Feb 11, 2012

Wooden Spoon Making

Uploaded by porkbrick on Nov 5, 2011

Very good explanation and great craftsmanship!  Monte

Rocket Stove Heater --- Small and Portable

Uploaded by porkbrick on Jan 30, 2012
Building my own rocket stove to heat a very small cabin. junk yard and hardware store provided all materials.

Great explanation and work!  Monte

Who Are the Millennials?: Bill Moyers Interview With Heather McGhee

Saturday 11 February 2012
by: Bill Moyers

Heather McGhee. (Photo: Moyers & Co.)

While Republicans are still fighting the culture wars primary by primary, and caucus by caucus, President Obama is campaigning rather feverishly to win back the votes of the Millennials. Who are they? Well, the Millennials are the generation of young Americans born roughly between the years of 1978 and 2000. They are coming now to political maturity.

Two-thirds of Millennials voted for Obama in 2008, but a new Harvard study shows that in the last two years his approval rating among them has dropped 12 points. That's enough to decide a close election in November. And that may be why the President recently threatened to cut federal aid to schools that, quote, “jack up tuition.” Many of the Millennials are coming out of college with big loans to repay.

Yet another study describes their enthusiasm for him as “substantially depleted” so his reelection campaign has been wooing them recently through what Obama himself calls this “new fangled” thing, social media.

This week, we’re going to talk with one the Millennials’ most thoughtful advocates. Her name is Heather McGhee. Listen.

HEATHER McGHEE: I turned 30 last year which puts me at the very start of the Millennial generation. And we are known for our sense of entrepreneurship, our volunteerism our tolerance of diversity and for being the first generation in American history to not do better than their parents. And that was clear before the Wall Street banks crashed the economy and left our generation to graduate into the worst job market since the Great Depression.

BILL MOYERS: As we’ve been reporting in our series on winner-take-all politics, the Millennials grew up in the years when crony capitalists and powerful officials in Washington rewrote the rules of the economic game to favor the relative few at the top over everyone else. That collusion brought devastating results, from the financial crash four years ago, to the greatest inequality in America since the great depression of the 1930’s. Our economy stopped working for everyday Americans.

So this generation of young people faces a stacked deck. They will find it tough to make their way to the middle class. And as you heard Heather McGhee say, Millennials are the first generation not-likely to do better than the one that came before them.

There are 80 plus million of them, 60 percent are white, 14 percent black, 19 percent Latino, five percent Asian, and a smattering of others. Here is something of what they’re up against:

Unemployment among our youngest adults is almost twice the national average. 25 to 34 year-old male high school graduates are earning 25 percent less than they earned in 1980. Almost 40 percent of young adults say their personal debt increased in the last four years, a lot of that directly related to student loans.

Back in 1980, college tuition averaged three thousand dollars, adjusted for inflation. Today that average has almost tripled.

Back then, pell grants covered more than two-thirds of the cost for low income students. Today it’s down to just over one-third. And those who graduate are in debt an average of 25 thousand dollars.

And yet, despite the dire statistics, almost 80 percent of young people say they still believe in the American dream. That’s true across race and ethnicity. Hope, fortunately, springs eternal.

Heather McGhee graduated from Yale and the law school of the University of California at Berkeley. She now runs the Washington office of the research and advocacy group D?mos. She was active in fighting for financial reform in Congress after the crash of '08 and for new measures to protect consumers.

Heather McGhee, welcome.

HEATHER McGHEE: Thank you.

BILL MOYERS: You know, the facts and figures paint a very dismal picture of your generation. But let me ask you this. Is it something of a myth, this upward mobility in American life? Because I could take you to the hollows of West Virginia, to the back streets of our big cities, to small towns throughout the country, where poor kids never got up and out.

HEATHER McGHEE: Absolutely. I mean, I think it's a myth that every kid is going to have that opportunity. And that's one of the great myths that's been quite destructive, actually, to our willingness as a country to make sure that there are those ladders of opportunity in place, through policies like universal education, child care, and early child care and development.

But the truth has been that over the course of our history, every generation as a whole has done better financially. And in fact, up until a few generations ago, has been able to do better financially by working even less, by being more productive and having more time for home life and for civic life.

BILL MOYERS: You know, other generations have faced severe problems. They've experienced depression, recession, war. What makes this different?

HEATHER McGHEE: I think what's different about this generation is that all of the external changes that happened, globalization, technological change, the information age. All of that happened, and yet it happened at a time when we lost our social contract. So America could have weathered all of the economic storms that happened over the course of our lifetimes in a much better way that did not decimate the middle class, if we had a social contract in this country. If we had not, at the same time, decided that, in fact, the economy would work better if everybody was on their own. So that's what's different.

BILL MOYERS: Well, do you and your peers get together and say, 'What hit us?'

HEATHER McGHEE: Most of my friends, who are not political and don't have an economics background, who are starting out their lives right now, having children, getting a house don’t even think about the fact that these are common problems that could have public solutions. They don't think there could be financial aid for childcare. They don't think that health care could be portable and go with them and be guaranteed.

They don't think that there could be a pension that is more solid and durable than a 401(k). That's actually been sort of the most pernicious effect of the Reagan revolution is to take the horizon of public policy solutions that could really help people sort of off the radar entirely.

BILL MOYERS: But if your peers, don't think they have a problem, do they have a problem?

HEATHER McGHEE: They know that they have the problems. They just don't know that there could be public solutions.

I think that's one of the major projects that we have to do is really to create a generational comparison. Where we say, for example, 'My generation-- my grandparents were able to go to college, go to higher education, have a middle class life, save for the future, retire comfortably because of public investments that were made, like the G.I. Bill, because of the federal highway system, because of the retirement system that labor and union jobs were able to provide.'

BILL MOYERS: How did you get a start? What were your-- who were your parents? What did they do?

HEATHER McGHEE: I'm the descendent of American slaves. I'm from the South -- Mississippi, Georgia, Louisiana. My grandparents and great-grandparents moved up to work in the steel mills of Chicago.

My grandmother and grandfather both had public sector jobs at a time when there was rampant discrimination in the private sector. They became, you know, leaders in the police force in Chicago, a social worker in the Chicago public schools. And they were able to retire comfortably. And they were able to help my parents out. And my parents were able, in turn, to help me out. But the idea that I'm going to be able to do that for my children, given the amount of debt that I have is something that I think I've just had to let go of.

BILL MOYERS: Well, that's what can happen in the public sector. That the public sector over the last 50 years has created a very large middle class for people who would otherwise never have gotten into it. And now with the assault on public unions and public sector, that ladder's being taken down, right?

HEATHER McGHEE: Absolutely. It's been so shocking to see the demonization of public servants. It's really part of this 40-year attack on the public. And I think the fact that we're seeing right now that teachers, public janitors, school workers, bus drivers, cops, firefighters are the new welfare queens in our public life.

I mean, really they are. I mean, if you think about the stereotype that's being trafficked right now. They're talking about these lazy, you know, bloated pensions that are just, you know, cheating the system. I mean, that's the welfare queens of the 1980s. And what has been-- what's the same between the welfare queen and this image of the postal worker who doesn't really deserve the benefits they're getting? These old shop worn stereotypes of race and gender.

BILL MOYERS: Does it seem to you that inequality is sort of the bequest your generation has been handed.

HEATHER McGHEE: Absolutely. I mean, our generation is, you know, the most diverse generation in American history. Half of young people under 18 are children of color. But we are also the generation that is experiencing this record inequality, inequality in our economy and inequality in our democracy.

BILL MOYERS: What do you mean inequality in democracy?

HEATHER McGHEE: Well, let's take, for example, the fact that since I was born, there's an entirely new industry that didn't used to exist. That of corporate lobbyists, for which there are now 24 for every member of congress.

I mean, if you think about who people in congress spend their time with, who they listen to, who they spend one out of every three minutes that they're in office fundraising around, it is people in the top one percent. It is their lobbyists. It is the corporate CEOs. And so much of the policy decisions, whether they are the decision to keep the minimum wage low.

I mean, if we-- the minimum wage was at its peak in 1968 and has lost nearly half of its purchasing power. I mean, just think of that one policy decision that is a number one target for the Chamber of Commerce, year after year, to make sure that the minimum wage stays low. That absolutely benefits people who are invested in big corporations and the executives of big corporations. But the American worker has seen their buying power erode and erode.

BILL MOYERS: So is this what you meant in that speech when you said that what has happened to your generation was the consequence of a social experiment? Is that what you mean?

HEATHER McGHEE: Yeah, it's been a really grand experiment that has-- in, sort of, neo-liberal economics, the trickle-down experiment. The experiment that said that, in fact, the best way that we can shape our economy is to make sure that the most gains are amassed and kept at the very top. And then that somehow those would trickle down.

That's been an experiment. It's been-- it was a theory that was tested. My generation were the guinea pigs. And that experiment has absolutely failed if the aim was to produce greater prosperity for America. That means American people. If the aim was to actually stop at the top and just create greater corporate profits and greater G.D.P. growth, then it's been a success. But I think most Americans would not have bought in to that kind of experiment.

BILL MOYERS: I read just the other day that only 29 percent of Americans have college degrees. Is college still a way up and out?

HEATHER McGHEE: It is. And you would think-- I mean, this is one of those great ironies. At the same time that we had the globalization, the transfer from the industrial age to the information age, and so the premium on higher education became so high. At the same time that we decided to reorder our economy so that those with information and with knowledge would be able to gallop ahead, we also made it less affordable and more difficult for people to get that new golden ticket to a middle class life.

It doesn't make any sense. At around that same time, around when I was born, we shifted our federal support for higher education. It used to be the majority of it was grants, grants like the G.I. Bill that put my grandparents to college, grants like my parents had, to loans, which is what the majority of my generation is now taking on in order to basically pay government and the banks for the privilege of having a middle class life.

BILL MOYERS: Yeah, what does it say that many of you have to pay Wall Street to go to college today?

HEATHER McGHEE: It's amazing, isn't it? And not only do we have to do that, but particularly with these private loans, which are just galloping, galloping away, in terms of how quickly they're becoming a share of the market, it's like 18 percent interest on some of these private loans. It's like putting your $10,000 tuition on a high-interest credit card.

And if you think about that, if you think about the fact that the next generation has to pay an 18 percent interest rate to get a college education, whereas the very banks and financial companies that they're paying that interest to are getting basically a zero interest loan from the government every day, it's shocking.

BILL MOYERS: We have a video clip of a young man who's speaking at a rally objecting to tuition increases. Let's take a look at it.

PROTESTER: Me myself, I’m in debt $70,000 and when do I expect to be free of this? Possibly never. I actually got a letter from Sallie Mae, saying that if I don’t start paying today, $900 a month, they are going to have more aggressive attempts at collecting my debt […] And so I refuse to pay this student debt, for this ball and chain that will follow me the rest of my life. And so I’m going to burn this right here and now.

BILL MOYERS: How do you respond to that?

HEATHER McGHEE: Honestly, it really does breaks my heart, Bill. If you think about what young people are facing when they know that they have to play by the rules, go to college, get a good education. And yet, they know that the price of that is going to be tens of thousands of dollars of debt on the other end, what options are young people supposed to have? I really don't think that we can say as a country that we are a middle class nation, that we care about recreating a middle class for the future generation, and have an entire generation indebted. And have so much money diverted from more productive uses in the economy simply to pay off loans from a really flawed financial aid system.

To read more articles by Moyers & Co., click here.

BILL MOYERS: He quoted a letter from Sallie Mae. For the benefit of my audience, who's Sallie Mae?

HEATHER McGHEE: Sallie Mae, other than being one of the most profligate contributors to Washington and one of the biggest lobbies, is a massive financial company that is, their entire business model is on student loans, private and federally subsidized.

BILL MOYERS: As you know, the Obama Administration tried to do something to clean up that student loan business, and got a piece of legislation through that was promising. But then lobbyists from the industry, including many who belong to the Democratic Party swarmed all over it, and have, in effect, throttled it. What does that say to you?

HEATHER McGHEE: It says that the financial industry is an equal opportunity employer of Congress people, unfortunately. We've really seen an incredible explosion in the amount of financial contributions from the financial sector, including Sallie Mae, Wall Street banks, real estate, insurance over just the period of my lifetime. And the result has been that any time there are any kinds of steps forward, there's always a desire to sort of erode the progress.

BILL MOYERS: Yeah, you're sympathetic to that young man and to all of them like him. But do you think refusing to pay is a solution?

HEATHER McGHEE: You know, I think the right solution would be for us to undo what Sallie Mae and other lenders got slipped into that terrible 2005 bankruptcy bill. Which is that private student loans and student loans are not dischargeable in bankruptcy. I mean, think about it, bankruptcy, which, you know, huge, multi-billion dollar corporations are-- seem to be filing every day and move on, just as if nothing happened.

And yet, regular, middle class families, the average American family, the two most important loans in their life, the two most onerous loans in their life, for education and for their primary residence, they can't be relieved of in bankruptcy. Our bankruptcy code says to the American people, "You don't have any second chance when it comes to those two major primary loans." We're just making people give up so early on, because it's impossible to get out from under debt like that.

BILL MOYERS: What's the answer to the high cost of college and the loans that kids have to take out?

HEATHER McGHEE: Yeah. We need to fundamentally shift back to a system of grants, not loans. I mean, we cannot indenture a generation just to pay for the ticket to the middle-- to a middle class life. But we also need to do something for people who are not going to get bachelor's degrees, which are still-- it's not the majority of young people who have a college degree.

So I think we need to raise the wage floor. We absolutely have to get back to a place of embracing unions in this country. And we have--


HEATHER McGHEE: Because unions created the middle class in this country. Because the jobs that were the steelworker jobs that so many of the people in my family had weren't good jobs. They were made into good jobs, because the people who were working those jobs had a voice on the shop floor, and had some power when it came to setting their wages. Which makes all of the sense in the world. That the people baking the pie should be the ones who get to have a decent slice of it.

BILL MOYERS: What are the racial dimensions of this? I just read the other day that 30 percent of all young African Americans below 24 are out of work?

HEATHER McGHEE: Yeah. Yeah. I mean, I think that this is what I think is, in a way, the great unspoken disaster of our lifetime. When we saw the rapid de-industrialization of our cities, where we saw the jobs that used to be able to create decent working and middle class lifestyles for people who went to work every day, but didn't have a college degree. When we had that deindustrialization from the inner cities, who greatly, greatly was damaged by that economic policy, essentially, were particularly people who were trapped in inner cities.

And that generally speaking throughout our history, people as economic flows have changed, people have been free to move and follow jobs. But because race is so pernicious, because segregation is still very real, because of the redlining by the F.H.A. that went straight in through the 1980s, we did not see that flow. And then we haven't seen the kind of commitment to evening out the pockets of privation in our country. That we need to see in order for us to have a strong middle class that's diverse and that looks like America.

BILL MOYERS: How do you have a new social contract if we don't have a sense of community?

HEATHER McGHEE: I think that is the great question of our time. Because if you look at this sort of hostility and anxiety around public solutions, at its root, it's anxiety around who the public is. And I think that that's happened, because of the real explosion in diversity.

But I think it's something that there is an answer to. It takes leadership. I mean, you have to think about the same system that allows people based on their physical appearance to be valued so differently, to create this hierarchy, is at its root, in terms of cognitively, the same system that allows, for example, the CEO of Walmart, who makes about $16,000 an hour. Whereas his coworker, the associate on the shop floor, makes about seven dollars an hour. And then the woman or man in Malaysia or India, who actually is making the product on the shelves makes pennies an hour.

And yet, they're all in the same enterprise. You have to think about what that says to us as people, when we value the labor of three people who are in the same enterprise, essentially, so differently. I mean, when you and I walk into a store and we see a phone on the shelves. And one is $30 and one is $300, what do we decide about the more expensive one? That it's better.

BILL MOYERS: Yeah, automatically, right?

HEATHER McGHEE: Automatically.

BILL MOYERS: Something about it.

HEATHER McGHEE: Exactly. If it's more expensive, it's better. And the logic of applying that same logic to human beings, which we do all the time in this free market with no fundamental values of human dignity is really dangerous. But it's the same kind of logic that leads us to have racial hierarchies and gender hierarchies, as well.

BILL MOYERS: Which leads me to a political question. In 2008, millennial, your generation, voted for Obama by a 34 point margin compared to a nine-point margin, four years earlier, for John Kerry. I mean, they came out -- you came out, your generation, and were a decisive, if not the decisive factor in Obama's margin. Will your generation come out for Obama again?

HEATHER McGHEE: I think it's a really difficult question. I think the Millennial generation still is showing preferences for Democratic policies for Democratic values and ideals and for Democratic candidates over Republican candidates. But you have to realize that just like with all other kinds of voters, young voters are voting on the economy.

And as the D?mos report "The State of Young America" has shown, this generation, my generation is really feeling the brunt of the recession that capped off 30 years of widening economic inequality and insecurity. And so young people can't say that they're better off financially than they were four years ago. I really believe that given the levels of unemployment in the young adult generation, the president needs to call for-- and I understand it would be difficult to pass through Congress.

But on the campaign trail, he needs to call for a WPA style, generational jobs program all across this country. And it would be a transformational generational experience. It would be something that would expose people to different Americans from different walks of life. But it would also be something that would say, finally, for once and for all, 'Yes, your American Government is on your side, young people. We're not always going to leave you to the mercy of the banks and selfish employers and the vagaries of the so-called 'free market. We're going to say that your future matters to us as a country.'

BILL MOYERS: You're calling for more and more government help. You just asked Obama to take a more aggressive position with using the government to put people to work. You're up against, of course, the predisposition of people out across the country that, 'I don't want to pay taxes to those folks who haven't been spending it well, fighting wars, passing the cost on. Extending benefits to Wall Street, bailing out the banks. I don't want to support government anymore.'

HEATHER McGHEE: Absolutely. I mean I think that in order for us as Americans, who want to see public solutions to our common problems, to really achieve what we want to achieve, we are going to have to clean up Washington first. It is absolutely important. For example, why would the American people trust Washington to do what's right when they know that so much of their energy is focused on rewarding the people who brought them to the party, which is the wealthiest people in the country and the organized corporate elite?

And so we've got to clean up the money in politics problem. And it's time to take that incredibly personal issue of your own personal finances and make them political.

BILL MOYERS: Doing what?

HEATHER McGHEE: I think we need to stay politically involved on policy issues. We need to, as a generation, really be the generation that calls for and holds leaders accountable for cleaning up Washington, for addressing the political inequality that is perpetuating economic inequality. We need to become a very politically engaged generation. We need to run for office, debt be damned.

BILL MOYERS: Heather McGhee, I’ve enjoyed this conversation. Thank you for joining me.

HEATHER McGHEE: Thank you so much for having me, Bill.

The Future of Wings - Patterns from Nature - Ashley Dale - TED

Uploaded by TEDxTalks on Feb 11, 2012

Ashley graduated in Aerospace Engineering at the University of Liverpool and is currently doing postgraduate research in composite and morphing wing technologies. He will walk through how nature and evolution are inspiring the next "greener" generation of aircraft wings.

12 Permaculture Principles to Help You Be More Productive

February 9 by Janice Mansfield

While technically we are still in the throes of winter here, the weather gods seem to be signalling the start of spring here, regardless!

And with springtime, comes a desire to get out more into the outdoors – soak up the sunshine and get my hands dirty planning the year’s foodgarden. The more years I spend growing food, the more I am struck by the similarities between effective and efficient practices for growing food, and effective practices for work-flow. Make no mistake, the word “productivity” has its roots firmly in agricultural practice! (pun intended).

In an effort to make the most of my limited time in the garden, I have been experimenting with a number of growing methods. Spending time in the garden does have its upsides – a mental break from time on the computer, closeness to nature, the satisfaction of knowing where your food comaes from — but, at the end of the day, nobody has a burning desire to spend hours hunched over a hoe!
Something old…with something new to teach us

One of the systems I have been slowly adopting in my garden is Permaculture. At its core, it is a more sustainable means of food production (think permanent + agriculture), with greater reliance on perennial food crops. In a much broader sense, though, permaculture is a systems design – building food production systems that more closely mimic the successful networks and systems that evolve in nature. Permaculture really arrived on the scene as a concept in the mid 1970′s, by two Australians Bill Mollison and David Holmgren as a solution to environmental challenges of the day.

While at first blush, this might make you think of back-to-the-landers and composting toilets, BUT back in the early 1970s, David Holmgren penned 12 permaculture design principles that ring as true today as they did 40 years ago, and actually have much wider applicability than merely growing tomatoes in your back yard!

12 Permaculture Principles Worth Noting
  1. Take time to observe, interact, and take stock: While its tempting to jump in with both feet, some time taken to observe and think through is time well spent. If you don’t fully understand the problem, you might be spending time creating the wrong solution!
  2. Catch and store energy: Design your systems to harvest resources at peak times for use later on.
  3. Obtain a yield: This sounds simple, but make sure you are getting something useful for your work!
  4. Apply self-regulation and accept feedback: We need to know what works and what doesn’t, so we can build on what works well. This is a key tenet of business planning models, and performance management techniques.
  5. Use and value renewable resources and services: Make the best use of the resources at your disposal – financial, human, information. Placing an explicit value on them makes it much less likely you will waste them!
  6. Produce no waste: By valuing and making use of all the resources that are available to us, we begin to minimize our waste . .. of resources and effort!
  7. Design from patterns to details: by looking at successful patterns found in nature, we can create systems with a strong foundation, and fill in the details as we go.
  8. Integrate rather than segregate: By putting the right things in the right place, relationships develop between those things and they work together to support each other. This is especially true in this age of connectedness we live in, where personal relationships often form the basis of future business relationships.
  9. Start small, and build on your successes: Complex systems are built from simple systems that work well! … and simple systems are much easier to maintain, and make better use of local resources. This is also a matter of keeping some perspective on the appropriate scale for the situation.
  10. Maximize diversity and resiliency: This does not necessarily mean diluting your business goals, but rather look within the structures you are creating to ensure there are many : many relationships. Single elements should serve multiple functions, and single functions should be served by multiple elements – the ultimate backup!
  11. Value what is happening on the “edges”: The interface between things is where the most interesting ideas and events happen. These are often the most valuable, diverse and productive elements in the system (think of the creativity and energy present in a startup!)
  12. Creatively use and respond to change: Change is a fact of life, and successful businesses create a culture that observes change as it unfolds, and determines when and how best to intervene.


    These are valuable guideposts to keep in your sightlines for efficient, sustainable food production, BUT they also have great value as principles for increasing your productivity!

    Businesses today are so much more connected to all aspects of community (social and economic), and the information technology at our disposal means a small enterprise can potentially have significant impacts around the world. Looking at old systems and tools with new eyes might just lead us to some surprising new and productive practices!

    (Photo credit: Janice Mansfield)

Converting Municipal Solid Waste to Biochar in North America - NAPECA

Converting Municipal Solid Waste to Biochar

Converting Municipal Solid Waste to Biochar in North America

Executive summary:

Background: There is a strong need in North America to recycle municipal solid waste in a sustainable way for local agriculture so that our streams and estuaries are not loaded with excess macronutrients. Today, the phosphate cycle is broken; phosphate from Florida and other locations is being mined unsustainably to create high-dose fertilizers for use throughout North America.

These fertilizers wash into streams and watersheds, and eventually into rivers, lakes and estuaries, where the nutrient loading results in marine dead zones with low oxygen levels due to over nutrification. Restoring the phosphate cycle is critical to sustainable practices.

Goals: The goal of the Climate Foundation bio-hybrid pyrolyzer project is to develop a pyrolyzer capable of processing up to two metric tons per day of biosolids and biomass greenwaste into safe and sanitary biochar for use in agriculture. This biochar can, in turn, reduce water use, reduce use of petrochemical fertilizer, and dramatically reduce runoff into watersheds across North America.

Main activities: The Climate Foundation will develop an ISO cargo container pyrolyzer capable of processing up to two metric tons per day of biosolids and biomass green-waste into biochar. This system can be tested in Palo Alto, California, and tailored to requirements for communities throughout North America.

Results: The Climate Foundation bio-hybrid pyrolyzer restores such nutrient cycling in a sustainable way so that more nutrients are kept within local communities, enriching these communities by increasing agricultural productivity, adding clean jobs and reducing runoff in our communities throughout North America.

Related link:
About the CEC

Joel Salatin: Preaching to the Choir

Video Direct Link: http://www.cultureunplugged.com/documentary/watch-online/play/6471/Joel-Salatin--Preaching-to-the-Choir

Video - Informative - Thought Provoking - Entertaining !!!
Comments - Discussion ?   Monte

Related Link: http://www.permies.com/t/12703/farm-income/Joel-Salatin-Preaching-Choir#115069

Joel Salatin: Preaching to the Choir : Director: Russian River TV | Producer: Russian River TV Genre: Documentary | Produced In: 2010 | Story Teller's Country: United States
Tags: United States, Americas, Environment, Farming

Synopsis: In “The Omnivore's Dilemma”, Michael Pollan introduced us to Joel Salatin, a farmer who's been practicing a complex form of rotational grazing in Virginia's Shenandoah Valley. In the past few years Joel has become a folk hero in certain circles of farmers seeking to challenge the conventional agribusiness model. We read as much as we could about Joel's Polyface Farm, and got to wondering how his methods would translate to Sonoma County's different climate. We have to admit, we sort of stalked Joel's schedule for a while, spying a little item that read “private farm consultation, Sonoma, March 17”. After some detective work, we discovered that Joel would be coming to Tara Firma Farms in Petaluma, and got invited to a reception and talk at the Institute of Noetic Sciences in Marin. Please join us for this enlightening lecture.

Feb 10, 2012

Seeds of Change

Uploaded by druwin on Feb 6, 2007

This is a seed movie for documentary film Dance With Destiny.http://www.dancewithdestinydocumentary.com

Bruce Weaver an independent filmmaker journeys into the dream world to paint a picture of our future. "Seeds Of Change" is a message and a warning from those who have a vision of tomorrow. While seemingly bleek with honesty and truth of what we face it is time to face the reality of the situation. We are facing more than just a Global Warming crisis we are facing a crisis in consciousness. We are truly on the brink and the fruit of our seed is something that is needed more than ever from each and every one of us. We must rise to this occasion now. Our guest speakers include Dr. John Todd, Dr. Brian Natrrass and Dr. Peter Russell who help explain the situation we are in and some solutions to our problems. This tapestry of a visual graffatti art from the dreamworld intertwined with our speakers and a situmlating meditative audio track by reknowned shaman musician Byron Metcalf take us on a complelling journey that looks at our situation from many perspeictives including visionaries such as Chief Arvol Looking Horse and Jesse Wolf Hardin.

What kind of world are we creating?
We as a civilization and a race of human beings are teetering on the edge of the prespice. We must examine our lack of tolerance for others as well as what we are no longer willing to tolerate from those who do not wish to create a truly awakened world that all can live in harmony and peace. Are we so asleep that we do not see the writing on the wall. Just as human beings of differing race, color, and religious belief deserve each other's respect, which at times requires "tolerance," or the act of voluntarily choosing to regard others as ourselves, so-to the earth then, deserves the respect of human beings toward her. At the core of the disharmony we now see on the planet, evidenced by toxic waste being dumped in our water sources, a cocktail of chemical poisons in every breath of air we breath, chemical pesticides sprayed on our food sources, and global warming threatening the balance of the natural world; our home, is the fundamental error in thinking we human beings are separate from earth: Independent, and not interdependent. Its abundantly clear if one is paying attention at all, human beings have "missed the mark." In our hubris we have forgotten the earth is our home, and even our mother, as most tribal cultures consider earth to be, and as such, we must repay our mothers with gratitude, respect, and honor for her gift of life

Tolerance as it is defined, tacitly implies the act of voluntarily choosing to accommodating, or "make room for," the behavior, and/or actions of another which may be different, or in seeming opposition to our own. With this understanding of tolerance, we must also begin to ask ourselves what these images of our planet suffering, at war, and in ill health, reflect to us about ourselves? At what point will we no longer "tolerate" our actions that believe the truth of our interdependence with earth, one another, and all other organisms within our environment. How long will earth bear the burden of our actions, and how long will we go on acting as if we bear no burden?

We must be the change we want to see in the world.

Seeds of Change - Why Organic?

Uploaded by dewgypsy on Apr 2, 2009

In order to be truly organic, you have to start with organic seed. Why? This video explains the ways in which organic seed is better for human health, better for the environment, better adapted to organic food production systems, and just plain the right thing to do. Beautifully shot and informative, this short film also provides insight into the values and practices of Seeds of Change, an organic seed company celebrating their 20th anniversary this year: twenty years of supplying high quality, 100% certified organic seeds and promoting sustainable agriculture practices and biodiversity.

Current Seed Catalog

Useful Links: Our collective knowledge about organic agriculture and sustainable living is always expanding. It would be impossible for us to keep up on all the latest developments, much less publish them all on our website, so we're developing this list of links to what we think are some of the most useful and important sites on the World Wide Web. Feel free to nominate your favorite gardening and sustainability related sites for us to link to. Our links are listed under the following categories. Farming and Gardening; Environment, Community and Health; Ecology-minded Companies and Publishers.
Farming and Gardening Resources

Appropriate Technology Transfer for Rural Areas is the national, sustainable farming information center operated by the private, nonprofit National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT).

Center for Rural Affairs
The Center for Rural Affairs is a private non-profit working to strengthen small businesses, family farm and ranches, and rural communities.

Community Alliance for Family Farmers is building a movement of rural and urban people to foster family scale agriculture that cares for the land, sustains local economies, and promotes social justice.

Chef's Collaborative
The Chef's Collaborative is a network of chefs, restaurants, and other culinary professionals who promote sustainable cuisine by teaching children, supporting local farms, educating each other and inspiring their customers to choose clean, healthy foods.

Community Supported Agriculture USDA AFSIC
A national listing of Community Supported Agriculture operations with information and links. Presented by the Alternative Farming Systems Information Center.

Cornell Composting
Maintained by the Cornell Waste Management Institute, this site provides access to a variety of composting educational materials and programs developed at Cornell University.

Center for Urban Education about Sustainable Agriculture. Located on the San Francisco embarcadero, CUESA is dedicated to promoting sustainable food systems through the operation of the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market and its education programs.

Farm-to-School Farm Visit Manual
This manual, published by the California Alliance with Family Farms (CAFF), is designed to let farmers know what to expect when hosting a farm visit, and to prepare teachers and classes so that they may get the most out of their farm visit. To download a pdf of the manual visit their website.

Farmers Markets, USDA AMS
A national listing of farmers markets and information for growers about selling at farmers markets.

Horizon Herbs
Offers an extensive collection of organically certified seeds, including indigenous herb seeds from the Native American, Ayurvedic and Chinese traditions. Their stock includes significant medicinal and aromatic herbs from the deserts, forests, mountains, plains and shores of North America, Central and South America, Russia, China, Tibet, India, Pakistan, the Middle East, Japan, Europe, the Mediterranean basin, Africa, Australia, the Canary Islands, New Zealand and beyond. Annuals, herbaceous perennials and woody perennials, including common medicinals, cover crops, nitrogen fixers, shelterbelt and wildlife favorites, dye plants, medicinal trees, fruits, tubers, vines, roots, corms, bulbs, and water plants as well as sacred herbs are included. They also offer books and information regarding the germination, growth and environmental requirements of medicinal herbs.

International Federation of Organic Agricultural Movements (IFOAM)
IFOAM is an international non-profit that supports organic agriculture through organizing conferences and publishing information about organic agricultural issues. IFOAM’s mission is to lead, unite and support the organic movement in its full diversity. Their goal is the worldwide adoption of ecologically, socially, and economically sound systems that are based on the principles of organic agriculture.

The National Organic Program homepage provides a list of the National Organic Standards, information about the National Organic Standards Board, and a list of USDA accredited Organic Certifying Agencies.

New Farm
New Farm is a program of the Rodale Institute. Their web page has recent organic price indexes, articles and interviews pertinent to organic farmers, reports of recent organic news and research, and much more. Their mission is to inform, encourage, equip and inspire farmers with the support they need to take the important transition steps toward regenerative agriculture. NewFarm.org is committed to working for the achievement of an important goal of The Rodale Institute: to assist and witness the emergence of 100,000 organic farmers in the United States and 1 million organic farmers worldwide, by the year 2013.

Oregon Tilth
Oregon Tilth is a non-profit research and education organization certifying organic farmers, processors, retailers and handlers throughout Oregon, the United States, and internationally. Oregon Tilth's mission is to support organic and sustainable food production practices. Oregon Tilth certifies the Seeds of Change Research Farm, Seed Cleaning Facilities, and Seed Packing and Storage locations for their compliance with USDA organic standards.

Organic Farming Research Foundation's mission is to sponsor research related to organic farming practices, to disseminate research results to organic farmers and to growers interested in adopting organic production systems, and to educate the public and decision-makers about organic farming issues. Founded in 1990, OFRF is a non-profit organization and has awarded more than $1,000,000 in support of organic farming research.

The Organic Materials Review Institute is a non-profit organization created to benefit the organic community and the general public. Its primary mission is to publish and disseminate generic and specific (brand name) lists of materials allowed and prohibited for use in the production, processing, and handling of organic food and fiber. OMRI also conducts scientific research and education on the use of materials by the organic industry.

Organic Seed Alliance
Organic Seed Alliance is a new non-profit which grew out of the education and research component of Abundant Life Seed Foundation. Their mission is to act as a nonprofit public charity, which supports the ethical development and stewardship of the genetic resources of agricultural seed. They accomplish their goals through collaborative education and research programs with organic farmers and other seed professionals.

Public Seed Initiative
The Public Seed Initiative (PSI) is a joint cooperative effort between Cornell University Departments of Plant Breeding and Horticulture, the Northeast Organic Farming Association of New York, Inc, the USDA—Agricultural Research Service’s Plant Genetic Resources Unit in Geneva, NY, and the Farmer’s Cooperative Genome Project—Oregon Tilth. The PSI is engaged in supporting public domain plant breeding, organic seed production, and participatory models of organic, on-farm plant breeding.

University of California Small Farm Center
Information on small farm issues and statistics as well as selected crop guides to minor and specialty crops.

Need help on the farm or looking to volunteer on one? Willing Workers on Organic Farms can help.

Environment, Community and Health Resources

America's Children and the Environment
A new resource for researchers, policymakers and concerned citizens on children's environmental health is now online. The website presents data and discussion on environmental contaminants and children's health, based on EPA's report "America's Children and the Environment: Measures of Contaminants, Body Burdens and Illnesses" (2003). The America's Children and the Environment website presents trends for levels of environmental contaminants in air, water, food and soil; concentrations of contaminants measured in the bodies of women and children; and childhood illnesses that may be influenced by environmental contaminants. The website features a background summary for each issue, graphs, data explanations and data sources with on-line links where available.

Context Institute
Since its founding in 1979 by Robert and Diane Gilman, Context Institute has explored how human society can become sustainable (i.e. able to meet the needs of the present without diminishing the prospects for the future), and has served as a catalyst for voluntary change toward a more humane and sustainable culture.

Genetic Resources Action International (GRAIN)
An international non-governmental organisation which promotes the sustainable management and use of agricultural biodiversity based on people's control over genetic resources and local knowledge.

Global Warming Articles
Global Warming Articles provides facts about the causes, effects and answers to global warming; the environment; energy conservation and more. There are over 500 articles in the Global Warming Articles' database from nearly as many diverse authors, providing information about Global Warming and Climate Change.

The GreenGuide
Since 1994, The Green Guide has been the premiere consumer source for practical everyday actions benefiting environmental and personal health. As an environmental lifestyle newsletter and website, The Green Guide provides an intersection between mainstream consumer service (women's, health, parenting, and shelter) and environmental advocacy publications.

Becoming a member of HopeDance is an opportunity to contribute to the spirit and energy of our community, to join with like-minded individuals who have the same passion, concern and urgency about our fragile world.

Hope's Edge, The Next Diet for a Small Planet
Hope's Edge is a journey to five continents uncovering an invisible revolution of courageous movements helping us see solutions to environmental crises and social inequality.

IUCN, The World Conservation Union
Their mission is "to influence, encourage and assist societies throughout the world to conserve the integrity and diversity of nature and to ensure that any use of natural resources is equitable and ecologically sustainable."

The National Resources Defense Council
The nation's most effective environmental action organization. They use law, science, and the support of more than 1 million members and online activists to protect the planet's wildlife and wild places and to ensure a safe and healthy environment for all living things.

The Nature Conservancy
The Nature Conservancy works in partnership to achieve tangible, lasting conservation at a level that will make a global difference. Drawing on lessons learned over half a century of successful conservation work, they continue to refine our approach and accomplish even more with only limited resources.

Pesticide Action Network
Pesticide Action Network (PAN) is a network of over 600 participating non-governmental organizations, institutions and individuals in over 60 countries working to replace the use of hazardous pesticides with ecologically sound alternatives. Its projects and campaigns are coordinated by five autonomous Regional Centers.

OrganicGardening.com Events Calendar
Organic Gardening has set up an events calendar where you can choose your state and find out what's going on right next door.

National Campaign for Sustainable Agriculture
The National Campaign for Sustainable Agriculture, Inc. is dedicated to educating the public on the importance of a sustainable food and agriculture system that is economically viable, environmentally sound, socially just, and humane.

New Mexico Farmer's Markets: Market Locations
They invite you to visit New Mexico's Farmers' Markets, offering you the freshest fruits and vegetables available anywhere. Meet the people who grow your food - face to face - and enjoy the vibrant flavors, aromas and colors of the New Mexico harvest.

Slow Food USA
Recognizing that the enjoyment of wholesome food is essential to the pursuit of happiness, Slow Food USA is an educational organization dedicated to stewardship of the land and ecologically sound food production; to the revival of the kitchen and the table as centers of pleasure, culture, and community; to the invigoration and proliferation of regional, seasonal culinary traditions; to the creation of a collaborative, ecologically-oriented, and virtuous globalization; and to living a slower and more harmonious rhythm of life.

CSAs: Alternative Farming sytems Info Center
Find a CSA near you, What is a CSA, Resources for farmers, understanding sustainable agriculture.

Vitamins and Nutrition Center
At the non-profit Vitamins and Nutrition Center you can find hundreds of articles with information about vitamins and nutrition, including research, articles on vitamins and common vitamin profiles.

Smart Communities Network at the DOE

Ecology-minded Companies and Publishers

Chelsea Green Publishing
Founded in 1984, Chelsea Green Publishing is regarded as a preeminent publisher of books on sustainable living, with well over 400 titles in print.

Natural Home Magazine
Natural Home offers today's health-conscious, environmentally concerned homeowners the information they need to practice earth-inspired living. Since their first issue in May 1999, Natural Home has brought together the best in home design, earth-friendly d├ęcor and natural living. Our bimonthly magazine and dynamic website feature sustainable, healthy homes, decorating tips, and the latest green products and services.

New Leaf Paper
Has lead the paper industry in the development and distribution of environmentally superior printing and office papers to give customers the best environmentally sound paper for an economical and responsible choice.

Your Source for Natural Living. Since February of 1999, Redjellyfish has been serving people who are interested in natural living. You can get your Internet access and long distance telephone service through them and they will automatically make a monthly donation that will purchase and protect vital rainforest.We also have beautiful free e-cards and puzzles, as well as news and other information to help you live a healthy, natural lifestyle.

They also offer a free e-mail service called Planet-Save.com and donate 25% of Planet-Save's profits to the Nature Conservancy each month to help them save the last great places on earth.

They believe that businesses are changing the world, and in addition to leading by example they strive to bring together other companies that are working for positive change. Their Green shopping mall is filled with links to merchants who have healthy, environmentally friendly products, none of which have been tested on animals, and are all available to you in one easy to use format.

The Humanure Handbook by Joseph Jenkins
To Source: Jenkins Publishing, PO Box 607, Grove City, PA 16127.
To Order: Call 1-800-639-4099 or go to www.jenkinspublishing.com
To review: Go to www.weblife.org/humanure/index.html

Sustainable Cuisine
When choosing produce varieties for our seedlist, little is more important than flavor. Over the years we have worked with many chefs who focus on sustainable, local and organic cuisine to help identify those varieties with the highest culinary quality. Here is a list of some of their restaurants, all of which we highly recommend. Tell them Seeds of Change sent you!

Blackbird (Chicago, Illinois)
Over the last ten years Executive Chef Paul Kahan has built Blackbird into one of Chicago's hottest restaurants by focusing on clean, fresh flavors and highly seasonal cuisine. Local ingredients are sourced from Kahan's backyard garden, and from the sustainably managed farms that he is committed to supporting.

Cafe Pasqual's (Santa Fe, New Mexico)
In the heart of downtown Santa Fe, Pasqual's has become an institution for locals and tourists alike. Expect extraordinary but casual dining with a fresh, local flavor.

Chez Panisse (Berkeley, California)
Owner and cookbook author Alice Waters has championed small, local organic farms and ranches since she opened this restaurant with a group of friends in 1971. The set menu format offers an ever-changing fixed-price meal that reflects Waters' passion for offering only high-quality, seasonal ingredients.

Dragonfly Cafe (Taos, New Mexico)
Known for its premium-quality food, the Dragonfly serves breakfast and lunch delicacies based on fresh, local, and organic ingredients. Chef Karen Todd pays frequent visits to our Research Farm, helping us choose the most attractive and flavorful varieties to add to our seed list.

Flea Street Cafe (Menlo Park, California)
For over thirty years, owner, chef, and cookbook author Jesse Cool has supported local, sustainable, organic food in her restaurants. At the Flea Street Cafe, diners will find a bevy of local ingredients lovingly prepared and, on most nights, a taste of something from the chef's extensive organic gardens.

Frontera Grill (Chicago, Illinois)
Owner Rick Bayless has earned fame through his many cookbooks and as host of the television series "Mexico - One Plate at a Time." He's also earned respect as a tireless supporter of local foods, which you'll find on the menu of Frontera Grill, as well as his other restaurants Topolobampo and Frontera Fresco.

Greens Restaurant (San Francisco, California)
Almost three decades ago, Greens opened as a pioneer in the restaurant world and helped to establish high profile vegetarian dining in the United States. Today Chef Annie Sommerville continues to craft local and organic food into remarkable vegetarian cuisine.

Joseph's Table (Taos, New Mexico)
Owner and Executive Chef Joseph Wrede is renowned for his ability to combine worldwide influences with local traditions. Selected as one of America's "Best New Chefs" by Food and Wine Magazine, Wrede delights diners with creative, often seasonal cuisine in the heart of downtown Taos.

Nora's Restaurant (Washington D.C.)
Certified in 1999 as America's first organic restaurant, Nora's features a menu of fresh, seasonal foods prepared with health and balance in mind. Owner and chef Nora Pouillion has promoted local farmers and producers for over 25 years, and is a frequent visitor to D.C.'s many farmers' markets.

America's Heartland: Oklahoma Sesame Seeds

Uploaded by americasheartland on Dec 20, 2010

Sesame seeds are used for flavoring in pastries, side dishes and to top off the hamburger buns you find at your favorite fast food restaurant. With a growing worldwide demand for sesame, Oklahoma farmers are finding the climate and soil perfect for growing this unusual crop.

Kinder Farms Sesame Field From Combine

Related links:
Sesame Beef Bites

Biomass 2011 - YouTube

Uploaded by Prince7641 on Feb 10, 2012
Thank you YouTube and every single one of you. With over 1.4 Million Vewings.

Thought provoking video on some alternative uses of what some consider "waste"! ... Monte

Related Links:
Wind Turbines or Power Stations have your say

Chillin' Out in the Kool Box: DIY Refrigeration

Uploaded by ecojaunt on Feb 10, 2012
Peter Baldwin shows us his amazing passive kool box refrigeration system in Maine! Who says you need power to keep your food fresh!

The key to preventing moldy berries? Vinegar! - Food Lush

by Katie
Berries, particularly super-fresh berries, are just wonderful, aren't they?

Image: Healthyfellow.com

But they're also kind of delicate. Raspberries in particular seem like they can mold before you even get them home from the market. There's nothing more tragic than paying $4 for a pint of local raspberries, only to look in the fridge the next day and find that fuzzy mold growing on their insides.

Well, with fresh berries just starting to hit farmers markets, you can tell that we Foodlush writers have berries, and how to keep them fresh, on the brain this week! First Jonna shared this excellent tip on how to salvage berries that are starting to lose their luster. Now I'm here to share a tip on how to prevent them from getting there in the first place:

Wash them with vinegar.

A friend of mine shared this tip with me a few weeks ago, and it really, really works. When you get your berries home, prepare a mixture of one part vinegar (white or apple cider probably work best) and ten parts water. Dump the berries into the mixture and swirl around. Drain, rinse if you want (though the mixture is so diluted I find you can't taste the vinegar,) and pop in the fridge.

The vinegar kills any mold spores and other bacteria that might be on the surface of the fruit, and voila! Raspberries will last a week or more, and I've had strawberries go almost two weeks without getting moldy and soft. So go forth and stock up on those pricey little gems, knowing they'll stay fresh as long as it takes you to eat them.

Joe Cross on the "Fat, Sick & Nearly Dead" USA Tour -- SEATTLE, WA

Uploaded by FatSickandNearlyDead on Feb 10, 2012
Joe Cross on the "Fat, Sick & Nearly Dead" USA Tour -- SEATTLE, WA
Related Links:
Joe Cross on the "Fat, Sick & Nearly Dead" USA Tour -- SEATTLE, WA
Fat, Sick & Nearly Dead Extended Trailer‬‏

www.biobamboo.org - The mission of BioBamboo is to promote the use of bamboo as a worldwide climate change agent.

The BioBamboo System

Bamboo Biomass to Farmers, Retort to Pyrolysis to Biofuels, Biochar Bi-product, BioChar & Microbes improves soil fertility, Increased Yields Provide Food Security, Increased Crop Biomass

Related Links:
Bamboo - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Growing Bamboo - All About Bamboo - Bio Bamboo

NUDA (Phyllostachys Nuda)
Nuda is said to be the toughest cold hardy bamboo available. Rated at -15degrees (Climate zone 4+). The canes and leaves are a very dark green (much darker shade than most bamboo) and the green does not fade as much as many other species. It can grow to 35 feet and 2 inches in diameter and the canes have a thick sturdy look.

DWARF DAVID BISSETT (Phyllostachys Bissetii 'Dwarf')
One of the fastest growing smaller screening bamboos available. It can create a very thick grove in a fairly short amount of time. I have a grove of this above a retaining wall in my back yard to screen out the road. You can't see through it at all. The canes are dark green with dark green leaves. They max out in height at about 12-18ft tall. It is very cold hardy. Down to negative 10 degrees, Climate zone 4+. A great choice for a smaller privacy screen.

YELLOW GROOVE (Phyllostachys Aureosulcata)
One of the most versatile bamboo species. Yellow Groove is perfect for a tall privacy screen as it grows very dense. Under ideal conditions it can reach up to 2" in diameter and a height of 30'. It is recognizable by the distinctive alternating yellow stripes on the canes. It grows very fast and adapts well to lots of different conditions. YG is one of the most cold hardy varieties (down to about -10degrees climate zone 4+). For an all around quick growing large bamboo YG is the way to go.

DAVID BISSETT (Phyllostachys Bissetii)
A very good medium size bamboo that reaches a height of 18-25 ft tall. Like the dwarf version it grows very thick and forms a great hedge or privacy screen. The canes are a unique shade of light green, but they fade to yellow if exposed to a lot of direct sunlight. It is very cold hardy (down to negative 10 degrees). For a medium size screen this is the probably the best. (climate zone 4+)

www.biobamboo.org Charlotte O'Brien, Director of Bio Bamboo, explains how to significantly draw down Carbon from the atmosphere and sequester it as a Bio-Char soil conditioner using Bamboo to fuel Pyrolysis. Adding the Bio-Char to depleted soil fosters the spread of Mycorrhizal fungus in the soil, which in turn creates Glomalin (which sequesters even more Carbon). The enriched soil then produces more biomass which can be processed into more biochar...the result is an exponential carbon draw down! The process also generates a bevy of marketable bi-products.

Related Links:
Bamboo - Wikipedia
American Bamboo Society
  • I get lots of questions from folks all over the country asking what to expect from their new bamboo plants, so I decided to write this article describing the growth characteristics of bamboo. 
  • The number one error folks make is thinking that a single bamboo cane grows gradually over a period of years like a tree or shrub. I can see how this is easy to assume considering bamboo canes can reach 60 feet or more in height, but believe it or not, bamboo grows to its maximum size in one growing season….sometimes within a single month. 
  • The process for how bamboo spreads and grows is often hard to explain, so I will use a running example of what to expect from a new bamboo plant. Let’s say you started out with a medium/large size bamboo such as Yellow Groove. Under the right conditions the bamboo should grow to 30ft tall, but you won’t get any 30ft tall canes in the first couple years.
  • Day 1: Brand new plant is arrives in the mail. It has to be small enough to fit in a shipping box so let’s say it is 3 feet tall. This is a full grown Yellow Groove plant (just a smaller one dug from the edge of a larger grove). The common misconception here is that the small starter plant you receive will itself grow. This small plant will never grow… but it will begin to develop the root system for the grove and in future years this root system will spread and put up larger and larger canes. After planting you will generally see nothing happen until spring.
  • Spring rolls around: your bamboo plant has been busy building a root system under the ground, and as the ground warms in the spring you will see pointy bamboo shoots begin to emerge from the soil around your original plant. You might get only 2 or 3 new shoots the first spring but each shoot will grow quickly to its maximum size. For purposes of this example let’s say you get 3 new shoots. Each of these shoots grows quickly into six foot tall plants (twice the size of the one you started with) Each year the new canes grow larger than the ones from the previous year. After the shooting finishes and the new canes leaf out you will see nothing else until the next spring.
  • Next spring rolls around: You start this spring with 4 plants. You have 3 six foot tall Yellow Groove plants and the single 3 foot tall plant you started with. More shoots will start to emerge when the ground warms. This year you get 10 new shoots around the base of your small grove and each of these shoots quickly grows into 12 foot tall plants. Now you have the new 12ft tall plants and the three 6ft tall plants from the previous year as well as the original 3ft tall plant you started with.
  • As the example illustrates each year the new canes grow larger and more plentiful. In a few years you might be getting 40-50 new canes. It might be 6-10 years before your grove is putting up the maximum size for the species but when it does almost every new cane will be this large. The small little plant you started with will be completely shaded out and long forgotten by this time and you will have a thick grove of large majestic bamboo.
Gabe Hooper
(828) 479-2703
83 Old Dick Branch Rd
Robbinsville, NC 28771-7938

Peter Baldwin's Tips for New Farmers

Uploaded by ecojaunt on Feb 10, 2012

Peter Baldwin presents his top things that homesteaders should consider before starting a new farm!

Survivors: Nature's Indestructible Creatures - The Great Dying - BBC

Part 1

Part 2

Uploaded by eDocumentaryVIDEO on Feb 10, 2012


Steven Sieden podcast: Buckminster Fuller’s Vision of Hope - Examiner.com

L. Steven Sieden

Steven Sieden author of A Fuller View, Buckminster Fuller’s Vision of Hope and Abundance for All and Buckminster Fuller’s Universe recorded a podcast and video with host Darryl Whalen on his Greenerviews podcast last Monday, February 6. During that interview Sieden talked at length about Bucky Fuller, the fact that Fuller's wisdom is returning to the cultural spotlight and the enormous amount we can all learn from Bucky’s vision and wisdom.

Whalen’s interview covered both Fuller and Sieden’s interest in Fuller and sharing what he has learned from examining Fuller’s life over the past three plus decades. Sieden said, “Bucky Fuller’s life is a template for all of us who want to live as contributing global citizens at this time of great transformation on the planet Fuller named Spaceship Earth. Because he lived as a global citizen doing his best to support all life on Earth for 56 years, Bucky provides a model of how we can each contribute. In addition to my writing, A Fuller View contains essays from 42 global visionaries who have been greatly influenced by Bucky and his work.”

The video and podcast is scheduled to be posted in the next few days and will provide viewers with clear insights into Fuller, his vision and the solutions he provides for us all.

As Lynne Twist, author of The Soul of Money and Co-founderThe Pachamama Alliance said of A Fuller View: “Buckminster Fuller was one of the greatest teachers I have ever known. This new book, "A Fuller View" brings his incredible teachings into full view at a time when we need to hear his clear and wise voice as never before. I am grateful that Steven Sieden has put together this brilliant piece of work that everyone alive should read. It will blow your mind in the best possible way and set you on a path of truth, transformation and integrity. Buy it, read it, tell everyone! Bucky is back!”

In addition to Sieden’s writing, A Fuller View contains essays from 42 global visionaries including Gary Zukav, John Robbins, Marilyn Schlitz, Barbara Marx Hubbard, Werner Erhard, Hunter Lovins, Hazel Henderson, Roshi Joan Halifax, Ocean Robbins, Bill Kauth, Dr. Joel Levey, Kevin Todeschi, David Spangler, Justine Willis Toms, Bobbi DePorter, Ann Medlock, Robert White, Velcrow Ripper, Satyen Raja, David McConville and Stephan Schwartz.

Click here for more information about A Fuller View or to purchase an autographed copy. Click here to purchase a copy this is not autographed for only $13.57.

May Fuller’s solutions support our manifesting Bucky’s dream of “a world that works for everyone.”

Suggested by the author:
Bucky Fuller sings: A true genius can deliver a message in many forms including humor (video)
Buckminster Fuller shares making accurate future predictions in Operating Manual for Spaceship Earth
Gary Zukav speaks about 'Spiritual Partnership' in Seattle: An exclusive interview (video)
Dzogchen Ponlop, Rebel Buddha interview: Part 2, Religion is obsolete
'Call me Trimtab' - A most important concept for humans to make a difference: Skillful means (video)

Biochars Boost Soil Moisture

Courtesy Stephen Ausmus/ USDA

Biochar made from switchgrass increased water-moisture levels by 3 to 6 percent, according to a study by the USDA’s Agricultural Research Service.

February 7, 2012

In response to international food insecurity and global climate change, scientists at the USDA’s Agricultural Research Service are studying the way biochar—the charred biomass created from wood, other plant material and manure—affects soil types across the U.S.

Soil scientist Jeff Novak at the ARS Coastal Plains Soil, Water and Plant Research Center in Florence, S.C., is coordinating the multi-location effort. In one project, he led a laboratory study to see if different biochars could improve the Carolina coastal plain’s sandy soils and the Pacific Northwest’s silt-loam soils derived from volcanic ash.

Novak's team used peanut hulls, pecan shells, poultry litter, switchgrass and hardwood waste to produce nine different types of biochar. All the feedstocks were pyrolysed at two different temperatures to produce the biochars. Pyrolysis is a process of chemical decomposition that results from rapid heating of the raw feedstocks in the absence of oxygen. The biochars were then mixed into one type of sandy soil and two types of silt-loam soils at the rate of about 20 tons per acre.

After four months, the team found that biochars produced from switchgrass and hardwoods increased soil moisture storage in all three soils. They saw the greatest increase in soils amended with switchgrass biochar produced via high-temperature pyrolysis—almost 3 to 6 percent higher than a control soil sample.

Biochars produced at higher temperatures also increased soil pHlevels, and biochar made from poultry litter greatly increased available phosphorus and sodium in the soil. The scientists also calculated that the switchgrass-biochar amendments could extend the window of soil water availability by 1.0 to 3.6 days for a soybean crop in Florence, S.C., and could increase soil water availability by 0.4 to 2.5 days for crops grown in Pacific Northwest silt-loam soils.

Given their results, the team believes that agricultural producers could someday select feedstocks and pyrolysis processes to make "designer" biochars with characteristics that target specific deficiencies in soil types.

Results from this study were published in Annals of Environmental Science and in the Journal of Environmental Quality.

Seed Starting Simplified

Published on Organic Gardening (http://www.organicgardening.com)
Seed Starting Simplified
Created 2012-02-01

If you’re like many gardeners, you have never tried growing your own plants from seed. Or, if you have tried, maybe your seedlings didn’t resemble those you see at the garden center each spring, and you’re wondering how you can do better.

Rest assured, starting your own seedlings is fun, easy, and well worthwhile. By growing your own transplants, you can choose from hundreds of unusual varieties—including those with tolerance to heat or cold, disease resistance, and unmatched flavor—that simply aren’t available at garden centers. Plus, you’ll have the satisfaction of knowing that you’ve grown your entire garden organically right from the very start.

For seed-starting success, follow this simple plan.

1. Choose a fine medium. For healthy seedlings, you’ve got to give them a loose, well-drained medium (seed-starting mix) composed of very fine particles. You can buy a seed-starting mix at your local garden center—or make your own. Don’t use potting soil—often, it’s too rich and doesn’t drain well enough for seedlings.

2. Assemble your containers. Many gardeners start their seeds in leftover plastic “six packs” from the garden center, empty milk cartons, or Styrofoam cups. If you don’t have containers on hand, you can buy plastic “cell packs,” individual plastic pots, or sphagnum peat pots. Or make your own pots from newspaper (see page 48). Whatever you use, be sure your containers drain well (usually through holes in the bottoms of the containers).

Set the pots inside a tray so that you can water your seedlings from the bottom (by adding water to the tray) rather than disturbing them by watering from the top. You can buy seed-starting trays at garden centers and many hardware stores.

3. Start your seeds! Moisten your seed-starting mix before you plant your seeds. If you water after you plant the seeds, they can easily float to the edges of the container—not where you want them to be. To moisten the mix, simply pour some into a bucket, add warm water, and stir. After about 8 hours (or when the mix has absorbed the water), fill your containers with the moistened mix.

Plant at least two, but no more than three, seeds per container. The seed packet usually tells you how deep to plant, but a good rule of thumb is three times as deep as the seeds’ smallest diameter. (Some flower seeds require light to sprout—if that’s the case, simply lay the seeds on the surface of the mix, then tamp them in gently with your finger.)

After you’ve planted your seeds, cover the tray loosely with plastic to create a humid environment. At 65° to 70°F, your seeds should sprout just fine without any supplementary heat. If the room temperature is cooler than that, you can keep the seeds warm by setting the tray on top of a heating mat made specifically for starting seeds.

Tomato, zucchini, and pumpkin seeds should push their sprouts through the surface of the mix in a few days. Peppers sprout in about a week. And some seeds, such as parsley, can take as long as 3 weeks to sprout, so be patient.

4. Keep the lights bright. Check your trays daily. As soon as you see sprouts, remove the plastic covers and immediately pop the trays beneath lights. You can invest in grow lights (which provide both “warm” and “cool” light), but many gardeners have good results with standard 4-foot-long fluorescent shop lights. Set your seedlings as close to the light as possible—2 or 3 inches away is about right. When seedlings don’t get enough light, they grow long, weak stems. As the seedlings grow, raise the lights to maintain the proper distance.

And don’t worry about turning off the lights at night. Contrary to popular belief, seedlings don’t require a period of darkness. Fluorescent lights are only one-tenth as bright as sunlight, so your seedlings will actually grow better if you leave them on continuously.

5. Feed and water. Your seedlings will need a steady supply of water, but the soil shouldn’t be constantly wet. The best method is to keep the containers inside a tray, water from the bottom, and allow the soil inside the containers to “wick up” the water.

If your growing medium contains only vermiculite and peat (as many seed-starting mixes do), you’ll also need to feed your seedlings. When the seedlings get their first “true” leaves (not the tiny ones that first appear, but the two that follow), mix up a fish emulsion solution one-quarter to one-half the recommended strength and add it to the seedlings’ water every other week. As the plants grow bigger, gradually increase the strength of the mixture.

6. Keep the air moving. Your seedlings need to be big and strong by the time you move them from their cushy indoor surroundings to the harsh realities of the outside world. You can help them grow sturdy, stocky stems with a small fan. As soon as you see those first true leaves, set the fan to blow lightly but steadily on the seedlings, all day long. The air circulation also will minimize their chance of fungal disease while they’re crowded together indoors.

7. Give them space. Those well-watered, well-fed, and well-fanned seedlings will soon need more root space. Shortly after the second set of true leaves appears, take a deep breath and thin your seedlings to one per pot. Use small scissors to clip off the weaker plants at the soil line, leaving only the stockiest plant.

Next, carefully “pot up” the survivors into larger, 3-or 4-inch pots. Squeeze the sides of the smaller containers all around, turn them upside down, and the plants should come out easily—soil and all. Immediately set them into the larger containers and fill with a mixture of 3 parts potting soil and 1 part your own screened compost.

(If you started your seeds in peat pots or homemade newspaper pots, you can plant both the seedling and its pot in the larger container; the pot eventually will decompose.)

Plant tomatoes deep in the new container to encourage them to develop a larger root system to support these often top-heavy plants. With most other plants, the soil level in the new pot should be about the same as in the smaller container. After you’ve finished repotting, water the plants well and set them back under the lights.

8. Harden-off. About a week or two before you plan to transplant your seedlings to the garden, begin taking them outdoors to a protected place, such as inside a coldframe or near a wall, for increasing lengths of time on mild days. This will help them adjust to the conditions outside—a process known as hardening off. Start with just a couple of hours each day, work up to a full day, and then leave them out overnight.

When you finally transplant the seedlings to the garden, be careful not to disturb their roots. Gently pop them out of their containers, keeping as much soil attached to their roots as possible. Again, plant tomatoes deeply, but set other plants at about the same depth as they were in their pots (or just slightly deeper).

9. Seal it with a K.I.S.S. Most important, relax! Don’t worry if you forget to do something or don’t follow all the “rules.” Except for hardening off, all of these rules are flexible. Before long, you will learn what works best for you—and will have a few secrets of your own to share with fellow seed starters.

Source URL: http://www.organicgardening.com/learn-and-grow/seed-starting-simplified