Learn more at The Organic Centre – with guest Hans Wieland

Whether you are just beginning or an experienced organic grower, there is always more to learn about organic food production. The Organic Centre in Co. Leitrim in Ireland, was set up as charity with the purpose of providing training and information about organic growing and sustainable living. It started from small and humble beginnings in 1995. Now in 2017, it boasts demonstration gardens, numerous pylytunnels, a wetland disposal system, display composting systems, a large orchard and native woodland. The lovely central building with its grassroof, shop and eatery has won awards for its ecological design. Over 100 courses are on offer at The Organic Centre each year! 

In this show recorded on 31st March 2017, I chat with Hans Wieland, Training and Marketing Manager, at The Organic Centre about how the centre got started and what it has on offer for people wanting to learn more about organics and sustainable living.

 To listen to this programme about The Organic Centre please click on http://www.accessradio.org/Player.aspx?eid=96f79f5d-1728-4079-8f5f-2cc6129e2e77. (If you want to listen to this show and the link is not working – please let me know! We endeavour to re-air our older popular shows on request.)

To listen to other Eco Living in Action radio shows on the Otago Access Radio Website go to http://www.accessradio.org/ProgrammePage.aspx?PID=d6c5fa93-1644-4811-acef-71386373b70a

For more information –

  • About The Organic Centre, go to www.organiccentre.ie, or ring the centre at 00353-(0)71-98-54338. The Organic Centre is located near the village of Rossinver in Co Leitrim. Note that the centre is open from 18th February to 12th November in 2017. Open 10am-5pm Tuesday through to Sunday.

This show was originally broadcast on the 20th April 2017 with the help of Otago Access Radio 105.4FM. Eco Living in Action is sponsored by Sustainable Dunedin City.

The Organic Centre in Co. Leitrim, Ireland. The main building has won an award for its ecological design.

 

The main building has an eatery, informational area and organic products including seeds.

Hans Wieland, Training and Marketing Manager, at The Organic Centre, Co Leitrim

Courses and workshops are taught at The Organic Centre.

Look out for the sign to The Organic Centre!

 

Fostering Energy Resilience in Blueskin Bay – with Scott Willis

Since it was formed in 2008, the Blueskin Resilient Communities Trust (BRCT) has had its share of successes as well as its challenges. Back in 2013, Scott Willis from the group came on the show to talk about their exciting proposal to build three wind turbines to generate energy in the community of Blueskin Bay, just north of Dunedin. Unfortunately, despite community support, the turbine proposal has also faced some local opposition leading to a reduction in the number of planned turbines being proposed.

But BRCT is as resilient as its name suggests, and provides many other positive benefits to the local community (and Dunedin) such as Home Performance Assessments, the ClimateSafeHouse project, Community Energy Advice, bulk firewood and insulation, and Climate Change planning.

In this show, recorded on 3rd April 2017, I talk to Scott Willis about positive developments for BRCT, setbacks, the big picture of community based energy resilience – and what keeps Scott motivated over the long term.

To listen to this programme about COMMUNITY ENERGY RESILIENCE please click on http://www.accessradio.org/Player.aspx?eid=a9a0ad0b-edcd-4133-aa92-6beed95bb4b3

To listen to other Eco Living in Action radio shows on the Otago Access Radio Website go to http://www.accessradio.org/ProgrammePage.aspx?PID=d6c5fa93-1644-4811-acef-71386373b70a

This show was originally broadcast on the 13th April 2017 with the help of Otago Access Radio 105.4FM. Eco Living in Action is sponsored by Sustainable Dunedin City.

Scott Willis, Project Manager at Blueskin Resilient Communities Trust (BRCT) in Waitati, Dunedin, New Zealand

Early mock up of the proposed wind development on Porteous Hill. Currently for one turbine.

Preparing the wind site for geotech assessment

Services that BRCT provide include firewood delivery to the Blueskin Community.

BRCT also provides advice on energy efficient homes. Here are most of the Home Performance Assessment team

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rewilding England’s wildflower habitats – with Bryan Raines

Growing up in Northern Ireland, my dad used to take us on a spring Sunday afternoon to a magical place he called Bluebell Wood. I can’t remember where it was, but it must have been one of the few wooded areas locally where native bluebells blossom under native trees.

As well as looking beautiful, wildflower ecosystems are important forage for bees and critical for a range of species of native butterflies and other insects. In turn, these provide food for birds and reptiles.

In the UK, these habitats should be particularly special to us Humans because they have co-existed with human pastoral activity for thousands of years. Unfortunately with modern monocultural chemical farming practices, wildflower ecosystems have drastically declined in the UK.

On this show recorded in early March 2017, I chat with Bryan Raines from Test Valley in Hampshire, England, about the methods he, with the help of his wife Uli,  has used to restore a variety of wildflower habitats on what was just bare grassland when their property was purchased some 20 years ago. It‘s a great success story, thanks to Bryan and Uli’s dedication, with 35 different species of butterfly reported seen on the property – each species adapted to the different wildflower ecosystems that have been created.

To listen to this programme about WILDFLOWER HABITATS please click on http://www.accessradio.org/Player.aspx?eid=1cd41220-2090-4468-8723-ce2f12c39af5

To listen to other Eco Living in Action radio shows on the Otago Access Radio Website go to http://www.accessradio.org/ProgrammePage.aspx?PID=d6c5fa93-1644-4811-acef-71386373b70a

This show was originally broadcast on the 6th April 2017 with the help of Otago Access Radio 105.4FM. Eco Living in Action is sponsored by Sustainable Dunedin City.

Bryan Raines

Bryan in a wood he has rewilded. Once livestock were excluded, the bluebells returned from dormant seed.

A variety of livestock allowed temporarily onto the land, are an essential part of restoring and maintaining wildflower ecosystems.

 

 

 

Permaculture Forest Farming – with Philip Allen

Philip Allen has a forest farm in Northern Ireland in gentle rolling hills south of Belfast called Lagan Valley Permaculture. As well as providing sustainably produced timber primarily for firewood, Philip also applies his skills and principles as a permaculturalist. For example, he has a few goats to provide a variety of functions to aid in the maintenance of the forest as well as the processing of the timber. Philip selectively harvests his timber to reduce soil erosion. And he uses his permaculture skills for social good both on his forestry block and in the city of Belfast.

On this show, recorded on the 29th January 2017 I talked to Philip Allen, PERMACULTURE FOREST FARMER about his permaculture practices, as well as his optimism for a sustainable future.

To listen to this programme about Permaculture Forest Farming please click on http://www.accessradio.org/Player.aspx?eid=6f946940-686a-4ecf-bf7b-19417e3499e7

To listen to other Eco Living in Action radio shows on the Otago Access Radio Website go to http://www.accessradio.org/ProgrammePage.aspx?PID=d6c5fa93-1644-4811-acef-71386373b70a

This show was originally broadcast on the 23rd February 2016 with the help of Otago Access Radio 105.4FM. Eco Living in Action is sponsored by Sustainable Dunedin City.

Philip Allen sitting in his home by his woodburner.

Philip’s goats usefully clear land and debark cut wood.

Philip clears narrow strips of land, collecting the wood at the bottom. These are then planted into with new forest species.

Philip leads a tour of a community garden in Belfast that he and others set up at An Droichead. Here he is talking about no-dig gardening.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Gift Economy – with ‘moneyless man’ Mark Boyle

How can we live without money, and why would we want to?

For this show I travelled south in rural Ireland to meet my guest, Mark Boyle.  Better known as ‘The Moneyless Man’ – Mark Boyle is best selling author of The Moneyless Man (2010), The Moneyless Manifesto (2012) and Drinking Molotov Cocktails with Gandhi (2015). Although no longer moneyless, Mark lives simply on a smallholding with others and has a lot to share on the topic of going moneyless and why he believes it is absolutely essential for a sustainable future.

For three years between 2008 and 2011, Mark took the ambitious step of going moneyless – living completely without money. he says his desire to go moneyless began when in his final year as a business graduate he had been inspired by  teachings of Ghandi. At first it was just one year as an experiment to see if he could do it, but he enjoyed it so much he did it for three years.

One aspect of going moneyless that Mark believes is very important is to foster is ‘The Gift Economy’. The gift economy is an economic system where no money exchanges hands. And even, unlike bartering, time banking or alternative currencies – with the Gift Economy there are no explicit expectations or contracts. The gift economy is simply the act of giving and receiving freely without expectation. Sound idealistic? Not really. It’s something we all engage in every time we stop to help someone who has dropped their shopping on the street, we let another driver out ahead of us on the road, or we volunteer in the community. Most mums and dads know all about the gift economy!

And the Gift Economy is something that Mark sees as central to humanity’s future to completely replace our current monetary system – if we are going to living sustainably on this planet. Mark argues that money plays a central role in everything that’s unsustainable about how we are living on this earth. Not only because our current economic system is set up as a growth economy – a bad idea given that we live on a finite planet, but also because of the way money commodifies and puts a price on everything it touches – including the essentials of life – food, shelter, land, water.

On this show, recorded on the 25th February 2017 I chatted with Mark Boyle about some of the problems with our curent economic system, what the THE GIFT ECONOMY is and why it is essential; and why, unfortunately, just living sustainably in our personal lives is not enough!

To listen to this programme about The Gift Economy please click on http://www.accessradio.org/Player.aspx?eid=2c4bad32-10aa-4aa4-8a1c-727ae0fb1700

To listen to other Eco Living in Action radio shows on the Otago Access Radio Website go to http://www.accessradio.org/ProgrammePage.aspx?PID=d6c5fa93-1644-4811-acef-71386373b70a

For more information –

  • The Moneyless Man (2010) shares the fascinating story of Mark’s first year of living without money.
  • Go to http://www.moneylessmanifesto.org – to download Mark’s book, The Moneyless Manifesto here for free. This is a How-To Manual to living without money. Full of lots of useful information.
  • Drinking Molotov Cocktails with Gandhi (2015) explores why we need to change our economic system if we are to avoid ecological collapse.

This show was originally broadcast on the 23rd March 2017 with the help of Otago Access Radio 105.4FM. Eco Living in Action is sponsored by Sustainable Dunedin City.

Mark Boyle “The Moneyless Man” currently living without technology in Ireland on a smallholding

Mark is currently a writer of the good old paper and pen variety!

 

Mark’s small home is timber framed with strawbale insulation and timber cladding. Plastered with cob on the inside. Just lovely!

The Happy Pig – a community hub with sleeping quarters, bar, recreation area and community kitchen is used by others living on the property as well as visitors.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cooperatives – with Tiziana O’Hara

Can business and real sustainability co-exist together? Or do we have to throw out our current economic system and find another way forward?

For sustainability to flourish, we must have economic systems and methods of production and trade that support the long term health of our planet, as well as bringing social equity, and creating strong healthy local communities. Perhaps the solution is the Cooperative. Cooperative business enterprises differ from more competitive individualistic models of limited liability corporations. By their nature Cooperatives put more emphasis on protecting people’s livelihoods, more equitable sharing of resources, community building and cooperation rather than competition.

In this show recorded on Thesday 28th February 2017, I talk to Tiziana O’Hara from Cooperative Alternatives, a leading cooperative development agency in Northern Ireland, about the many benefits of Cooperatives, how they are run, and what kinds of businesses they can work for.

To listen to this programme about Cooperatives please click on http://www.accessradio.org/Player.aspx?eid=c4ce89e2-3e39-404a-a910-3c3386f09208

To listen to other Eco Living in Action radio shows on the Otago Access Radio Website go to http://www.accessradio.org/ProgrammePage.aspx?PID=d6c5fa93-1644-4811-acef-71386373b70a

For more information –

This show was originally broadcast on the 9th March 2017 with the help of Otago Access Radio 105.4FM. Eco Living in Action is sponsored by Sustainable Dunedin City.

Tiziana O’Hara and myself in the building whose facilities are co-shared by Cooperative Alternatives and several other organisations and businesses.

 

New Zealand’s ‘Best’ Environment Centre – with Robyn Guyton

The Riverton Environment Centre is the oldest continually operating environment centre in New Zealand and is rated the best Environment Centre in the country by the Ministry for Environment. It is a pleasure to visit, a fabulous source of information and environmentally friendly products, a valuable community hub, and an umbrella organisation for several important environmental initiatives such as the Open Orchard project and the Heritage Harvest Festival.

If you have ever visited it you’re likely to be pretty concerned by recent news that its premises may be sold to the highest bidder come end of February 2017. This will happen if members of the South Coast Environment Society do not raise sufficient funds to purchase it.

By supporting their Pledge Me Campaign we can help keep the Riverton Environment Centre going at its current premises.

On this show recorded on the 13th February 2017 I chatted with Robyn Guyton, Riverton Environment Centre Co-ordinator, about the centre’s achievements, its benefits not only to Riverton but to Dunedin and New Zealand, and how we can support it so the Riverton Environment Centre can buy its property and with the freedom of ownership make several exciting new developments.

To listen to this programme about New Zealand’s ‘Best’ Environment Centre please click on http://www.accessradio.org/Player.aspx?eid=c788cd3b-d4bd-4ceb-8f7e-c402abdd0f16

To listen to other Eco Living in Action radio shows on the Otago Access Radio Website go to http://www.accessradio.org/ProgrammePage.aspx?PID=d6c5fa93-1644-4811-acef-71386373b70a

For more information –

This show was originally broadcast on the 16th February 2017 with the help of Otago Access Radio 105.4FM. Eco Living in Action is sponsored by Sustainable Dunedin City.

Robyn Guyton, Co-founder and Coordinator of Riverton Environment Centre

Robyn Guyton, Co-founder and Coordinator of the Riverton Environment Centre

Riverton Environment Centre (South Environment Centre) on 120 Main St, Riverton

Riverton Environment Centre (run by the South Coast Environment Society) situated on 154 Palmerston St, Riverton

 

 

 

 

Interior of the Riverton Environment Centre. Eco-products are for sale, as well as plentiful displays and information on environmental issues. Staff are on hand to assist with questions. Approximately 50 people come in on a daily basis.

Interior of the Riverton Environment Centre. Eco-products are for sale, as well as plentiful displays and information on environmental issues. Staff are on hand to assist with questions for the approximately 50-100 people who come into the shop on a daily basis.

Grafting workshop in Riverton. The Riverton Environment Centre is also an umbrella body for a number of initiatives such as the Open Orchard Project.

Grafting workshop in Glenorchy. The Riverton Environment Centre is an umbrella body for sustainable living workshops that are run throughout South Otago and Southland.