Your Trash is Your Luxury

Based on the concept “From Plate to Plate,” the Guandu Institute offers environmental solutions for large restaurants and seeks to inspire restoring the planet’s health. How? By composting organic trash, food preparation excess and leftovers, which go to landfills. Composting doesn’t only help to diminish the volume in landfills but it also produces fertilizer, such a fundamental resource for food production.

Conserving Community at Blue Oak Canyon Ranch

Safely tucked into the San Miguel mountains northeast of San Luis Obispo, down a long ambling road that leads far away from cities, highways and all of civilization, warm late afternoon light falls and fills the golden hills surrounding Blue Oak Canyon Ranch. The two humble stewards of Blue Oak are Lynn and Jim Moody, who tell me that just a week prior, the grass was still green.

Our Food System – a Health Hazard

A recent report from the International Panel of Experts on Sustainable Food Systems identifies these five mechanisms whereby the current food system makes people sick.  The report calls for a reform of the food and farming systems to be made on the grounds of protecting human health.  Many of the most severe health are caused by core industrial food and farming practices, such as chemical-intensive agriculture; intensive livestock production and the mass production and mass marketing of ultra-processed foods. They are in turn stimulated by the deregulated global trade. 

Steps to Sustainability: Stroud’s Fungusloci Converts Coffee waste into Gourmet Mushrooms

Fungusloci, based in Stroud, Gloucestershire, is a mushroom micro-farm growing gourmet oyster mushrooms on spent coffee grounds collected from local independent cafés. It’s not surprising that its creator, Dominic Thomas, is familiar with permaculture and indeed founded the urban micro-farm on such principles.

Can Food Manifestos Transform the UK Food System?

The future of the United Kingdom’s food system is currently up in the air. Policy analysts and academics have warned that the UK’s decision to leave the European Union (EU) will have considerable impact on its food system. In recent years, a number of food reports and manifestos have been developed, calling for new visions and policies that ensure the future of food and farming move in a sustainable direction. The Brexit vote has stepped up these calls…

Approaching a United Nations Declaration on Peasant Rights

Peasants, fisherfolk, pastoralists, indigenous people and rural workers gathered together once again in Geneva from 15 – 19 May, 2017, to claim their rights and to have them recognised in the human rights law framework through a United Nations declaration. The right to land, to seeds, to food sovereignty, to markets, to fair working conditions and to public policy participation were all at stake as the fourth session of the UN Open-ended intergovernmental working group (OEIWG) addressed the rights of peasants and other people working in rural areas.

Fig Nation

What took place here is an example of what I call “Fig Nation,” an informal farm economy and community based on producing, sharing, and enjoying. The concept of Fig Nation is simple: A few weeks back, my nephew and I harvested five pounds of elderberries. We cleaned, bagged, and tossed them in the freezer. Yesterday I pulled them out and combined them with water and honey to make an elderberry mead. Come winter, I’ll enjoy the mead with guests. Welcome to Fig Nation, where sharing brings pleasure and automatic membership.

Regenerative Agriculture: The Next Stage of Organic Food and Farming—and Civilization

Regenerative agriculture and land use encompass the traditional and indigenous best practices of organic farming, animal husbandry and environmental conservation. Regeneration puts a central focus on improving soil health and fertility (recarbonizing the soil), increasing biodiversity, and qualitatively enhancing forest health, animal welfare, food nutrition and rural (especially small farmer) prosperity.

Growing the Next Generation of Farmers: The Young Agrarians

Young Agrarians is a grassroots initiative made up of agriculturalists and media conspirators intent on growing food sustainably. Inspired by The Greenhorns to build a network Canada-side to celebrate, connect and recruit young farmers – the Young Agrarians are the movers and shakers of a new agrarian movement…

Population and Development: More on Malthus

I agree that there are many ways of staving off the dark fairy tale of an impending Malthusian crisis, of which labour intensification is a key one usefully highlighted by Boserup. But that scarcely refutes the basic Malthusian problems I discussed in my last post of resource pressures creating generalised stress which may be ‘referred’ elsewhere – onto other people, or onto other organisms.