Pete Shield

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since Jun 29, 2010
Pete has a huge depth of advertising and publishing experience, he started at the Financial Times, moving across to The Economist and then onto founding European Voice for the Economist Group in Brussels. From that auspicious start it all went down hill really, he was the European Sales Director of 24/7 Media Europe based in Amsterdam, Europe’s leading online advertising sales organisation running 14 sales teams in 12 country’s. He moved onto being the COO of the online sales organisation for Vivendi Universal, the world’s second largest media organisation, based in Paris. He has been the Strategy and Business Development Director for Decision News Media, one of Europe’s fastest growing online business to business publishers. There have been a few blind alleys along the road, but we don’t talk about those three months in Stockholm do we Pete?

He has been involved with a wide range of development, human rights, community and trade union campaigns, from walking on Nelson Mandela Freedom March in 1988, crossing the border illegally into Iraq with the Kurdish peshmerga in 1990, setting up Kurdistan Focus, to being Chair of Hackney Trade Union Support Unit, and Secretary of Stoke Newington Community Centre.

All of this experience and knowledge is of course absolutely useless for growing organic herbs, building and maintaining an off-grid renewable energy system, running low impact holiday accommodation and managing a sustainable forest- but he tries.
Maisons, Languedoc, France
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Recent posts by Pete Shield

What I do is accelerate the process by feeding all the fallen leaves to our worms- you have to be careful that you add water and other materials- torn up soaked egg boxes, newspaper, the contents of your hover, coffee grinds etc, but little wrigglers will turn a box of leaves and the like into usable soil in two to three weeks. The one problem I have found is that any seeds still remain viable, so I am experimenting with cooking the soil in an old satellite dish over a fire to try and kill off the seeds.
6 years ago

Adrian Kowal wrote:Hi SW France Perma People,
My partner and I, as well as our amazing permaculture expert friend are moving to near Carcassonne in September 2012 to explore the different regions and help on permaculture projects before buying land. We are looking to buy 10 acres minimum for 2 homes, orchard, land for cultivation and permaculture design and in the future look to build a green school/Steiner based school and "slow" retreat centre encouraging people to slow down - yoga, meditation, harvesting their own veggies from the garden to cook communally, no internet or phone during their stay. We currently run www.evolvewellnesscentre.com in London which has a strong focus on sustainability education. We planted a roof garden on our studio using permaculture principles last April.

We are looking to help support like minded people with their land/work on their house in exchange for lodging and board. Please get in touch if you know of any such opportunities or are looking to network with good people from a similar perspective. We would love to hear from you.

Thanks!
Adrian, Corinne and Kevin



Hi Adrian,
Sorry for the late response, please feel free to get in touch when you are down this way- we are in the Aude, just. High Corbieres. Just starting at this agriculture business but having fun, we have een down here since 1999 but doing other things. Now at Montrouch, see www.montrouchorganic.com (Site only a few days old) and www.naturalchoices.co.uk (posted that do you can find our contact details, not sure about posting e-mail addresses on forums)
Pete
6 years ago
Alan,
I live off-grid so have limited freezer space. What I do is ensure the seeds are well dried, then put in envelopes- label well and then put them in a airtight plastic black box in the basement where the temperature is not always constant but the most stable climate I have.

It's not as good as a freezer, but most things seem to keep for 3-4 years, after that things get patchy.
6 years ago
Jack,
Do you know how fresh they are, what I mean is are they from recently felled trees or from aged wood?

If they are from freshly felled trees then the Canadian/ French system of Bois Raméal Fragmenté might be a good idea. Basically it is a way of using fresh wood chips to recreate a woodland floor type soil on poor land. See http://fr.ekopedia.org/Bois_Ram%C3%A9al_Fragment%C3%A9 (if you speak a bit of French) Basically lay them over the soil as a mulch- 7 to 20 cms deep (Sorry forgotten what that is in inches). Over time they compost down to form a beautiful forest floor type soil. You have to be careful with nitrogen loss, I tend to lay a bed of compost first. It acts both as a water conserver, very important here in the Languedoc, and really builds up the organic content of the soil.

If they are old wood chippings then they can be mixed in slowly with the compost mix, used in a dry loo, or used to keep a footpath weed free- for a while.

On note I would say is how were they made? If they are say from a chainsaw that uses a fossil fuel lube rather than a vegetable oil lube then they are a problem as they will not compost down well- and will contain all sorts of things you win't want in your compost/garden. Woodmill waste are pretty good as they throw out a lot less oil than a chainsaw- a good old fashioned chipper doesn't throw out any.

Good Look and Bon Weekend
Pete
6 years ago
Gentian, in my part of France- High Corbieres region of the Aude, Languedoc- we are having the wettest (And coldest) summer I can remember.

Down on the plains the grape growers are having huge problems with hail the size of golf balls, up here the aromatics herbs are exploding but the oil density is low - we need more sun- never thought I'd be saying that!
7 years ago

Rickster wrote:
@ Pete:  I'll return your e-mail asap.  I'm a bit in overload right now, but I will get to it.  Re. the extra chips.... perfect for biochar.



Much appreciated Rickster
8 years ago

Dunkelheit wrote:
Pete Shield, we have a small 1 hectar forest (for the non-europeans 2.4 acres ) in Germany which we use only for coppicing firewood. We never run out of carbon rich material for composting or mulch, we simply use the twigs and branches from the cut trees for it.




Thanks Dunkelheit, I forgot to mention that surrounding my little plot I have 25 hectares of green and white oak which I chop for firewood. Some of the chips get mulched for green mulch(BRF-Bois ramel fragmente in French), some gets left to dry and then chipped for use in the dry loos, but much gets unused.

So can I chip that, add it to the animal manure and feed the lot to the worms? Aren't the chips a bit big?

Thanks

Pete
8 years ago

Rickster wrote:
@pete, check out "biochar."  It's charcoal used as a soil amendment and has much to say for it (far beyond humic acid and humus).   You can make it out of any ligno-cellulosic biomass -- straw, hay, woodchips, knapweed.  So much to say about it, that I don't know where to start.   Message me if you're interested and I'll send you links.  I don't know, though, how many biochar types have been worm-tested.  Hmmm. 



Rick, have e-mailed you for those links- thanks for that looks a great idea
8 years ago

tel jetson wrote:
Imy guess is that you'll have to add quite a bit of bulk carbon to the cattle manure, to absorb moisture and improve gas exchange for the worms and balance the carbon and nitrogen.  shouldn't be too much trouble so long as you've got suitable material around.



Thanks Tel
Carbon, any suggestions? Soot, potash (Have lots of that from the woodburner) charcoal ground up a  bit?
8 years ago
From an organic certification point of view black and white newsprint is acceptable in compost but not full colour.

Must be about the concentrations of inks I guess, as 4 colour printing puts, well 4 times as much ink on a page.
8 years ago