Great Intro To Permaculture Concepts




My good friend Craid Sadur who is currently kickin’ it tough in the Chicago area just published this excellent articlethat gives a great introduction to permaculture concepts:

Permaculture is a new system of thought that is gradually becoming popular. It is a philosophy that works with nature, instead of against nature. “Traditional agriculture” has relied upon conquering nature with artificial fertilizers and chemical pesticides. Permaculture is attempting to escape from this dependence on chemicals in agriculture.

Permaculture is also a design method that studies patterns from nature. Then those patterns are mixed with modern technology to design sustainable systems. The key is to not compete with nature, but work with it.

Many popular concepts are already included in Permaculture and Permaculture design. These concepts are: organic gardening, rainwater harvesting, compostingsustainable buildinggray water recycling, and the utilization of natural energy sources. All of these are important aspects for a sustainable future. These concepts have observed what nature gives us.  They are using a form of technology to create sustainable solutions.

See the rest of the article here:


Eveergreen Co-operative Initiative and the Permaculture Unconference

Permaculture News:

Permaculture and Co-ops

I want to take a moment and highlight something very amazing happening in the US and around the globe which is the beneficial merging of the permaculture and co-operative movements.  This makes a  lot of sense because both movements are in line with ideas and ethics of Earth Care, People Care, and Fair Share.  Although it’s not yet advertised, Punk Rock Permaculture E-zine is even part of a bigger Permaculture Media Co-op which includes and other sites.

In previous posts we’ve emphasized how the combination of cooperatives, permaculture, and community land trust are winning combination to bring ecological, social, and environmental regeneration to affected communities.    Please take a minute and educate yourself about the innovative Evergreen Co-operative Initiative in Ohio, and then if you want to learn more about the cutting edge nexus of the permaculture and co-operative movements please follow the upcoming spring Permaculture Unconference in the SF bay area.

How the Internets just got Flattr…

Flattr leaves invite only BETA go get it!

Flattr this
<<<< Flattr punk rock permaculture e-zine,

if you love us…    

Flattr, a new social nanopayments dontion platform already popular in Europe, and currently being used by Wikileaks has left invite only BETA which means it’s open to all content creators/users to enjoy.  Check out this video of Peter Sunde (formerly of The Pirate Bay) explaining the formation of flattr and why it’s such a simple revolution! The Social Media Times, The Financial Times Tech blog, Read Write Web, Mathaba and Tech Dirt have all written excellent articles about this service.

The Hail Seizures new album review and 3 country tour!

For the Ruin…

back cover

Just when you thought they had their last transmission (big pun) my best friends in the Hail Seizures from my homebase in Olympia, Wa just released a new album and are about to embark on a epic 3 country tour!  Folk punk fusion bands such as The Hail Seizures, Blackbird Raum, Black Oak, and others constitute a type of gritty acoustic blend that I believe is best described as “hard wood music”.   If you hear the lyrics of these guys you’ll find a deep ecological awareness, a bit of rage, but a light hearted joyfulness as well.  Some possible joyful influences may be that every member is a avid gardener, defends the heart of their community, cares about community oriented art, and knows the true meaning of solidarity and friendship.  Honestly, you need to see these folks live to really appreciate the authenticity of their sound which is why you should catch them on tour this July and August.  Here is my official review:

If someone were to take a big rusty chainsaw,stick it in your ear, and then light that shit on fire while it was still running like it was No Bigggie™, it wouldn’t even compare to the shear exquisite rawness and intricate passion of this album.  Wicked fuckin’ awesome good, great job friends!

Justseeds releases radical art history masterpiece!

As a print maker, street artist, and permaculture activist working on ecological and social justice and transformation I take a lot of inspiration from Justseeds.  Based loosely in NYC, PDX and now Pittsburgh PA these folks are heroes of art that makes a impact that is why I’m happy to promote their new book in Our Little Store.

Justseeds Artists’ Cooperative
Firebrands:Portraits from the Americas

Our new book published by Microcosm Publishing,Firebrands is “full of art, American history, and dangerous information. These beautifully illustrated mini-poster pages showcase radicals, dissidents, folk singers, and rabble-rousers, from Emma Goldman to Tupac, Pablo Neruda to Fred Hampton. As say editors Shaun Slifer and Bec Young in the introduction, the book is for “anyone who has sat trembling with frustration and disappointment in a history class that was neither stimulating nor inclusive. It’s for those tired of hauling to classes heavy textbooks that have been carefully removed of anything interesting or useful. It’s for all our ancestors, especially those misrepresented in those textbooks, left out because they were too brown, too female, too poor, too queer, too uneducated, too disabled, or because they daydreamed too much.” This is a real people’s history, a book packed with dynamite, desire, and above all, courage.”

Justseeds contributors include:Alec “Icky” DunnMary TremonteColin MatthesChris StainMelanie CervantesJosh MacPheeMeredith SternKevin CaplickiKristine VirsisRoger PeetMolly FairErik Ruin,Favianna RodriguezJesus BarrazaNicolas Lampert, Fernando Marti, Jesse Purcell,Dylan MinerPete Yahnke,Shaun Slifer, and Bec Young.

192 pages (178 pages with page numbers)
78 illustrations

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A Radical Relocalization Manifesto

For a while now I’ve been meaning to type up a great radical permaculture manifesto, which I still hope to finish soon.  But until then, please enjoy this amazing “radical relocalization manifesto” from Radical

A Relocalizer’s


by Andrew MacDonald

I declare it’s obvious as hell
we can take care of our ourselves,
we the neighbors, we the friends,
we the face-to-face people.

We can grow our own food
and enough for others too
– if we work our asses off.
We can make our foolery and finery
– make our own bedevilment and divinery.

We can work close by and make the neighborhood ring.

There’s no army to shoot us when we don’t buy a car,
no knock on the door if we plant a cabbage
where the driveway was.
No tax on the burgeoning compost pile.
Most every one will like the fruit trees
and the fish in the fresh dug pool.

Because it is so
I declare our collective smarts
brighter than our solitary darks.
I acknowledge our collective intelligence
past the laments
and the governments.
The road’s not far,
and we’ll be glad we went.

Don’t need our country uber alles
and mine’s not strong or free.
But we can take care of it
pretty much locally.

(A radical relocalization map photo credit– The Public Amateur )

How Sustainable Bamboo will Help Haiti and the World

Humanitarian and Sustainable Bamboo for Haiti and beyond!


Hey Folks Gaia Punk here,

New Developments

I haven’t had much time to post because I’ve been working pretty much non-stop on a Permaculture Relief Corps mission call Perma Corps for Haiti, which has been getting a LOT of support from here and also here .  Which brings me to my next subject sustainable bamboo production! I absolutely love bamboo, in fact, I currently live in cozy and locally sourced bamboo framed yurt.  I wish to bring up the subject because RIGHT NOW there are currently around two million people homeless in Haiti, 1 million or so in Port Au Prince and another million scattered throughout the countryside.   It is very likely that in couple of weeks when when the seasonal rains begin in full force (not to mention Hurricanes) many of the tents  and encampments where displaced Haitians are housed will be completely washed out.  Haiti desperately needs cheap, permanent, sustainable housing that is hurricane and earthquake resistant ASAP and bamboo combined with Cob is the ideal locally sourced combination.  Below is a wonderful manual about Humanitarian Bamboo from the amazing IDEP foundation, as well as, my top 5 reasons bamboo rocks. This list comes with the best and most up to date links you could ever hope to find on the web regarding sustainable bamboo.  If you have any bamboo resources such as connections with bamboo plantations or builders or can offer help in anyway please email thejulianeffect(at) as Perma Corps for Haiti is looking to have teams on the ground shortly and then building structures right away.

TOP 5 Reasons That Bamboo Rocks!!!

1.)  Bamboo is a very strong, very cheap, natural, quickly renewable, highly flexible and adaptable, building material.

To see just what Bamboo can do just take a peak at this link and especially these great e-books below:

2.)  Bamboo is a ideal perennial and beneficially plant for Permaculture Design applications:

3.)  Bamboo can sequester TONS of carbon while still being regularly harvested and can drastically improve soil fertility when used as biochar!

Biochar from bamboo has a unique pore structure, making it a perfect soil structure for beneficial aerobic bacteria and fungi, resulting in crop yield gains of as much as 800-percent. It is important to mix the biochar with well-prepared compost inoculated with bacteria from undisturbed (usually nearby forest) local soils.

4.) You can eat it and it tastes amazing!

How to grow edible bamboo shoots

5.)  In Permaculture there is a saying, “Unity through intergration, intergration through diversity!” and the world of Bamboo is full of diversity.  Due to bamboo’s amazing diversity of both products and species it will be a key economic factor in helping the 2/3rds (developing) world out of poverty especially in heavily deforested regions such as Haiti.

Bamboo and sustainable economic development

Haiti update from Permaculture relief expert Andrew Jones

Andrew Jones is currently in Baja Mexico and I will be contacting him about coordinating permaculture oriented relief efforts (permacorps)
~evan (@gaiapunk)
Dear friends and colleagues,
Many thanks for all your expressions of concern and support regarding the situation in Haiti, I know we all share a concern for what can be done in order to contribute to an effective response and long-term abundance and real security for the immediately affected and wider population of Haiti.  I spent a month with Shenaqua in Haiti last summer working with the Internation Association for Human Values, and teaching two permaculture courses there.  Our feedback thus far from Haiti is that all our graduates are safe in terms of immediate earthquake impacts.  We are working on a medium term program to support our local graduates in carrying out trauma counseling using tried and tested approaches championed by IAHV, as well as longer-term, permaculture-based strategies to help promote local food, and water security, safe housing  etc.  A general program description follows below:
Nouvelle Vie *Haiti*, an ongoing project of the International Association of Human Values (IAHV- IAHV is an international humanitarian and educational NGO that aims to revive human values that transcend religious, ethnic and cultural differences. IAHV along with its sister organization, The Art of Living Foundation, has conducted effective trauma relief programs addressing the psychosocial needs of disaster victim in numerous post-conflict and natural disaster situations around the world, including the 2008 hurricanes in Haiti, the Sichuan earthquake in 2008 the South Asian tsunami in 2004, the Kosovo conflict, and many
others, and have served many thousands of individuals through these efforts.
IAHV’s Nouvelle Vie *Haiti* has over the past two years conducted youth leadership, sustainable agriculture, and entrepreneurship training, impacting 350 young adults from 5 regions of Haiti: Cap Haitien, Mirebalais, Hinche, Carrefour and Les Cayes. The earthquakein Haiti has now devastated the country and our youth leaders on the ground in Haiti. We are preparing to undertake a new mission to Haiti. Our objectives are to provide immediate trauma relief to the affected population and aid workers, and to mobilize young adults of Haiti by establishing the Nouvelle Vie Youth Corps, a body of 50 Haitian youth committed to serving their country for 2 years. The Youth Corps will receive the training and support necessary to take leadership roles in serving the Haitian people, developing powerful skills in trauma relief, food and water security, and appropriate technology and construction. Nouvelle Vie will provide training and financial, material, and programmatic support to the Corps.
In the coming weeks we will send teams of IAHV trauma relief workers to assemble and organize our existing youth leaders, recruit additional youth leaders, and deliver trauma relief programs. Through participation in organizing and delivering these programs, we will train our Youth Corps to deliver trauma relief services, and to become fully certified teachers of The Art Of Living Foundation’s stress-reduction and self-development programs. Youth Corps members will also receive on-ground training in implementation of small-scale home and community gardens, design and construction of rainwater catchment and sanitation systems (composting toilets), and appropriate building design and construction. Basic training will be conducted at the Youth Corps headquarters by training leaders who are expert in the area of sustainable design and permaculture, with extensive experience in developing world urban and peri-urban design. While basic training is taking place, Corps members and training leaders will developprojects to install garden, sanitation, water, and building systems to support IDP settlements, households, communities, and organizations.
One of the components of our strategy is the translation of the IDEP Permaculture Resource Manual into French/Haitian Creole in oder to provide accessible local tools to those who will be rebuilding their communities.  We expect to support this process with permaculture related trainings and workshops.
For any of you wishing to be involved in this effort, through donation, direct involvement or for consideration as part of the team, I recommend that you keep up with the program via the IAHV website (, or through direct contact with Joshua Tosteson: jlt94(at)
You can access IDEP’s English permaculture and community disaster management reources as free downloads from the IDEP site, they have been developed following extensive community rebuilding experiences in East Timor and Aceh, Indonesia:
For those of you wanting more detailed and technically oriented reports and updates on Haiti, I recommend the site:
Lastly, the Haiti earthquake serves to remind us of the importance of disaster preparedness for all of us so that we can be effective in response when disaster strikes.  I have 8 pages of disaster preparedness notes for download at my nascent website:
They are currently being posted, should be up by Jan 21, otherwise – check back soon!
Best wishes,                                                 [tweetmeme]
Andrew Jones
Synergy Life Design
Skype: ajventure

Permacorps and Haiti by the numbers

My instructor Scott Pittman of the US permaculture Institute on the need for a Permcorps from

Gaia punk here,

Top of the evening to everyone,
What I’ve taken to calling a “Permacorps” mission for the long term recovery of Haiti is slowly mounting.  I’ve received dozens of emails from some very qualified folks from around the globe asking how they can help plug in.  In a day or two there will be a project posting entitled “Permaculture Relief Corps” on, which is a popular crowdfunding site.  If anyone has any info related to this idea please share so that we can better coordinate our efforts.  Honestly, I’m a bit surprised by the lack of discussion some of the better known permie sites.  But, I’m not at all discouraged, because I know that what I do see on the net is just a very small sliver of what is actually going on.   What I’m trying to say is that I would like to see more of that discussion.  If anyone can contact people from the Permaculture First Responders course that would very helpful too.  There are two google docs spreadsheet I can share with folks to add regional contacts.  In a week or so it seems a skype conference call is in order to further coordinate stateside efforts. Currently, various permaculture groups working in Haiti and elsewhere are being contacted for their opinions and so far ORE in Haiti has been very supportive of this idea.
Thank you all for your awesome work,                                                                                                                       [tweetmeme]
Here are approximated numbers on the situation currently from the Huffington Post…
People in Haiti needing help: 3 million. Bodies collected for disposal so far: 9,000. Number of people being fed daily by the United Nation’s World Food Program: only 8,000.
The numbers behind the outpouring of earthquake assistance are giant. But they are dwarfed by the statistics indicating the scope of the disaster in Haiti, the number of victims and their deep poverty.
“The level of need is going to be significantly higher” than many previous disasters, said Dr. Michael VanRooyen, director of the Harvard Humanitarian Initiative.
Here are some numbers, with the proviso that figures are estimates that are constantly changing.
Current death estimates: The Red Cross says 45,000 to 50,000 people have died. The Pan American Health Organization puts the number between 50,000 and 100,000 and Rueters news has 100,000 to 200,000 possibly dead or missing
Bodies collected for disposal so far: 9,000. An additional 7,000 corpses were reportedly placed
in a mass grave.
Percent of buildings damaged or destroyed: Up to 50 percent.
Hospitals or health facilities in Haiti damaged, forced to close: eight.
Patients treated by Doctors Without Borders initially: more than 1,500.
Search-and-rescue teams on ground or en route Friday: 38.
Homeless people in Port-au-Prince: at least 300,000.
Water needed daily: 6 to 12 million gallons (enough to fill 18 Olympic sized swimming pools a day).
Kate Conradt, chief spokeswoman for Save the Children, said that the challenge ahead cannot be overcome in a few days or weeks. “This is a long-term disaster,” she said in a telephone interview from Port-au-Prince.
Helping Haiti “is going to take far more than we ever could imagine,” VanRooyen said.
So in response, the world has opened its wallets.
United Nations Emergency appeal for aid: $550 million.
United States pledge of aid: $100 million. (some of this may be in the form of a IMF loan)
European Commission’s initial spending: 3 million Euros.
Total pledge of aid by governments around world: $400 million.
Number of governments that have sent aid so far: more than 20.
International Red Cross’ initial emergency appeal goal: $10 million.
Amount of money raised by Save The Children: $7 million.
Amount of money pledged by George Soros: $4 million.
Amount raised by Wyclef Jean’s Yele 10 million
Amount of money raised by the Salvation Army and some other charities: more than $3 million.
Number of people being fed daily by U.N.’s World Food Program: only 8,000.
Number of people a day WFP hopes to feed within 15 days: 1 million.
Number of people a day WFP hopes to feed within one month: 2 million!
Amount of food salvaged by WFP in damaged Haitian warehouse being distributed: 6,000 tons (out of a total of 15,000 tons stored before the earthquake).
Meals prepared and freeze dried by the Salvation Army in Kansas and Iowa to ship to Haiti: 1.28 million, weighing nearly 200,000 pounds.
Number of trucks carrying bottled water being trucked in from neighboring Dominican Republic: 13.
UNICEF initial shipment of rehydration liquids, water-purification tables, hygiene kits and tents: enough for only 10,000 people.
Size of Doctors Without Borders initial relief package: 25 tons.
International Red Cross pre-positioned relief supplies:only enough for 3,000 families.
Plane of Red Cross supplies sent Thursday: 40 tons.
Body bags sent by Red Cross on Thursday: 3,000.
“We are seeing overwhelming need within the city and increasingly desperate conditions,” Conradt said. “We visited two camps today with 5,000 people and only four latrines total. We were told that the number of people there doubles at night, but during the day they are looking out for food, water and family members.”
Camps like that are all over Port-au-Prince.
And this is a country that before Tuesday’s earthquake was the poorest in the Western Hemisphere and one of the poorest worldwide. More than half of Haiti’s 10 million people live on less than $1 a day, even before the earthquake, according to the United Nation’s World Food Program. The World Bank said the average Haitian lives on just $1,180 a year.
Nearly half of Haiti’s population is hungry and only half had access to safe drinking water before the earthquake, according to the World Food Program. Nearly 60 percent of Haiti’s children under 5 are anemic.
Americans in Haiti when earthquake struck: 45,000.
Number of Americans evacuated from Haiti: 846.
Number of Americans confirmed dead: six.
Number of Canadians dead: four.
Number of United Nations workers in Haiti when earthquake struck: 12,000.
Number of UN workers confirmed dead: 37.
Number of UN workers missing: 330.
Number of Dominicans dead: six.
Number of Brazilians dead: 15.
Number of Europeans dead: six.
Number of staffers of Christian humanitarian agency World Vision: 370.
U.S. troops there to help or possibly on their way: 10,000.
Haitian Red Cross volunteers: 1,700.
This report was compiled by Associated Press writers Seth Borenstein in Washington and Frank Jordans in Geneva. Edith Lederer at the United Nations in New York contributed.
SOURCES: The Associated Press, United Nations, U.S. State Department, European Commission, International Red Cross, Save The Children, Salvation Army, other charities.

Update: Permaculture Relief Corps in Haiti!

Haiti 2010 earthquake: collapse of port complex

Below is a great update from Nika Boyce (@nika7k) I want to thank everyone who has expressed interest and I am inspired that this idea IS HAPPENING!  Stuart Leiderman (Lakou Permaculture) is on the ground in Haiti right now calling out for help stateside with coordinating a long term Permaculture Relief Corps effort.  People working in Haiti have asks that folks do not send goods just yet as you can see from the photos the port is a total mess!  Below is a email list of key coordinators by region:

Stuart Leiderman   —Currently in Haiti right now was working on the Lakou-Permaculture project


Joni Zweig  –Currently in Haiti works with AMURTEL disaster relief


Cory Brenna—Currently in FL coordinating funds and people in FL works with which has a donation site up now for the creation of a Permaculture Relief Corps


Kevin —-Currently in Hudson Valley NY coordinating fundraising


Rhonda—- Coordinating in the Bloomington IN region


Marvin Warren —Coordinating for the Ithaca Finger lakes area


If your not on this list and want to be or on this list and don’t want to be….


Evan Schoepke (@gaiapunk) Currently coordinating for the Olympia WA and Seattle area


From Nika Boyce (nika7k):

Like you, I have been simply swept away by the brutal earthquake that has subsumed Haiti into a hell that gets worse by the day.

I have been mostly learning about it via CNN and on twitter. I have been pouring over the satellite images of the destruction as seen in Google Earth.

As I write, Reuters says that more than 200,000 people have died and as of this evening, they have buried 40,000 dead. MANY more bodies lay in the streets and under endless tons of ruined buildings.

Thank goodness for twitter and the permaculture people I have gotten to know there because that is the only thing that is keeping me from feeling utterly lost in desolation over this apocalypse.

It is through @gaiapunk, who is something of a one-man permaculture media empire, that I have begun to learn about and really love the idea of Permaculture First Responders.

He posted several links to projects already either training Permaculture First Responders or projects on the ground in Haiti and other disaster struck places.

Permaculture First Responder – Permie Disaster Relief Training Course

Cegrane Camp Permaculture Rehabilitation Project

Cuba-Australia Permaculture Exchange

I have been wondering how I might be able to help nurture this idea here, tucked away in my small part of the world without actually going to Haiti myself.

I have been chatting with Cory at and am happy to share this link that is very constructive in terms of the next steps.

Help for Haiti from Permaculture

(UPDATE: @gaiapunk will also be posting a Long term Permaculture Relief Corps project on a crowd funding site look for that in the next day or two)

From that site you will see:

Some of the projects which permaculturists can design and implement are:

Short Term:

Building sewage systems, composting toilets, compost and recyclying centers, rocket and solar stoves, temporary shelters (perma-yurts), water catchment and filtering, and plant nurseries.

Rocket and solar stoves are key because the major ecological problem in Haiti which causes huge hardships from many angles is deforestation for fuel. Solar stoves use no wood and rocket stoves, which can be made out of old cans and pipes laying around, use almost no fuel and can cook with twigs.

Correct diversion of sewage, human waste, and water can substantially contribute to rebuilding farm land in the area – the idea is to create the conditions for long term self-sufficiency and abundance with even our short term handlings.

Long Term:

Permanent, low cost, earthquake resistant natural buildings, water storage, earth works, renewable energy, permaculture food forests, broad-scale reforestation, farms, aquaculture systems, and community buildings such as schools and health centers.

We are currently working via a worldwide network of permaculturists to bring resources to Haiti, and several permaculturists are interested in traveling to Haiti to help with the rescue and relief efforts, but need funding to do so. We are in contact with disaster handlers in the area who they can coordinate with for maximum effectiveness. There is a permaculture project existing in Haiti that we are working to connect with as well. If you have any questions, do not hesitate to contact me – I am also willing to meet with potential funders to answer questions personally.

If you want to donate now, please use the “Haiti Donations – Donate” Paypal button on the right hand side of this web page. For past projects we’ve funded, please see the Pine Ridge Lakota reservation article under “Projects.” We will use initial funding to get people there on the ground and most needed resources such as equipment for building the short term items needed. Whenever possible, we use existing resources in the area that are free or very inexpensive – permaculture is very effective at getting the maximum return for energy invested, so you will know your money is going to a good cause.

I know that the idea of surviving this disaster is like a miracle and then the idea of Haiti being able to climb up from a place so dark seems too distant to contemplate.

To this end, I have been graphing out what the needs would be over time for people living through such overwhelming disasters.

I think its extremely important to do this now and for Haitians, now, because these same ideas and strategies will be needed again and again as climate change progresses.


In the graphic above, I try to illustrate the needs of a person immediately after surviving a catastrophe (earthquake, fire, flood, etc). The needs are pretty basic but inelastic in their being absolutely needed.


Once the person is out of immediate danger and is left standing with nothing, no assets, nothing but other survivors around them, they need to find a way to rebuild, regenerate, and boost their resilience so that they become embedded in a community that provides current and future needs.


In this next graphic, I extend on the specific needs outlined in the second graphic with permaculture and no/lo-carbon and low cost strategies for coping and rebuilding.

Please take some time and explore these graphics and tell me what you think, whats missing? What would you add?

Please consider becoming involved in helping the Haitians, using permaculture or by other means, as where the Haitians are right now, that hell, could easily be ours, any of us.

We are, in many ways, their community.

We are each other’s community and it is through us banding together that we build resilience in every place.