Permaculture
What is a Microclimate?

What is a Microclimate?

A microclimate, as the name implies, is a unique and “micro” climate found within a broader area with different climate conditions. A microclimate can be created naturally or purposefully through landscaping and building placement. One example of a microclimate is a small grove of planted trees. The trees retain more moisture and shade than the...
David Holmgren and the Birth of Permaculture

David Holmgren and the Birth of Permaculture

Born in 1955 in Western Australia, David Holmgren is a writer and ecological design engineer, and ecologist as well. He studied at the College of Advanced Education in Hobart, Tasmania.   This was where he met Bill Mollison, a lecturer at the University of Tasmania, and the idea of Premaculture was born. Holmgren and Mollison...
Permaculture in South Africa

Permaculture in South Africa

Permaculture, a term created by David Holmgren and Bill Mollison in 1970, is defined as a “consciously designed landscapes which mimic the patterns and relationships found in nature, while yielding an abundance of food, fiber and energy for provision of local needs. People, their buildings and the ways in which they organize themselves are central...
How to Build a Composting Toilet

How to Build a Composting Toilet

A composting toilet isn’t the first item of discussion, even among an eco-friendly crowd. When environmentalists talk about waste, it’s usually car exhaust or industrial pollutants, or consumer waste that contributes to mountainous landfills. It is usually never the waste that comes from our bodies. Why is this? Because it’s gross. People are often squeamish...
Backyard Farming: The Life of the Modern Homesteader

Backyard Farming: The Life of the Modern Homesteader

Become a modern homesteader. It can be a lot of work, but it’s rewarding. By taking care of your own needs, you rely less on problematic, modern, large-scale systems that people have relied on to the detriment of our environment. While working within a small parcel of land, sometimes as small as a city lot,...
Climate Change and Agriculture

Climate Change and Agriculture

  Last month, the United States’ National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association (NOAA), the government agency that collects data dealing with climate change, featured an article in their Climatewatch report called “The New Climate Normals: Gardeners Expect Warmer Nights.” Each decade, NOAA issues a report documenting the 30-year average for temperatures, to compare against current ones....
Why Agricultural Biodiversity is Needed

Why Agricultural Biodiversity is Needed

A natural landscape is a landscape that has not been changed in anyway by human activity. Formed by the earth’s changes through millions of years,  a natural landscape is unique in every habitat and eco-system.  Nature always finds a way to use it’s natural resources as they become available to surrounding organisms.  If left alone,...
Holistic Range Management: An Example from Namibia

Holistic Range Management: An Example from Namibia

The Integrated Rural Development and Nature Conservation (IRDNC) are dedicated to long-term sustainability of southern African by linking wildlife conservation to rural development and to democracy. The IRDNC has employed a holistic and community-based management approach to conservation and ranching making sure to incorporate the African way of doing things.  In recognition of its cutting...
Agriculture Tools Every Homesteader Should Know

Agriculture Tools Every Homesteader Should Know

We’re all familiar with a rake, a wheelbarrow, a shovel (or at least I hope you are). They are some classic gardening tools. But when I say “rake,” maybe I envision a broad, plastic leaf rake and you think of a metal one. Flatheaded shovel or rounded? There are so many agriculture tools out there....
Earthbag Buildings Use Natural Materials

Earthbag Buildings Use Natural Materials

Building with earthbags is a combination of both old and new concepts.  Earth bag construction utilizes the concept of building with adobe bricks but uses bags of earth, rock, sand, or other combinations to create a well-insulated and sustainable green building.   The earthbag building concept was presented by architect Nader Khalili to NASA for...
Mud House Construction: Learning from the Old Ways

Mud House Construction: Learning from the Old Ways

In many ways sustainable living is a return to the old ways of doing things.  Unlike other construction materials such as concrete, wood, and steel, mud house construction is not environmentally destructive and it is relatively inexpensive. Just because a construction process, such as mud house construction, is an ancient method that does not mean...
What is Keyline Design?

What is Keyline Design?

Keyline design is a  land management technique first suggested by the Australian Percival Yeoman in the 1940s. His ideas were revolutionary at the time and can be seen as the beginning of alternative farming methods.   Australia is a continent of extremes, plagued by drought, bush fires and occasional torrential floods. Yeoman, an engineer by...