Contributor

Contributor

Growing up in southern England and Wales, we always lived close to the woods, streams, and hills of the nearby countryside. The towns were built to be dense and tight, so it was relatively easy to walk out of the buildings and away from traffic into a land of kingfishers, beech trees, and marsh marigolds. It was “smart growth” before anyone had invented the term.

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A growing movement is spreading throughout U.S. cities that is feeding people, providing jobs, and helping the environment—urban farming.

This is a lot bigger than putting some tomato and zucchini plants in your backyard. These are local efforts, city by city, neighborhood by neighborhood, to convert vacant land in America’s cities into small farms.

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Wendell Berry said once in an interview: “Farming is a hard life. It’s a hard life; therefore, nobody ought to live it. What a remarkable conclusion! There are several steps that are left out. What causes the difficulty? Does freedom come out of it? Does family pride come with it, family coherence? Does some kind of idea of community come with it? Some kind of idea of stewardship, does that come with it? Do ideas of affection or love or loyalty or fidelity come with it?”

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In a time before live media broadcasts and video games, everyone was raised free range.   Our parents were all raised free range – it was the only way of being raised.  It was the good ole days of riding a bike to the park, to a friend’s house or the store when penny candy was only a penny.  You could build forts, scrape legs and be pre exposed to a slew of forbidden activities without anyone being sued, just as long as you were back by dusk.

 

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Hand forged kitchen knives made by Over Grow The Systems founder Sydney Woodward. Forged at White Crow Farm in Winlaw ...

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…By village I don’t simply mean “a group of houses and associated buildings, larger than a hamlet and smaller than a town, situated in a rural area.” I’m referring to the way of life inherent to relatively small, relatively contained multigenerational communities. Communities within which individuals know one another well, share the joys, burdens, and sorrows of everyday life, nurture one another in times of need, mind the wellbeing of each other’s ever-roaming children and increasingly-dependent elderly, and feel fed by their clearly essential contribution to the group that securely holds them.  

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“ Left to her own devices, Mother Nature builds topsoil, she enriches it with organic material, adds the products of water and wind erosion and thus deepens the layer of topsoil and lays the foundation for grass and later for forest cover.” ~ The Good Life by Helen and Scott Nearing.

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How to keep chickens. Chicken house design with composting chickens. Learn how to keep happy healthy hens and chickens in your backyard. This video presents, in detail, the idea of deep bedding under chickens. The hens turn the compost and produce amazing fertility and even better eggs. We have been using this system at Atitlan Organics for many years and always have happy healthy hens and ridiculously amazing huevos!

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Screen Printed Over Grow The System patch by artist Bubzee . Printed on re claimed fabrics.

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Within weeks of our daughter being born, her father and I realized that she was instantly pacified and tuned in the moment we went outside. She could be inconsolable inside, but even getting our coats and shoes on to go out would sooth her. At 15 months, it’s exactly the same, she can be having a tantrum inside, but get her shoes on and cross the front entrance and she’s all smiles. This is great for us as edible landscapers and permaculture consultants; working outside is our livelihood and our passion. We spend multiple hours in the garden most days, and having our daughter beside us is an incredible feeling. Watching a tiny human growing alongside plants we grow and eat is a powerful experience.

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In a time before live media broadcasts and video games, everyone was raised free range.   Our parents were all raised free range – it was the only way of being raised.  It was the good ole days of riding a bike to the park, to a friend’s house or the store when penny candy was only a penny.  You could build forts, scrape legs and be pre exposed to a slew of forbidden activities without anyone being sued, just as long as you were back by dusk.

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At Radix Farm, sustainability means treating the entire farm environment with care and respect. We grow four acres of diversified produce without the use of synthetic chemicals, pesticides, herbicides, or genetically modified organisms (GMOs). Our natural growing methods and small-scale enables us to provide individual attention to the plants and nurture the soil. In addition, we strive to increase local food security and make nutritious food accessible to all members of the community.

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