BuildingGreen.com founder and Environmental Building News editor Alex Wilson wins Hanley Award for Vision and Leadership in Sustainable Housing.
Eric, Michael and Loren decided to build a winter shelter from natural and re-used materials two winters ago, their first ever natural building experiment. This is an account of that experience that changed their lives in mysterious and unforeseen ways (for the better!).
12 of Morton’s buildings have been awarded the National Frame Building Association’s Building of the Year Award for 2011.
Ann Larkin Hansen of Storey Publishing will present four workshops on sustainable farming and bugs at the Mother Earth News Fair, an annual sustainability festival, June 4-5, 2011 in Puyallup, Wash.
Morton Buildings is a proud ENERGY STAR® partner and also employs LEED Accredited Professionals to assist customers looking to achieve certification.
Recently, I had an epiphany in a building supply center. Even though I’ve been in the building trades for over 35 years and made countless trips to purchase building supplies, this trip was different.
The Architecture 2030 Challenge for Products asks designers and builders to spec materials with lower carbon footprints.
A BIG issue in everyone’s lives today is increasing fuel costs. The seriousness and scope of our energy problems calls for an all-out effort for sustainable solutions, starting as soon as possible.
I had heard there are thousands of new earthen houses in Thailand. That really amazed me, so I set out to learn the details about the modern earth building movement in Thailand.
We finally see walls and a loft floor.
For an investment of less than $10,000 and about a week of labor, you could have a custom workshop, barn, garden shed or office.
What does it take to build truly sustainable houses – the kind people really want and can afford? If you build small and use natural building materials, then most likely you’ll be able to build your own home in a reasonable amount of time for cash.
The countdown to savings is on now at Morton Buildings.
Low-fired brick is a very sustainable building material with low embodied energy. They are made with locally procured clay and fired with rice hulls, a by-product of growing rice. Brickyards are located near urban areas to minimize transport costs.
Here's what it means when a building department requires "sealed drawings" of your project.
Researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Wood Research in Germany have developed a new type of insulating foam.
Building housing projects in developing regions is extremely rewarding, but also quite challenging. It’s prudent to draw ideas from as many resources as possible to improve the process. The following guidelines have proven effective.
The roundwood truss system described here enables DIYers to build their own trusses at very low cost. You can gather truckloads of poles from national forests, enough for several small houses, for the cost of one $25 firewood permit.
An overview of groups, initiatives, planning certifications, and neighborhood developments that promote sustainable communities, including Transition initiatives, ecovillages, One Planet Communities, LEED for Neighborhood Development, and others.
Editor-in-Chief Robyn Griggs Lawrence gets a great dose of green--and cheeseburgers--in Austin, Texas.
Robyn finds enthusiasm for and interest in green building during a recent trip to the Carolinas.
The U.S. Conference of Mayors endorses mandatory green building codes for all new commercial buildings nationwide.
Our favorite natural homes of 2010 range in size and grandiosity, from a 280-square-foot mountain cottage to an urban warehouse-cum-artists’-loft. Every one of them can teach us a lot about living green.
For part three of our 2010 Predictions series, the experts predict that consumers will demand—and create—healthier, more efficient homes. Cool by us.
A Christmas present leads editor-in-chief Robyn Griggs Lawrence to ponder the benefits of green-building initiatives in Arizona.
Expect to see more modular homes, a boom in the green remodeling business and a ton more “green” products when it comes to green building trends in 2010—and be prepared to ask a lot more questions.
The Living Building Challenge provides builders with information and a forum for sharing advice in an effort to promote the highest building standards.
For the past year, I’ve been chronicling the progress of a green-built home here in Boulder, Colorado, where I live, via this blog and accompanying videos. Watching the project unfold has been enlightening for many reasons, not least of which is the opportunity to see firsthand many of the cool technologies we read about and hear about. Sometimes that entails a little sacrifice.
A listing of companies that offer green dwellings in the form of modular, prefab, manufactured, compact, or mobile structures. These days, many such options are available that are not only green, but also beautiful, well-made, and often low-cost.
A cordwood building consists of short, round pieces of wood (think firewood) held together with mortar, and there are many advantages to choosing this type of construction.
Americans equate products made in the USA with sustainability and often choose American-made products over other options, a study finds.
Coporations continue to purchase interests in seed industries. Could this be a problem?
A ForestEthics report calls out the American Forest and Paper Association-backed Sustainable Forestry Initiative label for not protecting forests.
Most American homes are codependent with a lifestyle-support-system of roads, wires, pipes, lines of credit, satellites, and a collective identity determined by the supply side. Yet just about any household budget offers continuing opportunities for creating a healthier, less expensive lifestyle that’s also easier on the environment.
Publisher Bryan Welch's conviction that we need a better vision for our future led him to consider the way we form images, which led him to holograms. Humanity’s perception of its present world and its vision for its future are formed from billions of individual perspectives. Each individual human being possesses a unique vision, a single point in the light field. Each perspective records the person’s place in space and time. Each point of light forms a complete image, a complete vision for the future. When we reproduce the light field projected by those billions of unique visions, we get a three-dimensional picture of humanity’s combined vision. Effectively, we can’t perceive the future in three dimensions without taking into account the entire light field. Find out more about how we can use this idea to create a model for a sustainable future that can be applied across the globe.
In most cases, we can't do all of the things we would like to live more sustainable lives — at least, not all right away. We can all do something, though, and making the choices and taking the steps that we can is an effective, satisfying way to make our lives more self-reliant and better for the planet every day.
Concrete rubble from collapsed buildings is a huge problem in Haiti. It is blocking roads and hindering reconstruction. Instead of spending millions of dollars trucking the rubble away and disposing of it, why not use it to build affordable housing?
Watch this video to learn how a straw bale house goes together from start to finish.
Check out this interesting video showing the construction of the Builders without Borders Straw Bale Eco-House.
Learn how to build a straw bale home by downloading this free guide.
Here are some tips for making a new garage more environmentally friendly.
Mayors from across the country have created an alliance to facilitate green buildings for K-12 schools.
Homeowners beware. Your drywall could be poisoning your home. Officials believe that since 2001, drywall imported from China has contained high levels of sulfur that could be leaking into homes and other buildings.
The U.S. Green Building Council singles out the Forest Stewardship Council as the only trusted wood certifier.
Save forests, use local materials, build a durable house made of whole trees.
Yes, unreinforced masonry is a risk in earthquake zones. Here’s how you can find the earthquake risk for your area, plus tips for making adobe houses more stable.
In response to last week’s post, we received a letter asking why the forest products industry would be considered a “foe” to green buildings. “I can understand why plastics and vinyl doesn’t make sense, but aren’t wood products exactly the kind of material that qualifies as green?” this reader asked.
Sustainsia’s compact, green-built work pod could solve my office needs.
Kids love to build forts and space ships, and create secret places to dream and imagine.
We Westerners tend to think we’ve got it all going on when it comes to green living in general, and green building in particular.
Using low-cost — but durable — earthbag construction, you can create a beautiful green roof.
Here's where you can find or build a press for making compressed earth blocks, and some helpful advice on sealants.
The Boulder, Colorado, green-building program will get a makeover for its second year.
As we continue to watch a zero energy home get built in my hometown of Boulder, Colorado, I’m digging the opportunity to learn more about building materials that I’ve seen in finished form but never in process. I like the
Natural Home is ahead of the most recent trends, highlighted in the National Association of Remodeling Industry’s builder poll.
Learn what it means to have LEED-certified home and about the LEED for Homes program that started in 2008.
This week green building author, architect and Natural Home columnist Carol Venolia dispenses advice on green remodeling during workshops sponsored by Design~Build~Live in Austin, Texas.
The past couple of weeks have been heartening for me. First of all, I’m always ridiculously happy to see the month of March end. No matter what’s going on in my life, the onset of April’s longer days and the sudden burst of plum blossoms in my back yard causes a tectonic shift in my mood. I can’t help it. I’m just completely in love with spring.
The only practical means of creating abundance in our world requires examining the ratio between our capacities and our desires. Our capacities can be measured. Our desires can, presumably, be adjusted to fit within our capacities. And if we fit our desires within our capacities with some room left over then abundance is possible.
If we need a vision for a sustainable future then we need a lot of people to contribute their own ideas and energy to forming and realizing that vision. If we are to attract the energy of millions of people to the task, then we must start with beauty in the frame.
Fairness and repeatability share this essential value: They can be visualized today, even when sustainability cannot. If we make fairness and repeatability part of our criteria for decisions today, they contribute to sustainability in the long-term even if they don’t provide permanent solutions.
The highest goal of politics might be to instill a sense of fairness in society, since that sense of fairness promotes tranquility, productivity and prosperity. The cooperation that undergirds a healthy society — the social contract — is based on a sense of fairness. Without it, a society is unhealthy and unproductive and, ultimately, ceases to exist. As the next big challenges facing our species will be global challenges, considering fairness from a global perspective will be one key to creating true sustainability.
The Monterey Bay Aquarium updates The Super Green List, a guide to helping you choose healthy and safe seafood from more sustainable waters.
Step Forward Paper is a new type of paper made most from wheat straw (80 percent to be exact) with the remaining 20 percent made of Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified wood fiber.
Here's a helpful guide to help you make sustainable choices while shopping or out to eat. What else do you do to support sustainable farming practices?
Look out guys — these women really know what 21st century farming is all about.
Help us discover ways to achieve an affordable sustainable diet.
Decision from the USDA: Farmers won't be allowed to break their CRP contract without penalty.
Wherever you live, you can practice sustainability and share your successes with your neighbors.
Natural Home editor-in-chief Robyn Griggs Lawrence reviews the sustainably minded Fairmont Hotels.
Living luxuriously doesn’t necessarily mean living large — at least not in these homes — and reducing a little waste doesn’t hurt, either.
Consider these simple steps for making your backyard flock-friendly.
Luke Dinan, a young man from Toronto, Ontario, is forging his way towards sustainable living and a self-reliant lifestyle; a path we can appreciate, strive for and maybe contribute to.
The book Toolbox for Sustainable City Living: A Do-It-Ourselves Guide is a collection of skills, tools, and technologies usable by urban residents wanting to have more local access and control over life's essential resources.
Asking if an idea or action is fair and repeatable is one way to determine if it will be useful in building a beautiful, abundant future.
In business, we build a vision of the company at its most successful and we articulate a set of questions to guide us toward that vision. If it works, more or less universally, in business, then why couldn’t we apply it to other large, complex undertakings?
Missoula, MT company awards home owners sustainable products.
KOR Water has announced the reusable Nava filtering water bottle.
Steve explains why building a scale model is such a good way to design homestead structures, and how to do it.
This May 2014, Be the Change Project is attempting to build a cob house in one day with 50 people.
Straw bale and timber frames are highly compatible, beautiful, and the efficiency and longevity of using these natural building techniques is superior in a cold climate setting.
60 people raised a cob house in one day in Reno, Nevada, with the Be the Change Project and House Alive.
For one week, BuildingGreen is offering a free download of an insulation guide, available with a 30-day trial of BuildingGreen Suite.
Treat your building professional as you would want to be treated--and more great advice from contractors and designers who have seen it all.
The DOE and NREL released a study outlining ways to build grocery stories and medium-sized businesses that need 50 percent less energy.
Building Biology advises us to look for a successful history of use when choosing building materials but in our ever changing product-based building environment we seldom have the luxury of evaluating track record. This becomes quickly apparent when vetting new products for client’s homes. I recently called a major manufacturer to find out what was in a new product developed to prevent mold growth on framing lumber.
The bleeding edge of technology is where the true pioneers of their respective industry reside. Adam D. Bearup has had his own impact in the green building field on several fronts, above and below ground.
Learn why it is helpful to have a group of fellow homesteaders, then start a group of your own in your local community.
See green building in action! The third and final season of the Greensburg TV series is scheduled to begin on May 2, 2010.
A review of the Husqvarna hatchet.
A review of hammers of friend Jack Fulton.
Learn more about this building project, which utilizes SIP technology combined with an unusual geometry.
Natural Home editor-in-chief Robyn Griggs Lawrence explains how the new energy and climate legislation that creates opportunities in green building.
Washington, D.C., Nevada and New Mexico see the most LEED-certified green building per capita in 2010.
This current situation is a perfect example of the 80/20 rule of homesteading: 80 percent of your time, energy and effort is spent on maintenance; 20 percent on progress towards the dream. A majority of your time homesteading is spent covered in chicken poop, squashing potato bugs, figuring out why gas isn’t getting to the carburetor in the ATV and shoveling snow after dark by headlamp.
The all-new RZT S ZERO is available in select markets and will be headlining the Cub Cadet Test Drive Experience Tour.
ForestEthics exposes Sustainable Forestry Initiative Greenwash, catalyzing growing corporate trend and grassroots consumer movement to avoid SFI.
This listing links to information resources related to sustainable agriculture, organic farming and gardening, and growing and buying good, safe food.
Sustainably harvested cork creates a beautiful flooring material that’s competitively priced with other kinds of sustainable flooring.
Hello to my new life and good-by to the old.
PBS will air Food, Inc. on TV Wednesday, April 21 at 9 p.m. Eastern.
Seventh Generation commits to using sustainable palm oil in all products by 2012.
We claim to live sustainably if we can harvest or extract the earth’s resources without depleting or permanently damaging them. By that standard, no one in a country that devours coal, oil and water—and uses up a quarter of the earth’s resources—can live sustainably.
Be aware: Living sustainably can be hindered by homeowner association rules.
An interview with the founder of a small organic gardening business that focuses on education and helping gardeners go organic. Learn more about this company and vote for it to win funding from a small business competition.
Manure-spreading day is a big event on the farm, for everyone from the chickens to the border collies. And it's part of a wonderful seasonal cycle that's the foundation of self-reliance and sustainability.
Many sustainable agriculture groups sponsor conferences in the winter. Learn more about these opportunities to continue your learning and broaden your network.
Readers suggest sustainable oyster sources.
Tell the U.S. Department of Agriculture to abandon their efforts to create and enforce a National Animal Identification System. We've made it easy for you with sample wording and directions on where to submit your comments.
How to choose a sustainable flooring product. Review of sustainable flooring used over time and links to more material choices.
Simone Swan built her off-the-grid domed and vaulted home in Presidio, Texas, as a model of how financially and thermally efficient adobe can be. For $50 a square foot, she built a masterpiece. She says you can, too.
How to build a greenhouse of used sliding-glass patio doors that is warmer and less expensive than plastic, and keeps out burrowing animals.
Building community through sharing work and food.
Check out these renewable-energy courses to see if there’s an Evergreen class for you.
Michael Morley's SIPs home project is underway. On Tuesday, March 2, the excavator dug trench footings in at the site.
"Earthen Floors" by Sukita Reay Crimmel and James Thomson provides essential information for creating beautiful floors using natural techniques.
What is the best way to learn cordwood construction? Are there workshops or classes offered?
The fundamental building blocks, descriptions, diagrams and pictures of best practices cordwood buildings.
Learn how to build using the cordwood construction technique. Author Richard Flatau recommends taking a workshop or building a practice building.
The best time for selling your cordwood home. Tips, websites, suggestions, and what to do BEFORE you build.
Just so you don't think it's all fun and games living out here in the country....
This blog post is a description of starting a building project using Structural Insulated Panels, also known as SIPs.
Researchers at the University of Bath are all set to test the efficiency of the HemPod, a building made from a hemp-lime composite.
Michael Morley is making progress on the SIPs home he's building in Lawrence, Kan. The roof is in place and the shell is essentially done.
Know of a group that's doing great work to support your community or have a community-building idea of your own? If you live in the Northeast United States, Green Mountain Coffee and Ashoka's Changemakers are holding the "Revelation to Action" contest to find and help fund the most innovative ideas to bolster communities in the Northeast states.
Build a simple backyard barbecue pit with no more than a shovel and a good cover panel for your next barbecue party.
Small house builder Rich Daniels seeks to cluster 100 homes under 400 square feet in a former sawmill.
Michael Morley's SIPs home project is underway, and despite an unexpected snowstorm, progress has been made on the concrete slab and the risers.
Cam describes the building of his chicken coop.
Your local Habitat for Humanity ReStore is a great place to find inexpensive building supplies and appliances, and you can even donate your leftover supplies when your project is complete. Proceeds from your purchases support Habitat for Humanity and future housing projects.
Learn to build your own Hand-Crafted Log Home
Build your own wood-fired earth oven for baking fluffier, more flavorful bread and other baked delights.
Michael Morley has an exciting update on the house he's building in Lawrence, Kan. The dome is starting to go up!
President Obama plans to help earn the White House LEED certification from the U.S. Green Building Council.
Dan Chiras announces a four-day energy workshop he'll be teaching in Kansas City, Mo.
Most people have at least heard of Habitat for Humanity. But when I dug a little deeper and sifted through the ol’ letters in the attic of the house (so to speak), I uncovered some interesting details.
Recycling building materials from other sources is a great way to cut the cost and reduce the environmental impact of your DIY projects. We want to know where readers go to find reclaimed or used building materials, and how they use these materials in home projects.
I had no idea putting dirt in a box was this difficult.
Building a closet from lumber milled from standing dead trees.
Selecting a tree, reducing it to logs, milling out the logs into lumber and using that lumber for specific projects.
The "Earth Shelter" at The Farm Community in Tennessee combines the geothermal properties of the earth with solar design to produce a very energy efficient home.
As I drive around in my travels, I can't help but notice that most houses have icicles hanging off them. Most of the time, the icicles are there for a very specific reason — a reason that can be fixed. Think of icicles as dollar signs, because that is what they are! This article discusses how we diagnosed a major ice problem on a house in Michigan and what scenarios we cooked up to fix the problem.
Learn about five easy ways for companies to help the environment by implementing a few simple changes to their building and operations.
An introduction to Paula Baker-Laporte's future readers : about Paula, multiple chemical sensitivities, Building Biology and the role of green building in health.
This two-day, alternative building workshop featuring energy expert Dan Chiras will be held March 13-14, 2010 in St. Louis.
Share your thoughts about natural building methods including straw bale building, cordwood construction, earth building and more.
Live in a dome home in this week’s Photo of the Week. Remember to submit your own pictures, and you could be the next Photo of the Week!
This index links to some recent and popular posts related to green building, design, remodeling, and home improvement. The posts cover a broad range of topics, from green products to projects to practices, as well as sustainable communities.
Honey bees, the Boston tragedy, and our power to create the world we’ve been waiting for.
Restaurants in the United Kingdom can be evaluated and accredited based on choices such as purchasing ethical meat and dairy products, choosing fair trade coffee, monitoring energy use, supporting community charities and serving tap water.
Passive solar design comes to Navajo families, as architecture students build homes on Utah reservations.
Animal products provide vitamin B12 in your diet, which is necessary for a healthy nervous system. Learn what and how much you would have to eat to meet your daily B12 need and other considerations for adding animals to a sustainable diet.
Focus on Food records an episode from Chaffin Orchards and discusses sustainable farming and the ethics of eating meat.
For many people, going green seems like a daunting task, but in reality, a few simple lifestyle changes is all you need.
Permaculture is at the heart of the solution of many environmental crises. Permaculture is alive with the possibilities of positive change.
Celebrate meals with homegrown or local food. Tips for making your celebration gatherings zero-waste events.
Jacobs Farm in Santa Cruz, Calif. was recently awarded $1 million in damages for lost income due to pesticide drift.
The Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture’s upcoming annual conference on sustainable farming will focus on how to achieve sustainability in our food system, as well as the future of agriculture in general.
Congress is accused of bait-and-switch tactics when they propose millions in reductions to the conservation-related program assistance that helped pass the 2008 farm bill.
Save time and avoid blisters and burnout by following these common-sense guidelines this leaf season.
Arthur Bolduc shares his story of experiencing life near an Amish community in Ohio, where he enjoyed the exciting process of sorghum production firsthand.
Guest blogger and longtime advocate of sustainable food Gwen Roland reflects on the new popularity of local eating, and highlights some of the innovative local food projects funded by Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) grants.
Secure grant funds for your farmers market, community-supported agriculture program and more by applying to the USDA by April 27.
Cam speaks to a group of university students about "sustainable" development...
Looking for a farming internship or apprenticeship? Search the National Sustainable Agriculture Information Center’s online directory of farming internships and apprenticeships to find one that interests you.
Where is the strange and wonderful place this homesteader describes? And how do you get there?
In 'Organic Mushroom Farming and Mycoremediation,' author Tradd Cotter offers readers an in-depth exploration of best organic mushroom cultivation practices, shares the results of his groundbreaking research, and offers creative ways to apply cultivation skills—whether the goal is to help a community clean up industrial pollution or simply to settle down at the end of the day with a cold Reishi-infused homebrew ale.
John Clark Vincent excerpts from his book Planting A Future: Profiles from Oregon’s New Farm Movement and shares information about new developments in sustainable farming practices coming out of the state of Oregon and the Pacific Northwest. His interests range from seeds to slow food and include pretty much everything in between the two as they relate to Oregon’s sustainable farm movement.
All-natural pork from wild hogs is safe to eat, has wonderful flavor and could feed the world. Here's how to trap them in the wild.
The six owners of Oregon’s Winter Green Farm have effectively navigated the journey from homestead to successful biodynamic farm. This profile of Winter Green Farm has been excerpted from "Planting A Future: Profiles from Oregon’s New Farm Movement."
This is a must see film about the poverty America’s migrant farm workers faced 55 years ago. Although many of these scenes are far from pretty it can be used to inspire and motivate people to support their local and sustainable farms.
While productivity is often the name of the game at large farms, local food, minimal environmental impact and healthy conditions for farm workers also are hot topics today. Yet, our agriculture — and our living — have a greater impact on the environment and the life it supports than these issues alone address.
Sailors for the Sea presents its new Rainy Day Kits teach young sailors to care about marine ecology and the environment with fun, interactive games.
We know why we love heritage breed livestock, but why do you?
Experiences getting started gardening in the 1970's and suggestions for beginning your own projects in 2012.
The workshop series "In Her Shoes: Sustainable Farming for Women, by Women" will provide on-farm, women-led sharing of resources, experiences and inspiration to further connect, encourage and support female organic farmers, entrepreneurs and agricultural leaders. These all-day workshops will be in Wisconsin and Minnesota, and each will cost $20 and include lunch.
ECO360 Trust produces sustainable T-shirts made from 100% recycled PET plastic water bottles. ECO360 Trust is a campaign of the non-profit Institute for Sustainable Communication.
SunRay Kelley’s Gypsy Wagon is an exciting, sustainable home on wheels built from a camper vehicle.
For first-time chicken owners (or even for experienced chicken enthusiasts), selecting, purchasing, and preparing for your home chicken flock can seem like a daunting task. After thirty years of raising chickens, here’s Forrest Pritchard’s personal guide to ensure your new flock remains safely tucked beneath your wing so you can start a flock of chickens without worry.
In addition to raising livestock in a healthy and humane way, one of John and Christine Deck’s goals is to help reestablish family farming as a viable economic endeavor.
Want to Save on Earth-Friendly Products? Check out Worm's Way's sale by clicking on the Earth Week banner at WormsWay.com and enjoy up to 20 percent off your purchases.
In this section you will find stories of real farmers across the country that made it work. You'll find their story, how they did it and who helped them. We hope these stories will inspire and educate new farmers, as well as land owners and community members to become involved in the new agrarian movement. A growing trust.
Recipe for Southern-style shrimp and grits, made with superb Floriani Red Flint grain corn.
The “One Good Chair” competition winners, announced at Winter Las Vegas Market, demonstrate that minimal materials can result in maximum comfort.
The accumulation and storage of hay is an essential summer task.
Elizabeth Van Deventer has been on a quest to find the answer to sustainable farming and an ethical diet most of her life. Follow along as she discovers the impacts of producing tea, palm oil and fruit, and how she eventually settles on a lifestyle that is in tune with the earth and all of its creatures.
The Midwest Organic and Sustainable Education Service (MOSES) hosts its 23rd annual Organic Farming Conference, February 23-25, 2012, at the La Crosse Center in La Crosse, Wis.
If you're searching for kids' playhouse plans, look no further — this whimsical cob building provides an inexpensive child's oasis with a natural cooling system.
I decided to build double 2-by-4 walls to achieve 14-inch thick super-insulated walls. This is just one way of achieving the high R-values for net zero energy homes.
Everything you need to know about avoiding problems when you build or remodel your own house - learn from the mistakes of others and make fewer of your own.
Dan Chiras discusses the long-term benefits of building a green home.
Earlier this month I visited Greensburg, Kan., and toured a few of its many green buildings. Here's what I found.
If you are planning to build a healthy home your first step is to find a site that will support health and here are some helpful tips about siting
A homesteading family undertakes Extreme Home Makeover: Goat Edition at the possible expense of their sanity.
I’m curious about building a straw bale house. What are some good resources to consult?
Step-by-step building instructions for a passive solar greenhouse.
Watch this video to learn how to build tiny home for just $2,000.
Houses take a lifetime to pay off these days, and even a prosaic shed, barn or coop requires a heavy investment of money, time, skilled labour and imported materials. For thousands of years, though, people around the world used an ancient technique to build homes and other structures quickly, using nothing but local material and simple, easily learned skills.
A new building insulation guide is available from NAIMA Canada to assist homeowners in choosing the right insulation for new building and DIY home renovation projects.
Website links to earthbag building projects.
Though he didn’t know exactly how, Cadmon Whitty decided to substantially retrofit his older home with straw bales, making it more energy-efficient, more valuable, and more aesthetically attractive in the process — all on a shoestring budget.
Glimpse a view into the world of cordwood construction. This old-fashioned, natural building technique can inspire you to build an energy-efficient, mortgage-free house of your own.
A video documenting the "One Day Cob House" build in Reno, Nevada.
Cadmon Whitty decided to substantially retrofit his older home with straw bales, beginning with rewiring a home, making it more energy-efficient, more valuable, and more aesthetically attractive in the process — all on a shoestring budget.
Announcing our new webcam that will be showing the latest flock of new born chicks in all their cute and feathery glory.
A key choice was what type of house to build. We aren't in Texas more than a few weeks a year until we make our final move back. We wanted a structure we could enclose to protect the interior from the elements and yet build in stages as time and money allow.
Building a small cordwood cafe in Colorado. A fun project for everyone!
See how a structure made from cob, a form of earthen construction, handles a laboratory shake test.
Having a “green home” means lots of different things. What does it mean to you?
Experiences building a water-saving bath house out of salvaged logs.
Congress is about to pass legislation to ease the worry of homeowner debt, but it's also possible to build your dream home without a mortgage.
Extolling the virtues of salvaging and reusing building materials
BuildingGreen’s 2010 Top 10 Green Building Products list includes a low-flow toilet, composite decking, a high-performing wall system and other products that conserve energy and resources.
GO Home, built by architecture and construction firm G•O Logic LLC, received the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) 2011 LEED for Homes Project of the Year Award.
Today as I was researching Habitat for Humanity, I learned how far its helping hand reaches. Even more interesting to me, though, was that Habitat continues to build in such war-torn counties as Afghanistan and Pakistan.
Made from bamboo, wood and grass seed, this tiny house could be our future.
The International Green Construction Code, an International Code Council initiative, released its first set of green building standards today. Standard 189.1 addresses energy efficiency, site sustainability, materials and resources, and more.
Are you looking for professional training as a solar installer or retailer? Check out this list of workshops available at the American Solar Energy Society's 2009 Conference.
Michael Morley will post regular updates about his progress building a unique green home with structural insulated panels (SIPs). Here, he discusses options for installing a colored concrete floor, and considering whether to install a solar hot water system.
According to the USDA, consumers can feel secure in the accuracy of the biobased claim and can make better informed purchasing decisions.
Moving to a different climate and gardening zone can be a challenge, especially in the high desert. The best approach is to start small and add plenty of organic material.
Part two discusses soil testing and costs associated with building an underground/earth sheltered home. You will see pictures of earth shelter plans and soil testing which you will find nowhere else on the Internet!
Marketing green homes has been limited to few websites with outdated listings that cost the seller or agent an arm and a leg to list. As a homeowner who had invested a lot of money in a green remodel of my own, I was perplexed as to how I was going to show off all the features of my home in a normal MLS listing. With years of research and development, I created a very innovative way to buy, sell, and market sustainable homes.
The last week of the month has been a busy one with are preparations for the ending of winter and the start of a new growing season. We've got some details on a new cover crop and why we choose and simple composting toilet system compared to others.
Talking about the excitement of Anna's new book cover that we got to preview from the publisher this past week and the anxiety of our new born chicks as they go out into the big world. Also have some details on how to make your own cleft graft.
Our experiments with an Alaskan small log mill attached to our chainsaw had variable results making planks from downed trees.
Robert Maxwell explains how to build your own limestone foundation for almost no money.
We heard from a variety of experts about the type and number of batteries to use in our DIY solar setup. Meanwhile, we checked in with the garden and bees.
Finally, we start to take shape.
Talking about how to make a DIY electric fence wire holder and how we got a tailgate transplant for around 150 dollars and some signs of spring.
Did you know that a dirty filter in your HVAC equipment can reduce its efficiency by up to 20 percent? Didyou also know that it is recommended to check your filter every month? Don’t despair!
The full team from thePOOSH.org attended Over the Moon Festival last autumn in the UK and built a beautiful bender as a temporary shelter area and stall.
The Solar Energy Tour is coming to communities all over the U.S. the first weekend of October — learn how to attend an event, or create one yourself.
Some businesses toss around the word "green" to be hip and fit, but the question is just how green are their products and buildings anyways? Let's take a closer look.
To me, the most important features of a sustainable building are not its technological wonders but its simple design features: common-sense strategies that should be incorporated whether the building becomes LEED certified, Energy Star certified, or is just trying to be environmentally friendly.
The Phoenix Commotion gives low-income people trade skills and shelter by teaching them to build their own homes--from garbage. You'd be amazed at what can be used to build a house when the desire and commitment exist.
How to go from buying everything at Wally World to growing organic vegetables, raising livestock, building an efficient home, and a Do-It-Yourself, self-sufficient lifestyle.
Find out which states and countries have the greatest number of LEED Platinum certified projects, and where the Platinum projects are located. Plus, a list of some LEED Platinum rated homes and residential buildings, with links to case studies.
Jim and Julie are starting their homestead in Texas while still living in Australia. Managing the project by remote control is the challenge, and they are learning as they go. This is an adventure of faith and confidence.
An index of previous posts that have referenced green products. These posts have covered building- and home-related products, as well as chocolates, books, and other types of goods. Many of the products mentioned in these posts would make good gifts.
It is a busy time for planting here. Not tomatoes, peppers, or squash, though. We got in our order of trees from the Missouri Conservation Dept. last week. In the past, we had planted mostly walnut, but we have a good enough supply of our own walnut seedlings that we are focusing on native trees that could use a boost to restore the forest to what it once was. So we are planting pecan on the bottom areas, shortleaf pine on ridge tops where the soil is poor, and burr oak on the better upland areas.
It is a regular occurrence, a question we're asked:
Why do we do all this work?
Who would think it’s possible to discover the artist in me, incubate a business, plus milk goats, grow a garden...all in one unforgettable summer. I'm a rich woman by any standard.
How feeding the hungry amounts to action on behalf of a planet on fire with a toxic yang imbalance.
Incorporating charcoal into the soil helped Amazonian farmers grow better crops, and its new industrial version is promoted as a panacea for both agriculture and the global climate. Those claims are not realistic.
“Grow a Sustainable Diet” is an upcoming book (spring, 2014) that helps you plan what to eat and what to grow, feeding you and the Earth while maintaining a small ecological footprint.
Every now and then we need to re-evaluate our thoughts, just as we re-evaluate our things. Learn about making cloth Christmas gift bags and find out how walking barefoot in the grass is good for you.
With just about every breed of standard bred, heritage poultry, we have work to do. They are not producing like they once were.
"The Farm Then and Now" by Douglas Stevenson tells the story of The Farm: an intentional community that has defied the odds, blending idealism with a practical approach to create a model for sustainable living.
While you may already look for eco-friendly organic wine when you select a bottle, you're probably not aware of the environmental implications of opting for a wine closed with natural cork in lieu of a less sustainable synthetic stopper.
Reynaldo Ochoa, the subject of a new short film, grows with a goal of teaching and practicing permaculture unique to an individual's region, emphasizing sustainable farming as opposed to “slash and burn” agriculture.
Organic gardeners often need to remove mammal pests such as groundhogs and raccoons. Like many, I use live traps. How to deal with a skunk you accidentally catch, without getting sprayed?
If you’re getting ready to build a home or begin a woodworking project, consider building with sustainable wood products. With help from the Sustainable Forestry Initiative and the Forest Stewardship Council databases, you can locate sustainably harvested wood.
Daniel Sheridan found a way to turn children's energy into electrical power with a see-saw that generates electricity. The see-saw should generate enough electricity to light a classroom for a whole evening after only five to 10 minutes of use.
It's hard to shop responsibly sometimes, especially for meat. There are so many different label claims that it's hard to remember which are meaningful and which are just fluff. Here's a handy reference card that will give more power to your purchases.
Worldwide fish consumption is at an all-time high, so take action by eating only sustainably harvested seafood from ethical sources.
The Rainforest Alliance Certified seal has been popping up on coffee, tea, cocoa and fruit products all over the world. So what exactly does this certification signify? We’ve investigated.
Our work in the woods starts long before we get the chainsaw and axe out; by being in the woods, observing and contemplating. We're looking for healthy trees that we can help to thrive and that will be of benefit in the future.
Beginning July 1, 2011 and continuing for the next five months, legal residents of the U.S. and Canada can enter to win a five-year lease of a New Holland Boomer 30 compact tractor and loader with the industry-leading Boomer Guard5.
This rustic, resourcefully sustainable dog fence fits right into the landscape. Before you install a fence, look around your place first to see what's already available.
I briefly describe my journey from a kid on a large 2000 acre alfalfa farm in the west to a homestead beekeeper in the midwest, on our 35 acres that we call BeeLanding.
Managing compost now allows for more productive use the following season.
Even after 15 years, Cam still loves heating his home with wood that he cuts himself.
Managing Cover Crops Profitably, 3rd Edition, is now available in print and by download from the Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education program. Learn how to make your soil perform at its very best!
Weeding in the summer is all about species maintenance
Cities, counties and states across the country have created food policy councils in response to their concerns about future food security in their communities. The councils work to coordinate local food efforts, such as farmers markets, to develop a sustainable food system.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture is seeking comments on how to implement the new Conservation Stewardship Program. Here's the lowdown, plus instructions on how to submit your opinion — it's easy!
Pass the cold, wintry months with warm thoughts of how you can eat more local food while supporting sustainable agriculture this coming season.
The National Animal Identification Plan will be easily implemented by large factory farms, but it means trouble for smaller operations. Will the system really keep us safe from disease, or will industrial ag and tracking system manufacturers be the only beneficiaries?
Cam describes why his method of harvesting firewood from his woodlot is the most sustainable way.
Could you eat only food grown within 100 miles of your home for 10 days?
Learn more about this challenge and why you should consider taking it on.
In Farming the Woods, authors Ken Mudge and Steve Gabriel teach readers how to fill forests with food by viewing agriculture from a remarkably different perspective: that a healthy forest can be maintained while growing a wide range of food, medicinal, and other non timber products. Forest farming is an invaluable practice to integrate into any farm or homestead, especially as the need for unique value-added products and supplemental income becomes increasingly important for farmers.
Mary Quinn Doyle shares a background about how she became involved in a volunteer project traveling around Maine for over two years visiting over 180 unique farms to take photos and write stories about them for an educational book and website.
Learn about the different types of earth-sheltered homes and why you should consider digging in the ground to find your next residence.
Originally founded as a homestead in 1980 by Jack Gray and Mary Jo Wade, Winter Green Farm has grown to become a successful biodynamic farm in Oregon’s southern Willamette Valley. This profile of Winter Green Farm has been excerpted from "Planting A Future: Profiles from Oregon’s New Farm Movement."
Farmers markets are becoming more common every day, but many fail after a year or so, and others are having trouble getting off the ground. Here are a few ideas from a couple of long-time Oregon farmers market pros that might help keep your market going strong.
Our quest to make pasture egg collection more efficient.
While conservation is neccessary for providing for an ever-growing human population, it alone cannot solve our problems. In fact, it may distract us from the real issue at hand.
Doug Van Haitsma of the Mon Valley Initiative will present a workshop on micro farms at the Mother Earth News Fair, an annual sustainability festival, September 24-25, 2011 in Seven Springs, Pa.
Self-dubbed “lunatic farmer” Joel Salatin describes how sustainable living and more conscientious agricultural practices can mend and revive a planet pushed near the brink.
Rene' Skaggs of the Pierce Conservation District will present a workshop on increasing pasture productivity at the Mother Earth News Fair, an annual sustainability festival, June 4-5, 2011 in Puyallup, Wash.
Christy Hemenway of Gold Star Honeybees will present a workshop on beekeeping at the Mother Earth News Fair, an annual sustainability festival, June 4-5, 2011 in Puyallup, Wash.
Daniel Kosel of Red Poll Cattle will present a workshop on Red Poll Cattle Ranching at the Mother Earth News Fair, an annual sustainability festival, June 4-5, 2011 in Puyallup, Wash.
Joel Salatin of Polyface Farms will present a workshop on localized food systems and pastured livestock at the Mother Earth News Fair, an annual sustainability festival, June 4-5, 2011 in Puyallup, Wash.
Kirk Haffner, solar power expert, and Jeff Swotek of the USDA will present workshops on solar power and USDA programs at the Mother Earth News Fair, an annual sustainability festival, June 4-5, 2011 in Puyallup, Wash.
Darrel Frey, permaculture specialist, will present workshops on permaculture and bioshelter design at the Mother Earth News Fair, an annual sustainability festival, June 4-5, 2011 in Puyallup, Wash.
Cheryl "the Pig Lady" Ouellette will present workshops on meat processing, growing meat for market, free-range pork, and growing what you love at the Mother Earth News Fair, an annual sustainability festival, June 4-5, 2011 in Puyallup, Wash.
Steven Moize of the American Livestock Breeds Conservancy will present a workshop on rotational grazing at the Mother Earth News Fair, an annual sustainability festival, June 4-5, 2011 in Puyallup, Wash.
The new home for Friends School of Portland will be only the third school in the United States to achieve Passive House certification.
What is Pesticide Drift? “Pesticide drift” is the movement of a pesticide through the air away from the intended target. You might actually see the drift in the form of a mist. You may smell it. But it can be invisible and odorless. The spray may be applied from the back of a tractor — referred to as a “rig.” Or it may be applied from a spray plane or helicopter.
A new approach to conventional agriculture would unite not only row crops and prairie plants, but farmers and environmentalists.
Learn how to use less energy canning tomato products.
With an understanding of your limitations, you can operate more safely and efficiently. Training in timber cutting techniques can greatly expand your capabilities
A wedding using homegrown and local food and no disposable items. Decorations were things already on hand. The ceremony took place in a field and the reception was in a barn...and there was love-lots of it!
Grow to fill yourself up from your garden. Potatoes will give you the most calories in the least space and are an important part of a sustainable diet.
My brief discription of sustainable beekeeping
A quick look at different ways to be sustainable whether you are off grid or not.
Thoughts on growing all your own food. How much space is required and other things to consider.
Our humble abode begins to take shape.
Regeneration of trees on a harvested area give hope for generations to come.
With extensive training behind them, Rowan Steele and Katie Coppoletta make the choices that lead them to begin farming at Fiddlehead Farm in Corbett, Oregon.
Rowan Steele and Katie Coppoletta have embraced the profession of farming and, in turn, have discovered a way of living that suits them perfectly at Fiddlehead Farm in Corbett, Oregon.
Adaptive Seeds, originally inspired by an international seed sharing project, sells public domain, open pollinated seeds. Most of its seed is adapted to the Pacific Northwest and similar season northern climates.
Adaptive Seeds, inspired by an international seed sharing project, sells public-domain, open-pollinated seeds. In Part 2 of their profile, Sarah Kleeger and Andrew Still commit to Adaptive Seeds full-time.
In addition to raising livestock in a healthy and humane way, a major goal of John and Christine Deck and their children is to help reestablish family farming as a viable economic endeavor. Part 2 looks at the challenges faced when kids leave home.
Pruning perennials is essential for plant health and vigorous production.
There are various means for developing an edible landscape.
The Sustainable Poultry Network and Western Piedmont Community College have combined forces to create the American School of Sustainable Poultry Husbandry, an intensive poultry workshop for anyone interested in poultry production, marketing, breeding, hatching, cooking, etc.
A few months back I heard a comment on an NPR radio program that really caught my attention. The program was about the local food movement and at one point the guest on the show said, “Now remember - just because it’s local doesn’t necessarily mean it has a smaller carbon footprint. That Argentinian apple that was shipped on a barge with thousands of tons of other apples may actually have required less fuel per apple than the apple than came from a few hundred miles away in the back on a farmer’s pickup.”
The place I call home these days is The FarmSchool, a fertile 180-acre strip of ridge top in Athol, where 15 student-farmers are spending a year learning the ins and outs of growing food, managing forests, and raising animals for meat. I arrived at the farm in October, just as the leaves were reaching their peak brilliance. The Farm School — which offers three-day programs for schoolchildren, a summer camp, a full-time middle school, and the apprenticeship program I’m in — takes us through all seasons of farming, weaving together class work and on-farm training.
Cuba's bike transformation was the result of a change in context induced by external forces. It was a disruptive event that forced them to adapt. Here in America, a land of such excess, no such sudden disruption looms (nor could it be predicted, I believe). Our transportation context is centered on the car. Our culture and economy are “driven” by the car. So, how do we create a culture of transportation that is dominated by bicycles?
The U.S. Green Building Council's Project of the Year is a small, urban home built for $100 per square foot.
Everything you need to know about avoiding problems when you build or remodel your own house. Learn from the mistakes of others and make fewer of your own.
Get an introduction to Building Biology, the science and philosophy of healthy and ecological building that originated in Germany 60 years ago.
Learn how to create a yoga studio that enhances your practice and your health.
Courses in solar energy taken through The Evergreen Institute now apply toward the Midwest Renewable Energy Association’s site assessor certificates.
Enacting a law requiring builders to orient new homes toward the sun would drastically reduce home energy costs and greenhouse gas emissions.
Although forced air is the most common form of home heat in North America it is far from ideal. This article explains why Building Biology regards the masonry heater as the ultimate heating system for health, comfort and ecology.
Whether I'm in the market for something funky or just a few bricks for the garden, I always visit Boulder ReSource first. Check out this expert's tips on mining your local salvage yard for gems.
Some examples of passive solar design applied to homes in the southeast, where cooling, as well as heating, is a concern.
“Green,” sustainable homes that deliver low cost of ownership.
Discount pricing on all Morton buildings now through February.
Jessica features Dan Phillips, Phoenix Commotion founder and builder of fascinating houses made with reclaimed materials.
Americans continue to believe that green homes make a difference--but they need to be more affordable.
Michael Morley is posting regular updates about his progress building a unique green home with structural insulated panels (SIPs). Here he talks about HVAC work and installing windows.
Discussion of some of the first log building tools you will need to build a log home — debarking spuds and drawknives.
Dan Chiras of The Evergreen Institute invites readers to attend a one-day conference on the future of building in Wichita, Kansas.
Willis Tower in Chicago, the tallest building in the Western Hemisphere, gets new windows that could generate up to 2 megawatts of solar power.
Green Builder Media’s Vision and ReVision Houses highlight energy efficiency, water conservation, waste management, indoor air quality and great new green materials.
Custom Curve is the first glass window system with a structurally engineered framework that follows the curved wall of the yurt.
To build Finca Exotica, a sustainable resort on Costa Rica's Osa Peninsula, the owners took advantage of plentiful native bamboo, kept the footprint small and let buildings unfold organically.
Soil Life is an all-natural, organic blend of microbes designed to enhance the nutritive value of soil in all growing conditions.
The Lehigh Valley Green Builders is presenting its third annual Green Home and Building Expo.
After Greensburg was destroyed in 2007, the citizens of Greensburg, with the help of GreenTown, have invested in green building for a better tomorrow.
The work invovlve in tranforming a house that wastes energy into a house that's 50%-95% more energy efficient is called a "deep energy retrofit." We need to find ways to do more of these to save energy, money and the environment.
Guy and Kay Baker and their three sons spent five years building a small weekend cabin in Alabama from scraps and salvage. When the 1,100-square feet house was complete, they loved it so much they made it their permanent home.
Finca Exotica is ideal for travelers who want to immerse themselves in the Osa Peninsula's bounty and learn about permaculture and sustainable building.
Humanure management for maximum nutrient secuestration and minimum resource loss.
Before winter's chill starts to compromise comfort and elevate home energy bills, there are 5 energy-saving upgrades you can complete.
I love my two-story log cabin, which combines recycled and an array of green building materials.
There is an ideal relative humidity range for our health and that is somewhere between 35% and 55%. In modern life we have introduced many new sources of moisture into our homes. Daily showers, laundry, cooking and dishwashing tend to create concentrated bursts of humidity. Because conventional construction can tolerate very little increase in humidity without condensation/mold problems moisture from these sources must be mechanically sucked out of the home.
There are multiple philosophies that describe what characterizes a green home, but all have low energy loads in common.
We're using earthbags and straw bales to construct an efficient, cost-effective, and roomy earthbag root cellar.
This variation on the (endlessly adaptable) traditional Mongolian yurt design was inspired by the work of master yurt builder, educator, and homesteader Bill Coperthwaite (who was also a neighbor and friend of the Nearings). This low-cost yurt design combines basketry, wattle and daub, and basic lashing (similar to skin-on-frame boats). Not much more than a glorified tent, this DIY yurt made from sticks, string and mud makes a very comfortable, durable and beautiful tiny house, studio, or meditation space.
If you want to own property, you have to find a way to finance buying land. Here, one couple explains how they took out a mortgage to build a home and purchase land.
Finally getting the barn roof repair project started was a big deal for us as well as a few other things that are worth checking out if you are interested in modern homesteading.
Frontier Natural Products Co-op announced today that it has been awarded LEED Silver certification for a major renovation at its manufacturing facility.
A discussion of three power tools to prep your logs or timbers for building.
New photos of Lloyd House's Leaf House
One couple recounts how they pursued a land zoning waiver in order to secure a building permit on their recently purchased rural property.
Before beginning construction on their new home, one couple assesses which renewable energy sources make sense for their location and situation.
D Acres offers alternative economics. We are the 99&: join us.
Two years ago, the Natural Home & Garden staff had the honor of decorating President Obama's guest house with sustainable and handmade holiday decor. Try some of these "president-approved" projects yourself!
So, what makes a flock of poultry sustainable? What is standard-bred poultry? If you purchase chicks from a hatchery, are they true to the breed? Why does every hatchery sell Rhode Island Reds and they all look different? Why do the Cornish Cross meat chickens have so many problems? Raising standard poultry is the only true way to improve the sustainability of quality local food while preserving the strength of Heritage poultry.
Don’t miss these featured documentaries showing on PBS’s Earth Day programming.
It was becoming pretty obvious the crowding and lack of light were real limitations to my mini garden. Then, the idea of a trough on the windowsill came to mind, combining a way to water all the plants uniformly and efficiently all at once. Great, now how to make this trough? Wood? Sheet metal? The choices all seemed expensive, clumsy, prone to leaking...then the light bulb went on in my head: gutters!
A 3-part series on sustainable comfort systems for heating and cooling homes using passive solar design, solar electric power, system controllers and newly popular heat pump technology.
Steve explains how one practical guy invented a way to burn pellets efficiently without an expensive pellet stove
Monsanto's Roundup Ready system transformed typical weed problems into a national superweed crisis, only healthy farms can correct the damage done.
Leading food sovereignty activist Vandana Shiva will present “Cultivating Diversity, Freedom and Hope” in Kansas City. Many other farming and gardening workshops and events are planned for April 17-18, 2014.
In Kenya, even for middle class families, much of what ends up on the dinner table is grown or raised at home. With food prices rising, more and more Americans are looking towards ways of growing some of what ends up on their table at home. Both in terms of personal health, and the environment, this is a very good trend—it's a food source as local as you can get.
The Farm Aid concert is a chance for us to shine a spotlight on these people who work every day to put good food on our tables.
One of our "14 Sustainable Food Companies You Can Trust," Plum Organics is good for your baby's health and the health of the planet.
Maddy Harland writes about principles that underpin our understanding and practical application of permaculture. She relates them to designing a green home and garden but also explains how permaculture can help us to create more sustainable lifestyle
Transitioning seedlings from indoor starts to outdoor plants
Homestead skills of yogurt-making and bread-baking increase your independence from grocery store aisles and international food conglomerates.
Now's the time to redouble our efforts to tap into energy efficiency. The potential is huge and the benefits are even greater.
Monsanto, the world’s largest producer of genetically modified seeds and the toxic herbicides used to drench them, is calling itself a supporter of sustainability. You’re kidding, right?
Take a photographic tour of Finca Bella Vista, a sustainable treehouse community in Costa Rica.
This blog post tells what life was like on the self-sustaining farm of Olen and Anna Mae Showman located in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia during the middle of the 20th century.
Sustainable farming expert Michael Pollan has some words of wisdom for the next president of the United States.
Harvesting abundance in the early spring.
Laundry detergent manufacturer reduces plastic by 66 percent in new easier-to-recycle bottles made from recycled cardboard and newspaper.
Taking care of compost is essential to healthy soil and good food.
Monitoring energy use has led to increased motivation for conservation
Use of a mobile chicken tractors allows us to keep the birds on fresh ground and stay on top of the weeds.
Finca Luna Nueva in Costa Rica’s verdant San Carlos agricultural region is a dynamic, living example of permaculture and biodynamic farming, where every being is part of a system that nurtures the body and the soul.
Starting flats of seedlings begins this year's growing season.
Relax: HR 875 isn't a bill to outlaw organic farming, as you might have heard. But it's not exactly good news for pesticide-free producers, either. Here are the details.
Solar Energy International (SEI), the National Wildlife Refuge System, and the National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service all offer events to educate participants in varying pursuits. This blog provides links to activity calendars and workshop schedules.
Sandy Boyce's sauerkraut was a hit, selling out each week, until her county health department asked her to stop. Across the nation, regulations can prevent small-time home producers from distributing their 'cottage foods' to the public.
Farms which have earned Rainforest Alliance certification go beyond conserving the environment and improving the lives and livelihoods of farm workers; they also help to curb climate change.
Engineer Venkappa Gani leads by example when it comes to sustainable living. His entire backyard is an organic garden, an edible landscape that borders his rainwater harvesting tank collectors overlooked by solar panels that power his home (and more!). Gani is dedicated to sustainability, a word he lives by everyday at his suburban home in Austin, Texas.
More on the much-feared food safety bill, HR 875, and its Congressional counterparts.
Animal Husbandry tent experiences from Day 1 of 2011 Mother Earth News Fair.
Aside from the great stage presentations, the exhibitor booths have a lot to offer FAIR attendees.
A three-part series on sustainable comfort systems for heating and cooling homes using passive solar design, solar electric power, system controllers and newly popular heat pump technology.
According to FDA data, the quantity of antibiotics sold for livestock use in this country continues to rise, topping 29 million pounds in 2011. This has a direct effect on the efficacy these same drugs will have on us. Sam Spitz has personal experience with a resistant illness and FamilyFarmed.org asked him to tell his story. It’s a cautionary tale that should have us all making better food choices. Read how we can all influence the campaign to end the misuse of antibiotics in livestock and keep antibiotics working for us when we need them!
are at the vanguard of thoughtful sourcing, choosing local, sustainable farms
and cooking seasonally.
While many of those visiting our Hostel are farmers and homesteaders themselves, some come from that “city culture” and seem to take their first hesitant steps outside of a flatly paved driveway when they arrive at our place. Wide eyes, a sense of adventure.
Eat carrots from your garden all winter! A little planning goes a long way toward more food with less work. Learn how to start with a winter cover crop of rye, with carrots following next in the rotation, maturing by the time the first frost.
One of my earliest vivid childhood memories is sitting on my father’s lap as a young girl reading the magazine together in the 1980s and all throughout my childhood. He would read aloud while I studied the pictures of passive solar building, vegetable gardening, sheep shearing, building your own sugar shack and the beautiful array of topics which he read to me frequently. Those images, along with the camping trips in the mountains, the whitewater and canoeing excursions, and our family trip to Alaska, have been etched in the catacombs of my childhood memories and have sculpted the person I have grown to become.
Solar drying experiences in 2012, including tomato varieties Principe Borghese and Long Tom.
Set up a washing station in your garden. Rinse your veggies there, saving the water for the garden and keeping your kitchen clean.
Learn about using the Piteba to press your own homegrown oil.
Book reviews by permaculture educator Cindy Conner. Learn about Sustainable Market Farming, The Art of Fermentation, The Permaculture Handbook, and The Small-Scale Poultry Flock.
Begin your garden planning with what,and particularly how much, you want to eat. Take a look at what you are eating now and go from there.
Both organic and local food are important if we want to eat nutritious and delicious food. Furthermore, our current food system is in jeapordy because petroleum and water supplies are dwindling and climate change is resulting in more extreme weather.
Let's stop for a minute and think about what we are doing!
Turning liabilities into assests.
There are two situations which do not require you to be heating your home: when it is warm and when you are not at home. Since it is still a bit chilly outside, you may want to consider setting up a routine of turning down the set temperature on your thermostat when you head out in the morning and when you go to bed.
Soy is currently the leading source of protein in most animal diets, but mealworms offer a more efficient and sustainable alternative.
In this blog, my architect James Plagmann and I begin to tell the story of the construction of Dan's new net zero energy homes. Dan begins by laying the ground, defining a few terms and describing his experience in this field.
An amazing, off-the-grid Welsh hobbit house was built in less than four months and for less than $5,000.
The Evergreen Institute's application to provide continuing education for LEED accredited professionals has been approved by the U.S. Green Building Council. A variety of workshops meeting required standards are now available for those interested in anything from solar electricity to straw bale construction.
Community food events are an outstanding way to share the abundance of our harvest and strengthen local community ties.
EU's ban of five chemicals commonly used in building materials will "shake up the industry," Healthy Building Network official predicts.
Eating cicadas, building a porch, and hauling lumber for said porch all in the same week with several images of the action as well as some bee installation pictures.
Our process of buying the land for our homestead had little to do with logic and a lot to do with emotion. For me, it was a chance to return to the plains where I grew up and be close to family.
Here is yet another possible building project presented to you which requires no formal training, very little money, and techniques/methods that anyone can use. This blog intends to inspire you to take on a natural building project like this one. Don´t have fear if this is your first time working with these techniques and materials — it often for us also! Swattlesfield Campground is frequented by many kinds of people for various reasons. The owner, Jonathan, wanted to introduce some activity which would draw people together. We had the perfect idea: pizza! Food, especially food that requires waiting, has a tendency to attract people. And once humans have a good reason to be in the same place, the rest (socialization) has a tendency to just work.
Heating water is the highest drain that laundry machines and dishwashers have on your bill. Onaverage, water heating accounts for 18 percent of your energy bill.
Adzes and broad axes have been used for centuries in log cabin building. Learn a bit about what these tools do and how to use them.
We received some good additional tips on buying land and building a home. These pieces of advice are a roundup of comments taken from the MOTHER EARTH NEWS Facebook page.
Before beginning construction on their new home, this couple is taking steps to prepare their land for their impending move-in by planting perennial natives, building some walking trails, cutting firewood to dry, and more. They’re having a blast!
Urban food forests and public gardens provide communities with an edible landscape for everyone to share. These public fruit forests are the new trend in urban agriculture and play an important role as sustainable local food systems in their communities.
Ordering bees in January doesn't seem to make sense, until you understand that April is the cruelest month. Plus, if you order bees in January, and then you don't need them - that's just a reason to celebrate! Order early!
These money- and waste-saving alternatives to paper and plastic products eliminate the temptation to resort to disposable for your summertime outdoor dining needs.
When we stayed on an organic farm in Costa Rica, my kids and I experienced the beauty of self-sufficiency and saw how truly sustainable development benefits the local community as well as the global one. Mostly, we miss the homemade butter.
Looking ahead to spring, we're using these long days to plan a rootstock order of perennial trees, shrubs, and herbs.
Shocked that nearly everything in their Dallas home was made overseas, a family starts over and furnishes their home only with items made in the USA. ABC News challenges everyone to take a pledge to purchase products made in America.
A winter thaw inspires starting the first seeds of the season - indoors, of course: kale, chard, and spinach to start.
As winter descends a three-season hoop house is weeded, compost spread, and a straw mulch applied. Next spring will be here soon.
This post is about winterizing a colony of bees naturaly, using ideas and tips that we at BeeLanding have learned from nature.
Read about methods to utilize animal- and human- power for trimming the lawn and keeping back weeds, all free of fossil fuels.
What’s your idea of a delicious and wholesome breakfast? A fluffy, organic egg omelet made with fresh vegetables? Perhaps scrambled eggs and roasted garden veggies? No matter what your preference, it may surprise you to learn the link between the
Once a barren wasteland destroyed-like much of Costa Rica's land--by decades of cattle ranching, Rancho Margot is now a verdant and productive paradise. Find out how the Sostheim family has accomplished this in just seven years.
Many criticize eliminating coal mining in West Virginia because of the amount of jobs the sector provides. A wind farm, however, would employ over 200 local residents during the two-year construction phase, and create 40-50 permanent maintenance jobs afterward. A wind farm would also allow the mountain to be used for other purposes, like sustainable forestry, mountain harvesting, and gathering of wild forest plants, creating additional jobs and the opportunity for stable income for locals.
Monticello's Heritage Harvest Festival inspired us to keep at those challenges that frustrate us on the farm.
Docking of dairy cows serves no purpose and causes pain and discomfort for the
Jim and Holly Smith, founders of Today’s Abundant Living, sent us this great review of a Homesteading Education Month open house and country skills workshop they hosted at their Michigan homestead.
Eating only homegrown foods on the Fridays in Lent.
As a third-party certifier, the Rainforest Alliance ensures that farms and forests are sustainable environmentally, socially and economically. The green frog seal and the FSC logo have become widely recognized, credible symbols of sustainability.
Cover crops are grown between planting seasons as a way to give back to the soil what cultivation takes from it. And cover crops aren’t just for large-scale growers—they can help you get the most out of your backyard vegetable garden too!
To build a net zero energy home, you'll need to design for passive gain. That requires a shallower footprint to ensure that the low-angled winter sun can enter and heat each room.
Insulation under the slab -- and lots of it -- is vital for the performance of a net zero energy home. So is the footprint. You can make the most of passive solar by creating a longer, narrower house in which each room is heated by the sun.
Be sure to install under-the-footing conduit to run electrical and water pipes, including sewer. I like to run pipes and wire under the foot to prevent penetrating the band joist or the foundation to create a more airtight, water tight home.
Don't forget to budget in the cost of deeper excavation and add $1000 to $2000 as a budget contingecy in case you run into bedrock.
Insulating concrete forms are an excellent choice for foundations for passive solar, net zero energy homes. They create a highly insulated, air-tight foundation, so essential for extremely high energy performance.
ICFs are not the most environmentally friendly green building product, but result in super energy efficient home, and offer many other benefits, that offset their origin from petrochemicals.
ICF walls must be carefully braced to prevent blowout.
Creating a net zero energy home requires that we eliminate all thermal bridging loss -- heat movement into and out of a building. All this starts in the basement.
Precision Engineering www.structure1.com has generously provided drawings and specifications for building earthbag structures in seismic areas to meet code. The documents have been combined into one 6-page PDF and are now available online.
Crushing a truck, harvesting garlic, and fixing a broken flywheel shaft key are just a few of the things that got done over the last week at WaldenEffect.org complete with photos of all the juicy stuff.
Bryan Welch's book, Beautiful and Abundant, provides a framework for understanding and evaluating ecotourism's impact on Costa Rica's Osa Peninsula.
When a fire destroyed their home and office near San Luis Obispo, Ken Haggard and Polly Cooper seized the opportunity to build the off-the-grid straw bale home of their dreams. Their comfortable compound now houses two other families as well.
Earthbag building has just received engineering approval. This is probably the greatest news ever for earthbag building. With engineer-approved plans, we see unlimited potential for earthbag building for homes, shops, schools, you name it.
This article describes an alternative roof design for those building in areas without building codes. A little extra effort working with poles will reward you with a stunningly beautiful wood ceiling and superinsulated roof at very reasonable cost.
The earthbag/geotextile basement wall system described here has excellent potential to save on initial construction costs and long-term energy costs. No concrete is used. The same principles have been used to build retaining walls for decades.
One of the greatest needs in the world is disaster resistant housing – houses that can hold up against hurricanes, earthquakes and other natural disasters. Properly designed structures can save millions of lives and millions of structures every year.
Three-day workshop announcement on net zero energy homes by leading authority on energy efficiency and renewable energy, Dan Chiras. Learn how to reduce your utility bill through conservation, effriciency, & clean, affordable, renewable energy.
Building homes using dangerous and impactful industrial chemicals--in the name of energy efficiency--is not sustainable or ecological, a green building veteran says. His Health-Based Building model is an important step forward for green design.
Describing how we are trying to provide a low budget solar panel back up system for under 1000 dollars that will run our laptops and router along with a few other things if the local power grid has any issues.
One of the best ways to learn about green homes is to explore real-world examples--by touring homes or reading about them online. This article links to free online collections of case studies and in-depth profiles of green homes.
From a home built into a cliff to a home built out from laundry soap boxes, these homes prove how fun and satisfying it is to push the conventional edge. It's your house. Create whatever you want.
Swamp Hut is a complex of four 8-by-12-foot huts surrounding a deck with a fireplace. This an off-the-grid, light-on-the-land summer getaway could easily be replicated in your favorite vacation spot.
Sauerkraut is an effective and delicious way to store cabbage and add something "fresh" to the winter months
Ira Wallace explores good winter gardening reads, gives advice on how to use the winter lull wisely to plan and prepare, and shares an update in the ongoing court battle to protect family farmers from agri-giant Monsanto.
Forget the time and money that goes into conventional giftwrap. Use these inspirational ideas to wrap lovely gifts with materials otherwise bound for the recycling bin.
A list of links to orgs, associations, websites, books, and other resources related to local economies, community resilience, green business, corporate social responsibility, green jobs, environmental and social entrepreneurship, and investment.
If you have access to small diameter trees and wood pallets, and live in an area not restricted by building codes, then this truss design is one good low cost roof option. If you do all the work yourself, these trusses are virtually free.
In this blog, I describe two of the first and most important design considerations -- the length and depth of the home and the layout of rooms for optimum passive solar gain.
Scaffolding is required to access the walls to pour the concrete. Scaffolding also helps support the walls.
Additional reinforcement is required around the garage door opening.
Scott Davis’ “Solar Projects, Big and Small” video offers inspiration for both solar energy enthusiasts and folks who are just curious. Tips and advice pertaining to solar energy can be found at the Yahoo! group Simply Solar, and you can make your dream project a reality with Gary Reysa’s instructions.
Check out this roundup of 10 favorite sustainable gifts for the gardeners on your list — all under $50!
The Obama Administration releases its plans for new renewable energy sources. Ken Salazar, Secretary of the Interior, explains that the new solar energy zones span six states and keep both domestic energy and environmental preservation in mind. If completed, the power generated from these solar energy zones would provide electricity to roughly seven-million homes.
A 3-part series on sustainable comfort systems for heating and cooling homes using passive solar design, solar electric power, system controllers and newly popular heat pump technology.
Simran Sethi explores resolutions for healthy eating and offers a resource, The Cleaner Plate Club.
Simran Sethi enjoys the fruits of late summer at a local farm dinner.
Simran Sethi looks back at her New Year's resolution: to nourish herself.