Category: General

Questioning the Growth Economy

If you have ever driven through rural Kentucky or Ohio or Pennsylvania, chances are you have run across a horse drawn carriage with a group of people who appear to have emerged from the 1700´s. Many Amish and Mennonite communities still ardently and stubbornly maintain a pre-technological and pre-industrial lifestyle despite being surrounded by consumer capitalist civilization. For many observers, these simple, hardworking farm communities are like a living antique; […]

Read More >
2 Comments

What Defines Appropriate Technology?

Our Current Addiction to Technology If there is one defining aspect of our modern civilization it´s that we are a technological species. Compared to other organisms with whom we share this planet, we Homo sapiens aren´t exactly well adapted to long term survival. We have no coat of fur to keep us warm, we don´t have sharp teeth or claws to hunt with, and we´re extremely vulnerable to the elements […]

Read More >
0 Comment

Backhoes versus a Back and a Hoe: The Question of Machines in Permaculture

We have led several natural building workshops over the years, mostly focusing on building with cob. Usually, a pattern related to people´s energy levels and enthusiasm becomes apparent. The first day, people are excited and anxious to take their shoes off and start getting muddy. They want to cut the “theory” part short in order to get straight to the praxis of building with earth. After a day or two […]

Read More >
4 Comments

“Free” Fertilizer is Saving Rural Farmers

Revitalizing dead soil can be done in just one planting season, thanks to Shivansh farming. Rural farmers can use whatever materials are available to them to restore their livelihoods – lowering their costs and increasing their yields. The majority of the world’s poorest farmers use a nitrogen fertilizer called urea. The chemical was initially produced to serve industrial agriculture, but many small-scale farmers were swayed by the fertilizer’s promise of […]

Read More >
7 Comments

The Shower Tractor

No, not a diesel-powered agricultural behemoth with a bathroom behind the cabin. This is much simpler; a portable shower which can be easily moved to water the garden wherever it’s needed. Our small 1-acre property, which gets around 800mm rain each year, often benefits from a little extra water during dry spells. Some extra water will mean plants will continue growing which would otherwise become dried hay-like lifeless husks. Adding […]

Read More >
1 Comment

The Uses of a Bunyip Water Level

Learning how to make use of the rain falling on your roof is one of the central tenets of permaculture. No matter how well you plan out your landscape design, however, you´ll never be able to catch all of the water that falls on your site for a pond or for a cistern. And even if you build a massive pond or cistern, the best way to hold water on […]

Read More >
9 Comments

Rubble Trenches and Lime Mortars to Avoid Cement for Construction Purposes

The most important part of any home is its foundation. While roofs can be replaced and walls can be knocked over and raised once again, a bad foundation is often impossible to fix. In the modern day construction industry, almost every house sits on a cement slab foundation that is buried beneath the frost line underneath the walls of your home. While cement certainly has high compression strength, there are […]

Read More >
2 Comments

Tasty Turnips

Turnips (Brassica rapa var. rapa L.) are a member of the Brassicaceae family of plants (aka mustard plants) which includes some veggies we are pretty familiar with such as cabbage, kale, cauliflower, and arugula. Like many of the vegetables from this family, turnips are great because they have a unique taste all their own. Plus, with turnips, you can eat both the root and the green! They didn’t fall off […]

Read More >
2 Comments

Rooted Cosmpolitanism: Bringing Together the Best of Urban and Rural Life

One of the biggest critiques of rural areas is that they are close-minded, parochial, unsophisticated, and insular. The wealthy, educated, progressives from the big cities are quick to remind us that it was mostly people in rural areas who elected Trump, who convene marches to “save” statues of racist leaders from our past, and who proudly hang the Confederate Flag where everyone can see. Cities, as the argument goes, are […]

Read More >
2 Comments

Go Green Beans!

Green, string, snap, pole, or bush, whatever you call these beans, these edible little pods are great to grow in the garden. Green beans (Phaseolus vulgaris), as we think of them, typically grow in two forms. These two main growing forms are what we call bush and pole bean growing styles. Bush beans usually grow more compactly and won’t necessitate support. Pole beans are more viney and will need stakes […]

Read More >
2 Comments

Cooperation versus Competition: An Evolutionary Perspective

Charles Darwin is credited for forming the idea of evolution. During his explorations around the world and his intimate observation of how animal and plant life evolved over time, he came to believe that everything followed one basic maxim: “the survival of the fittest.” This theory states that organisms will inherently struggle against one another in competition for limited resources that make life possible. Following from this logic, only the […]

Read More >
2 Comments

Salak Palm: A Guide for Tropical Permaculture

Salak palm or snake fruit (Salacca edulis or Salacca zalacca) is a high-value understory species for tropical agroforestry plantings. Salak palm is native to southeast Asia, where it is commercially cultivated in Indonesia, Malaysia, and Java, in their wet tropical lowland climates. At higher elevations, the “Bali” variety can be grown. It produces a delicious fruit, eaten out of hand, with a taste similar to strawberry with an apple-like texture. […]

Read More >
0 Comment