Wednesday, 28 October 2015

The value of elaeagnus in permaculture (#journal)

Plant genus Elaeagnus: underutilized lycopene and linoleic acid reserve with permaculture potential

Elaeagnus is a genus found wild or as ornamental plants with dense shrub-like structure, fragrant blossoms and silvery foliage. The tiny oblong fruit, with red flesh and pericarp speckled with gold and silvery spots, are edible, with rich antioxidants, phenolic acids and flavonoids. The health benefits of the fruit are blood alcohol removal, pain alleviation, wound healing, cancer prevention, antimicrobial and expectorant etc. Despite this immense food and medicinal potential, the fruit of this genus are languishing in obscurity, and yet to reach mainstream market.

Sustainable land management (report)

The value of land: Prosperous lands and positive rewards through sustainable land management

The Economics of Land Degradation (ELD) Initiative is an international collaboration that provides a global assessment of the economics of land degradation, and highlights the benefits of sustainable land management. Working with a team of scientists, practitioners, policy-/decisionmakers, and all interested stakeholders, the Initiative endeavours to provide a scientifically robust, politically relevant, and socio-economically considerate approach that is economically viable and rewarding.

Living with the Land 9) Foraging (video)

Living With The Land | Part 9 | 21st Century Foraging

Wild food experimentalist Fergus Drennan has been foraging for over 25 years. By following the traditions of foraging for wild foods, medicinals and building materials, we can reconnect with our landscapes, learning to live in tune with nature. Fergus brings this tradition into the modern world through his experimental techniques such as making paper from bracket mushrooms and syrups from bullrushes. Fergus shows some common, yet wonderful plants that are not only edible, but are tasty and healthy. Introduced by Bruce Parry, presenter of the BBC series 'Tribe'.

Terraced farming in the Andes (online)

Terrace Farming – an Ancient Indigenous Model for Food Security 

Terrace farming as practiced from time immemorial by native peoples in the Andes mountains contributes to food security as a strategy of adaptation in an environment where the geography and other conditions make the production of nutritional foods a complex undertaking.

Monday, 26 October 2015

8 principles of IPM (#journal)

Eight principles of integrated pest management

There is a need to design cropping systems less dependent on synthetic pesticides. Consequently, the European Union requires the application of eight principles of Integrated Pest Management. Here, we propose to farmers, advisors, and researchers a dynamic and flexible approach that accounts for the diversity of farming situations and the complexities of agroecosystems and that can improve the resilience of cropping systems and our capacity to adapt crop protection to local realities.

Roof top gardens in Italy (#journal)

Techniques and crops for efficient rooftop gardens in Bologna, Italy

Urban rooftop farming favours local food production. Although rooftop farming is perceived as a sustainable system, there is a lack of quantitative studies. Researchers in a community rooftop garden in Bologna, Italy, grew lettuce, tomato, chilli pepper, eggplant, melon and watermelon. Data was analysed by life cycle assessment for environmental and economic performance. Eggplants and tomatoes showed the best environmental performances of about 74 g CO2 per kg. Eggplant production in soil was cheapest at 0.13 € per kg.

Agricultural instensifcation - what does it mean? (#journal)

The blurred boundaries of ecological, sustainable, and agroecological intensification: a review

It is neither clear nor agreed upon what is meant by agricultural  intensification. This article compares the three major uses, ‘ecological intensification’, ‘sustainable intensification’ and ‘agroecological intensification’, by analysing their various definitions, principles and practices.  Confusion is still predominant in the use of these terms, contributing to their use for justifying many different kinds of practices and interventions. Greater precision in defining the terms and the respective practices proposed would indicate more clearly what authors are aiming at with the proposed intensification.

Biodiversity can feed the world (#journal)

Using our agrobiodiversity: plant-based solutions to feed the world

How can we provide an increasing world population with an adequate, reliable and nutritious food supply? This can best be achieved through the utilization of biodiversity and the inclusion of marginal arable lands for agricultural production, while maintaining a broad gene pool to secure the potential for future plant production and supporting rural agricultural communities. The potential for approaches based on the preservation and development of existing agrobiodiversity has not been given sufficient attention in the current scientific and political debates concerning the best strategy to keep pace with global population growth.

Thursday, 22 October 2015

Syrian conflict caused by over-grazing (online)

Over-grazing and desertification in the Syrian steppe are the root causes of war

Civil war in Syria is the result of the desertification of the ecologically fragile Syrian steppe - a process that began in 1958 when the former Bedouin commons were opened up to unrestricted grazing. That led to a wider ecological, hydrological and agricultural collapse, and then to a 'rural intifada' of farmers and nomads no longer able to support themselves.

Invasive worms in N. America (online)

Paper on Invasive European Worms 

In response to a question raised during my IPC talk on soil, Dan Halsey has confirmed that European earthworms are indeed invasive and damaging to forest eco-systems in North America. To those of us (Europeans) obsessed with worms as an indicator of good soil health, this comes as quite a shock. You can read Dan's enlightening paper on the subject here. Thanks for the submission Dan.


Community initiatives tackling climate change (online)

TESS is a European research project which aims to illustrate the role of community based initiatives in creating a sustainable, low-carbon Europe. It is supporting policy makers by contributing to a better understanding of how initiatives can become more successful. TESS is also helping initiatives to monitor and report on their environmental impacts, including carbon reduction. It aims to develop a measurement method, which is comparable across Europe.

Monday, 12 October 2015

A cartoon! (online)

The very first cartoon to be featured in The Digest!

I saw this carton by Wilbur Dawbam in a recent issue of the British satirical magazine Private Eye and loved it, it says so much about the world we live in, and permaculture's alternative vision.

IPC Conference keynote talks (video)

IPC Conference keynote talks now available

The IPC media team has started to segment the long streamed video from the IPC conference into individual talks. Currently you can see keynote talks by: David Holmgren, Geoff Lawton, Cathy Debenham, Jonathon Porritt, John Nzira and Pandora Thomas, plus the conference poem by Siobhan MacMahon.Visiting the IPC Conference programme page will show YouTube icons next to the keynote talks that are now online. More of those videos will appear over the coming days.

Geurrilla Cartography (online)

Guerrilla Cartography is a loose band of cartographers, researchers, and designers intent on widely promoting the cartographic arts and facilitating an expansion of the art, methods, and thematic scope of cartography, through collaborative projects and disruptive publishing.

Free access to climate change journals (journal)

To mark the final year of the Millennium Development Goals programme, Taylor & Francis are offering free access to select research related to the MDGs. Of particular interest is Millennium Development Goal 7: Ensure Environmental Sustainability. Thirty articles related to The Ozone Layer & Emissions are available to read with free access until the end of October. You can also get free access to all content published in Volumes 1 to 6 of Climate and Development for 14 days until the end of October. 

Better data to fight poverty and climate change (online)

 The Global Partnership for Sustainable Development Data

On September 27th 2015, world leaders committed to achieve 3 extraordinary things in the next 15 years. End extreme poverty. Fight inequality & injustice. Fix climate change. On September 28, 2015 The Global Partnership for Sustainable Development Data officially launched. We are an unprecedented multi-stakeholder group consisting of governments, civil society, private sector, international organizations, academic, statistical and data communities and networks who represent all sectors of society, dedicated to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030. Together we will modernize the data driving the world’s sustainable development efforts so that by 2030, every child born of this earth will count, giving us all a better chance at a thriving world that leaves no one behind.

Species diversity means healthy grassland (online)

 Diversity Breeds Healthy Grassland

A French study looking at the diversity of crop species in grasslands has revealed that genetic diversity breeds healthier, more resilient environments. Researchers from the French state agricultural research institute (INRA) revealed that, not only does a mix of species of crop benefit grassland systems, but different varieties - and so a larger range of genetic diversity - within species also improves health. For optimal production of forage in grasslands it is best to plant several species and a genetically diverse range of each. They reached this conclusion by studying grasslands’ response to drought.


Global food system special issue (journal)

Special Journal Issue on Mapping the Global Food Landscape

The Canadian Food Studies journal has a special issue on 'Mapping the global food landscape' with all the articles available free online. Contains over 50 different articles, with topics including food sovereignty, the commons, genetic resources, sustainable food systems, the right to food and land grabs.  

Agro-forestry in Brazil (videos)

Six Films Demonstrating Agro-forestry in Brazil

The Swiss Ernst Götsch is a farmer and researcher who migrated to Brazil in the early 80's and settled on a farm in the cocoa zone of southern Bahia. Since then, he's developed soil recovery techniques through planting methods that mimic the natural regeneration of forests. Götsch developed a set of principles and techniques that enable integrating food production with natural regeneration of forests, which he has termed Sintropic Agriculture. This site shows a series of high quality videos of some of these agro-forestry techniques, subtitled in English.

Living wth the Land 8) Education (video)

Living with the Land Part 8) Education

Education is key to a more sustainable future. Learning can be far more fun than just sitting in a classroom. Rather than being passive, all of us, at whatever age, can become lifelong learners by doing. This is learning by immersion and it is transformative! Narrated by campaigner, writer and amateur naturalist Brigit Strawbridge.