Courage, content children, culling genius, and we have the solutions!

Hi, this is Geoff,

We’ve just completed the one month practical Internship at the Greening the Desert – the Sequel project in the Dead Sea Valley, Jordan. The site has totally transformed again, and we actually experienced the first rain of the season, 10 mm. The food forest has been chop-and-drop mulched for the start of the cooler period of the year. New and improved infrastructure elements have been installed, for example a revamped rabbit-connected-to-chicken composting tractor, and shade pergolas for the outside eating area next to the students’ kitchen and over the wicking bed roof garden. And the local women are very pleased with their new women-only kitchen on the second storey above the students’ kitchen. Here are some photographs from the site.

I’ll be back in Australia by the second week in November, in time for some of the upcoming events at Zaytuna Farm.

So, here’s the next Friday Five…

Children know!: This is the kind of education all children need and love. School teachers and permaculture enthusiasts Carol Nuttall and Janet Millington who wrote Outdoor Classrooms say, “Every action in the garden has its roots in some school subject whether it be science or maths or art.” See children at Eumundi State School, NSW, Australia, in action! At the Permaculture Research Institute’s Zaytuna Farm we’ve found that children growing food develop beautiful personalities. And their parents usually say it’s the easiest experience of parenting they’ve ever had. At the bottom of this link Brigid and Adam describe some of their experience.  

Culling intellect: In the documentary, The Great Culling – The Truth About Our Water Supply, organic chemist Dr Charlie Goetschel Ph.D., says that the so-called fluoride added to water supplies is, “coming from the phosphate fertilizer industry; it’s a by-product that is a very toxic waste”.  Professor emeritus of chemistry, Paul Connett, Ph.D., states, “We have…[24] I.Q. studies…which now show an association between fairly modest exposure to fluoride and lowered I.Q.” “…you lose all your genius out of your society, you damage the intellect”, says Dr David Kennedy, D.D.S. (dentist). Just some of the countries where ‘fluoride’ bans have already been enacted are Austria, China, Belgium, Finland, Germany, Denmark, Sweden, and Japan

The courage to be courageous: This is the kind of courage and ethics we need from our leaders. President of Bolivia, Evo Morales, has highlighted his government’s total independence from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Band (WB). While at the recent Mercosur Summit in Mendoza, Argentina tweeted [translated], “These organizations dictated the economic fate of Bolivia and the world. Today we can say that we have total independence of them.”  Marcela Olivera, an activist during the successful Bolivian Cochabamba campaign against Bechtel privatization of water, reads from the banner which finally got people’s attention, “The water is ours damn it!”

We have the solutions: Ex-commodities trader, founder and CEO of Grow Intelligence, Sara Menker, after years of gathering data asks the question, “How do we produce [the needed] 214-trillion-calories to feed 8.3 billion people by 2027?”, only ten years from now. There is no question that permaculture has the answers for avoiding this looming crisis. Here are just some of the thousands and thousands of people worldwide who have created abundance with permaculture (rather than ‘agri’culture). Los Angeles’ Larry Santoyo jokes (seriously), “We’re creating the conditions for vegetables to happen.” And, for Ten Tips for a Problem-Free, Super Productive Home Garden, see Part 3 of this article by Graeme Sait, who was surprised to find that many climate activists did not know what ‘humus’ was – it’s not hummus!

Some of this week’s new posts!: See our sister site, the non-profit Permaculture Research Institute:

These articles are just some of thousands, with several new ones going up weekly.

That’s it for this week’s Friday Five.

You are welcome to forward this email to a friend, anyone can sign up for the next edition. I welcome any comments and thoughts below.

Until next week,

Warm regards,


2017-10-12T16:20:31+00:00 Blog|12 Comments
  • Very dangerous tedtalk . She has no clue what Green Revolution did to India. After 70 years of independence, the level of poverty in India is a ticking time bomb. Never has the country experienced such rich-poor divide. The unemployment rate is ever so high. The 1% hogs everything… india is slowly imploding…so much for our super smart intelligence, India is a classic case when we loose our roots, our agrarian base and we go chasing the tech rainbow. This kind of Ted talks will make the big funders flex muscles and go for tech revolution in agriculture. Excuse being we need to produce more quickly before 2027.

    • PDC TA – Rasili O’Connor

      My thoughts exactly. May there be similar comments under her TED Talk in YouTube, etc.

      • Hope So Rasili, my worry is it will be (Ab)used by the manipulators of the Big numbers to impoverish continents even more. I wonder as an Ethiopian what she thinks about the grand dam that is being built – may be even completed already on the Nile…another recipe for disaster like Green Revolution. MS Swaminathan’s research centre in Waynad, Kerala now holds the germplasm for a very very special rice that grows just in a special eco-system in that region.

      • Sylvie Domergue

        Hi Rasili Do you have the link to TED talk on youtube ?
        Cheers, Sylvie

        • PDC TA – Rasili O’Connor

          Hi Sylvie,
          The link is in this Friday Five, i.e. the one that these comments are under.

          • Sylvie Domergue

            I had it thank you Rasili!

        • PDC TA – Rasili O’Connor

          Ps. I.e. click on the link where this sentence is written: “How do we produce [the needed] 214-trillion-calories to feed 8.3 billion people by 2027?”, only ten years from now.

    • Geoff Lawton

      Yes exactly of course, and India because its acient diversity is an accentuation of everywhere else, but globally we still come up 214 trillion calories short in 10 years on her clever statistics. This is the point she is just an expert in statistics admitting derrrrrrrrrrr there is something wrong.

      • Sadly Geoff, as we all know, our kind of folks KNOW this fact both intuitively, through our fool-proof, experiential work and shared respect and humility for ancient wisdom, commonsense. Those who like to bend the world with stats, money and power will take those very stats of her and twist it to their own advantage. Stats has become a magic wand with no substance…
        How do folks like us INTERVENE in this scenario is a big question I am grappling with, right now in Bhutan. This is not directly related to this post, yet I am compelled to share this with you as I am doing final touches on my adaptation training manual for Bhutan. GEF-UNDP wants to fund climate smart agriculture here.
        Despite my 3 and a half years of work training over 100 people in 4 provinces and literally showing through our work on the ground that there is no smartness going for new kind of seeds, new kind of fertilisers new kind of irrigation technologies, if WE dont work on soil creation in this mountain terrains with mulching, integrated planting, soil retention…
        Are they listening. Nope I saw the GEF-UNDP adding value chain document – recent one, proposing more cash cops that are already failing here – brown cardamom, hazelnut. Proposing taking more of the forest land for cardamom. Proposing labor saving machinery ( with so soaring unemployment !!!) Any mention of soil generation, ground-water revival, erosion control, nope. Climate change funding works only so far as it “FITS” with the TRADE. No trade, no funding.MY work suffers everywhere I go, as none of my projects has any scope for big trade, it is all about local adaptation and local self sustainability. STATs like the one we saw is interesting for big folks who will bend it manipulate for big trade – on “poverty alleviation in global south” with more fast and smart food production, to feed the “poor masses”

        • PDC TA – Rasili O’Connor

          This is my take on it (regarding the woman in the TED Talk) – she obviously cares a huge amount, and she just genuinely may not know of regenerative practices, of the possibilities available through permaculture design.

          What needs to happen (in my personal view) is: she needs to be contacted, with care, honour and respect, and filled in. Imagine her impact if she gets a chance to know about this information, about what’s possible. And the person contacting her needs to have the people skills and communication skills to ‘allow’ her to be ‘scoffing’ at first. That’s all part of ‘waking up’, of ‘change’ (for some, or many).

          Actually, it is often the ‘strong skeptics’ or people who have invested a lot of energy in a particular direction who, once they Know there is another way, become the most powerful advocates, and impactful spreaders of the completely new information.

        • Geoff Lawton

          Hi Nirmala yes I agree, and would like to add that permaculture design is useless unless acted on, therefore those who teach in difficult situations of extreme suffer need to have a great depth of practical experience and be able to act on and set up examples of value for local people to see develop so that they can have the option to be self determined and dependant only to themselves, even seditious if they so choose to be. Of course the large aid organisations are not at all interested in this as an idea because it means their own unemployment “heaven forbid they may even suffer themselves”. The quote my teacher Bill Mollison, page 12 of “The Permaculture Designers Manual” first published 1988, “Overseas aid is perilously close to being a very good reason for overseas aid to be necessary, as spies need counterspies.” Considering that was 30+ years ago I would confidently say now that overseas aid is a very good reason why overseas aid is STILL needed. I am typing this in Jordan where I have been working in refugee situations since 1999 and nothing much has change for the better and mostly things are worse. I gave up working for and with large aid organisation and decided to create my own local NGO’s and work only with other NGO’s that were prepared to take the same approach as myself. I will only work where the land is owned by ourselves as a pertnership or with a very long lease with the specific purpose of establishing a permaculture demonstration site/education centre that freely networks its information. This purpose needs to be part of the mission statement, constitution or religious endowment and locked in for perpetuity. I have only been able to find one NGO partner that is prepare to follow my advice exactly and it is now working exceptionally well . This has now become such a successful approach that I now only work though Muslim Aid Australia and I also now sit on their border of directors and their CEO Hassan Elsetohy sits on the board of directors of The Permaculture Research Institute. This approach takes time but does not get side tracked and gets stronger every year which starts to get noticed by locals more all the time, as we know there is no obsolescence in permaculture.
          The TED talk I see as a genuine call for help because it has become more and more obvious the conventional approaches are not working and in the digital world everyone can see the evidence who wants to and that is to our advantage.

          • Absolutely spot on Overseas aid is a self-perpetuating vicious cycle that strips local ability to sustain and replaces it with supermarket syndrome. My only consolation is those actual farmers in 40 villages I worked with and saw the results will carry on their work irrespective of our smart experts from aid agencies talking. In Bhutan they have joke, there came a yak expert from outside to work with the government, driving past an area where the Tibetan herders come down with Yaks for wintering, the expert shouted, what is that, …
            So there is a Yak expert who have never seen a Yak…(: