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's something positive to blame on the recession: Less trash is going into the landfill. Natural Home editor-in-chief Robyn Griggs Lawrence takes a look at the changing American throwaway culture.
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.
Bulk food sales rose 15 percent in 2009 and are expected to keep growing through 2010. That will keep a lot of packing out of the landfill.
The walk on the moon on July 20, 1969 was a monumental event, which forever changed our world perspective. Where were you on that momentous occasion?
With its new clothing tags, Levi’s encourages consumers to donate unwanted clothes to Goodwill.
Check out this great movie review for the new Disney Pixar film, WALL-E!
It turns out that there are a few bright spots amidst the recession — and it looks like less waste might be one of them.
If you're looking for a new lawn mower this year, consider buying a zero-turn lawn mower, which will really help you maneuver around obstacles such as trees and bushes.
Save money by planting smaller trees and shrubs from mail-order sources.
Volunteer to take care of the public lands in your area during National Public Lands Day on September 29, 2012!
Celebrate the 20th anniversary National Public Lands Day on September 28! Find a volunteer site.
Upcycling company TerraCycle is partnering with FritoLay North America to keep old chips bags out of landfills and turn them into new consumer products.
My views on importing package bees verses natural breading.
Our area is abundant with history. We have a limber pine tree nearby that I estimate is over 2,100 years old and still very much alive. History - we have an abundance of it.
The negative effects of the recession are painfully clear, but is there a silver lining hiding among the clouds? There's some evidence that the recession might means good news for the environment, and you might find it in your own home. Check it out, and let us know what you think.
Although many of us enjoy the free plastic bags we get from grocery stores, they may be costing us money and damage to the environment. Find out more about this growing problem and review the results of a recent poll.
Information on how to volunteer on National Public Lands Day.
The 2011 report focuses on the Garden Effect and Payback-if-sold. The Garden Effect is the estimated increase in a property’s market value as a result of having beautiful landscaping.
You can sneak a few attractive, low maintenance food plants onto your lawn, and your neighbors will never even notice.
Landrace gardening enhances food security by growing genetically diverse crops that are not as prone to crop failure as monoculture fields of near clones.
Landrace gardening requires different plant naming conventions than those followed by industrialized agriculture.
Landrace gardening promotes hybrid vigor and avoids inbreeding depression by encouraging promiscuous pollination.
A photo essay showing off the stunning success of landrace gardening on my farm. This success was achieved because I changed my growing methods to embrace one of the key elements of landrace growing; “survival of the fittest."
Using landrace gardening and promiscuous pollination to get what you want from your garden.
Joseph Lofthouse shares how to maintain thriving populations of landrace vegetables in the garden.
A photo essay showing off the beauty of landrace crops.
The principles of landrace gardening can be applied at any scale from small annual gardens to multi-generational community wide tree farms.
Exploring my hopes and dreams for the landrace seed movement with suggestions about how farmers, merchants, and gardeners could cooperate to create a more robust, secure, and locally adapted food system.
These resources will help you learn how to eat seasonal foods in order to save grocery money.
You have read every garden, homestead and back to the land book in your library system. Your dreams of coffee at sunrise set to the chatter of fowl made real. With hoe in hand and 914,760 square feet rolling out from your feet like a magic carpet; where do you start?
Cut the confusion that accompanies buying a cordless drill with this information on which drill features and capabilities to look for.
The sustainability of one’s home depends as much (if not more) on its location as on how the house is built. If you’re looking to buy land or to buy (or rent) a house, consider the following sustainability criteria when comparing property locations.
The RTA12 & RTR12 Series Rotary Tillers from Land Pride till soil for seedbed and planting preparation with uses and applications in landscaping, gardens, and residential areas.
Full-size, compact, gas or diesel – Kubota Zero-Turns provide operators with innovation and efficiency.
We frequently use the term "homesteading" in Mother Earth News, but what is it's exact meaning?
Decision from the USDA: Farmers won't be allowed to break their CRP contract without penalty.
Our Rural Property for Sale site helps you search for a sweet spot to put your future homestead, with handy filters to help you find just what you're looking for more easily.
Here are a few sources that can help you find affordable farm land.
Things to consider when purchasing a new or used tractor.
This post is about winterizing a colony of bees naturaly, using ideas and tips that we at BeeLanding have learned from nature.
10 witty, wry, and clever quotations from various thinkers, writers, and comedians. Many of these quotations have real relevance to sustainability.
This listing links to information resources related to sustainable agriculture, organic farming and gardening, and growing and buying good, safe food.
By applying the principles of landrace gardening, you can help your plants win the race against weeds.
By growing potatoes from pollinated seeds we can develop locally adapted plants that thrive in our gardens.
Seed saving is an integral part of landrace gardening.
Landrace gardening allows us to minimize fertilization by selecting for plants that thrive in the pre-existing soil.
Want to grow and save your own vegetable seeds? Meet Fruition Seeds. They produce regionally-adapted, organically-grown seeds. And they can show you how to do it too.
Joseph Lofthouse shares tips for growing landrace popcorn.
Sunroots are a typically-cloned crop with great potential as a locally-adapted survival-of-the-fittest landrace
How to use hybrids in a landrace garden.
A photo essay documenting imported landraces that I started incorporating into my existing landraces during the current growing season.
Grow enough seed for yourself and a little extra for seed swaps and you may never have to pay for seeds again.
A market farmer’s perspective on survival seed banks, evaluating current offerings.
A photo essay showing off the beauty of landrace squash.
HOMEGROWN Life blogger Rachel shares the basics of landscape design.
After a long trial-and-error process, Ilene White Freedman finally found a sustainable, weed-suppressing mulching system for her farm.
Small towns across the country in need of a population boost are literally giving away free land to attract new residents and boost their populations. Seekers of the quiet (and low-cost) small town lifestyle can now grab some free land to build their homes.
Ever wondered what the difference is between a national park, a wilderness area, a national wildlife refuge, or other protected federal land? Here are the major differences in how these different natural areas are used and managed.
A western Massachusetts community rallies to save a generations old farm.
This year’s Buckminster Fuller Challenge winner is revegetating African grasslands through holistic land management.
Purchase process of the "promised land"
This blog post tells about Barbara Lee's memories of her grandpa who built a two-holer outhouse for his family and surrounded it with peonies so that there would not be an unpleasant odor.
An established chicken keeper explains how easy it is to purchase baby chickens from poultry hatcheries.
The Mother Earth News Fair staff and volunteers work on green initiatives to divert Fair waste from landfills, recycling and composting as much as possible.
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.
10 more great quotations and aphorisms that are relevant to environmental sustainability. Quotations by Buckminster Fuller, Teddy Roosevelt, Wendell Berry, and others.
As the costs and consequences of climatological and ecological instability become impossible to ignore, people are recognizing the need to be more prepared for the challenges we could face in the short-term and the long-term. A variety of initiatives are arising to share ways of becoming more resilient—i.e., able to survive and thrive in the face of dangers and even disasters.
When shopping for the holidays, consider these seven strategies for giving greener gifts.
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.
Welcome to by blog “City to Country, One Step at a Time.” Here’s how I ended up as a modern homesteader on a little acreage in the Canadian West Coast bush.
If you are growing vegetables, making a few homemade wares here and there ... you are practicing good, old-fashioned homesteading techniques.
How we approached buying our property, clearing and selecting a home site.
Making good decisions on how we use our land. Keeping it natural.
Will assigning monetary value to the environment help to create an ethic of land stewardship or cause further detachment from nature?
Flashy technologies billed as holding the key to an “age of plenty” cannot ward off future hunger. But strong rural communities working with, not against, nature can create an age of sufficiency.
Goats are a great way to get rid of weed problems while also reducing the use of chemicals and fossil fuels.
Joseph Lofthouse, seedsman from Paradise Utah, is now blogging about “Landrace Gardening” on Mother Earth News. The blog is a practical hands-on manual about how to improve crop production by localizing your plants to your unique garden.
A new study has found that biodegradable plastic's rapid rate of decomposition could cause the release of methane, a greenhouse gas. The study's authors suggest that petroleum-based products might be preferable. We need better alternatives than that.
A 30-acre organic and biodynamic farm is the beating heart of the thriving 1,000-acre Serenbe community near Atlanta. As more developers integrate agriculture into suburbia, the joys and benefits of farming are becoming available to everyone.
It's winter time. Take a break from the holiday madness to enjoy a little of what nature has to offer this season.
Popcorn is easy to grow and makes an attractive and delicious alternative to sweet corn, especially in a small garden. Kids will love the cute little ears, and adults will treasure the superior flavor of homegrown popcorn. Plant in late spring.
A birdbath in the garden does much more than a birdfeeder. Attract birds to the garden with water, and they will help with pest control, soil aeration, and much more as they get the water they need for drinking and grooming. Wasps love a drink too.
Grapes can grow anywhere, thriving in a variety of climates and soil types. Growing grapes is rewarding, because after a few years they produce abundant fruit and quickly provide architectural interest in the edible landscape.
Giving your ornamental and vegetable garden a thorough cleaning in midsummer not only leaves the landscape looking better, but can help prevent damage from diseases and pests by removing the conditions in which they thrive.
Edamame soybeans are tough,fast-maturing plants that can withstand extreme garden conditions. They have few problems with disease or insect pests. The green pods are delicious and high in protein, and make a good addition to an edible landscape.
Looking ahead to spring, we're using these long days to plan a rootstock order of perennial trees, shrubs, and herbs.
A winter thaw inspires starting the first seeds of the season - indoors, of course: kale, chard, and spinach to start.
Reasons why we like to shop at our local grocery.
The United States imports more than $2.2 trillion worth of products from 150 countries every year. That's just crazy, given all the benefits that buying locally can bring to both consumers and communities.
Although the concepts of fair trade, buying local and buying organic food are used to aid the economies of developing countries, these same three concepts can help our local communities become the healthy communities we can thrive in.
Whether you’re a teacher, parent, school administrator, or homeschooler, you might be interested in some of these online resources related to environmental education and green curricula. Most of these websites are related to K-12 education.
The Goldman Environmental Prize is the world’s largest and most prestigious award for grassroots environmentalists. This year’s six inspiring prize winners (one from each of the six inhabited continental regions of the world) are...
The Goldman Environmental Prize is the world’s largest and most prestigious award for grassroots activists. This year’s six inspiring and courageous prize winners (one from each of the six inhabited continental regions of the world) are...
Know a chocolate-lover? Here's info on a few of the most delicious chocolate bars, from companies that make organic, fair trade, ethically produced chocolates.
A selection of Words of the Wise. This index links to 5 different sets of great quotations, for your edification and entertainment. Witty quotations. Eco quotations. Quotations for gardeners and farmers. And more.
Land rich in biodiversity isn't just more productive than land planted with a single crop. It turns out that increased biodoversity also significantly effects the total "bioenergy" of the land, as well as its carbon footprint.
Two new models of pull behind cutters for use with tractors.
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!
Clearing your land to ready it for farming can be quite a challenge!
In 2003, my husband, Mike, and I gleefully ditched our house in North Portland, Ore., to pick up the reins of a 7-acre parcel in rural Washington. Outside of some home-improvement projects and garden beds, we didn’t know much about rural life. But, we thought—We’re young! We’re enthusiastic! We figured that would be enough.
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.
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!
China’s largest green burial ceremony is part of the growing trend of eco-funerals in a country that is trying to conserve land.
The Bureau of Land Management has approved construction of a California geothermal plant that will generate enough energy for 36,000 homes.
There are various means for developing an edible landscape.
Introducing the serviceberry, a beautiful landscape tree or shrub suitable in much of North America, to the edible landscape. Serviceberry -- or sarvis -- comes in many regional forms and produces edible berries.
Roses are easy to grow successfully if you follow a few guidelines: provide good air circulation around the canes and keep the plants clean and not too damp. Roses come in many forms, including bush or shrub, climbing, and miniature.
Simran Sethi reflects on her first summer of yard-care and gardening.
A landrace market farmer’s perspective on survival seed banks. Part Two – Suggestions about the types and quantities of seeds to include in an emergency seed bank.
Growing some of the most delicious and sometimes expensive gourmet vegetables doesn't have to be hard. Artichoke, bronze fennel, kohlrabi, leek, and savoy cabbage are among the vegetables that grow well from seed.
When autumn brings a glut of orchard fruits, capture the goodness as juice by cooking extraction or cold pressing. Juices can be used alone or mixed to produce sweet or hard ciders, wines, syrups, and more.
More tips, ideas, and considerations for choosing green gifts. A sequel/supplement to last year's article!
Fun graphics of great quotations! Quotations by Buckminster Fuller, Mary Oliver, Martin Luther King Jr., and others, available as free graphics that can be shared like e-cards.
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.
“Bed bugs” are small nocturnal insects that feed on blood. Here are some tips for keeping them out of your home, and for getting rid of them--without using toxic pesticides/insecticides--if they do show up.
There are many ways that each of us can lessen our unhealthy dependence on filthy fuels. You can do so in every area of your life, from choices you make regarding your house and home improvements, to food, transportation, and other consumer choices.
Green home improvement and retrofit projects that only require a minimal investment and that have a sure (and often speedy) payback. These relatively low-cost improvements can reap real savings. Plus, a link to info on tax credits and rebates.
Great Quotations: the 4th installment in a series. This post features 14 fabulous eco-quotations, from thinkers such as Wendell Berry, Rachel Carson, Thoreau, Edison, and others.
Celebrate and spread the word about Fair Trade food and products with a World Fair Trade Day breakfast on May 14.
MOTHER EARTH NEWS is proud to announce we have won a prestigious publishing award for our Guide to Green Cars.
Renowned sportsman and conservationist Beau Turner is bringing his knowledge and unique talents exclusively to Sportsman Channel, the leader in outdoor TV for the American Sportsman, with the debut of his new original series, Beau Knows Outdoors.
Land Pride is proud to announce four new skid Grapples in 12 different sizes as well as a skid-mounted Stump Grinder. These completely new attachments feature the same quality and durability that you’ve come to expect from Land Pride.
No one had ever attempted to set a land speed record for gasification vehicles so Beaver Energy was the first.
Sustainable farming expert Michael Pollan has some words of wisdom for the next president of the United States.
Smithfield's hog farms produce a lot of meat and make a lot of money, but at what cost? Can we continue to look the other way as they pollute waters, abuse animals and terrorize their neighbors?
Living in possibly the best place in the USA.
Bring some spring into your life. Sprinkle some wheat grass seeds in an old apothecary jar and watch them grow.
Animal-vehicle wrecks cause about 200 human fatalities and 29,000 injuries a year. The fight between wildlife and urban developers seems never-ending, but wildlife crossings can be a solution. Learn how you can help just by giving your state's Department of Transportation a call.
Across the U.S., voters of all political leanings gave overwhelming approval in the 2012 presidential election to taxing themselves and spending money for new parks in their communities, The Trust for Public Land announced. Of the 57 measures on local and statewide ballots, 46 passed, an approval rate of 81%.
The Land Institute of Salina, Kan., held the 34th annual Prairie Festival Sept. 28-30, 2012. Keynote speakers including Wendell Berry and Palgummi Sainath inspired local farmers, students, and nature lovers.
Turning liabilities into assests.
In The Land Institute senior scientist Stan Cox's critique of the 2013 Farm bill, it's argued that more federal support could be shifted to food security and conservation if less were going to Big Ag.
Strict ceilings on resource use, with rationing, can halt and reverse climate disruption. Australia's experience shows why the alternative to rationing, a carbon tax, is too indirect and too politically toxic to succeed.
Yellow jackets can pose a threat to honeybees. If yellow jackets have built a nest in your yard, here's a recipe for a natural, non-toxic solution that will get rid of them. Please share your own recommendations too!
This is a rundown of films that came out in the last few years. These films cover a wide range of environmental topics, from energy, climate, and fuel, to food, farming, and health. Many of the films have won awards or been critically acclaimed.
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.
More than 15 tips for saving water inside your home and outside in your yard and garden. Reducing your water use will not only lower your water bills and help prevent water shortages during drought periods in your area. It also...
Conventional generators require gasoline or diesel fuel, which can be expensive -- especially during emergencies. Also, the emissions from gas-powered generators contribute to air pollution. Solar generators are a smart alternative to consider.
Another set of Great Quotations. These seven quotations have direct relevance to gardeners and farmers, but they offer wisdom that everyone can learn from and enjoy.
How a born and bred city boy came to leave Detroit, start a Tennessee homestead with his wife, and blog about it here.
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.
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.
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!
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 would like to be represented by more elected officials who support environmental safeguards for our air, water, and land, take a look at these resources, including the League of Conservation Voters' National Environmental Scorecard.
Most conventional paints and coatings emit Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs), which can contribute to poor indoor air quality as well as to smog. This overview includes a link to a product listing of healthier low-VOC, zero-VOC, and natural paints.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Earth Days, a poignant, 2009 Sundance Film Fesitval success, will premier on Facebook April 11, and on the PBS Network April 19.