Embracing Complexity

THE DIRT

2. Living Breakwaters Beach perspective Living Breakwaters: social, economic, and ecological resiliency through risk reduction / SCAPE Landscape Architecture PLLC

“It’s going to unbearable outside in the southern half of the U.S. by the end of the century,” said Harriet Tregoning, director of the office of economic resilience, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), at a lecture on Rebuild by Design at the National Building Museum (NBM).

Explaining why we need new approaches to resilience, she said in just the first twelve years of this century, we’ve already seen the two costliest natural disasters in U.S. history (Hurricanes Katrina in 2005 and Sandy in 2012), along with more frequent and extreme events, such as wildfires, droughts, and flooding — which scientists say all result from climate change. Consider also the trend towards urbanization, particularly in coastal areas, and you have a precarious mix of higher exposure to risk for ever-increasing populations in some…

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Michigan Loses ‘Right To Farm’ This Week: A Farewell To Backyard Chickens and Beekeepers

Taking Back America

From The Inquisitr
By Dawn Papple | 2 May 2014

Michigan backyard chicken farmers lost their Right To Farm protection under the new GAAMP changes.

Michigan residents lost their “right to farm” this week thanks to a new ruling by the Michigan Commission of Agriculture and Rural Development. Gail Philburn of the Michigan Sierra Club told Michigan Live, the new changes “effectively remove Right to Farm Act protection for many urban and suburban backyard farmers raising small numbers of animals.” Backyard and urban farming were previously protected by Michigan’s Right to Farm Act. The Commission ruled that the Right to Farm Act protections no longer apply to many homeowners who keep small numbers of livestock.

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The top 10 tips I’ve learned from minimalists

theextraordinarysimplelife

tiny-house-2

I’m not going to covet other minimalists’ lives anymore.

I don’t travel the world with a single backpack.

I haven’t packed up my family to travel across the country in an RV for a year.

I am not a single woman with a futon, a suitcase and a laptop.

I didn’t choose 600 square feet of dwelling space with a hobby farm ‘round back.

YET, I adore reading about these amazing people and their even more intriguing journeys toward transformation. In perusing books and blogposts, these characters seem like old friends. We’re all rooting for them. Their triumphs and courageous leaps of faith provide the inspiration for our own stories. However, through all this story following, I have found there is not one formula for choosing a simple life…it is not a one-size-fits all t-shirt. No matter what our life looks like, I do believe each and every one of these…

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For Earth Day: Reclaiming Our Suburban Deserts

Piedmont Gardener

Native dogwoods provide fruits beloved by many species of wildlife. Native dogwoods provide fruits beloved by many species of wildlife.

Some days, I confess, I weep for our Earth. Perhaps I am a sentimental tree-hugger, but I know that my sentiment is based on science; I mourn for what mankind is losing. Among the degrees I’ve earned (I have three), is a master’s in environmental management from Duke University. My study focus was southeastern ecology and environmental resource management.

Why am I telling you this? Because I want you to take my words seriously on this day when we celebrate our home planet.

Humanity’s time on the Earth has often been marked by turmoil and destruction. And throughout history, mankind has taken whatever it could from our planet – minerals, oil, diamonds, and now, more than ever, trees.

People who do not understand ecology, who do not know the difference between an oak and a maple, a loblolly and a…

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Organic Soil Improvement

Permaculture New England NSW

Article posted with permission from Green Harvest

Green Harvest is a family owned and operated Australian mail order business that has been trading since 1992. It started out simply from a desire to share their passion for organic gardening and permaculture.

They were the first organically certified seed supplier with BFA – ACO in Australia. Their website is the most comprehensive source in Australia (and possibly the world) of both organic gardening products and information on organic growing.

Green Harvest aim to make it easier for Australians to live in healthy, natural homes with a garden full of nutritious, chemical-free vegetables and fruit.

Improving Your Soil Organically by Frances Michaels ©

Healthy soils are a complex web of life, teeming with earthworms, beneficial fungi and bacteria. They smell good and are moist and crumbly. Roots are able to penetrate easily, deep into the soil. Plants growing in healthy soils have fewer pest and…

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ORGANIC TRANSITIONS: Up on a Roof

2012 The Awakening

You don’t have to live in a rural area to crave locally grown foods. And you don’t have to move to the countryside to grow them.

More and more people are growing their own food. Either because they want to be more self-sufficient. Or because they want cleaner, healthier food. And the “grow-your-own” movement is finding creative ways to fit gardening into their schedules. And into common spaces.

In Japan, commuters can plant seeds and pull weeds while they’re waiting for their train to arrive. And they’re grooming their gardens right in the center of the world’s most populated city—Tokyo. Because Japan’s commuters can lease public garden space on the train station rooftop.

Tokyo isn’t the only city planting gardens on their rooftop. It’s happening all over the world, including in some American cities.

Read more about Tokyo’s train station rooftop farms

Check out this video of rooftop farms in…

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Fewer aphids in organic crop fields / Greater biodiversity in organic crop fields

ClinicalNews.Org

Organic Vegetable Boxes Organic Vegetable Boxes (Photo credit: AndyRobertsPhotos)

The researchers found five times as many plant species and 20 times more types of pollinating insects in the 15 organic crop fields included in the study than they did in conventional fields.

Public release date: 13-Jul-2011

Farmers who spray insecticides against aphids as a preventative measure only achieve a short-term effect with this method. In the long term, their fields will end up with even more aphids than untreated fields. This has been reported by researchers at the Biocenter of the University of Würzburg in the scientific journal PLoS One.

What’s the status of the biodiversity in differently managed triticale fields? This is what the biologists at the Department of Animal Ecology & Tropical Biology wanted to find out. Triticale is a cross between wheat and rye. The cultivation of this crop is on the rise across the globe, because it delivers good…

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Using air-pruning to improve plant growth

Oak Trees Studio

If you’ve ever grown plants in pots you’ve probably dealt with that stage when a plant has become pot-bound and has stopped growing. When we remove the plant from its pot we see roots have grown round and round the inside of the pot. Our normal response is then to simply pot the plant into a larger pot. But apparently dealing with our plants in this way does not help them to develop the most healthy root systems.

Although I’ve been growing plants in containers for years I’d never heard of “air-pruning” them to improve their growth and yield … until I happened to come across this fascinating video a few days ago.

I am so impressed by this method of improving plant growth that I’ve already started a new experiment to see if it will work for me. I’m using the Sweet Peas that I’m preparing for the new…

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Living Water

heather m. newell

Fact: A blender could easily be the most utilitarian and useful kitchen tool yet.

Case Study: Strawberries, banana, chocolate chip ice cream, yoghurt, milk, whey protein, and peanut butter can go in one mixer and voila! Food! And not only food, but an easy-to-drink, flavorful meal.

Caveat: You can only eat meals processed by a blender for six weeks. Yikes. Sorry dad. A broken jaw will do that to you.

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I’ve been assisting my dad this week in finding the best variety of smoothie-shake-blended meals that I can find. Of notable help has been Jaws Wired Shut, a clever name for a blog serving as a tool for people with eating issues. Nice.

In this process, I’ve been fiddling around and experimenting – though in truth, it hasn’t been very hard, having had worked for a smoothie shop one college summer and a string of…

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