Why We Use Swales and How to Do It Appropriately

Courtesy of Brian Boucheron

A swale is one of those permaculture terms that probably gets thrown around to readily (or inaccurately) and perhaps implemented irresponsibly. Only a few years into my permaculture career, I have certainly been guilty of this, and I have distinct memories of mistakes I made with regards to both attempting to construct swales and putting them in the wrong place. In my defense, and perhaps to my own credit, I […]

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Land As Insurance, Part 3: The Role Of Farms

Kuala Lumpur Malaysia landspace

In an attempt to understand how to create insurance for my family around food, water, energy, and money, I came up with the idea of collective farm ownership. Here’s how it works and how it can provide insurance. Keep in mind that this is only my preliminary thinking, that details will be subject to change, and I very much welcome feedback. FARMS AS SUPERORGANISMS A farmer friend of mine once […]

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Land As Insurance, Part 2: The Black Swan Theory

Two beautiful Black Swans, Lake Taupo, New Zealand.

Last time, we talked about predictable risk that falls within a Gaussian distribution. But not all risk follows this pattern; some risks are rare and catastrophic and can only be explained in retrospect. These risks are called black swans. When a system contains extreme outliers that are hundreds, thousands, or millions of times further from the mean than expected, they can cause massive amounts of destruction and change the course […]

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Spinach for Happiness

Spinach for Happiness feat

Gardening is done many reasons. Some garden for the beauty of it, the need for food, to reduce chemicals ingested, to draw in wildlife, and the list goes on. Whatever the reason is, gardening should always lead to happiness. Happiness from our garden not only comes from the Zen of physically gardening, but also from the healthful produce we harvest. Eating foods high in vitamin and mineral content, as well […]

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System Diversity

System Diversity feat

We all know that the bio-diversity is the utmost important model of growing edibles. I want to draw your attention to the system-diversity as well dear reader. I call myself a backyard farmer. While I cram things into my back and front yard, I make sure that I don’t rely on one single system for my food production. If one system stops producing, I should still have others to produce […]

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Land As Insurance, Part 1: A Primer

salad-water-garden-plant Land As Insurance

This is a three-part series based on an idea I recently had around the subjects of farming, black swans, and creating a product that can help insure against risk. In this first article I’ll provide a bit of context on how insurance works. The second piece will explore the risks we face today and in the future. The final article will explore a new type of insurance based around perennial […]

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Spice Forest: Lessons In Innovation From Zanzibar

Spice Forest: Lessons In Innovation From Zanzibar

In the spring of 2015 I put out a call for help. Our small team at Community Forests International (Forests Intl.) was starting a new enterprise – a Spice Forest project on Pemba island, Zanzibar – and I knew we couldn’t do it alone. What happened next has taught me a lot about the process of innovation. It has also taught me how much I still don’t know about the […]

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Tigger Melons

tigger-melons-14jul13 - feat

Sometimes referred to as the tiger melon, these fiery looking little cuties are striped and colored as their namesake suggests. While they don’t bounce to and fro, they do indeed liven up the garden and kitchen. Tigger Melons, Cucmis melon, are a smaller heirloom melon that grow up to 1lb. and fit nicely in the palm of your hand. These vibrant colored melons are thought to have first been discovered […]

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Simple Ways to Reduce Waste in Landfills

Simple Ways to Reduce Waste in Landfills feat

Disposing of garbage in landfills is a common practice in many countries around the world and it’s done by burying it in the ground. Needless to say, this is an environmental hazard since most of the waste is non-biodegradable, that is, it can take thousands of years to disintegrate. But guess what, there’s something you can do about it. The solution to reducing waste in landfills lies with you. And […]

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Aggressive Fungus Found Growing in Outer Space

Aggressive fungus found growing in outer space feat

Scientists are considering the implications of an “aggressive space fungus” identified on the outside of the Russian space station Mir. Patches of the green and black fungus have been discovered behind control panels, in the ship’s air conditioner, communications unit, and on many other surfaces. Not only was the fungus growing everywhere, the patches proved difficult to eradicate. According to Russian microbiologist Natalia Novikova, there is the potential that in […]

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Cool Streets Helps Save The Environment – And Electricity Consumption

Tree lined street in the North End, Boston, Massachusetts.

Urban homeowners can do their part to fight the effects of climate change by planting more trees – and even lower their own monthly electricity bill while helping to protect the environment from global warming. Even just planting a small tree in your yard can make a difference on your monthly costs, and by letting the tree mature, you can save as much as $400 each year – according to […]

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