• Bolivian Story: Gabriela Rebeca Santa Cruz

    We met Rebeca the same night as Pablo, at Red Monkey, the only vegan vegetarian restaurant in La Paz. Rebeca was behind the bar mixing unusual cocktails that combine typically Bolivian ingredients like huacataya and locoto with fresh juices and of course, alcohol. When I turned up at Red Monkey for my first day volunteering in the kitchen Rebeca showed me around their food production garden, which is her baby and love. As we talked it became clear to me that she was feeling overwhelmed as the only person working in the garden, so I suggested I come one day a week to help out. It wasn’t a completely selfless offer, I…

  • Getting high: Lounge room gardening at altitude

    Recently we posted this photograph of our lounge room garden on facebook where you can see some of the plants we are growing indoors. In addition to these, we are also growing more tatsoi, mizuna, spinach, rosemary, laurel tree, oregano, thyme, parsley, mint and some cucumber seedlings have started to take off! As I’ve mentioned before, we don’t produce enough to make any huge contribution to our food supply but we enjoy doing what we can experimenting growing and seed saving indoors, at an altitude of 3,200 m (La Paz, Bolivia)! Our lounge room is perfectly situated to make the most of the sun’s movements throughout the day, meaning we…

  • Sub-tropical Permaculture Design for Friends

    Friends have recently purchased a house and they asked me to do a permaculture design for them.  This post describes what I provided them with.  I don’t have much experience (my only other full design is here) but I’ve had lots of fun thinking about it, feel really excited by some of the ideas I’ve provided and, of course, look forward to your feedback and suggestions which are always welcome. 🙂 There was no chance of getting a full design for my friend’s new house completed due to time, weather and other restrictions, so what I provided were some suggestions but warned them they would need to note the existing…

  • Urban Permaculture in Practice

    What is Permaculture?  Well, this is where I find it difficult to explain because it seems like it’s EVERYTHING – it’s gardening, it’s organic, it’s energy systems, it’s sustainability, it’s agriculture, it’s raising animals, it’s pest control, it’s regeneration of natural ecosystems, it’s efficiency, it’s energy efficient building and architecture, it’s a philosophy, a way of living, it’s community building… and more.  It’s a word that joins PERMANENT and AGRICULTURE but has been extended to include CULTURE too.  Perhaps the founder, Bill Mollison, can describe it better for you with these quotes: “An integrated, evolving system of perennial or self-perpetuating plant and animal species useful to man” “Consciously designed landscapes…

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