Stefan Sobkowiak – Beyond Organic

This two hour interview makes for an important addition to the knowledge shared in the Permaculture Orchard film. In it Stefan talks about the next piece of the puzzle, soon to be released from Miracle Farm.

The podcast which has just come online, would have gone longer if Stefan hadn’t excused himself to join a scheduled conversation with John Allan of APW and myself. We needed to talk about the Masterclass Stefan will be leading at Unitec Auckland next year, as part of the Beyond Organic NZ Tour.

Stefan looking seriousFor New Zealanders the survivalist concepts that are promoted in the lead-in may seem foreign, and you can of course skip them and jump to 8m:40sec, or you may wind up asking, what’s happening in the USA? What’s being expressed there is an expression of people responding to the increasing uncertainty and rapid change that is underway across the world – we’re just each experiencing it differently.

Now, onto the interview on The Survival Podcast with Jack Spirko.

Up front we hear about Stefan’s background and having a Masters degree in both Biology and Landscape design, before learning what got him inspired to set up a Permaculture Orchard. We find a man with a deep desire to maximise the positive impact he can have on the world around him, and as the minutes turn into hours, we start to appreciate the gifts he’s offering.


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Beyond agriculture – the myths and the alternatives

Agriculture was the great leap forward for humanity, or so we’ve been told. but is it true? Toby Hemenway, in this compelling talk Redesigning Civilisation – with Permaculture, lays out a different picture and dispels the myths of agriculture as the great liberator from a life we are told was brutish and short.

At this point I feel compelled to assure you, this is not a casual criticism of agriculture or farmers. I have been one and I hold a deep respect for that culture, so if you are reading this article and have a background in rural activities, thank you for reading this far, and I welcome you to take this journey of discovery with me.

The essence of agriculture, which the origin of the word points to, is the cutting of trees to make way for open fields – to then grow large areas of a small number crops, or grass for animals. Given this suggestion the term sustainable agriculture, must surely be an oxymoron, as there are few if any areas of the earth where agriculture has been practiced for long periods of time, which do not show signs of degradation and loss of soil, water and human health. The origins of this open field approach can be traced back to thefertile crescent‘ in the Middle East - where years of grain agriculture has turned the land to desert and the soil to salt-laden sand.

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Food Pods - A Community and Local Food initiative

In another stirring story of community get up and go, networker and all-round-inspiring activist/entrepreneur Sam Rye, writes about FoodPods , and speaks to Heinrich Ungerer, about this local food production and distribution initiative in South Africa.

Based on the idea of: …grass roots entrepreneurship which the Grameen Bank pioneered in India through their micro-loans, and offers a simple franchise model for people to take on a small enterprise to grow food for their family and to sell the surplus for income.

Happy woman in front of her crop

600 Pods and counting (6 Jun 2012). Read the full article here on Bucky Box, or watch this 3 minute video, which tells an inspiring story with practical results.

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Atamai Village – Are We There Yet?

Transition Towns and Atamai – Common Goal, Different Approach

The Transition Towns movement is about adapting existing communities to the impending challenges of climate change and energy descent, and the resulting economic and social disruption these challenges are already beginning to create in various parts of the world.   One of the challenges for the Transition Towns movement is whether changes to existing communities can o » Read more

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Creating the world's first 100% sustainable global infrastructure for the provision of food, energy and transportation

There's nothing like my heart stopping for 10 minutes while having my forehead sutured following a car accident to get me to think about the future of our children's children's children's ... children! Global populations quadrupled in the last century with the burning of coal and oil; what will happen as those resources dwindle to nothing, and global climates change as we burn them? » Read more

The Big Dig for Food Freedom

Here's a "Practical Action, Positive Vision" response from Pete Russell at Ooooby, to the NZ Food Bill which is causing such an uproar...

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Stupermarket break out!

I found this, when browsing the blogs on I've often wondered what it would take to disconnect from the corporate food system...

Stupermarket break out!

by Rachel Lalchan

It's been over 13 months since we shopped in a large, intense, brightly lit, empire of grocery consumerism and I'm happy to report that life sans supermarket is not only viable but quite wonderful! With no intention of going back, I hope you will consider quitting too!

The thing about supermarkets is that there's really nothing super about them. Ripping off farmers and producers both here and abroad, selling cheap products at huge cost to suppliers, tricking us into buying far more than we need, producing tonnes of unrecyclable waste, filling our landfills, upping CO2 emissions, encouraging detrimental consumer habits, grabbing land from local ownership, promoting unhealthy over-processed crud disguised as 'food', destroying local communities and values as well as our own farming industry, I mean really, what's super about any of that?!

To ensure that farming can continue in the UK as part of our sustainable present and future and that we can feed ourselves instead of relying on other countries for our nutrition, we need to stop supporting supermarket shopping. It has proved to be an unhealthy, unsustainable and unethical method of putting food on our tables. » Read more

Community Supported Agriculture

Transition Forest Row recently produced an excellent 20 minute film called ‘Growing food locally’ which looked at local food initiatives in the area.  It focuses on the impact of rising oil prices on food, the community supported agriculture model, allotments, garden share, schools and veg boxes.

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A growing list of growing ideas

I came across this site about a week ago, when researching for The Auckland Food Alliance.

This is a website devoted to collaboration to solve challenges, and has been designed very cleverly to maximise the interaction and sharing, as well as the ability to build on others ideas, and eventually rank them so that the best float to the top, through the wisdom of the crowd.

And here's a link to a growing list (431 at last count) of food related projects.actions to build the connection between growers and consumers. I've added a couple of them:

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The Kai Rakau Project

The Kai Rakau Project, currently being developed by Emma Williamson and Savannah Carter-Green, is a community based project with view to create a "Mother Orchard" of 3000 fruiting trees and native plantings, in Sanders Reserve, Paremoremo, Auckland New Zealand. » Read more

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