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18. Fracking Our Food Supply

The effects of hydraulic fracturing (or “fracking”) on food supply and the environment are slowly emerging. The fracking process runs contrary to safe sustainable food production.
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Design | WarkaWater

Design | WarkaWater | Permaculture, Horticulture, Homesteading & Green Technology | Scoop.it

The Warka’s water harvesting technique and construction system are inspired by several sources. Many plants and animals have developed unique micro- and nano-scale structural features on their surfaces that enable them to collect water from the air and survive in hostile environments. By studying the Namib beetle’s shell, lotus flower leaves, spider web threads and the integrated fog collection system in cactus, we are identifying specific materials and coatings that can enhance dew condensation and water flow and storage capabilities of the mesh. The termite hives have influenced the design of Warka’s outer shell, its airflow, shape and geometry. We also looked at local cultures and vernacular architecture, incorporating traditional Ethiopian basket-weaving techniques in Warka’s design.

 
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Why Are Climate Groups Only Focused on 50% of the Solution?

Why Are Climate Groups Only Focused on 50% of the Solution? | Permaculture, Horticulture, Homesteading & Green Technology | Scoop.it
The Soil Story explains regenerative agriculture or carbon farming with a sound track by Jason Mraz. Monsanto, contributing more to climate change
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Cotton no longer king

Cotton no longer king | Permaculture, Horticulture, Homesteading & Green Technology | Scoop.it
If there is one ag trend you can hang your hat on around here — it is that cotton plantings are down — way down.
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How to Manage Invasive Thistle and Improve Your Soil

How to Manage Invasive Thistle and Improve Your Soil | Permaculture, Horticulture, Homesteading & Green Technology | Scoop.it
The thistle root literally breathes life into the soil, as beneficial soil organisms require water and oxygen to thrive.
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DML Newsletter

DML Newsletter | Permaculture, Horticulture, Homesteading & Green Technology | Scoop.it
Social, Mobile, Applications. Working Together.
The Planetary Archives Digital University's insight:

I found this living in the hard drive on my Mac.....

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Biochar Workshop Part 1, How to Make Biochar

Biochar making workshop led by Bob Wells, soil scientist Jon Nilsson and Patryk Battle. There are 5 parts:

1- How to Make Biochar

2- Why to Make Biochar

3- The Carbon Cycle

4- The Biochar Facility

5- Biochar & the Greenhouse

 

Additional Resources link http://www.livingwebfarms.org/resources/4560000658


Via Vivalist, ma8u
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Vivalist's curator insight, December 13, 2014 6:02 PM

Biochar sequestrates CO2 (1kg of biochar is equivalent to up to 3kg of CO2), retain water and nutrients. It also promotes micro-organic and fungi life.

 

You can make biochar with any living material (bones, wood sticks, corn stover, sunflower stalks...) but if you're looking for carbon per mass, the heavier the input, the more biochar you get (1/3 of the initial weight). While making it, you can re-using the energy generated and reduce emitions. Justmake sure the water content is as minimal as possible.


Out of the kiln cheminee, you have water vapor and CO2 so it could be sent to a greenhouse.


For one unit of input (wood) you get 50% char, 10% volatiles (CO, Methane, Hydrogen...) used during the process and 40% you can turn into heat/energy > heat water tank, facilities & greenhouses, dry wood...


You also get a by-product called wood vinegar, used diluted 200-1 with water and sprayed on plants. It is a bio stimulant for germination and a pest repellent because of its odor. 

 

To build the kiln you need an outside chamber with a cheminee and bottom air holes with additional top tiny holes and an inner chamber where the biochar is done. The inner one is sealed with tiny holes on the side.

 

The outter chamber can be insulated with ciment walls or ceramic fiber.

  

You can add urine to biochar to sequester its phosporus while not being too bothered by salt issues.

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PERMACULTURE / high-yield production in limited space / The raised bed - YouTube

PERMACULTURE / high-yield production in limited space / The raised bed - YouTube | Permaculture, Horticulture, Homesteading & Green Technology | Scoop.it

Video showing the building of a composting raised bed in the south of France (hugelkultur r...


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Otter Box Water-Proof Survival Kit: Compact Survival Kit - YouTube

https://youtu.be/_OZc7jDAZxg
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GMOs, Herbicides, and Public Health

GMOs, Herbicides, and Public Health | Permaculture, Horticulture, Homesteading & Green Technology | Scoop.it
Genetically modified organisms (GMOs) are not high on most physicians' worry lists. If we think at all about biotechnology, most of us probably focus on direct threats to human health, such as prospects for converting pathogens to biologic weapons or the implications of new technologies for editing the human germline. But while those debates simmer, the application of biotechnology to agriculture has been rapid and aggressive. The vast majority of the corn and soybeans grown in the United States
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Climate-adapted companion cropping increases agricultural productivity in East Africa

Climate-adapted companion cropping increases agricultural productivity in East Africa | Permaculture, Horticulture, Homesteading & Green Technology | Scoop.it
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BEAUTIFUL EDIBLE LANDSCAPING WITH AMARANTH!

I created this video with the YouTube Video Editor (https://www.youtube.com/editor)
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Power of plants: Documentary will launch plant-based nutrition campaign - Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Power of plants: Documentary will launch plant-based nutrition campaign - Pittsburgh Post-Gazette | Permaculture, Horticulture, Homesteading & Green Technology | Scoop.it
The Campbells, father and son, call it the most important health breakthrough of all time.  But it’s no magic bullet or amazing new technology.
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Bija Swaraj, not Bt Raj - DR VANDANA SHIVA

Bija Swaraj, not Bt Raj - DR VANDANA SHIVA | Permaculture, Horticulture, Homesteading & Green Technology | Scoop.it
Bija Swaraj not Bt Raj : The Future is Organic, not GMOs Dr Vandana Shiva Farmers, first of all, are breeders. They might not have the lab coats that have come to define modern plant breeding, but ...
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Regeneration: Global Transformation in Catastrophic Times

Regeneration: Global Transformation in Catastrophic Times | Permaculture, Horticulture, Homesteading & Green Technology | Scoop.it
Where profits alone count, there can be no thinking about the rhythms of nature, its phases of decay and regeneration, or the complexity of ecosystems which may be gravely upset by human intervention…. It is not enough to balance, in the medium term, the protection of nature with financial gain, or the preservation of the environment with progress. Halfway measures simply delay the inevitable disaster.  - Pope Francis, Papal Encyclical “Laudato Si,”  June 18, 2015 A growing number of climate, fo
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Garlic Mustard: A Gold Mine of Food and Medicine - Blog

Garlic Mustard: A Gold Mine of Food and Medicine - Blog | Permaculture, Horticulture, Homesteading & Green Technology | Scoop.it
As Invasive Species Week continues, Tao Orion, author of Beyond the War on Invasive Species, and Katrina Blair, author of The Wild Wisdom of Weeds, are sharing alternative approaches to managing and using plants considered to be “invasive.” Take a look through today’s profile on Garlic Mustard and check out tips for working with St. …
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Make Your Own Fruit Wine - Blog

Make Your Own Fruit Wine - Blog | Permaculture, Horticulture, Homesteading & Green Technology | Scoop.it
Making your own fruit wine is easy. All you need is an abundance of your favorite fruit, orange juice, brewers yeast, sugar, and patience.
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101 PERMACULTURE DESIGNS, downloadable imgur album - Imgur

The most viral images on the internet, curated in real time by a dedicated community through commenting, voting and sharing.

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8 Ways to Use Chickens in the Garden | The Prairie Homestead

8 Ways to Use Chickens in the Garden | The Prairie Homestead | Permaculture, Horticulture, Homesteading & Green Technology | Scoop.it

Gardening with chickens provides ample benefits to both you and them! This post highlights 8 practical ways to use chickens in the garden.


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SOIL Haiti

SOIL Haiti | Permaculture, Horticulture, Homesteading & Green Technology | Scoop.it
Since building Haiti’s first EcoSan toilet in 2006 and first waste treatment facility in 2009, SOIL has gone on to become one of the country’s most well-respected sanitation providers. Along the way, we have received invaluable support from a large and diverse network of friends, family, and dreamers around the world who believe in the potential of positive, sustainable change.
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Buy Hurricane Survival Kits & Supplies l Living Rational

Buy Hurricane Survival Kits & Supplies l Living Rational | Permaculture, Horticulture, Homesteading & Green Technology | Scoop.it
Get prepared with a Hurricane Survival Kit from Living Rational. We offer a wide selection of Hurricane Kits with free shipping and the best prices.
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Save Our Soils!

Save Our Soils! | Permaculture, Horticulture, Homesteading & Green Technology | Scoop.it

' 2015 is the International Year of Soils. That’s right, soil is so important that the United Nations has devoted a year to the stuff. Its aim is to “raise full awareness … about the profound importance of soil for human life.” Nearly all of our food is grown in soil, and the quality of that food is directly related to the health of the soil. When we stepped onto the treadmill of industrial, monoculture agriculture several generations ago, we unwittingly exchanged fertile soil and nutrient-dense food for dead soil and anemic food. It sounds depressing, doesn’t it? Well, it is. But it should be a wake-up call for us all—it’s time to step off of that treadmill and start taking care of the soil that sustains us.'


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How trees protect your home by slowing wind speed, soil erosion, and water runoff | Big Blog Of Gardening ~ organic gardening and organic lawn care

How trees protect your home by slowing wind speed, soil erosion, and water runoff | Big Blog Of Gardening ~ organic gardening and organic lawn care | Permaculture, Horticulture, Homesteading & Green Technology | Scoop.it
Besides aesthetics and shade, trees also stabilize soil and reduce erosion, store water, provide wildlife habitat, and moderate air and soil temperatures...

 

 

After Hurricane Sandy felled thousands of trees in October and took down power lines throughout the mid Atlantic, I started thinking about how the sudden loss of those beautiful old growth trees would change the properties they stood on.

Besides the obvious functions of aesthetics and shade, trees also stabilize soil and reduce erosion, increase soil fertility, enhance the land’s ability to store water, provide wildlife habitat, moderate air and soil temperatures, and help to reduce salinization. Trees are therefore essential in protecting our homes and communities. This may seem counterintuitive in the wake of so many large trees being snapped like twigs during Hurricane Sandy, but bare with me.

 

“We can thank trees for our life. They evolved an imponderable 370 million years ago and helped create the very air that we breathe by “inhaling” carbon dioxide, acting as carbon sinks, and “exhaling” oxygen…With the exception of a very few reptiles, trees are the only living organisms with a lifespan greater than that of humans. They are unique inter-generational gifts to pass on to our descendants. Indeed, the oldest living tree has spanned more than 150 human generations.” - United Nations Plant For The Planet The Billion Tree Campaign.

 

Trees protect your home by slowing wind speed.

 

Windbreaksare one of the most essential functions of trees and are key in minimizing damage to our homes from storms.The function of windbreaks is to slow wind speed. Trees, even one or two, are very effective as windbreaks, but your choice of species and planting location must be considered carefully. A mix of deciduous trees (those that lose their foliage in winter) and evergreens offer the best protection. If only large evergreens are used, they may allow so little wind to pass through that they take on the qualities of a fence – hurricane strength winds have difficulty passing through, and the force uproots the tree. In my neighborhood, Hurricane Sandy took down the biggest trees, and almost all were pines.

Trees should be planted on the leeward side of your home, which is the side which receives the prevailing winds. This will vary depending upon where you live. At my home in northeast Pennsylvania, most of our storms blow from the South or West, as they usually travel up along the coast of the mid Atlantic or roar in from the midwest.

When choosing trees to serve as windbreaks, look for species that mature at a few feet over the peak of your house – the mature height of every tree is shown on the plant tag at your local garden center. Plan your windbreak so the trees are a sufficient distance from buildings to allow the trees to grow without restriction. I can’t tell you how often I see a beautiful tree like a white pine (popular as Christmas trees) planted only ten feet from someone’s front door. It looks beautiful when the tree is a sapling, but becomes a huge problem in twenty years as it begins to reach maturity, shading out everything around it, blocking the view, and branches and roots butt up against walls and foundation.

On small properties, Arborvitae may be a better choice for wind protection. Some members of this family of shrubs can grow as tall as trees, from 8-60 feet, but don’t have as wide a profile. Arborvitae provide excellent wind protection, as their foliage runs all the way to ground level, but allows wind to pass through, and they don’t have large limbs which break off and create hazards in storms. Arborvitae also make excellent natural fences.

Always choose species of trees or Arborvitae that are native to your area, as they’re adapted to your local climate and will thrive with little maintenance.

 

One large tree can lift up to 100 gallons of water out of the ground and discharge it into the air in a day – North Carolina State University, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.

 

Trees offer protection against soil erosion and intercept storm water runoff.

 

Much of the rain that hits a tree collects in the leaf canopy and bark, where it evaporates back into the air, leaving the rest to drip to the soil below. Tree roots extending 2-3 times beyond the dripline (the area beyond which no water will drip from foliage) absorb much of this water. In fact, the crown of a large tree can intercept so much rainfall that in one year more than 1500 gallons will evaporate back into the atmosphere instead of hitting the ground.

If that tree is removed either intentionally or by a storm, the rainwater is free to run across your property, taking with it topsoil and other beneficial organic matter, eventually dumping it all into your local storm sewer. A properly maintained lawn provides protection from erosion, but little when compared to a tree.

Depending on size and species, a single tree may store 100 gallons or more of water until it reaches its saturation point after one to two inches of rainfall. When multiplied by the number of trees in a community, this interception and redistribution of rainwater can be significant. The slowed water percolates through the soil, finding its way into local aquifers and feeding streams and rivers. Trees also protect your soil from wind erosion – the drying of the soil caused by wind.

 

“Trees properly placed around buildings can reduce air conditioning needs by 30% and save 20-50 percent in energy used for heating.” – USDA Forest Service

 

 

Trees moderate surrounding air and soil temperature.

 

 

What’s better than cooling off on a hot summer day under the dense shade of a beautiful, old Maple tree?That cooling effect also extends to the soil around the tree, keeping insects, worms and bio-organisms happy near the surface, instead of driving them deep below to stay cool. These creatures are brilliant at breaking down organic matter like fallen tree leaves into elements necessary for plant growth, benefiting the lawn and flowers within the shade of the tree.

For the most effective temperature moderation of your home, plant deciduous trees on the south side of your property. The mature tree will cast a cooling shadow on your house on summer afternoons and the absence of foliage in winter allows the sun to warm the house. Once again, be aware of the mature size of the tree when determining planting distance from walls.

Trees clean air and provide oxygen

Trees act as a giant carbon dioxide (CO2) sponge. They require CO2 to perform photosynthesis, and then give us the byproduct of this process, oxygen. This improves the air quality around your home and in your community and is especially important in cities. “A big tree does 60 to 70 times the pollution removal of a small tree,” says David Nowak, a project leader with the U.S. Forest Service’s Northern Research Station in Syracuse, N.Y. It’s estimated that one mature tree, depending on its type, can annually release enough oxygen for a family of four.

Additional benefits of planting trees

Trees planted along your property line can provide privacy and look a whole lot friendlier than a fenceThe U.S. Environmental Protection Agency states that trees can reduce bothersome noise by up to 50% and mask unwanted noises with pleasant, natural soundsTrees nurture birds, beneficial insects and other wildlife, providing resting spots during migration, nesting opportunties, and protection from weather extremesTrees increase the value of your home, as a well landscaped property is more attractive to buyers than a clear cut property

These suggestions for planting trees will offer protection from typical storms. However, with hurricane force winds like those from Sandy, anything can happen, and the best planning may be rendered moot. In my area, Hurricane Sandy’s winds came from the North, an odd direction for us in the fall, but this was no normal storm. The largest trees took the brunt of the 75 mph winds, which is why the power outages were so extreme.

With climate change upon us, it’s predicted that storms such as Sandy will become more frequent. The more natural protection you can provide for your home, the safer you’ll be.

 


Via Giri Kumar, Grace Nakate
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Robert S. Gonzalez's comment, September 3, 2013 1:54 AM
Tress can protect house and people, but if we don't care for it ,it ruins life.
Noor Fatima's comment, October 13, 2013 5:48 AM
yes (y)
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Cherokee Purple: The Story Behind One Of Our Favorite Tomatoes

Cherokee Purple: The Story Behind One Of Our Favorite Tomatoes | Permaculture, Horticulture, Homesteading & Green Technology | Scoop.it

Fortunately for those of us who are suckers for novelty, every year fruits and vegetables seem to come in more bewitching colors, shapes and flavors. In recent years, we've been transfixed by Glass Gem Corn and the vibrant orange Turkish eggplant.

If you go to the farmers market this time of year, tomatoes are strutting their stuff in all sorts of glorious and quirky hues: green striped, white, pink, indigo, even purplish-brown. They boast intriguing names, like Mortgage Lifter, Arkansas Traveler and Pink Berkeley Tie Dye. Some are true heirlooms, passed down over decades or centuries. Others are brand new to the world, the progeny of the latest cross-breeding experiments.

We got to wondering just who, besides farmers, is to thank for this expanding panoply. And we learned that while there are many professional breeders tinkering with the desirable traits that show up in the new varieties, amateur breeders — passionate seed savers and collectors — also play a vital role in discovering fruit and vegetable varieties guarded and nurtured by families over generations. Every now and then, these amateurs convince seed companies that the rest of the world will want to enjoy something they've discovered.

Craig LeHoullier, a retired chemist from Raleigh, N.C., can take credit for introducing us to the Cherokee Purple tomato, one of the most popular heirlooms grown and sold today. You'd be forgiven if your first impression of this fruit, with its ungainly bulges and tones of brown, green and purple, was dismissive. But its flavor consistently knocks socks off, with its balance of sweet, acid and savory — even a hint of smoke.

LeHoullier is — it's fair to say — obsessed with tomatoes and their stories. With more than 3,000 varieties, he has one of the largest personal tomato collections in the country. In his small yard at his home in the Raleigh suburbs, he can grow only 200 plants, so each year he must pore over the collection to decide what makes the cut.

An avid gardener for much of his life, LeHoullier, 59, joined the Seed Savers Exchange in 1986 and began connecting with other gardeners and seed savers to trade tips and favorite varieties.

Soon, LeHoullier had built a reputation as a tomato connoisseur, joining a small group of other hard-core tomato seed savers committed to reviving heirlooms. (Heirlooms are much friendlier to seed saving than the ubiquitous red hybrid tomatoes that dominate the commercial market.)

One day in 1990, a packet of tomato seeds arrived in LeHoullier's mail with a handwritten note. The sender was John Green of Sevierville, Tenn., who wrote that the seeds came from very good tomatoes he'd gotten from a woman who received them from her neighbors. The neighbors said that the varietal had been in their family for 100 years, and that the seeds were originally received from Cherokee Indians.

"It was a question of being in the right place at the right time," says LeHoullier, whose book Epic Tomatoes: How To Select & Grow The Best Varieties Of All Time came out in January. "Green had the forethought to send them to me, hoping that I would love them."

His hunch was correct, and LeHoullier was so impressed with the tomatoes the color of a "bad leg bruise" that he named them Cherokee Purple and sent his friends at a few seed companies some seeds.

"If Craig hadn't said, 'This tomato is really amazing,' I doubt we would have tried it," says Ira Wallace, who coordinates the variety selection for Southern Exposure Seed Exchange, a cooperative seed company that's helped to promote and disseminate many heirloom varieties. "It was an ugly tomato, and before all these heirlooms came along, all we knew were red and yellow tomatoes."

Rob Johnston is the founder and CEO of Johnny's Selected Seeds, another company that got the Cherokee Purple from LeHoullier and now does good business from the seed. Johnston says it's rare that an amateur seed saver discovers a variety that becomes commercially popular, but it's more likely for tomatoes than, say, carrots.

"Tomatoes are always a favorite of seed savers because they're easy to save," says Johnston. "And tomato seeds have long viability, so they might sit in a glass jar in somebody's pantry for many years before someone discovers it and decides to keep growing it." But those purple carrots you might spy at the market? That's the work of professional breeders, says Johnston.

As for the family lore that often accompanies heirloom seeds like the Cherokee Purple? Its accuracy is always hard to judge, says LeHoullier. "It's one of the more fascinating and frustrating aspects of pursuing heirlooms. For the vast majority we have a tantalizing taste of history, but there are always more questions to ask," he says.

As for the Cherokee legend, Joe Brunetti, a horticulturalist with Smithsonian Gardens who manages the Victory Garden at the National Museum of American History, says it's quite conceivable that the Cherokees were growing tomatoes in Tennessee over 100 years ago.

"We grow the Cherokee Purple in the Victory Garden because it tolerates the humidity and diseases here better than the other dark tomatoes," says Brunetti. "That makes sense if it comes from the Tennessee River Valley originally, which is also humid."

And seed savers say discoveries like the Cherokee Purple help preserve not just genetic diversity but also history.

"The stories themselves offer a snapshot of a time and place and region — they're a real wealth of cultural history," says Sara Straate, who leads a project to document the stories behind the seeds in the collection of the Seed Savers Exchange.

In 2015, Seeds of Change, another seed company, made the Cherokee Purple the poster child for its new initiative Save the Flavors, and is giving away free seeds to encourage people to keep heirloom varieties like it going.

A version of this story was first published on Aug. 13, 2013.


Via Kim Frye Housh
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Amaranth | Volunteer Gardener

Amaranth is not only pretty in the garden, but its poised to be the super food of the future. It produces a gluten-free, high-protein grain that's easily digestible.
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How to Fight Big Ag and Start Your Own Seed Bank

How to Fight Big Ag and Start Your Own Seed Bank | Permaculture, Horticulture, Homesteading & Green Technology | Scoop.it
While it’s possible to buy new seeds each season, a fiscally fit gardener knows that cultivating his or her own seeds is nearly as relevant as cultivating the food in their kitchen.
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