Category Archives: Design

Life at Zaytuna – PDC Students Given Design Brief


Yasaman surveys with the laser level
Photos © Craig Mackintosh

We’re halfway through our latest Permaculture Design Certificate (PDC) course, and the students appear to be learning a lot as well as having a lot of fun along the way.

Today their knowledge store was tested and stretched, by way of having their minds applied to making their own site design in a real-life consultation situation! For the rest of the course, along with continuing classes, the students will spend some of their time working together in groups on a design that will be presented to the landowner at the end of the week.

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Also posted in Permaculture, Photojournalism

Permaculture Miracles in the Austrian Mountains


Photo credit: Keith Johnson

I’d like to introduce you to Sepp Holzer, a man who not only produces food in a very unlikely location, at a high and frigid altitude in Austria, but is also growing very unlikely crops there as well — and all without the use of chemicals, and with minimal input of human labour.

I guess you could call him a European counterpart of people like Bill Mollison and Masanobu Fukuoka — as all three independently discovered ways of working with nature that save money and labour and that don’t degrade the environment, but actually improve it. In Holzer’s case, he was effectively running a permaculture farm for more than two decades before he even realised his unconventional approach could be termed ‘permaculture’.

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Also posted in Permaculture

A Refrigerator that Runs Without Electricity

Sometimes there are simple solutions to universal needs that don’t require coal fired electricity, fossil fuels, or even solar panels or wind turbines.

Around a third of the world’s population have no access to electricity. If you’re like me, you’ve spent your entire life being able to plug in. Do we ever give a thought to what life would be like if the various appliances we’ve come to rely on were to suddenly stop working? One of the most energy guzzling appliances in our carbon footprint portfolio is the refrigerator. But, unplug it, and the quality of your life will suddenly deteriorate. Take that thought, and imagine living in a hot dry country in Africa, without electricity, where food quickly wilts and rots in the sun, aided by onslaughts of flies.

One modern day genius, mindful of this basic need to preserve food, has solved the problem for many. Mohammed Bah Abba, a Nigerian teacher, invented the ‘device’ — a refrigerator that doesn’t require electricity!

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