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Institute For Bioregional Studies

This summer learn practical skills and knowledge 
to design and implement sustainable systems 
that are in harmony with the natural world.

Permaculture Design Course  August 4-17
(at the Spry Point Ark, formerly the New Alchemy Institute)
Permaculture is about self-reliance, growing food, and building 
energy-efficient structures. The PDC teaches the principles by 
which sustainable systems become responsive to economic, social 
and environmental elements. Graduates will be certified as 
'Permaculture Designers' and will be entitled to use the term 
in the pursuit of livelihood.
Permaculture Instructors: 
Dr. John Todd and Nancy Jack Todd, Monica Kuhn, Phil Ferraro, 
Garry Lean, Dr. Dan Earle and others.

Eco-Cities Design Colloquia: 
Building Sustainable Communities
August 18-21 Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island

The Challenge
Cities have become global environmental parasites; processing 
food, fuel, energy and consuming resources well beyond their 
boundaries. In the 21st century, cities must function in very 
different ways or they will undermine their own survival and 
that of their inhabitants.

Action Plan
An outstanding group of internationally known facilitators will 
work with participants to develop a model eco-city along the 
Charlotetown waterfront. The new plans will budget our 
resources, conserve energy, utilize renewable energy 
technologies, build long lasting structures, develop efficient 
public transportation, reduce and recycle wastes and supply 
staple foods locally.

Affordable Housing / Straw-bale Construction Workshop
August 25-27
This hands-on workshop wil explain the mechanics of building 
with straw-bales and designing a home for energy efficiency.

For More Information contact: Institute for Bioregional Studies
email: pferraro@cycor.ca
Mail: 449 University Avenue, Suite 126 
Charlottetown, PE C1A 8K3   (Send $2 for brochure)
Phone: (902) 892-9578

Phil Ferraro, Director
Institute for Bioregional Studies
449 University Avenue Suite 126            "Developing Local Solutions to 
Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island	    Global Problems"
Canada   C1A 8K3
Carol Cross, PhD  EcoAgroForestry  Founder (501) 367-6127 (Ph)            
2801 Olive, #35A, Suite 113                (501) 367-8736(FAX)            
Pine Bluff, AR 71611                        Email: solync@cei.net         
Together we Can Create A Sustainable World  Through EcoAgroForestry      
(Sustainable  Agriculture,  Sustainable Forestry and Rural AgroIndustrial 
Development).  Form  Consortiums & Develop a  EcoAgroForestry Village   
Business Incubator (VBI)  or Rural  Agroindustrial Center (RAIC), NOW!      
Become an EcoAgroForestry  Entrepreneur and Regreen the EarthHome!       
Mon 15 Feb 93 23:21
By: Helen Fleischer
Re: vetiver

Thought you might find the following article interesting:

Grass Species Could Save Vast Amount of Cropland:
  Plant Creates Terraces on Eroding Hillsides
By Boyce Rensberger Washington Post Staff Writer

     A "simple and universally applicable" solution to the problem of soil
erosion, which destroys millions of acres of farmland annually in the tropics,
is a little-known species of grass with a remarkable way of growing, the
National Research Council reported yesterday.
     Called vetiver, the species can act as the botanical equivalent of a civil
engineer, turning eroding slopes into t erraced hillsides, said a panel of
council scientists.
     Planted single file in horizontal lines across hills, they said, the bunch
grass quickly sinks roots six to 1O fee t deep, sends tough blades the same
distance up and grows into a living retaining wall that traps soil washing down
 slope. As soil accumulates against one side of the hedge, the plant's crown
grows higher to keep pace. In time, vetive r converts the eroding slope into a
permanently terraced landscape.
     Unlike some other plants that were touted for erosion control but quickly
became pests, vetiver does not spread.  It does not send out runners or
rhizomes, and even its seeds usually are sterile. As a result, vetiver stays
put, growi ng into a dense palisade of stems and leaves. Typically, a vetiver
hedge-row becomes no more than a foot or two thick e ven after decades.
     At least as important as erosion control. the panel said, is that the
grass wall becomes so dense that water runni ng off the slope cannot flow
through quickly. Instead, it soaks into the ground, often making land that was
too dry to farm productive and even raising water tables.
     "I was skeptical at first," Norman E. Borlaug, the panel's chairman, said
in a statement.  Borlaug won a Nobel Pea ce prize for his work early in the
"green revolution" in developing high yielding varieties of wheat.
     "But I've seen vetiver at work, And I know that in these times of great
ecological concern about what is happening to our soil because of erosion,
vetiver could indeed play a very usefu l role in many places. I see all sorts
of potential."
     Soil erosion, though lacking the popular appeal of many environmental
problems, is considered serious by many peop le such as Borlaug who work in
agriculture and Third World development. In Zimbabwe, for example, it is
estimated that farmers would have to spend $1.5 billion a year on fertilizer to
compensate for soil nutrients lost to erosion in one y ear.
     Vetiver's ability to stand up to major rainstorms was highlighted by an
anecdote in the report.  Planted on a sugar-cane plantation on a mountainside
in Fiji, the lines of tall grass were assaulted by a storm that dumped 20
inches of rain in three hours.
     "Water poured over the top of the vetiver hedges like a tidal wave," the
report said, "but the plants remained in place, undamaged and unbreached." The
runoff cut no gullies.
     Noel D. Vietmeyer, who has long led the council's efforts to find and
promote innovations that benefit agriculture
 in developing countries, said vetiver should be especially attractive to
subsistence farmers because it is cheap, easy
 to understand and implement and produces immediate benefits.
     "Because it improves soil moisture, this puts erosion control in the
short-term self interest of people on the lan d," Vietmeyer said, referring to
the fact that the long-term problem of soil erosion is not often uppermost in
the mind s of farmers who must produce a crop immediately.  "Vetiver is simple
and universally applicable for erosion control in
 the tropics."
     Thought to be native to India, vetiver was introduced to many other
countries by colonists, primarily because its fragrant roots can be used to
control moths in stored clothing.  For example. vetiver has been growing in
Louisiana sin ce before the Civil War.
    According to the report, vetiver grows in all types of soils and in
climates from the wettest to the semi-arid.  It
 thrives in tropical heat but in Georgia has tolerated cold to 14 degrees
Fahrenheit. It generally is free of diseases and pests, and the leaves can be
cut to make ropes, hats, thatching and mats or used for mulch and animal
bedding.  The
 report, "Vetiver: A Thin Green Line Against Erosion," is
available for $12 from National Academy Press, 2101 Constitution Ave. NW,
Washington, D.C. 20418.

 * Origin: Three Mausketeers (1:109/172)
Mon 15 Feb 93 23:21
By: Helen Fleischer

The following article was clipped from the Washington Post, Saturday, February
6, 1993:

MD Targets Farmers in Bay Plan:
Antipollution Efforts Would Be Voluntary
Associated Press
     BALTIMORE-- A new state plan to clean up the Chesapeake Bay relies heavily
on voluntary efforts by farmers to reduce runoff polluting the bay.
Environmentalists promptly criticiz ed the plan unveiled this week, saying it
does not go far enough.
    Computer studies show that the state's 2.9 million acres of farmland are
the biggest source of bay pollutants.
     Farms are the source of 38 percent of the nitrogen and 48 percent of the
phosphorus entering state waters, studies show.  Nitrogen and phosphorus feed
which block sunlight grasses and r ob the water fish need to breathe.
     Regulations are in the works that would require farmers to control erosion
and reduce runoff from large livestock operations, officials said.
     But the annOUnCement this week emphasizes voluntary measures,such as
having fertilizer sales agents and farmers pe rsuade colleagues about the
benefits of using less fertilizer and curbing nutrient-laden runoff from
     "We can't afford a program that runs our farmers out of business," said
Robert L, Walker, state agriculture secret ary.
     However, Sen, Gerald W , Winegrad (D Anne Arundel) called the state's
program "horse manure" and vowed to introduc e two bills that would make
pollution controls mandatory for more farmers and would tax fertilizer and
pesticide sales to finance agricultural cleanup efforts.
     More than 70,000 erosion control measures -- some as simple as leaving
grassy buffers between fields and streams -- have been done on more than 1
million acres of Maryland farmland since 1985. But 180,000 acres, or 10 percent
of the state's farmland and pastures, are covered by "nutrient-management
plans," which provide guidelines to help farmers red uce fertilizer use and
minimize runoff.
     If the state is to meet its goal of reducing the nutrients entering the
bay by 40 percent by the end of the decade , at least 70 percent of farm land
must be covered by such plans, state officials said.
    We have to give these things a little bit of time," said C. William Knill,
president of the Maryland Farm Bureau.

    Hmm, I wonder if vetiver will grow in Maryland? --Helen

 * Origin: Three Mausketeers (1:109/172)