Agriculture and Autism: A Perfect Match

Farmer planting young seedlings of lettuce salad in the vegetable garden

In conversations about sustainability, I often end up saying that the kind of projects I get most excited about are those that not only help the planet but help people at the same time. These could be businesses or organizations that combine local food with fighting hunger or rainforest conservation with empowering women, but one of my favorite combinations was one I got to work with firsthand. One summer during […]

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Tropical Lettuce

The first time I encountered tropical lettuce, or Indian lettuce (Lactuca indica), was when I was exploring a rooftop garden in Fujian province of rural southern China. It was the middle of the day in the middle of the summer, and here was this beautiful lettuce exposed to full sun in a raised bed with less than six inches deep of relatively poor soil. I was amazed that this plant […]

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Grafting – The Art of Making Your Own Trees

One of the most important elements while building our food producing systems is to acquire the genetic diversity by way of tree seedlings, heirloom vegetable seeds, accumulators, companions, soil microbiology etc. I would like to draw your attention to trees particularly which are usually costly if bought from nurseries. While the S.T.U.N method of Mark Sheppard is also very acceptable to grow fruit trees, grafting is still a nice skill […]

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Unique Little Creatures

Mushrooms aren’t plants or animals. In fact, mushrooms are within their very own kingdom known as Fungi. They appear to grow like plants, yet lack the many key components of plants such as roots, seeds, chlorophyll, and the ability to produce their own food. Like animals, they consume their food, but not by grazing or hunting. They break down organic matter, similar to bacteria. This action helps to recycle nutrients […]

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Eight Tips For Selecting The Right Breed Of Chicken For Your Backyard

Keeping backyard chickens is a joy shared by many. The sight of a flock of ladies scratching around your garden is a sight that warms the soul (as long as its not your vegie garden). There are so many beautiful, practical, bred for purpose, and exotic heritage breeds to choose from it can be very difficult to make a decision about which breed is for you! Throw into the mix […]

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Climate Change Has Already Had a Negative Impact on Animals on Every Continent

A new study has revealed that we have underestimated the impact climate change has had on endangered species around the world. These effects have been particularly traumatic for mammals and birds on the endangered species list – even species included on the International Union for the Conservation of Nature’s “red list.” According to the study, published in the journal Nature Climate Change, global warming has already impacted approximately 700 species […]

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Soil Contamination: Its Causes, Effects, and Solutions

What is Soil Contamination? Soil contamination refers to the destruction of land that could be used constructively by human activities, either directly or indirectly. Presently, 300,000 ha of UK land is thought to be contaminated by toxic elements such as lead and arsenic. The same goes for the other industrialized nations which are the worst hit. The developing countries are also steadily but surely moving toward this direction.This should be […]

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Become a WWOOFER with PRI!

Learn more about organic farming and sustainable living by volunteering as a WWOOFER with the Permaculture Research Institute of Australia (PRI)! PRI is now offering limited WWOOFing opportunities, we can only take 3 enthusiastic workers at a time, with a minimum one month stay. Working with PRI, directed by world renowned Geoff and Nadia Lawton, gives volunteers the opportunity to live and work at Zaytuna Farm – under the guidance […]

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Why We Use Swales and How to Do It Appropriately

A swale is one of those permaculture terms that probably gets thrown around to readily (or inaccurately) and perhaps implemented irresponsibly. Only a few years into my permaculture career, I have certainly been guilty of this, and I have distinct memories of mistakes I made with regards to both attempting to construct swales and putting them in the wrong place. In my defense, and perhaps to my own credit, I […]

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Land As Insurance, Part 3: The Role Of Farms

In an attempt to understand how to create insurance for my family around food, water, energy, and money, I came up with the idea of collective farm ownership. Here’s how it works and how it can provide insurance. Keep in mind that this is only my preliminary thinking, that details will be subject to change, and I very much welcome feedback. FARMS AS SUPERORGANISMS A farmer friend of mine once […]

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Land As Insurance, Part 2: The Black Swan Theory

Two beautiful Black Swans, Lake Taupo, New Zealand.

Last time, we talked about predictable risk that falls within a Gaussian distribution. But not all risk follows this pattern; some risks are rare and catastrophic and can only be explained in retrospect. These risks are called black swans. When a system contains extreme outliers that are hundreds, thousands, or millions of times further from the mean than expected, they can cause massive amounts of destruction and change the course […]

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Spinach for Happiness

Gardening is done many reasons. Some garden for the beauty of it, the need for food, to reduce chemicals ingested, to draw in wildlife, and the list goes on. Whatever the reason is, gardening should always lead to happiness. Happiness from our garden not only comes from the Zen of physically gardening, but also from the healthful produce we harvest. Eating foods high in vitamin and mineral content, as well […]

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