Hay supermarket poll
A Pocket Full of Acorns
A Pocket Full Of Acorns is designed to encourage the planting of trees in designated areas for free. People are invited to gather native tree seeds and saplings, germinate seeds in carrier bags filled with moist soil, left out doors in the garden. Once germinated and grown to above 15cms the bunches of saplings are teased apart and planted directly into the soil. In Cockington Devon, we have a magnificent woodland, which in places is 25 feet tall. The woodland is rich with a wide range of native trees, has deer, badger and squirrels, but most of all the once barren field that was mostly rocks due to run off is now covered with rich fertile soil deposited over the years by deciduous leaf litter. So there is no excuse for not doing anything to help restore our planet. If this approach is used to compliment Operation OASIS in arid coastal regions, anything becomes possible.
Greg Peachey • T.A.
Campaign for Real Farming conference
Campaign for Real Farming Conference 5 & 6 Janusy 2012
This high powered and wide-ranging event took place in Oxford early in January. Permaculture CEO Andy Goldring was among the speakers on using polyculture in farm scale food production. Below is a summary of the themes of the conference. (A comprehensive programme with biographies of all the individual speakers, can be found in the pdf link at the bottom of this report).
Opening Statement of the conference
Agriculture needed serious re-thinking even before the present crises – financial, political, environmental, humanitarian. Now almost everyone who does not deliberately blind themselves to the obvious can see that the re-thinking is urgent. The Oxford Real Farming Conferences are designed to help this re-thinking – and to encourage farmers to take the lead, because hands-on farmers understand farming best, and yet they are routinely sidelined when it comes to making policy. The ORFC of January 2012 – the third in the series – continues what is already a tradition – but now with the inescapable sense that we must move very quickly beyond discussion and into serious action.
The task is threefold:
1: We must design agriculture as if we truly intended to feed people without wrecking the rest of the world – what has been called “Enlightened Agriculture”, or “Real Farming”. It doesn’t do simply to treat farming as “a business like any other”, with a brief to maximize wealth and make rich people richer.
2: We must ensure that farming has its own momentum and continuity so that it continues to thrive whatever may happen to governments – rather as the world’s banks are able to do, although without their obvious drawbacks. The job of farming is to serve humanity and look after the Earth but to do this it has at least to achieve the kind of quasi-autonomy, the status, that’s enjoyed for example by medicine.
3: To achieve all this, we – humanity as a whole – must in effect rescue agriculture.
The events in Britain alone over the past 40 years illustrate a dozen times over that governments are not to be trusted with it. Small mixed farms, biologically unimpeachable, wildlife-friendly, humane, and serving their communities well, have been replaced by ultra-commercial monocultures. Animals have been deformed and rammed into factories.
Tens of thousands of farmers have been thrown out of work, and the houses where they and their workers used to live have been sold off as holiday-homes. The most fertile land is on sale to the highest bidders, to do as they will. The world’s finest network of agricultural research stations and experimental husbandry farms have mostly been shut down or privatized – the most outrageous act of state-sponsored vandalism since the dissolution of the monasteries. Science, conceived as the disinterested search for truth, has become the hand-maiden of commerce.
We, people at large, Ordinary Joes, should not have allowed this to happen, and cannot allow it to continue. But to achieve the necessary changes we, people at large, must work with those farmers who still retain a sense of what farming ought to be, and with the scientists, however sidelined, who can see what has gone wrong and what needs to be done. Science needs rescuing too.
A sea-change is needed, in short, and we won’t bring this about in two days. But we will certainly help the momentum – and, with luck, we should trigger some new and practical initiatives that really could make a difference.
Shropshire Permaculture Network News
New events have been added for the coming year, including a course in making Hugelkultur beds (made famous by Austrian Permaculturalist Sepp Holzer) up at Tankerville Farm in Pennerley, and a weekend course in Forest Gardening with Chris Evans at Karuna, Picklescott. For details go to our events page.
From the number of phone calls and emails I’ve had over the past year, it seems Permaculture and forest gardening projects have been bubbling up all over the place in Shropshire. It would be really great to get some details up in the project area of our website forum about some of this.
I’m looking at setting up a new section on the website about volunteering, aiming to help network members get help for their projects and to let anyone who wants more practical experience to find out where they can get it through volunteering.
Activity on our site has been low, and there’s the threat that it will be deleted by our hosts. I really would hate for this to happen, as I think what we’ve got is potentially a great resource for sharing information about our various projects, for finding out how to learn new skills through local courses and for finding the help and support we need to keep our projects moving forward.
If you agree and you want to keep the site going, please do use it! Share information on projects, visit the forum and give us your tips or ask questions. Remember the site when you have events or Permaculture news to tell. Think of our video section when you find a great new Permaculture film online or our news page when you find an interesting article in Permaculture Magazine, for example.