community housing projects
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.
Portland is the nation's most bike-friendly city, yet this Oregon community has had to deal with cycling disparities among its population. One nonprofit organization addressed this issue by developing new programs targeting low-income immigrant communities.
The time for relaxing in the sun has arrived, and this homemade hammock tutorial will help you hang out in style.
The thousands of families who have built affordable homes, cash up front, made of earthbags, straw bales, cordwood, cob and rammed tires are not in danger of losing their homes in the current mortgage crisis.
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.
Learn about how some members of the MOTHER EARTH NEWS team joined with others at their publishing company to start “edible landscaping” gardens on their front lawn.
Jessica features Dan Phillips, Phoenix Commotion founder and builder of fascinating houses made with reclaimed materials.
Have you ever let your imagination run wild and built a fanciful, unique … (spinning wheel, bat house, garden tool)
If you want to learn how to paint your house without the help of professionals, this article from the archives is for you. Exterior home painting can be a snap with the right tools and information.
Kids love to build forts and space ships, and create secret places to dream and imagine.
Engaging in new projects around the house or yard can put us in unfamiliar territory where we might make mistakes that are potentially dangerous or just embarrassing.
Jim Oseychuk built this intricate garden shed for his wife and won his category of the Wood-Mizer Personal Best contest.
Keeping your tools in good working order saves time and money.
Learn how to make giant bubbles like a professional bubble artist at home with this DIY video. Complete with a recipe to make a giant bubble wand and your own homemade soap solution, you’ll be ready to impress everyone on your street with human-sized bubbles.
Using wood you’ve harvested to start creative wood projects is not impossible. Many sawyers have created beautiful wood structures made from lumber they’ve cut themselves.
Donn Saindon built this beautiful 1,200 square foot home from reclaimed wood and won his category of the Wood-Mizer Personal Best contest.
The traditional potato stamp gets a makeover in this tutorial over how to use a spud to make a work of art (and gratitude).
Joe Bonn built this impressive home in Colorado and won his category of the Wood-Mizer Personal Best contest.
Robert Craig built this 960 square foot barn in Oregon and won his category of the Wood-Mizer Personal Best contest.
A reader inquires about how to set up a community seed swap.
You can help support a community garden in New York City's East Harlem neighborhood.
The $300 House Project challenges student and professional designers to create housing that shelters the poorest of the poor with safety and dignity. Winners will receive cash prizes and the opportunity to see their $300 houses built and reproduced.
At the Healthy Homes Conference in Denver today, I heard Home Depot Foundation CEO Fred Wacker say that the nonprofit sector is so far ahead of the profit sector in addressing healthy homes that it’s embarrassing for the profit sector.
I heard Ellen Tohn of Tohn Environmental Strategies say that the government will fund energy-efficiency updates in 1 million homes in the next year, making it paramount that energy workers understand healthy home principles. Poorly done house tightening could trap residents inside with contaminants and create hazards.
And I was pleased to hear health care pioneer Dr. Georges Benjamin, executive director of the American Public Health Association, put quality housing in the same arena as diet, exercise and public policy as a key to achieving individual health. “If you don’t have healthy housing, I don’t care how many times you push away from the table or how far you walk, you’re not going to be healthy,” he said.
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.
Have you ever wondered how to make reusable bags to take to the market? They’re easier to fashion than you might think, and you can work with all sorts of materials! See how to melt used-plastic sacks to make a new plastic bag or upcycle a T-shirt into a bag suitable for market. Newspapers make a chic and sophistocated basket perfect for carrying fruits or produce. Upcycling is good for the environment and makes for stylish shopping, too!
Building a pantry is a great way to store your groceries and home produce.
Instructions for building a cold smoker (and three other things you can do with steel oil drums).
You can build a low-cost, squirrel-proof bird feeder using simple tools and inexpensive materials. All you need is some plastic drain pipe and caps, hardware cloth and a bit of wire (or a wire hanger). In no time at all, you’ll have all sorts of birds at the feeder — and the squirrels will be perplexed!
Instructables is a great website for finding DIY projects, and recently site administrators have reorganized the site to make it easier to find the project you're looking for.
Missoula, MT company awards home owners sustainable products.
The instinct to share home grown herbs, flowers and vegetables runs strong in gardeners, so sharing home grown goodies brings heartfelt rewards.
Wouldn't it be nice if we could produce all the energy we needed from local, renewable resources, such as solar and wind power?
This collection of rare and historic poultry books offers an amazing amount of information on poultry.
Lots of factors are involved in hatching poultry eggs successfully: consistent temperature, the right amount of humidity and frequently turning the eggs. Not all incubators work equally well, and some have features that make operating them easier. Read about our most recent incubator test.
Bob Berry owns a small hatchery business that specializes in two old breeds of chickens. He offers suggestions for incubating eggs and starting chicks that are shipped through the mail.
Hatching eggs using natural or artificial incubation is great fun, but there are no guarantees. Things can go wrong with either system.
Being a part of the solution can forestall the potential decline.
Instead of using a heat lamps to brood just a few chicks, consider using a broody hen to do the job. This system takes less time to manage and uses no fossil fuels!
How you spend your money matters more than ever these days. Here’s an easy way to connect with your community and make your dollars count.
Discuss the strange and mysterious ways of broody hens. Plus, the Community Chickens project will be hatching duck eggs!
This is a great collection of information and tips on raising poultry, chicken coops and hatching poultry eggs. You can learn about brooders, coops and poultry equipment.
Lots of people order hatching eggs that are shipped through the mail before setting them in an incubator or under a broody hen. But what kind of results should you expect from shipped hatching eggs? Read what an expert has to say about realistic expectations.
Many people who keep chickens or other poultry have concerns about how to manage their flock when cold weather sets in. But winter shouldn’t be a problem for your flock, but rather a steppingstone to the following year! Check your poultry often, follow these guidelines and you can even raise baby chicks in the winter! Tips from an expert.
This low-cost, easy-to-assemble fire pit from Instructables is made with concrete tree rings and rocks. Just add a grill and you've got the perfect backyard hangout, all for around $50.
Crafting laundry detergent saves time, money and lightens your environmental footprint. Plus it’s simple!
Who knew that making a soda so delicious was so darn easy?! This office experiment is our most rewarding yet. I mean, Marlin is cool with his aquaponic system and all, but I definitely don’t want to drink fish water. (See aquaponic blog.) Our ginger beer is so refreshing, surprisingly effervescent and just plain awesome! So you’d like to know how to make it yourself, right? Well, I will gladly share the steps and recipe with you.
Reuse various household materials to make a functional cheese press.
Build a simple backyard barbecue pit with no more than a shovel and a good cover panel for your next barbecue party.
Use old CDs and soda cans to keep pests out of your garden.
Why spend hundreds of dollars on a commercial recumbent bicycle when you can make your own out of parts of recycled bikes?
Finding the perfect desk with just the right amount of work space can be a hassle and a financial drain. Build your own desk with this do-it-yourself tutorial, and you’ll have room for your computer, notebooks, phone, printer and any other work-time necessities, and you’ll save some serious cash in the process.
How-to online videos are a valuable resource for any do-it-yourselfer. But there are a lot of videos out there, so we’ve picked noteworthy ones and provided a few links to help you find more in the future. From building a workbench to changing your car’s oil, these engaging and instructive videos will inspire you to start a fun, new DIY project.
Ben Cartwright of Lawrence, Kan., is working on a book project about the city of Tianjin, China, where he worked and lived for several months, and he needs your help.
Borrowing from a Native American tradition, utilize porcupine quills to make beautiful beads.
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.
The Reincarnated McMansion Project aims to tear down one inefficient, climate-insensitive suburban house and replace it with two small, green, handcrafted homes.
When a group of graduation students began designing a home on the Navajo reservation in southeast Utah, they knew keeping it cool in the desert would be an issue. Their innovative solution--a Windcatcher--is the first of its kind in the area.
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?
Learn why it is helpful to have a group of fellow homesteaders, then start a group of your own in your local community.
Thanks to helping hands, everything gets done.
See green building in action! The third and final season of the Greensburg TV series is scheduled to begin on May 2, 2010.
The Food Is Free Project has become a food revolution in Austin, Texas
I feel that if we want to connect to our families, to our neighbors and to the people that we love that live in the community around us, we must somehow retrain ourselves to slow down and watch, listen and share, love and care.
If you’re planning to buy a small backyard chicken coop to protect a few hens, you might be interested in this coop from GardenEggs.com.
I tested a new incubator against my old Styrofoam incubator. Find out which one is the best for incubating duck eggs. The difference was amazing.
We’re trying out several incubators with chicken, duck and quail hatching eggs.
Cam discovers he isn't as young as he once was while enjoying a sense of community at the local arena.
The Community Chickens project is about sharing the joy of keeping poultry and spreading the knowledge to help people successfully raise chickens, ducks and other poultry. Here’s a summary of some things we’ve learned through the project.
Cam appreciates his local volunteer fire department.
We’re testing incubators, equipment and feed for the Community Chickens project.
Does turning eggs frequently during incubation improve hatch rates? Can storing the eggs before incubating them lower the hatch rate? Find out what we learned from our experiment hatching pheasant eggs.
NeighborGoods is an online community that lets you borrow and lend tools and other items from people in your area.
Hens that lay white eggs are lighter weight and eat less feed to produce the same amount of eggs as brown-egg layers. So, does that mean that if you’re concerned about conserving resources and care about the environment, you should eat white chicken eggs instead of brown chicken eggs? Color is only shell deep. There’s more to this debate than meets the eye.
Homeowners are willing to splurge on kitchen and bath remodels, but they're not interested in building luxury or second homes, according to an American Institute of Architects survey.
An affordable prototype home helps revitalize a blighted Syracuse, New York, neighborhood--and could be the city home of the future.
Learn how to assemble a humane animal trap out of recycled material. It’s easy and effective!
There are some things that you just aren’t going to wash very often, like your curtains, couch cushions, and probably even your favorite jeans. To spare the air, concoct a simple essential oil-infused linen spray, and spritz away until your definition of what “clean” smells like shifts permanently.
Gather a few pallets and get geared up to make your very own spacious rabbit hutch with just a few supplies for under $25 dollars!
Wintertime for a farmer is full of projects and planning.
Need to get your kids out of the house? Learn how to build your own playground and give them a convenient place for outdoor playtime.
For one week, BuildingGreen is offering a free download of an insulation guide, available with a 30-day trial of BuildingGreen Suite.
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...
Learn about the many kitchen and community projects supported by SARE (Sustainable Agriculture Research & Education), including the training necessary to be able to sell value-added food products at markets.
A report from economic analyst Mark Cooper shows that continuing nuclear power projects in the Southeast will only produce billions of dollars in excess costs.
Kids get to have fun, learn about gardneing and start veggie seeds at the MOTHER EARTH NEWS FAIR in Puyallup, Wash.
Giving handmade gifts will save money while showing the recipient that you care. Homemade sugar scrub, rice pillows, glass magnets and iPod covers are all easy to make and exciting to receive. Spend time, not money, to give the perfect holiday or birthday gift.
You can upcycle (make crafts from recycled materials) to beautifuly and simplify your world! Have a few old T-shirts that are past their prime? Make them into a rosette pillow! Use homemade recycled paper to send friends and family chic, personalized greetings cards. Overrun with stuff to recycle? Transform tin can lids into a melodious windchime! Have fun and get creative turning your old stuff into treasures!
The story of two ladies and their small CSA in the Rocky Mountains.
Allowing children the space to discover the beauty and wonder of plants through tending to their own garden builds character, teaches responsibility, gives insight into the beauty of nature and fosters their connection with where their food comes from.
Learn a few tips for efficiency from seasoned CSA Farmers: La Vista CSA Farm.
Building community through sharing work and food.
Communicating via letters mirrors the pace of a handmade life.
How are US college students helping to brighten the future of Nicaragua, the second poorest country in the Western Hemisphere, without leaving campus?
Working in the potato bed produces the next blog article.
For more than 40 years, The Farm Community in Tennessee has been on the forefront of farming, gardening and the green lifestyle.
Garden like the Native Americans by digging up 18-inch-diameter hills on four foot centers. Get your crops started, then worry about working the areas in between the hills.
In remembrance of a dear friend and steward of the Earth, a look at how others inspire us and how their legacy sculpts us.
The community garden in East Harlem, Chenchita's Garden, is beginning to take shape.
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.
One great thing about gardening that goes beyond soil building and crop rotations is its ability to bring people together. As spring is now officially here, it’s a great time to revel in all the pleasures the season is sure to bring. Please share your thoughts and stories about how gardening has brought people together in your life.
In North Carolina’s Triangle region, Crop Mob is reviving community farming.
Julie Lavigne relates her grandparent’s home in the city, a modern homestead for their time, and proves you can live a self-sufficient lifestyle in an urban setting.
What does voluntary simplicity look like and how can we practice it despite our busy lives?
Real estate and land use demands have many people left on a waiting list by their local community gardens. Never fear: There's still plenty of options to get growing!
The Ogden Community Garden winds down, and one gardener marvels at the late October harvest, and on how much the garden has meant to everyone who has helped tend 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.
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.
Announcing an opportunity to get Anna's new Ebook for free today at Amazon on the subject of homesteading in a mobile home otherwise known as a trailer.
From the boxy ranch house to the superfluous McMansion, suburban housing has never been particularly inspired. These three homes show what you can do with that raw material, with a little ingenuity and a willingness to work with what's there.
Take a photographic tour of Finca Bella Vista, a sustainable treehouse community in Costa Rica.
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!
Two students have created an inspirational blog that features one upcycling project--something made from discarded materials--each day. They've committed to keeping it going for 30 days, but with your help it could go forever.
The nation's largest community-owned solar array in Rifle, Colorado, will provide clean energy for up to 350 residents, who don't even need a roof to enjoy the benefits of renewable energy.
There’s more than one way to be an environmental warrior. And some approaches work better than others. Elemental follows the stories of three environmental advocates united by their deep connection with nature and driven to confront some of the most dire ecological issues affecting their respective communities. This isn’t only a story about plight and pollution, however. Rather, Gayatri Roshan’s and Emmanuel Vaughan-Lee’s documentary works best as a character-driven study of eco-activism’s do’s and don’ts.
These online tools can help you find the best sources for local food, including local farmers markets and community-supported agriculture programs.
Support your local food systems while getting the most from your home garden.
With winter beginning, these homesteaders are starting winter off cozy in their cabin.
"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.
A list of ways we could each show support or teach our friends and family to support the Local Foods Movement
Frances Moore Lappé of the Small Planet Institute will present a workshop on positive environmentalism at the Mother Earth News Fair, an annual sustainability festival, September 24-25, 2011 in Seven Springs, Pennsylvania.
My mission was to find like minded 'earth nurturers' in a neighborhood where there seems to be a dearth of us! What I found was humility and kindred spirits, and the makings of a great dinner party!
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.
Quails make an excellent urban choice for poultry raising, chiefly for their tranquil nature, minimal noise and egg-producing efficiency. In this, the second installment of my series on quail-raising, you'll learn how to identify gender from color and marks and see how quail eggs compare with those of chickens.
Jerry DeWitt of the National Center of Appropriate Technology will present a workshop on the culture of sustainability at the Mother Earth News Fair, an annual sustainability festival, September 24-25, 2011 in Seven Springs, Pa.
4-H is a youth organization that can be a great resource for skill-building in our communities. No matter what you do or what your interest, spending time with your local club is a worthy contribution.
Sukita Reay Crimmel of Claylin and From These Hands, and publisher of Mother Earth News Bryan Welch will present workshops on building earthen floors and how to build a sustainable future at the Mother Earth News Fair, June 4-5, 2011 in Puyallup, WA.
Homeschool Moms for Moms is a safe place where moms are welcome to post photos of their children’s portfolios, work, crafts, artwork, and learning environments.
Cecile Andrews, simplicity advisor and Dena Marshall of Marshall Meditation will present workshops on simplicity and conflict management at the Mother Earth News Fair, an annual sustainability festival, June 4-5, 2011 in Puyallup, Wash.
Ed Begley Jr. of Envirolet will present a workshop on sustainable living at the Mother Earth News Fair, an annual sustainability festival, June 4-5, 2011 in Puyallup, Wash.
Carolyn Guske, official illustrator for MOTHER EARTH NEWS heritage farm animals, will teach kids how to draw and paint heritage farm animals at the MOTHER EARTH NEWS FAIR, an annual sustainability festival, June 4-5, 2011 in Puyallup, Wash.
With resources from Mother Nature, you can make natural and beautiful homegrown holiday gifts.
Leaving the rental home we had lived in for three years in Carmel Indiana, to move back to Kangaroo Valley, Australia has meant more than losing the plot and getting the flock out of there!
I am new to America, and new to the suburbs, having previously lived in rural Australia. I now live in suburban Indiana. During the past two years I have been trying to set up an "urban homestead" for our family. The neighbors are curious and amused.
Pass the cold, wintry months with warm thoughts of how you can eat more local food while supporting sustainable agriculture this coming season.
Raising baby coturnix quail is an exciting adventure. Taylor is completely new to raising poultry and shares his experiences.
Community food events are an outstanding way to share the abundance of our harvest and strengthen local community ties.
Green is Universal and Etsy's The Art of Reuse Contest is a gold mine for DIY home project ideas. My favorite pays homage to Audrey Hepburn's ahead-of-its-time sofa made from an old clawfoot bathtub in Breakfast at Tiffany's.
Dairyman Nick Snelgar reflects on the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health certification process and bagging hay for winter on his UK dairy farm.
How does one eat more of the right types of seafood to reap all the health benefits without going bald? Choose local!
When traveling, consider checking out the community gardens in the area. You can meet local people who are passionate about gardening and learn about the climate and crops that may be different than yours.
FairShare CSA Coalition partners with health insurance groups to offer a rebate for selecting fresh, organic, local produce.
Want to find a new garden plot for next year? Look into community gardens in your area, or start your own!
The documentary Urban Roots takes a look at how city farming is transforming the city's vacant lots into community gardens, ultimately changing the community as a whole in the process.
Building a vibrant local community through local economics and rural culture.
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
Examining an community for your homestead.
How one rural county without animal control regulations or a public pet shelter is working to make a better community for all residents — both humans and their companions.
Soapmaker Anne-Marie Faiola will present a workshop on soapmaking and Dr. Andrew Iverson will presenet a workshop on natural health at the Mother Earth News Fair, an annual sustainability festival, June 4-5, 2011 in Puyallup, Wash.
Kansas City has a thriving city farming scene, and recently hosted an urban farms tour to showcase several of the city’s market and community gardens. One of our editors pedaled along with a bike tour group to see what the city farmers have to offer.
Barack Obama encourages Americans to participate in a national day of service on Martin Luther King Jr. Day.
Farm life is not always predictable, and some of the surprises turn out to be the most valuable lessons. This story from the ranch about some strong winter-born goats, a protective cow with motherly instincts, and a calf that’s making it against all odds will not only inspire you, but it may teach you something about the wonderful spirit of community support.
If we want future generations to live self-sufficient lives, we have to pass on the knowledge. This week's "Photo of the Week" reflects that point.
Kashi, the natural food and lifestyle leader, will support organizations that provide education and greater access to healthy foods in cities across the U.S.
Ditch unhealthy school lunches with a fresh lunch idea for kids: school gardens. Beyond putting fresh, healthy food in schools, cafeteria gardens are a great classroom tool and a big step towards more sustainable schools.
The League of American Bicyclists has compiled a database of state-specific highlights of traffic laws that affect bicyclists. Find out if you live in a bicycle friendly community.
Collins hails milestone of the company becoming employee owned.
The 651 Project has been established to assist students Nationwide in their pursuit of agricultural skills and knowledge.
Survivalists and others who yearn for a better way of life, and a better world, would be best served by studying the successful tribal cultures and ways of the past. Based on an interview with Vine Deloria, author of "God is Red."
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.
What we have found as an advantage of having a rural hardware store close by.
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.
Bastyr University and Premera Blue Cross today announced the launch of an innovative pilot program aimed at preventing or reversing childhood obesity.
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.
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.
Location near public transporation and walkability are as important as green materials and design in creating a green home, study finds.
Finca Bella Vista in Costa Rica, a community of sustainable treehouses in the jungle canopy, connected by zip lines and suspension bridges, is an Ewok Village come to life.
Describes the process of forming a community garden from the physical and energetic standpoints. The power of teamwork, the joy of accomplishment and the building of a feeling of group unity are described.
Compassionate people without a county animal shelter organize a non-profit group to help low-income families keep their pets during hard times and to support Good Samaritans who take in abandoned pets
Making Music on the Front Porch ... let's define what the musical Front Porch is.
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.
In a Boulder, Colorado, neighborhood, residents are getting off the grass. They're donating their front yards to a community organization that grows enough fruits and vegetable on the former lawns to feed 50 families. Now, that's local food.
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.
D Acres offers alternative economics. We are the 99&: join us.
Folksinger Michael Johnathon is on tour nationwide. Visit his homepage: www.MichaelJohnathon.com
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.