More good news! Ya ready? Mixed-use, mixed-income sustainable neighborhood infill developments of 2 or so acres, located in rural, urban, or suburban settings, meet the challenge to deliver sustainable lifestyles that are good for people and our planet!
Here is a drawing of one possibility that is efficient, affordable, and creates a beautiful oasis.
With approx. 40 residential units of varying sizes on the upper floor, and mixed-use commercial and shared common facilities on the ground floor, we just need 80 or so people who want to move in. Want to have your business here?
Come to the next Designing Sustainable Neighborhoods Workshop
This article points out the incredible power of human ingenuity. As I keep taking steps toward sustainable lifestyles, I run into all manner of inner limiting belief systems. A major one is “Don’t Make Mistakes”. The correct answer is rewarded in school. But check out the learning from Gaviotas. Try stuff, learn from “the mistakes”…. genuis appears through trial and error. So Go For It!!! There aren’t mistakes, they are the path to amazing.
It became clear to us that most of the successes at Gaviotas were not a result of brilliant planning but of a trial and error process, replete with wrong turns and detours.
Gaviotas showed us that there is not an orchestrated march toward a finished product—there is only the process, the unpredictable evolution of strategies and ideas… READ MORE >>
Imagine. An elementary school and the surrounding neighborhoods joining together to become a sustainable community with the school at its heart.
Biologies on the roots, detoxify water!
Science Rules! Tapping into the Power of Biologies; Community Composting and Recycling Water – Part 5
Throughout the neighborhood, attached greenhouses provide essential composting, soil studies and crop production opportunities. The solar recharged neighborhood electric cart collection service gives teens an opportunity to make money by driving household food scraps to the community composting bins.
“Living Machines,” water recycling tanks, demonstrate how bacteria and microorganisms purify water.
Living Machines, invented by Dr. John Todd, use plants and microbes to clean water instead of chemicals. They can handle household waste, and easily tackle industrial wastes, turning 600 to 750,000 gallons of waste per day into hyacinths and snails… Dr. Todd (a student of Bucky Fuller BTW), has been working with Living Machines for decades has found that there are certain plants or small animals that love certain kinds of waste. What he does is let the water run through a series of cisterns with different plants in each. What one plant likes to eat, it turns into other forms of waste, so in the next cistern he has the plant that considers that waste food. By the time the water comes out, it’s 5 times cleaner than traditional waste water treatment….
Imagine. An elementary school and the surrounding neighborhoods joining together to become a sustainable community with the school at its heart. Part 2
Food; Community, Connection, Curriculum, and Cooking
Health, nutrition and cooking are all coordinated around the local agriculture program, “Yards to Farms”. The school’s kitchen has an expanded program that uses food to teach and create a more sustainable lifestyle. “Farms to Schools” and “Yards to Farms” bring regionally grown food to the plate, increasing local food security while lowering the shipping distances. Children now have a personal connection with their food as they regularly take working field trips to farms in the region and integrate classroom learning with hands-on growing. Several homes and commercial facilities in the neighborhood have constructed attached greenhouses, so food production is a year-round occurrence in the community.
Salsa Café and Bakery has transformed the former school kitchen into a great place for a meal. The facility is used “around the clock”, with the “Git ‘n Go Assembled Meals,” two different meal share plans, and the evening music scene where kids and adults get together and have a lot of fun playing music. Culinary and baking skills are taught to all ages, and the meals feature local and regional organic produce, dairy, fruit and meats.
The “Git ‘n Go Assembled Meals” program, especially appreciated by working parents, … READ MORE >>
Imagine a room full of people, all gathered in a circle and sharing their ideas on what makes a sustainable neighborhood. “I would like a swimming hole, like at my grandpa’s farm”, a 12 year boy shares. “It has a rope swing and turtles and the fishing is pretty good”.
“I love prisoner of war escape movies and sci-fi movies. I’d like to curate a series of Saturday afternoon showings. I just got a huge big screen TV, and my living room holds about 30 people!” Herb, a retiree, offers.
A young mother speaks next, “I’d like to contribute part of our front yard to community gardening. With the new baby, I would like to be growing more food, but we need help getting the soil ready. My husband agrees; he’d rather pull weeds. He’s tired of mowing the lawn.”
Around the circle the sharing continues. ”Well”, Jack, a waste water engineer offers, ” I’d like to set up a water recycling facility… my idea is to go to the low point of the sewer system, and set up a series of living machines. Living Machines are greenhouses filled with translucent tanks full of water plants. The biologies on the roots of the water plants will purify the water, and we can then do a final UV treatment so the water is better than drinking quality. And that will fit into your ideas: One, the water would fill up the swimming hole and be a place of beauty and fun, and two, the water from the pond could be fed to orchards and community gardens. Another benefit would be in case of a fire, the fire department could use the stored water for fighting the fire.”
My hand goes up.”Hey, I make the best popcorn in the world. No brag, just fact! I’ll give lessons and man the popcorn machine on one Saturday matinee out of the month!” (See recipe below!)… READ MORE >>
In a previous issue of Organic Bytes, we reported that Don M. Huber, Ph.D., emeritus soil scientist of Purdue University, wrote a letter to USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack about a newly discovered virulent pathogen that proliferates in soil treated with Monsanto’s Roundup herbicide.
The Monsanto pathogen is taken up by plants, transmitted to animals via their feed, and is passed on to human beings by the plants and meat they consume. The pathogen has yet to be described or named, though that work is almost complete. … READ MORE >>
The #1 way to Support Local Food is by… creating a deeply affordable lifestyle. Lowering the cost of living frees up customers’ pocket books so they can buy more local food and dine at restaurants serving locally produced food.
Local Farmers, Local Food...Santa Fe Saturday AM
A deeply affordable lifestyle is essential in other key ways as well. Farmers and their employees need affordable housing, water, land, processing facilities, season extending structures, fertilizers, etc. Higher costs in any one of these networks of networks undermines our food security.
Here in Santa Fe we have one of the best Farmer’s Markets in the nation, apparently. I think much of its popularity is because Santa Feans have more disposable income. And yet, in spite of all the success, Beneficial Farms CSA‘s Steve Warshawer estimates all the capacity of the Northern New Mexico regional farmers would feed only 2000 folks. Santa Fe current population is around 70,000, with a surrounding regional total of approx 100,000.
For our regional capacity, ourFood Shed, to grow significantly, I believe we will have to work together to create deep affordability and free up more disposable income. I call it “Mixed-use, mixed-income neighborhoods, with lifelong learning and open space”. The open space is for agriculture, natural habitat, and recreation.
This strategy is good for everyone; builds our regional resiliency and food security, lowers our eco-footprint, and raises our quality of life!
Share your ideas and experiences in the comments area! Back yard chickens, collecting urine for fertilizer, compost piles, converting front yards to food forests, deep mulching strategies, farm to school programs, aquaculture, etc… the list is long….Together we can make sustainable real!… READ MORE >>
Cattle + Predators= Soil Carbon Sequestration. How’s that for a Math equation??!!
You have sharp hooves (no sneakers allowed), You poop, you roam…You restore the planet’s balance. Duh!!
Any questions?? Yes, you with the red blouse.More Specifics?? OK, here’s how the Savory Theorem works…
In a natural context, constantly moving, healthy herds of large herbivores, interacting with their associated predators, create the disturbance (grazing and animal impact) necessary to maintain healthy ecosystem processes. Their presence ensures the continuation of the carbon cycle (with the all-important step of “decay” accelerated by the microbes in their digestive tracts), high levels of plant diversity, and a covered soil surface. Because the animals are constantly moving to new grazing, plants (between episodes of heavy grazing) have the chance to fully recover their above-ground leaf area and restore carbohydrate reserves in their crowns, roots, and stem bases. Holistic Management’s expertise is in re-creating/imitating these natural grazing patterns with domestic livestock, and regenerating the land in the process.
Any more questions? Yeah, you in the back. Yes, that’s right, if you eat Predator Managed Open Range Certified burgers you will be sequestering carbon back into the earth, and helping reverse Global Warming.
Yes, of course. The distance from the ranch to the slaughter house to your plate adds to the carbon footprint. That’s why ranchers and meat packing plants are switching to algae biodiesel… READ MORE >>
Black Soil, biochar, a special kind of charcoal, has been discovered in the Amazon jungles, as well as in Japan. Tierra Preta, as it is also called in Brazil, has amazing properties. In the midst of large amounts of rainfall, where large quantities of biochar have been introduced into the soil, the soil’s fertility has lasted for centuries. This special kind of charcoal retains nutrients for plants and creates a most hospitable environment for microorganisms and has provided fertile soils for large populations in the Brazilian jungles for several thousand years.
As the “charcoal” withstands being broken down for long periods of time, modern soil scientists and farmers have realized Biochar could be the most effective way to sequester carbon out of the atmosphere, while adding to a soil’s fertility. Most any material that contains carbon can be “cooked” to not only create a charcoal like product, but also the gases released during cooking process, pyrolysis, can be used as a substitute for fossil fuel. These two together have raised the specter that creating biochar out of waste carbonaceous material (agricultural wastes, etc) could be a major part of a long term solution to global warming, while adding to a soil’s fertility… READ MORE >>
Nuclear, coal, natural gas, methane, biochar oil, ethanol, algae bio-diesel, the sun, the tides, the wind, or good old gasoline…each comes with its costs. As we innovate toward a sustainable lifestyle, the refining processes and embedded energy, the delivery system, and all the other externalities come into play.
Currently 60% of the US’s primary electricity comes from coal fired plants. The burning of coal releases mercury into the air. The fish in New Mexico have quite a bit of mercury in them, especially those located downwind from the Four Corners Generating Plants. Fish in the Pacific Ocean have high levels of mercury as well, as the mercury bio-accumulates in the bigger fish, like tuna. The Chinese coal fired plants are the mercury source for our sushi and salmon!
Agricultural crops converted to fuels come with GMOs, fertilizer run off, soil degradation, and embodied production and delivery costs. Local production and supply keeps dollars in the community, building wealth and cutting transportation costs. Talk about complicated…. READ MORE >>