• Week 3 at Cob Camp – Community Matters

    Most people want deeper links to a community as modern society is individualistic, insecure and fractured. Many don’t know where to start to lead different lives and those of us who do, seem to grapple with making ‘community’ work. How do we live co-operatively, thoughtfully and simply with each other whilst conserving natural resources, sharing responsibility for work and providing meaningful, dignified and safe work – including successful projects? All of us on this course are from Western societies where we’ve been encouraged to be highly individualistic. Given we need to learn new skills for living together with others (especially giving up personal space) this group has done remarkably well…

  • Week 2 at Cob Camp – Planting, rescuing, cooking and eating food. And making stuff out of leather…

    Week 2 of the cob building course was (nearly) all about FOOD!! Planting food, skip diving for food, cooking creatively, making a stove and oven, eating, discussing… it really seemed to be our focus all week! After our first skip dive at the local supermarket bin, we organised the camp kitchen and enthusiastically embraced communal cooking with our rescued food. We made scrambled eggs, with smoked salmon and goats cheese, frittata, salad nicoise, salsa, potato salad, creamy pesto pasta, coleslaw, ratatouille, couscous, nettle and goats cheese quiche, garlic pizza bread, chocolate brownies, spaghetti and more… but the best creation all week was Sunset Bin Crumble with Sam’s Special Sauce. This cob-camp…

  • Researching Permaculture in London

    Well, we arrived in London and immediately started researching local farmers markets so we could continue avoiding supermarkets.  That turned out to be relatively easy thanks to London Farmers’ Market – all food and products are grown and produced within 100 miles of London. Some produce is organic, which is my preference when purchasing.  This is a great way to meet local farmers but I wanted to find out more – so, this post is simply about sharing some of the Permaculture groups, initiatives and sites in London (UK) that I’ve been researching. We are currently living in Zone 2 in West London and I have found it a challenge since…

  • 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…

  • Worldwide Permaculture Network

    Back in September 2010 I (CJG) did a Permaculture Aid course with Geoff Lawton (founder of the Permaculture Research Institute) at his Zaytuna Farm in New South Wales.  During that course he told us he was developing a kind of ‘Permaculture Facebook’ – a place for people and projects who have completed a Permaculture Design Certificate to share their exciting, solutions-based work being implemented worldwide. And now… it’s HERE… well, the beta version anyway. 🙂 It looks pretty impressive so far.  There are already hundreds of profiles created and over 30 projects entered.  We are sure it will grow quickly with lots of inspiring people connecting and sharing their holistic,…

  • Few days at the farm…

    A few days ago, CJG and I were invited by Elisabeth Fekonia to spend few days at her farm, in order to give her a hand with the garden and the animals. We accepted gladly as we knew that in addition to being helpful, we’d also learn a lot. Indeed, Elisabeth is the person who taught us how to make homemade brie, cheddar, cottage cheese, butter, ghee, sour cream, yoghurt and kefir – all of this in a one day workshop only! But she also knows how to make sourdough bread, miso, saurkraut, rennet, soap (out of pig fat), sponge (out of the luffa vine), as well as how to…

  • Harvesting during a flood

    As we described in our first ‘harvest’ post, we want to share more photos from our garden with you. At the moment our city is flooding severely. People are evacuating, packing up their things, thousands of homes have been filled with water and some have even lost their lives. On our side, we are lucky as we are on high ground. Many people have been “panic buying” supplies in preparation for isolation and lack of transport. Our CSA (community supported agriculture – see this post for information about CSAs), Food Connect, are having difficulty delivering fruit and vegetable boxes as their drivers can’t get through flooded roads. We have bought some…

  • Harvesting our garden despite the rain

    As we described in our last ‘harvest’ post, we often forget to take photos of our harvests from our organic garden to show you. Lately it has been raining a lot so we haven’t been able to get into the garden to work on it and plant new vegetables. Additionally, the lack of sun and constant pools of water have had a significant impact on our plants. Despite this we were lucky enough to harvest some sweet potatoes (with a few holes in them!) and aubergines (still a bit small) and we are very grateful they have survived. Tonight will be roast sweet potato and aubergine salad with fresh homemade…

  • Harvesting our Garden

    We often forget to take photos to share what we harvest from our organic garden with you, but below are a few from our recent harvests. We’ve been making delicious fresh pesto from all our herbs – rosemary, sage, chives, parsley, thyme, oregano, basil, mint… Baba ghanoush and moussaka from our aubergine… tomato sauce from home grown tomatoes, capsicum, aubergine and spinach… croutons from our fresh homemade bread, brushed in olive oil and fresh herbs from the garden… our green beans, courgettes and Asian greens go in anything from salads to stir fries to lentil soups… our lettuces, spinach and shallots make beautiful crispy salads… and many, many more dishes… We shouldn’t…

  • 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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