Picture Sundays: US Postal Service Creates World’s Ugliest Stamp

I got some stamps out of a machine at the post office yesterday and this is what got barfed out. Is this a sign of the imminent collapse of the US empire or just evidence that the email thing is making the post office go broke? Either way, you’d think the Postal Service would be embarrassed by this graphic design nightmare. How do we get them to reissue this one? I may not be a big fan of the American Poultry Industry, but that sure is a...

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Sources for Interesting Perennial Crops

...s CRFG members are always on the hunt for interesting varieties of fruits. Note that this list of nurseries covers the entire US, not just California. Permaculture Activist plant sources The website is somewhat of a graphic design nightmare, but if you’re looking for unusual edible perennials, this would be the place to start. Hop Roots – where to get them…  Hoptacular! A list of hops nurseries from the Oregon State Hops Co...

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The Great Greywater Debate- PVC or Polyethylene?

PVC v. Polyethylene Homegrown Neighbor here. I’ve been wanting a greywater system for a long time. My old house does not exactly make access to the pipes easy, so I’m starting with just the washing machine. The neighbor, Mr. Homegrown, is anxious to try out a new design from Oasis. So we have been trying to get all the pieces and get it done- and here is where we get stuck. The system can either use polyethylene tubing or pvc. PVC...

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When the Crate’s Better Than the Chair

Steve Badgett of the design/art/architecture collective Simparch tipped me off to Dutch furniture designer and architect Gerrit Rietveld’s set of chairs built out of crates, done back in the 1930s. As Rietveld put it, “A piece of furniture made of high-grade wood and manufactured completely according to traditional production methods is transported in a crate to avoid damage…no one has ever ascertained that such a chest embodi...

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Fish Don’t Fart

...ogg and Stacy Pettigrew’s book Toolbox for Sustainable City Living: A do-it-Ourselves Guide which comes out of their work at Austin’s Rhizome Collective. What all of these efforts have in common is a permacultural design principle of turning a waste product into a resource and closing a loop. Fish make fertilizer and plants clean water, so why not combine the two? I’d like to hear stories from ordinary folks who have tried aquap...

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Cargo Bikes Rule the World

It’s hard to improve on a design as simple and elegant as the bicycle. It’s a bit like trying to redesign the fork or chopstick. But every once in a while a new idea comes along. We could debate the merits of the spork, but I’d rather focus on the current cargo bike revolution taking place in the workshops of bike builders around the world. One such innovator is Lane Kagay who operates a one man cargo bike/rack operation out o...

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Bikin’ in LA

...r all), off the bike raise hell. And, as the bike path photo above from über bike activist Stephen Box’s SoapBoxLA blog demonstrates, there’s plenty to raise hell about with Los Angeles’ terminal car-centric design. For me the issue ain’t about bikes–I actually enjoy hauling ass through congested rush hour traffic on two wheels. Instead my off bike ire is more about two questions that, I hope, everyone will care abo...

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Build a Solar Dehydrator

...growing (a minor inconvenience). We built our dehydrator several years ago and have used it each season for tomatoes, figs and for making dried zucchini chips. You can find plans for this “Appalachian Dehydrator”, designed by Appalachian State University’s Appropriate Technology Program, in the February/March 1997 issue of Home Power Magazine. The February/March 1999 issue of Home Power features a refinement of this plan, but we...

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The Sami Way

...munen served). A wooden form of the traditional circular Sami hut. Kuhmunen speaking eloquently about what can only be called arctic permaculture, life in touch with the cycles of life and the importance of context specific design. And speaking of context, the smoke of the fire rising up through a hole in the roof. The dirt floor is insulated with a layer of burnt twigs, followed by moose skins and a top layer of reindeer fur. It works. It was...

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Appropriate Technology

...volved out of political economist E. F. Schumacher’s book Small is Beautiful and is easier to show rather than describe. While not always low-tech, appropriate tech concepts feature elegantly simple (but not simplistic) design, efficient use of energy and are usually aimed at poor countries. What Homegrown Evolution would like to prove is that these technologies have a place in developed western countries as well. Here’s three of our...

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