Cooperative Neighborhood Composting

Besides benefiting the environment by reducing the amount of waste that goes into landfills and providing your garden with black gold, composting can build and strengthen relationships with your community.

Home-Based Food Businesses Thrive in California

Whether your food product is gluten-free, a loaf of bread made with organic wheat, or chocolate carefully crafted with organic cacao, more culinary entrepreneurs than ever before are launching their food product business from their home kitchens thanks to their state’s “cottage food law.” California is leading the way with laws for cottage food operators.

How My Husband and I Went From Corporate Drones to Tropical Organic Farmers in Puerto Rico

Learn what the catalyst was behind the huge leap from corporate drones to becoming organic farmers in Puerto Rico — despite knowing nothing about farming, not speaking the language and knowing only a handful of people. Although family and friends thought we were crazy, it was the sanest decision we ever made, and we couldn’t be happier with the way our life has turned out. Amid animals being dropped off to us, frequent power and water outages, and being separated from our family, we are truly happy for the first time in our lives.

Nevermind the Politics, Forests Can Help Cool the Planet

Forestry and climate change are complex and emotionally charged issues. In this post, we focus on the forests themselves and how they can contribute to global cooling when forest management practices are adjusted through the incentives in the multi-billion dollar carbon credit programs being launched.

The Market Gardener: A Successful Growers Handbook for Small-Scale Organic Farming

A step-by-step guide that lays out practical know-how, Fortier has done his due diligence to learn from those who have innovated in the past and compiled successful strategies into one small successful farm. In a time of “feel good stories” that may or may not be financially solvent, Fortier simply hands over to the reader the blueprints to confidently launch and run a small-scale market garden.

Fermenting Knowledge at Fermentation Festivals (with Kombucha Recipe)

Filling in the information gap is exactly what the Fermenters Club’s Fermentation Festivals in San Diego and Oregon are all about. A transition to a diet filled with more live culture foods is a natural step to get our gut, and the microbes living there, in a healthier balance.

Conducting Experiments in the Garden

Although you may hear the term "master gardener", there is no one right way to grow your garden. For all gardeners out there, the surefire way to learn how to garden is by conducting experiments — by setting a hypothesis, testing it, and recording your results in a gardening journal.

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.

Forestry, Global Warming, and the Multi-Billion-Dollar Carbon-Credit Grab

Most forests are working forests. They are cut regularly for lumber production and other uses. Only 12.7% of the earth's forests are protected. Wood is carbon. Carbon volumes sequestered in the woods need to multiply to significantly contribute to global cooling. Without this, the carbon credit market is mostly wasted as a tool for significant global cooling. We still have time to save our forests.

Get Past Your Fears and Start Composting

Composting is beneficial for the earth in many ways: amending soil for gardening and diverting trash from landfills. But many people don't ever get started due to fears and misguided notions of composting. Learn your composting basics here.

Creating A Project Plan For Your Garden

Start your dream garden as you would any project — with a project plan. If you break down your end goal into step-by-step tasks, you will see your dream come to fruition in no time.

Ecotourism in San Diego, Part 2

Surprisingly, the San Diego area is home to one of the largest collections of small farms in any county in America. Green travel is boosted by these farmers supplying the farmers' markets and farm-to-table restaurants. There's a few lodging options for the eco-minded, too.

Many Reasons for Thinning Fruit

My fruit and nut trees - peaches, pears, apples and almonds - are looking like they will be absolutely loaded with fruit this year! Thinning the fruit is the best way to get larger-sized fruits. There are also a number of other reasons for thinning fruit. The following are a few points to consider.

Homemade Coffee-Lemon Body Scrub

Eager to make some yummy, detoxifying scrubs for my arms and legs, I mixed some simple ingredients to my trusty epsom salts to achieve clarity, exfoliation, and moisture using coffee grounds, lemon zest, and coconut oil. Brilliant? Yes! Simple? You bet. Here are DIY instructions on how to make a homemade coffee-lemon body scrub!

Net-Zero Energy Homes for the Masses

If you were to rank sustainable homes primarily based on their energy efficiency, Zero Net Energy homes would rank extremely high. They’re pretty cool — and complicated. Top U.S. home builder PulteGroup moves into the eco-friendly homes market by providing Zero Net Energy homes to the masses.

Ecotourism Fun in San Diego

With temperatures typically in the 70s or 80s and plentiful sunshine, there’s rarely a day you can’t catch the sunset, go for a ocean kayak trip or bike some of the hundreds of miles of bike trails or pathways that weave through San Diego.

DIY Decorative Tray

Learn how to make your own decorative tray using repurposed materials!

Building a Wood-Fired Pizza Oven for Full-Barn Farms

Have you ever thought about building your own Wood Fired Pizza Oven? Tim Rohrer with Full Barn Farms, shares how they went about building a Wood Fired Pizza oven for personal and agritourism use.

Jam On: The Universal Jam Recipe

Make jam with whatever is in season! This recipe works with almost any fruit. The results are modestly sweet and balanced with freshly squeezed lemon juice.

Purchasing and Managing Pastured Pigs

Tim Rohrer talks about what he's learned while managing the pastured pigs at Joel Salatin’s farm and shares a few things to consider before purchasing your own pigs.

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.

Foliar Spraying for Improved Plant Health

Increase your garden’s productivity with foliar spraying. Improve your success rate with cuttings by foliar feeding. Organic dilutions of lime juice, peppermint essential oil and kelp can each help your plant thrive. Reduce disease and pestilence by spraying weekly at sundown on your plant’s leaves and achieve larger harvests.

Cover Crops: Building Soil the Natural Way

What is a cover crop? Understand how to build the health of your soil the natural way by planting cover crop seeds. Explore seed types, when to plant, and the step-by-step process for planting a healthy cover crop in your garden.

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.

'Orange Jazz' is an Excellent New Beefsteak Tomato

'Orange Jazz' is a productive new tomato variety bred on Baia Nicchia Farm. It has a sweet-complex flavor, with hints of stone-fruit and unique coloration with yellow stripes over orange flesh.

DIY Ring Holder Jewelry Dish

Welcome to the world of repurposing — taking items and giving new life as gifts, home décor, and accessories that you and your friends will love. Follow along the four easy steps to make your own eco-inspired ring holder.

Cultivating Communities through School Gardens

As an educator and ecologist, I am learning from my students that the most important survival ingredient may actually be a sense of community. Grow Your Own! was born in 2012 to address a problem: Local teachers and parents were building school gardens that were lying empty from disuse. The mission of GYO! thus became support for school gardens and their leaders through guidance, curriculum, and resources to foster gardens that were at the same time beautiful, educational, and functional.

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.

Why Farmers Need Each Other

Tim Rohrer describes why he thinks that farmers need each other. Tim describes his the time immediately following his apprenticeship at Polyface Farm, and how he experienced farmer camaraderie.

Polyface Farm’s Unfair Advantage

Polyface has an “Unfair Advantage," but the good news is that you do, too! Here, Tim shares his thoughts on how your Unfair Advantage sets you apart from the crowd and bestows gifts on you that you can turn into success. The trick is learning to utilize your own Unfair Advantage.

A Polyface Processing Day

Tim Rohrer, A Polyface apprentice, recounts what an average processing day at Polyface looks. Here, Tim Talks through some of his processing experiences and a basic overview of the procedure.

Sustainable Poultry Network National Conference

You’re invited to the 2015 Sustainable Poultry Network–USA National Conference! This conference will be the most complete, comprehensive conference for sustainable poultry production in North America. This conference features some of the very best instructors to teach on the current critical subjects of sustainable poultry production.

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.

Working with the Polyface Eggmobile

Tim Rohrer, a Polyface Apprentice, talks about his interaction with the Polyface Eggmobile. Here, Tim speaks about his perspective on one of the Polyface centerpieces.

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.

How to Make a Mini Terrarium from an Incandescent Light Bulb

As more people choose to reduce their energy consumption and buy newer, energy-saving light bulbs, more incandescents are disposed of. Divert incandescent light bulb waste by hosting a terrarium-making workshop, where students can up-cycle their incandescents into something new: mini terrariums! This post will show you how.

So You Think Your City is Green? Introducing a Sustainable Cities Rating System

As the question of what it means to be “green” is becoming more frequently asked, many new rating systems have been introduced to measure the performance and sustainability of everything from appliances, food, buildings, and corporations. But what if we could rate the largest and most complex things that humans build with one methodology? The International Ecocity Framework & Standards Initiative takes on the challenge of rating cities.

Crazy for Berries

Tips for growing an assortment of berries in the high-desert climate, including blueberries, strawberries, blackberries, raspberries, kiwi berries, goji berries and honeyberries.

Gardening in Containers

Gardening in containers can address a number of gardening situations such as adding color to a patio, controlling soil pH, allowing sensitive plants to be portable, and water conservation.

Citizen Scientists Monitor and Map

The Cornell Lab of Ornithology has several Citizen-Science Projects to engage individuals and communities in actively participating in conservation efforts. Learn more about these programs and how to become involved.

Rosemary Plants Offer Many Benefits

Using rosemary plants in the landscape can offer a number of benefits such as being drought tolerant, desert soil and climate tolerant, aesthetically pleasing, great for cooking, attractive to honey bees, and more.

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.

Gardening with Chickens in the High Desert

My garden started out as just a need for feeding my family in the summer months. Over time, it not only needed to feed my family, but needed protection from various critters—including backyard chickens—that inhabit my yard. Learn how to construct raised beds, install shade cloth and build a fence to protect your plants.

The Birds Are Coming. Are You Ready?

Spring bird migration is underway! Backyard gardeners play a valuable role in supporting birds during this vulnerable time. Learn what you can do in your own yard to help migrants.

What Is All the Buzzzz?

Native bees are a necessary component of maintaining native habitats. Their role is increasingly important as honeybee populations struggle with Colony Collapse Disorder. Learn what you can do to support your local pollinators this spring.

How to Test Leftover Seeds

This blog tells you how to test seeds that you’ve saved from last season to see if they are worth planting.

Highland Kale Is a Versatile Mustard Green from Ethiopia

Highland Kale (Brassica carinata – aka Ethiopian Blue Mustard, aka Gommenzar) is not quite a kale and not quite a mustard. It is a very versatile, and delicious “winter” green, that’s also not just for growing in cool seasons.

How to Join the Seed-Sharing Movement

Seed sharing has come under attack and seed libraries across the country are being threatened with extinction. Here are nine ways to join the movement to keep seed sharing legal and free.

Winter Bird Survival

Birds are survivors. Learn about different adaptations birds have to thrive during the dark, cold winter days. And, what you can do to support winter bird survival in your backyard.

Discovering Aji Amarillo Peppers

Aji Amarillo peppers (Capsicum baccatum) are versatile, fruity peppers used extensively in Peruvian cuisine. We have found many uses for these bright yellow and orange peppers, and our journey to discover them has only begun.

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.

Kiva Zip's Innovative Approach to Lending

In conventional lending, underwriting decisions are based on averages, and algorithms, credit scores and cashflows. They do not reflect a would-be borrower’s character, and are un-nuanced — “black and white.” Kiva Zip, a non-profit based in San Francisco, is pioneering an innovative, character-based approach to lending that allows for a more colorful underwriting canvass.

A Great-Grandmother's Onion-Celery Dressing Recipe

Some of the best recipes are never written down. Thankfully, Rachel's mom recently transcribed her own grandmother's onion-celery dressing recipe. Lucky for us, Rachel shares it here. Pass it along!

Interview with Herbalist and Author Rosemary Gladstar

Watch an interview with Rosemary Gladstar, during which she discusses the goals of the non-profit United Plant Savers and the importance of plant conservation. Plus, read about how Rosemary became a leading figure in American herbal medicine.

The Resurgence of School Gardens

School gardens play a vital role in our nations educational systems. Though the concept dates back to the 1800s, their role has gained popularity in the last 20 years, and for good reasons.

Taxpayers Save on Solar Energy With Green Businesses

Sun Light and Power, a solar installation co signed a deal with SolED to offer Power Purchase Agreements (PPA) in the State of California. This will help public or government buildings get these deals and save tax monies.

Propagating Lavender

This blog takes a look at the steps taken to propagate lavender by taking cuttings.

Veterans Sustainable Agriculture Training

The true essence of Veterans Sustainable Agriculture Training and Archi’s Acres is about lending a helping hand and empowering veterans to create a sustainable positive future through agribusiness.

My Goats Have Green Thumbs blogger and Bay Area homesteader Rachel of Dog Island Farm says keeping animals in the garden improves her soil and fights weeds and pests.

Films on 'Green' Topics

This is a listing of some of the green-themed films that came out between 2012-2014. These films are on a variety of topics, including food/agriculture, health, energy sources, water, climate change, animals, etc.

Building a Cheap Greenhouse

HOMEGROWN Life blogger and Bay Area homesteader Rachel shares how she built a cheap greenhouse out of mostly scavenged materials - and how you can, too.

How We Transplant Vegetable Plugs

This post will take a look at how we transplant vegetable seedlings in our certified organic greenhouses, especially tomatoes, peppers and eggplants.

Tornado Survival Tips

With 1/3 of the population of the US under a tornado watch today, these tornado facts, myths, and survival tips could save a lot of lives!

From Selenium to Silicon and Beyond

60 years ago scientists at Bell Laboratories developed the first solar cell capable of converting enough sunlight into electricity for practical uses. Their discovery is the greatest breakthrough in the 6000-year history of solar energy, and the sire to today's solar revolution. Let's celebrate!

Let It Shine: Modeling Global Warming in 1767

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

How to Graft Tomatoes

Learning how to graft tomatoes yourself not only saves money but gives you unlimited options for what varieties you choose to graft. With a little practice, you can become skilled at this worthwhile technique.

Safer Flea Control for Your Pets

Fleas and ticks can bring severe itching, allergic reactions, discomfort, and even serious diseases (such as lyme disease) to your pets, so it’s important to protect your pets from them. However, studies have found that many common flea and tick control/treatment products aren’t just toxic to those bugs; they can actually poison your pets, as well. Find out which ingredients and products to avoid, and some safer alternatives to use.

Let It Shine: Solar Heat for Gardening

The invention of clear window glass allowed the ancient Romans to trap solar energy to enhance their gardening techniques to grow vegetables out of season and exotic non-native plants in Rome. A thousand years later, empire builders in Europe rediscovered the trapping of solar heat with clear window glass so they as well could enjoy the foreign plants in their own back yard and grow native vegetables throughout the year.

Preparing Soil in Our Community Garden

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.

Mobile Saunas

A compendium of modern nomadic sweats.

Why Bother To Build Your Own House?

Everything you need to know about avoiding problems when you build or remodel your own house. Learn from the mistakes of others and make fewer of your own.

DIY Mealworm Farm

Learn how to make a simple "mealworm farm" out of readily available materials you probably already have in your home. Raise your own mealworms to feed to chickens, ducks, turkeys, quail, and other poultry as a protein rich treat.

HOMEGROWN Life: Let’s Talk About Poop

HOMEGROWN Life blogger and Bay Area homesteader Rachel discusses using manure in the garden, including which type of animal waste is best for which crops.

Team Austria Wins Solar Decathlon 2013

Team Austria wins the Solar Decathlon 2013 for building the most energy-efficient, cost-effective and most attractive solar-powered house.

Let It Shine: The 6,000-Year Story of Solar Energy

Let It Shine by John Perlin highlights the context in which solar energy developments have occurred and the people who have made the solar revolution possible, revealing a whole new group of unknown technological pioneers, as well as people famous for other accomplishments never before known for their work as the solar advocates and technologists they were.

HOMEGROWN Life: A Melancholy Season

HOMEGROWN Life blogger and Maine dairy farmer Dyan reflects on the changes that arrive with fall, including her own sense of melancholy.

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.

Wet Felting with Wool Scraps

Learn how to easily wet felt wool using nothing more than wool scraps. It's so easy a two-year old can do it!

HOMEGROWN Life: Geeking Out on Goats

HOMEGROWN Life blogger and Bay Area homesteader Rachel recounts how she went from half-hearted to full-breed-ahead when it comes to breeding goats.

Growing Renewable Energy Sources in the United States

The Obama Administration releases its plans for new renewable energy sources.  Ken Salazar, Secretary of the Interior, explains that the new solar energy zones span six states and keep both domestic energy and environmental preservation in mind. If completed, the power generated from these solar energy zones would provide electricity to roughly seven-million homes.  

A 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.

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.

California Approves the Use of Dangerous Pesticide on Strawberry Fields

The California Department of Pesticide Regulation (DPR) has approved the use of methyl iodide, a pesticide toxic to humans, for application to strawberry fields. Methyl iodide is recognized as a carcinogen that can also cause late term miscarriage and permanent neurological damage. Scientists agree that farmers cannot safely use the pesticide, and a concerned coalition has formed to persuade Governor Brown to put a moratorium on the use of methyl iodide.  

Obama Asks EPA to Reconsider Auto Emissions Position

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.

California Takes Aim on Lead Ammunition

California condors are on the verge of extinction, and lead ammunition has something to do with it. But they're not the only animals being hurt. Based on recent studies, people that eat venison risk exposure to lead as well.