View Full Version : Permaculture Greening the Desert

27th October 2015, 14:16
This is interesting, because it shows hope for us and the planet in so many ways, getting away from industrial fertiliser pollution and spraying harmful chemicals in agricultural settings. Going back to the old ways, but not everyone knows how. There are techniques, however, if we dare to turn 180 degrees.

This video shows how Geoff Lawton went to the Jordanian desert in 2001 and turned a ten acre bit of desert and turned it into a orchard, if this can be done in the Jordanian desert imagine what can be achieved not just here but everywhere.



27th October 2015, 14:21
And in this short video, we see how it's done in reality, if your heart is in it. This sits right with me.

China View reporters visited a woman in north China's Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region. She and her husband have dedicated themselves to planting trees and fighting desertification for nearly three decades.



27th October 2015, 15:05
We see the result after 4 years of a fantastic challenging desert. See for yourself; it's really, really dry there and it's working. Actually he went to the site where they made the film Lawrence of Arabia, just to make sure it was dry enough for the test. :)

From what it looks like to me, we can do this and after a while it will take care of itself, after all plants including trees, attract rain. It will spread with the knowledge, my brothers and sisters. The mixture of certain plants need to be present as the unit of that mixture is the key. And the beauty of it all, it will attract LIFE, more life! Insects, birds etc. etc. Here is the proof. I was not aware that the desert contains fertile nutrients.

Here is his web-site: http://geofflawton.com/



27th October 2015, 16:58
Permaculture well no :Bump:

Sowing the seeds in the desert the man who turned a desert into a forest

Masanobu Fukuoka (1913-2008) was a farmer and philosopher who was born and raised on the Japanese island of Shikoku. He studied plant pathology and spent several years working as a customs inspector in Yokohama. While working there, at the age of 25, he had an inspiration that changed his life. He decided to quit his job, return to his home village, and put his ideas into practice by applying them to agriculture. Over the next sixty-five years he worked to develop a system of natural farming that demonstrated the insight he was given as a young man, believing that it could be of great benefit to the world. He did not plow his fields, used no agricultural chemicals or prepared fertilizers, and did not flood his rice fields as farmers have done in Asia for centuries, and yet his yields equaled or surpassed the most productive farms in Japan. In 1975 he wrote The One-Straw Revolution, a best-selling book that described his life s journey, his philosophy, and farming techniques. This book has been translated into more than twenty-five languages and has helped make Mr. Fukuoka a leader in the worldwide sustainable agriculture movement. He continued farming until shortly before his death in 2008, at the age of ninety-five

his best work and the most interesting

The One-Straw Revolution

This was the first of 3 books (translated into English) by this amazing Japanese farmer and philosopher. Comparatively little-known here, Fukuoka (RIP) is famous in India, where his techniques are being used to revive desert areas.

His communion with nature created, over the years, a natural farming technique requiring no machinery (no plowing or digging, ever!) or fossil fuel, no chemicals, no prepared compost and very little weeding. Yields are comparable to the most productive farms. Natural farming creates no pollution and the fertility of the fields improves with each season. He calls it "do-nothing farming" but it is more like "do-little" (harvesting is the most laborious part of the year).

In this book he tells the story of how he came to farm in this way, with a fascinating overview of his philosophy and farming techniques. Along the way, he has wonderful comments about many different things we take as normal in our lives. I was gripped with excitement at the tidbits of his philosophy scattered like gems here and rushed to buy his other two English-language publications. Although I am not a farmer and never likely to become one, his viewpoints are widely relevant. Many of his predictions, based on his amazing understanding of the power of nature and of the dangers of scientific thinking, have already come to pass.

He taught (and proved in his farm and elsewhere) that "nature is in balance and perfectly abundant just as it is. People, with their limited understanding, try to improve on nature thinking the result will be better for human beings, but adverse side effects inevitably appear. Then people take measures to counteract these side effects, and larger side effects appear. By now, almost everything humanity is doing is mitigating problems caused by previous misguided actions."

In his next, "The Natural Way of Farming", the author continues his critique of scientific farming and of our separation from nature. Finally, his translator comments that "Sowing Seeds in the Desert", his last work, is probably his most important. Fukuoka shares more of his philosophy and writes - in the later part of the book - about his world travels (via government and university invitations) to revegetate the deserts of the world using natural farming.

27th October 2015, 17:21
That is a great post jonsnow, I was not aware of Masanobu Fukuoka's philosophy of farming, very interesting. He could be the start of this whole thing, you know. Geoff never said that he invented this, he learned it from somebody in the 1980's. Shows you, farming shouldn't have to be hard work, as nature will work for you if you co-operate with it. For me it's lovily seeing it put into practise.

27th October 2015, 18:37
Elen we farm wrong completely

All seeds should be Primeval Code or stored at ancient fertility sites

All lands should be covered with terra preta ( yes I know how to make ancient fertile soil )
you need clay
sea water
rock dust
thousands leaves
egg shape mound few other things


All water should be moved underground never see the sun see work of Water Wizard living water should be used
as this is best however if it is not possible ferrite water is easily made ( magnetic water )

only copper tools to farm the lands iron is banned see water wizard

Water Wizard, Victor Schauberger

all seeds should be planted Masanobu Fukuoka's only strong survive
Living Energies: Viktor Schauberger's Brilliant Work with Natural Energy Explained

other stuff use frost guard use electric culture

the topic is vast there is more I have not said or even know I am always learning

27th October 2015, 19:10
This is pretty amazing stuff, and I love seeing it. Thank you for posting these videos, Elen, and thank you Jonsnow for the additional info. I've briefly looked at both Fukuoka and Schauberger's work before but deserve to look at it in more detail. I tried one of Fukuoka's techniques once of scattering different kinds of seed together and letting nature sort of what the conditions are best for, and the winner out of carrots, radishes and I think beets, was radishes in my case, and in the small patch I sewed them in I got more than I had any use for and gave a lot of them away. And then some carrots sprouted after them in the same place.

I've been trying to research cheap irrigation systems that are not unnecessarily heavy on water consumption that I can implement on a terraced hill. Probably a reservoir in a barrel at the top putting pressure on the lines going downhill below it. When energy becomes more affordable, like maybe a household unit that supplies all our power without having a monthly electricity bill, I'll be interested in heating a greenhouse all winter.

27th October 2015, 19:41
bsbray if you wish for water it is everywhere and its free. Where water comes from and how to harness it for free hint if you drill in the most unlikely places you will find it like under solid rock . Oxygen and hydrogen create water the water in the earth is Primeval ( newly made )

new water for a
thirsty world
Michael H. Salzman

Well under floor heating is the best way to go and its free drill a hole geothermal heat.

Frost Guard

This is the future for cold weather cannot kill plants it is worth reading up about if you are a farmer how does it work harmonic resonance from the natural law of reality its complex but it works I think :confused:

28th October 2015, 05:15
Great Thread :) and oh yah information :thup:

28th October 2015, 07:59
Inspiring share, thank you. There's a lot of arid land/deserts in Australia where this knowledge could be applied too.

28th October 2015, 08:22
Thank you Sandy and thank you Joanna, it's much appreciated. I think he is already working in Australia. It will be seen in time.

This next video is a talk that he made on TED. He makes a lot of sense. It is so heartening seeing the audience "a room full of Arabs" that are showing a lot of interest. :):):)

And this is really going world wide. I am grateful to experience this now.

About Geoff:

Geoff Lawton is an internationally - renowned permaculture educator, consultant and practitioner. He emigrated from England to Australia and later studied permaculture with Bill Mollison in Tasmania. He established the Permaculture Research Institute at Tagari Farm in New South Wales, Australia, a 147 acre farmstead previously developed by Mollison. PRI was eventually moved to Zaytuna Farm, in The Channon, where it continues today.

Since 1985, Geoff has designed and implemented permaculture projects in 30 countries for private individuals and groups, communities, governments, aid organizations, & multinational corporations. He has taught the Permaculture Design Certificate course and designed permaculture projects in 30 countries. The Permaculture Research Institute supports the establishments of Permaculture Master Plan sites worldwide as demonstration sites and education centers that network their research information through.


28th October 2015, 09:08
From greening the desert to cold climate survival. This is for the ones living in colder climates. Cleaning water naturally. And long term planning.


28th October 2015, 10:16
Fascinating topic - enjoyed reading the posts and watching the videos. :thup:

28th October 2015, 10:58
X 2, fascinating, thankyou for making this available here Elen.

28th October 2015, 12:06
In all fairness to jonsnow, here is a video about natural farming with Masanobu Fukuoka. Here is an idea about seeding, make clayballs with seeds inside of it, and use a slingshot. I'm not making fun, it's for real.

His attitude is very interesting and simple; respect nature and nature will look after you.

Thank you for sharing the information on this Japanese farmer.



26th July 2016, 16:33
Bumping the thread because I am musing that if a Corporation Character (documentary describing the character of Corps as psychopathic is here https://youtu.be/KMNZXV7jOG0) is a problem, IMO the character of the Permaculture movement is CURATIVE.

If we use the analogy of narcissism, the corporation depends on constant feeding by us as consumers of their products. In a metaphor, WE are the narcissistic supply. But we could stop if we have a motivation. We are in a low point...It's a swale IMO

We may have reached it via the low, long, narrow depression dug in a ditch (hehe permaculture inference)
Maybe we find the tipping point by appreciating the swale ‎(plural swales)

A low tract of moist or marshy land.
A long narrow and shallow trough between ridges on a beach, running parallel to the coastline.
A shallow troughlike depression that's created to carry water during rainstorms or snow melts; a drainage ditch.
A shallow, usually grassy depression sloping downward from a plains upland meadow or level vegetated ridgetop.  [quotations ▼]
A shallow trough dug into the land on contour (horizontally with no slope). Its purpose being to allow water time to percolate into the soil.

What is the tipping point for the Perma-cure?


The FACT that planting a forest will live on its own once planted and will change its surrounding biosphere is Power.

Ancient Morocco


300 years in Vietnam


Here is an example from the near present

AMERICA’S FORGOTTEN FOOD FOREST SUBURB REDISCOVERED! (http://permaculturenews.org/2013/12/14/americas-forgotten-food-forest-suburb-rediscovered/)

Years ago, Permaculture founder, Bill Mollison made a TV series called Global Gardener. In a 10-minute segment of that series he visited a particular 60-acre intentional community called Village Homes, located at Davis, California.

Mollison visited this estate many times. The reason he kept returning there was the way it was constructed. Passive Solar designed homes, water harvesting swales and a forest of fruit trees that were planted in the late 1970s by architect Michael Corbett. It was meant to be a stunning example of a new version of the utopian dream. If America was heading for an energy crisis in the 70s then this was the place to shield the inhabitants from famine. Village Homes impressed Mollison greatly because it anticipated many of the design ideas Mollison was working on. You can still see the original video clip, shot in 1991, via the YouTube video below, where Mollison explains the intricate features of the estate.


It was into this scenario that Geoff Lawton ventured whilst delivering a talk at Sacramento in the summer of 2013. Lawton had watched the Mollison video clip a number of times and was keen to visit this place and see if it had fallen into disrepair and neglect and if any of the trees were still alive. After all, it was 38 years since it was constructed and over 20 years since Bill Mollison had featured it in his TV series. Village Homes had fallen off the Permaculture radar. The fruit trees could possibly still be alive even if the estate had been redeveloped and changed to fit in with a different age.

Geoff figured it was still worth a visit to see.

What we saw when we arrived, made our jaws drop.

Geoff walked over to a spreading Jujube tree. Red shriveled fruit was laying on the ground. Geoff knew immediately what he was looking at and picked it up, examined the fruit and popped it into his mouth saying, “That’s a good one!” It was a statement of homage to Bill Mollison who uttered the same thing, with this same fruit in his mouth, in the old TV series. It could very well have been the very same tree. Who knows.

We left the video camera in the car and for two hours just walked through the estate marveling at the sight in a state of shock and bewilderment. The trees were covered in heavy fruit. Plums, figs, apples, grapes, pomegranates. Nothing had changed. The system had grown to maturity. It was self-cycling its nutrients. We were walking in an abundant paradise — an exciting display of a mature Permaculture Food Forest. This was the endgame. The Eldorado. The climax of why you are interested in permaculture. The placed looked in show-room condition. The architecture, the orchards, the green space, the forest of food trees were breathtaking. It was beautiful. The closest thing to a dry lands Garden of Eden you could imagine. Geoff Lawton talks about abundance and here it was. It was no mythical place, no lofty over-reached dream. It was made manifest thanks to the vision of Michael Corbett who thought that the world would be in peril by now.

I said to Geoff, “Have you ever seen anything like this?” He shook his head. "No".

“This is everything I teach.” he said, “It’s all here. It’s living proof that it works.”

“Why hasn’t anyone documented this in detail?” I asked.

Geoff had no idea. Perhaps people have forgotten about it, or they don’t realise what they are looking at.

What you kept noticing was the amount of fruit laying uneaten on the ground. Someone’s timber deck was covered in a carpet of fallen figs. In another part of the estate a carpet of plums lay dotted in the green grass. It was all freshly mowed and tidy looking. Very neat backyards. Actually, there were no backyards. No fences. You could walk through a network of paths that passed by private lawn and chickens in clean coops. People even had tiny plots of vegetable gardens adjacent to the homes. Bees were buzzing from their hives. A neat chicken coop with six hens looked very tidy and clean. Nothing unsightly could be seen.

All this is featured in a 15-minute video called “How to Make a Food Forest Suburb” that you can view with an exclusive interview with Michael Corbett, the reclusive architect sharing his vision with Geoff Lawton. It’s worth seeing these two chat under a fruit tree about why the world hasn’t caught up with Corbett’s vision.

Corbett says he only managed to get part of his vision approved by the local government authorities. He wanted to make the whole estate be self-sufficient filtering its waste water, grey and black water to be used through a series of reed-bed tanks to feed his food forest system, the same way nature does, but it was too much for the local government officials in the 1970s to handle. Things haven’t changed that much it seems.

Corbett says the estate is probably about 70% self-sufficient. You could ramp it up with rabbits and chickens but the only downside is – no carbohydrates. No corn or wheat field to grow cereal crops. Corbett did try to achieve his goal. He wanted to buy land to grow cereal crops but the idea never went anywhere with the committee running the place. It’s a pity. As Geoff Lawton says in the video, Village Homes is an icon. It should be world heritage listed. One of the best things ever done in America and should be celebrated and visited by anyone who has ever taken a Permaculture Course. Book your tickets and visit it. It needs to be seen and praised widely.

And 80 years ago DISCOVERING AN OASIS IN THE AMERICAN DESERT (http://permaculturenews.org/2014/10/11/discovering-oasis-american-desert/):



Now in NZ

26th July 2016, 16:58
Well done Maggie, I love that! Shows you what it is all about. Thanks...:smile2:

28th July 2016, 12:43
Have watched a few vids above and been inspired and learnt lots, enjoying getting interested in something that will produce results down the road for myself, I feel.

28th July 2016, 13:41
www.seedballs.us shows Natural Farmer Masanobu Fukuoka as he conducts a workshop for making seed balls at his natural farm and forest in Japan. for more information and options see www.seedballs.us

I can imagine that seedballs are to deter birds from eating the seeds before they make it to soil, so it's a great idea if you can't watch them all the time.