Check Dams and the Promise of Renewing Groundwater Springs

When my family and I moved onto our farm a couple of years ago, the small creek that ran through the bottom part of our land had been essentially abandoned for several decades. While we could hear the creek, it was all but impossible to make our way down to where the water actually ran due to a mess of vines, thorns, and thick underbrush. An invasive vine (similar to […]

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Very Mulberry!

Let me begin by saying mulberries aren’t for everyone. I say this because all my life I have grown up with mulberries. I love them, my family and friends love them, and my mom even sent us kids out to pick them so she could make the most amazing pies. However, as I got older I had several people tell me that I could have my mulberry trees cut down […]

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Hydraulic Ram Pumps

The recent water crisis in Flint, Michigan, showed how vulnerable and unstable our industrial water system really is. Once it was determined that the public water in Flint, Michigan was indeed contaminated with lead and other dangerous substances, thousands of people were literally relegated to standing in lines to wait for bottled water from the government or other aid agencies. People had no idea how to get clean, potable water […]

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How Permaculture is the Perfect Match for Homesteading

What is Permaculture? “Permaculture is a philosophy of working with, rather than against nature; of protracted & thoughtful observation rather than protracted & thoughtless labor; of looking at plants & animals in all their functions, rather than treating any area as a single-product system.” Bill Mollison The term permaculture is a portmanteau of “Permanent” and “Agriculture”, and “culture”. It began with a focus on the production of a sustainable food […]

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8 Tips for Starting your Tropical Homestead

You’ve just purchased your dream property in tropical Costa Rica. You want to grow your own food. You are anxious to get to work now, have bought some plants from a nursery you randomly drove by, and have a shovel in hand, but where to start? Most of our clients fall on either side of a spectrum of project implementation. Either they experience paralysis by analysis, overthinking every step, their […]

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Simple Approaches to Making and Using Foliar Fertilizers

One of our main goals in the permaculture garden is to foster soil life, and there are many methods we use for accomplishing this goal. We apply thick mulches and add plenty of organic matter. We practice no-dig methods so as not to harm existing soil life, and we enhance richness by adding things like worm compost, manure, and leaf mold. We increase fertility with nitrogen-fixing plants. We cultivate perennial […]

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The Best Species for Coppice Forestry

It seems almost miraculous: you cut a tree down to its stump, and a couple years later it has grown several meters high once again. Like that mythical dragon who grows two heads for every one you cut off, there are dozens of different species of trees who have an incredible ability to regrow after severe cutting. Coppice forestry, the practice of cutting certain species of trees down to their […]

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The Revolutionary Civilizational Paradigm Eco Villages

The vast majority of people in the world no longer live in any sort of human settlement that could be considered a village. Rather, the increased urbanization of our species and the displacement of rural communities has led to a collection of isolated individuals who have very little relationship to the geographical place where they live and the people they share that place with. During the last two decades, however, […]

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Stevia

detail of stevia plantation in brazil

Stevia, also called sweetleaf or sugarleaf, is probably something we have all heard of. It seems to have risen in popularity in recent times and can be found in several of the foods we eat. However, even with this plant’s rising fame, we may not know exactly what it is. With stevia being up to 300 times sweeter than sugar, with relatively no calories, it can be an important component […]

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Organic Pesticides, Biological Controls, and Finding what Can Be Grown

Bugs are inevitably a part of growing things. While most of the bugs out there are good for the soil and good for your plants, there are plenty of pests that will drive you crazy while you try to salvage a tomato crop ravaged by white flies or a peach harvest destroyed by aphids. Conventional agriculture since the times of the Green Revolution has taken advantage of the distress that […]

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A Simple Solar Light to Light Up Your Life

In the developed world it can be pretty easy to take light bulbs for granted. For 1.6 billion people around the world that don’t have access to electricity, light is a precious commodity.  Out of the nearly 25% of the world’s population that has to go without electricity, many of them also live in makeshift, ramshackle housing in shanty towns thrown together with whatever sheet metal and spare wood they […]

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The Crises that Have Come with Urbanization

One of the defining aspects of our current civilization and one of the most worrying trends of modernity is our urbanization as a species. When we take the long view of human history, it becomes obvious that for 99% of our history, we have been a rural people, the majority of us making our living off the land and in small, agrarian communities. Though history (especially the last 2,000 years […]

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