Posts Tagged ‘permaculture’

permaculture & me, featured on idealist in nyc

November 30, 2009


Thank you to Joanna over at Idealist in NYC for posting an interview with li’l ol’ me about permaculture! Check it out!


restoring the ecuadorian amazon with mycoremediation

November 14, 2009

Macrolepiota procera [image: Wikipedia]

Between 1964 and 1992, Texaco (now Chevron) dumped over 18.5 billion gallons of oil in the Ecuadorian Amazon. Birth defects, cancer rates and general malaise are exceedingly common in the city of Lago Agrio and other communities living near the 627 open, unlined waste pits that remain full of crude petroleum. The toxins have seeped into the groundwater, poisoning crops and livestock while leaving many residents with no choice but to drink contaminated water. Mycorestoration uses a host of mycological technologies to rehabilitate ecologically degraded habitats. Mycoremediation applies the natural capacity of mycelium to break down or remove toxic substances such as petroleum hydrocarbons, PCBs and heavy metals.

Cloud Forest Institute & Amazon Mycorenewal Project
Ecuadorian Political Ecology, Oil Pollution, and Mycoremediation
Service Learning Course with Spanish Language and Science Labs
Dec 15, 2009 – Jan 15, 2010 (or select dates)

The Cloud Forest Institute in collaboration with the Amazon
Mycorenewal Project and The Clean Up Oil Waste Project invite
undergraduate, graduate and lifelong students to attend our 2009
Winter Service Learning Course on Ecuadorian Political Ecology, Oil
Pollution, and Mycoremediation.

Mycoremediation is a developing scientific field experimenting with
mushrooms to sequester toxins. Mycelium is now being tested in Ecuador
in an effort to clean up billions of gallons of toxic oil wastes left
behind by Chevron Texaco during its 20 years of operation there (for
which the company is currently on trial in perhaps the largest
environmental lawsuit in history).

This course will take students to Quito, Lago Agrio, Mindo and
Cuyabeno to experience the striking biological and cultural diversity
of Ecuador’s many regions including the Andes Mountains and Amazon
Rainforest. Students will participate in the development of ground
breaking mycoremediation technology and study Latin American political
ecology. Service learning with local community members will help heal
lands polluted by the oil industry. Students can receive independent
study credit through their existing college or universities.

Students may enroll in four week-long sections individually or for the
entire month long course in which we will examine Ecuadorian cultural
traditions, political ecology, oil economics, toxicity and
bioremediation. You may also pick and choose which courses you would
like to attend in sections of one-week, individually.


A Country Study: Introduction to Ecuadorian Culture, History and Ecology

Monday, December 14th: Arrive in Quito, evening introductions, welcome
and orientation. Tuesday, December 15th: Morning tour through colonial
Quito, we spend the first day learning about Ecuador’s history and
culture, including do’s and taboo’s and the importance of respectful
behavior while in a foreign country. Afternoon travel to Lago Agrio
for the first Mycorenewal Workshop.

Section 1 – Field Study: Mycorenewal of Toxic Sites
Wednesday, December 16th – Monday, December 22nd

Students journey to Lago Agrio with the Amazon Mycorenewal Project.
This Service Learning mycoremediation course will run in conjunction
with community workshops training locals to utilize mycorenewal
techniques to clean toxic petroleum pollution. A seed germination
toxicity experiment will be installed to test the effectiveness of
previous AMP experiments of soil mycoremediation by observing seed
ability to germinate and grow. This will take place during two week-
long workshops.

Section 2 – Cloud Forest Conservation Holiday Retreat
Tuesday, December 23rd – Sunday, December 28th

While the seeds germinate, students journey to Mindo where they enjoy
the cloud forest while learning about Ecuador’s incredibly diverse
ecology. Students will be able to participate in a wide range of
activities while in Mindo including bird watching, hiking, mushroom
hunting, river rafting, visiting waterfalls, orchid and butterfly
attractions, and just relaxing by the riverside amongst the
butterflies and hummingbirds. Topics to be covered include Biology of
the Cloud Forest, Threats to the Cloud Forest, and Conservation of the
Cloud Forest. Spanish language instruction is available during this
session. Sunday 28th: Leave Mindo and go back to Quito for the night.

Section 3 – Journey Into the New Year
Monday, December 29th – Monday, January 5th

In this session, students foray into the Amazon wilderness in Cuyabeno
to observe an intact Amazonian environment. Activities include hiking,
mushroom hunting, swimming, fishing, and canoeing. Students will meet
with indigenous community members and spend time in ritual with
shamans of the community.

Section 4 – Myco Workshop II
Tuesday, January 6th – Thursday, January 14th

Peak Oil Issues – Production: Destruction of Ecology, Community and
Traditional Ways of Life

The course then returns to Lago Agrio for the final session and
completion of the seed germination experiment. Stops along the way
introduce students to communities and show toxic sites abandoned by
the oil industry, including pipeline ruptures, abandoned wells, and
communities located near active wells. Thursday 14th: Farewell dinner.
Program ends.
Itinerary dates subject to adjustment.

$1,000 per section or $3,600 when enrolled in all four sections. Cost
covers food, lodging and in country transportation, special gear, as
well as all activities listed in the itinerary. Spanish language
instruction is optional and costs $10 per hour for individual
instruction; this cost may be split between up to 5 students of the
same ability level. Additional costs not covered may include, but are
not limited to: airfare, required travel insurance, optional travel
immunizations, suggested reading, beverages, souvenirs, tips and
donations. $100 articulation and curriculum fee for students seeking
college credit through independent study. Spanish instruction is
included in the $1000 individual section cost for the Cloud Forest
Holiday Retreat.
Limited scholarships are sometimes available. Students may inquire
with Cloud Forest Institute to find out more.


Freeda Alida Burnstad, Director Cloud Forest Institute
Course organizer and promoter. Acts in a supportive capacity to the
course and course leaders while in Ecuador. Guest speaker during Cloud
Forest portion. AMP team member.

Lindsay Ofrias, The Clean Up Oil Waste Project LLC Founder
New York City liaison. Person of contact for students interested in
attending the workshops. Collaborates with universities, NGO’s, and
Ecuadorian leaders. Spanish translator and project coordinator.
Assistant teacher, Globalization.

Cristian Vaca, Environmental Activists and Eco-tourism Organizer
Cloud Forest Institute coordinator in Mindo. Provides in country
logistical support. Guest speaker during Cloud Forest portion.

Mia Maltz MS, RITES Project Founder
Permaculturist and Mycoremediation Specialist. Workshop presenter for
this course, Solar Living Institute, and many other venues. AMP team

Auriah Milanes, Environmental Engineer
Cloud Forest Institute Alumni. Course leader.

Donaldo Moncayo, Amazon Defense Coalition
President (Mayor) of the community Santa Cruz. Local host and
experiment lead. AMP team member.

Nicola Peel, Eyes of Gaia
Amazon Mycorenewal Project Founder. Documentary Artist. Guest speaker.

Dr. Robert Rawson, International Wastewater Solutions
Bioremediation and Waste Water Specialist. Course workshop presenter.
Part-time faculty for Santa Rosa JC. AMP team member.

Silvia Sornoza, Executive Assistant Cloud Forest Institute
Provides in country logistical support. AMP team member.

Ricardo Viteri, Ecuadorian Mycological Society Kallambas
Commercial mushroom grower in Quito. AMP team member.

Language instruction is provided by the licensed instructors of
Amazonas Spanish School. Other guest lecturers and local experts will
be featured in the course.

Amazon Defense Coalition, Amazon Mycorenewal Project, Cloud Forest
Institute, Ecuadorian Mycological Society Kallambas, The Clean Up Oil
Waste Project LLC.

***Contact Luz at the Clean Up Oil Waste Project for questions or inquiries regarding this program:, (631) 645-0021.

permaculture design certification in nyc

November 10, 2009

Learn with the permaculturist who taught me…

Permaculture Design Certification in NYC
with Andrew Faust

March to June 2010
11 weekend sessions 9am to 5pm

Permaculture provides positive solutions for the social and ecological issues of today. Come be inspired by one of the leading visionaries in Permaculture Design and prepare to transform your world!

Enroll Early! Before March 1st $1000. After March 1st $1200.

Information/Registration, email

Check out the website for more classes

permaculture hedonists presents (hands-on workshops)

November 10, 2009

Mmmm… kimchi [image: Wikipedia]

Permaculture Hedonists Presents

Hands-on workshops by Permaculture designers, educators and hedonists Andrew Faust and Adriana Magaña.

Who says you need a homestead to practice Permaculture? We’ll show you how to live the good life by putting your hands and kitchen to work! We think our bodies deserve the best and as permaculture hedonists believe that what we create with our hands is far superior to anything you can buy on the shelves of any store.

Last year we ran this series of lactoferment classes along with a Handcrafted Beauty series to great success. Many sold out fast with our cap at 10 students for each class. We checked our busy teaching and parenting schedules and set aside some dates to present these learning opportunities once again. Join us for these three fermented foods classes that will increase your vitality as well as your self-sufficiency. Come learn why they are so incredibly nutritious and how they can fit into your life.

The Handmade Beauty series will take the mystery out of formulating your own safe and cheap beauty necessities. We will explore a host of different ingredients from ones found in your kitchen cupboard to exotic floral waxes found via the internet. This series will now include household cleaners as well. All of these will be great for gift giving!

Start crafting today and share your creations with friends and family!

Wednesday, November 18
6:30- 8:30-pm $40

This workshop will walk you through making a variety of lactoferments including: kim chee, sauerkraut, ginger-carrots and other root crop lactoferments. Bring 2 wide mouth 1 pint glass mason jars with lids if you would like to take home jars of our finished products. Also bring a good cutting knife a cutting board and the Organic vegatables will be supplied. Handouts of recipes will be provided. IMPORTANT!!! Please register at least one day in advance so we can insure the correct amount of ingredients. This is sure to fill up fast!

Sourdough Bread
Wednesday, December 9th

In this, our second fermented food workshop, we will harvest Brooklyn’s wild yeasts to make bread rise into a fluffy loaf that is truly delicious! We will show you the ins and outs of making and baking sourdough bread so that you can get started with confidence! We will also cover sourdough pancakes. Delicious! Participants should bring a small jar to take home some sourdough starter.

Handcrafting Home Brews
Thursday, December 17th
6:30- 8:30 pm $40

This third workshop will cover: malting whole grains for superlative home brew beers and will include sources for organic whole grains; preparing herbal tonics and sacred beers with wild dandelion, yarrow, rosemary and others; culturing wild yeasts. Kombucha preparation will also be covered and kombucha “mothers” will be given away to make at home. Handouts of recipes will be provided.

Handmade Beauty Part 1 and 2
Saturday, December 19th
Part 1 – 12am-2pm $40
Sunday, December 20th
Part 2 – 4pm -6pm $40

In this class we will craft a variety of body care products made from ingredients easily found in your kitchen cabinet or local heath food store. You will expand your knowledge of herbs, save money and feel your beautiful best by making and using your own handmade beauty products. Are you spending wads of cash on eco-household cleaners? Well you can stop! We will be providing recipes and samples for some of the most often used cleaners. Bring small containers (washed take out condiment containers work great) if you’d like to take some samples home.

Part 1

For your Face…
*Face Cleanser *Face Scrub
*Herbal Face Toner *Moisturizer *Tinted Lip Balm

Plus Household Cleaners!

Part 2

*Herbal Shampoo *Herbal Hair Rinse
*Body Scrubs *Tooth Powder/Paste
*Mouthwash *Shaving Cream

Plus Household Cleaners!


Handcrafting Herbal Tinctures, Salves and Extracts will be offered after the new year. So get ready!

All of these classes will take place in our small apartment so enrollment in limited to 10 people for each class. Allergic to pets? We have two cats and a dog FYI.

Please pre-register so we know how many people to expect

We can and will offer these classes again so please inquire if the dates don’t work out for you.

Be well,

Adriana and Andrew

P.S. We are accepting registration for our Permaculture Design Certification from March 27th through June 5th. Sign up early to get a discount and save your spot!
To register email

The Center for Bioregional Living
Ellenville / Brooklyn, NY

introducing – the library of trash

November 2, 2009

This past Saturday, Halloween, I received my permaculture design certificate (hurray!). Today, I feel like I’ve been reborn with new eyes. I’ve put on my permie goggles and I’m not going to take them off.

As part of the class, each student had to design something using permaculture principles. This is the story of my project…

Something was born out of the design process which I wasn’t expecting. As realities were uncovered and patterns discovered, a broader picture came into view — maybe even something that was there all along. Sometimes all it takes is new eyes to see what lies before us.

The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes.

~ Marcel Proust

My original intention for this project was to design my business of helping people with environmentally exacerbated health conditions — like asthma and allergies — to find relief. And in thinking of this business, I thought of myself as the key component of it. I am what people will interact with.

So what do I interact with?

Imagining my surroundings as an extension of myself, I thought about the largest thing surrounding me immediately and on a daily basis — the building that I live and work in.
“The Belnord” — a 6-story, 41-unit apartment building built in 1921. It’s in Prospect Heights, Brooklyn — just downhill from the second highest point in Brooklyn — Mount Prospect Park — once the site of a reservoir, until the Catskill Mountain and Delaware River Valley reservoirs took over in the 1940s.

The Belnord is located in USDA Growing Zone 6B, fed by the Catskill/Delaware watershed west of the Hudson and Croton watershed east of the Hudson. The average rainfall is 46” with a peak dispersal of 4.53” in July. The wastewater treatment facility is Owl’s Head.

Owl’s Head Wastewater Treatment Facility

We live on the third floor in a north-facing apartment with no direct sunlight. The desire to grow food prompted us to start a little garden under grow lights in our second bedroom or office.

Jalapeños growing under lights in our apartment

The apartment is used in the traditional domestic sense, for sleeping, cooking, and eating — with the exception of an ever-growing collection of items some may deem trash. I call this my library of arts and crafts to be. It’s also located in the room I call “the office.”

There is a similar catalog of materials in the basement of our building called the recycling center. This recyclable trash gets picked up by truck and brought to a facility where lots of water and energy go into recycling it. All the rest of the trash goes to a landfill.

The basement, which is only accessible to residents by elevator, is also the site of a book exchange and the residents’ bicycle storage.

So I started noticing this pattern of trash, and this resistance in me to both not throw anything away and not take the elevator to the basement, where the recycling center is, and where I kept my bike until I decided to boycott the elevator.

And I imagined a place where I could take my trash and put it to good use.

But before I get to that, a little more context, or goals articulation.

The goals of this project are:

  • To grow and eat nutrient dense, delicious food
  • To maintain healthy air to breathe — in my own home, in the homes of those in my community, and in the air outside as well
  • To create a community of sustainably minded people
  • To reduce the amount of trash going into the wastestream
  • To make trash beautiful, and to change people’s minds about trash and its uses
  • To provide a center for learning the arts of gardening, crafting, food preparation, and all sorts of creating
  • To enhance the local economy through partnerships with budding like-minded businesses
  • To provide community members with right livelihood
  • To demonstrate what’s possible in the urban center — growing food, upcycling “waste” materials, providing positive work, education, inspiration


The plan of which is made entirely from repurposed and found materials.

The Library of Trash is a 7,000 square foot warehouse space with adjoining outdoor property.

It is a multifunctional space run by a multidisciplinary member cooperative. I am the generalist. My partners are gardeners, artists, crafters, builders, and cooks. We collaborate, we barter, we share knowledge with each other and the broader community.

In this space there is an experimental vegetable garden, a mini fruit orchard, four-season growing potential, a place to host events and classes, a place to create and experiment, and a place to keep materials for creating.

There is a strong foundation and purpose, yet the space adapts to meet the day’s given needs.

Passing by the Library of Trash you might be attracted by the living fence, yet detritus and pests will be repelled by it.

A street cart sells produce from our garden or prepared food from our kitchen in front of a window that displays our latest upcycling projects.

A covered bike rack stores our means of transport and distribution.

When you enter you are greeted by a member working at the mobile reception desk.

The member is crocheting a yoga mat bag out of plarn.

He directs you to the garden on the south side of the property to learn about biodynamic treatment of fruit trees. On your way out, you notice the living curtains which both keep the hot sun out in summer and filter the air indoors, while providing fresh oxygen to the building.

While waiting for class to begin at the picnic table on the deck, you can’t help but notice the greenhouse filled with citrus and other tropical produce. In winter, the greenhouse is heated by compost, and the greenhouse helps heat the building.

On the back of the greenhouse is a rainfed shower heated by the sun. The grey water from the shower trickle irrigates the vegetable garden.

Wastes from the garden and the fruit trees go to the compost. The compost in turn provides nutrients to the soil, and also heats the sink water in the restroom and kitchen.

The sink water, fed by the 2,000 gallon water storage units, goes to flush the toilets.

The toilets and the garbage disposal from the kitchen sink feed the biogas digester which provides cooking heat and heats the building in winter.

The kitchen serves as a demonstration facility for food preparation and preservation, as well as a lab for making and experimenting with beauty and cleaning products made from ingredients grown in our greenhouse and garden. These products are packaged in upcycled jars and bottles that our customers can return to refill.

When you finish your lesson in biodynamics, you go to the darkest corner of the property to learn about mushroom cultivation.

You love learning these new skills so much that you decide to stay all day and learn about upcycling glass bottles into vases and glassware. The materials for this class are sent down from the second floor via dumbwaiter.

You are so intrigued to see where these materials appeared from that you take the stairs to the second floor.

On this floor, you’re greeted by another member of the co-op. She gives you a tour of the trash library — materials amassed by members on dumpster diving missions or donated by community members.

Materials like old pipes, telephone wire, tin cans, and old silverware. Maybe you’re looking for a reclaimed window to make a cold frame or scrap wood from a gutted building to fashion a loom. And here are some scrap fabrics to weave a belt or plastic bags to weave some placemats. How about a decoupage or papier-mache project from junk mail and old catalogs?

You hear sounds of sewing and sawing so you ask to see where it’s coming from.

In the studio space, there’s a co-op member building a compost bin from wooden palettes collected from the curb for a nearby community garden. Another member is making cloth napkins from old dress shirts to sell at Sunday’s market being held on the roof.

The roof? You ask. Yes — do you want to see it?

And up you go to the top of the Library of Trash.

You take the stairs, but if you weren’t able-bodied, the elevator reaches the roof.

In front of you is an expanse of green — greenroofing that attracts native pollinators while keeping the building cool in summer. It also provides a sense of refuge in the urban landscape.

Solar panels add a redundant source of energy to the biogas digester — to power the elevator and any electric appliances.

You smell something baking and walk to the west side of the roof. Bread is baking in the solar oven. The flour was provided by a local grower of heirloom grains, exchanged for a wind turbine that our co-op made from old bicycle parts in order to power their mill.

You notice the dumbwaiter also reaches the roof. This makes it easier to bring materials to the roof for big events and market days.

The roof itself is a giant, 3,500 square foot surface for catching rainwater – enough, not subtracting greenroof absorption, to collect 2,100 gallons of water per one-inch rain event.
There is also a small shelter housing a bar for events that serves as rainwater catchment for rooftop use.

And there are skylights lighting the workspace below.

Wow, what a long day, you say.

And I turn to you and ask, want to stick around for a sunset rooftop yoga class?

focusing on permaculture

October 6, 2009

[design by Andrew Jeeves]

Some of you already know that I’m in the midst of pursuing a permaculture design certificate (or PDC, more about it here). In order to focus on my studies and design project, I will be posting a little bit less for the next few weeks.

For now, I’ll leave you with a little taste of what I’ve been learning.

rainwater harvesting

Small-scale rainwater catchment (60 gallons) at Miracle Garden

1,000 gallon rainwater catchment system at Dias y Flores Community Garden

You can learn step-by-step how to build a rainwater harvesting system from the Water Resources Group.


Compost pile at Dias y Flores

learn-as-you-go solutions

After a big rainfall event that overfilled the 1,000 gallon system, Lars Chellberg and Lenny Labrizzi of Water Resources Group created this overflow diversion

toxic remediation and community building

Paula Hewitt Amram of Open Road NY describes how this pond filters rainwater to prevent combined sewer overload (CSO) events as well as keep trash out of the river. Aside from completely remediating this toxic site (once a bus depot with underground oil tanks that polluted the school next door), Paula actively fosters the skate park next door (as well as other parks) where young skaters and other community members help with cleanup of the community garden

Not your ordinary sewer grate. Under it are cisterns that hold the water on site to prevent sewer overflow

hop on the waterpod while you still can

September 17, 2009

Have you caught a glimpse of that fantastic vessel, the one growing squash & tomatoes & chickens? The one that composts, harvests rainwater & sustains its shipmates? Perhaps you have, perhaps you’ve stepped on board. But if you haven’t, and have the slightest inkling of curiosity as to what the Waterpod holds, you only have 2 weeks to quench your thirst.

The Waterpod is about to sail off into the sunset (well, technically, it doesn’t “sail”). Below, a message from the pod regarding their last hurrah.

The Waterpod would like to invite you to join us for our final two weeks open to the public on New York waterways. We will celebrate the closing of our amazing four-month journey with “Future of Mobility, Urbanity, and Water(pods)” at the World’s Fair Marina Pier 1 in Flushing, Queens from September 16 – 27th. Visit our website for up-to-date information and events:

This celebration will include events with The Queens Museum of Art, Conflux Festival, Underwater New York, Swimming Cities, Terreform, Wicked Delicate’s Truck Farm, Andrew Faust and the Center for Bioregional Living [aside: this is who’s teaching me the wonders of permaculture], hands-on workshops for Thriving After the Flood by artist Christopher Robbins, Secret School and the K.I.D.S and Natalie Jeremijenko’s Environmental Response Systems.

We will conclude with an all day “I Remember Future” party on Sunday, September 27, 2009 from 11am-11pm in conjunction with the Queens Museum of Art. There will be trolley service from QMA to the Waterpod. The day will include, “Ascend” a pirate television broadcast/planetarium installation by artist James Case Leal, a globular sound installation curated by Lauren Rosati, and DJ Trent Wolbe from WFMU, among other futuristic happenings.

We are at the Worlds Fair Marina Pier 1 from Sept. 16- Sept 27.
We are open to the public Thursday/Friday 8am-4pm and Saturday/Sunday 11am-7pm.

Here is schedule of events, please join us!

Friday 9/18:
Conflux Festival 2-4:30pm on the Waterpod. Waterpod team talks about life on board.
5pm Piledrivers music

Saturday 9/19:
3pm Urban Permaculture workshop with Andrew Faust; Regenerating Today’s Cityscapes
5pm Betsy Bradley,Father Knickerbocker Meets the Future: Lecture about the World’s Fair

Sunday, September 20:
1pm Christopher Robbins & Matt Bua –Waterborn edibles in New York / Build a solar cooker
3pm Underwater New York Readings
6-10pm Swimming Cities Fundraiser Party

Saturday, 9/26:
1pm- Christopher Robbins & Douglas Paulson-Jerry-rigging 101: Build your own boat from urban detritus/Knot tying-bring stuff that might float
3pm Secret School and the K.I.D.S. host a “wild tea party”: a workshop on making jam and tea from foraged wild edible fruit.
4pm: Terreform Lecture founders Maria Aiolova and Mitchell Joachim. talk about the Future of Urbanity
6-7pm Artist Hector Canonge “Utopia” video showing
6-8pm Jérémie Gindre and Frédéric Post, Special show case and sound performance, co-curated by Espace Kugler in Sweden

Sunday 9/27: Final Day of Waterpod
11a-11pm “I Remember Future” all day Goodbye Waterpod Party in conjunction with The Queens Museum of Art (Trolley from QMA to Waterpod)
12pm Barbara Flanagan “Water Homes” lecture and book signing
1pm – Christopher Robbins & Ian Warren-Making portable gardens, Cereal banks (D.I.Y. protectionism) and food preservation
2-6pm Ian Cheney and Curt Ellis present their Truck Farm
3pm Urban Secret School and The K.I.D.S. make jam and tea and Cassie Thornton Barter System Beauty Salon
4-6pm Natalie Jeremijenko’s Environmental Response Systems
6-8pm Lauren Rosati curates sound installation in dome
4-11pm James Case Leal’s Ascend Planetarium video installation in dome and broadcast at The Queens Museum of Art
8-11pm Trent Wolbe of WFMU will DJ
9-11pm Band TBA

Subway Directions: From Grand Central Station take the 7 train to Willets Point Blvd – Mets Station. Head towards Citi Field. Take the sidewalk to the left of Citi Field until it ends. Cross the Whitestone Expressway and the World’s Fair Marina Pier 1 is across the street and to the right. Waterpod™ is located at the end of Pier 1.

Google Map:,-73.85381&spn=0.010792,0.021265&z=16

Thank you,
The Waterpod Team

farm to table guest post

July 21, 2009

On Sunday, I visited Rooftop Farms, an amazing (as the name suggests) rooftop farm in Greenpoint, Brooklyn. Read all about it in this guest post I did on Farm to Table, sustainable food blog and reality show.

follow this man: will allen

July 6, 2009

If you didn’t catch this weekend’s New York Times Magazine, you missed out on an article about one of the best role models for young Americans, and heck, old ones too. Will Allen — urban farmer, master composter, down-to-earth guy — is creating a community of people who care more about the food they put in their bodies, especially city dwellers who don’t have access to healthful food.

An excerpt:

Like others in the so-called good-food movement, Allen, who is 60, asserts that our industrial food system is depleting soil, poisoning water, gobbling fossil fuels and stuffing us with bad calories. Like others, he advocates eating locally grown food. But to Allen, local doesn’t mean a rolling pasture or even a suburban garden: it means 14 greenhouses crammed onto two acres in a working-class neighborhood on Milwaukee’s northwest side, less than half a mile from the city’s largest public-housing project.

And this is why Allen is so fond of his worms. When you’re producing a quarter of a million dollars’ worth of food in such a small space, soil fertility is everything. Without microbe- and nutrient-rich worm castings (poop, that is), Allen’s Growing Power farm couldn’t provide healthful food to 10,000 urbanites — through his on-farm retail store, in schools and restaurants, at farmers’ markets and in low-cost market baskets delivered to neighborhood pickup points. He couldn’t employ scores of people, some from the nearby housing project; continually train farmers in intensive polyculture; or convert millions of pounds of food waste into a version of black gold.

Read the rest

time to evolve

May 27, 2009

I don’t know about you, but I feel a transformation coming. Like a great awakening, individuals, policy makers, and companies are changing their attitudes and actions to create a greener, more sustainable future.

Are you ready?

This Sunday, May 31, the evolution begins…

Evolver Town Hall

Economic recession, energy crisis, global warming — OK, so what are we going to do about it?

Join a city-wide gathering of innovating individuals, groups, and nonprofits who are transforming today’s challenges into tomorrow’s opportunities. Discover how we New Yorkers can re-imagine our beloved Big Apple, making it resilient, thriving, funky, healthy, and green. The event features workshops, panels, music, art, food, info tables, and more. Speakers will specifically address how YOU can make a direct impact in their area of expertise. Topics include: renewable energy and efficiency, green jobs, food justice, conscious health and living, locally supported agriculture, climate change, DIY art, rooftop and community gardens, media activism, resilient neighborhoods and communities, local/alternative currency, and more. Each person will come away with the ideas, information, connections, and contacts they need for getting involved within the community. Be a part of the local solution. This event will celebrate the launch of, a social network for conscious collaboration, and mark the beginning of their off-line community, Evolver NYC. This is the first in a series of events to bring New York’s diverse tribes of transformation together to enact meaningful change.

St. Marks Church in the Bowery
Corner of 10th Street at 2nd Avenue

1:30-5:30p; $5