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The Earthen Ox Oven at the Blue Ox Mill
Blue ox earthen oven. The earthen oven at the Blue Ox Millworks in Eureka, California was constructed in 2004 by Appropriate Technology (Engr305) students at Humboldt State University. The project took four, three-hour work sessions to complete over a total of four weeks. As of 2007 it is still standing, is in immaculate condition and retains nearly the same heating efficiency as when it was first constructed. This page includes information on the construction of the Blue Ox earthen oven and information and updates on its current condition.

Earthen Ovens have been used for thousands of years by cultures all over the world and they are still built today by people all over. Earthen ovens are made up of just that, EARTH! Sand, clay and straw are used in building these versatile ovens.

An earthen oven can be used to cook the same things cooked in a normal household oven, so long as you can fit it through the door! Often Earthen Ovens are somewhat unique from other ovens in that they don’t have a fire burning continuously to cook with. The oven is heated before any cooking is going to take place. Generally Earthen Ovens are fired for a few hours and the hot coals are then scraped out of the interior. Once the coals are scraped out, the oven is ready to cook in.

Kiva's straw bale greenhouse

Year round veggies in a homemade, just under the permitting limit, strawbale greenhouse.

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Community action news

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Sep 14 California news: “Santa Monica releases second round of Wellbeing Index findings” [1]

Sep 12 Urban sustainability news: Where is the world's most walkable city? [2]

Sep 10 Australia: What about the people missing out on renewables? Here's what planners can do about energy justice [3]

Sep 8 Towards sustainable economies news: How the Blockchain Could Transform the P2P Economy [4]

Sep 6 Costa Rica: A global view from a mountain town: how conservation became ingrained in Monteverde [5]

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Lonny Grafman (right), the founder of Appropedia.org
I love to see projects that make the world a better place manifest. The way a project manifests from inception, brainstorming, researching, creating, testing, iterating, promoting, etc. always fill me with wonder and excitement. There is no one way that it unfolds, but my favorite ways to be part of are those that are collaborative.

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Visit the Food and agriculture Portal

Man working in a rice field.
Food is any substance consumed to provide nutritional support for the body. It is usually of plant or animal origin, and contains essential nutrients, such as carbohydrates, fats, proteins, vitamins, or minerals. The substance is ingested by an organism and assimilated by the organism's cells in an effort to produce energy, maintain life, and/or stimulate growth. Historically, people secured food through two methods: hunting and gathering, and agriculture.

Agriculture is the cultivation of animals, plants, fungi and other life forms for food, fiber, and other products used to sustain life. Agriculture was the key implement in the rise of sedentary human civilization, whereby farming of domesticated species created food surpluses that nurtured the development of civilization. In the developed world, industrial agriculture based on large-scale monoculture has become the dominant system of modern farming, although there is growing support for sustainable agriculture (e.g. permaculture or organic agriculture).

Sustainable agriculture is the practice of farming using principles of ecology, the study of relationships between organisms and their environment. It has been defined as "an integrated system of plant and animal production practices having a site-specific application that will last over the long term: satisfy human food and fiber needs; make the most efficient use of non-renewable resources and on-farm resources and integrate, where appropriate, natural biological cycles and controls; sustain the economic viability of farm operations; and enhance the quality of life for farmers and society as a whole.”

Related portal: Permaculture
edit  watch  Selected service learning Projects gallery (refresh)

Engr305 Appropriate Technology Projects: Below are selected service learning projects from Engr305 Appropriate Technology, which is a course on appropriate technology at Humboldt State University taught by instructor Lonny Grafman.

Papasan Chair Solar Cooker

A solar cooker and chair when not in use  
Parabolic basket and tin can solar cooker

Solar cooker out of local invasive species and waste materials  
Plastering CCAT Earthbag Terrace

A sturdy, natural plaster covering to the EarthBag gardening terrace being built in front of CCAT  
Rocket stove biomass charcoal

Use of biomass waste charcoal briquettes for rocket stove  
Rowan's portable pedal power generator

A pedal power generator  
Small greenhouse rainwater catchment

A rainwater catchment system for a greenhouse  
Solar Charged Lawnmower

An electric lawnmower that utilizes solar power as an energy source  
Solar heating box

A passive solar heating box  
Sunbrella

An umbrella in the rain, a solar cooker in the Sun  
Sunny Brae Middle School Garden

A garden at Sunny Brae Middle School  
Sunny Brae rainwater catchment system

A residential rainwater catchment system  
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