Building — by Judith Goldsmith March 9, 2011
The easiest, strongest, cheapest, and most durable material for building structures may now come from your garden. A new book describes best practices, and a workshop is coming up shortly in Australia.
When architect Darrel DeBoer first encountered bamboo as a building material, he knew it was going to be revolutionary. He had a long history of researching and teaching about building with non-toxic materials, using renewable materials such as straw-bale for building, and creating innovative designs; and bamboo is proving to be a new tool to extend these areas into new, very exciting areas. Now he’s written a book packed with photographs of beautiful design ideas, and hints for working with bamboo that he’s learned from numerous projects around the globe.Comments (7)
Commercial Farm Projects, Economics, Food Plants - Annual, Food Plants - Perennial, Markets & Outlets, Medicinal Plants, Plant Systems, Village Development — by Judith Goldsmith November 3, 2010
Richard Alan Miller likes to tell the classic story of one of the first farmers who came to him for help.
He had 400 acres in Iowa in corn, which was infested with burdock. He had tried everything — spraying, everything — and he couldn’t get rid of the stuff. The bank was threatening him with foreclosure.
He came to a workshop I’d given at Charlie Walter’s Acres U.S.A. conference in Kansas City, and got in touch with me. When the bank heard I’d been hired to consult, the banker gave him a one-year stay of execution. I advised him to: sell half his land; sell half of his capital equipment; and then I had him get rid of his noxious weed — which was the corn! — and grow what nature wanted him to grow, which was the burdock!
I helped him sell all his burdock crop to Asian markets in Chicago, at two dollars a pound fresh (I advised him that he’d only get 60 cents a pound dried), where they couldn’t get enough of it for kim chee and fresh vegetables. After the first year, he was out of foreclosure. After three years, he owned his own land outright . . . and he started buying back his old land, and putting it into timber for his grandchildren!
Miller’s consulting does not always result in such dramatic conversion, but it has brought financial stability to many other small- to mid-size farmers and would-be farmers throughout the U.S.Comments (24)
Fermenting, Health & Disease — by Judith Goldsmith October 21, 2010
This is an introduction to Weston Price for Permaculturists, because I think the two are natural allies (and so do some other Permaculturists I know).
I first learned of Dr. Weston Price’s “Nutrition and Physical Degeneration” (published 1939) from one of the Whole Earth Catalogs, possibly the Essential WEC published in 1986. When I got a copy from the library and read it, I was amazed, and made some major changes in my life (cutting down on sugar and white flour; years later I learned from continuing health problems to cut them out of my diet completely, to great benefit).Comments (12)
Recipes — by Judith Goldsmith October 20, 2010
Sometimes our problem as permaculture gardeners is the pleasant one of abundance! Here are six suggestions for what to do with the last of the summer crop of zucchini and/or squash. Hopefully you’re checking frequently and not letting them get too big, but these recipes will also work with the baseball-bat-sized ones (just kidding). These recipes also highlight other summer crops like tomatoes, corn, and avocados.Comments (2)
Food Plants - Annual, Food Plants - Perennial, Medicinal Plants — by Judith Goldsmith October 6, 2010
Judith Goldsmith first promoted winter gardening in her book, “Strawberries in November: A Guide to Year-Round Gardening in the East Bay”. She got her first basics in Permaculture from an introductory intensive with Cathé Fish of the Sierra Permaculture Guild. Her food forest in the San Francisco Bay area includes three kinds of apples (one grafted), plums, peach, persimmon, pomegranate, guava, roses (for rose hips), kumquat, Meyer lemon, Makrud lime (edible leaf), and blackberries.
I hope you don’t mind me being a bit regional here. This article is not for areas that get snow or frequent frost during winter, but a good-sized (and, with climate change, growing) chunk of the world has a “Mediterranean” climate, including western Australia, western South Africa, the ring of countries around the Mediterranean Sea (Portugal, Spain, southern France, Italy, Greece, Yugoslavia, Turkey, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, Algeria, Morocco, etc), coastal Chile, and my area, California. (Notice they all have the ocean on their west, which keeps their winters mild.) “Mediterranean” means that during a large part of the year we have no or little rain, and since this arid condition is among those that can really benefit from Permaculture practices, it might benefit many who check in here to talk about the benefits of winter gardening.Comments (6)