Category: Design

Evolutions on Mr. Phiri’s Water-Harvesting Plantation, 1995–2016

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Earlier this year I had the opportunity to return to Zimbabwe and to the farm of some of my prime water-harvesting mentors, Mr. Zephaniah Phiri Maseko and his family. While in the region, I also visited the farms of many other innovative farmers who are enhancing their soils’ hydrology and fertility by cooperating with natural systems. In this blog entry, and some to follow, I will share some of the […]

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What is an Earthship?

What is an Earthship feat

What is an Earthship? The name itself is a source of puzzlement and wonder to some readers. Some might even think that it’s a vessel where only a chosen people can go to when the world is going under. Here’s the truth though. Anyone can go to an Earthship. But what is it anyway? An Earthship is actually a place where people can live. The place is applying sustainable practices […]

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Agari Permaculture Farm

Agari Permaculture Farm

A film about Agari Permaculture Farm showing their amazing cob house, earthbag dome, kitchen/social area, and the awesome people who were there! Living the Change This film was made as part of our Living the Change series. For this series we’re traveling around New Zealand making short documentary films about permaculture farms, tiny houses, and sustainability. Connect with Jordan Website: http://happenfilms.com/ Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/jordosmond Support Happen Films I release all of […]

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Infrastructure: Dams, Roads and Swales

rene swales 02 - feat

In the past 2 years a lot of our focus was on getting the main infrastructural elements in place. We first had to clear the semi flat area of the land to be able to even see most of it. Once we had a better view, we started planning what had to become a complete interconnected system of ponds, dams, gullies, swales and dirt roads. In this post we show […]

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20 Garden Hacks for the Quirky and Pragmatic Permaculturalist

Garden Hacks for the Quirky and Pragmatic Permaculturalist

There is a new term—hack—spinning wildly on the World Wide Web, and I’ve resisted it. I grew up in a time where a hack was someone who did a crappy job, so transitioning into the new definition has been an arduous process for me. But, words evolve, and times change. I don’t want to be the guy standing in the way, so for those of you only now stumbling on […]

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Storing Heat Underground in a Geosolar System

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As an engineer and permaculture designer living in a cold-climate, I am particularly fascinated with the interplay between thermodynamics and design and with capturing “waste” energy and finding novel, inexpensive and efficient ways to store and/or recapture and re-use it. One of these such systems, is geothermal storage. In late 2015, our consulting company, Adaptive Habitat, was hired to design and install a geosolar heat collection system just north of […]

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Making Biogas is Easy

Bio Energy

Methane is a versatile, sustainable gas that can be used to perform everyday tasks like heating water and cooking food with surprising simplicity. Unfortunately producing it and using it at home may seem messy, but below we have a simple DIY instruction on making a biogas digester. All grazing animals have bacteria that are needed for creating methane in their guts, with cows being the most efficient creators of the […]

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How to Heat and Cool Your Home Without Electricity

Earthship under construction

Electricity carried through an immense web of copper eventually makes its way into our homes, providing the endless supply we need for temperature control. It’s expensive, and in some places the air conditioning can easily account for half the electricity bill. Paying this upkeep could even make the difference between life and death in extreme climates. Thankfully, there are other options out there. Using alternative building techniques, houses can be designed that passively heat and cool themselves all year long – without electricity!

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Property purchase guide: what to look for when buying land?

Property-purchase-checklist-forest

Finding the perfect piece of land can be rather expensive; nonetheless, once you have it, you’re setting a solid foundation for your future success.

I would say that all land has potential, but your final choice depends on your personal situation and your resources. Although I am here suggesting a specific hierarchy of what is important to look for when on your hunt, your situation may differ, that’s why we should always start with goals in mind.

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A Guide to Simple Worm Farming Techniques

Happy Tiger Worms (Courtesy of Timothy Musson)

Even novice gardeners are aware of worms as a driving force in the garden, and this is especially so for those no-till beds so popular in permaculture plots. For most of us, it’s no great revelation that soil thick with worms is also likely to be thick with plant growth. The reasons are many, but in the most basic terms, earthworms are great for aerating soils and transforming organic material […]

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Urban Swales

rob avis swales feat

Last year, we did a series of videos looking at the swale systems on our property and demonstration site. Part one looks at how we’ve combined the featuress of a Hügelkultur system, a wicking bed, and swales to nourish a productive garden that requires very little additional irrigation: Urban Swales Part 1: Weeping Tile & Mulched Pathways This second video in the urban swales series looks at permaculture design with […]

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