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Archive for August, 2012

Fruit trees for Unley Park in Council trial

Posted in Models, Movements by Jessica Bird on August 29th, 2012

Source: Eastern Courier Messenger


Photo by Luke Hemer, AdelaideNow

From “Fruit trees planted in Unley park as part of Unley Council trial” by Emily Griffiths

Dozens of fruit and nut trees have been planted in an Unley reserve in a trial to encourage people to grow produce in their backyards. More than 60 trees, including pears, walnuts and peaches, were planted recently by Unley Council in Morrie Harrell Reserve in Ramage St.

Unley Community Sustainability Advisory Group member Peter Croft, who recommended the trial, said the orchard would provide food for residents and help build a sense of community. “Imagine going to a park for a barbecue and being able to get a lemon straight off a tree to season your meat,” Mr Croft, of Parkside, said. “The idea is to encourage people to grow more in their backyards. This is one of a series (and) hopefully there will be lots more orchards planted.” Under the trial, residents with dead or dying street trees can also apply to the council to have them replaced with fruit trees.

Unley general manager Steven Faulkner welcomed the project. “For a relatively small establishment cost, and given food security and the rising costs of fresh produce are topical, this is considered an innovative trial,” Mr Faulkner told the Eastern Courier Messenger in an emailed statement. Plans for another 20 orchard sites are being investigated by the council. The trial is part of the council’s Food Security Strategy, which was endorsed last year.

Read the original article by Emily Griffiths

Public fruit trees seems to be a hot topic around the world at the moment, see the post on Guerilla Grafters in San Francisco -JB


Transforming Tokelau: Heading for 100% solar by the end of 2012

Posted in Models, Movements by Jessica Bird on August 27th, 2012

Source: New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade Aid Programme

From “Tokelau: A Leading Light in Renewable Energy

 

An innovative renewable energy project is set to transform Tokelau and lead the world in transitioning from dependence on fossil-fuels to renewable energy.  

With global attention focused on the effects of climate change and the international price of oil, it may come as a surprise that the tiny nation of Tokelau, comprising three remote atolls midway between New Zealand and Hawai’i, is moving to the forefront of the debate by installing renewable energy systems that will dramatically slash its reliance on imported fossil fuels. Undertaking a project of this scale on all three atolls is no mean feat. The closest atoll is around 500km north of Samoa; there are no airstrips or wharves, and the only access is a long boat trip from Samoa that ends outside the reefs, where a landing barge takes passengers and equipment to shore. Offloading goods in the swell is challenging. However, soon the job will become easier since almost 2,000 barrels of diesel a year will no longer be required to generate electricity.

Developing renewable energy projects in the Pacific brings unique challenges. Systems and components must be designed to withstand harsh tropical and marine environments, strong winds, high temperatures, and a corrosive salt-laden atmosphere. Unlike in New Zealand, where if a part breaks or needs replacing it is possible to replace easily, in Tokelau the systems and components must be designed to promote robustness and longevity, because transport is infrequent and challenging. And yet by the end of 2012 Tokelau expects to switch off its generators and begin to use an indigenous resource it has plenty of – sunlight.

Tokelau’s 1,411 residents are New Zealand citizens, and New Zealand is advancing $7 million to the Government of Tokelau to install the renewable energy systems that will help achieve its long-term goals of energy independence and reducing reliance on expensive imported diesel, which will put Tokelau at the forefront of global climate change mitigation efforts.

The energy crisis in the Pacific is not confined to Tokelau. Most Pacific Island nations are highly dependent on imported fossil fuels to meet energy needs, and are vulnerable to international price fluctuations and escalating fuel costs. Almost every aspect of Pacific economies is underpinned by imported fossil fuels, and the increasing cost of diesel results in extremely high costs of electricity for households and businesses. In many cases, the cost of importing fuel is many times higher than all export earnings combined, so Tokelau’s, and the Pacific’s, dependence on diesel is bad for the economy as well as the environment. […]

“This project is unique and has the potential to demonstrate what can be achieved through the perseverance and hard work by the Government of Tokelau,” adds Joseph Mayhew, Development Manager Energy in the New Zealand Aid Programme. “Photovoltaics are a mature, reliable off-the-shelf technology that has been proven for years. Given the high cost of diesel, renewable energy should not be seen as an ‘alternative’ source of energy, but rather an essential key to unlocking the Pacific’s potential.”

Read the full article from the New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade


Sustainable Horticulture and Food Production: Postgraduate Study

Posted in Models, Research, seeking by Kate Archdeacon on August 23rd, 2012

Source: Food Climate Research Network (FCRN)

Applications open for 2012/13

Schumacher College is the first in the world to offer a postgraduate programme in Sustainable Horticulture and Food Production.

The programme has been developed in association with the Centre for Alternative Technology and Plymouth University.  From 2012/13 we are offering a Postgraduate Diploma and a Postgraduate Certificate (subject to final University approval) alongside a part-time and full-time MSc.

Sustainable Horticulture

As global population hits 7 billion in 2011, we urgently need to consider how our food systems will cope in the coming years. Can they produce enough? And are they resilient to an unpredictable climate and reduction in fossil fuels and other high-energy inputs on which they’re currently dependent?

This programme brings together the thinking, research and practice at the cutting-edge of a global food revolution. Drawing from many different projects and schools of thought around the world, and looking at the roles of large scale food production, biotechnology, ‘human scale’ horticulture and botanical diversity, our starting point is natural systems.

How can we work with nature and biological cycles to improve our horticultural production? And how do we do it without increasing environmental degradation, climate change or consumption of finite resources, the pressing questions of our time.

Who is this course for?

This course is for growers, entrepreneurs and leaders who want to progress food systems that are ecologically, socially and financially sustainable.  You will have the opportunity to further develop your technical, strategic, and critical skills and the space to regenerate and hone your passion and creativity for a better world.

We are delighted to receive your applications whether you are coming from an undergraduate degree, taking time-out to study mid-career or wanting an opportunity to retrain in a subject area that is of huge importance to our future resilience and well-being.

We are looking for enthusiastic agents of change who are ready to co-create a new sustainable food system in practice. We are looking for those prepared to take a risk and stand on the cutting-edge of new thinking in this area.

Schumacher College welcomes students from all over the world in its diverse mix of cultural experience and age group which allows for rich peer to peer learning.

Course programme overview

The course format has been designed to allow students to combine postgraduate study at Masters, Postgraduate Diploma or Postgraduate Certificate level with work and other commitments.

There are six taught modules between September and April, followed by an 18 week dissertation period. Postgraduate Diploma students to not write up a dissertation, but must complete all six Core Modules including Research Methods. Postgraduate Certificate students take Core Modules 1, 4 and 6 only.

Each module is worth 20 credits and, with the exception of Module 2, are composed of one week reading preparation, two weeks residential at Schumacher College, followed by three weeks for assignments with on-line support. The dates of residency at Schumacher College (or CAT, for Module 2) are shown below.

  • Module 1: 3 – 14 September Plant Science and Botanical Diversity
  • Module 2: 22 – 26 October Food Systems and the Post-Carbon World (CAT)
  • Module 3: 26 November – 7 December Research Methods
  • Module 4: 7 – 18 January Living Systems
  • Module 5: 25 February – 8 March The New Food Economy
  • Module 6: 15 – 26 April Ecological Design and Practice in Horticulture
>>Go to the Schumacher College website to find out more about the course.


Guerrilla Grafters: Turning street trees into fruit trees

Posted in Movements by Kate Archdeacon on August 2nd, 2012

Source: The Atlantic Cities

 

From “Should Public Trees Bear Fruit?” by Amy Biegelsen:

There’s a block in San Francisco that will soon be blossoming with cherries, plums and pears, but Tara Hui will not say where. That’s because she’s worried that backlash from city officials or unsympathetic citizens will halt the progress she and her fellow Guerrilla Grafters have made splicing fruit-bearing branches on to city trees.

Grafting trees is as simple as cutting a branch from one kind of tree and sticking it into a notch in another, securing it with sturdy tape and hoping that the new branch thrives. It’s as old as the Bible and widely used today in industrial agriculture.

Hui hopes the method will help bring food to under-served parts of the city like her neighborhood, Visitacion Valley, which she says is basically a food desert.

“There’s a lot of discussion about what kind of policy we need to get businesses to come to this neighborhood to sell fresh produce or even organic,” she says. Over the years she’s advocated for bringing fruit trees into the city’s urban forestry mix. “If all goes well it might even spawn some kind of cottage industry like canning or jamming,” she says.

But first things first.

Her campaign with city agencies hadn’t drawn any takers, “so finally out of frustration I thought why not just do it, and do it responsibly, and that could be a case to convince them,” she says. About a year ago, the Guerrilla Grafters were born as a horizontally organized band of fellow agro-activists who wanted to help sew{sic} an urban orchard.

Hui sees maintaining data as a key element of the project. “It’s difficult to counter an argument without any data to disprove it,” she says. The grafters are working on a mapping application with data on tree type and location in hopes that the citizen science will bolster their project and any future negotiating they may need to do.

[…]

Hui points out that the group is careful to only splice into locations where a volunteer has offered to monitor and maintain the tree, “so it really comes to us rather than us going out looking for it,” she says. Volunteers are watching in neighborhoods from the Sunnydale housing projects to the tony Hayes Valley, vigilant against a pest infestation that could spoil the pilot program.

Read the full article by Amy Biegelsen or visit the Guerrilla Grafters site.