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This site has not been updated since 2014 and is being maintained as an archive for now. As time allows we'll be weeding out the dated material and presenting the many useful articles in a new format. We'd appreciate any feedback on what you find most useful on this site via our contact page.

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Modular Permaculture Design Course

The classic Permaculture Design Course has been steadily evolving since Bill Mollison and David Holmgren first germinated their ideas about permaculture back in the early 1970s. The two week residential course for a long time has been the mainstay format of the PDC and continues to be popular. However, not everyone can slip into this intense two weeks and this format can present barriers to those who otherwise might consider doing a PDC. The Modular Permaculture Design Course was devised for Cardiff Centre of Lifelong Learning by Michele Fitzsimmons, permaculture teacher and designer, in 2009 and this year will see its  3rd year. The flexible format enables those in full time or part time work and / or those with families to fit permaculture into their busy lives.

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Seed saving for schools

Seed Riddle

by Laurel Anderson

I appear dead before I am alive

Although often quite small, inside my skin a tree can live

I can survive hundreds of years without food or water

I can be as small as dust or as large as a football

Humans and animals eat me

I can fly, swim and hitch a ride

I can survive freezing, fires and intense droughts

What am I?

Seed to table to seed

Students who follow a seed from planting through to harvesting, cooking and composting, and then save the seeds ready for next year, will have a powerful experience of the gardening year. For example, you can plant seeds from one or two crops; read about the history of the plants; observe and care for the seedlings; cook using them; save seeds on the plants; compost the inedible parts of the plants to enrich the garden soil, and study how this crop is grown and marketed commercially. Next season, you plant the very seeds that you saved and start the cycle over again.  Having a connection with plants throughout their whole life cycle is a powerful experience.

Good crops to try would be: broad beans (big seeds), sunflowers (the seeds can be used to feed birds), peas, lettuce. Find out more: and

What are seeds?

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Transition Healthcare

by Ian Watt

One of the things I've been pondering over the last few years is how healthcare is going to fare in the UK during the period of fundamental change just ahead of us - forced by peak oil, loss of resources and maybe financial collapse as well. Think of the colossal amount of energy the Health Service must be using: even just one hospital - the heat and light, the staff's own transport and energy use, the embedded energy of all the equipment, buildings, infra-structure, and all the energy of running it and maintaining it. There's really not much hope of sustaining it in its current form, is there?

The change is going to be really uncomfortable for many. Just thinking about the pharmaceutical element, what's it going to be like when we can't find the materials or energy to make all the anti-depressants, antibiotics and drugs we gulp down by the ton? When all that suppressed disease bubbles over...

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In search of weirdness


Exploring the Culture in Permaculture

by Dave Prescott

It has always been the ‘culture’ bit of Permaculture that has interested me: the idea of low-energy art, what it might mean, what it might look like, or energy efficient poetry, or zero-carbon music. Right in there among all the important and practical stuff, all the growing food and creating shelter, I was attracted to the idea of art in its broadest sense. Bill Mollison looked at a forest and saw a disguised lake; there was so much water held in the trees. This kind of thing is pure poetry, surely. But I have not found much out there about creative self-expression that responds to the time when the world is tumbling down around your ears. Or even, right out there at the cloudy limits, creative self-expression that untumbles the world.

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Who is going to feed us?

N J Snelgar FRSA

The most terrifying statement a farmer can make to the ordinary Joe is ’well Nick, it’s simply not worth doing.’ This chillingly awful remark is often brought out towards the end of a discussion on meat, chicken and even arable production. What are we to think? Does the food chain suddenly shorten and end here? What does he mean?  He (or she) has command of the land and of the means of production and he, or she,  is telling me - the petrified consumer of all of their work - that it’s no longer worthwhile, that it’s no longer earning them a drink! Basically we, the honest Joe, can whistle for our meat and milk: go on – get it from abroad.  So all the 40 years of subsidy and the continuing annual payment of £100 per year for every acre you own is not enough to keep your labour lively, and to make sure you feed us Joes for ever? Well thanks.

Our local 200 cow dairy employing every economy of scale you could possibly dream up, and being managed by a red-hot industrial farmer (well-known in the area for his ravenous industrial skills):  that well-known dairy selling to M&S Foods (hardly a non-discerning food business judging by it’s adverts and the beautiful women associated with it) has closed for business. There you go.

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