Smart, Innovative Farmers in the Dakotas Big Picture Agriculture By combining multi-species cover crops, mob grazing, and frequent rotations with conservation tillage, they are investing in their soil and the future, and are being rewarded with...
This bioclimatic house, by Estudio José Luis Rodríguez, is a self-sufficient structure integrated into the terrain of the Canary Islands, a landscape characterized by a continuous terracing of the extreme topography.
In response to this site, the design features a basalt stone wall that supports a light structure of plywood, galvanized steel walls and glass.
The building's orientation is determined by solar radiation; photovoltaic panels produce electricity, in order to achieve zero carbon emissions. The living area is connected to the outside with a space that is protected from sun and wind, while a wall located in the sleeping area to the north has a high thermal mass for passive temperature control.
The design also aims to reduce its ecological footprint on the use of materials and construction systems by using local materials (basalt wall insulation covered with volcanic lapilli, for example), environmentally certified materials and no harmful elements, such as VOC compounds in synthetic paints and varnishes.
View more images of this unique, contextural and contemporary green project at the link to ArchDaily's feature...
In the wake of the release of the infamous "Stanford study," which claims there is no substantial difference between organic food and conventional food, many with a deeper understanding of how organic food production works are speaking out against...
Aquaponics does not need to be a stand-alone system, and so it is great to see it integrated with many other types of systems and technologies. Aquaponics needs a constant source of power, and so pairing it with solar, wind, or any other sustainable energy source is a great idea. This project, a huge Wind-Powered Aquaponic Dome Greenhouse for Vermont could be very interesting indeed.
It's 2018, and you're not feeling your best. Yesterday, on the phone with Comcast, you forgot your social security number, and had to call your mom to get it. She grew concerned. Your nightstand is full of half-finished novels, because it's easier to start fresh than to keep track of where you left off. And the fatigue -- last Thursday, you slept clear through your alarm, until Agnes in 8J pounded on your ceiling with a basketball. You've been here before; you know you're depressed. And you know what you have to do.
You fire up your PC and dig out your biomonitor wrist strap. "Welcome back, kiddo," Regina, your therapist avatar, greets you. Regina has shiny red hair and glasses, and the Australian accent of a Bond girl. "Let's catch up."
Backyard chickens would be step toward better self-sufficiencyMcCook Daily GazetteWhile most of us are harvesting fall household crops and thinking about cleaning up the garden for the year, "urban agriculture" proponents in one Nebraska town have...
Increasingly rare Indian red rice known as navara is making a comeback in Kerala, India, thanks to the preservation efforts of organic farmers there.
When the mild winter arrives in south India around December or January, cool winds and pleasant temperatures replace the remnants of lashing rains from the northeastern monsoons. In the mountainous regions of central Kerala, the chill in the air signals the planting of medicinal Indian red rice, navara, a crop cultivated only once a year, usually between February and April. Navara, with its red bran layer is characteristic to Kerala.
Ayurveda, the traditional Indian medical system, calls it shastika rice and claims that it can restore imbalances in the human body. Navara rice is rich in antioxidants and polyphenols and has two or three times as much zinc and iron as white rice. It has the rare capability to enrich, strengthen, regenerate and energize the body. It is also used as baby food and replaces white rice on traditional days of partial fasting in many parts of India.
The red color, varying from light to dark red, is confined to the bran layer, but a touch of red remains on the grains even after milling. Navara grows fast compared to other varieties of rice; it takes around 60 to 72 days from planting to harvest, depending on the area of cultivation of and weather conditions. Navara rice is also resistant to insects and pests and can be stored for long time.
Bringing back a rare Indian red rice variety
Despite its medicinal properties, the cultivation of this rice variety is quite limited. Pure seeds have become difficult to find due to cross-pollination. Cultivating and preserving the seeds for this unusual variety is difficult.
Navara is a low-yield variety not well suited for commercial cultivation. The introduction of other, high-yielding varieties of rice in the 1960s and 1970s and the genetically modified varieties of the 1990s also adversely affected the cultivation of navara. Navara Eco Farm, a family owned farm in Chittur, Kerala, is pioneering the efforts to preserve navara rice. P. Narayanan Unny, the third-generation owner who took over the farm in 1995, has taken bold initiatives in his conservation efforts.
Unny decided to implement organic farming methods to preserve the crop’s medicinal properties. Converting to an organic methods was a challenge. After years of effort, he collected a sufficient quantity of navara seeds and gradually began cultivating only navara rice. Farm workers were taught organic farming skills, and the farm is mentoring neighboring farming communities and educating them the fundamentals of organic farming.
The cultivation of navara is a meditative process, passed down through generations. The rice fields are plowed, and farm workers sow the seeds and wait for a few days to replant the tender new shoots. Rice is traditionally farmed by hand; under cloudy or clear skies, men and women stoop in the deep mud and plant the rice, stalk by stalk. Soon the farm land is dotted with bright green bristles. Weeks later, the land is draped in vivid emerald, speckled with pools of reflective water. Slowly, the tall sheaves ripen, hanging in golden bunches.
When the leaves of the rice stalk start turning yellow, it is time for the harvest. Stalks are cut with iron sickles and tied in bundles to dry in farmyards and on roadsides. The whole farm becomes a large drying area. The languid air becomes heavy with dust and there is the constant sound of threshing as the grains are separated from the dried stacks. After threshing, the rice is ready for milling.
Historically the bran was removed from the grains by hand as people pounded them in ural (a stone or wooden trough) with ulakka (a long wooden or sometimes iron pole with a metal bottom). Two women would each pick up an ulakka, and together they would pulverize the grains. When one pole went in, other went up in the air; the two of them work in a synchronized motion. Now this laborious and time-consuming step is replaced by a special milling process that removes the hull without losing most of the bran.
Unny’s long-term plan focused on organic farming methods, biodiversity and conservation. In 2006 the farm and its products were certified organic by the National Project on Organic Production, European Union and U.S. Department of Agriculture.
He formed two associations of navara and palakkadan matta farmers and applied for geographical indication certification. In 2007, these two rice varieties were the first agricultural products in India to be registered with a geographical indication. India’s agriculture ministry honored Unny with the Plant Genome Savior Community Recognition Award for his conservation efforts.
The entire structure fully integrates with the surrounding landscape and the visual impact on the agriculture environment is almost null, thanks to both the “structural lightness” and the reduced size of panels, which makes them similar to the foliage of a very rarefied pergola. For these reasons, all the plants were excluded from the Environmental Impact Assessment
"We built a 1000 watt wind turbine to help charge the battery bank that powers our offgrid home. It's a permanent magnet alternator, generating 3 phase ac, rectified to dc, and fed to a charge controller. The magnets spin with the wind, the coils are fixed, so no brushes or slip rings necessary."
TED Talks Western countries throw out nearly half of their food, not because it’s inedible -- but because it doesn’t look appealing. Tristram Stuart delves into the shocking data of wasted food, calling for a more responsible use of global resources.
No one should be surprised that more developed societies are more wasteful societies. It is not just personal wasting of food at the house and restaurants that are the problem. Perfectly edible food is thrown out due to size (smaller than standards but perfectly normal), cosmetics (Bananas that are shaped 'funny') and costumer preference (discarded bread crust). This is an intriguing perpective on our consumptive culture, but it also is helpful in framing issues such as sustainability and human and environmental interactions in a technologically advanced societies that are often removed form the land where the food they eat originates.
Tags: food, agriculture, consumption, sustainability, TED, video, unit 5 agriculture.
Photo by Edible Office. “In the course of getting a plate of food to our table, we’re paying a lot of attention to the farmer, the chef, the farmers market — all of that is as it should be, but we pay very little attention to the thing that starts...
Well-known author, entrepreneur and futurist Ray Kurzweil talks about mapping the human brain, the continuing evolution of technology and continued rise of artificial intelligence from the DEMOfall 2012 show in Santa Clara, Calif.