Two Years of Permaculture Application

Greening the Desert Project

Geoff Lawton has recently returned to the Greening the Desert site in Jordan which is located 10km north of the Dead Sea, 6km east of the Jordanian-Palestinian border, and directly east of the West Bank.


When Geoff Lawton started this project some 10 years ago, his aim was to set up a permaculture system of permanence, one that could be extended and replicated throughout the community. 


One person who has been heavily influenced by the Greening the Desert Project is Abla.


Abla lives across the road from the project site. A couple of years ago she took a permaculture course with Geoff Lawton and then began transitioning her own property into the beautiful garden you see today. Many of you have already met Abla but if you haven’t, you might want to go back and have a look at two previous videos, “Permaculture is Greening the Desert” from Oct 2018 and “Permaculture in the Desert” from May 2019.


In this video, Geoff takes you on another tour of Abla’s property.   Abla started to establish her permaculture garden two and a half years ago, there has been no rain for almost a year and she only spends around 1 hour a day maintaing her systems.


Our tour begins on Abla’s rooftop and from there you can clearly see what she started with, which was mostly rock and sand, and what she has now. It’s quite dramatically different. She is still producing a lot of her own food from fruits and dates to herbs, vegetables and eggs but she’s also increasing her shade and, after a recent chop n’ drop, mulch is now plentiful.


P.s. If you are not familiar with the term Chop n’ Drop then please watch this video, “The Forested Garden: What is a Food Forest?“, where the concept is explained in the full context of a food forest.


Geoff Lawton

Geoff Lawton is a world renowned Permaculture consultant, designer and teacher. He first took his Permaculture Design Certificate (PDC) Course in 1983 with Bill Mollison the founder of Permaculture. Geoff has undertaken thousands of jobs teaching, consulting, designing, administering and implementing, in 6 continents and close to 50 countries around the world. Clients have included private individuals, groups, communities, governments, aid organizations, non-government organisations and multinational companies under the not-for-profit organisation. In 1996 Geoff was accredited with the Permaculture Community Services Award by the Permaculture movement for services in Australia and around the world. Geoff's official website is Geoff's Facebook profile can be found here.


  1. Wonderful!
    Do the rock gabion walls have a function beyond just being a barrier? They don’t appear to be running on contour, so would they help harvest water?

    1. They do actually serve that function. Gabions are used to prevent large overflow events (typical for many arid landscapes), where there might be very sporadic rain cycles and impervious landscape. They essentially slow down water flow enough to let it settle into sunken beds downhill and soak into the landscape more. Pretty much functions as a swale in areas with no topsoil left, though they are often on contour, many times they just follow property lines or borders of a sort.

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