Category: Design

Principles for Designing a Holistic Food System

Most people have an unconscious feeling that we can´t continue down the path we´re currently on. The supposed abundance witnessed on the shelves of our local grocery store might seem promising, but deep down we know that we can´t continue to outsource our need for food to a system that is so deeply indebted to the quickly depleting reserves of oil and other fossil fuels. We know that something needs […]

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Heating (and Cooling) Passively When It’s Too Late to Design Your Home for It

One of the more difficult things about taking on a permaculture lifestyle when we already have an established residence is that, because the practice is based on efficient design, many times we having seemingly come to the game too late. Once a brick-and-mortar house is built and our savings are invested, it’s no small task to start renovating it to have a built in grey water system or south-facing aspect. […]

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Assessing a Property Before Designing It

For the purpose of this article and the scope of which I’m looking to explore, we are going to begin by assuming a hypothetical property is already bought and paid for. In short, we won’t be going into all of the legal assessment ideas that might be involved when buying a property, though many of these thoughts could help in choosing one to buy. Instead, we’ll be looking at assessing […]

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The Need to Limit Energy Use

Energy: An Addiction or a Necessity? Energy is arguably the most defining aspect of industrial civilization. For the first couple hundred thousand years of human existence, our ability to affect the world around us was limited by the amount of energy the human body can produce. It is estimated that, on average, a fit laborer can produce about 75 Watts of energy over an eight hour period. To those of […]

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Diversity and Scale

Functional, productive diversity is an essential element in the design science of permaculture. Diversity is a very good thing and we absolutely want to be stacking as much useful diversity into our designs as we can. There are a few things to note, however, about the use of diversity in design. Firstly, as mentioned above, we want our diversity to be functional and productive. This means that we want a […]

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Lawns to Gardens

Lawn Island Farms, whose mission is to turn Suburban Lawns to Suburban Gardens, was founded by Jim and Rosette Adams in New York, United States. Born and raised in Uganda, Rosette was used to cooking meals straight from the garden, as opposed to purchased from a grocery store. To Rosette, learning that Americans didn’t grow their own food was shocking – and after taking a job at a local community […]

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Reducing Resource Use (Energy and Water) in Industrialised Farms

Resources such as energy and water are consumed directly and indirectly throughout the supply chain of products emancipating from industrialised farms. The indirect use of resources in this context refers to the resources that are used for operations carried out by a third party on behalf of an industrialised farm as well as those resources used to fuel activities or processes that are linked indirectly to them. The indirect use […]

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Cold Frames, How and Why

Before moving to the temperate climate, I’d assumed that winter was pretty much a wash for growing a decent crop. I knew soils were good and summers abundant, all of which led to lots of food storage for getting through winter. I even looked forward to the squashes and pumpkins, and I couldn’t wait for the berries and hard fruits. That all seemed doable, even exciting in a way, but […]

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5 “Grow-Your-Own” Mulch Plants for the Tropics

The tropical forest is constantly self-mulching. After a walk in the woods I usually return with bits of leaves and twigs caught in my hair. Lying in bed at night, my partner and I often hear branches and even whole trees tumbling toward the great soil food web below. This self-mulching is one important piece in the self-renewing fertility cycle of the tropical forest. And of all the functions of […]

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Wattle and Daub: A Quick, Easy, and Seismic Resistant Natural Building Option

Many people dream about building their own earthen home, whether that be from cob, adobe, rammed earth, or any other number of natural building techniques. The idea of using the earth beneath your feet to craft with your own hand a beautiful, natural structure that will shelter your family for years to come is indeed captivating. However, a good number of natural, earthen homes have been abandoned during the construction […]

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Going Off The Grid To Cost Others

Victorian power company AusNet Services is sharing evidence of parliamentary pushing to update the industry that is ever-changing and incredibly innovative. AusNet is one of the five distributing companies of electricity in Victoria and covers the outer northern and eastern suburbs, as well as the eastern portion of the state. AusNet says that a Federal Parliamentary committee is attempting to modernize Australia’s electricity grid, which is causing havoc amongst some […]

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The Basics of Growing Food in the Winter

Having spent so much time in tropical environs, I fretted over having to think about seasons, in terms of temperature, when my wife Emma and I decided to give North Carolina a try. Suddenly, we are having to think about frosts much more than wet and dry season, and a bit more encouraging than expected, we are finding a new abundance that accompanies cooler places. Going into our first autumn […]

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