Two Stories About Building Resilient Communities and Bio-Regions

These are two recent stories I have been a part of. One, the North American Permaculture Convergence. The second is creating a Neighborhood Watch group on my street that can lead to a more ambitious set of actions on the street. Learn how to start these initiatives of your own.

The ABCs of Homesteading: H is for 'Horticulture'

This is the sixth blog post in an alphabetically organized introduction to homesteading. It covers an understanding of what horticulture is and why it is important to homesteading. You'll find reading recommendations, information on plant selection, garden planning, plant propagation, seed saving, and food security.

What is Biodynamic Farming?

I have heard the term "biodynamic" and wondered what was involved. Some consider biodynamic gardening or farming as voodoo science and quackery — or simply a scam. Others feel it is holistic, natural way of gardening leveraging mystical forces. The description I like is defines it as organic permaculture with a spiritual twist.

Convert Your Lawn to a No-Till Permaculture Garden

When we bought our homestead, the only gardening area was at the bottom of a fairly steep hill. Though fine for growing a winter’s worth of potatoes and squash, it’s less convenient for greens, which we prefer to grow close to the house. Having read about a method called "lasagna gardening" (named for its layers; learn the basics here), we decided to try it. Egged on by its success, we extended the garden the following year only this time incorporating hugelkultur techniques. Here’s how we did it.

Build a Hotbox for Cool-Weather Gardening

Who says inanimate objects can’t talk! The well-used tractor tire that washed up on the beach during an early winter storm had been pleading with me for months for a chance to prove its worth. Learn to build a hotbox from an old tire for season extension using permaculture techniques.

Cover Crops for Spring, Summer, and Fall

If your cover crop was successful, and crowded out all of the weeds, you can go ahead and plant your new crop right into the cut cover crop. If your timing is right (with your cover crop in flower, cut very low to the ground, and is one of the crops listed) you can plant right into the undisturbed roots of your cover crop.

Biosolids or Biohazard? Part 2

A precedent setting legal battle is being played in Virginia's countryside. Local business owner is seeking county's permit to store and process municipal and industrial sludge inside a residential neighborhood. If he is allowed to build the biosolids processing facility - health and the quality of life of hundreds of local residents will be compromised and the permit could mean a green light to other similar enterprises mushrooming in rural areas.

We Live on Planet Mother

Land-based people have a global culture of relationship with nature. This powerful experience of interconnection is extremely valuable too turn us away from the colonized food system.

Soil Sisters: 3 Ways Women Cultivate Food Change

Women make up one of the fastest growing groups of new farmers today, increasing over twenty percent in the last ten years alone. More than mounting numbers, these women rock fresh ideas when it comes to agriculture, farming and – ultimately – what’s on America’s plates. Here’s a sneak peak summary of what I’ll be speaking on at the FAIRS: Three ways women today are cultivating food system change.

Building a Hoop Coop

Because our flock is now running around 40 birds, we are in dire need of an updated coop for our hens and their roosters.

A Tree-Hugger Reflection on Sludge

Farmers opting for biosolids applications on their farmland believe that this is a safe and natural way to fertilize the soil. Oftentimes they see local anti-biosolids activists as the adversaries, not realizing that the truth is quite the opposite. There is a mounting body of scientific and medical evidence that the practice of biosolids land application is detrimental to human health and constitutes an environmental factor contributing to many chronic conditions. Farmers, their families and neighbors are often first to suffer the consequences.

Running a Successful CSA

Cam describes how much he has learned after running a CSA for 5 years and offers a workshop for those interested in learning from his experience.

Stand Up and Sign Up: Community Farms Need You Now

With forces and circumstances intensifying all around, this is the optimum time to take positive action for your family, your community, and your planet. CSA Signup Day on Feb. 26 gives everyone an opportunity for intelligent action by joining and supporting a community farm (CSA).

Grow Up!: Vertical Gardening

Increase your garden’s productivity with growing vertically. Beans, peas, squash and cucumbers love vertical growth. Culinary herbs love the vertical pocket gardens.

Hugelkultur on Rented Land

Hugelkultur is the building of raised beds by burying wood and other organic material. Just because you are renting doesn’t mean you can’t implement one this season.

Confessions of a Relaxed Gardener

If you want permission to garden with your own goals and comforts in mind, you'll find it here. Gardening is a consummate joy that can easily reflect the personality of its practitioner.

Gardening While Renting

Gardening includes permanent features like raised beds, perennials, fencing, and soil building. How can one think permanently when renting is all about the temporary?

Consilience Enhances Resilience: A Key Element of CSA Farms

As climate chaos intensifies, we have many reasons to cultivate resilience - the strength and flexibility to endure shocks and yet still function. Through CSA farms the quality of consilience - the linking together of principles from different disciplines - becomes a way for all shareholders to enhance the resilience of farms and thereby strengthen community.

6 Tips for Winter Organic-Gardening Success

Follow these simple tips for winter garden success. Increase winter garden capacity and yield while protecting crops from the winter cold with these helpful organic farming tips.

Community Farmers Convene in America's Heartland

For dozens of reasons, it’s time to convene in America’s heartland a conference of farmers involved in Community Supported Agriculture (CSA). Here’s a sampler of the key topics that will arise.

Grow Native, Shade-Loving, Large-Flowered Bellwort in the Garden

The emergence of the long-lasting flowers of 'Uvularia grandiflora' is something I really anticipate every spring. And every spring, my robust stand of ‘Large-Flowered Bellwort’ slowly opens their large, pendulous, bright golden yellow flowers that resemble inverted flowing candle flames. Learn how to grow and where to find this ornamental native flower.

Organizing a Neighborhood Permaculture Convergence, Part 2

A permaculture convergence is a coming together of people interested in permaculture, with presentations, plenary sessions, networking, hands-on skill building, and tours of the site or nearby places of interest that show what applied permaculture looks like. The 2015 Northwest Permaculture Convergence took place in August in Eugene, Ore., with the theme “Greening Our Neighborhoods with Permaculture.”

6 Low-Maintenance Gardening Ideas

Gardening is often hard work and often costly, but it doesn't always have to be. Here are some low maintenance techniques to help you garden smarter, not harder.

How to Sheet Mulch to Improve Your Yields

Sheet mulch fosters soil life, reduces weeds and feeds the soil. By sheet mulching you will reduce ongoing weeding and free up more time to make your garden more productive.

Homestead Composting

One of the wonderful aspects of permaculture is the mindset of integrating systems in ways that enhance each other. Composting is a great example of integrating systems in a synergistic manner. Learn how the "problem is the solution" in this post.

Reasons I Joined a Cooperative Living Situation

The trials and tribulations of our life on a cooperative living farm quite frequently mirror those of any small group of young Americans finding their way in the world, however, for me, there are daily reminders of why I am sticking with these crazy idealists in Appalachia.

Minto Island Growers Seek Balance As Their Farm Expands, Part 2

Elizabeth Miller and Chris Jenkins have turned Minto Island Growers into a multifaceted farm that features a tea plantation, vegetable CSA, u-pick berries, food cart, farm stand, and more. Now they’re finding that growth brings many new challenges.

Minto Island Growers Seek Balance As Their Farm Expands, Part 1

Elizabeth Miller and Chris Jenkins have turned Minto Island Growers into a multifaceted farm that features a tea plantation, vegetable CSA, u-pick berries, food cart, farm stand, and more. Now they’re finding that growth brings many new challenges.

Permaculture Companion Planting on Steroids

Permaculture premise is creating a self-sustaining garden that has a nurturing relationship with your yard’s environment and symbiotic relationship among the plantings.

Urban Food Sovereignty is Our Goal

Assisting urban residents in moving toward local food production is an innovative strategic plan for resilient growth. This blog post will outline some of Grow Where You Are’s core projects and outreach methods in an effort to share best practices for developing local food systems in communities that are most in need.

Plant Your Margins to Increase Harvests

Making your home garden productive is an in-depth and gradual process. Though you can work with a design professional to hash out a use plan and plant list early on, it still takes several phases and periods of acclimation for a garden to begin to really thrive. Start utilizing the margins in your garden and beginning yielding more for your community.

Organizing a Neighborhood Permaculture Convergence, Part 1

The 2015 Northwest Permaculture Convergence will be held in a suburban neighborhood for the first time. Also for the first time, outreach to the general public is a core part of this convergence with site tours and educational Expo, free and open to the public.

The Biodynamic Farm Body, Part 2

This is Part 2 of a two-part post series explaining how biodynamic agriculture views your farm as a living organism. By tapping into the ecology that makes up your farm and viewing these systems holistically, you can utilize the natural world to grow healthy crops and achieve true sustainability. Your farm has a body and seeks wellness through biodiversity and habitat variability.

Woody Tasch: The State of the Soil

In February, the Slow Money founder gave a "State of the Soil" address. Here are his thoughts on the quality of American soil, economics and general discourse.

The Biodynamic Farm Body, Part 1

Biodynamic agriculture views the farm as a living organism. By tapping into the ecology that makes up your farm and viewing these systems holistically, you can utilize the natural world to grow healthy crops and achieve true sustainability. Your farm has a body and seeks wellness through biodiversity and habitat variability.

How to Turn Your Lawn into a Food Forest

How might we redesign our spaces to create edible abundance? Transform your water-guzzling lawn into a productive polyculture food forest. If you are ready to transform your lawn and your outdoor living space, read on.

Awakening Community Intelligence: CSA Farms as 21st-Century Cornerstones

In the shadow of increasing climate chaos, human survival requires not only the intelligent actions of individuals but also thousands of communities of human beings who have had their inate intelligence awakened and who realize the fundamental link between life and land. In this regard, Community-Supported Agriculture (CSA) provides a useful and egalitarian model for sustainable food systems of the future.

Working to Keep Seed Diversity in the Public Domain, Part 2

Dylana Kapuler and Mario DiBenedetto are public-domain plant breeders and seed-saving stewards. Their Corvallis, Oregon company, Peace Seedlings, is focused on continuing the work and building on the legacy of Dylana’s parents, Alan and Linda Kapuler.

Working to Keep Seed Diversity in the Public Domain, Part 1

Dylana Kapuler and Mario DiBenedetto are public-domain plant breeders and seed-saving stewards. Their Corvallis, Oregon company, Peace Seedlings, is focused on continuing the work and building on the legacy of Dylana’s parents, Alan and Linda Kapuler.

‘The Nourishing Homestead’ by Ben Hewitt

In The Nourishing Homestead, Ben Hewitt along with his wife Penny tell the story of how we can create truly satisfying, permanent, nourished relationships to the land, nature, and one another. With plenty of practical ways to grow nutrient-dense food, build soil, and develop traditional skills, this book is sure to inspire a new generation of homesteaders.

Mothering the Earth

A story about Indigenous women taking care of their land in the Pacific Northwest by restoring the native ecosystem.

‘Farming the Woods’ by Ken Mudge and Steve Gabriel

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.

Grow Where You Are: Community Partnerships Support Local Food Production

Grow Where You Are is a social enterprise focusing on assisting communities in creating local food abundance systems. After creating small-scale urban food systems nationally and internationally for over 15 years, we see that even the most effective systems can be easily dismantled without land security. We propose supporting local growers in a transition to home ownership with a dynamic web of community partnership.

Unplugging to Reconnect, A Journey Toward Full-Time Homesteading: Location, Design, Infrastructure

This entry departs from our treatise on purely financial considerations of people who decide to move toward a full-time homesteading or farming lifestyle to explore issues that can be leveraged to reduce other "costs," such as time, labor and maintenance requirements. Up for discussion this installment are homestead location and layout, equipment, and free natural raw materials.

Neighbors Work Together on the Suburban Frontier

Greening our homes, neighborhoods and communities depends on friends and neighbors working together. This blog will show and tell several examples of friends and neighbors greening the neighborhood.

What Your Garden Can Teach About Cities

Shifting our built environments from the current linear blocks of car-centric urban sprawl to more integrated human-scale and life-sustaining organisms is not much different in principle than turning a concrete yard into a permaculture plot. We have to think in terms of arrangement of vital nodes, distance between interdependent threads, paths of least resistance, utilizing existing natural conditions, and maximizing water, energy and food sources.

From Nomadic Marine Corps Family to Rooted Modern Homesteaders

This is the story of my family’s transition from a nomadic military lifestyle to one of rural homesteading. I talk about our preparation leading up to leaving the service and some of our current goals and projects for the property and our lives. I also talk about using permaculture as the design science methodology for our businesses and the development of the property.

‘An Unlikely Vineyard’ by Deirdre Heekin

"An Unlikely Vineyard" by Deirdre Heekin tells her story of growing wine in the unlikely hills of Vermont and her quest to express the essence of place in every bottle. It is about the evolution of her farm from overgrown fields to a fertile, productive, and beautiful landscape that melds with its natural environment. A gentle narrative with lush photography, this book will appeal to anyone who loves food, farms, and living well.

The Problem with Pedestals

West Missouri farmer Bryce Oates explains why he has a problem with putting farmers, among others, on pedestals.

Transforming a Suburban Property: Removing a Driveway

Taking out a driveway and reclaiming automobile space can be one of the most rewarding projects on the suburban frontier. Replacing it with a walnut tree, blackberries and a storage shed with edible landscaping over the roof is even better.

Worms Eat My Poop: Building a Vermiculture Compost Toilet

A simple, low maintenance compost toilet that makes instant fertilizer by separating solids (worm food) from liquids (fertilizer, ready-to-use). Two chambers allows one to compost while you make deposits in the the other.

Transforming A Suburban Property: Early Projects

Transforming this suburban property has been one of the most satisfying and creative adventures in my life. No need to go anywhere. Making big changes was the plan from the beginning, 15 years ago, when I bought this quarter-acre property with a modest 1,100-square-foot mid-fifties suburban house. If I reincarnated as a house and suburban property, this would be it.

A Personal Perspective on Oregon's Sustainable Farm Movement

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.

Shumei: A Natural Agriculture Cult

Integrating Eastern teachings to Western agricultural practices can help us develop a more holistic form of agriculture. The legacy of Fukuoka inspires us to embrace a peaceful relationship towards Nature that can take many incarnations. The core guideline behind Shumei Natural Agriculture is to follow one’s heart, not letting one’s mind steal mindfulness away, while remaining open for new ideas.

Suburban Permaculture Transforms Neighborhoods

“You don't have to move to live in a better neighborhood.” Half of all Americans live in suburbia. It’s true that suburbia is on the receiving end of a lot of social, economic and environmental criticism with much of that criticism well deserved. While some of these criticisms may be justified, at the same time, suburbia offers enormous potential to become a critical new frontier for deep changes in our culture and economy through principles of suburban permaculture.

Organic Seed Alliance: Stewardship of Genetic Resources

If you think it's important to prevent Monsanto and other corporate giants from controlling the seed supply, you may want to consider donating to Organic Seed Alliance. Here is a short video about the work they do.

Build a Hugelkultur Bed

Prepare simple hugelkultur beds utilizing organic materials found onsite. Use fallen trees, branches, pine needles, leaves and other organic material to build raised beds now for planting in the fall.

Legal Front Yard Gardens Go Beyond Containers

St. Paul, Minnesota, not only allows front yard gardens and promotes growing vegetables in containers, but encourages residents to beautify the boulevard with plants, including edibles.

‘Organic Mushroom Farming and Mycoremediation’ by Tradd Cotter

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.

Permaculture In a Midwest Garden and Yard

Permaculture is about a self sustaining system that provides the food, nutrients and water in one yard. It is easy to adopt many of these approaches in your own yard and garden in the Midwest.

Permaculture as a Global Solution

Permaculture is at the heart of the solution of many environmental crises. Permaculture is alive with the possibilities of positive change.

How to Turn Suburbs Into Food Paradises

Ziggy Liloia examines two poignant books, Paradise Lot and Gaia’s Garden that turn the idea of needing lots of space to grow ample food on its head.

Permaculture Gardening, Part 4

Building a layered bed to develop organic material in the soil, hold moisture and decrease the amount of work.

Sustainable Farming with Reynaldo Ochoa: Rainforest Hero

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.

Permaculture Garden: Will It Work for Us

Do you want a permaculture garden? An ongoing blog about our journey using permaculture design ideas, to develop the organic matter in soil and produce a higher yield.

Healing the Earth

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.

Alternative Chicken Feeds

You don't have to stick to corn and soybeans to nourish your flock. Chickens enjoy a variety of foods, including mulberries, worms and Japanese beetles.

Ricotta and Kefir

In this blog we explore making your own ricotta and kefir, with recipes!

Attend A Winter Conference

Many sustainable agriculture groups sponsor conferences in the winter. Learn more about these opportunities to continue your learning and broaden your network.

Greater Life Force In the Garden: A Soil Fertility Manifesto

I, alone, am no one. I do not grow food. I do not water the garden. I do not photosynthesize. I do not put the life force in the soil. I do not make the seed. A natural force other than I is responsible for all this. That same natural force uses this body I like to consider my own to garden.

Gardening for Biodiversity

We have a saying around our house: When the pest control truck is at the neighbor’s house, all the spiders come over to our place because they know it is safe. Biodiversity is a top priority in my Northern California rural/suburban garden, and I work hard to have many plants, animals, insects, and, yes, arachnids represented.

Biochar: Not All it's Ground Up to Be?

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.

Living a Resilient Urban Life Good Food Festival & Conference partner Vicki Nowicki shares her experience living, learning, and teaching on her suburban permaculture homestead.

Maple Field Milk: Full-Tilt Farming

Dairyman Nick Snelgar reflects on the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health certification process and bagging hay for winter on his UK dairy farm.

Tall-Tale Vintage Postcards

The tall-tale vintage postcard collection consists of turn of the century photomontages depicting the utopian dream of agricultural America.

Growing Food Hidden in the Forest

Author Rick Austin shares gardening advice from his book, “Secret Garden of Survival – How to Grow a Camouflaged Food Forest.”

Find Local Food

These online tools can help you find the best sources for local food, including local farmers markets and community-supported agriculture programs.

Michigan Attacks Heritage Hogs; Farmers Fight Back

It has been fifteen months since heritage breed hog farmer Mark Baker sued the Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR) to stop the implementation of an invasive species order (ISO). The swine ISO supposedly targeted feral swine but could be applied to any domestic pig not raised in confinement. Baker has yet to have his day in court and it is still not settled when his trial will take place. It is common for lawsuits like this to turn into wars of attrition; the state has virtually unlimited resources while the farmers are bled of theirs over the course of the litigation.

Buffalo Gals

The story of two ladies and their small CSA in the Rocky Mountains.

Including Animals In Your Diet

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.

The Unsustainability of Local

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.”

A Growing Trust

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.

Changing the Context of Transportation

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?

Bike Boom More Than Just a Fad

The growing bike boom may be more than just a fad. It may be a full-blown movement toward a more sustainable mode of transportation.

Prepare for Pesticide Spray Season - Part I

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.

Farmers in Training: A City Dweller Gets Lessons in Harvesting, Milking and the Meaning of Life

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.

CSA Health Insurance Rebates

FairShare CSA Coalition partners with health insurance groups to offer a rebate for selecting fresh, organic, local produce.

Thoughts of Spring Begin to Stir

A winter thaw inspires starting the first seeds of the season - indoors, of course: kale, chard, and spinach to start.

A New Blogger's Homesteading Journey Begins

Since her first house move, MOTHER EARTH NEWS blogger Cathie Ackroyd, has become so very conscious of the impact we humans have had and are having on our planet’s environment and hoped to find a place to settle that would allow us to gain an element of self-sufficiency in a relatively car-free community.

Cycling Tour to Benefit TREE Fund

The week-long STIHL Tour des Trees is an international cycling tour combining natural beauty, camaraderie and fundraising for the benefit of urban trees.

The Urban Food Forest: A Groundbreaking Trend in Urban Agriculture

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.  

20th Annual Organic Growers School Takes Place in March

The 20th-Annual Organic Growers School takes place March 8 through March 10 at the University of North Carolina at Asheville (UNCA) in Asheville, N.C. The event, which is open to the public, provides practical, region-appropriate organic growing and permaculture workshops, homesteading and rural living classes, as well as a seed exchange, silent auction and trade show.

HOMEGROWN Life: The Making of a Hugelkultur Bed

Hugelkultur is nothing more than making raised garden beds filled with rotten wood. This makes for raised garden beds loaded with organic material, nutrients, air pockets for the roots of what you plant, etc.

EcoFarm Conference Educates Both Seasoned and Beginning Farmers

The Ecological Farming Association will host the 33rd annual EcoFarm Conference at the Asilomar Conference Grounds in Pacific Grove, Calif., Jan. 23-26, 2013. The conference will offer more than sixty workshops, as well as the opportunity for eight beginning farmers to win substantial grants.

Fruit for the Future

Looking ahead to spring, we're using these long days to plan a rootstock order of perennial trees, shrubs, and herbs.

Keeping Pet Worms

Raising worms for the compost material they make, vermicomposting, is the easiest indoor pet experience.

How to Start & Manage a Micro Dairy in 26 Steps – Step 2

Steve Judge of Bob-White Systems in Vermont offers his Micro Dairy expertise in this blog series on how to start and manage a Micro Dairy, from farm and barn planning to selecting dairy cows, goats and sheep to daily operations and being profitable.

Basil Harvest

Preserving an abundant basil harvest for the coming winter.

Solar Food Drying 2012

Solar drying experiences in 2012, including tomato varieties Principe Borghese and Long Tom.

Community Food events

Community food events are an outstanding way to share the abundance of our harvest and strengthen local community ties.

Garden Washing Station

Set up a washing station in your garden. Rinse your veggies there, saving the water for the garden and keeping your kitchen clean.

Chicken Tractors

Use of a mobile chicken tractors allows us to keep the birds on fresh ground and stay on top of the weeds.

Summer Weeding

Weeding in the summer is all about species maintenance

Hay Day

The accumulation and storage of hay is an essential summer task.

Ready for 2,4-D Corn?

The Environmental Protection Agency has given the go-ahead to Dow Chemical for its genetically modified 2,4-D resistant corn.

Turning off the Power

Monitoring energy use has led to increased motivation for conservation

Honey Bees and Easter Eggs

We had a once in a lifetime opportunity over Easter this year to talk to more than 30,000 people about honey bees, pollination, honey and beekeeping. And the place we got to do this in was one of a kind.

Spring Pruning

Pruning perennials is essential for plant health and vigorous production.

Clothing Swap

Participate in a clothing swap and make an economic statement

Spring Planning

Starting flats of seedlings begins this year's growing season.

A trip to the Almonds in California

A short introduction to the almond pollination adventure going on in California right now. Bee Culture spent 3 weeks exploring this annual event, traveling from Bakersfield to Chico, visiting orchards, beekeepers and almond growers.

Yogurt-Making & Bread-Baking

Homestead skills of yogurt-making and bread-baking increase your independence from grocery store aisles and international food conglomerates.

What’s new at New Holland Agriculture?

New Holland Agriculture is unveiling a number of new tractors as well as new haytools and other equipment at the 2012 World Ag Expo in Tulare, California and the 2012 National Farm Machinery Show in Louisville, Kentucky.

Alternative Currency

Building a vibrant local community through local economics and rural culture.

Gather Free Biomass from the Woods

Gathering leaves from the woods to mulch the garden and stump dirt to turn into potting soil not only provides free biomass for the garden, it also introduces beneficial microorganisms.

Winter Winners This Year

Winter wasn't very hard this year, well at least so far, and even if it gets more normal winter like, there's not much time left. Our bees have done well, and it looks like it might be a great summer ahead.

HOMEGROWN Life: Utility or Useless?

Clearly the NACE considers “useless” degrees to be ones in which pay is low and availability of jobs is scarce. However, shouldn’t measuring the usefulness of an education take into account the actual benefits bestowed upon the person doing the study


Sauerkraut is an effective and delicious way to store cabbage and add something "fresh" to the winter months

Monsanto’s False Advertising

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?

Permaculture 2012

Permaculture is a holistic, integrative design for a sustainable future: registrations now open for D Acres' 2012 Permaculture Design Course!

Feeding Bees With Real Food - Honey and Pollen

You don't have to depend on nature to feed your bees. Take matters into your own hands and plant enough good food for your bees, so they have good, safe food all year long.

What a Mild Winter Means

The good, the bad and the ugly of a nice mild winter and its effects on the homestead in 2012.

Wood Heat

Wood is our source of heat for the winter, as are sweaters and hats!

Permaculture in Winter

A rundown of activities you can do in the winter to improve your homestead.

Composting Humanure

Humanure management for maximum nutrient secuestration and minimum resource loss.

End-of-Season in the Greenhouse

As winter descends a three-season hoop house is weeded, compost spread, and a straw mulch applied. Next spring will be here soon.

Roots Agriculture

At first glance George Siemon and Doc Hatfield don’t appear to have a whole lot in common. But George and Doc and a bunch of conspirators are revolutionizing agriculture: they are putting consumers back in touch with the people who grow their food.

Fall Care of Perennials

Fall sheet mulching of perennial plantings assists in fertility and weed suppression.

Mulching with Leaves

Leaves are a valuable source of mulch and fertility within the permaculture garden.

Winterizing Tips for Top Bar Hives

This post offers tips for winterizing a top bar hive - insulating, mouse guards, wrapping, closing entrances, protecting from wind. All things you can do to help get them through!

Winter In A Top Bar Hive

One way to overwinter a top bar hive in a northern climate is to provide good ventilation and some insulation. Enough food is needed, and good protection from the wind is too. We'll see how it works.

Local Economics

D Acres offers alternative economics. We are the 99&: join us.

Carel Struycken: Leaning Towards the Paleolithic

Actor Carel Struycken is famous for his role as Lurch in Addams Family, as well as many other roles. He is also a big proponent of permaculture. Nyerges talks with Struycken at his Pasadena home about permaculture and sustainable farming.

Homegrown Carrots

Homegrown vegetables are a lesson for kids in where food comes from.

On Permaculture

This is an excerpt from Christopher Nyerges' "Self-Sufficient Home" book (published by Stackpole) where he talks about some of his early gardening experiences and when he learned that the health of the soil is the most important aspect of gardening.

Looking Ahead

Using cold frames for fall salad greens can extend your season of fresh eating.

In Her Boots: Sustainable Farming for Women, by Women

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.

4th of July Message to Top Bar Beekeepers...

By the 4th of July, there's a palpable shift in the feel of the beekeeping season. New beekeepers wish for more guidance, and may even be wondering why they started this project! Here's a little reassurance that you are not alone in your endeavor.

Organic Agriculture: An Increasing Global Trend

The Worldwatch Institute declares that many people worldwide are turning to organic agriculture to feed themselves and others, while feeling good about protecting the environment in a time of economic depression.

The Comfort of “Why”

It helps us feel better to know "why" things happen, but we don't always get to know that answer...

Introducing Permaculture

Maddy Harland introduces the three ethics behind permaculture design and explains why permaculture is more than a gardening technique — it’s a practical tool for a better, more creative life!

Upcoming Pastured Poultry Seminar

Hermann and Laura Weber are preparing to host their ninth annual pasture poultry seminar on their farm in Attica, N.Y. Speakers include Peter McDonald of Pasture Pride Farm, Dave Snyder from ADM Alliance Nutrition, Inc. and Brian Fleishman from the Wyoming County Chamber of Commerce and the Wyoming County Tourist Program. Contact the Webers for more information: 585-591-0795.

Shifting the Paradigm Toward More Natural Beekeeping

This blog post started life as an article in The Natural Farmer,published by the Northeast Organic Farming Association (NOFA). It could be said to herald the birth of that entity we have come to call The Cynical Optimist.

Choose Flowers Grown With Respect and Care

The next time you stop to buy a bunch of flowers you will look for the Rainforest Alliance green frog seal — your assurance the flowers were grown in a way that respects both the environment and farm workers alike. Since the mid 1980s, growers in a Latin America have been increasing their production of roses, carnations and other blooming species. Ninety percent of the cut flowers and ferns imported to the United States come from Latin America.

Find Farming Internships and Apprenticeships

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.

Get Your Local Food From a CSA

Pass the cold, wintry months with warm thoughts of how you can eat more local food while supporting sustainable agriculture this coming season.

Enriching Activities Offered in the New Year

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.  

Beef Scares in 2010

At least four major beef recalls due to E. coli tainted meat occurred in 2010. A substantial percentage of the meat was certified organic. With these beef scares in mind, the fact that Grist readers voted hamburgers as the second scariest food of 2010 comes as no surprise.

'Climate-Ready' Crop Patents Threaten Biodiversity

A recent report noted concerns about top seed and agrochemical corporations that are placing claims on multigenome crop patents, which could put the planet’s agricultural biomass at stake.

Urban Agriculture and Garden Training

Amid mounting concerns over food security and sustainable food systems, the rise of urban gardens and agriculture has been on the rise. Due to a paralleled increase in the numbers of people interested in learning how to garden, programs in urban agriculture at colleges as well as nonprofit urban garden training programs have sprouted up across the country.

Missing Pics From FAIR

Photos from tectonic shift. Ruminations on MEN and MOTHER EARTH NEWS and masculine and feminine, and feminine planet.

Sick Chickens to Blame for Salmonella Outbreak

In eggs from a healthy chicken, proteins found within the egg white control the growth of dangerous bacteria. If a chicken is infected with salmonella, the proteins can't protect you.

Summer Loving

Simran Sethi looks back at her New Year's resolution: to nourish herself.

Mechanical Tenderization Makes Rare Steak Risky

The process of mechanically tenderizing steaks creates a food safety hazard by transferring bacteria that otherwise would be limited to the surface of a steak to the entire cut of meat, inside and out. Rare steak lovers, beware.

Fraudulent Organic Operation Decertified

We've reported on the fraudulent practices of Horizon Organic and Aurora Dairy before. Now, a federal judge has suspended one of their suppliers, Promiseland LLC., from organic commerce.

How Did We Get Here? Tribal Identity and Accepting President Barack Obama

For centuries social and international conflicts have been spurred by contrasts in one group's sense of tribal identity (whether cultural, ethnic or geographic) versus another's. This same conflict plays out today in the United States for those members of American society who, thus far, have been unable to recognize President Obama as part of their tribe. Bryan Welch argues that Obama, in fact, epitomizes the  key characteristics of the modern American tribe.

Smithfield Foods, Exposed

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?

The Austerity Conundrum

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.

What Does “Rainforest Alliance Certified” Mean?

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.

HR 875: No Need For Alarm … Yet

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.

New Legislation on Antibiotics and Agriculture

This coming Tuesday, March 17, new legislation will be introduced in an attempt to protect Americans from antibiotic resistance. The Preservation of Antibiotics for Medical Treatment Act of 2009 will end the use of certain antibiotics in agriculture unless animals are sick.

Who Will Benefit from the National Animal ID System?

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?

Improve Soil with Cover Crops

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!

Meat Shopping Made Easy

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.

The Final Rule on COOL

It's official: The USDA has finally hammered out the details on country of origin labeling. The rule will take effect March 16, but some say it could use a little tweaking first.

Locavore: A Word to Live By

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.

Farming for Food or for Fuel

With population growing and oil supplies diminishing, more land than ever is being consumed to grow both food and fuel crops.

Agriculture and the Environment

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.

The Dangers of Industrial Farming

As modern farms increase production using monoculture crops, the nutritional value of the harvests diminishes, along with the economic stability and self-reliance of the farmers and their local communities.

Dear Mr. President-elect

Sustainable farming expert Michael Pollan has some words of wisdom for the next president of the United States.

Why do we call it Rancho Cappuccino?

When I'm introduced to a new acquaintance, the introduction often ends with, "Bryan farms." Like it's the most interesting thing about me. Well, maybe it is.

Genetically Engineered ... Animals?

The  U.S. Food and Drug Administration is accepting public comment regarding a draft Guidance for Industry #187 — to clarify regulation of genetically altered animals.

Malthus' Last Laugh

We're probably on our way to a population-related catastrophe, after all.

Taking Industrial Agriculture to Court

The U.S. Department of Agriculture and the American Egg Board are being sued for using $3 million in public funds to fight a phase-out of inhumane farming practices.

Fight Climate Change With Weeds?

Don't like weeds? Well, maybe this will change your mind. An article in the New York Times, discusses possible ways that weeds could help fight global warming.