以一個低沈粗爌的聲音咕噥道,「我不會將你所指的那棵樹埋葬的,相反的,我會鼓勵你去想一想,植物、真菌、各類的昆蟲如何全都一起生活與工作。我要教導你的手勢已具備了萬物如何生長的力量」。
The Soil Spirit answered him in a low, rumbling, rocky voice, "I will not bury the tree you speak of, but instead urge you to consider how the plants, fungus, worms and bugs all live and work together. The magic sign I will teach you captures the power of how everything gardens."

觀察著泥土共生的族群,Banananana喃喃自語的練習著祖傳的第二個手勢,「萬物生長,萬物生長。」
Peering into the soil community, Banananana saw and practiced the 2nd Heritage sign while mouthing the words, "Everything Gardens."

土地之靈帶著喜悅指引小男孩,去向太陽尋求下一個手勢。
Beaming with pleasure, the Soil Spirit told the boy to find the next sign by talking with the sun.


奮力爬上他所找到的最高的山丘,Banananana 讓中午的閃爍豔陽照耀著他年輕稚嫩的雙頰。
Climbing the tallest hill he could find, Banananana let the blazing noon sun shine radiantly upon his young, naive face.

炫目的陽光使他更虔誠溫順地問:「太陽之靈,你可以告訴我那祖傳的手勢嗎?....嗯....並用你那偉大的熱去焚燒那令人厭惡的樹嗎?」
Humbled by the blinding light he asked, rather meekly, "Sun Spirit, would you please show me your Heritage Sign and...torch the Tree of Repugnance with your mighty heat?!"

太陽之靈的聲響熱力澎湃:「我不燒這種東西,相反的,我請你留心我的力量如何燃亮大地,令萬物收獲無窮。」
The Sun Spirit answered him in a booming, fiery voice, "I will burn NO such things! BUT instead will urge you to notice how my life giving rays touch the land, providing a bounty of infinite yield."

陽光裡,小男孩練習著第三個祖傳手勢,並喃喃自語「萬物豐收、萬物豐收」。太陽之靈續說道,「在這等著,召喚風來告訴你下一個手勢。」
And, in the sun's rays, the boy saw the 3rd Heritage Sign and practiced it while mouthing the words "Infinite Yield".

Banananana 照著太陽所說的呼喚道,「風之靈,告訴我你擁有的神奇手勢吧,吹倒那可惡的討厭的樹吧。」
Banananana did as the sun directed and called out, "Mrs. Wind Spirit, show me your magic Heritage sign and...blow down the nasty Tree of Repugnance!"

風怒吼著,「我不會吹倒你說的那棵樹,但我請你看著鳥兒是如何乘著風,不費吹灰之力地舞蹈、滑翔與俯衝,這就是槓桿原理。」
The wind answered him in a howl, "I will not blow down the tree you speak of, but instead will ask you to watch how the birds use little effort when flying upon my wind streams to dance, glide, coast and swoop! This is called, leverage."

眼睛搜尋著天空,Banananana驚訝的發現有一群烏鴉和諧的飛著,向他展示了第四個手勢。
Eyes searching the skies, Banananana started in amazement as a flock of crows flew in unison to show him the 4th Heritage sign.

Banananana嘴巴邊唸著「槓桿原理、槓桿原理」邊練習著手勢。
Banananana saw and practiced the sign while mouthing the word, "Leverage".

風之靈接著說道,「我聽說過第五個手勢,但不知道它在哪裡。」
The wind then remarked, "There is a fifth sign I have heard of, but know not where it lies."

小男孩誠摯謝過風之靈,並決定向老人Bobbarundum尋求建議。
The boy thanked the wind profusely and decided to ask old Bobbarundum for advice once again.

這趟探險使小男孩雀躍萬分,他蹦蹦跳跳走向老人的家門,快活地重重敲著門,不耐煩的呼道,「沒有時間喝茶了,沒有時間喝茶了,我得去找第五個手勢。」
Filled with excitement and wonder at his adventures, the boy skipped happily to Bobbarundum's door, knocking loudly and vigorously, and shouting impatiently, "No time for tea, no time for tea! I've got to find the 5th sign!"

Bobbarundum 開啟他脆弱腐朽的門,露出他滿是焦爛牙齒的笑容歡迎著小男孩;
「我的天呀,你說的手勢確實喚起了我的回憶,可是,我不知道其他了。我們總是有時間來喝茶的。所以,休息一下,喝杯茶,分享一下你偉大的探險。」Bobbarundum eased his old, brittle frame over to the door and welcomed the boy in with his warm, rot toothed grin. "My, my! Your talk of signs does tickle my memory bone, but...can't say I know any more. Here now. There is always time for tea. So, settle down, have some tea and tell me of your splendid adventures.

Banananana迫不及待與老人分享了他的故事和四個神奇手勢,並向Bobbarundum尋求關於第五個手勢的建議。
Banananana eagerly shared his story and showed the old man the 4 Heritage signs he had learned, imploring Bobbarundum for advice on the 5th sign.

「真有趣!但我所能想到的都是那棵樹的影像。你何不到村裡那棵樹前,向他展示你學到的手勢,這顯然不會造成比現在糟糕的影響吧。」
"Funny...but all I can muster is the image of a tree. Hmmmmm. Why don't you go down and show the signs to the tree in the village. Certainly won't make the situation any worse than it already is..."

儘管有一些失望,Banananana 謝過老人的香蕉茶,充滿困惑、緊張與遲疑的往村裡走去。
Somewhat disappointed, Banananana thanked the old man for his delicious banana tea and headed back into the village, but with some confusion, caution and hesitation.

帶著老人的建議,他膽怯地慢慢步向那令人厭惡的樹,凝聚所有的勇氣向那巨大的怪物說到。
Heeding the old man's advice, he timidly crept up to the horrid Tree of Repugnance, gathering his courage to address the massive monstrosity.

「嗯...先生....嗯....樹靈先生?看著我的神奇手勢,怕吧!」
"Um, Mr. Uh, Tree...um, spirit? ...Behold my magic signs and fear them!!"

那樹以一個深沈緩慢、男中音的聲音答道,「好的,好的,我年輕的朋友,很久沒有人和我說話了。我知道你擁有一些神奇手勢,或許我可以加上我自己的。你知道,我並非一直都是那令人厭惡的樹。在好幾代前,我是棵豐收之樹,人們讓我的枝枒伸展,生長出各種美味的禮物,包括蘋果、杯蛋糕、豆腐、烤牛肉跟啤酒!但是為了要保護他們單調無味的穀物,這幾代的人在我的枝幹還未長成到足以生產前就砍斷他們了,村民已經忘記了我令人讚嘆的大能。在這裡,站在我的前面,這樣你可以看到你的問題就是答案,我曲折的枝幹可以告訴你最後第五個手勢。」
The tree spirit answered him in a deep, slow, baritone voice, "Well, well, my young friend, it's been a long time since someone has spoken to me. I see you have some magic and perhaps I can add a bit of my own...You see, I wasn't always the "Tree of Repugnance" Not so many generations ago, I was the "Tree of Abundance", and the people let my long lanky limbs stretch and grow to produce all sorts of delicious treats like, apples, cupcakes, tofu, roast beef and beer! After generations of cutting my branches back before they could fruit...(in order to protect their bland tasting mono crops), the villagers have forgotten my incredible bounty. It is here, standing before me that you can plainly see that your problem is the solution. My twisting branches can show you the 5th and final Heritage sign."

Banananana 受大樹神奇的故事吸引,他靠近看著樹展示著手勢,邊唸著「問題就是答案」邊練習著。
Banananana was enthralled by the tree's magnificent story. He watched closely as the tree performed the sign and practiced it while mouthing the words "The Problem Is The Solution."

大樹繼續說到,「當你一起使用這五個手勢,他們就會變成一股強大的力量與資源去引導你踏入你的旅程,我年輕的朋友。」
The old tree then remarked, "When performed all together, these (5) Heritage Signs are a powerful, powerful force and resource to guide you in your journeys, my young friend."

明白之後,Banananana全心全意的謝過大樹,並且跑去告訴他的村人自已所學到的一切。
Finally understanding, Banananana thanked the tree with his whole heart and ran off to relay to the villagers everything he had learned.

藉著老Bobbarundum的幫助,他說服了絕望的村人,重新讓大樹生長,並提供他所有美味營養的禮物。
With the help of old Bobbarundum, he convinced the still desperate villagers to let the tree grow and provide its tasty and nutritious treats.

當村人看到令人厭惡的樹轉變成為豐盛的樹後,他們重新獲得了歡樂,並且慶祝著。
The villagers all rejoiced and celebrated as they watched the Tree of Repugnance transform back into the Tree of Abundance.

從那天起,村人們再也不曾忘記那些神奇的手勢與智慧,他們快樂的教導著下一代關於這一切的智慧,使之成為從大地中增長和諧的一項重要工具。
From that day forward, the villagers never again forgot the uses of the Magic Heritage Signs and the wisdom contained within them. They joyfully taught this wisdom to all future generations as a tool to propagate harmony throughout the land.


如同Banananana 教導他的孩子的孩子,「用這五個手勢,向前走,並且傳播美好、生命、愛與同情。」
As Banananana later told his children's children, "...with these 5 signs, go forth and spread beauty, life, love and compassion!"


The End

Monday, April 27, 2009

Amazing. BBC made a documentary that combined Peak Oil and Permaculture. It is on YouTube now. The link is below (it is split into five parts).

http://www.youtube.com/view_play_list?p=9975CC0E8CC2CDDE

As usual, I am Peak Oil biased.

Agape.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Hello brothers and sisters.  Hope life is treating everyone well.  I miss you all.  Don't have much to say right now but I just thought I'd post this video, it is great to watch when you find yourself in times of trouble... a beautiful reminder that we are all connected, a key permaculture principle!


Peace and Love,
Jon

Thursday, April 9, 2009

pdc課程實錄第二篇















今天老師在介紹完如何設計都市中的樸門理想空間後,將學員分成四組,並且各自有各自的主題案例其中條件還包括預算讓你们能自由發揮到你的案例上,之後每組學員就展開各自的設計目標依場地分析討論逕行設計評估並且順利完成.最後由每組學員都要說出設計目地為何要如此設計你的案例
案例四 案例二




案例三


案例一












Thursday, March 26, 2009

Michelle Obama's Garden

Obamas to Plant Vegetable Garden at White House


Published: March 19, 2009

WASHINGTON — Michelle Obama will begin digging up a patch of the South Lawn on Friday to plant a vegetable garden, the first at the White House since Eleanor Roosevelt’s victory garden in World War II. There will be no beets — the president does not like them — but arugula will make the cut.

Stephen Crowley/The New York Times

Sam Kass, an assistant White House chef, left, and Dale Haney, the White House gardener, at the site of the new vegetable garden on the South Lawn.


While the organic garden will provide food for the first family’s meals and formal dinners, its most important role, Mrs. Obama said, will be to educate children about healthful, locally grown fruit and vegetables at a time when obesity and diabetes have become a national concern.

“My hope,” the first lady said in an interview in her East Wing office, “is that through children, they will begin to educate their families and that will, in turn, begin to educate our communities.”

Twenty-three fifth graders from Bancroft Elementary School in Washington will help her dig up the soil for the 1,100-square-foot plot, in a spot visible to passers-by on E Street. (It is just below the Obama girls’ swing set.)

Students from the school, which has had a garden since 2001, will also help plant, harvest and cook the vegetables, berries and herbs. Virtually the entire Obama family, including the president, will pull weeds, “whether they like it or not,” Mrs. Obama said with a laugh. “Now Grandma, my mom, I don’t know.” Her mother, she said, will probably sit back and say: “Isn’t that lovely. You missed a spot.”

Whether there would be a White House garden had become more than a matter of landscaping. The question had taken on political and environmental symbolism, with the Obamas lobbied for months by advocates who believe that growing more food locally, and organically, can lead to more healthful eating and reduce reliance on huge industrial farms that use more oil for transportation and chemicals for fertilizer.

Then, too, promoting healthful eating has become an important part of Mrs. Obama’s own agenda.

The first lady, who said that she had never had a vegetable garden, recalled that the idea for this one came from her experiences as a working mother trying to feed her daughters, Malia and Sasha, a good diet. Eating out three times a week, ordering a pizza, having a sandwich for dinner all took their toll in added weight on the girls, whose pediatrician told Mrs. Obama that she needed to be thinking about nutrition.

“He raised a flag for us,” she said, and within months the girls had lost weight.

Dan Barber, an owner of Blue Hill at Stone Barns, an organic restaurant in Pocantico Hills, N.Y., that grows many of its own ingredients, said: “The power of Michelle Obama and the garden can create a very powerful message about eating healthy and more delicious food. I don’t think it’s a stretch to say it could translate into real change.”

While the Clintons grew some vegetables in pots on the White House roof, the Obamas’ garden will far transcend that, with 55 varieties of vegetables — from a wish list of the kitchen staff — grown from organic seedlings started at the Executive Mansion’s greenhouses.

The Obamas will feed their love of Mexican food with cilantro, tomatillos and hot peppers. Lettuces will include red romaine, green oak leaf, butterhead, red leaf and galactic. There will be spinach, chard, collards and black kale. For desserts, there will be a patch of berries. And herbs will include some more unusual varieties, like anise hyssop and Thai basil. A White House carpenter, Charlie Brandts, who is a beekeeper, will tend two hives for honey.

The total cost of seeds, mulch and so forth is $200, said Sam Kass, an assistant White House chef, who prepared healthful meals for the Obama family in Chicago and is an advocate of local food. Mr. Kass will oversee the garden.

The plots will be in raised beds fertilized with White House compost, crab meal from the Chesapeake Bay, lime and green sand. Ladybugs and praying mantises will help control harmful bugs.

Cristeta Comerford, the White House’s executive chef, said she was eager to plan menus around the garden, and Bill Yosses, the pastry chef, said he was looking forward to berry season.

The White House grounds crew and the kitchen staff will do most of the work, but other White House staff members have volunteered.

So have the fifth graders from Bancroft. “There’s nothing really cooler,” Mrs. Obama said, “than coming to the White House and harvesting some of the vegetables and being in the kitchen with Cris and Sam and Bill, and cutting and cooking and actually experiencing the joys of your work.”

For children, she said, food is all about taste, and fresh and local food tastes better.

“A real delicious heirloom tomato is one of the sweetest things that you’ll ever eat,” she said. “And my children know the difference, and that’s how I’ve been able to get them to try different things.

“I wanted to be able to bring what I learned to a broader base of people. And what better way to do it than to plant a vegetable garden in the South Lawn of the White House?”

For urban dwellers who have no backyards, the country’s one million community gardens can also play an important role, Mrs. Obama said.

But the first lady emphasized that she did not want people to feel guilty if they did not have the time for a garden: there are still many changes they can make.

“You can begin in your own cupboard,” she said, “by eliminating processed food, trying to cook a meal a little more often, trying to incorporate more fruits and vegetables.”

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

panya in the newspaper

Just before i took off from thailand, as i was walking down the road in chiang mai, check out what i found in a newspaper:
geoffroy

Friday, March 20, 2009

Contribute to Ping's Education

Contribute to Ping’s Education

Ping is the amazing little girl that lives on our property. She has been with us since the very beginning along with her mother Kae. Living at Panya has given Ping the opportunity to grow up speaking English and Thai (she is amazing in both), and amazing opportunities to learn from a wide variety of people many skills and ways of beings. One thing Ping and Kae do not get by living at Panya is much of an opportunity to save money for the future.

This is why one of our wonderful volunteers decided to set up this way of giving toward Ping’s education. If you are interested in giving towards Ping’s education, please do. Here is a link to the site that Casey set up:

http://www.theraputicthaimassage.com/donate.html

Thank you so much Casey!!!

Saturday, March 14, 2009


Radical Simplicity: Living Car-Free, Petroleum-Free, and Electricity-Free at the Possibility Alliance


In the small town of La Plata, Missouri, something of a revolution is beginning. A brand new intentional community has recently formed, and its aims and message are radical, inspiring, and daring: the Possibility Alliance is a completely car-free, petroleum-free, and electricity-free communit

y striving to raise a new level of awareness regarding sustainable, cooperative, and compassionate living.

Currently composed of a small handful of members, the Possibility Alliance is totally off-the-grid and uses candlelight and wood stoves for heating and cooking, and it owns no vehicles. Instead, members use bicycles as their main mode of transport. (See above for an example!) Another of the group’s goals is to depend entirely on 100% local food, so that whatever is not grown by the community is obtained within a 200 mile radius. The Possibility Alliance hosts students, visitors, and guests and provides educational workshops free of charge on topics such as permaculture, bicycle maintenance, gardening, etc. Although the group might use the term “radical simplicity” to describe the lifestyle they have taken on, they see it as more of a return to what makes sense for humans living harmoniously with the earth.

Last week, I wrote about the Superheroes bike ride which is currently traveling through Missouri. I spoke at length with friend and communitarian Ethan Hughes, who is heavily invested in both the Superheroes and Possibility Alliance projects. There is a strong bond between both movements, as Ethan explains in this interview about the project. We discuss at length what it means to live sustainably, and what the sustainability community needs to do to take the next step in progressing the ecological movement.

The Possibility Alliance: a Superheroes headquarters

Brian Liloia: What is the connection between the Superheroes bike ride and the Possibility Alliance?

Ethan Hughes: The Possibility Alliance was hatched out of the Superheroes, from seeing what amazing things can happen when we didn’t have an agenda and just stuck to our principles and moved through the world. The Possibility Alliance, in a sense, is a Superhero ride all-year-round. The Superheroes were first, but we offered that hey, we now have this land, and we’ll be the headquarters for the Superheroes. It’s the same kind of expression as living lightly on the earth, and serving the public. We don’t create projects for the Possibility Alliance, we’re just there. We have an intention but no set plan. That equation creates a lot of amazing change. It’s definitely an offshoot of the Superhero energy.

BL: Can you talk briefly about the goal of the Possibility Alliance, and where you think it might be headed?

EH: We’re so happy with what’s happening now. All of us [living there], in our heart level, our big goal is total societal transformation. Our vision is that the Possibility Alliance would have something like a land-based center in every bioregion of the US to see how can we live in this bioregion with a total local diet, no petro input, and as an educational center, and also as a service center. So each bioregion would have a team of Superheroes going out to serve in emergencies, riots, hurricanes [etc.], and for free, which is a big part of the Superheroes and the Possibility Alliance, is that we’re based on the gift economy. We don’t require fees for what we do. We have probably moved over $100,000 in eight years. People give to us and we gift projects. The Possibility Alliance’s land was totally paid for in a year and a half through people’s donations. They say, wow, it’s so amazing that you’re having groups come, you’re teaching permaculture, you’re doing all this for free. It’s amazing how when people have a choice to give, they give a lot more than what you would even charge them.

But really, our goal is not societal transformation as we think it should be, but the belief that if everyone followed their heart, society would be transformed. So how do we support and give people the courage to live what’s in their heart? I know everyone sits on a secret dream, and there’s a whole spectrum. By helping people to live to their full vision, mainstream society will break the fabrics of consumption, people will feel whole again, and we believe that what will emerge is a healthier society.

Radical simplicity

BL: Would you use the term “radical simplicity” to describe what you are doing?

EH: Radical simplicity…. we use that term now, so that people will get a sense of, okay, we’re not doing solar and wind power, we’re not buying chocolate or other things outside of our continent (or even our bioregion), so yes, we tell people radical simplicity, but for us, we haven’t even begun. We feel like our [ecological] footprint, which for most people is very small, still has so much further to go to actually return to some form of harmony with the earth. And without the earth, without water, we’re dead, and we’re facing this reality that wow, no matter how good a movie is, no matter how good chocolate is, we can’t enjoy it if we don’t have bodies, if we’re all dead of cancer. So, not to take away that movies or chocolate are wonderful experiences (there’s beauty in seeing the artform of the movie), but if someone sat down and could really see what was going to happen to the earth, and they see you have a choice: you’re either dead, or you get your cash crop. I think every human being on earth would say, ok, I can eat honey, locally, I can eat peach cobbler. Yes, it’s not the same as chocolate, but I can deal with it.

This isn’t to mean any kind of gloom and doom, it’s just looking at the facts. I was a conservation biologist, that’s what lead me here. I would study the ecosystems and I saw them collapsing. The normal eye can come to Missouri and say, oh, it looks healthy, but the trained eye can see, no, there’s no climax forests, the diversity is down incredibly, the erosion is up, the watersheds are polluted. So I have a lot of compassion that we really still can’t see the impacts. So yes, we’re for “radical simplicity”, but we’re just returning to the way that we feel makes sense, and what we learn from nature. Nature is our teacher. And there is a give and take of energy, which creates a balance in a system, which humans obviously haven’t followed.

The meaning of sustainability

BL: Can you speak to the idea of sustainability, and what that means to you?

EH: Two things. The first one is that we really try to celebrate any shift towards a lesser impact to life. When a friend calls me and says “I sold my SUV and got a BMW”, I sincerely applaud them. And I’ve had friends call and say “I sold my third house, and gave that money away”, and I celebrate that. I feel that any atom going towards more mindfulness, or more environmental consciousness, should be celebrated. So that’s the first part. Sustainability is a spectrum. It means something different to each person. In the minute we think that we own what is sustainable, I think dogma and separation can come into it.

With that said, I also believe that the current alternative, sustainable movement is ready for a profound jump. I’ve been part of it since 1988, when I went to university, and I have not seen a significant shift in our footprint for twenty years. Great ecovillages, solar panels, etc. were all happening in ‘88. These are things we celebrate, but I think that we’re really on the edge of a new jump. When we were in Europe, which inspired the Possibility Alliance, we saw all of this starting to happen: people living much simpler and doing a lot more political and social work than the average community here.

And I think for sustainability, I feel that definition is going to change in the next couple of years. And it’s going to change to the definition which I’m going to give, which is a system that allows all species to thrive. Not just your own land here, but also - where did that solar panel come from? Which is a hard question, and that’s the hardest part for us. Because if we write what inspires us, it often triggers people, and they’ll say “oh, they’re cocky” or “oh, they think they’re doing it better” when we’re just trying to take the facts and say, hey look, we’re willing to really look deeply into what goes into making a McDonald’s hamburger, [for example]. Or if I talk about Monsanto, any activist can list twenty pages about what Monsanto does.

This morning I brought up solar panels and nobody knew where they came from. You’re not aware of the deep-sea drilling they do for silica, much like the oil companies drill? I think the ecological movement needs the maturity to look at itself. I think it’s brilliant at looking at the Bush administration and Monsanto, but turning that same beam in a loving way towards ourselves, not in an “I’m bad” way but, ok, let’s look at what we’re choosing, and let’s really use that information to align with life. The biggest compliment that came from our neighbors who are a lot more conservative, (here we are living so radically like the Amish in simplicity, what the mainstream would say is “radical”), was when they came over to us and said: “you know the one reason we respect you so much is because you are doing what you say”. They really attack Al Gore because they look at the idea that he’s saying ‘it’s imperative now that we change our ways because of global warming, or we’re all going to die’, and here he has this huge mansion.

I think if the ecological movement, in a loving, mindful way, removed the hypocrisy, that’s the first choice: remove the hypocrisy of saying and not doing, or back off on Monsanto and McDonald’s a little bit, and stop making someone else the target. We’re far away from sustainability right now, all of us. It’s hard. What I would ask is how do you bring these hard points to people in a way that doesn’t awaken defensiveness or pain? If we can figure that out, we’ll have the next transformation in the sustainability movement. If anyone knows of more ways to do it mindfully, that’s the strategy that’s going to help the shift happen to a new form of sustainability that will redefine the ecologofical movement.

- - -

I am truly inspired by what is happening at the Possibility Alliance. It is my own belief that this type of lifestyle is perhaps the next stepping stone to a more sustainable society and culture.

To contact the Possibility Alliance to learn more about their community and the Superheroes bike ride, write or call them at:

Possibility Alliance
28408 Frontier Lane
La Plata, MO 63549

Telephone: 660-332-4094

Monday, March 9, 2009

The Story of the Tree

Hey Everyone!

Many of you had asked for the words to this story that the 2 Gregs and I performed at the talent show on fiesta night...and, here it is! (Finally! ...Sorry it took so long!) The Story of the Tree (beautifully written by Greg Rosen, aka. Serial Napper) complete with a short video clip on how to perform each "Heritage Sign".

Enjoy! :)

* * * * *

The Story of the Tree
(by Gregory Rosen)

Once upon a time in a land not so far away, a giant craggy tree stretched its gnarled limbs over the small village of Paan-yah. The limbs attacked the villagers' cottages and gardens. The roots erupted violently from the ground to collapse walls and damage crops. The villagers fought the growth with bitter prejudice, struggling to hack and slice the ever encroaching behemoth. The monstrous weed was known as "The Tree of Repugnance".

The villagers became desperate. The darkness and roots of the tree threatened their very existence. As the adults continued their daily arguments on how to destroy the menace one little boy named "Banananana" timidly approached a much ignored village elder for advice.

Old, wrinkly, "Bobbarundum" grinned widely, with his weathered skin, long forked beard and rotted teeth. His warm gaze gave the boy confidence to come closer.

"Banananana, it's been so long since I've had company. Do come in and have some tea...and tell me what's on your mind." the old man said.

"It's the Tree of Repugnance! Haven't you noticed?! How can we save the village?!" the boy squeaked.

"Well, I'm just an old, forgotten pile of bones, but perhaps you could ask the River to the East...she's always been good to me in the past..." the old man said slowly.

"What?! What do you mean - 'ask the River to the East?!' Rivers don't talk!" the boy said, incredulously.

"You'd be surprised what talks back when you ask directly and listen with an open heart." the old man said, wisely.

Still a little confused, the boy said, "Alright Bobbarundum, I'll give it a try...Nothing to lose, I guess. Just, don't tell my parents; they don't approve of us kids meddling in their affairs." the boy said.

"Mum's the word." said the old man said as he watched Banananana trot off into the cool, moss laden forest to consult the River Spirit to the East.

The river tumbled and bubbled, frothed and fizzled and trickled softly in some places too. Banananana sat for a while on a log near the water's edge and, finally, in his most grown-up sounding voice said, "Mrs. River spirit...if it's not too much trouble, will you please drown the Tree of Repugnance to save our village?"

The river answered him sweetly, her voice smooth and flowing, "Dear boy, watch how I move with ease around the rocks and bends. I will not drown the tree you speak of, but instead ask you to consider working with nature, not against it. Look into my sparkly blue depths for a magic sign to use on the tree."

Peering into her waters, Banananana saw and practiced the magic sign while mouthing the words "Work With Nature, Not Against It..." The river then said "It is one of the heritage signs, once known by all of your people, but now long forgotten. The magic signs, used in combination, can bring great change. Now go seek the Soil Spirit for another magic sign."

Encouraged by the lesson the River Spirit had taught him, Banananana sped off back into the forest to a place where he knew the soil was a deep, dark, red-brown hue, teaming with life. On his hands and knees he implored, "Mr. Soil Spirit, show me the next sign so that I might help you suffocate and bury the Tree of Repugnance in an earthen grave!"

The Soil Spirit answered him in a low, rumbling, rocky voice, "I will not bury the tree you speak of, but instead urge you to consider how the plants, fungus, worms and bugs all live and work together. The magic sign I will teach you captures the power of how everything gardens."

Peering into the soil community, Banananana saw and practiced the 2nd Heritage sign while mouthing the words, "Everything Gardens." Beaming with pleasure, the Soil Spirit told the boy to find the next sign by talking with the sun.

Climbing the tallest hill he could find, Banananana let the blazing noon sun shine radiantly upon his young, naive face. Humbled by the blinding light he asked, rather meekly, "Sun Spirit, would you please show me your Heritage Sign and...torch the Tree of Repugnance with your mighty heat?!"

The Sun Spirit answered him in a booming, fiery voice, "I will burn NO such things! BUT instead will urge you to notice how my life giving rays touch the land, providing a bounty of infinite yield."

And, in the sun's rays, the boy saw the 3rd Heritage Sign and practiced it while mouthing the words "Infinite Yield".

The Sun Spirit then boomed, "Stay here and beckon the kind Wind Spirit for another sign."

Banananana did as the sun directed and called out, "Mrs. Wind Spirit, show me your magic Heritage sign and...blow down the nasty Tree of Repugnance!"

The wind answered him in a howl, "I will not blow down the tree you speak of, but instead will ask you to watch how the birds use little effort when flying upon my wind streams to dance, glide, coast and swoop! This is called, leverage."

Eyes searching the skies, Banananana started in amazement as a flock of crows flew in unison to show him the 4th Heritage sign. Banananana saw and practiced the sign while mouthing the word, "Leverage".

The wind then remarked, "There is a fifth sign I have heard of, but know not where it lies."

The boy thanked the wind profusely and decided to ask old Bobbarundum for advice once again. Filled with excitement and wonder at his adventures, the boy skipped happily to Bobbarundum's door, knocking loudly and vigorously, and shouting impatiently, "No time for tea, no time for tea! I've got to find the 5th sign!"

Bobbarundum eased his old, brittle frame over to the door and welcomed the boy in with his warm, rot toothed grin. "My, my! Your talk of signs does tickle my memory bone, but...can't say I know any more. Here now. There is always time for tea. So, settle down, have some tea and tell me of your splendid adventures.

Banananana eagerly shared his story and showed the old man the 4 Heritage signs he had learned, imploring Bobbarundum for advice on the 5th sign.

"Funny...but all I can muster is the image of a tree. Hmmmmm. Why don't you go down and show the signs to the tree in the village. Certainly won't make the situation any worse than it already is..."

Somewhat disappointed, Banananana thanked the old man for his delicious banana tea and headed back into the village, but with some confusion, caution and hesitation. Heeding the old man's advice, he timidly crept up to the horrid Tree of Repugnance, gathering his courage to address the massive monstrosity.

"Um, Mr. Uh, Tree...um, spirit? ...Behold my magic signs and fear them!!"

The tree spirit answered him in a deep, slow, baritone voice, "Well, well, my young friend, it's been a long time since someone has spoken to me. I see you have some magic and perhaps I can add a bit of my own...You see, I wasn't always the "Tree of Repugnance" Not so many generations ago, I was the "Tree of Abundance", and the people let my long lanky limbs stretch and grow to produce all sorts of delicious treats like, apples, cupcakes, tofu, roast beef and beer! After generations of cutting my branches back before they could fruit...(in order to protect their bland tasting mono crops), the villagers have forgotten my incredible bounty. It is here, standing before me that you can plainly see that your problem is the solution. My twisting branches can show you the 5th and final Heritage sign."

Banananana was enthralled by the tree's magnificent story. He watched closely as the tree performed the sign and practiced it while mouthing the words "The Problem Is The Solution."

The old tree then remarked, "When performed all together, these (5) Heritage Signs are a powerful, powerful force and resource to guide you in your journeys, my young friend."

Finally understanding, Banananana thanked the tree with his whole heart and ran off to relay to the villagers everything he had learned. With the help of old Bobbarundum, he convinced the still desperate villagers to let the tree grow and provide its tasty and nutritious treats.

The villagers all rejoiced and celebrated as they watched the Tree of Repugnance transform back into the Tree of Abundance.

From that day forward, the villagers never again forgot the uses of the Magic Heritage Signs and the wisdom contained within them. They joyfully taught this wisdom to all future generations as a tool to propagate harmony throughout the land.

As Banananana later told his children's children, "...with these 5 signs, go forth and spread beauty, life, love and compassion!"

The End

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

New Wiki Gardening Website

We have been talking about how powerful a site like this might be. I just got the e-mail today that it has now been set up. Totally user edited and controlled. Add a plant, list your successes and failures. This could eventually have the most comprehensive list of plants, their uses, and the way people use them. I'm excited.

Lots of love,
Christian

March 4, 2009


Wikigardens (www.wikigardens.com) is a new website for the landscape
architect, the practiced gardener, the amateur plant nerd and anyone who
falls between the three. It is primarily a site for plant research. The
site features a 50,000 plant encyclopedia, a garden showcase, a forum, a
members' journal, seasonal topics of interest, and listings of local garden
groups.

What separates this site from other garden database websites is the "wiki"
function which allows any member (membership is free) to contribute
information about plants, successes and failures, helpful hints, post shots
of their garden, etc. The information is vetted by other WikiGardens
members to insure it is correct and trustworthy. The philosophy behind this
is "many eyes make mistakes small" therefore the more users, the more
accurate the information.

Additionally unique to Wikigardens is the absence of annoying pop up and
sidebar ads. Vendors who chose to buy advertising on the site do so in the
form of links back to their own website. This feature is useful because
vendors are sorted by the zip code closest to the member. When searching for
a particular plant to purchase, your choices will be closer to home.

Like any wiki site, it is only as robust and vigorous as the users who
contribute to it. We invite any and all to visit Wikigardens, become a
member and "dig" in the garden.

For more information Contact:
Michael Peterson
503-236-7574
admin@wikigardens.com <http://www.wikigardens.com>

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Peter's Vipassana Sit

Peter is a long term volunteer at panya, who just sat his first 10-day Goenka Vipassana meditation. Here is what he had to say about it:

Ten days of Vipassana

By thai2gether

Vipassana Blog

This is an oxymoron because a blog is meant to be now and this is at least a week old. You can have no pens or paper let alone cell phones (that was really pleasant) computers, or wallet. I’m surprised I was allowed my watch!! Anyway, here goes:

Shhhh – it’s 5;15 AM on Day 8. We have been sitting, i.e. meditating, since about 4:25 and I seem to be done with it. I’m taking a peek around me, luckily I’m at the back of the class (nothing to do with stupidity, but then it’s all Thai to me). They put the ‘older’ students i.e. those that have done this before, in the front, I think so that as we beginners start to shift, fidget and whimper in pain we don’t disturb them. Back to Dhamma Central– shhhh. I say we – there are about 30 of us, split evenly between men and women, mostly Thais, 2 Italians, 1Israeli, 1 Austrian, 1 Irish Canadian, 1 BrUs (Britain U.S.) That’s the guys. 1 Philippine, 1 Israeli, 2 U.S., that’s the girls. Actually, all this is unknown tome right now so forget it. We are in the Dhamma Hall, a building about 8 meters wide by 20 meters. The floor is tile and there is a pattern down the center dividing the men and the women. We sit facing a dais that’s raised about ½ meter. Our teachers, two women, sit on this dais. They always wear a sarong from waist to feet and a white shirt and shawl on top. We are all meant to be in place, settled and meditating for about ten minutes before they enter very quietly by their own doors. It’s dark outside and the lighting in here is low so as I raise my eyes things slowly come into focus. There are some people hunched over, head low, others sitting ramrod upright, head erect (that’s the position I choose – it’s so cool looking). Everybody has their legs crossed in some fashion except yours truly of course - my butt hurts, my knees hurt and even my ankles hurt. If this wasn’t such a non-sectarian practice I wouldn’t be loving Jesus, Buddha, Mohammed or whoever right now. I’ve got my arms wrapped around my knees hugging them to my body, you’ll see why in a minute.

Ok, so the other thing about the Dhamma Hall, and in fact, while we’re at it (shhhh – I can tell we’re getting loud and us students can only talk to the teachers) these buildings only have screens, lots of them – if it’s 40 degrees F out it’s 40 degrees F in and that’s what it’s felt like every (expletive of your choice here but mine starts with ph) morning.

So we are all dressed & bundled up. Of course the smart ones (that’s the Thais in this case) all have woolen or fleece hats. Luckily for us in our bedding supplies we have been given a blanket, it’s green tartan, I think the McDonald clan, you know how the Scots really penetrated Asia in the 1300’s when they clambered over Hadrian’s wall. (the women got red tartan, McDougal ?) ( Day one, I was the first to bring it to the Dhamma Hall. Day 2 everybody had theirs on.) So as my vision improves I begin to see that all the men are wrapped in their green tartan blankets and about ¾ of the women are dressed in their red tartans blankets and the remainder are in white blankets. It looks like the gathering of the clans from a few hundred years ago

Ok now half close your eyes or how ever you like to imagine and picture the Dhamma Hall with the two teachers in white, the students red and green, sitting cross legged in the gathering light, not a sound.

. What a beautiful sight.

I smile, ok lets try again. I close my eyes, cross my legs, nothing hurts any more, my mind focuses and then it’s 6:30.

A Bit of Blah Blah Blah

So, what and why? Back when we were hippies, ok so I know not all of you were hippies, but during that period of our young lives we were questioning and searching for something beyond our material values. I eventually quit that and got a job, learnt how to be almost respectable and generally forgot (not completely) about reasons for existence. This 3 months in Thailand living with a bunch of young people who are eagerly searching and finding has rekindled my search. That and Thai people’s acceptance of karma and the way they live and function. The Austrian guy said it pretty well. When he tried driving here he got so mad – “Out of my way” “Move over” “You stupid so-and-so”. He couldn’t understand why the Thais weren’t more aggressive or had more accidents. (They do have accidents but it tends to be alcohol related.) They are so much calmer or more forgiving than we are. So, (going out on a limb here) I think their culture, education and religion all play a part in this. They have grown up with the “ the Buddha, the enlightened one” and his path (Dhamma) toward enlightenment and it’s in every aspect of their lives – the temples, homes and at work. When a Thai asks for 2 weeks off to go to Vipassana he’s applauded – try that at Safeway or GE. Now I know we have Jesus but I don’t see that integration in the west throughout society as I do here.

Where am I going with this? Oh yes, I guess that’s the Why. Or my Why, everybody has their own.

The What. 9 days of noble silence – that’s no talking, no eye contact, no noise. 9 days of 12 hours per day of meditation either alone or with others in the Dhamma Hall. 9 days of being able to question our teachers at specific times of the day. 10 days of breakfast at 6:30, lunch at 11 am and tea ( a cup of something and a biscuit or small snack) at 5 pm. 5 days of meditation with determination, that’s 3 — 1hour sessions per day where you do not move or open your eyes. One day, the tenth, after 10 am you are allowed to speak, kind of like a re-entry. Laughter, tears and joy exchanging experience and emails.

So how did I do. So predictable. Agony, bliss, agony, bliss. Goenka, the teacher by DVD & CD predicted every rise and fall. His evening 1 hour lectures / discussions talked exactly about how I was feeling so good (“it’s not going to last”) .How I wanted to leave (“it’s not going to last”), how the pain in my knees and legs was unbearable (“it’s not going to last”) That’s how I did. At the ninth day I sat for 1 ½ hours without moving and then got up and walked over for tea. My mind stayed focused for about 70% of the time.

So it was hard – yes incredibly so, both mentally and physically – but then I had a secret weapon – I had bought my return ticket already so I just had to stay there!!!

Love to all, be happy, Peter

Sunday, February 8, 2009

April 3-17Permaculture Design Course in Taiwan











Permaculture Design Course

April 3-17 Permaculture Design Course in Taiwan

This full 72-hour Permaculture Design Certificate is intended for people from all climatic zones who are interested in getting deeper understanding of Permaculture principles and a broad overview of the topics therein.

Whether you work for an NGO doing aid work, have a piece of land that you have wanted to start to develop, or simply an interest in global environment issues,this course is for you.

With Christian Shearer, founder of Panya Project in Northern Thailand, and the people of Panya Project, Chiang Mai, the full 72-hour Permaculture Design course will be held at the site of Yaman Garden in the Yang-Ming Mountain, Taipei, Taiwan. This course will be covered over a two week period, mixing hands-on with plenty of in classroom studies. All students are required to be present for the full two weeks if they wish to receive the certificate.

We would like to continue our policy of offering positive course at a lower price, in hopes that this course may be attended by folks who ordinarily wouldn’t be able to afford to come.We are also going to offer free participation for people working with organic farms. We are looking forward to expanding our knowledge and depth of permaculture.

Costs: The two week certified PDC course:
Regular course price: NT:18,000 (about $550 usd)
Students & Farmers special price : free ( 2for students, 2 for farmers, 2 for NGO workers )
If you work for organic farms or you are students, and believe that permaculture could help your organization or yourselves achieve the goals, please contact us about the free participation.
These prices includes all meals and a place to stay for the duration of the course.

Contact Yaman – mailto:yamanagarden@gmail.comm
blog:http://yamana-garden.blogspot.com/
Mobile : +886-910225705

This full 72-hour Permaculture Design Certificate is intended for people from all climatic zones who are interested in getting deeper understanding of Permaculture principles and a broad overview of the topics therein.

Whether you work for an NGO doing aid work, have a piece of land that you have wanted to start to develop, or simply an interest in global environment issues,this course is for you.

With Christian Shearer, founder of Panya Project in Northern Thailand, and the people of Panya Project, Chiang Mai, the full 72-hour Permaculture Design course will be held at the site of Yaman Garden in the Yang-Ming Mountain, Taipei, Taiwan. This course will be covered over a two week period, mixing hands-on with plenty of in classroom studies. All students are required to be present for the full two weeks if they wish to receive the certificate.

We would like to continue our policy of offering positive course at a lower price, in hopes that this course may be attended by folks who ordinarily wouldn’t be able to afford to come.We are also going to offer free participation for people working with organic farms. We are looking forward to expanding our knowledge and depth of permaculture.

Costs: The two week certified PDC course:
Regular course price: NT:18,000 (about $550 usd)
Students & Farmers special price : free ( 2for students, 2 for farmers, 2 for NGO workers )
If you work for organic farms or you are students, and believe that permaculture could help your organization or yourselves achieve the goals, please contact us about the free participation.
These prices includes all meals and a place to stay for the duration of the course.

Contact Yaman – mailto:yamanagarden@gmail.comm
blog:http://yamana-garden.blogspot.com/
Mobile : +886-910225705

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Parkie's Take on it!!!




Here's Parkie's update to the world!

Hello!

What a splendid day. The sun is shining, the birds are gibbering, the American Nazi Party no longer rules the world, and we've got 30 gallons of wine brewing in the garage. Aaaahh. It's been quite a while since I've sent anything at all, and it's actually taken me over a week to finish writing this and getting the pictures together, mainly because I don't have a camera. I've been living at Panya now for a little over three months, and life is as peachy as ever. We've just finished hosting a 2 week Permaculture course, for 26 students from all over the place, including Singapore, Taiwan, Australia, Malaysia, America, Canada, Brazil and the UK. The place was fairly hectic at times, but good fun, and it's been interesting having so many people here from all different backgrounds, as everyone seems to have something to teach. One guy from Taiwan did a few evening sessions, teaching people how to make tofu, rice wine, and Taiwanese pancakes. Another lady from the States played guitar and sang in the most amazing Joni Mitchell style voice, which was a wonderful accompaniment to lying in a hammock.

The last night of the course was a talent show where anyone could get up and do whatever they liked. People read poems, played guitar, and the guys from Taiwan got everyone to help make a cake, Taiwanese style. I beatboxed for a guy named Greg, who had written a geniusly constructed Permaculture rap. The high point for me must have been the line "Silly monocroppin' fool, taste my multifunctional tool!" My act consisted of a simple trick, which involved hammering a large nail into my nose with a beer bottle. Simple. Then I pulled out a plate full of nails I'd prepared earlier for everyone to try, and amazingly after only about 4 minutes of trying, about 7 people were up at the front with nails in their faces. And no blood. Great fun!

Two days ago I had to do my 3 month visa run to the border of Burma. My original plan was to catch buses all the way there, but I ended up riding my bike all the way there and back. That's a full 12 hours and 500km in one day. My backside has only just recovered.

I've found myself learning a lot here, even when I haven't expected to be. I thought that the other day when I watched a guy chopping up a cabbage, and realised that I would now be a pretty talented cabbage chopper. So with that in mind I thought I'd share some of the knowledge I've learned over the last few months, and I'll start by extolling the virtues of the mighty mighty banana.

The banana plant (not a tree) is the world's largest herb, and can grow to become absolutely massive. Apparently, each plant will send out a specific amount of leaves - possibly 46 - and then fruit. The banana flower which comes first, extends downwards and sheds it's petals one by one to reveal bunches of flowers, which will grow to each become one hand of bananas. At some point, presumably when the plant either gets tired or runs out of nutrients, the flower then stops shedding leaves and continues to grow downwards, and at this point you can come along and cut the flower, which can then be eaten in a stir fry or a soup. The plant will only fruit once in it's lifetime, so after that we generally cut down the entire tree, by which time new "sucker" trees will already be growing up around the base of the mother plant. Once felled, you can then eat parts of the centre of the trunk, and use the rest to mulch other trees nearby. Fantastic. Not only that, but you can make plates and wonderful hats out of the leaves, make wine from the fruit, and on top of all that you never even need to water them. What a guy!

Incidentally we have recently aquired almost our own banana plantation, just down the road from us, which was a real treat. We noticed the owner was chopping down a whole load of his banana plants, leaving large clumps of them, to expose some baby mango trees that had been growing in between. We asked his what he'd be doing with all the old plants, and he said we could just take them as he had no use for them. Then, as it seemed like he wasn't too concerned about the bananas, we asked him what he was doing with them and he said we could just take as many as we wanted any time we liked. Apparently at the time he planted his banana plants, everyone else planted some as well, making bananas almost unsellable. So we now have free access to a banana plantation which stretches across about 13 acres of hillside. So in a few weeks we'll be making banana bread, banana jam, banana wine, banana toothpaste, banana banana banana banana.... Lovely!


We've also had some marvelous lessons in wine making. It is very easy to make your own wine. Incredibly easy in fact, and I only wish I'd known it years ago, when our Friday nights would be spent lingering about outside the off-licence, trying to convince someone with a beard to buy us three litres of gnat's-widdle cider with the measly amount of change we'd managed to cobble together between us. We should have set up our own wineries, and hidden them discretely in the wardrobe or something. In the last three months at Panya, we've made around 400 litres of home-brewed wine, which has been the driving force behind many a night of intellectually invigorating conversation, and some jiggling.

Just to show how easy it is, here's:

Parkie's step-by-step family guide to making 20 litres of ginger wine:

Get a kilo of ginger, cut it up and boil the be'jesus out of it with a few litres of water in a big pot for about 2 hours.

Add 5 kilos of sugar and stir it till it's dissolved.

Stick it in a big container, and put cold water in to make it up to 20 litres. Leave it to sit till the next morning.

Get some wine yeast from your local brewing shop and chuck it in, shake it about a bit and leave it somewhere warm.

Don't screw the lid on tight, the air needs to escape.

Then let it sit for about one month.

Go to the local shop and buy some large bags of cheesy poofs, Bombay mix and pretzels, and a selection of flavoursome dips. Then find your best 70's disco CD and your shiniest shirt, and invite some friends over for a jolly old knees-up! All hail the GGW.

Now two different people have told me about this, and I really want it to be true. When a mosquito lands on you, it is apparently possible to trap it's pokey little mouth in your skin, either by tensing your muscle, or by stretching the surrounding patch of skin, making it unable to fly away. Once trapped, the mosquito supposedly lacks the muscular dexterity to stop itself from sucking, and then has no choice but to continue to suck until it explodes. What fun! I'm still undecided as to whether this constitutes cruelty or not. In Thailand even the monks kill mosquitoes. Unfortunately I'm still yet to test this wonderful story, leaving it still ranked alongside such other apocryphal chuckles as Iraq's weapons of mass destruction, or the one about Jesus. I'd love it to be true though, and if it is I'll let you know. Right, that's enough education for one day, to much knowledge fries the brain as they say, or is that ectoplasm? I've stuck loads of pictures on to this e-mail, so apologies if it's rather large but pictures tell a much better story than I ever could. There's some nice shots of our new chicken house being built, some juggling and one of Leah with a cat on her head. Also a few people have been building blogs about their time at Panya, so here are a couple of them that are well worth checking out: www.panyaproject.blogspot.com www.panyaproject.org The next couple of days are just going to spent chilling our boots, drinking milkshakes and doing a few odd jobs, before we have 3 different groups of high school kids coming to stay, over the next two weeks. Then I'm contemplating taking a holiday to the South to catch some rays, before the next Permaculture course at the end of April. So until then, all I need to do is learn how to make fire and speak French. Take care everybody, sweet dreams and big love
Parkie x (((((( /_ _) ( . . ) ( / ) ---oOOo----------oOOo---

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Thailand panya PDC課程分享通知




各位PC農友大家好

樸門的精神.
照顧地球,照顧人類,分享多餘.
也相信多數同好都在生活中實踐自己的理念.
去年底的PDC課程也已結束一段時日.相信參加的農友同好一定收穫
良多願意與無法參加的朋友分享喜悅.
本人因時間無法配合只好參加泰國的PDC課程.有幸於日前上課完畢.
深覺對permaculture有更深體會.對鄰近國家推動PC的現況也有更多
新的資訊心得願與同好交流.

本次的課程是由PC傳奇人物JEFF的高徒ETHAN與CHRISTIAN兩位
共同主持.ETHAN有多年教授PDC課程與實物經驗.CHRISTIAN更是泰國
PANYA PROJECT的負責人.兩位搭配深入淺.出加上實務經驗豐富吸引歐美
中南美洲及新加坡(3人)馬來西亞(3人)各國共計31位同好的參與
.多數人是有農場或是將要投入農業生產
或是想建立ECOVILLIGE的人.大家經驗交流收穫不少
最特別的是還有參加過Permaculture Fainalce work shop
課程的同學(去年10月美國舉辦)再次參加並分享PC商業化
的經驗…
回想4年多來許多同好的熱情參與.投入.無非是希望這些理念
對這片土地良善的互動能深化.
欣見Permaculture專業課程終於在家鄉落實.
也高興有更多人熱情的投入.

希望藉由此次課程的經驗分享做為樸門團隊的再出發.
新年新期望.希望各位對樸門仍有熱情的同好在新的一年重新出發.



亞曼將於元月31日(六 )上午10點.
於天母古道登山口旁”天母古道花園餐廳”
(可搭捷運淡水線劍潭站出轉銘傳大學校門口搭220公車
終站下往天母古道入口走2到3分鐘)
舉辦PDC心得分享.免費茶點共應.歡迎同好及已參加過PDC
課程的同好.以及想了解與支持Permaculture的朋友參與.

長久以來本持日久見人心的信念.抱持推動樸門精神與
實踐理論.推動Permaculture的目標也努力結合團隊力量
與建立實際範例成功經驗的復製.深感首要問題在於相關書籍
太少.因此也與同好至力進行相關書籍翻譯的工作.
本次亦感謝團隊成員王新雨(主譯)與老k(校對)兄熱情幫助翻譯發表
“Earth users Guide to Permaculture” 分享.
另感謝邱老師及其學生插圖的編列.

本次泰國PDC課程也獲得Christian老師首肯同意四月三日
到十八日來台舉辦PDC課程.相關內容亦將於元月31日下午
1點30分於同一地點說明與討論課程內容.歡迎有興趣參與PDC課程的同好
無論是義工.翻譯.或是換工者我們都希望你的加入.
期始樸門團隊更堅強.本次說明會亦將解開許多PDC的疑惑.

場地受限請事先報名.

聯絡人:亞曼 0910225705

Monday, January 19, 2009

Compost Day 04: The 2nd turn

Our compost heated up incredibly fast -- a perfect mix of ingredients and tropical weather brought the temperature to 155ºF in two days. We turned it, and two days later...

Look at the steam! Greg (who's developing sustainable agriculture curricula for a Burmese NGO) and Jonathan (a wandering forest gardener & seeker of truth) begin to turn the pile.
Checking the temperature of the compost: a perfect 160ºF!
Else (an intrepid australian & earthling rights activist) expertly shapes the steaming pile.

More to come as the freshly-aerated compost heats up again!!!


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Friday, January 16, 2009

Day 0: COMPOST BEGINS - building the pile

Are you ready for the 18-day hot compost?
This is a human recipe for humus.
Pure, unadulterated soil creation in less than 3 weeks.

Christian charismatically explains the compost process.

Materials: forest leaves in the foreground, fresh greens in the back.
Taiga, Tucker, and Martha begin layering the pile.

Ethan and Chris layer onto the pile -- which is watered lightly as we go.

The layered pile! A diversity of finely chopped leaves, grasses, vines, cow manure, rice bran, kitchen scraps, and a secret nitrogen-rich compost-starter. The microbial party gets started!!!

Stay tuned for more. We'll turn the pile when it gets to 160ºF.