For those gardeners who wish to grow year-round longtime MOTHER EARTH NEWS Contributing Editor and home-energy expert Dan Chiras has a solution for you: the Chinese greenhouse. Typically earth-banked into a hillside or girded by mounded earth, Chinese greenhouses bring many principles of passive-solar design into the greenhouse in order to grow using 100-percent solar radiation.
A friend of mine participated in the Second-Annual State of the Electric Utility survey. He also shared with me the results of the 2014 survey, which tabulates the opinions of more than 500 electric-utility professionals on the subjects of demand growth, distributed generation, power supply, regulatory models, and a number of other electricity-generation, transmission, and distribution-related issues.
I never much cared for gazpacho, and that’s probably because I lived in Colorado and Alaska most of my adult life. You must have great tomatoes to make great Gazpacho. After I tasted gazpacho made with heirloom tomatoes like 'Cherokee Purple', 'Brandywine', 'Marmonde' and others from my garden, I realized what I had been missing.
What needs to happen is a change in attitudes. Such a change is not coming soon enough to your favorite grocery store. If more of us buy imperfect-looking produce, grocery stores will be able to change our dependence on harsh chemicals used to grow perfect-looking fruits and veggies. It’s up to all of us to support the imperfect produce movement and bring back taste, nutrition and a healthier planet. How will you vote?
Getting to know your local farmers and learning more about how to farm can be an annual event. From the novice to the experienced farmer, chef, or backyard gardener, an annual meeting is a great way to expand the knowledge base and make new friends.
This past year has been a hallmark year for the advancement of Light Straw-Clay building. The publication of our new book The EcoNest Home and the latest edition of Franz Volhard’s book Light Earth Building translated into English, and the inclusion of Light Straw-Clay Building in the International Residential Code has made this beautiful form of construction accessible to more people than ever before in modern times.
Here is a primer on specialty mushrooms. Exotic mushroom varieties are daunting to most consumers. They ought not be intimidated by these strange but tasty morsels. There are several sources for recipes including the Mushroom Council, my website, or by using search engines. Mushrooms deserve a place at your table due to taste, availability, and purported health benefits.
Spring has sprung - time to get the hens into their summer mobile chicken coops. A nice afternoon project, right? Well, you know how those "5-minute jobs" go — they always seem to multiply. Learn how we manage chickens in mobile coops on pasture.
Ruminants have been maligned for causing desertification and worsening climate change, but when we emulate the way nature designed herds to graze, the result is a rapid improvement in soil, forage and animal health. Our planet's health is also improved because rotational and mob-grazing takes atmospheric carbon and stores it as organic topsoil.
If people knew how easy and delicious homemade salad dressings can be, store-bought dressing sales would plummet. You, too, can make your own salad dressings without having a culinary school degree or cooking experience. Learn to make Oil and Vinegar with Tarragon and Homemade Ranch with Roasted Garlic here.
Homesteading is built upon a foundation of self sufficiency, but community is just as important. There is so much more to homesteading than the individual pleasure associated with it. There is true joy and friendship in the shared labor of land.
After you grow your own organic greens, it’s hard to go back to grocery store crap. The good news is that greens are easy to grow in a multitude of environments. If you are short on space, try building a salad tray and grow your own greens on a patios or balcony. If you have a small patch of ground, do what I did and install a raised bed.
Probiotics and digestive enzymes are important to our health. Fruit kvass is a fermented drink that can be made quickly and cheaply to provide digestive health benefits. Celeste Longacre shows you how and includes a basic kvass recipe with blueberry, strawberry, and orange.
People think building is difficult. It’s not. And in the hope of encouraging a few more wannabe natural builders, I’ve compiled the following list. Because in my experience, there are far harder things in life than building a house.
Recent scientific studies show that the baby is interacting and takes in the mother´s beneficial bacteria throughout pregnancy and during natural birth and breastfeeding. The risk for pregnancy complications seems to partially depend on whether mother´s bacteria are dominated by beneficial or potentially pathogenic strains. This new knowledge means that we need to pay close attention to the symbiotic bacteria of pregnant women and new mothers and help beneficial strains thrive and prosper.
I have a long-standing fear and dislike of spiders — especially big ones. You could say I was not a likely candidate for conversion to a spider lover. This story is about the Yellow Agriope spider I found in my tomato plant and the unlikely garden friendship we developed.
We are in the midst of a walking renaissance as millions of people discover a daily stroll can prevent disease, boost energy, ease stress, connect us with our communities, and is just plain fun. The number of us who regularly take a walk has risen six percent in the last decade. Oklahoma City is taking part to improve life for people who walk — and reaping big benefits.
Dr. David Lewis, Ph.D., who was formerly a senior level research microbiologist at EPA-ORD, kindly agreed to an interview for the MOTHER EARTH NEWS blog addressing the issue of agricultural use of sewage and industrial sludge, aka – biosolids. He is one of the most prominent scientific voices in the growing opposition to biosolids land application. Dr. Lewis’ publications are frequently cited as an example of solid, unbiased scientific evidence of the danger posed by this practice.
Tiny homes range anywhere from 80 to 400 square feet and are sometimes built on a trailer chassis and sometimes built to go on a more permanent foundation. It is a relatively new concept and if we believe what is being said about the tiny home, its popularity is growing like wildfire.
This young couple quit their lives in the city to start a homestead in the country 100% from scratch. They are documenting their expenses every step of the way in hopes of helping others that wish to embark on a similar adventure.
Energy conversion efficiencies have been stuck in the 19th century. As a result the enormous drain on natural resources has polluted the entire planet and threatens to cause a return to a preindustrial lifestyle. An Energy breakthrough is needed. A breakthrough has occurred as prophesied by Nikola Tesla.
Heritage breed chickens are a doorway into the past. They not only provide you with an opportunity to preserve historical links to the farming community but can be productive members of your homestead as well.
An urban homestead is as unique as the individuals who own the property. Our homestead developed slowly. In fact, my wife likes to joke that we are “accidental homesteaders.” We did not buy our village home nestled on 1/16th of an acre with the goal of becoming urban farmers, it just sort of happened, out of necessity.
Garden pests come in all sizes, from mammals to bugs. This post describes a control for two pests, rabbits and slugs. Learn the step-by-step process for building beer-based slug traps and a rabbit-proof fence.
We recently attended a concert for Climate Change at the Uptown Arts Bar in Kansas City organized by Craig Wolfe and Randy Deutch of the band Soular. The concert premiered a song by Winston Apple that brought tears to some eyes in the audience. There is no way to know for sure if we’re past the point of no return.
Tiny homes are becoming more and more popular throughout the United States. This article explains why tiny homes are inherently green and offers an example of Anita’s 248-square-foot Lilypad Tiny Home, decked out with green appliances and sustainable materials.
Even though our goal is to be completely self-sufficient, one thing that I stress is that you don't have to be completely self-sufficient — just make it your goal to become more self-sufficient than you are right now. This blog will help people become more self-sufficient by leading by example, right or wrong. Here is your official invitation: Please come and join us!
Hydropower is the world’s leading form of renewable energy, accounting for more than 16 percent of global electricity generation. But dam enthusiasts who tout hydro’s climate credentials may not like the news about its emissions numbers.
When your electronics say “low battery,” it means just that: The batteries are low but not dead. The energy that remains in seemingly dead batteries can be used in this simple night light project that you can build at home in about one hour. Your new night light will shine for months and is reusable for years, powered by “dead” batteries.
Recent studies show that the jet-stream patterns have changed significantly during the last decade. The oscillations that bring the jet stream down to lower latitudes have increased in frequency and amplitude.
Spring has been slow to arrive in the Green Mountain State. But there are signs of spring in Vermont and that means preparing your Micro-Dairy for the change in seasons. Bob-White Systems' Steve Judge shares more tips to transition a Micro-Dairy into spring.
Rabbits are a fabulously healthful, economical and ecologically sound source of meat, and they don’t have to be kept in hanging cages. Rabbits can be raised on pasture to produce food for your family while improving the quality of your land.
As farmers, we know the importance of creating a milking environment that is clean and healthy for the animals. In Part 2 of Making Clean Raw Milk, we outline the steps needed to milk your cow or goat in a manner that keeps it clean.
Up against China, the tar sand extraction, dysfunctional global summits and the endless cry for economic growth, any individual's actions to halt global warming might seem insignificant. But conscious decisions that bring us closer to nature can make a difference and might be the best we can do.
Finding time to make improvements on a small dairy is difficult but making a few improvements as the seasons change can often make a micro dairy or any size small farm more efficient. Here are 7 steps to help you prepare your barn for the cold winter months.
Though summer vegetables like tomatoes, peppers, basil and cucumbers grow at a reduced pace in the fall, cool season crops like lettuce, carrots, radishes, peas, cabbage, broccoli and cauliflower are coming into maturity throughout October and into November.
We are currently facing a job crisis. Most jobs available today require specific skills and not college diplomas. Congress recently passed the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act which should help train workers but fails to take note of the booming green job market.
Congress passed a piece of legislation which could have a serious impact on the nation's job crisis. This post explains the act, analyzes its impact, and notes that the whole renewable job sector has been pretty much ignored.
In order to maintain an internal body temperature of 98.6 F, the body perspires or sweats. As the sweat evaporates off the skin it cools the body. The trouble starts when the humidity is so high that the air is saturated with moisture and sweat drips off of you rather than evaporating. My method for avoiding Heat Stroke is called Getting Grounded in the Garden.
A sustainable, profitable grazing system starts with one thing: full pasture recovery. Destroying your land can also start at the same point, if you don't allow enough rest. This chart summarizes the principles of mob grazing for those who don't have the time or desire to read dozens of articles. Hang it up in the barn!
Houses take a lifetime to pay off these days, and even a prosaic shed, barn or coop requires a heavy investment of money, time, skilled labour and imported materials. For thousands of years, though, people around the world used an ancient technique to build homes and other structures quickly, using nothing but local material and simple, easily learned skills.
To see how much solar heat could be trapped by glass, Horace de Saussure, in 1767 built a solar hot box that consisted of several glass sheets covering an insulated box. Solar heat accumulated in the solar hot box, reaching temperatures far above the boiling point of water
The Union of Concerned Scientists is advocating the reform of current palm oil farming practices which release drastic amounts of carbon, harm local ecosystems and treat workers in an ethically unsound way.
Mankind’s use of fossil fuels during the last 200 years has dumped millions of years of sequestered carbon into the atmosphere in the form of Carbon Dioxide. Since the beginning of the industrial revolution, 315 gigatons of carbon have been added to the atmosphere, leaving the carbon cycle 315 gigatons out of balance.
We can cut projected U.S. oil use in half over the next 20 years and create more than 1 million jobs, reduce annual oil spending by $550 billion, and eliminate 2 billion metric tons of global warming emissions per year by 2035.
Global Greens Farm in West Des Moines, Iowa, helps refugees transition from growing food for their families to operating small businesses that sell produce at farmers markets, local grocery stores and to area restaurants.
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.
The Lawrence Anthony Earth Organization published a new analysis that depicts the dangerous flaws in oil spill response and outlines technology they claim will save marine life, oceans, animals and people, while saving millions of dollars.
Knowing where lumber sawyers exist locally opens the door to all kinds of DIY projects. For example, storm-damaged trees can be turned into useable lumber instead of heading to a chipper or landfill. But you can take advantage of milling lumber at local sawmills only if you know where to find them. There are online resources to help you find a sawmill near you. Search by state or Zip code using the sawmill locators below and you will be on your way to turning raw wood into quality-cut lumber for DIY projects without the need to purchase any equipment yourself.
Here is yet another possible building project presented to you which requires no formal training, very little money, and techniques/methods that anyone can use. This blog intends to inspire you to take on a natural building project like this one. Don´t have fear if this is your first time working with these techniques and materials — it often for us also! Swattlesfield Campground is frequented by many kinds of people for various reasons. The owner, Jonathan, wanted to introduce some activity which would draw people together. We had the perfect idea: pizza! Food, especially food that requires waiting, has a tendency to attract people. And once humans have a good reason to be in the same place, the rest (socialization) has a tendency to just work.
If you often find yourself in need of lumber for various homestead projects, consider a small, portable sawmill to cut your own lumber. Portable milling equipment makes it possible for you to create dimensioned lumber for all kinds of DIY projects. The videos below show the versatility of portable sawmills in action. You will also discover tips to assist with assembly.
What exactly is hydroponic gardening? Though it may sound complicated, it’s really not. The word "hydroponic" comes from the Greek "hydro," meaning water, and “ponic,” meaning work. The basic concept is this: growing plants in a nutrient rich water solution rather than in soil.
According to FDA data, the quantity of antibiotics sold for livestock use in this country continues to rise, topping 29 million pounds in 2011. This has a direct effect on the efficacy these same drugs will have on us. Sam Spitz has personal experience with a resistant illness and FamilyFarmed.org asked him to tell his story. It’s a cautionary tale that should have us all making better food choices. Read how we can all influence the campaign to end the misuse of antibiotics in livestock and keep antibiotics working for us when we need them!
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.
Des Moines, Iowa, gardeners may soon find themselves in hot water with their City. A local resident recently took front yard veggie growers to task for what the resident feels to be unsightly lawn growth. Beets and berries, it seems, do not have the same aesthetic appeal as a green, freshly-mowed front lawn.
The Classy Coop Giveaway grand prize was given a good home with our contest winner and her backyard chickens. We were happy to see this mobile chicken coop is already being broken in. Bring on the eggs!
In support of the Obama Administration's all-of-the-above energy strategy, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced Nov. 19, 2012, 10 small business-led projects to speed solar energy innovation from the lab to the marketplace.
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.
When I designed my wilderness cabin back in 2009, I knew I wanted to go the extra mile to achieve beauty, and that included an attractive roof. If you’re interested in creating a roof structure that’s well insulated, pleasing to
Jason Helvingston of Orlando, Fla., fights for his right to grow food in his front yard garden after the City of Orlando cited him for illegal gardening, pitting food self-sufficiency against city ordinance.
As part of the Obama Administration’s all-of-the-above strategy to
expand safe and responsible domestic energy production, the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management announced Nov. 7, 2012, a lease for commercial wind energy development 11 nautical miles off the coast of Delaware.
Solar Energy International is offering a free online course as an introduction to renewable energy. You will not walk away an expert, but will have learned the basics of renewable energy and be able to decide which technologies are right for you.
The Obama Administration releases its plans for new renewable energy sources. Ken Salazar, Secretary of the Interior, explains that the new solar energy zones span six states and keep both domestic energy and environmental preservation in mind. If completed, the power generated from these solar energy zones would provide electricity to roughly seven-million homes.
In this posting we discuss how rock weathering controls the level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. We also discuss why rock weathering can't remove the excess carbon dioxide in the atmosphere that was generated by our use of fossil fuels.
In this posting we discuss the role global warming is playing in the planet's rapidly decreasing fresh water supply. We also discuss how global warming and the loss of fresh water is impacting building infrastructure.
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.
Putting a new roof on a mobile home and harvesting the worlds biggest sweet potato while growing for the first time Par-cel cutting celery and hauling horse manure from our parking area back to the garden.
In this posting we discuss how the record infection rate of West Nile virus is related to the record global temperatures of the past decade. We also discuss how these record temperatures have allowed the infections to occur in northern latitudes.
How many people wonder (pun intended) about industrial white bread? A new book out by Aaron Bobrow-Strain shows that he has. It is a fascinating description of how white bread got to be where it is today politically, economically, and culturally.
We’ve been living in the little house for nine months and one of the things I’ve noticed is this: If I don’t pick up my stuff the house looks like a bomb went off. I don’t have a lot of stuff, but it’s still easy to create clutter piles with my limit
Hybrid cars now have a 12-year history in the United States, but hybrid car battery replacements have been surprisingly unnecessary. Most of the hybrid cars on the road are still using their original battery packs — even many of the 300,000-mile Ford Escape Hybrids used as taxis in New York and San Francisco.
In this blog, Robert White of Quail Acres Farm shares some of his experiences in the Growing Farmers workshops as they relate to planning for his upcoming move to the farm to establish his market garden and small livestock business.
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.
Two years ago, the Natural Home & Garden staff had the honor of decorating President Obama's guest house with sustainable and handmade holiday decor. Try some of these "president-approved" projects yourself!
You can save money and improve your helaht by making more foods from scratch in your own kitchen. Sign on for October Unprocessed, and kick the processed food habit for one full month (at least for starters!). Check out some deliciously simple recipes to get you started.
Today, resourceful homeowners are creating more space without moving walls. One innovative solution uses heavy-duty sliding door hardware to show how a vacation home benefits from more efficient floor space.
ClearSpan Fabric Structures, a division of ESAPCO, is proud to announce a new strategic partnership with Vermont’s AgriLab Technologies, a company specializing in heat capture and transfer from aerobic composting.
The Environmental Protection Agency’s Energy Star program launched its 2011 Change the World, Start with Energy Star Campaign. This campaign encourages and inspires Americans to commit to energy efficiency by highlighting grassroots efforts of individuals all over the United States.
Is it possible that the sheer extra number of calories produced by our food system could be partly responsible for the extra number of inches being tacked on to our waistlines? Is it possible that, by directing subsidies to the production of commodity crops used to produce grains and oils, our current agricultural policy is contributing to the obesity epidemic.
Bobcat is a global brand with more than 600 dealer locations in North America and the leader in compact equipment—industry's original innovator, beginning more than 50 years ago with the first compact machine and predecessor to the skid-steer loader.
This posting discusses how deforestation increases global warming and ocean acidification. It also discusses the role of deforestation in triggering severe flooding,aquifer depletion, soil degradation and animal and plant extinction.
This posting discusses the role of carbon dioxide emitted from the burning of fossil fuel in ocean acidification. We also discuss the potential effect ocean acidification will have on marine inhabitants.
This posting discusses how global warming alters the ocean ecosystem to create ocean deserts. We use tropical oceans as an example of such deserts. Another example discussed is the creation of ocean dead zones by the over use of fertilizers.
This posting discusses how the oceans stores heat and transports the heat to warm colder parts of the planet. The posting uses El Nino as an example on how warm ocean water can have a diverse effect on the climate in different regions of the planet.
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.
An introduction to Richard Hilderbrand’s new blog discussing climate change, plus the first installment. Learn how Earth utilizes greenhouse gases to ensure stable temperatures, or thermal equilibrium, as well as how fluctuations in solar activity relate to changes in global temperatures.
Kevin Danaher, the first keynote speaker of the 2010 MOTHER EARTH NEWS FAIR, proved an appropriate choice to kick off the event. His presentation, Green Jobs are the Future, was an upbeat assessment of what ordinary citizens can do to affect positive economic change. It also reminded everyone gathered that in order “to save the eco-system, we must transcend the ego-system.”
The embrace of environmentalism by professional sports provides us all with a new and large opportunity to educate people worldwide about the need to do something, however small it might seem, to protect our biosphere.
A front-mounted snowblower with a 72-inch cutting width is now available for Bobcat compact tractors. The new snowblower joins front-mounted models with 49- and 62-inch cutting widths introduced last year.
Aggressive roosters are a nuisance and can be dangerous if they attack small children. Three simple methods can stop most aggressive behavior so that you can enjoy your entire flock of chickens, even the roosters.
The National Wildlife Federation has released a report that explains the effects of climate change on winter weather. Warmer winters and heavy snow are causing problems for agriculture, wildlife, communities and even the skiing industry — and the NWF is calling for policy reforms to reduce emissions to slow the effects of global warming. Read on to learn more.
Most people want to contribute to a positive future. But their intention is often obstructed by the things they perceive that they cannot do. In frustration, they stop thinking about it. When we stop thinking about it, we feel a sense of relief. That sense of relief is, perhaps, the biggest threat to the world’s natural environment today.
The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists recently moved back the minute hand on the symbolic Doomsday Clock by one minute, in part because of what they see as hope for mitigating catastrophic climate change. Tell us what you think about their decision.
Taking a bus or a train can be a great green way to reach your vacation destination. We'd like to hear more about your bus or train travels and what you liked, or didn't like, about the experience. Share your story here!
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.
A new federal tax on soda and other sugary beverages has been suggested as a way to pay for part of the major overhaul of the U.S. health-care system proposed by the Obama administration. What do you think of the proposed soda tax?
Hold onto your hats, Congress is debating climate change. Right now the U.S. House is considering the Waxman-Markey climate bill. Here's where you can find more information about what is, and isn't, in the bill.
Believe it or not, the global warming debate still exists. The Inhofe EPW Press Blog now has 650 scientists that speak out against the fact that global warming is real and manmade. But are these sources credible?
President Barack Obama signed an executive order to help reduce automobile gas emissions in the United States. This is the first of many steps that the Obama administration plans to make to improve global warming.