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Diagram of compost
Building compost guide. There are many ways to build a good compost. This page shows a method that comes from a rural, developing world perspective, although it could easily be used or adapted elsewhere. The aim is to build a quick decomposing hot compost that is made from locally available materials, which can easily be gathered and built in a rural setting. The work in building a large compost is often shared amongst a number of people, with the final compost being used by each one when appropriate.

The method of building compost can be different depending on the amount of compost required, materials available, type of compost and particularly the climate of the region.
Pit compost: Pit compost is ideal for areas with medium to low rainfall. The depth of the pit will depend upon the amount of rainfall. The less the rainfall the deeper the pit should be to prevent the rapid loss of water, which is essential in the natural production of compost. In some dry regions it has been known for pits to be dug as deep as 3ft. For example, this type of compost is used in the dryer and warmer parts of central and northern Uganda. (more types follow)

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Portal:Permaculture/Selected page/1

CSA participants in New Hampshire
Community Supported Agriculture consists of a community of individuals who pledge support to a farm operation so that the farmland becomes, either legally or spiritually, the community's farm, with the growers and consumers providing mutual support and sharing the risks and benefits of food production. Typically, members or "share-holders" of the farm or garden pledge in advance to cover the anticipated costs of the farm operation and farmer's salary. In return, they receive shares in the farm's bounty throughout the growing season, as well as satisfaction gained from reconnecting to the land and participating directly in food production. Members also share in the risks of farming, including poor harvests due to unfavorable weather or pests. By direct sales to community members, who have provided the farmer with working capital in advance, growers receive better prices for their crops, gain some financial security, and are relieved of much of the burden of marketing.

It is a form of local support for agriculture. Subscribers pre-pay a farmer to grow the desired produce. Sometimes the farmer will select what is to be grown, sometimes the buyer selects what they want to buy, more often it is a cooperative arrangement between the two parties.

For farmers, CSA offers a fair, steady source of income and a chance to talk directly with their customers. Many CSA farmers encourage members and their families to get involved, to work alongside "their" farmer to learn more about the food is grown. This develops understanding of the challenges facing family farmers in the community and helps create real partners in the local food system.

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Arcata Educational Farm
Local food (also regional food or food patriotism) or the local food movement is a "collaborative effort to build more locally based, self-reliant food economies - one in which sustainable food production, processing, distribution, and consumption is integrated to enhance the economic, environmental and social health of a particular place" and is considered to be a part of the broader sustainability movement. It is part of the concept of local purchasing and local economies, a preference to buy locally produced goods and services. Those who prefer to eat locally grown/produced food sometimes call themselves "localvores" or locavores.

Local food systems are an alternative to the global corporate models where producers and consumers are separated through a chain of processors/manufacturers, shippers and retailers. With an increasing scale of industrial food systems the control of quality is increasingly decided by the middlemen while a local food system redevelops these relationships and encourage a return of quality control to the consumer and the producer respectively. These quality characteristics are not only in the product but in the method of producing.

A locavore is someone who eats food grown or produced locally or within a certain radius such as 50, 100, 150 or 250 miles. The locavore movement encourages consumers to buy from farmers’ markets or even to produce their own food, with the argument that fresh, local products are more nutritious and taste better. Locally grown food is an environmentally friendly means of obtaining food, since supermarkets that import their food use more fossil fuels and non-renewable resources.

...Archive/Nominations

Portal:Permaculture/Selected page/3

Arcata Educational Farm
Organic farming is the form of agriculture that relies on crop rotation, compost, biological pest control, mechanical cultivation, and other techniques using natural processes, to maintain soil productivity and control pests. Organic farming excludes or strictly limits the use of synthetic fertilizers, pesticides, and livestock feed additives. Genetically modified organisms are excluded, and organic standards in Britain and Australia exclude engineered nanoparticles.

"Organic agriculture is a production system that sustains the health of soils, ecosystems and people. It relies on ecological processes, biodiversity and cycles adapted to local conditions, rather than the use of inputs with adverse effects. Organic agriculture combines tradition, innovation and science to benefit the shared environment and promote fair relationships and a good quality of life for all involved..." -- International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements

Organic standards
  • The land must be free of prohibited substances for 3 years prior to organic farming.
  • Seeds should be organic but right now the use of some non-organic seeds is permitted.
  • The use of genetic engineering, sewage sludge, or ionizing radiation is prohibited.
  • Weeds are controlled with management practices and lots of work.
  • Garden pests are handled with integrated pest management practices which include biological, physical, and mechanical controls.
  • Some organic pesticides are permitted.
  • To maintain soil fertility organic farmers use methods such as: crop rotations, cover crops, animal manures, compost, and diversity in crops.
  • Some organic fertilizers are permitted.
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Portal:Permaculture/Selected page/4

Diagram of compost
Building compost guide. There are many ways to build a good compost. This page shows a method that comes from a rural, developing world perspective, although it could easily be used or adapted elsewhere. The aim is to build a quick decomposing hot compost that is made from locally available materials, which can easily be gathered and built in a rural setting. The work in building a large compost is often shared amongst a number of people, with the final compost being used by each one when appropriate.

The method of building compost can be different depending on the amount of compost required, materials available, type of compost and particularly the climate of the region.
Pit compost: Pit compost is ideal for areas with medium to low rainfall. The depth of the pit will depend upon the amount of rainfall. The less the rainfall the deeper the pit should be to prevent the rapid loss of water, which is essential in the natural production of compost. In some dry regions it has been known for pits to be dug as deep as 3ft. For example, this type of compost is used in the dryer and warmer parts of central and northern Uganda. (more types follow)

...Archive/Nominations

Portal:Permaculture/Selected page/5

The finished greenhouse!
Construction of an Affordable Greenhouse. The capstone project for Queen’s University 4th Year Mechanical Engineering Class,"Engineering for Sustainable Development", is to design and construct an Appropriate Technology with a quantifiable engineering result. This project is to construct a greenhouse, review the heat requirement on the system for the whole year; then, based on the materials and conditions selected, review costs associated with this and build a scaled model.

This project is the first step to easy community greenhouse development - the goal of the affordable greenhouse is to:

  1. Improve greenhose design and awareness for residential application.
  2. Demonstrate the feasibility (i.e costs) of a greenhouse in the winter months and determine the best time to install such a system for optimal crop yield.

Due to the materials selected and the cold Canadian Spring, it is not effective to construct until late April. But with better material selection and innovative greenhouse designs, it is hoped that constructing miniature greenhouses will become common practice.

...Archive/Nominations

Portal:Permaculture/Selected page/6

Kiva's straw bale greenhouse
Kiva's straw bale greenhouse. Welcome to our straw bale greenhouse. The following page will take you with us on our greenhouse building adventure. We will discuss the process, what worked best and did not work, problems we had, how much time it took to build, and the money spent on the project. Over all we hope that this is a fun and comprehensive look at what we did to make this project come together. The reason that we chose to build a straw bales greenhouse is that both Scott (my building partner) and I would like to get into alternative building as a career and we thought that this would be a good place to start and learn from.

To build a straw bale greenhouse where Kiva can grow chili peppers, tomatoes, and lots of other yummy warm weather plants. The reason we decided to build with straw bale was to gain experience with this material and the great insulative value of it. Scott and I decided to have two of the walls straw bale and the other two wood and glass. Where we live no permits are required for a 10' x 12' greenhouse, so we decided these would be the inside dimensions. To receive optimal year-round sun in our area the glass on the south facing wall is at a 40 degree angle. At the building site there is plenty of morning sun and not much evening sun so we opted to have our east side be glass and our west side be straw bale.

...Archive/Nominations

Portal:Permaculture/Selected page/7

Finished Vermicomposting System
CCAT's Vermicomposting Bin. I am very excited to be posting directions for building your very own home vermiculture bin! The methods employed will produce a bin appropriate for a household of 3-5 people and should last a number of years if constructed properly. There of course are many types of bin designs out there and I wanted the creative opportunity to design my own. In looking for ideas in a gardening magazine, I noticed a pentagon shaped planter for gardens whose shape I really liked. A pentagon is also practical because compost is less likely to get stuck in the corners as often happens in normal square shaped boxes, preventing the organic materials from cycling properly. I decided to make a two-part stackable bin so that using the finished compost would be easier. Once the compost is processed it is easy to take off the top section, dump the compost in the garden, and put it on top to be filled again. The partitioned design is also improves aeration to speed up the composting process. Aeration is also provided by the holes drilled in the sides of the bin. The bottom of each bin section is finished with wire mesh to keep the compost in place. The holes of the wire mesh are large enough to allow worms and microbes to enter the system and speed up decomposition. The top is simple plywood cut to size with a brass handle and L-brackets to keep the lid in place. The bin was lastly finished with natural organic linseed oil as a sealer for endurance in the elements and general durability. I hope you enjoy!
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Portal:Permaculture/Selected page/8

Wild Chick Farm
Wild Chick Farm. In the fall of 2005 Sarah Brunner and Shail Pec-Crouse, started a commercial pastured chicken operation in Arcata, California. The first four months see update of business were spent learning from other successful models, experimenting with different equipment, suffering through trials and tribulations, getting our hands bloody and planning improvements to our system. Throughout it all we have been guided by our core values of humane husbandry and sustainability.

We began with a very small flock of 175 birds and decided to try two different models of raising them on pasture to see which model worked the best for our situation. We compared the two models by looking at efficiency, loss to predators, land impact cost, fossil fuel use and mobility which strongly effects efficiency, land impact and fossil fuel use. After working with both models for a couple of months we came to the conclusion that the Chicken Tractor (CT) model is most appropriate for raising meat chickens and the Hoop House (HH) model is more appropriate for raising laying hens. The CT is better for meat production because it is more cost effective and mobile and there is less predation. The CT is also important for pasturing laying hens for their first few months since there are less predator risks. The Hoop House is better for egg production because it accommodates nest boxes and roosts.

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Portal:Permaculture/Selected page/9

Chicken tractors
The name "chicken tractor" is somewhat misleading, since no conventional motorized devices are used. A chicken tractor is little more than an open-bottom cage for chickens, which is light enough to be moved on the ground from location to another.

The chickens live in the chicken tractor and scratch, eat, and defecate on the ground surface. This process turns over the shallow surface, hence the 'tractor' reference. As the surface is sufficiently worked by the chickens, the tractor is moved to another space, repeating the process. The consumption of plants, seeds, and insects reduces plant growth and insect population, and the defecation nourishes the soil. Conventional chicken houses produce a volume of chicken waste with very high Nitrate concentration, which will burn many plants if used directly and therefore must be composted. The chicken tractor eliminates these handling and processing needs.

A chicken tractor will work on any flat surface with a substrate that supports plants and insects. Its main benefits are that it is a means of having free-range chickens and its attended benefits, but with better control/protection of the chickens. Moving it around permits more localized vegetation management, and keeps chickens out of gardens.

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