Clarifying the Components of Permaculture

As a permaculture teacher one of the very first things I want to offer my students is a conceptual way to understand what permaculture is made up of. I want to answer the question, likely not yet asked, of ‘how do we make organisational sense of all this content that is being or about to be taught in a Permaculture Design Certificate?’. Permaculture is a vast field of knowledge, there […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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The Problems with our Industrial Water System Today

Imagine that you´re in your home on a rainy afternoon. It has been raining for two days straight now and your front yard is full of puddles. The water is rushing along the drain ways on the side of the road and the local news is talking about the stress on the local sewer system that this extra rain is causing. When you turn on the faucet in your kitchen […]

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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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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 […]

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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 […]

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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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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 […]

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The Benefits of Creating Wetlands on Your Farm

Wetlands are some of the most important ecosystems on our planet harboring some of the highest rates of biodiversity in the world. They are fundamental for purifying the water we use and also for creating habitat for thousands of threatened species. Unfortunately, wetlands often get in the way of industrial development which has an unhealthy love affair with cement. For that reason, wetlands are often drained to make way for […]

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