Permaculture Principles

Report for May 14th Staff Meeting Samahang Bagong Buhay Foundation, Rowland Lane Anderson, naturalist Bamboo conditions now, preparations for bamboo training for June and dams and paths.
There are two varieties of bamboo in three locations on our property. There is a hedge of thorny bamboo on our southeast boundary below the planned chapel. Access is currently only at the far SE corner due to a steep ravine, a long walk from the cafeteria where the training is planned. I propose that a dam/path be built across the ravine to allow easy access to the thorny bamboo for harvest, the coming training and to hold water. There is also buho bamboo, a native Philippine variety, from the spring to the block wall on the south side nearly directly below the cafeteria and planned training center. Several clumps would be easy to access with an improved path and dam across the ravine above the spring. There is also one clump of buho at the tall block wall at a different creek bed, about a hundred meters from the spring watershed. The creation of the dams/paths would allow trainers in June to choose which variety of bamboo they wish to use for training. They would also help us in subsequent propagation and harvesting of the bamboos and allow us to hold rainwater runoff for fish and create and water terraces and the nursery which should be above the wall.

Composting organic wastes on our property and as an example for others.
Composting is not that complicated. Vermicomposting is really only one portion of the composting process. Vermi is currently “IN”, so there are classes and special emphasis but in nature the process of decomposition of organic matter includes worms but also millions of other organisms. The native organisms on the property can break down the organic matter from the property and I have collected samples from around the property and am testing in a site by the well. Fire is a rare event in nature and destroys most of the nutrients in organic matter. Additionally, slash and burn agriculture was responsible for the largest fire in recent history in Indonesia, a fire which contributed about 40% of the amount of greenhouse gases that all the people on earth contributed the entire year burning fossil fuels. I propose to get a hot compost pile going as an inoculant source and then have our workers trained to pile organic matter the same day it is cut on the site that they are working and cover it with a thin layer of soil. Then a small amount of inoculant from the mother pile is added. It is slower than vermi compost but allows the workers to leave organic matter where it is cut. In my experience vermi is too small scale for our current needs. We do not need a gas or diesel powered shredder! The provincial ag people agreed with me on this one. Locals are good with a knife (one better than the bolo is suggested) and can shred and chop the organic matter as they pile it. This provides more local jobs and avoids polluting the air with exhaust and noise and consuming petroleum.

Native and endemic trees for preservation. We are invited to view a site planted with native trees in Tanay by Haribon and the provincial agriculturis and another in Pinugay by the provincial agriculturist. We only have to prioritize our time to do so!

Cultivation of slopes.

I think the lower slopes that are not so steep can be cleared, ploughed and leveled as terraces but I think the upper steep slopes should not be ploughed but that the cogan grass should be retained and cut holes in the grass for planting of pineapple or trees. Ploughing of the upper slopes should be with a chisel plough only.

Report for SBBFI for May 21st from Rowland Lane Anderson, naturalist

Permaculture methods: reference “Natural Capitalism” by Paul Hawkin, Hunter Lovins and Amory Lovins (downloadable here; . The fraud of western agriculture and the “green revolution” has been a fraud of accounting. Production is measured without taking into account the total costs of production. In the USA this is done through tax subsidies so that the tractor, equipment, fuel and fertilizer are all tax deductible as business expenses. We should not do it this way. The total cost of renting the tractor, fuel and equipment should be included in the accounting of the produce from the tractor ploughed fields. Likewise the cost of renting a caribao, chisel plough and worker will be included in accounting from produce from those fields and the cost of labor of simply inter planting the produce with the grass included on that account. Ideally the tractor account should include many natural costs such as the cost of polluting the air.

Composting: I got assistance from Mr. Joven Reyes of the Tanay Municipal Agriculturist’s office on the development of our composting system. Tanay has an excellent composting project adjacent to the public market and slaughter house. Mr. Reyes showed me around and gave me some worms and castings. He invites us to come as a group and revisit and also to visit the Habibon Foundation site for native trees in Barangay Cuyambay of Tanay. His office is a partner with Haribon on this and the Municipal Agriculturist, Mr. Romeo B. Cruz, may come with us if arrangements are made in advance by calling the office at (02) 984 2661. Our compost is coming along with the crew contributing some kitchen waste and the goats eating it and contributing their own wastes.

Bamboo and bamboo training: A date for the course to be taught at our cafeteria by the Philippine Bamboo Foundation is still pending. Meanwhile, the most accessible clumps of bamboo have been damaged by our own contracted workers who have chopped it up for beds and other uses. The bamboo needs to have the vines and vegetation cleaned off of it because without the growth shoots, cut by our workers, it does not get enough light to thrive. Unless there are good accessible bamboo clumps on the property the foundation will not have its training there.

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