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Dam project I recently attended; drone photo I captured

This article is targeted at living in community, small holdings & off-grid living; although also appropriate to broad-acre farming. This is not targeted at Civil Engineering level construction.

I recently attended an Earthworks course in parrallel to an earthworks project in Central Portugal on the edge of the Sierra Estrella natural park. The course was hosted by Helder Valente of New School Permaculture along with the project hosts and conducted by David Spicer of Doc Spice Permaculture, an Earthworks expert from Australia.

WHAT IS EARTHWORKS

Earthworks is the utilisation of tools and technology to terraform land to support its regeneration…


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passive house (borrowed from https://inhabitat.com/colorado-man-single-handedly-builds-states-most-energy-efficient-house/)

Today I am documenting work to date on community and off-grid infrastructure. Off-grid is not always strictly off-grid, I use it to mean moving towards off-grid, increasing resilience, reducing reliance on grid, reducing carbon footprint, reducing long term costs and so on.

This document serves as an overview of research areas, many of which will have a dedicated post with a subject deep-dive and be published and updated as I work on the topic area. To date a lot of the information has been high level and based on examples I have seen or been described at various sites I…


The internet is everywhere, used by 4.35 billion of the 7.72 billion people that inhabit the Earth. That’s about 56% of humanity and arguably it impacts almost everyone on the planet.

But how does it work?

I learned the technical answer to this question through studying for a degree in Software Engineering. Answering this question in laypersons terms, or for the non-specialist is somewhat harder. Some will argue about the simplifications, abstractions and analogies I will use but the intention is to make things a bit clearer for anyone who wants to know.

First of all it would be useful to explain what we mean…


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Biodynamic Planting Calendar Outline

An evening of reading about Rudolf Steiner. Founder of the philosophy of Anthroposophy. It turns out of course to be a controversial line of research.

I’ve dedicated only the last 5 hours to reading about such topics as biodynamic agriculture as they have been coming up in many of the organic and permaculture farms that we have visited, that is not to say all permaculture farms use biodynamic practices.

BIODYNAMIC AGRICULTURE

Biodynamics in short is a farming practice, said to have preceded Organic farming and often the terms are incorrectly used interchangeably. Biodynamics relies on several practices; biodynamic production of…


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Below is a list of books I have come across, read or been recommended when researching or being inspired to research the art and science of living in community; I cannot therefore vouch for the books other than when I expressly say so having read and tried to understand the book. :-)

Building & Joining Communities

Creating a Life Together: Diana Leafe Christian [review pt1 | review pt2]
Finding Community: How to Join an Ecovillage or Intentional Community
Best of Communities Series

Sociocracy & Non-Hierarchical Leadership

Many Voices One Song: Shared Power with Sociocracy by Ted J. Rau & Jerry…


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I listened to a couple of podcasts this morning on intentional community. It’s bothered me a bit recently that people can sometimes confuse off-grid with some kind of hiding from the CIA and abandoning civilisation kind of concept. I blame my own communication style in this case as I can at times discuss both a philosophical vision for a future of humanity and a shorter term action plan on actually creating a community to live in together next year. …


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We’re in the process of building an intentional community, thankfully I found out about this book in Year 1 of the research phase! As year 1 draws to an end some of the reading and research has already paid off. Here is a compressed summary for those who haven’t had time to read it yet but I’d suggest if you are founding, co-founding, building, or joining a community then you buy a copy for yourself :)

Chapter 1 on why 90% fail

This chapter takes a look at some examples of communities that succeeded and failed and why. …


LIVING TOGETHER, IN SERVICE, IN THE NOW

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For several years now the idea of living a different kind of life has been something my partner and I have been working on; slowly moving from idea to reality. Rather than buying a small house on a mountain somewhere and trying to survive we thought it important to learn some key lessons. We have travelled and visited communities, engaged in induction weeks, studied permaculture, earth works, food forests and more. We’ve discussed the idea with friends gaining a deeper understanding of what people desire. …


This article really is a high level summary of soil and it’s intention is both to share some recent research and hopefully raise interest amongst readers of the importance and depth of soil!

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OK firstly what is soil not. Soil is not dirt. Dirt is displaced soil, soil that is somewhere it should not be. Every soil article seems to discuss this so let’s get it out the way as it’s really not that interesting.

This article is looking at Soil from a growing/farming perspective vs a civil engineering or geological perspective.

What is soil then?

Soil is:

  • Minerals from Weathered Rock.
  • Air &…

Wayne Gibbins

Advisor & NED @ Startups. COO/CTO @ New Foundation Farms. Regenerative Agriculture. MSc AgTech & Innovation @ Royal Agricultural University

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