We received a very nice letter from Amanda Lazorchack who, along with her partner Dane Zahorsky, are teaching a 7th grade sustainability class at the Kansas City Academy. They’re using our book The Urban Homestead as a textbook and sent a long a few pictures of what they are up to with their group, Motuv.

Lazorchack wrote, “It’s almost as if we woke up one day and realized that we didn’t know how to grow our own food and that that was a huge problem so we better get to teaching ourselves.” Amen!

We’re inspired by what they’re doing, and hope you might be, too.

Thanks, Motuv, for showing us what you’re doing!

Here’s some pics:

Pallets make great compost bins–I really like the paint job–much nicer than ours.
Motuv’s corn!
Motuv’s tomatoes!

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  1. That is awesome news. Glad to others realizing they can do it, too. We’ve somehow gotten a bit to estranged from our capabilities, but folks like you really help out with the encouragement.

    Question prompted by this (and other posts): I know you’ve touted the pallets in prior posts, but are you not worried about the chemicals they put on those things to extend their life–or is that an urban myth that pallets are treated? I’ve been warned not to burn them for that reason, but I can’t say that was a reliable source. I’ve erred on the side of caution and left all things pallet alone since then, but I know many urban homesteaders seem to love and use them. I need to get to the bottom of this. Commencing internet research now (but if you’ve got any good info, I’d love to hear it.)

  2. Hey Ross,

    I’ve been meaning to blog about the pallet safety issue. I’m not too concerned about it but I’d need a staff to really get to the bottom of the story! Domestic pallets are fumigated with methyl bromide, a bad–ass chemical to be sure, but not something that leaves a residue in wood, I’m fairly certain. Foreign pallets are somewhat of a different story as there have been a few incidents of residues causing recalls of products. I’m more concerned about pesticides in our food than pallet residues. Methyl bromide, while being phased out, is still used to fumigate strawberry fields.

    We can chat some more over wine . . .

  3. Chat we will–and thanks for the info. The little research I did indicated that, yes, the fumigant you mentioned is one option and heat treating is the other. It would be great to find a source of the latter. I’m sure, however, sadly, that pallet makers/suppliers would tend to rely more heavily on the chemical fumigant option noting costs and start-up issues. The actual costs of which I have no idea, but those pesky chemicals are so darn cheap and so seemingly effective (while ignoring the upstream and downstream effects), and I could see the energy input and start-up costs of building/maintaining a “pallet heat treater” as being sufficient barriers to justify those in the trade as just saying: “Ah, to heck with the heat, let’s just hose down all incoming/outgoing pallets.”

    But if the MB either evaporates or naturally attenuates and leaves the wood after a short while, that would seem to avoid the issue of bringing chemicals into the home/garden. Let’s hope.

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