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  • 45

Interviews

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Anthony Aravanitakis on cultivating a holistically healthy lifestyle

Welcome back everyone. Today I’m going to explore a topic that has been important to me for a very long time, but that hasn’t been explored much on this show so far. I’m talking about personal health and fitness.  Now of course this is a very multifaceted subject, and everyone will have their own ideas of what diets, exercise plans, mobility routines, as well as mental and spiritual practices are essential, and that’s great. This interview is going to focus on physical fitness and what it means to integrate exercise and strength training into a holistic health plan that suits […]

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  • 424

soil building

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Harriet Mella demystifies cutting edge soil science for ideal plant health

Welcome back to another interview from the skill exchange calls that I’ve been running with Climate Farmers for our regenerative farming network in Europe.  This is one of the many community building activities that I’ve been organising to help to connect farmers around Europe to some of the best emerging information available, and to get their most important questions answered from around the world.  In this session I had the pleasure of speaking with Harriet Mella, an independent research scientist from Austria known for her work uncovering the unexplained phenomena of plant growth and development. Informed by her background in […]

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  • 308

compost

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How to make and analyse high quality compost: Expert panel 8

Welcome to the 8th of the monthly expert panel discussions. As I mentioned before, each month I’ll be hosting discussions and debates between some of the most prominent voices in regenerative agriculture, soil science, restoration land management and more. In this session I hosted a discussion on how to make and analyse high quality compost with my friends and colleagues at Climate Farmers, a non-profit organization working to advance regenerative agriculture in Europe. In this panel I invited three of the most experienced and influential educators in the field of compost production and biological soil amendments. This is an area […]

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  • 376

soil building

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Stefan Sobkowiak on running a profitable regenerative fruit orchard

Welcome back to another interview from the skill exchange calls that I’ve been running with Climate Farmers for our regenerative farming network in Europe.  In this session I had the good fortune of introducing Stefan Sobkowiak to our group. Many of you who’ve been listening to this show for a while will remember the last interview I did with Stefan in the last season during the series on agroforestry. Stefan is one of my favorite sources for practical and honest techniques for managing the whole ecology of an orchard from propagating new tree species through maintenance, pest management, harvesting and […]

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  • 245

soil building

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Will Harriss of White Oak Pastures on the bigger picture of a regenerative farm business

Over the last handful of weeks I’ve had the pleasure of managing an ambitious new project in my role with Climate Farmers, an organization working to build the infrastructure to scale regenerative agriculture in Europe. We call it the Pioneer Program. What this is essentially is a collaborative effort between us and some of the most prominent and experienced educators in regenerative agriculture. In this first program we partnered with Richard Perkins of Ridgedale Permaculture in Sweden and his online masterclass to guide farmers from all around Europe to redesign and transition their farms and businesses towards regenerative models. Through […]

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  • 193

Design Criteria

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Nathan Fournier on The business side of regenerative landscaping and community restoration

It was a couple months ago that Nathan Fournier joined the Patreon community and we began a correspondence. I quickly realised that he had followed a similar path as I did in getting into ecological design. Nathan first studied engineering and pursued that career path only for a short time before realising that there was a lot missing in the pursuit. Fast forward to today where he’s running a successful ecological landscaping service offering edible gardens, tree planting, and much more to a wide range of clients in his community.  I’ve often thought about getting into landscaping work myself and […]

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  • 344

water

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How to repair the hydrological cycle of a landscape: Expert panel 7

Welcome to the seventh of the monthly expert panel discussions. As I mentioned before, each month I’ll be hosting discussions and debates between some of the most prominent voices in regenerative agriculture, soil science, restoration land management and more. In this session I hosted a discussion on the importance of restoring proper hydrological function in a landscape and the steps to achieving it with my friends and colleagues at Climate Farmers, a non-profit organisation working to advance regenerative agriculture in Europe. In this panel I got to speak with three of the most experienced and influential educators working on this […]

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  • 161

Farming

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Shane Simonsen is back to outline the refinement of his “Zero-Input” agriculture experiments

Today’s session is an interview that I’d been looking forward to doing for a while. Since last year in fact, when I found Shane Simonsen’s blog and began corresponding with him online. That correspondence turned into one of the most popular and talked about episodes from that season due to the ingenious way that Shane approaches farming his land in Northeastern Australia.  In that first interview Shane gave an overview of the experiments in biological succession and food production on his homestead. His blog follows these experiments and speaks from a deep understanding of plants and how they live. In […]

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  • 125

Farming

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Ivo Degn And Philippe Birker On The Climate Farmers Journey And Mission: Part 2

This episode is the second part in our interview with the cofounders of Climate Farmers, an organization I’ve been working with for almost a year now that is working to build the infrastructure for regenerative agriculture in Europe. In the first part of the interview from last week we’ve covered the challenges of modern farming in Europe and the niche that Climate Farmers is hoping to occupy in the transition to a regenerative agriculture future in Europe. We talked about our own strategy of focusing on direct support for farmers through the different projects and departments within the organisation from […]

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  • 213

Farming

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Ivo Degn and Philippe Birker on the Climate Farmers journey and mission: Part 1

If you’ve been listening to more than a few episodes this season, you’ll certainly have heard me mention a few times that I’ve been hosting the monthly expert panel discussions with Climate Farmers, an organisation that is working to promote regenerative agriculture in Europe. The truth is that there’s a much bigger story behind that collaboration and a whole lot more going on than just the panel discussions.  Today I want to begin to share the story and the journey that my colleagues and I have been on for almost a year now. Until recently I’ve been a bit apprehensive […]

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  • 382

soil building

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The broad applications of the holistic management framework: Expert panel 6

Welcome to the sixth of the monthly expert panel discussions. As I mentioned before, each month I’ll be hosting discussions and debates between some of the most prominent voices in regenerative agriculture, soil science, restoration land management and more.In this session, I hosted a discussion on the holistic management framework with my friends and colleagues at Climate Farmers, a non-profit organization working to advance regenerative agriculture in Europe.In this panel I got to speak with three of the most experienced and influential educators from the global network of Savory Hubs to share their knowledge about the wide applications of the […]

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  • 234

Interviews

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Leilani Yats on the nuances and aspirations of regenerative travel

A topic that I’ve been exploring personally for a long time is the concept of regenerative travel. I’ve been travelling my whole life in some way or another from when I was born in Tokyo, Japan and then emigrated to the US with my family when I was 7, through moving 9 times as a kid to taking off independently when I was 17 and traveling and working around the world. Travel has been a lifestyle for me more than a hobby or vacation and I’ve often wondered if my actions and contributions to the places I’ve lived and visited […]

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  • 851
  • 1

soil building

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Gabe Brown on how to restore soil and ecological health on a massive scale

A lot of the farms that come to mind when I think of regenerative agriculture are smaller, more diverse and quite intensive, with many different crops and animals working in closer proximity with many stacked functions and a niche business model, but what can be done for all those vast fields of monoculture plantings of crops like corn, soy, and wheat that take up so much space in the heartland of the midwestern and western US? Are there regenerative solutions for these massive farms of thousands of acres? Is there hope for farming the plains and savannas through ecological management? […]

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  • 448

Design Criteria

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Sven Kallen on How to restore the dry and degraded lands of Europe

Three weeks ago I published the episode with Tomas Viguurs on circular mushroom production here in Catalunya and I gave a sneak peak at the second interview I did that day with Sven Kallen. Well today the wait is over and we’re going to dive into the details of Sven’s work of reforestation and agroforestry in some of the most degraded and endangered areas of Europe from the Iberian Peninsula which includes Spain and Portugal, and the Mediterranean basin. This includes many of the most popular vacation destinations on the continent, but also the most rapidly desertifying areas. As the […]

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  • 206

Farming

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Farm economics with Mark Shepard and Michael Ableman: Expert panel 5

Welcome to the fifth of the monthly expert panel discussions. As I mentioned before, each month I’ll be hosting discussions and debates between some of the most prominent voices in regenerative agriculture, soil science, restoration land management and more.  In this session, I hosted a discussion on farm business finances with my friends and colleagues at Climate Farmers, a non-profit organization working to advance regenerative agriculture in Europe. In this panel I got two of my favorite voices on the subject of farm economics and business advice to talk about how managing the whole ecosystem of their farms has saved them […]

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  • 348

soil building

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Zach Loeks on how to inegrate perennial plants in a market garden: Skill building call 2

Welcome to the second of the Regenerative Skill Building calls that I host with Climate Farmers, a new organization working to promote regenerative agriculture across Europe. These calls are specifically designed for our growing community of farmers around the continent and regenerative agriculture consultants. We listen to their interests and concerns online and then reach out to the experts who can best answer them and offer guidance. In this second call, I was joined by my good friend Zach Loeks who came to speak about his innovative permabed system of integrating perennial crops into the market garden for long term […]

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  • 364

reuse and recycle

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Closing the loop on gourmet mushroom production

I’ve been making some really cool contacts here in Catalunya recently, and even though site visits and trips out to projects have been stalled as the country only slowly starts to open up, I’ve been jumping at any chance to get back out in the field.  One of the projects that I’ve been most excited to get back to see since my first visit back in December is the farm at Mas Rajols and the gourmet mushroom growing operation that it hosts called Mycelio.  I first got invited to come to see them by my friend Sven Kallen who works […]

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  • 144

soil building

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Richard Perkins helps troubleshoot your market garden

There’s two quick things I want to mention before we get to the interview. The first is that these skills calls are a new feature of the show that I’ll be running with Climate Farmers in our ongoing effort to support and promote regenerative agriculture in Europe and are now going to be offered live every two weeks. These calls will feature interviews and presentations from experts and innovators in farming from around the world, but beyond the people we feature and the topics we cover, there are also extended listener questions and discussion sessions at the end that I […]

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  • 809

compost

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Regenerating the biology in your soil: expert panel 4

Welcome to the fourth of the monthly expert panel discussions. As I mentioned in the past, each month I’ll be hosting discussions and debates between some of the most prominent voices in regenerative agriculture, soil science, restoration land management and more. If you’re a subscribing patreon member, you’ll also be invited to the live events and the open Q&A for listeners after the panel.In this session, I hosted a discussion on regenerating agricultural soil with my friends and colleagues at Climate Farmers, a non-profit organization working to advance regenerative agriculture in Europe.In this panel I got two of my favorite […]

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  • 218

How to

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How to tell better stories

I remember distinctly the time that a storyteller came to my middle school when I was in 7th grade. At that point my school experience, like for many others, consisted of being talked to all day by someone at the front of the class while I struggled to pay attention and not fidget. But this was different. This woman’s story and the way she told it managed to hold an auditorium full of 12 and 13 year olds in silent attention hanging on her every word. I remember how she raised and lowered her voice to build tension. How she […]

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  • 316

How to

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Invest, Curate, Mend: A manifesto for our clothing

If you don’t know her from her books, Fibershed and Harvesting Color you’ll likely remember Rebecca Burgess from the panel discussion two weeks ago that I hosted with the team at Climate Farmers in which she and Aroa Alvarez Fernandez spoke about the potential of regenerative fashion and textiles to transform the current clothing industry. After that discussion I felt compelled to speak to her again to explore some of the options that are available to everyone to rediscover the value in our wardrobes and care for our clothing as investments.  This is no minor change. The fashion industry around […]

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  • 230

myth busting

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Investing in regeneration: how to rethink your wealth

On this show I’ve often taken a strong focus on the actions that we can all take to restore ecosystem function and productivity, whether it be planting trees in an agroforestry system, repairing the hydrology of a landscape, or building our homes with natural materials. I’ve centered around these topics because frankly, they’re the ones I have most experience with and can speak about with some confidence, but there are also many other angles on regeneration that are equally important.  Many of you will agree with me that, as essential as it is to get out there and work in […]

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  • 229

Community building

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Exploring Regenerative Fashion: Expert panel 3

Welcome to the third of the monthly expert panel discussions. As I mentioned before, each month I’ll be hosting discussions and debates between some of the most prominent voices in regenerative agriculture, soil science, restoration land management and more. If you’re a subscribing patreon member, you’ll also be invited to the live events and the open Q&A for listeners after the panel. In this session, I hosted a discussion on regenerative fashion with my friends and colleagues at Climate Farmers, a non-profit organization working to advance regenerative agriculture in Europe.Since these discussions are longer than the regular weekly episodes, I’ll […]

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  • 684
  • 1

Design Criteria

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Step 1 in building your permaculture property: With Verge permaculture

Let’s take a look at the 1st step in the process of creating a design for building your permaculture property. In working in regenerative design for a while and being connected with many other people who make their living this way, myself and a lot of others have begun to identify patterns in the questions and troubles that people reach out to us consultants and designers for. I haven’t been in this line of work though nearly as long as the team at Verge Permaculture and so it felt really good to hear that many of the commonalities that they’ve […]

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  • 2526

Farming

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The history and future of agroforestry

With regenerative agriculture and agroforestry increasingly becoming popular topics in environmental and even political circles. I wanted to do a one-on-one session with one of my favorite speakers in this sphere, Patrick Worms.  Many of you frequent listeners will remember him from the panel discussion on agroforestry two weeks ago that I hosted with Climate Farmers. I got to know Patrick’s work and perspective more intimately as part of the online course on ecosystem restoration design that we both teach on. Patrick is the Senior Science Policy Advisor at World Agroforestry, President of the European Agroforestry Federation, and trustee of […]

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  • 492

Design Criteria

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How to plan and succeed with your own reforestation project

Since last week’s episode was an expert panel discussion on agroforestry, I wanted to expand on that theme and help to bring some practical and actionable information on how to plan your own reforestation project. I reached out to Michael Pilarski first since I’m helping to organize and launch the knowledge exchange platform for Ecosystem Restoration Camps, and as an advisory council member, Michael has a ton of experience and knowledge on this subject. In today’s episode we’ll cover the most important steps in designing and implementing a reforestation project, whether it’s for a conservation project, or a profitable agroforestry […]

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  • 1139

regenerative skills

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How to Make biochar enriched compost for epic veggies

It’s time we take a look at How To Make Biochar Enriched Compost For Epic Veggies. A lot of what I spend my time on these days, between working with Ecosystem Restoration Camps, Climate Farmers, and running this show, is researching techniques and solutions for people who are working to regenerate damaged landscapes, either for generally healthier environments or for rich and abundant farmland. Since a lot of both of these goals revolve around the health of the soil as a foundation for mycorrhizal and plant life, I continually come back to the power and potential of pyrolyzed carbon, more […]

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  • 1444

Design Criteria

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How to start a profitable Elderberry farm

How To Start A Profitable Elderberry Farm. Since I first arrived in the northeast of Spain a year and a half ago, I’ve been obsessed with getting to know the native plants in my area. I’ve been blown away by just how many edible and medicinal plants are all around me and growing in the most unlikely places, from cracks in the concrete and the edges of parking lots to erosion gullies and whole forests of rosemary and thyme. I’m sure anyone who has studied plant medicines knows that some of the most resilient and persistent pioneer plants that conventional […]

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  • 1041
  • 1

Natural Building

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How to build a One Rock Dam to regenerate an erosion area

In today’s episode I spoke with Van Clothier about an innovative and subtle water erosion mitigation technique, and how to build a one rock dam. I know this might seem oddly specific, but after an interview with Brad Lancaster last season, he talked about how he’s been learning from people like Van and his mentor Bill Zeedyk about smaller, less intrusive interventions that can have profound effects on the health of a watershed. The truth is that there are so few watersheds and water bodies left around the world that aren’t highly degraded and in need of restoration. Many of […]

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  • 846
  • 3
  • 2

soil building

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The Future of Regenerative Agriculture, expert panel 1

Welcome to the first edition of our monthly expert panels. This first edition starts off strong by addressing one of the most talked about issues of our time; understanding the future of regenerative agriculture. For this panel I teamed up with my friends and collaborators at Climate Farmers. Together we’re working to advance regenerative agriculture in Europe. For this panel we assembled and all-star list of some of the most prominent voices in the movement today. Benedikt Bösel joining us from Germany, is the managing director of Gut&Bösel, board member of Soil Alliance, Chairman of the AgTech platform Bundesverband Deutsche […]

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  • 509

How to

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How to Create a School Garden program

For this week’s episode I reached out to Kaci Rae Chirstopher, the author of the new book The School Garden Curriculum, about how to create a school garden program Kaci is the volunteer Farm and Garden Educator for Oregon’s Redband Ranch. She was also previously the School Garden Coordinator for the Springwater Environmental Sciences School and the Outdoor Educator for ERA. Her passion is fostering a healthy land ethic, personal empowerment, and environmental literacy in children of all ages through outdoor immersion and skill building.  As a bonus to today’s episode I’m going to be giving away a free copy […]

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  • 741

compost

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How to create an edible ecosystem

have you ever wondered what the difference between a garden and an edible ecosystem is? Do you want to know how you can create one in you own yard? In this episode with author Zach Loeks from the Ecosystem Solutions Institute, you learn all that and more. We’ll walk you through how to choose your site, even if all you have is a 5ft by 5ft patch of earth. From there we’ll look into orienting the garden spot, improving the soil, and choosing your plants for form, function, and potential. The coolest part is that this system is modular and […]

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  • 245

compost

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Working with nature to build soil health, with Robert Pavlis

After last week’s session with Matt Powers, I want to add a second perspective on soil and the new science behind how we can restore it to health in our own gardens. For that perspective I got back in touch with Robert Pavlis who was first on this show a few seasons ago to talk about building natural ponds. Robert has been an avid gardener for over four decades. He is the owner and developer of Aspen Grove Gardens, a 6-acre botanical garden that features over 3,000 varieties of plants. As a specialist in soil science, he has been an […]

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  • 483

compost

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The fascinating new science of regenerating soil, with Matt Powers, author of “regenerative soil”

Now that I’ve wrapped up the series on waterway regeneration, I wanted to transition into a two episode deep dive into an essential component of water cycle health and how it affects the land by analysing the most elemental component of a healthy ecology, and that of course is soil. There’ve been a ton of new developments and research in this field in a very short time as scientists and agronomists alike are uncovering new insights into mineral cycles, the soil food web, plant and mycological relationships, and so much more.  Now you could sort through a small library of […]

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Waterway regeneration
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  • 532

water

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Regenerating lakes and ponds with floating islands, with Bruce Kania of Floating Island International

We’ve covered a ton of angles to this topic already, from fixing broken water cycles on the land with keyline planning and earthworks, to marine ecosystem restoration through conservation and even farming. In today’s episode I got to speak with Bruce Kania of Floating Island International which developed their patented Biohaven floating island technology as a solution to algae-ridden and nutrient impared waterways since 2005. Since then they´ve launched over 9,000 island systems worldwide as solutions to a variety of problems facing contaminated water.  In this interview Bruce breaks down the chemical and biological processes that happen in the water […]

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Waterway regeneration
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  • 742
  • 1

water

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Reviving urban waterways with floating wetlands, with Galen Fulford from Biomatrix Water

Welcome back friends and family to this ongoing series on waterway regeneration. In the past three episodes I focused on marine regeneration through conservation as well as farming. Today we’re going to take a look at fresh water systems and specifically, how to decontaminate them through biological methods. I’ll be sure to put a link to that interview in the show note on the website in case you missed it.  Some of you may remember an interview I did with Tom Duncan about his floating wetlands and how they can be used to clean up excessive nutrients and pollutants back […]

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Waterway regeneration
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  • 221

water

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Regenerating coral reefs with art and community, with Celia Gregory of the Marine Foundation

Welcome back friends and family to this ongoing series on waterway regeneration. We’ve covered so many approaches to this subject up until now, and over the last two weeks I’ve been exploring regenerative solutions to the environmental degradation of marine ecosystems. Today we’ll be looking closely at some creative ways of protecting and even reseeding coral reefs in my interview with Celia Gregory.  Celia is the founder of the Marine Foundation, an Eco-arts organisation that uses art for change – not only in awareness and education, but also directly on the restoration of coral reef habitats, fish stocks, and associated […]

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  • 163

High Quality Food

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9 steps for overall health and a strong immune system

A quick note before we get into it.  No supplement, diet, or lifestyle modification — aside from physical/social distancing, and practicing proper hygiene ⁠— has been proven to protect you from catching COVID-19. The strategies outlined below may boost your immune health and overall health, but they don’t protect specifically against COVID-19. Also, I’m not a doctor or medical professional. These recommendations are based on research I’ve done and a lot of common sense. While the benefits will vary person to person, none of them come with any associated dangers or risk of side effects. I also don’t endorse or […]

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Waterway regeneration
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  • 699

water

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The massive potential in marine permaculture, with Brian Von Herzen

Continuing today with this ongoing series on waterway regeneration and a deep dive into marine ecosystems, I had the pleasure of speaking with Brian Von Herzen.  Brian is an ocean scientist, engineer and entrepreneur, though much of his career has been in Silicon Valley where he developed innovative technical solutions for companies like Pixar, Dolby and Microsoft. Brian is also the founder and Executive Director of the non-profit The Climate Foundation, an institute working to regenerate life in the world’s oceans and reverse global warming within our lifetimes. Through Brian’s work with the Climate Foundation, he’s been promoting the concept […]

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Waterway regeneration
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  • 490
  • 1

water

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Diving deep into ocean farming,with Joost Wouters of the Seaweed Company

Over the last month, I’ve been focusing on interviews with people who are pioneering the repair and regeneration of the water cycle as it pertains to landscapes. We’ve explored the installation of ponds and dams, permaculture earthworks and water retention landscapes as well as keyline design and planting the rain in drylands. These are all great interventions at the beginning of the water cycle’s journey, but today I want to start a deeper dive, literally, by going to the furthest point downstream, where water enters the ocean.  Marine ecosystems are much less understood by the general public for a variety […]

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Waterway regeneration
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  • 1126

soil building

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How to plant the rain in drylands and beyond, with Brad Lancaster, author of the Rainwater Harvesting books

In the last handful of episodes we’ve explored permaculture earthworks for water harvesting landscapes and keyline design on large scales. As a complement to those topics I got in touch with Brad Lancaster, the author Rainwater Harvesting for Drylands and Beyond, volumes one and two which have recently been re-released as expanded new editions.Brad is an expert in the field of rainwater harvesting and water management whose work I’ve been following for a long time. He is also a permaculture teacher, designer, consultant and co-founder of the non-profit Desert Harvesters, which teaches the public how to identify, harvest, and process […]

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Waterway regeneration
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  • 914

soil building

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Making the most of your water on any farm, with Mark Shepard, Author of “Water for Any Farm”

Since the last two episodes focused on earthworks, specifically water retention and catchment features, I wanted to revisit one of my favorite interviews that really helped me to understand the fundamentals of keyline design and how many different configurations it could take, even on the same piece of land. The keyline system was pioneered of course by PA Yeomans in Australia back in the 1950’s and has been a guide for farmers and land restorationists ever since. Back at the beginning of this season I spoke with Mark Shepard, right after the release of his latest book Water for Any […]

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Waterway regeneration
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  • 705

soil building

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A Permaculture guide to Earth Surgery, with David “Doc Spice” Spicer

Tying in perfectly with last week’s interview with Zach Weiss about building ponds and water harvesting features, I spoke with David Spicer, affectionately known as Doc Spice, an accomplished permaculture designer who has specialized in earthworks installation. Having taught and worked on various projects extensively within Australia and internationally, in places such as Morocco, Jordan, Palestine and New Caledonia, Doc has worked in a broad array of different soil types, topographies and climatic zones. He’s also a valued member of the Permaculture Sustainable Consulting team headed up by Geoff Lawton and is registered Teacher #5 with the Permaculture Research Institute […]

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Waterway regeneration
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  • 1433

water

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How to install ponds, dams, and water retention features, with Zach Weiss from Elemental Ecosystems

Welcome back to the ongoing series on waterway regeneration. Today’s interview is the second conversation I’ve had with Zach Weiss, the Protégé of revolutionary Austrian farmer Sepp Holzer and founder of Elemental Ecosystems, a company that designs and implements water harvesting landscapes and features for clients around the world.  Zach is best known for blending a unique combination of systems thinking, empathy and awareness, in his projects.  In the last interview I did with him, which I’ve linked to in the show notes for this episode on the website, he introduced me to the importance of a healthy water cycle […]

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  • 680

How to

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8 things you should know to successfully save your own seeds

Saving seeds is as essential a skill as humans have ever cultivated. Our ability to adapt the ecology we inhabit to our food and medicine needs is one of the distinct abilities that have propelled our species to such dramatic expansion around the globe. Yet seed saving is a skill that’s being lost. In this article I’ll profile some of the simplest steps and considerations to help you start saving your own seeds right away.  Here are 8 things you should know to successfully save your own seeds and store them for the best chance of good sprouting (germination). Be […]

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Waterway regeneration
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  • 665
  • 1

Interviews

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The Facts And Stories Behind Waterway Restoration, With Judith Schwartz

As we continue into this series on waterway regeneration, I reached out to Judith Schwartz, a wonderful author who tells stories to explore and illuminate scientific concepts and cultural nuance.  Her two most recent books, Water in Plain sight, and The Reindeer Chronicles both feature incredible case studies of the importance of a healthy water cycle, to the health of our ecosystems and global climate regulation.  Judith is known for taking  a clear-eyed look at global environmental, economic, and social challenges, and finds insights and solutions in natural systems. She also writes for numerous publications, including The American Prospect, The […]

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Waterway regeneration
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water

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How we can overcome the looming water crisis in our cities with “the Godfather of Green”Jerry Yudelson

Welcome back to the second episode in this series on waterway regeneration. In this series we’ll be looking into the often overlooked role of the water cycle and its effects on the climate crisis. I’ll be speaking with experts and innovators about how repairing the hydrological cycle and the health of our waterways can lead to the restoration of all sorts of ecological services and the health of entire ecosystems as a result.  In this week’s episode I got to chat with Jerry Yudelson, the author of 13 full-length professional and trade books on green buildings, integrated design, green homes, […]

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Waterway regeneration
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How to

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Why regenerating our oceans makes both public health and economic sense, with Dr. Enric Sala of National Geographic’s Pristine Seas Project

Welcome to the first episode in a brand new series focusing on waterway regeneration. In the last few years of hosting this show it’s become vividly clear to me just how important and yet overlooked an issue that the health of our water cycles are.  While the climate change narrative has mostly focused on the concentration of CO2 and other greenhouse gasses in the atmosphere since the industrial revolution, we’ve ignored the essential role that the water cycle plays in regulating global temperatures. In this series I’ll be speaking to an incredible list of scientists, farmers, and restorationists who are […]

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Regenerative Agriculture for a better world
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How to

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Steps to food security: saving seeds, with James Ulager, author of Beginning seed saving for the home gardener

Today’s guest is James Ulager, the author Beginning Seed Saving for the home gardener, and though this certainly isn’t a talk about farm scale seed saving and propagation, I thought it was essential to include in this series. In my opinion, seed saving and selective breeding is one of the best ways that anyone with even a small yard or garden can participate in ensuring the food security of future generations. We live in a time when governments have deemed it possible to patent seeds and own genetic information. This not only threatens the sovereignty of our seeds, but of […]

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soil building

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Kill your lawn, to bring life to your yard

Lawns are the most costly agricultural product in the USA, using more fertilizer and chemical treatment than any other major crop including corn and soy. On top of that, they’re the largest consumer of water, especially in arid regions that can’t naturally afford to keep green lawns all year. And all of this for what? Grassy lawns don’t give us any food, they do almost nothing for the soil since their root systems are very shallow and create compaction beneath, and they’ve only been common in our culture for a short time. They originated in the gardens of English and […]

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Regenerative Agriculture for a better world
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  • 771

Farming

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Bringing farmland back into the hands of our communities, with Ian McSweeny of The Agrarian Trust

One of the biggest challenges that I’ve heard repeatedly both in the interviews in this series on regenerative agriculture as well as with peers and clients that I’ve collaborated with, is the difficulty for aspiring farmers to get access to land. This is true back in the States as well as in Europe and other parts of the world where I’ve traveled, and it’s part of a much larger problem in the trends of land ownership that reduce land to a commodity. As prices for land soar and the rapidly aging population of farmers struggle to keep their businesses afloat, […]

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Regenerative Agriculture for a better world
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Farming

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Uniting women in agriculture for a regenerative food future, with Lisa Kivirist

Though this series on regenerative farming has covered a ton of different farming models, land management techniques, food production methods and design methods, one of the glaring absences in the perspectives I’ve included has been that of women, and I’m well aware of it. I did reach out to a lot of women farmers in an attempt to set up interviews, but many of them either didn’t want to be interviewed or were simply too busy to be able to schedule a call. I can imagine that with all of the nonsense and instability around the pandemic it must be […]

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Natural Building

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How to start implementing your design before it’s finished

Developing a full regenerative design can be quite a long and involved process. Looking deeply into your holistic context and trying to understand both the nuances of the ecosystem and community you’re working in doesn’t get done overnight.  Many of you are like me however and just want to get started doing something as soon as possible. The problem comes when you realise that if you start to implement big and costly projects too early or before you’ve finished your design, you could end up having to undo them or your design could suffer from them being poorly placed. So […]

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Regenerative Agriculture for a better world
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How to

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Applying syntropic farming methods for dryland regeneration, with Jacob Evans

Over the years I’ve been hearing about a new pedagogy of land management that has been gaining in popularity, especially in agroforestry circles. The trouble for me has been that until recently a lot of the resources have been in portuguese, and so I kept my eye on it from a distance. Syntropic farming is a term first coined by Ernst Gostch, a swizz farmer who emigrated to Brazil in the 80’s and pioneered this new form of farmland management on his land in Bahia. But today, to speak about the principles of syntropic farming and how he’s adapted them […]

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Regenerative Agriculture for a better world
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  • 825

soil building

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Restoring Spain’s degraded farmland with regenerative agroforestry, with Alfonzo Chico de Guzman, president of AlVelAl

As I’m slowly becoming better connected here in Spain in the last year, one of the main projects in regenerative agriculture that keeps coming up in my research and the conversations that I have, is a fairly new project called AlVelAl which is located in Southern Spain, roughly in between the cities of Granada and Murcia. The name AlVelAl relates to the first letters of the comarcas (or counties) where the initiative started: Altiplano de Granada, Los Vélez and Alto ALmanzora. Today, the AlVelAl territory covers more than 1,000,000 hectares of degraded steppe called the Altiplano Estepario.  I first found […]

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Design Criteria

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How to build a digital base map for your design

Recently my partner and I have been looking for a home near where we live that we can transform into a regenerative paradise.  Looking for land anywhere is a long and tricky process, especially because we have very specific criteria for what we want and need.  As we’ve been looking around I’ve been making a ton of maps to get a better understanding of the places we’re looking at.  It used to be that making maps was one of the most time consuming parts about designing a land based project.  Now there are some really powerful and simple tools available […]

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Regenerative Agriculture for a better world
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  • 510

soil building

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Regenerating the rainforest by growing cacao with Alejandro Solano of Choco Mashpi

Though I’ve spoken to some great orchardists through this podcast, many of them are growing cold tolerant trees in far northern climates, but I wanted to get a perspective on running a holistically managed orchard in the tropics to explore how the beneficial interactions between some of the most prized tree and perennial products in the world can be grown in a way that fuels the restoration of these incredibly biodiverse and robust ecosystems. I’ve known quite a few orchardists from back in Guatemala where I used to live and work, and I’ll link to those interviews in the show […]

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Regenerative Agriculture for a better world
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soil building

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What would agriculture look like with zero inputs? with Shane Simonsen, author of zero-input agriculture

Though I’ve been inspired by all the amazing examples of regenerative farming through the people that I’ve interviewed through this series, there’s one glaring commonality between all of them and that’s the fact that the success of their enterprises all rely heavily on the destructive infrastructure that we currently have in place to get the organic and feed inputs for their enterprises, the seeds or young animals that they then raise, and the fossil fuel system that then transports their food products to market. I’m not at all criticizing these people of their work. It would be near impossible to […]

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Regenerative Agriculture for a better world
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soil building

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Is permaculture still relevant to small farms and local food security? With Loren Luyendyk of Permaculture Intl.

Permaculture has done an incredible job of raising awareness of natural land management techniques and teaching people to observe and read the patterns of the natural world to inform their interactions with the environment, but it often gets criticized for being impractical when it comes to apply its methods to profitable farming enterprises. There’s a long running line of questioning on this show, especially when I’m speaking with producers and farmers about where they have to compromise their choices for the earth with the needs of their businesses and the efficiency required to turn a profit, so to help me […]

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Design Criteria

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5 Ways to shortcut the “year of observation”

You’ll hear it repeated a lot in permaculture circles that the best thing to do before even starting the design for your site is to spend a full year living on the land. In that time you’ll be able to observe and gather information about how things change and transform during the different season and you’ll gain insights that you’d never be able to without this “year of observation.” I agree that it would be great if you were able to do this, but I live in the real world where no-one has a year of time before they can […]

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Regenerative Agriculture for a better world
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Farming

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Creating the tools, resources, and community for a regenerative future in farming, with Ray Milidoni of Farming Secrets

Though regenerative agriculture has made huge leaps forward in the last decade, it still only accounts for a very small percentage of the farms around the world and even less in over developed countries. While we still have a long way to go make ecological land management practices the norm around the world, there are a lot of people dedicated to accelerating the progress of recent years by creating educational platforms, mentorship programs and creating community collaboration around these important skills.  In this episode I got to speak to one of my favorite new contacts in regenerative farming education, Ray […]

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Design Criteria

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How to create a free topographic map for your regenerative design

One of the most important elements of a regenerative design for a section of land is to understand the contours and shape of the site. With this information you can better understand how water will move on the land, and begin to plan where to put features like water harvesting structures, swales on contour, plantings on contour, check dams, ponds and much more. But it can be tricky for beginners to learn new software for digital mapping or it can be expensive to hire a pro or buy detailed topo maps. Certainly it doesn’t make much sense to do any […]

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Regenerative Agriculture for a better world
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How to

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Pioneering the urban farm revolution, with Michael Ableman, author of Farm the City

Welcome back to another episode in the ongoing series on Regenerative Agriculture. Up until now I’ve spoken with growers and producers on cutting edge of profitable regenerative landbased enterprises and management techniques in rural areas, but there’s also a growing movement to produce food closer to where the heaviest concentration of people are, and that’s in cities. While the basics of growing food are fairly universal, there are a lot of uniques challenges that farmers in the city face that just aren’t present in rural or even suburban areas. And to get an experienced point of view on urban farming, […]

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Regenerative Agriculture for a better world
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soil building

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Stewarding the holistic health of a community orchard

In the past I’ve talked to quite a few orchardists and agroforestry practitioners, especially in the series on Reforestation and Agroforestry at the end of last season, but I was really glad to be introduced to Michael Phillips’ work by a great friend of the show, Nick from Minnesota. After speaking late last year with Stephan Sobkowiak, Nick recommended that I look into Michael’s incredible books for an even deeper dive into the soil health and biological spraying mixes that MIchael has developed to promote holistic health as he pioneers the revival of the community orchard. Michael Phillips is a […]

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Regenerative Agriculture for a better world
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  • 353

soil building

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Is hemp the answer to a regenerative future for American agriculture? with Doug Fine, author of American Hemp Farmer

I’ve been meaning to get in touch with someone who could explain to me the nebulous and exploding new farming industry around the ancient yet newly legalized hemp plant, and I found a gold mine of information in Doug Fine, the author of Hemp Bound and American Hemp Farmer. Doug is known as a solar-powered goat herder, comedic investigative journalist, and pioneer voice in cannabis/hemp and regenerative farming. He has grown hemp in four US states, and the genetics he’s developed are in five more. He’s an award-winning culture and climate correspondent for NPR, the New York Times, and the […]

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Regenerative Agriculture for a better world
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soil building

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How to restore soil and ecological health on a massive scale with regenerative agriculture, with Gabe Brown, author of from dirt to soil

A lot of the farms that come to mind when I think of regenerative agriculture are smaller, more diverse and quite intensive, with many different crops and animals working in closer proximity with many stacked functions and a niche business model, but what can be done for all those vast fields of monoculture plantings of crops like corn, soy, and wheat that take up so much space in the heartland of the midwestern and western US? Are there regenerative solutions for these massive farms of thousands of acres? Is there hope for farming the plains and savannas through ecological management? [...]

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Regenerative Agriculture for a better world
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compost

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Essential tools to accelerate agricultural land regeneration, with Rhamis Kent, Co-director of the Permaculture Research Institute

My guest today is someone who has been an inspiration to me since I first began to study permaculture almost a decade ago. Rhamis Kent has been the man behind the scenes for some incredible regeneration projects around the world through his work with the Permaculture Research Institute in the middle east, north and eastern africa, the Iberian peninsula, and many other regions of harsh and challenging climates. Though Rhamis is someone that I could talk to for days about so many different ecological topics, I reached out to him for this session because of a great article and presentation that […]

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Regenerative Agriculture for a better world
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soil building

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Can we make ecological agriculture mainstream by 2040? With John Kempf, author of Quality Agriculture

Welcome back everyone to another episode in this ongoing series on regenerative agriculture. Before we get started today I want to give a quick shout out. Before starting this series I’ve been in contact with a listener of the show named Nick who has been incredibly generous and helpful in sending me links and information about other practitioners in the field that I should check out. I’ve learned so much from the ideas he’s sent me so I just wanted to take the opportunity to say thanks to Nick for all his help and guidance.  Today’s interview comes from one […]

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Regenerative Agriculture for a better world
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compost

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Championing a regenerative farming revolution in Europe, with Richard Perkins, author of Regenerative Agriculture

Welcome back everyone to this ongoing series on regenerative agriculture. Last week we kicked off with an interview with Joel Salatin and in this session I’ve got another great interview with one of the most influential regen ag practitioners in Europe. There are a lot of inspiring voices in the regenerative agriculture community, but few have done such a thorough job of documenting and publishing every step of the development of a small profitable farm the way Richard Perkins has done with Ridgedale Permaculture. Especially now that I’ve decided to put down roots in Europe, I’ve been looking for examples […]

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Regenerative Agriculture for a better world
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soil building

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Joel Salatin has hope for a post-COVID regenerative agri-culture

My guest today needs little introduction. Joel Salatin has been one of the most prominent voices in regenerative agriculture for many years now and I thought he’d be the perfect person to not only kick off this new series on regenerative agriculture, but also for his optimistic perspective on the future we are collectively heading into as our countries continue to grapple with the social and economic costs of the COVID-19 pandemic and its response.  Though I had always planned to speak with Joel about the future and opportunities in regenerative farming in the US and around the world, I […]

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Homesteading
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  • 1029
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myth busting

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A guide to resilient living wherever you are

Welcome to another special episode! This week we’ll be wrapping up the series on modern homesteading by reviewing some of the most important information from the last 7 interviews. In those episodes we covered a ton of exciting topics from some of the best authorities in their fields from animal husbandry, becoming self-sufficient by living off your land, myth busting, small enterprise planning, making money on your homestead, and much more. I’ll also be giving some advice and observations from my own experience living and working on homesteading projects and starting my own homesteads all over the world in the […]

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Homesteading
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Community building

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Building a more resilient life and investing in community, with Nicholas Burtner from The School of Permaculture

Today’s guest, NIcholas Burtner, is a permaculture designer, consultant and educator through his organization The School of Permaculture. I caught Nicholas in a good moment for this interview because like many of us he’s in a period of transition with his family in which they are looking to move to a more resilient and independent homesteading lifestyle. Though he’s been gardening and working on self sufficiency projects from his suburban home for years, he and his family are looking to expand to a larger space where they can provide more of their own needs from the land.  In this interview […]

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Homesteading
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  • 1101

soil building

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How to build resilience in your life in a rapidly changing world, with Ben Falk of Whole Systems Design

My guest today is someone I’ve followed and looked up to since I first began to learn about permaculture and homesteading. Ben Falk is not only a badass homesteader and self-sufficiency pioneer, he’s also an accomplished designer and consultant, primarily through his company Whole Systems Design. For years I’ve even had a video tour of his property in Vermont saved on my computer that I watch from time to time as inspiration for what can be done on a small degraded plot if you take the time to observe the context and patterns of the place and are not afraid […]

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Homesteading
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Farming

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Permaculture Homesteading in Nepal: A Story of Community Connection, with Zac Barton of Almost Heaven Farms

Continuing with our ongoing series on homesteading I wanted to talk to someone with a bit more of a similar experience to my own. More than once now I’ve found myself in a new country and starting to build a permaculture inspired, self-sufficient, homestead lifestyle. There are a lot of unique challenges and difficulties when operating in a new place, a different country, or a whole new continent. Zac Barton contacted me a while ago after listening to this podcast to tell me about his own story of settling in a foreign place to pursue the permaculture dream and I […]

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Homesteading
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Farming

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How to produce fresh food year-round, even in cold climates! With Pam Dawling, author of “The Year-Round Hoop House”

In the first half of this interview I spoke with Pam Dawling, the author of “The Year-Round Hoop House” about the most important information about siting, building, irrigating and soil care for extending crop growing in hoop houses. I tap in to Pam’s extensive knowledge of feeding 100 people in the Twin Oaks Intentional Community in Virginia, mostly from her 30’ by 100’ hoop house and the details of that particular setup.  In the second half of the interview we turn to a topic that so many of you listeners have written to me about, and that’s communal living. These […]

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Homesteading
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How to

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Creative ideas for building your homestead on a budget, with John Moody

Welcome to another episode in this ongoing series on homesteading. In this session I reached out to John Moody, the author of many books including “DIY Sourdough, The Elderberry Book” and the one we’ll be focusing on today “The Frugal Homesteader.”  John is also the founder of Whole Life Services and Whole Life Buying Club and is the former executive director of the Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund. Like many of the people interviewed in this series, John decided to make a major transition in his lifestyle when he discovered that his diet was literally killing him with duodenal ulcers, seasonal […]

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Homesteading
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Farming

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Is it Realistic to Produce All Your Own Food? with Deborah Niemann, author of “Homegrown and Handmade”

Continuing with this ongoing series on homesteading, I reached out to Deborah Niemann, the author of many books including “Homegrown and Handmade, Eco-thrifty, Just Kidding and Raising Goats Naturally” which is now in its second edition. She also blogs at thriftyhomesteader.com, hosts the podcast “For the love of goats’ ‘ and co owns Antiquity Oaks, a small farm in Cornell, Illinois. Like nearly everyone in this interview series, Deborah didn’t grow up on a farm or a homesteading lifestyle at all. Her transition to a healthier and more earth connected way of living lead her to teach others how to […]

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Homesteading
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reuse and recycle

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Essential things to consider when making the shift to a homesteading lifestyle, with Natalie Bogwalker of Wild Abundance

In the past I’ve done a lot of episodes focusing on specific skills and enterprises that people integrate into a regenerative lifestyle, but in this series I’m going to be speaking with people who’ve put a bunch of those pieces together into a lifestyle centered on positive interactions with nature and a move towards self sustainability.  Homesteading is a general term that originally comes from the homesteading acts in the United States which were a series of laws enacted between 1862 up until the 1930s which allowed an applicant to acquire ownership of government land or otherwise public land for […]

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Reforestation and Agroforestry
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myth busting

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11 Inspiring Examples to Give You Hope That the World’s Forests can be Regenerated

After 11 interviews with experts on native reforestation, holistic orchard management, water retention landscapes, perennial crop agriculture and more, I learned a lot of new things about the state of the world’s forests and the tools and knowledge we have to regenerate them. In this special episode wrapping up the series on reforestation and agroforestry I’ll break down some of the information and statistics that will help you understand the major role that forests play in maintaining a healthy climactic balance on earth. I’ll also break down how both past and current practices have put forests at risk all over […]

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Reforestation and Agroforestry
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soil building

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how to grow a mature Native forest in just a few years, with afforestt founder Shubhendu Sharma: 146

Welcome to the last interview in the Reforestation and Agroforestry series. We’ve covered so many important aspects of this topic in 10 interviews over 4 months. I’ve spoken to homesteaders regenerating cloud forests in tropical climates, tech companies with more than 20 tree planting initiatives around the world, agroforestry and orchard advocates and everything in between, and this last conversation is the icing on the cake. If you’ve ever wondered how to restore a mature native forest in record time and on a modest budget, this is the episode for you, because today I’ll be speaking with Shubhendu Sharma, a […]

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Reforestation and Agroforestry
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soil building

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Mark Shepard on how to make the most of your water on any farm

Welcome everyone to the first episode of a brand new season of the Abundant Edge podcast. I can’t believe I’m starting the fourth year of this little pet project that I had three years ago after I had just moved to Guatemala and was wrapping up an internship on bamboo building, and now here I am, having moved to north eastern Spain and with more than 50 thousand of you incredible folks tuning in to this show every month from all around the world. I’m so happy to be able to keep this show going and I’m really excited to […]

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Regenerative Round Table
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Regenerative Round Table

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Checking in with Granja Tz’ikin and the season finale, with Neal Hegarty: 144

Here we are! The end of 2019 and season three of this podcast. For those of you who’ve been following this show for a while you know that I went through a lot of big changes this year, most notably a big move from the permaculture farm startup that I worked on for for about 16 months in Guatemala. From there I took some big trips through southern Mexico and the US and a bit in Canada to where I finally settled down in the Catalonia region of north easthern Spain. Though I live really far away from where I [...]

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Reforestation and Agroforestry
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How to

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Turn your orchard into a resilient ecosystem with these steps! From Stefan Sobkowiak of Miracle Farms: 143

We’ve covered so many different ways to approach reforestation, both with native species and mixes of natives and orchard trees. In today’s session I wanted to focus on fruit orchards and I got to speak with the wizard behind Miracle Farms and the film, “The Permaculture Orchard” Stefan Sobkowiak. I’ve been a fan of Stefan’s work for a while and have spent a lot of time on his excellent youtube channel where he offers tons of tutorials and solutions to practical aspects of managing a whole ecosystem around his orchard enterprise. In this interview we break it all down from […]

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Reforestation and Agroforestry
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soil building

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Why forests are key to the future of agriculture, with Darren Doherty, co-author of the Regrarian’s Handbook: 142

The last time I caught up with Darren Doherty for this podcast was back in season two. We talked a lot about his background and entry into ecological agriculture and how that journey informed his development of the Regrarian’s platform and outlook on the potential of regenerative farming. I recently caught up with him again to investigate the new chapter of the Regrarian’s handbook which he and his team just released. Chapter 5 of the 10 in the book which are being relseased one by one in digital format on their website focuses on forests and all the configurations that […]

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Reforestation and Agroforestry
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soil building

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Even the driest deserts can be regenerated. Here’s how! With Neal Spackman of the Al Baydha project: 141

I had the pleasure of catching up again with Neal Spackman, one of the primary designers and organizers of the Al Baydha project in Saudi Arabia. The Al Baydha project began in 2009 with a long list of lofty ambitions. Among them they aimed to improve the local economy, act as a model for sustainable development in the Arabian Peninsula, reduce dependence on government handouts for the community, and store and harvest rainwater in the landscape through the restoration of the savannah ecosystem which had been desertified in only a few decades. This is the second interview I’ve done with […]

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Reforestation and Agroforestry
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  • 474

Farming

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How your web searches can help reforest the world, with Pieter Van Midwoud, lead tree planting officer at Ecosia: 139

Continuing with this series on reforestation and agroforestry, I got the chance to speak with Pieter Van Midwoud, the lead tree planting officer of the search engine company Ecosia. I’ve been using Ecosia as my default search engine for a couple years now because of their claim to plant trees around the world with the profits from ad revenue every time you search, but I wanted to know more about how their tree planting initiatives actually work. In this interview Pieter and I start by talking about how Ecosia as a company functions and how the simple act of searching […]

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Reforestation and Agroforestry
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soil building

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Alley cropping as a remedy for slash and burn agriculture with James Potter from the Indga Foundation: 138

The first three interviews in this ongoing series on reforestation and agroforestry have highlighted small personal projects on private land, each with a different person in south or mesoamerica whose primary motivations are to restore the forests and biodiversity of their land. In all three cases producing a viable agricultural product was an important aspect of the project and one which brought in funds to keep the operation running, but profitable agriculture wasn’t the primary goal for any of them. In this interview I spoke with James Potter with the Inga foundation who talked with me about the work and […]

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Reforestation and Agroforestry
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  • 247
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Natural Building

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Restoring degraded land to agro-cloud-forest with Kristen Krash of Sueño de Vida: 137

I was first introduced to Kristen Krash through Atulya Bingham, the well known author and natural builder who’s been on this show a few time. She told me about this incredible little project in Ecuador focused on regenerating the native cloud forest and off-grid living, and that I had to speak with Kristen about her journey. When I got to chat with Kristen I was amazed at how well she knew her bioregion and the experience she could speak from about getting her dream project off the ground with her partner in the last few years. Three short years ago […]

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Reforestation and Agroforestry
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water

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Regenerating native forests on a large scale with Alex Kronick of Caoba Farms: 136

I’ve been so fortunate to get to speak directly with so many people who have created incredible examples of permaculture abundance and ecological health and resilience through this podcast, and though I’ve also gotten to visit many permaculture projects and practitioners, many of the ones I’ve seen in person are either just in the early stages of getting off the ground, or haven’t quite found their balance between financial and ecological prosperity. The best examples that I’ve seen in person are the projects that Alex Kronick and his team have managed in the area around Antigua Guatemala, namely Caoba Farms […]

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Reforestation and Agroforestry
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Restoring Native cloud forest in southern Mexico, with Jairo Rodriguez of Teyoapa Farms:

Today I’m going to kick off a new series focusing on reforestation and agroforestry. I’ve been motivated to return to this subject as it seems to be unusually pressing these days. The wild fires in the western USA and in the Amazon rainforest are not only destructive to those regions in isolation, they also have major ripple effects across the globe and in our collective resiliency. I’ve been fortunate to work directly with people and organizations through my travels who are working on the front lines of reforestation and in the next few episodes I’ll be sharing interviews with people […]

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Natural Building Essentials
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Natural Building

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Voices of natural and alternative building, an Abundant Edge special episode

I haven’t done a special episode in a long time, in fact I haven’t done any at all this season and it’s been a while since I’ve done a Regenerative Round Table since I’ve been transitioning from the farm where I lived with my colleagues in Guatemala until May of this year to where I am now, which is a small town about a half hour north of Barcelona in the beautiful Mediterranean region of Catalunya in Spain. In the last few months I backpacked up through southern Mexico, spent a month visiting family in Spokane Washington, then another month […]

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Natural Building Essentials
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Natural Building

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Meet the team that’s making cob legal, an interview with members of the Cob Research Institute: 133

Today’s episode is very important in that there’s a limited window of time for those of you, especially in the USA who care about natural building and want to see cob and other natural building materials legalized and approved by building authorities to help this happen. An incredible opportunity is coming up in the last week of October, which is just over a week from now when members of the Cob Research Institute, some of whom you’ll hear interviewed in a minute, will present a proposal for cob to be included in the ICC/IRC code (international code council/international residential code, […]

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Natural Building Essentials
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The essential guide to lime. Plasters, paints and cretes, with Aulya Bingham from “The Mud Home”

I’ve talked about many different building materials through this series, but one of my all time favorites often gets overlooked because it isn’t commonly used as a structural element. Lime in all of its various forms as a plaster, paint, mortar, grout, poured floor or even in newer applications like hempcrete, has so many advantages and applications in just about any style of natural or conventional building. That’s why I reached out to the “Mud Witch” Atulya Bingham, who’s been interviewed twice on this podcast before because she just released a new online course covering everything you need to know […]

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Natural Building Essentials
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Benito Steen of “The Nito Project” on exploring new natural building techniques and teaching around the world: 131

Today’s guest, Benito Steen is one of the people that I’ve most had requested from you listeners to do an interview with, in large part because of the success of his YouTube channel called “The Nito Project” where he works with his younger brother Panther to make beautiful educational videos on natural building techniques, earthen plasters and even the japanese method of making polished clay balls called Dorodango. Benito is the first of my guests who grew up in natural buildings since his childhood rather than coming to the trades later in life. His parents Bill and Athena Steen being […]

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Natural Building Essentials
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Natural Building

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The best options for home scale renewable energy with Dan Chiras, author of “The Homeowner’s Guide to Renewable Energy: 130

We’re now well into this on-going series on natural building and design, and we’ve covered bamboo building, rocket stoves, design at the building and community levels, and so much more already. One of the biggest topics that I haven’t yet explored on this podcast and has always interested me is the subject of renewable energy. Renewables have been in the media for a long time both branded as a solution to our collective reliance on fossil fuel energy and also criticized for being too expensive for most people to install or implement at the home scale. Luckily I had the […]

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Natural Building Essentials
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Does aircrete have a place in natural building and regenerative living? With Daniel Allen of Tiny Giant Life: 129

Until getting to know Daniel and his understanding of building design and healthy living, I wasn’t sure I wanted to do an episode on aircrete. I’ve focused only on natural building techniques and materials up until this point because I honestly believe that nature provides all the materials we need to build high quality and healthy structures. But since Daniel comes from the perspective of natural building experience and because I like to remain open to new ideas and not become too much of a purist or a zealot for one way of seeing things, I spoke to him about […]

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Natural Building Essentials
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Limecrete and renovating old homes with natural materials, with April Magill of RootDown Design: 128

I finally had the chance to do a follow up session with one of my favorite natural builders, April Magill. She’s not only an accomplished architect, builder, and educator through her company “Root Down Design” and the American College of the Building Arts, she’s also constantly experimenting with new techniques and materials as you’ll hear in this episode. Back in the first interview that I recorded with April, we dissected rammed earth and how she was working to revive the craft for all its potential benefits for her climate and conditions in Charleston, NC. This time we talk about hempcrete, […]

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Natural Building Essentials
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The architecture of healthy communities and designing for connection, with Mark Lakeman of Communitecture: 127

As I continue to explore the topics of natural building and ecological design in this ongoing series, I had the pleasure of speaking again with Mark Lakeman. Mark has been a big inspiration to me through the architectural work he’s done at the community level, and in exploring what it takes to design neighborhoods and gathering places that help humans to reconnect to their sense of place and overcome the colonial infrastructure that continues to separate us from each other and from lifestyles that include all facets of healthy living. Since I’ve mostly studied design at the building level, learning […]

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Natural Building Essentials
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The most efficient stoves in the world and how to make them, with Kirk “Donkey” Mobert of Sundog School of Natural Building: 126

In this continuation of the series of regenerative building and design, I checked in with a good friend of mine and a hero in the rocket stove and masonry heater sphere. Kirk Mobert, more commonly known as Donkey, is the founder of the Sundog school of natural building in northern California and has literally been on, and in, the ground through the development and maturation of rocket stoves and all of the innovations and advances for the last 20 odd years. This session might be a little heady for people who are new to rocket and masonry stoves, but for […]

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Natural Building Essentials
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The incredible potential of bamboo and building design for the tropics, with Trey Abernethy of “Natural Building Costa Rica:” 125

Continuing with this series of exploring natural building materials, design techniques and traditions, I spoke with my friend Trey Abernethy, a long-time builder and now a bamboo craftsman. For over a decade Trey worked in the industrial building trades before moving to Costa Rica where he took a bamboo building course with Rodolpho Saenz that changed his trajectory. Trey now co-teaches bamboo building techniques with Rodolpho and designs and builds for clients in Costa Rica. In this interview we cover a bit of every part of bamboo as a construction material. From the environmental benefits of planting bamboo culms and […]

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Natural Building Essentials
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Natural Building

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Everything you need to know to get your natural building off the ground, with Chris Magwood, founder of the Endeavour Center: 124

I’ve been looking forward to speaking with my next guest for a long time now. Chris Magwood is the founder and director of the Endeavour center, which provides experiential education at the intersection of high-performance and natural building. Chris is a self proclaimed building “omnivore” who experiments with any and all materials and techniques he can get his hands on. He has dedicated his career to making the best, most energy efficient, beautiful and inspiring buildings without wrecking the planet in the attempt. I’ve followed his work and especially his books as I’ve been learning about all sorts of natural […]

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Professional, Profitable, Permaculture
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Designing regenerative landscapes for wildfire ecologies, with Erik Ohlsen, founder of Permaculture Artisans: 123

Today we’re back with Erik Ohlsen, founder of both Permaculture Artisans, one of the preeminent ecological landscaping companies in the US, and the Permaculture Skills center a vocational training school that offers advanced education in ecological design, landscaping, farming, and land stewardship. Erik is also the author of several books including “The Forest of Fire,” Activate Your Joy,” and most recently “The Ecological Landscape Designer” an essential manual for anyone aspiring to make a living in eco- design. Though it’s long overdue, I spoke with Erik to get to better understand the intensity of the wildfires that have ravaged California […]

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