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stuffed and starved review

Submitted by Dax on Tue, 2009-04-28 22:34

What makes Stuffed and Starved more than just an excellent read is that the author, Raj Patel, is South African. This means that some of the examples he uses to illustrate some of his points are from a South African context rather than the the list of countries generally cited. That's not to say he doesn't talk about other countries, just that he includes examples from SA as well. While he is currently a researcher at the University of Kwazulu Natal, he has degrees from Oxford, London School of Economics and Cornell University.

The tag line for the book is: Markets, power and the hidden battle for the world's food system. When I saw that, I knew it was a book I had to read and immediately ordered a copy from I was going to say it's not a long read, but I realise that I read it quickly purely because I struggled to put it down. While Stuffed and Starved does cover a lot of concepts and examples I am already familiar with. It combines them, with some things which I did not know, into a holistic view of the food system.

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get a look-in on accredited permaculture training

Submitted by turbosprout on Fri, 2009-03-06 16:25

that swale's coming on nicelythat swale's coming on nicelySEED is running a 20 day train the trainer accredited permaculture course which started in mid Feb and finishes next Friday (the 13th). If you're interested in permaculture the cool thing is that Sean Spender, who is attending the course, is giving a blow by blow account of what each day covers on his blog over here.

He got as far as Day 11, so we're hoping he gets the time to keep on with the blogging, even in retrospect. I know that the projects you have to do on the permaculture course can be pretty hectic, so he's probably out somewhere doing a baseline map or reading up on SA windbreak and medicinal plants! But it's a cool resource to check out with some great pics (they also visited the Hout Bay Green Faire last Saturday)

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hout bay green faire this weekend!

Submitted by turbosprout on Thu, 2009-02-26 11:50

Last year's spring green faire was really great - authentic green stallholders in an outdoor setting with perfect weather, good food, lots to see and talk about plus activities for the kids. We were hoping this would become a regular event and now it's back, just in time for the end of summer.

Looks from the programme that there is even more lined up including demo's on grey water systems, solar and wind power, eco-building, growing your own food and my personal favourite - compost toilets (using a compost loo for two weeks is definitely not an experience you forget!).

Water saving shower heads, making biodiesel from cooking oil, eco-awareness raising cinema, puppet edutainment for kids and music courtesy of Jamie Jupiter are some of the things you can look forward to. Here for more details.

The Green Faire will be held outside the Hout Bay Community Cultural Centre, (the old Bowling Club) adjacent to Hout Bay common and market on Baviaanskloof and Main Rds. Adults R20, kids under 10 free, Gates open from 9am to 6pm. This ‘Faire’ is a fundraising and awareness raising event, held in the spirit of community.

More info here

transition towns movement hits cape town

Submitted by turbosprout on Tue, 2008-10-07 11:43

12 steps to Transition Culture12 steps to Transition CultureThe Transition Town movement has been mushrooming around the globe with, as of Sept 2008, over 100 communities recognised as official Transition Towns in the UK, Ireland, Australia, and New Zealand. Now the first transition town communities have started up in Cape Town, largely thanks to the efforts of some members of SANE's Community Exchange System.

We first blogged about the transition towns movement back in April and noted that it had grown from permaculture roots. It was basically the fruit borne of a permaculture designer, Rob Hopkins, and students in Kinsale, Ireland in writing an "Energy Descent Action Plan". One of the students, Louise Rooney, presented the Transition Towns concept to the Kinsale town council and the forward thinking councillors adopted the plan.

In typical permaculture fashion the transition town framework has sustainability as it's core and covers the realms of

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transition culture – when oil runs dry

Submitted by sproutingforth on Wed, 2008-04-02 11:05

Rob Hopkins has written a manual of sorts called “The Transition Handbook – from oil dependency to local resilience”. He speaks about just how our response to peak oil and climate change can look more like a party than a protest march, and it’s interesting to say the least.

It’s more than a book, however. Transition culture is a movement, which evolved out of permaculture or certainly a background of permaculture, and looks at a positive response to peak oil. It is about building communities that can stand on their own feet in a post-oil world. To do that you need to increase ‘resilience’, eco-speak for a system’s ability to cope with external shocks.

It has me interested. This is one of the only efforts I’ve come across that steers away from the inevitable sensationalism around global warming and peak oil, and instead outlines a way in which we can cope.

a visit to wild olive farm

Submitted by sproutingforth on Wed, 2007-05-16 12:21

Driving all the way to Stilbaai on a windswept, rainy morning that just happened to coincide with the first day of a long weekend was probably not the best idea with an infant on board, but there you go – parents of infants don’t always make ideal decisions (I am a good mother, I am a good mother).

But the stay on Wild Olive farm was well worth the over four hour drive. The farm lies just outside the little seaside village of Stilbaai, off the N2 between Mossel Bay and Riversdale, on the banks of the Goukou River.

Owners Hazel and Alan are recent advocates of permaculture and not only cook as much as possible with their organic home grown vegetables and salads from their Farm Kitchen, which produces some of the most scrumptious food imaginable and is a wonderful haven when it’s raining, but they also supply guests and Stilbaai with produce.

The farm offers a number of accommodation options...

permacore screening seeds of change

Submitted by turbosprout on Tue, 2007-04-10 12:29

Adhoc, informal screenings of alternative movies have been happening at different venues around Cape Town, organised by various groups. Collectives like While You Were Sleeping, Green Drinks and Safeage have been showing films that would never be screened by mainstream cinema's. We're not talking arthouse movies here either, these movies are usually non-mainstream documentaries that make needed social, humanitarian or environmental commentry, often politically charged. They deal with controversial subject matter and are intended to challenge our assumptions.

Past screenings have included The Future of Food (genetically modified food), The Iron Wall (wall dividing Palestine and Israel), The Yes Men (satirical mockumentary in which IMF officials are impersonated by activist-pranksters) and The End of Suburbia (implications of oil depletion on the suburban lifestyle).

Now Permacore, a Cape Town group of permaculturists, are screening Seeds of Change this Thursday (12 Apr), 7pm at The Door in the Floor, Trill Rd, Obz. If you get there early food will be available to order in the couryard. Texting 084 951 5535 if you plan to eat will assist with the catering. Or email for more info.

Seeds of Change is a 70 minute fast-paced and moving documentary about the views of western Canadian farmers on both the benefits and risks associated with using genetically modified crops.

"Our film addresses the biotechnology industry and how it has changed the face of agriculture. As such it has great relevance for stakeholders around the world - activists, industry people, policymakers, and farmers not least among them," states video researcher Stéphane McLachlan.

woolies trust eduplant offers free permaculture workshops

Submitted by sproutingforth on Thu, 2007-02-15 13:04

     Woolies just went up a few percent in my estimation! I know I mumble about packaging (what’s with all the plastic!) whenever I buy their organic food, but at least they’re one of the major suppliers of organic to the public, which creates awareness - even if it is about making a profit at the end of the day.

The point here is that Woolworths Trust is the major sponsor (along with the department of water affairs, SABC Education and LandCare SA) of EduPlant – a food gardening and greening programme that promotes and supports schools in the growing of good food using permaculture techniques - through to 2010 - which has allowed them to launch a series of free workshops to help school teachers to create food-rich, sustainable environments for our schools.

EduPlant is co-ordinated by Food and Trees For Africa (FTFA), the first, and still only, national non-government, non-profit, greening organisation in SA. Their aim is to uplift the quality of life of people in SA through the greening of unhealthy, denuded and degraded landscapes.

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permaculture - just what is it?

permaculture is a system of design to create sustainable human habitats

Permaculture is a design system applied to food production and land use, as well as community building.

thinking lots and doing little
Permaculture involves ‘maximum contemplation and minimum action’. By taking note of the diversity, stability and resilience of natural ecosystems, we can design frameworks and guidance for people to develop their own sustainable solutions to any problem facing the world today.

copying nature
Permaculture involves creating sustainable human habitats by following nature’s patterns. It is based on the philosophy of co-operation with nature and caring for the earth and its people.

In a nutshell, permaculture is thinking before you act.

Bill Mollison and David Holmgren
The term was coined by the Australians Bill Mollison and David Holmgren during the 1970s, and is a combination of the words - permanent and agriculture.

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