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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From Big City Kuala Lumpur to Rural Kampung, Chalin Food Forest

Malaysia might not be a country that is known for permaculture, but many of the tropical ancestral practices of our forefathers reveal wisdom and the interconnection of humans and nature. Who would have thought the supposedly simple act of daily burning of excess leaf litter with branches in front of the ‘kampung’ or village house, actually helps fumigate the whole compound off mosquitoes and pests. The burning is done by […]

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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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15 Productive Plants That Are Evergreen and Suited for the Temperate Climate

For me, this year has been full of exciting information about the temperate climate. Having spent most of my permaculture life in Central America, moving to North Carolina has had me say goodbye to many old favorites and marvel at a host of new possibilities. It wasn’t until November, however, that I realized just how naked the forest and garden would be due to the cold. I’ve spent quite a […]

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Permaculture and Community Part 2: Using the Moral Imagination in Permaculture

In part 1 of this article (1) I explored how permaculture is very much linked to practices of peacebuilding and in particular to the use of our “moral imagination” (2). As a holistic lens through which to view the world, which encourages curiosity and creativity and includes the possibility of stepping outside of societal or cultural norms, permaculture has many similarities to the moral imagination as described by John Paul […]

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Thoughts on a Permaculture Kitchen

For Emma and me, our permaculture fantasies involve building our own home, growing 90-plus percent of our food (I guess it’s 100% if we are going full-blown fantasy), and living largely in whatever space we can find for ourselves. We hope for at least a couple of acres, one of which has already been cleared because we don’t want to cut down existing forest. We envision a “natural” swimming hole […]

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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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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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Using Gray Water When It’s Too Late to Design Your Home for It

Recently, I wrote an article about passively heating and cooling homes when they haven’t been designed well for it, and to my delight, lots of people left comments, many of them appreciative, regarding the tips. Within those post-article conferring, someone asked for a similar article in relation to gray water usage, so here I sit with that task at hand. Before delving too deeply into it, I just want to […]

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NASA Captured Earth “Breathing” Over the Last 20 Years

This passed month, NASA released a visual time lapse like no other. A seen by satellites, the 2 ½ minute video packs in the Earth’s physical changes over the last 20 years. Unsurprisingly, the Earth can be seen to undergo changes as the seasons develop, but added to that, there are key differences noted during the same seasons over the duration of the two-decade examination. Observations like plant life on […]

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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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