Category: Food & Food Support Systems

The Worlds Best Ultra Athletes Grow Their Own Energy Drinks

The Worlds Best Ultra Athletes Grow Their Own Energy Drinks

The Tarahumara Indians are recognized as the world’s fastest ultra marathon runners. One key to their success? The energy drinks they consume while running trail. And it is a drink they make themselves. Find out how in this video. Backyard food production expert and author Marjory Wildcraft will host a free online event, which features 30 backyard farming experts who will reveal secrets to growing your own gorgeous organic fruit, […]

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How To Use Squash Pits To Get Bigger Garden Yields

How To Use Squash Pits To Get Bigger Garden Yields

If you’ve never heard of a squash pit then you might be thinking “but squash have seeds, not pits!”. True, true, but check out this fun video. To see more great compositing ideas check out the extreme composting videos by David Goodman at the Home Grown Food Summit. Over 7 full days, you’ll enjoy 50+ hours of video interviews with the “who’s who” of the sustainable food movement. They’ll be […]

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Making the Most of Coconuts in the Kitchen

which came first feat

Generally, caught up in the construction of a garden, I think of plants for their purposes in design. This one is nitrogen-fixing, this one deep-tapping. it’s good for chop-and-drop mulch, a bug-deterrent, a perennial version of something annual, shade-tolerance, water-resistance, or any combination thereof. Sometimes I get so lost in those elements of cultivation, that I forget the real reason much of the cultivating is done: To eat. Of course, […]

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Farm-to-Table Diary

Farm-to-Table Diary

It’s nearly the end of the season for tender new growth grape leaves. We’re air-pickling them so we can use them in the Farm to Table course coming up this March! The Farm-to-Table Course will cover the five stages of food production from harvesting, processing, storing, packaging, and consumption. This course has a particular focus on the link between farmers, farm communities, ancient food-production practices, and the food we eat. At the heart of this course is the preference for the freshest ingredients supplied directly from Zaytuna Farm.

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A Global Wiki – A Call to Join

global wiki (2)

Designing perennial polycultures (guilds) can be a big challenge. It can be hard to find information on perennial crops and support species. There is a need for information, sample polycultures, and design templates. The Apios Institute is a collaborative network of farmers, gardeners, and researchers focused on integrated perennial-crop agroecosystems (variously known as multistrata agroforests, tropical homegardens, food forests, and forest gardens). Since 2007 we have worked to address these […]

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A Global Wiki of Perennial Crops, Polycultures, and Food Forest Sites

A Global Wiki of Perennial Crops, Polycultures, and Food Forest Sites

Designing perennial polycultures (guilds) can be a big challenge. It can be hard to find information on perennial crops and support species. There is a need for information, sample polycultures, and design templates.

Since 2007 we have worked to address these key needs on our site, a crowdsourced tool featuring perennial crops, polycultures, and food forests. Thus far our focus has been on humid temperate systems, but we are raising funds to expand to a global resource. At the same time we’ll be implementing a major overhaul of our site. This will include the open-access addition of the 700 perennial crop species from Eric Toensmeier’s forthcoming book The Carbon Farming Solution.

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Guidelines for Perennial Polyculture Design

Guidelines for Perennial Polyculture Design

Polyculture design can be bewildering and even intimidating. I’ve been planting and thinking about polycultures for over two decades. During that time I’ve planted a lot of failed polycultures that didn’t work for one reason or another, as well as some successful ones. I’ve also visited many sites in many climates and seen polycultures functioning very well – especially in the tropics, where agroforestry systems are much farther along than my cold temperate home.

I’ve assembled a set of guidelines for designing polycultures, that I’d like to share with you. They are a work in progress and far from perfect, but, in concert with the design process shown below, they have helped hundreds of people in my courses and workshops to feel ready to go home and design and install their own polycultures.

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Legumes in the Kitchen: They Are Not Just for Nitrogen-Fixing

Legumes in the Kitchen: They Are Not Just for Nitrogen-Fixing

When it comes to legumes, I come from a fortunate background. Born and raised in the southern Louisiana, where cuisine is something entirely different than the rest of the United States, food has long been a product of love and cherish. It deserves devotion. It is given time. Louisianans know the value of doing it slow. Consequently, I grew up intrinsically aware of the worth, nutritionally and palatably, of a […]

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Social Polycultures: Using Permaculture for Building Resilient Relationships

Social Polycultures: Using Permaculture for Building Resilient Relationships

Many people use permaculture to design physical systems like farms and homesteads, to have the resilience and benefits that are found in natural systems. They use the permaculture ethics and principles, coupled with a holistic design process to create relationships between elements that foster greater ease, mutual benefit and increase positive feedback loops. Like locating mushroom logs in a forest, next to a pond, with ducks for pest control and […]

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Found-Object Garden Design at The Farm Inn in Southern Belize

To The Farm Inn

Something that has thoroughly impressed Kevin during our six weeks at The Farm Inn in the southern depths of Belize, where a paved highway has only just made it, is that we are only using things that are already on the property. When I hear him excitedly describe his concept of permaculture—what we, my wife Emma and I, are doing—to people, he always mentions this fact. Over the last few […]

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