False profits (yes, I spelled that correctly), record-breaking olive oil (again)…

Hi, this is Geoff,

Today’s my birthday (63 years young!), and instead of receiving well-wishings, I want to extend them to each of you. Permaculture has been one of the most important things in my life. It’s far more than just “a job” – it’s my passion, it’s one of the primary frameworks through which I see the world, and above all, it’s the vehicle through which I am fortunate enough to connect to each of you.

I know that there are countless ways you can choose to spend your time, so it’s beautiful to see that you’ve made the conscious decision to learn about permaculture; and it’s an honor and privilege that you’ve chosen me to be one of your teachers on this journey.

Thank you beyond words.

Oh, and here’s how I spent my birthday morning 🙂

Here we go with the Friday Five…

From Austin to Antananarivo: Vitality-through-diversity is one of the bedrock principles of permaculture. So it was wonderful to see a similar diversity in the cities and types of climates who either won or were awarded special mention for their innovative work in urban agriculture at the Milan Urban Food Policy Pact (MUFPP). Anytime you have Toronto, Antananarivo, Austin, and Dakar all mentioned in the same breath, you know you have something special 🙂 Full details regarding this year’s competition here, and a downloadable summary of the best practices here.

Record-breaking olive oil (again!): Last year (December 9th to be exact), I shared with you in a Friday Five post news about Nicolas Netien, a French environmental engineer with olive groves in Morphou, northwest Cyprus. He and his wife, Maria, met here at Zaytuna Farm, where they did an internship and completed a teacher trainer course. They then got married, went to Greece, set up the Permaculture Research Institute in Greece (PRI Greece), taught the PDC course, and made headlines based on having the highest-ever-recorded concentrations of oleocanthal and total phenolic compounds found in their olive oil. This year, they’re back, showing that last year’s results weren’t a fluke: “The test later corroborated by NMR (Nuclear Magnetic Resonance) at the University of Athens by Drs. Prokopios Magiatis and Eleni Melliou was a record breaking 4947 mg/kg total polyphenols…Oleocanthal was off the charts at 3762 mg/kg. Atsas has set a new world record for the second year in a row.” I could fill up the rest of the Friday Five raving about what an incredible achievement this is, but instead I’ll let you read the details directly at Aristoleo, as well as seeing a short video presentation by Jordan’s own Princess Basma congratulating Nicolas and Maria on their incredible work.

Darwin gets a new finch: “The arrival 36 years ago of a strange bird to a remote island in the Galápagos archipelago has provided direct genetic evidence of a novel way in which new species arise.

On Nov. 23 in the journal Science, researchers from Princeton University and Uppsala University in Sweden report that the newcomer belonging to one species mated with a member of another species resident on the island, giving rise to a new species that today consists of roughly 30 individuals.” This may demonstrate that speciation through facilitating creative events is not a fiction; and that by understanding this and taking a thoughtful approach, we may be able to play a role in moulding an abundant world. Overview can be read here on the Princeton site, and the full research piece here.

False Profit: Not much for me to add here, as the headline says it all: “None of the world’s top industries would be profitable if they paid for the natural capital they use.From the full piece, by David Roberts: “The notion of “externalities” is so technical, such an economist’s term. Got a few unfortunate side effects, so just move some numbers from Column A to Column B, right? But the UNEP report makes clear that what’s going on today is more than a few accounting oversights here and there. The distance between today’s industrial systems and truly sustainable industrial systems — systems that do not spend down stored natural capital but instead integrate into current energy and material flows — is not one of degree, but one of kind. What’s needed is not just better accounting but a new global industrial system, a new way of providing for human wellbeing, and fast.

In case you missed it: A few pieces of interest this week from our sister site, the non-profit Permaculture Research Institute, ably curated by PRI’s editor, Jason Freibergs (thank you, Jason!):

If you enjoy these posts, be sure to bookmark the site as several new articles go up weekly, or check out thousands of other past articles, here.  

That’s it for the Friday Five. As always, if you have comment / reactions / a different point of view, please share below.

Cheers, and have a great week,

Your friend,


PS: Come spend New Year’s with us! We have a handful of spots left for our January, on-the-ground PDC course taught at Zaytuna Farm. We’re getting great water these days, and the combination of the warmth of the Australian summer with plenty of rain means that things are looking quite lush. If this fits your schedule, we’d love to have you. Full details here.

2017-12-10T13:03:51+00:00 Blog|7 Comments
  • Patricia Newkirk

    Happy Birthday Geoff, and thank you so much for your wonderful, inspiring Friday Five.

  • Lynne Smyth

    Thanks for sharing the olive story. Needless to say, we don’t grow olives here in Northern Ireland. However, I do have apple trees and now want to try that idea of growing wild plants around them.

  • George Baras

    Happy Birthday! thank you for your passion to discover and understand the beauty of this world and the promotion of permaculture. We are beside you in an effort to understand the environment in which we and our ancestors were born. All the best family and your friends. With respect I greet you.

  • Elise Rothman d’Hauthuille

    You look and sound positively energized; 63 years young!

    I’m so busy these days, I am amazed I have time to read anything (other than the ever growing stack of books at my bedside) never mind comment on it… but I wanted to take a moment to respond to your gray water blurb.

    I for one would like to find out what actual techniques people are inventing to quickly and easily retrofit their modern (idiotic) plumbing in a way that doesn’t look chaotic or down right dirty or doesn’t require you to carry a bucket down 2 flights of stairs. I am building a cabin this summer that will use the least amount of natural resources possible. In the interim; I am flushing toilets and washing dishes with fresh water 🙁

    One of the best retrofitted gray water systems I have seen was in a squat in Dublin where a tube was attached underneath the sink directly into the back of the toilet. Anything else like this? And … I don’t understand the image of the NO sign on the kitchen sink . Thanks for all you do.

  • bri

    Seems to me the message here is that there are an awful lot of pen-pushers that need to get down to earth and get their hands dirty.
    Belated happy birthday!

  • Happy Birthday Geoff! Thank you for sharing your wisdom and passing on the teachings of Bill and David in a visually stunning and practical manner. You’re an amazing teacher and inspiration to us all. Kind regards, Phil