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Lonny Grafman

I am Lonny, the founder of, feel free to ask me a question.

Campus Office Information

  • University: Humboldt State University
  • Department: Environmental Resources Engineering
  • U.S. Phone: +1 (707) 826-3649 x1
  • School Email: lonnyAtsymbol.pnghumboldtDot.pngedu
  • Other Email: lonnyAtsymbol.pngappropediaDot.pngorg or just click (must be logged in) to email me.
  • Office Location: I am in Harry Griffith Hall 119B on the southwest corner of Harpst and B Streets.

Feel free to leave comments at the discussion tab above

Office Schedule

Courses taught and Developed

Humboldt State University and Partner Universities in Parras, Mexico; Chiapas, Mexico; and Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic:

University of Nevada Reno in partnership with the University of the Basque Country:

Humboldt County in partnership with College of the Redwoods and the California Conservation Corps:

Permaculture design course components and many other deep engagements, e.g.:

Entrepreneurship and Innovation course components, e.g.:

  • Manufacturing Innovation - Small Business Development Center
  • Innovation - LATAM Business School
  • Entrepreneurship curriculum development for various organizations and schools


Lonny Grafman is an Instructor of Environmental Resources Engineering and Appropriate Technology at Humboldt State University; the founder of the Practivistas full immersion, abroad, resilient community technology program; the Advisor and Project Manager (and at times fundraiser) for the epi-apocalyptic city art projects Waterpod, Flock House, WetLand, and Swale; the managing director of the north coast hub of BlueTechValley, supporting energy saving entrepreneurs; the director of the AWEsome Business Competition for groups working on Agriculture, Water and Energy in Northern California; and the Founder and President of the Appropedia Foundation, sharing knowledge to build rich, sustainable lives.

Lonny has taught university courses in six countries and presented in dozens more. He has worked, and led teams, on hundreds of domestic and international projects across a broad spectrum of sustainability - from solar power to improved cookstoves, from micro-hydro power to rainwater catchment, from earthen construction to plastic bottle schoolrooms. Throughout all of these technology implementations, he has found the most vital component to be community.

His first books, To Catch the Rain and Atrapando la lluvia, cover inspiring stories of communities coming together to catch their own rain, and how you can do it too.

Current Activities

Humboldt State University


Developing and teaching service learning courses in sustainable design, appropriate technology, international development, the environment, and energy.


Chief Product Officer

Energy Made Visible

Appropedia Foundation


Promoting, facilitating and bolstering the sharing of knowledge to build rich, sustainable lives.


International Journal for Service Learning in Engineering

Executive Editor

"a free peer-reviewed electronic journal. The Journal welcomes manuscripts based on original work of students and researchers with a specific focus or implication for service learning in engineering, engineering entrepreneurship in service, or related service learning pedagogy."

Design Your Future

Co-Creator with Prof. Beth Eschenbach

Teaching university, service learning based, sustainable engineering design in high school to engage students in the design process and encourage their entry into higher education. Developing sustainable design as context for curriculum.


Founder, director, teacher

A summer immersion program in Spanish and Appropriate Technology since 2005. Founded, directed and taught, as well as co-founded and co-directed, programs in Parras de la Fuente, Mexico; San Cristóbal de las Casas, Mexico; and Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic.


Project Manager

"What if healthy, fresh food could be a free public service, and not just an expensive commodity? That’s the question we really want to ask with Swale. Swale, a collaborative floating food project, is dedicated to rethinking and challenging New York City's connection to our environment. Built on a 130-foot by 40-foot floating platform, Swale contains an edible forest garden. Functioning as both a sculpture and a tool, Swale provides free healthy food at the intersection of public art and service. With Swale, we want to reinforce water as a commons, and work towards fresh food as a commons too."

Campus Center for Appropriate Technology

Steering Committee member

"The mission of CCAT is to demonstrate appropriate technology in a residential setting, to provide hands-on experiential learning opportunities to Humboldt State University and the surrounding community, to collect and disseminate information about appropriate technology, to examine the ethical and social consequences of technology, and to dispel the myth that living lightly on the earth is difficult or burdensome. CCAT is dedicated to sustainability and seeks to help others live likewise."


Sustainability and Appropriate Technology Advisor, Volunteer Coordinator

"Waterpod™ is a floating, sculptural, eco-habitat designed for the rising tides. It floated in 2009 from the Newtown Creek between Brooklyn and Queens, navigate down the East River, explore the waters of New York Harbor, docking at several Manhattan piers on the Hudson River before continuing onward. The Waterpod™ demonstrated future pathways for water-based innovations. As a sustainable, navigable living space, the Waterpod™ showcases the critical importance of the environment and art, serving as a model for new living, d.i.y. technologies, art, and dialogue."

Flock House

Sustainability Advisor

"Part fantastic and part practical living, mobile Flock House living systems are interstertial, are both autonomous and dependent on their local community and human relationships to care for, share amongst, collaborate, and corroborate with. As living systems, they are bridges for informal cross-discipline, cross-boundary, and cross-border notions of perimeter, property, and polity. Flock House represents migratory structures as part of a city’s ecology."



"Thrivable is a solution-focused consulting and training network helping individuals and organizations to cultivate abundance by developing agility, resilience, and adaptability."

Locally Delicious

Board of Advisors

"Six women from the northern coast of California referring to themselves as "Heirloom Tomatoes" understand those changes and challenges and have put together a handbook for eating local with the intent of inspiring others to do the same." Now it is an organization doing even more. The second edition of the book is out and more projects are underway.

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Here are some books that I have been part of creating and/or that I am in.

  • To Catch the Rain: Inspiring stories of communities coming together to harvest their own rainwater, and how you can do it too by Lonny Grafman ISBN 978-1947112049 (available at
  • Atrapando la lluvia: Historias inspiradoras de comunidades que se unieron para recolectar su propia agua pluvial, y cómo usted también puede hacerlo by Lonny Grafman ISBN 978-1947112100
  • InGenius: A Crash Course on Creativity by Tina Seelig ISBN 978-0062020703
  • Thrivability: A collaborative Sketch curated by Jean Russel
  • The Myths of Creativity: The Truth About How Innovative Companies and People Generate Great Ideas by David Burkus ISBN 978-1118611142
  • Open-Source Lab: How to Build Your Own Hardware and Reduce Research Costs by Joshua Pearce ISBN 978-0124104860
  • Convergence: Philosophies and Pedagogies for Developing the Next Generation of Humanitarian Engineers and Social Entrepreneurs by IJSLE
  • Locally Delicious: Recipes and Resources for Eating on the North Coast by Locally Delicious ISBN 978-0982942604
  • Lunchbox Envy: An Adventure in Healthy Eating for Kids and Families by Locally Delicious ISBN 978-0982942611