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Going organic. Bhutan and Kerala, India set the pace

Hi farmers and friends,

I couldn’t resist sending this information on.

Bhutan could within a decade become the first country in the world to go wholly organic in its food production, according to key politicians in the Himalayan kingdom. Political parties in the Himalayan kingdom unite to eradicate chemical fertilizers and pesticides as part of its Gross National Happiness program.  Agriculture and forests minister Lyonpo Yeshey Dorji and opposition leader Pema Gyamtsho, who held the post in the previous government, say there is a united commitment to rid the country of chemical fertilizers and pesticides.

For a detailed article go HERE.

I am just now reading a 2014 book “India’s Organic Farming Revolution: What it Means for our Global Food System”. Written by Sapna E. Thattathil.

The title is somewhat misleading since almost all the coverage is on the state of Kerala. Kerala is arguably one of the most progressive states in India and is frequently cited as one of the best examples on the international scene of a socially-equitable society. It is also a big producer of agricultural exports, particularly spices and 80% of agricultural production is exported. In 2010, the elected prime minister and LDF party in power at the time, actually made it policy to turn the entirety of the state organic within a ten year period. Organic farming was now officially a part of the Agriculture Department’s mandate. In 2011, the LDF government in Kerala decided to ban nearly 20 types of highly toxic insecticides. The subsequent government is not as favorable but has not reversed the policy.

Of course there are a lot of steps that went into developing the kind of government that would champion organic agriculture. The book does into the history of Kerala since India’s independence. Suffice it to say that in 1996 Kerala’s government launched the People’s Campaign for Decentralized Planning. This became popularly known as the People’s Plan. “The People’s Plan gave local village communities called grama sabhas control over 35 to 40% of the state’s annual planning budget. These individual communities now decide how to use state funds within their constituency.” Quote from Thattathil. These local planning groups did extensive inventorying of local resources and ecosystems in the process of developing local plans.

India’s 2002 National Biodiversity Bill called for each state to establish a Biodiversity Board. The Kerala State Biodiversity Board (KSBB) was formed in 2005. One of their projects is the People’s Biodiversity Register which works with the Peoples Plan network to “set up projects throughout Kerala to collect information about the history and uses of plants and animals, as well as traditional knowledge about them while fostering local participation in the government management of resources.” Quote from Thattathil.

In 2007 the Biodiversity Board began to look at agriculture and it was quickly obvious that the use of pesticides in particular were badly damaging Kerala’s biodiversity. With the support of the prime minister (like a US governor) the Board developed a document to gradually phase out chemical pesticides. It would make organic the state policy. Led to its logical conclusion, non-organic farming would become illegal. Not surprisingly there was big pushback by the agricultural establishment, ag schools and extension. They produced a watered down version.  After over a year of negotiations the organic proponents were able to get a relatively strong bill passed making organic the preferred government agriculture policy.

I have read a lot of international literature on agroforestry and Kerala has often been mentioned as one of the hotspots for traditional agroforestry mixed farming systems. The permaculture literature also contains a lot of references to the traditional systems in Kerala. This treasure trove of traditional agroforestry systems is shrinking due to agricultural policy which promotes and subsidizes chemical, export agriculture. These traditional systems will be encouraged if the organic crowd wins.

It will be very interesting to watch how this turns out in Kerala. Will the people’s movements win out or the lackeys of globalization?  Stay tuned.

If this piques your interest and you want to know more you can buy the book from Amazon for $11.43 at the moment.

 If you don’t mind reading on a computer you can view a version of the book HERE. This link is to her Dissertation at the University of California, Berkeley.

In this conversation it should be pointed out that some counties in the USA have passed initiatives which ban NGOs. Josephine County, Oregon being one of the recent ones.  Maui, Hawaii and Kauai counties in the state of Hawaii have also passed anti GMO initiatives. Monsanto, etc. are taking this all to court, but there is no doubt that popular support for organic is growing.

THE BIG PICTURE - Book Review: "Energy Basis for Man and Nature" by Howard T. Odum and Elisabeth C. Odum

I want to promote a book I just read:  "Energy Basis for Man and Nature" by Howard T. Odum and Elisabeth C. Odum. 1970. McGraw-Hill Book Co. I just ran across a copy in a used bookstore in Darby, Montana.  I recognized it as a book that David Holmgren, co-founder of permaculture, cited a lot.  

The Odum’s were very priescent in their book. Here we are 34 years later and the world is still galloping away down the wrong path.  The Odum’s particularly said that money supply should be constricted and not increased to go through the transition safely.  Instead the central banks have gone crazy with expanding the money supply with their quantitative easings. Exactly opposite.

The Odum's were pre-peak oil. Their book intertwines ecology and energy demands by humans. They clearly predicted the collapse if humanity continued down its then current path.  The ecology is big picture stuff.  It will take several re-readings to grasp that part.

They devoted a bit of the book to what path humanity needs to take if we are to avoid a large, messy population collapse.  Alas, we have taken the path to collapse. Several points piqued my interest.

If humanity were to discover a new. large energy source to surpass our fossil fuel subsidies that humans would quickly so pollute and destroy the natural world that only insects and micro-organisms would survive.  This is one of the reasons I am not into new energy sources. 

That pollution, like population, peaks later than peak oil.  Population falls. This is shortly followed by much less pollution. Following this thread of thought, future society will have less population and live in a cleaner, less-polluted environment.

The Odums say that the way for humanity to thrive is to base society on the solar energy of the sun, transformed by healthy ecosystems into renewable resources.

A good book for people who like to look at the big picture & ecosystem flows.

Find the book on-line

North American Permaculture Convergence: An epic opportunity!

 
EVERY PERMACULTURIST IN NORTH AMERICA IS INVITED!
Old and young, Experienced and newcomer!!
 
Transforming the landscape, culture and economy.,,,,,,
Homes, Neighborhoods, Communities
.
Go to our website for information on
sponsorships, presenting, roundtables, worktrade,
action teams and the Permaculture Exposition.
 
 
This very first North American Permaculture Convergence offers a special opportunity to meet up to 1,000 permaculture movers and shakers from across North America to share our successes and strategize how to create a permaculture future.
 
People will have different reasons for attending NAPC. For me, I view NAPC as a tremendous networking opportunity to meet permaculture movers and shakers from across the continent. As one of the permaculture movement’s historians I am also excited to use NAPC as an opportunity to collect more permaculture history.
 
The permaculture movement in North America is huge and growing fast!
 
The following list gives you an idea who the NAPC is inviting:
 
The following incomplete list gives you some idea of permaculture’s scope in North America.  This is just the beginning of a North American Permaculture Directory that Michael Pilarski is working on which will be expanded at the NAPC with everyone’s help. The eventual directory will be much expanded from what you see here and will include city, website, contact info, and names of people involved. Inclusion in the following list is not meant to be an endorsement, nor is absence meant to be a slight.  This is just what I could pull together at the moment.
 
[DRAFT, Version 1, June 14, 2014]
 
 
NORTH AMERICAN or NATIONAL
PERMACULTURE ORGANIZATIONS/NETWORKS
 
Gaia University [NAPC SPONSOR]
Indigenous Permaculture Program
MesoAmerican Permaculture Institute
Permaculture Activist Magazine
Permaculture Canada
Permaculture Credit Union
Permaculture ibiblio
Permaculture Institute, USA
Permaculture Institute of North America [NAPC SPONSOR]
Permaculture Research Institute, USA
Permaculture Research Institute, USA, Cold Climate  [NAPC SPONSOR]
Permies.com
 
PERMACULTURE CONVERGENCES IN NORTH AMERICA
 
Arizona Permaculture Convergence
Baja California Permaculture Convergence
Bay Area Regional Annual Permaculture Convergence
Colorado Permaculture Convergence
Eastern Ontario Permaculture Convergence
Florida Permaculture Convergence
Midwest Permaculture Convergence
Inland Northwest Permaculture Convergence
Local Food Enterprise (LiFE) Summit
Michigan Permaculture Convergence
North American Permaculture Convergence
Northeast Permaculture Convergence
Northern California Permaculture Convergence
Northwest Permaculture Convergence
Quebec Permaculture Convergence
San Diego Permaculture Convergence
Southeast Permaculture Convergence
Southeast Portland Permaculture Convergence
Southern California Permaculture Convergence
South West Permaculture Convergence
Village Building Convergence
West Coast Women's Permaculture Gathering
Western Canada Permaculture Convergence
Wisconsin Permaculture Convergence
 
REGIONAL PERMACULTURE ORGANIZATIONS
Asheville Permaculture Guild
Austin Permaculture Guild
Arizona Permaculture Network
Ark Valley Permaculture
Bay Area California Permaculture
Bloomington (Indiana) Permaculture Guild
Blue Ridge Permaculture Network
Boise Permaculture Guild
Central Coast California Permaculture Guild
Colorado Permaculture Guild
Columbia Basin Permaculture Guild
East Bay Permaculture
Eugene Permaculture Guild
Fingerlakes N.Y. Permaculture Network
Florida Permaculture Association
Great Lakes Permaculture Network
Great Lakes Permaculture Portal
Inland Northwest Permaculture Guild [NAPC SPONSOR]
Lakeshore Permaculture Guild
Los Angeles Permaculture Guild
Madison Area Permaculture Guild
Marin Permaculture Guild
Michigan Permaculture Community
Montreal Permaculture Guild
North Fork Valley Permaculture
Northeastern Permaculture Network
Northern Alberta Permaculture Institute
Northern Michigan Regional Permaculture
Okanogan Permaculture Club
Permaculture Community Action Worknet
Permaculture Drylands Institute
Permaculture Hudson Valley
Permaculture group for Southern Oregon / Northern California
Permaculture Institute of Eastern Ontario
Permaculture Institute of the Northeast
Permaculture Ottawa
Phoenix Permaculture Guild
Seattle Permaculture Guild
Siskiyou Permaculture Resources Group
Pike’s Peak Permaculture
Pittsburgh Permaculture
San Diego Permaculture Guild
South Coast Permaculture Guild
Santa Barbara Permaculture Network
Santa Cruz Permaculture Guild
Sierra Permaculture
South Coast Permaculture Guild
Southern California Permaculture Guild
Sonoma County Permaculture
Sonoran Permaculture
Spokane Permaculture Guild
Susquehana Permaculture
The Permaculture Guild of Houston
The St. Petersburg (Florida) Permaculture Guild
Urban Permaculture Guild
Urban Permaculture Guild, Oakland
Urban Permaculture Institute of the Southeast
Vancouver BC Permaculture Network
+ Transition Town groups across the country
 
PERMACULTURE BUSINESSES, FARMS & SERVICES
Abundance Permaculture
Ananda Permaculture Project
Aprovecho
Arcadia Commons
Badgersett Research Farm
Barking Frogs Permaculture Center
Barrett Ecological Services
Blue Heron Nursery
Big Sky Permaculture
Broken Ground Permaculture
Bullock Brothers Homestead
Camden Center for Environmental Transformation
Cascadia Permaculture Institute,
Cedar Creek Permaculture (Hastings, MI)
Center for Bioregional Living
Center for Deep Ecology
Central Rocky Mountain Permaculture Institute
Chatham-Kent Permaculture
Chelsea Green Publishing
Cincinnati Permaculture Guild
City of Angels Permaculture Academy
Cloudview EcoFarms
Cob Cottage Co.
Dancing Green
Divine Earth Garden Project
Dreamtime Village, (WI)
Druid’s Grove Permaculture
Dynamics Ecological Design
Earth Learning
Earth Magic Permaculture
EarthFlow Design Works,
EcoEdge Design Ltd.
Eco-Living
Ecological Gardens
Ecology Retreat Center
Edible Organic Design
Elfin Permaculture
Enright Ridge Urban Ecovillage
Everdale Learning Centre
Falls Brook Centre
Flowering Tree Permaculture Institute
Forest Agriculture Enterprises
Friends of the Trees Society
Gentle Harvest
Global Permaculture Design Group
Green Mountain Permaculture
Grow Permaculture
Harmony Park
Healing Tree Farm
Heathcote Community
Herbn’ Wisdom
High Altitude Permaculture
Holistic Solutions
Holzer AgroEcology
Inside Edge Design
Island Mountain Institute
Institute for Sustainable Living, Art & Natural Design
Kamiah Permaculture
Keyline Vermont
Kinstone Academy (Fountain City, WI) [NAPC SPONSOR]
Kliewerks
Kootenay Permaculture Institute, BC
Liberation Permaculture
Linnaea Farm
Little Artshram
Living Mandala
Lost Valley Intentional Community & Educational Center
Midwest Permaculture
Mindful Generations
Mobile Design Lab
Moose Pond Arts
New Forest Farm
New York Permaculture Exchange
Oasis Design
Oakhaven: A Permaculture Center
Occidental Arts & Ecology Center
OM Valley Permaculture Design/Consultation
Real Earth
Pacific Permaculture
Palouse Permaculture
Patricia Michael Design
Pattern Literacy
Peak Moment Television
Perennial Solutions
Permaculture Design & Implementation
Permaculture Now
Permaculture Project GTA (Greater Toronto Area)
Permaculture Project LLC
Permaculture TV
Prospect Rock Permaculture
Punk Rock Permaculture
Quail Springs Learning Oasis & Permaculture Farm
Radix Center
Rain Water Harvesting
Real Eyes Permaculture Homestead
Regenerative Design Group
Regenerative Design Institute
Resilience Hub
Resilience Planning
Sacred Permaculture
Salamander Springs Farm
Sandy Bar Ranch & Nursery
Urban Permaculture Design
Seventh Generation
Siskiyou Permaculture Resources Group
Soul Springs Permaculture
Spiral Gardens
Starhawk
Sustainable Living Network
Sustainable Living Systems
Terra Phoenix Design
The Farm Ecovillage Training Center
The Garden Muse
The Permaculture Podcast with Scott Mann
The Rhizome Collective
This-Land.org
Three Sisters Farm
TreeYo Permaculture
UMass Permaculture Garden
Verge Permaculture Inc.
WE-Design
Whole Systems Design
Wildcraft Permaculture
Wild Thyme Farm
Willow Way Permaculture
Yankee Permaculture
+ all the universities and colleges with permaculture programs
 
There are various PC directories on-line such as the Permaculture Activist’s Global Directory , PRI Global’s directory, WiserEarth, etc. and we will list and review them in our next edition.
 
Representatives of many of these organizations, networks and businesses will be attending NAPC.
YOU ARE ALL INVITED TO BE NAPC SPONSORS!
Support the movement!

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