Dirt is the new prozac
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Have you heard of the humble soil microbe Mycobacterium vaccae? It was first found by scientists in a pile of cow dung. Perhaps they thought they were ‘civilising’ it, elevating it above the depravity and ignorance of its fecal home when they taught it the ways of the petri dish? But was M. vaccae fazed or enbitterered by their neo-missionary condescension? Not if it’s subsequent behaviour is anything to go by. When the scientists injected it into various rodents they found it released serotonin in the brain — the very same chemical boosted by anti-depressant pharmaceuticals. Subsequent research has shown that it gives humans a happy buzz too.
And where do you get exposure to this microbial friend, also linked to reducing asthma and skin allergies? Walk down Smith St Collingwood on a dark night and look for the jittery guy in the cap with the plastic bags of well composted soil? No. Just get out there in to the garden… Which you can do at one of the very exciting upcoming blitzes!
And a belated welcome to another irregular permablitz newsletter, in which we have: reports from permablitzers abroad, a very Aussie forum, a breakthrough report on how the hell are we going to eat in 20 years, a call for permablitz photos for a calendar, and permaculture co-originator David Holmgren casts his piercing gaze towards the future… plus all the usual upcoming blitzes and courses.
~~~~ Upcoming Blitzes ~~~~
This Sunday! JUN 01 Blitz #43 @ Noble Park
This marks a return to the Dandenong zone permablitz heartland. Although it is also Noble Park’s first Permablitz! Come and help Ileana, Gavin and baby Michaela transform their backyard into a fruit, vege, herb and chicken egg producing wonderland. No skills required. New-comers to Permablitz are welcome. Workshops and action a-plenty!
JUN 22 Blitz #44 @ West Preston
Stay tuned… <http://permablitz.net/...>
For those who have blitzed, we salute you. For those who haven’t Paul sends us this brief:
New-comers are always welcome at a Permablitz, so why not make your Permablitzing-debut at one of the upcoming blitzes? All ages welcome!
Yes, it is free to attend a Permablitz! Also, a hearty lunch and cups of tea/coffee are provided by the host of the blitz.Permablitz encourages sharing so if you have any spare seedlings, seeds or fruit trees you are encouraged to bring them along to be planted on the day. You’re also welcome to bring along some morning tea to share and any musical instrument that you might like to play throughout the day.Remember, no gardening/permaculture skills are required. All that is required is an enthusiasm to:* learn about organic, home-grown food production,* to get your hands dirty helping a household start their vege, herb, fruit, egg, etc producing yard* meet new folks* have a bit of funAlso, after attending two or three permablitzes you are eligible to host a permablitz at your place.
~~~~ Permablitz Intro to Permaculture Course ~~~~
There are just three places left on the course on June 14-15 @ the Port Philip Eco-centre. You would be a laughable social outcast to miss it.
~~~~ Aussies Living Simply ~~~~
We get requests all the time for practical advice about things like how to best groom chooks, preserve livers, make dandelion vodka, untangle pets from wild pumpkin vines; the whole gamut of sustainability skills. And we don’t always know or have the time to answer these eco-obscurios. But there is a wonderful online forum where you may find answers, and become part of an evolving community dedicated to the finding the simple life.
Check out: www.AussiesLivingSimply.com.au
Big hat tip to the site’s originator, Dan Stoll!
~~~~ FutureScenarios.org ~~~~
Come gaze with us now, into the future. For that is where we are heading, inexorably, the future. Will it be robot housemaids, or ruthless scavengers living on the arctic fringe in a post-oil climate-change nightmare?
Or not quite like either?
Indeed there is little in the world of futurology which looks between these extremes, which looks towards low energy futures with a nuanced vision.
Permaculture co-originator David Holmgren weighs in to fill this gap, drawing on 30 years of permaculture thinking. He envisions four possible post oil peak futures.
Check them out: www.FutureScenarios.org
(The website was produced by your humble newsletter writer.)
~~~~ Victorian food security report ~~~~
Do you eat food? Would you like to still be eating it in the future? If so you may be interested in the important report released by the Victorian Eco-Innovations Lab (VEIL), outlined in this recent Age article:
Fears over state’s food security
VICTORIA’S ability to feed itself is threatened by new farming practices and cheap imported fruit and vegetables, warns a major food report commissioned by the State Government.
Lead author of the report Kirsten Larsen was spotted at the Eltham blitz a couple of months back, and the report was co-authored by the very same Asha Bee who coined the term ‘permablitz’ (who’s currenlty off studying in Scotland).
Full report here: http://www.ecoinnovationlab.com/…
~~~~ Permablitzers abroad ~~~~
Permablitz founder Dan Palmer is in Ethiopia with the grand lady of permaculture, Rosemary Morrow. Already there are some great organic agricultural innovations coming out of Ethiopia. And now Dan and Ro have just taught on what they believe was Eithiopia’s first Permaculture Design Certificate (PDC). Go Dan and Ro!
Cam and Jessie (Price) Wilson have hit Samoa. They have been key blitzers and teachers on our first couple of courses — and not too long ago they got married! Cam is “designing a nice big system with pigs, chickens, beer waste and mushrooms all doing good things with each other”, and Jessie, with baby on the way, is “happily inventing ice creams (next one up is banana, peanut butter and coconut cream)”. Go Cam and Jessie!
~~~~ Blitz photos wanted! ~~~~
Violet Town permaculturologist David Arnold writes:
Photographers, amateur or professionalI would like to feature a Permablitz photo in the 2009 Permaculture Calendar. This calendar highlights one of the twelve Homgren design principles each month, and a great photo of a Permablitz could illustrate Integrate Rather than Segregate. People coming together, useful work mixed with recreation, materials and plants accumulated and assembled together into a garden ……The calendar is being produced to be beautiful, functional, and to reflect and encourage permaculture thinking. The photo needs to be in landscape format, high resolution jpeg file. If your photo is selected your contribution will be featured in the calendar and you will;
• receive five free calendars
• be credited in the calendar
• be invited to nominate a sustainability project or group to share in 20% of profit from wholesale returns.
For more info see www.permacultureprinciples.com
If the people in the photo are recognisable they just need to sign the permission form downloadable from the site. To submit a photo or contact me, mail [email removed, contact via [email protected]]
Photos requested by the end of June.
Did you know that during WWI and WWII there was a spike in urban food production to supplement rations in many countries. Well, two brilliant US based bloggers who some of you may have heard of, farmer Sharon Astyk and gardener Aaron Newton are working on a major new book about the future of agriculture. They are looking for “photos of modern gardening efforts that might mimic the kinds of gardening efforts that happened during the world wars.” Email: [email removed, contact via [email protected]]
Also: check out also this great short doco about David’s work: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xOW-RdCFax0
PERMABLITZ GALLERY: Did you know that you can also upload your photos from past blitzes to the permablitz gallery. Register on the home page for a username, and then go to the gallery. And click Edit, then Add Album. And if you want help, email us 🙂
Thanks Megan for the tip about the happy microbes! Newsletter title stolen from a scientific journal.
And apologies for two emails which went out accidently on this list around two weeks ago, an accident on my part. We will keep it to fortnightlyish mail outs from now on.
And that’s it for another newsletter, see you at a blitz!
Adam @ Permablitz Decentral