Designing Garden Beds: Keyhole Design

Last week, I wrote about the many social and ecological problems that we face as a society and linked them to the systems we use to meet our needs.  After that post, I received a lot of feedback from people offline. In fact, from the analytical data I have access to, that last post quickly became one of the most read and shared pieces I’ve written here. Many said they had been thinking similarly along these lines, somehow intuiting the challenges we face, but not quite connecting it to our basic system of production.  Once you understand that our problems … Continue reading Designing Garden Beds: Keyhole Design

Civilization’s Fatal Flaw, the Root Cause of Our Problems – (And How toAddress It)

(Kalamazoo. All images via Wiki Images.)  “What would a just city look like?”  A friend recently wrote to me, asking that question. I responded: What would a sustainable city look like?  What would a healthy city look like, one that doesn’t suffer from high rates of cancer, heart disease, digestive disorders, obesity and the other so called “diseases of civilization?”  What would a city look like without hunger? Pollution? Urban decay? War? It’s impossible to know, because in all of human history there has never been such a city. We have exactly 0 models to draw on in 10,000 years.  This … Continue reading Civilization’s Fatal Flaw, the Root Cause of Our Problems – (And How toAddress It)

Traditional Patterns for a New World

(Photo, wiki images) We can create a more just and sustainable world where everyone’s needs are met without compromising the health of our neighbors or the happiness of future generations. And we can do so by reclaiming connections with nature, community and beauty that we’ve lost.  There are ancient patterns of sustainable, peaceful and egalitarian cultures that we can replicate to find our way. And these are often the same cultures that we visit on our vacations, because their ways of life and the kind of environment they create, speaks to us, deeply. For those of us who feel trapped … Continue reading Traditional Patterns for a New World

In Danger of Falling Food – Kalamazoo Edition

(One of our local unofficial food forests) “In danger of falling food.” That’s a phrase that one of Permaculture’s founders, Bill Mollison, used to use in his talks. In fact, there’s a video you can find on Youtube with that title.As you’ll see from the quote below, Bill knew very well that the dangers of Food Forests go well beyond a bump on the head. They could threaten our entire way of life! “I will tell you a little story. There is a man named Cliff Adam, living in a group of islands with about 40,000 people. Cliff got a … Continue reading In Danger of Falling Food – Kalamazoo Edition

Forest Gardening Tips from Evolution

(Hey! Thanks for visiting this site! Before you read the article, please take a moment to help me out by answering the quick poll question in the right margin.)—> Forest Garden systems, “the world’s oldest land use,” are “layered” gardens where fruits, nuts and staple crops fill the trees overhead and the understories are filled with valuable shrubs, medicinal herbs, materials for crafts and building, as well as even more fruit and vegetables. They are nearly universal to human cultures, found throughout the world. Virtually everyplace where trees can grow, these systems have emerged. Why?  Researchers across a wide variety … Continue reading Forest Gardening Tips from Evolution

Tour Sunday, Focus: Forest Gardening Basics

This Sunday, October 11th at 9:00 AM we’ll be giving a tour of our garden with a focus on Forest Gardening Basics. The garden is looking quite beautiful this time of year and we may also have a variety of fruits and vegetables to taste, including paw paws, kousa berries, galapagos tomatoes and a variety of herbs, greens and vegetables.  On these tours, I try to be flexible and follow where the interest of our guests leads, but for the focus on Forest Gardening basics I’ll be prepared to cover: Why forest gardens were almost universal to human cultures. A … Continue reading Tour Sunday, Focus: Forest Gardening Basics

A Permaculture Plan for Kalamazoo

Permaculture thinking isn’t just a tool for the home landscape or farm. Ecological modeling can be applied to town and city planning, as well. I was recently asked by a neighbor for my input on a City policy around “Sustainability” and the following is slightly adapted version of the letter I responded with.  More specifically, the request began with the question:  What are the key physical attributes of “sustainability” for Kzoo?  From a Permaculture perspective, the key physical attribute of a sustainable Kalamazoo would be systems that: Care for the earth Care for people Respect natural limits Being more precise … Continue reading A Permaculture Plan for Kalamazoo