Permaculture Design Course at the Ecology Center in San Juan Capistrano

...gn, presentation graphics, interview, site analysis, group brainstorm, mapping with graphics APRIL 12 / WATER – Water in context, water systems, homescale vs. large scale, appropriate scale technologies. Presentation on rainwater and greywater basics, fundamental earthworks basics, observation and mapping water excersize, greywater workshop, rain barrel building demo APRIL 13 / WATER OFF-SITE – including larger scale home systems desi...

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Stickers for the Organic Gardener

Via BoingBoing a clever re-purposing: “Evil Mad Scientist Labs wants you to proudly label your organic garden with these handsome “Now Slower and with More Bugs!” stickers, originally produced to adorn software products. The influence of the Slow Food movement is increasing, and gardening is getting ever more popular. Even the tech bloggers are posting about local pollinators and getting beehives. In this environment, it is fi...

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Natural Products Expo West: The Good and the Ugly

...8220;natural” (whatever that means) food industry suffers from the same problems that plague our food system as a whole. Most of the products at the expo are highly processed and high in sugar. Just because something is labeled “gluten free” or “GMO free” does not make it healthy. Getting beyond the nutrition issues most of these “natural” processed foods also taste, frankly, terrible. Out of the hundreds...

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Grassfed Turkey Cooking Tips from Shannon Hayes

...ime to know what you are buying! “Pastured” is not necessarily the same as “free-range.” Some grass-based farmers use the word “free-range” to describe their pasture-raised birds, but any conventional factory farm can also label their birds “free-range” if they are not in individual cages, and if they have “access” to the outdoors – even if the “outdoors” happens to be feces-laden penned-in concrete pads outside the barn door, with no acce...

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The Organic Minefield: How organic are your organic eggs, soy and dairy?

I wish the label “organic” meant all that I mean when I use the term, but unfortunately organic is not a a guarantee of sustainable agricultural practice, much less humane treatment of livestock. The Cornucopia Institute promotes sustainable organic agriculture and family farms, and helps consumers parse the difference between greenwashed and genuine organic farms and suppliers. They release quick reference charts on various subject...

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How To Freeze Fruits and Vegetables

...do this you’ll individually quick freeze IQF them. To IQF: Wash, blanch (veggies) and cool . Spread in one layer on a cookie sheet and place in the freezer for four to six hours. Pack in sealed containers or in freezer bags. Label with date to avoid freezer mystery bag phenomenon. Now when the zombie apocalypse arrives and everything goes Beyond Thunderdome, freezing will not be the best option (unless, like Tina Turner, we figure out how to tu...

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Incandescent, Compact Fluorescent or LED?

...al quality of LED light. They are not so good for lighting an entire room. Many compact florescents (CFL) will have short lifespans if you put them in sealed, enclosed or recessed lighting fixtures. You also have to check the label and perhaps even call the manufacturer to figure out if a CFL will work in a horizontal, base-up or base-down fixture. CFLs perform poorly if turned on and off without at least 15 to 30 minutes to warm up. CFLs contain...

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Quince: the “Poster Child of Slowness”

...ctus that is probably competing with it. We’ll hope it does better in the next season. Filling in for my lack of backyard quince, Homegrown Neighbor was nice enough to pop by with some she bought local Asian market. The label must have lost something in translation, but refers to a variety called “Pineapple quince”. Karp points out in his article that this is the most prevalent commercial variety. When picked fresh it could conc...

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How to save tomato seed

...paper plates. Tomato seeds stick to paper towels, so if you use those you may end up having to plant the seeds on their little bits of towel. Once they are bone dry, transfer to envelopes or glass jars for storage. Be sure to label! *I just lost a batch to germination. I blame the heat. It didn’t seem like they’d be fermenting that long, but after I drained my seeds I saw the tiny little white nubbins poking out of the seeds. Now I...

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What Mountaineering Accidents Can Teach Us About Food Preservation

...and stored in the refrigerator at 40°F or lower for no more than 7 days. It may be frozen for long term storage for up to several months. Package in glass freezer jars or plastic freezer boxes, leaving ½-inch headspace. Label, date and freeze. The take home from the botulism review is that the problem is rare and that home food preservation is very safe assuming you follow standard procedures, most notably using a pressure canner to can lo...

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