Category: Food & Food Support Systems

Is Aquaponics the Right Choice?

Aquaponics has become a quick celebrity in sustainable food production, and many beginners are interested in creating these systems. In terms of permaculture design, there is some potential in using them, but equally so, it’s important not to lose sight of matching the design to the landscape and resources available. In other words, there are occasions when aquaponics is a sensible option, but not every occasion.   The Basic Premise […]

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Feeding the World: Farming Gets It’s Sea Legs

Seaweed washed up on the beach

The world is shrinking. Not literally, of course. When it comes to mass, our planet is the same size it’s been for billions of years. However, when one instead considers available land mass, that’s a different story. Over the next 30 years, the world population is expected to grow by 30%. This means that by 2050, our planet will be trying to support approximately 9.6 billion people. For a world […]

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Pure Hop-iness

When you hear the word hops, you may think of beer or bunnies. While I love the ever-bouncy bunny, I’m referring to the plant version of hops, aka Humulus lupulus. Hops, which are the female flowers/cones of this dioecious perennial, have a distinct aroma and flavor and are best known in the beer brewing world as a stability agent and for the bitter taste, they impart that balances out the […]

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Calendula

Butterfly landing on a calendula flower

Calendula is a bright little member of the Asteraceae Family, which includes stevia, sunflowers, and even lettuces. The name Calendula is actually the genus name for around 20 species of herbaceous plants. The most often recognized and utilized species is the Calendula officinalis (English or pot marigold) and is edible. This is not the same as the French marigold from the Tagetes genus. Calendula is often grown in polyculture gardens […]

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Cosmic Carambola

Carambola in the palm of a hand.

Carambola (Averrhoa carambola), often called starfruit, does seem like a fruit that is out of this world. This beauty is a member of the Oxalidaceae family, and is considered a slow growing, fast producing tree with evergreen foliage. The foliage is light sensitive and most often folds in upon itself as the sun goes down. The carambola is thought to have originated in Sri Lanka and Indonesia, but is also […]

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The Charm of Cabbage

Large purple cabbage

Cabbage (Brassica oleracea var. capitate) is a cool season vegetable that comes in both purple and green and is related to other vegetables such as broccoli, romanesco, horseradish, and cauliflower. This Mediterranean native has been around for over 4,000 years and was used medicinally by the ancient Romans and Greeks. Cabbage was brought to Europe around 600 B.C.E., and around 200 B.C.E. the Celts began using it to make sauerkraut. Later […]

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Amazing Apples

Amazing Apples

These days when we hear the term apple we sometimes have thoughts of the latest iPhone or what the hottest album on iTunes is. Perhaps if you’re a 90’s fan, the line Matt Damon delivers in Good Will Hunting “How do you like them apples?” is what pops into your head. However, at the core of it all (pun intended) is the delicious, bright, crunchy, crisp fruit that hails from […]

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Remarkable Rhubarb

Eat the stalks, not the leaves! Wise words to adhere to when you’re going for the over-the-top tart perennial known as rhubarb (Rheum rhabarbarum). This member of the Polygonaceae family has perfectly edible stalks that look similar to celery, but has leaves that are quite poisonous. Rhubarb leaves contain some seriously high levels of oxalic acid, which is a nephrotoxin and can lead to kidney damage, and even potentially death […]

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Spectacular Scarlet Runner Beans

Scarlet Runner Beans are in a league all their own in the bean world. They are often grown purely for ornamental reasons, as they are beautifully stunning with their red blooms and climbing vines. However, even though they are ornamentals they are delicious edibles too! These pretty perennials, sometimes called multiflora or multiflowered beans, are exceptional members of the Fabaceae family (legume family). This family of plants not only includes […]

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Glorious Garlic

This pungent member of the Amaryllis Family (Amaryllidaceae), which includes beautiful blooming flowers like the daffodil, as well as members of garlic’s own genus (Allium), such as onions, leeks, and shallots, is thought to have originated in central Asia, south Asia, northeast Iran, or even possibly southwest Siberia. Garlic (Allium sativum), while experiencing a rise in popularity in the past century, is definitely not the new kid on the block, […]

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The Health Benefits of the Chia Seed

What are Chia Seeds? When most people think of the Aztec and Mayan cultures of Central America, we automatically think of corn and beans as the main culinary contributions to the food we currently eat today. However, these important civilizations contributed several other important crops to today´s food system including products such as amaranth, tomatoes, and chia seeds. Chia seeds were actually one of the most consumed products in these […]

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Perennial Polycultures and the Richness of Diversity

The Way Nature Provides Imagine walking down a country road. On one side of the road, you see acres and acres of corn grown in neat rows. On the other side of the road stands an old-growth forest filled with towering trees and a thick underbrush. If you were to ask anyone which side of the road produced the most food, almost everyone would say that the cornfield is a […]

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