Land As Insurance, Part 2: The Black Swan Theory

Two beautiful Black Swans, Lake Taupo, New Zealand.

Last time, we talked about predictable risk that falls within a Gaussian distribution. But not all risk follows this pattern; some risks are rare and catastrophic and can only be explained in retrospect. These risks are called black swans. When a system contains extreme outliers that are hundreds, thousands, or millions of times further from the mean than expected, they can cause massive amounts of destruction and change the course […]

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Spinach for Happiness

Spinach for Happiness feat

Gardening is done many reasons. Some garden for the beauty of it, the need for food, to reduce chemicals ingested, to draw in wildlife, and the list goes on. Whatever the reason is, gardening should always lead to happiness. Happiness from our garden not only comes from the Zen of physically gardening, but also from the healthful produce we harvest. Eating foods high in vitamin and mineral content, as well […]

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System Diversity

System Diversity feat

We all know that the bio-diversity is the utmost important model of growing edibles. I want to draw your attention to the system-diversity as well dear reader. I call myself a backyard farmer. While I cram things into my back and front yard, I make sure that I don’t rely on one single system for my food production. If one system stops producing, I should still have others to produce […]

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Land As Insurance, Part 1: A Primer

salad-water-garden-plant Land As Insurance

This is a three-part series based on an idea I recently had around the subjects of farming, black swans, and creating a product that can help insure against risk. In this first article I’ll provide a bit of context on how insurance works. The second piece will explore the risks we face today and in the future. The final article will explore a new type of insurance based around perennial […]

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Spice Forest: Lessons In Innovation From Zanzibar

Spice Forest: Lessons In Innovation From Zanzibar

In the spring of 2015 I put out a call for help. Our small team at Community Forests International (Forests Intl.) was starting a new enterprise – a Spice Forest project on Pemba island, Zanzibar – and I knew we couldn’t do it alone. What happened next has taught me a lot about the process of innovation. It has also taught me how much I still don’t know about the […]

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Tigger Melons

tigger-melons-14jul13 - feat

Sometimes referred to as the tiger melon, these fiery looking little cuties are striped and colored as their namesake suggests. While they don’t bounce to and fro, they do indeed liven up the garden and kitchen. Tigger Melons, Cucmis melon, are a smaller heirloom melon that grow up to 1lb. and fit nicely in the palm of your hand. These vibrant colored melons are thought to have first been discovered […]

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Simple Ways to Reduce Waste in Landfills

Simple Ways to Reduce Waste in Landfills feat

Disposing of garbage in landfills is a common practice in many countries around the world and it’s done by burying it in the ground. Needless to say, this is an environmental hazard since most of the waste is non-biodegradable, that is, it can take thousands of years to disintegrate. But guess what, there’s something you can do about it. The solution to reducing waste in landfills lies with you. And […]

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Aggressive Fungus Found Growing in Outer Space

Aggressive fungus found growing in outer space feat

Scientists are considering the implications of an “aggressive space fungus” identified on the outside of the Russian space station Mir. Patches of the green and black fungus have been discovered behind control panels, in the ship’s air conditioner, communications unit, and on many other surfaces. Not only was the fungus growing everywhere, the patches proved difficult to eradicate. According to Russian microbiologist Natalia Novikova, there is the potential that in […]

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Cool Streets Helps Save The Environment – And Electricity Consumption

Tree lined street in the North End, Boston, Massachusetts.

Urban homeowners can do their part to fight the effects of climate change by planting more trees – and even lower their own monthly electricity bill while helping to protect the environment from global warming. Even just planting a small tree in your yard can make a difference on your monthly costs, and by letting the tree mature, you can save as much as $400 each year – according to […]

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The Five Zones of Permaculture – Zones Zero and One

gardening tools on wooden table

The Five Zones of Permaculture: The best way to break down a permaculture ecosystem is into zones. Zones are a great way of boiling down the elements of our design based upon the frequency of human use and plant or animal needs. Elements which are attended to frequently are located closer to the dwelling and those that need limited contact or thrive in isolation are located further away. The zones […]

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How & Why We Are Going to Build a Mandala Garden

Mandala Garden

Let it be said from the outset that the following discussion of mandala gardens is based on a relatively large one, over 100 square meters, that a host of volunteers and I will soon be doing for the Garden of Hope in Guatemala. Our mandala garden, as most mandala gardens are, will be a series of keyhole beds, so in this article, we will be sure to discuss what exactly […]

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