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Permaculture: Adelaide's "Food Forest" on ABC TV!

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  • James Ward
    http://www.abc.net.au/landline/content/2006/s2208413.htm Streaming video in Windows Media and RealMedia formats, and a written transcript for those without
    Message 1 of 8 , Apr 6, 2008
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      http://www.abc.net.au/landline/content/2006/s2208413.htm

      Streaming video in Windows Media and RealMedia formats, and a written
      transcript for those without access to a high bandwidth connection.

      I've had the privilege of visiting the Food Forest several times and I
      am extremely impressed by it. A lot of hard work, especially in an
      industry that has shunned Permaculture as a fringe system.

      Cheers,
      James.
    • Geoff Capper
      ... I was privileged enough to remember to watch Landline yesterday! It was a great piece and very inspiring what they ve achieved. I imagine the broader
      Message 2 of 8 , Apr 6, 2008
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        James Ward wrote:
        > http://www.abc.net.au/landline/content/2006/s2208413.htm
        >
        > Streaming video in Windows Media and RealMedia formats, and a written
        > transcript for those without access to a high bandwidth connection.
        >
        > I've had the privilege of visiting the Food Forest several times and I
        > am extremely impressed by it. A lot of hard work, especially in an
        > industry that has shunned Permaculture as a fringe system.
        >

        I was privileged enough to remember to watch Landline yesterday! It was
        a great piece and very inspiring what they've achieved.

        I imagine the broader industry will only take to it when the economic
        benefits are readily apparent. With the effects of higher oil prices
        starting to bite I imagine that day wont be too far away...

        Geoff
      • James Ward
        Not to mention the increasing cost of, for instance, phosphate fertiliser. A very good friend of mine, a sheep and cereal farmer, is this year moving from
        Message 3 of 8 , Apr 7, 2008
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          Not to mention the increasing cost of, for instance, phosphate fertiliser. A very good friend of mine, a sheep and cereal farmer, is this year moving from using superphosphate to chicken manure to fertilise his crops - a decision made almost entirely based on the dollar cost. Ideally, this would ultimately take place with the chickens (and a host of other animals) farmed on site. But as a first step in the right direction, I say "bravo"!

          Agriculture must (and I believe it will) morph from what currently amounts to a mining operation into a recycling operation.

          Cheers,
          James.


          Geoff Capper wrote:

          James Ward wrote:
          > http://www.abc. net.au/landline/ content/2006/ s2208413. htm
          >
          > Streaming video in Windows Media and RealMedia formats, and a written
          > transcript for those without access to a high bandwidth connection.
          >
          > I've had the privilege of visiting the Food Forest several times and I
          > am extremely impressed by it. A lot of hard work, especially in an
          > industry that has shunned Permaculture as a fringe system.
          >

          I was privileged enough to remember to watch Landline yesterday! It was
          a great piece and very inspiring what they've achieved.

          I imagine the broader industry will only take to it when the economic
          benefits are readily apparent. With the effects of higher oil prices
          starting to bite I imagine that day wont be too far away...

          Geoff





          -- 
          James Ward
          PhD Candidate (Hydrogeology)
          Flinders University
          james.ward@...
          ph  +61 8 8201 2213
          mob +61 4 0881 9175
          
          "Anyone who believes economic growth can go on forever is either a madman or an economist."
           - Kenneth Boulding (economist)
        • Geoff Capper
          Therein lies another problem. Recycling can only cycle nutrients that are already somewhere in the local environment, when considered in a strict sense. The
          Message 4 of 8 , Apr 7, 2008
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            Therein lies another problem. Recycling can only cycle nutrients that
            are already somewhere in the local environment, when considered in a
            strict sense. The chooks are probably fed on cereals etc that come from
            crops that are grown with NPK fertilisers, so at the moment your friend
            is using second-hand phosphorus.

            The problem arises when he (or we or me) tries to bring the chooks home
            into the system as a source of manure. Based on what I've read we are in
            a low phosphorus country, so chooks grown locally will have manure that
            gradually declines in phosphorus unless some external source is
            available (ie they are fed packaged food).

            Nitrogen is easy enough given legumes that can fix from the atmosphere,
            so we can constantly draw new N into the system. Not sure about the K,
            it seems to be neglected, and perhaps for good reason, maybe there is
            plenty of it around. I wonder if there are other minerals with lower
            grades of phosphorus that are more readily available across a wider area
            of Australia that can be put to use in wholistic systems? I know
            limestone has some phosphorus in it, but the main question is how much
            does it contain (apparently varies from region to region), and how much
            would need to be used in the system to meet the needs of everything
            living within it?

            Geoff

            James Ward wrote:
            > Not to mention the increasing cost of, for instance, phosphate
            > fertiliser. A very good friend of mine, a sheep and cereal farmer, is
            > this year moving from using superphosphate to chicken manure to
            > fertilise his crops - a decision made almost entirely based on the
            > dollar cost. Ideally, this would ultimately take place with the chickens
            > (and a host of other animals) farmed on site. But as a first step in the
            > right direction, I say "bravo"!
            >
            > Agriculture must (and I believe it will) morph from what currently
            > amounts to a mining operation into a recycling operation.
            >
            > Cheers,
            > James.
            >
          • James Ward
            That s right Geoff. Australia is Phosphorus-poor, hence our dependence on mining out rich phosphate deposits like Nauru. Permaculture is intended to keep the
            Message 5 of 8 , Apr 9, 2008
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              That's right Geoff. Australia is Phosphorus-poor, hence our
              dependence on mining out rich phosphate deposits like Nauru.
              Permaculture is intended to keep the nutrients within the system as
              much as is possible, but it will only work once the system has the
              nutrients to begin with!

              That means we need to invest fossil fuel energy now in building up
              phosphorus levels in isolated pockets (i.e. farms and food gardens)
              so that those systems can then maintain themselves with minimum
              inputs. I hear "Rock Phosphate" is used by organic growers to build
              up long-term soil fertility, as opposed to superphosphate that needs
              to be applied annually on broadacre farms.

              But however we go about building up the fertility, there will always
              be the issue of nutrients being leached from the landscape. It
              becomes a question of finding where they go (and which nutrients are
              most "mobile"), finding where they become most concentrated, and
              what is the most efficient way to cycle them back into the landscape.

              As you mentioned, nitrogen is not a problem thanks to legumes. I've
              also heard that phosphorus doesn't tend to leach far beyond the root
              zone, so it may be possible to periodically deep-rip the soil to
              access a concentrated phosphorus zone and bring the fertility back
              to the surface? Perhaps marine-based (e.g. seaweed) fertilisers will
              emerge as the most efficient way to recapture leached trace
              nutrients that find their way into streams, rivers and eventually
              the ocean.

              This type of thinking is a major part of Permaculture design and no
              two sites are identical, they all have different landscapes and
              different management needs. "The landscape is the textbook"!!!




              --- In ASPO_Oz_YoungProf@yahoogroups.com, Geoff Capper
              <gcca.capper@...> wrote:
              >
              > Therein lies another problem. Recycling can only cycle nutrients
              that
              > are already somewhere in the local environment, when considered in
              a
              > strict sense. The chooks are probably fed on cereals etc that come
              from
              > crops that are grown with NPK fertilisers, so at the moment your
              friend
              > is using second-hand phosphorus.
              >
              > The problem arises when he (or we or me) tries to bring the chooks
              home
              > into the system as a source of manure. Based on what I've read we
              are in
              > a low phosphorus country, so chooks grown locally will have manure
              that
              > gradually declines in phosphorus unless some external source is
              > available (ie they are fed packaged food).
              >
              > Nitrogen is easy enough given legumes that can fix from the
              atmosphere,
              > so we can constantly draw new N into the system. Not sure about
              the K,
              > it seems to be neglected, and perhaps for good reason, maybe there
              is
              > plenty of it around. I wonder if there are other minerals with
              lower
              > grades of phosphorus that are more readily available across a
              wider area
              > of Australia that can be put to use in wholistic systems? I know
              > limestone has some phosphorus in it, but the main question is how
              much
              > does it contain (apparently varies from region to region), and how
              much
              > would need to be used in the system to meet the needs of
              everything
              > living within it?
              >
              > Geoff
              >
              > James Ward wrote:
              > > Not to mention the increasing cost of, for instance, phosphate
              > > fertiliser. A very good friend of mine, a sheep and cereal
              farmer, is
              > > this year moving from using superphosphate to chicken manure to
              > > fertilise his crops - a decision made almost entirely based on
              the
              > > dollar cost. Ideally, this would ultimately take place with the
              chickens
              > > (and a host of other animals) farmed on site. But as a first
              step in the
              > > right direction, I say "bravo"!
              > >
              > > Agriculture must (and I believe it will) morph from what
              currently
              > > amounts to a mining operation into a recycling operation.
              > >
              > > Cheers,
              > > James.
              > >
              >
            • Geoff Capper
              Thinking about this some more, we may currently have a ready supply of phosphorus (I think, would need to look into biology to be sure) This is the blue-green
              Message 6 of 8 , Apr 9, 2008
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                Thinking about this some more, we may currently have a ready supply of
                phosphorus (I think, would need to look into biology to be sure)

                This is the blue-green algal blooms that are a direct result of high
                levels of nitrogen and phosphorus leaching into our rivers. The big
                question is whether the algae bind up phosphorus or just use and excrete
                it. If they bind it up then harvesting these blooms may be a way to get
                some useful phosphorus, at least on a smallholding scale.

                Rock phosphates are of course a better long term solution, but not so
                readily available given they generally need to be imported. IIRC we have
                some sources in Queensland, SA and WA, but that's about it, and they're
                not of the highest grades.

                Geoff

                James Ward wrote:
                > That's right Geoff. Australia is Phosphorus-poor, hence our
                > dependence on mining out rich phosphate deposits like Nauru.
                > Permaculture is intended to keep the nutrients within the system as
                > much as is possible, but it will only work once the system has the
                > nutrients to begin with!
                >
                > That means we need to invest fossil fuel energy now in building up
                > phosphorus levels in isolated pockets (i.e. farms and food gardens)
                > so that those systems can then maintain themselves with minimum
                > inputs. I hear "Rock Phosphate" is used by organic growers to build
                > up long-term soil fertility, as opposed to superphosphate that needs
                > to be applied annually on broadacre farms.
                >
                > But however we go about building up the fertility, there will always
                > be the issue of nutrients being leached from the landscape. It
                > becomes a question of finding where they go (and which nutrients are
                > most "mobile"), finding where they become most concentrated, and
                > what is the most efficient way to cycle them back into the landscape.
                >
                > As you mentioned, nitrogen is not a problem thanks to legumes. I've
                > also heard that phosphorus doesn't tend to leach far beyond the root
                > zone, so it may be possible to periodically deep-rip the soil to
                > access a concentrated phosphorus zone and bring the fertility back
                > to the surface? Perhaps marine-based (e.g. seaweed) fertilisers will
                > emerge as the most efficient way to recapture leached trace
                > nutrients that find their way into streams, rivers and eventually
                > the ocean.
                >
                > This type of thinking is a major part of Permaculture design and no
                > two sites are identical, they all have different landscapes and
                > different management needs. "The landscape is the textbook"!!!
                >
              • James Ward
                That would be interesting - harvesting the NPK fertilizer from years gone by that has finally leached its way through the soil/aquifers and has ended up in the
                Message 7 of 8 , Apr 9, 2008
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                  That would be interesting - harvesting the NPK fertilizer from years gone by that has finally leached its way through the soil/aquifers and has ended up in the waterways!

                  Smallholdings that have a natural low-point may find it easy to collect water (and nutrients) at the bottom in a dam, and simply pump back up to the top to water the plants. Some nutrients would be lost, but you really have to see that as inevitable unless you're going to build a "bio-dome". The main thing is making the system as efficient as is practical (efficiency = maximum reuse/recycling of nutrients in the production cycle), with "practical" really defined by the cost of bringing in replacement nutrients (which is going up very rapidly).




                  Geoff Capper wrote:

                  Thinking about this some more, we may currently have a ready supply of
                  phosphorus (I think, would need to look into biology to be sure)

                  This is the blue-green algal blooms that are a direct result of high
                  levels of nitrogen and phosphorus leaching into our rivers. The big
                  question is whether the algae bind up phosphorus or just use and excrete
                  it. If they bind it up then harvesting these blooms may be a way to get
                  some useful phosphorus, at least on a smallholding scale.

                  Rock phosphates are of course a better long term solution, but not so
                  readily available given they generally need to be imported. IIRC we have
                  some sources in Queensland, SA and WA, but that's about it, and they're
                  not of the highest grades.

                  Geoff

                  James Ward wrote:
                  > That's right Geoff. Australia is Phosphorus-poor, hence our
                  > dependence on mining out rich phosphate deposits like Nauru.
                  > Permaculture is intended to keep the nutrients within the system as
                  > much as is possible, but it will only work once the system has the
                  > nutrients to begin with!
                  >
                  > That means we need to invest fossil fuel energy now in building up
                  > phosphorus levels in isolated pockets (i.e. farms and food gardens)
                  > so that those systems can then maintain themselves with minimum
                  > inputs. I hear "Rock Phosphate" is used by organic growers to build
                  > up long-term soil fertility, as opposed to superphosphate that needs
                  > to be applied annually on broadacre farms.
                  >
                  > But however we go about building up the fertility, there will always
                  > be the issue of nutrients being leached from the landscape. It
                  > becomes a question of finding where they go (and which nutrients are
                  > most "mobile"), finding where they become most concentrated, and
                  > what is the most efficient way to cycle them back into the landscape.
                  >
                  > As you mentioned, nitrogen is not a problem thanks to legumes. I've
                  > also heard that phosphorus doesn't tend to leach far beyond the root
                  > zone, so it may be possible to periodically deep-rip the soil to
                  > access a concentrated phosphorus zone and bring the fertility back
                  > to the surface? Perhaps marine-based (e.g. seaweed) fertilisers will
                  > emerge as the most efficient way to recapture leached trace
                  > nutrients that find their way into streams, rivers and eventually
                  > the ocean.
                  >
                  > This type of thinking is a major part of Permaculture design and no
                  > two sites are identical, they all have different landscapes and
                  > different management needs. "The landscape is the textbook"!!!
                  >



                  -- 
                  James Ward
                  PhD Candidate (Hydrogeology)
                  Flinders University
                  james.ward@...
                  ph  +61 8 8201 2213
                  mob +61 4 0881 9175
                  
                  "Anyone who believes economic growth can go on forever is either a madman or an economist."
                   - Kenneth Boulding (economist)
                • Geoff Capper
                  Another potential source that certainly should not be discounted is insects and other migratory creatures. Bird and bat manures are generally high in
                  Message 8 of 8 , Apr 9, 2008
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                    Another potential source that certainly should not be discounted is
                    insects and other migratory creatures. Bird and bat manures are
                    generally high in phosphorus, and they are bio-accumulating across a
                    much broader area than just ones "case-study" smallholding. Setting up
                    modern day equivalents of dovecotes to provide a focal point for manure
                    deposits is a useful practice to harvest phosphorus from the broader
                    range. I believe this was mentioned as an idea in one of the
                    permaculture manuals, though I cannot recall which one now.

                    Insects could be harvested by local populations of birds (ie chooks &
                    ducks) and then their manure used in the same way. We may one day
                    welcome grasshopper plagues as a valuable source of phosphorus!


                    James Ward wrote:
                    > That would be interesting - harvesting the NPK fertilizer from years
                    > gone by that has finally leached its way through the soil/aquifers and
                    > has ended up in the waterways!
                    >
                    > Smallholdings that have a natural low-point may find it easy to collect
                    > water (and nutrients) at the bottom in a dam, and simply pump back up to
                    > the top to water the plants. Some nutrients would be lost, but you
                    > really have to see that as inevitable unless you're going to build a
                    > "bio-dome". The main thing is making the system as efficient as is
                    > practical (efficiency = maximum reuse/recycling of nutrients in the
                    > production cycle), with "practical" really defined by the cost of
                    > bringing in replacement nutrients (which is going up very rapidly).
                    >
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