I attended a talk and tour this weekend at Tara Firma Farms. It was organized in part by Adam Taggart of Peak Prosperity. Speakers included Joel Salatin, Toby Hemenway, and Paul Kaiser among others. The general topic of conversation was how to work around industrial agriculture and get back to small diversified profitable local family farms. Google Regulations, … Continue reading Antifragile Farms
This is where most of our food comes from. Natural gas is used to pull nitrogen out of the atmosphere and bind it to hydrogen to create anhydrous ammonia. This is the Haber-Bosch method of producing synthetic fertilizer. Synthetic fertilizer is applied to vast expanses of monocrop corn, soy, and wheat in regions that specialize … Continue reading Modern Farming
A couple of years ago I chatted with a woman I met at the local community garden around the corner. We had actually lived four buildings away from each other for many years but had never met. That’s one of the nice things about a community garden. You get to meet more of your neighbors. I … Continue reading What’s Your Plan B?
I coined the portmanteau murbanism some years ago on a trip to Salt Lake. Mormon urbanism is shorthand for a theory I have about adaptation and resilience. The term connotes a place that has all the qualities that should result in long term failure, but will probably thrive because of the local culture. Murbanism doesn’t … Continue reading Murbanism (Mormon Urbanism)
I’m the least spiritual person I’ve ever met. But I’m fascinated by how religious groups can be a dynamic force in the success or failure of cities. Sikhs are particularly interesting to me. The faith emerged in the Indian subcontinent in the 15th century, but they’re neither Hindu nor Muslim. The gorgeous architecture, art, and … Continue reading Sikhs and the City
An old college room mate from back East sent me a news link he knew I would appreciate. The article notes the migration of the Hasidim (Orthodox Jews) from the town of Lakewood, New Jersey to an upscale neighborhood in the adjacent town of Toms River. This has stirred up resistance among the existing population who don’t appreciate … Continue reading Retrofitting Suburbia Hasidic Style
I’m gradually working towards lowering my energy consumption without lowering my quality of life. I’m attempting to be as frugal as a mouse as I continue to live well. My goal is to eventually be able to produce all of my own power. Here’s a little experiment I just ran. Look at these two photos. … Continue reading Mammals and Dinosaurs
I just finished reading Grady Gammage’s book, “The Future of the Suburban City: Lessons From Sustainable Phoenix.” I recommend it to anyone who lives in an auto-oriented desert city and wonders about its long term prospects. The myth of the lone cowboy going out to the open desert amidst the saguaro cactus with a pick … Continue reading Sustainable? Phoenix?
I often think about all the land that’s used up by cars in a city. I’m not just talking about the public roads and highways. I mean the private property that is exclusively devoted to cars in one way or another. Even a fairly old pedestrian oriented city like San Francisco has a huge amount of … Continue reading The Jiffy Lube Metropolis
Jane Jacobs is remembered almost exclusively as the patron saint of vibrant walkable human scaled neighborhoods. Her classic 1961 “Death and Life of Great American Cities” is the Bible for many urban theorists. But we hear very little of her last few books. It’s worth reflecting on those as well since she explores the underlying dynamics … Continue reading The Other Jane Jacobs