If you’re really for the economy then you’re also for the environment

stock trader at computer screen

I taught college logic for decades. Logical fallacies make me squirm. However, most people have errant ideas about logic. My undergraduate students always get huffy and insist that their "true premise" is logical. Logic examines process, prior to truth. A true conclusion can be arrived at if, and only if, the premises are true, and the process by which the argument is constructed is valid. … [Read more...]

The permaculture gardener: year-end wrap up

garden bench in fall

November has been quirky: it started warm, then got quite cold and windy, followed by falling leaves, brilliant blue skies, then heavy clouds, even snow. Did I leave anything out? Then, of course, there’s the raking that accompanies the falling leaves. At this point I’d say I’m the only person in my neighborhood who still uses a rake to move leaves around; everyone else uses a leaf blower. The … [Read more...]

Deserts, non-native species and the Second Genesis

una muerte anunciada

When Zen farmer Masanobu Fukuoka proposed that military bombers of his native Japan be used to drop balls made of seeds for hundreds of plant species over the world's desert areas in order to revegetate them, housewives and children around the country started sending Fukuoka donations of seeds. Though his dream of a vegetation air force has yet to become a reality, Fukuoka's book  Sowing Seeds … [Read more...]

Building a resilient homestead of your own

rice paddies

“Imagine inheriting a food forest,” farmer and author Ben Falk suggests in The Resilient Farm and Homestead: an Innovative Permaculture and Whole Systems Design Approach. And although Falk does eventually go on to describe exactly how one would go about creating a low-maintenance, edible forest garden, the idea he poses ignites a greater question – what does it mean to leave a legacy and what … [Read more...]

The tomato incident

Tomato Harvest

I was in my greenhouse the other day, watering some enormous tomato plants. These plants are massive — well over my head and still going strong. They're planted in a raised bed, with about thirty of them shoulder-to-shoulder in close quarters. It’s literally a tomato jungle. They're lush, full, heavy with tomatoes and the pride of any gardener. Enter my friend, who upon seeing this eye-candy, … [Read more...]

Waste not, want not


If you take a long hard look at a landfill you’ll see both tremendous need (where do we continue to put all this waste?) and undertapped opportunity (how can we redesign, reuse, and repurpose to avoid the landfill altogether?) We’ve been exploiting natural resources at an unsustainable level for nearly a century to create material goods for our well-being and pleasure. Over that time we’ve … [Read more...]

The Permaculture Handbook: Garden Farming for Town and Country

Sunflower woodcut

Peter Bane’s handbook, while not quite encyclopedic, is nothing if not authoritative. I can honestly say, without fear of exaggeration, that I hold my head a little higher as I stride about my miniscule fiefdom, now that I’ve read The Permaculture Handbook: Garden Farming for Town and Country. The stones Bane leaves unturned are few and far between. Once you’ve digested the author’s ruminations … [Read more...]

The rise of re-use

trash pile

Last week I read that the glitzy world of virtual reality created instant multi-millionaires and several billionaires when Facebook went public selling shares. Last week I also noted the important real world problem of some 250 million tons of solid waste a year in our country alone. Guess which “world” gets the most investment, status, fame, klieg lights, and attention of the skilled … [Read more...]

What are you and your Transition group doing this May?

Garden painting

From coast to coast, in urban and rural communities, abandoned lots are being converted into green oases and school children are pulling weeds and planting tomato starts. Whole communities are signing up to pick up shovels and tools to help install rainwater harvesting systems, improve insulation, install solar panels, and bring homegrown produce to their friends and neighbors. How it all … [Read more...]

Cold comfort. Review: The Winter Harvest Handbook

Fall Garden With Cold Frame

Every gardener knows the thrill of gardening season coming upon them. Nigh about January, when those seed catalogs start rolling in, the imagination lets loose its longings, dreaming of the joy of watching the garden take shape, of favorite vegetables growing and the recipes they inspire, and of new plantings, experiments with life's mystery and bounty. The season, feeling too short in most … [Read more...]