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Regenerative Forest Gardens by Ernst Gotsch

Ernst Gotsch spent years planting a giant 500 hectare (1,200 acre food forest) in Brazil to perfect his techniques. In this video, you can see the results of farmer’s who have trained with Gotsch and are now applying his methods. The results speak for themselves: truly outstanding, world class. In 18 months you can turn unproductive invasive grassland into a lush food forest. The rows of vegetables in between the tree rows pays for the cost and labor of planting the fruit and timber trees, which means the system pays for itself almost immediately.

This agroforestry farming system isn’t your normal “good idea”. This is rocking academia and industrial agriculture. How can you justify constant spraying and fertilizing, polluting the environment and depleting the soil with modern agriculture when clearly Gotsch’s food forest method is superior? Think about it: ***Forest gardens improve the soil and environment every year, while industrial agriculture depletes and eventually kills the environment. It’s time to change the world. Please share these videos with others.

What’s shown in this video is exactly what I’ve been trying to learn the last few years. See last week’s blog post where I describe my dream ‘retirement plan’ of making a giant food forest like this. Special thanks to Stephen who sent me this link.

“Life in Syntropy” is the new short film from Agenda Gotsch made specially to be presented at COP21 – Paris. This film put together some of the most remarkable experiences in Syntropic Agriculture, with brand new images and interviews. This video includes dramatic aerial footage of his climax forest.

Visit our channel on vimeo: Agenda Gotsch
Ernst is my hero now. He seems like the ultimate teacher for what I want to learn. My biggest surprise is he uses eucalyptus, which is very invasive. He’s learned to control eucalyptus to harvest tons of biomass, create shade and increase soil moisture. Eucalyptus serve as nurse trees for the other trees and plants.

Comment: How long before we see massive country-wide food forest projects? The presenters said this system will work in 80% of Brazil. They could reforest the Amazon in a few decades. Voters should demand change on a massive scale. There’s no excuse not to. Gotsch spent decades to prove the process works on a huge scale. Investors in big agra corporations might want to sell their shares and invest in regenerative forest gardens. This is the future.

Comment: This process will work almost anywhere. Just imagine turning barren areas of the southwestern US to lush regenerative farmlands that eventually become self sustaining. It could happen in a few decades with the right leadership. Who’s going to push this forward? If you don’t think this will work in degraded areas of the southwest, think again. Watch this video. One large farm has already been completed using similar techniques. The desert Texas ranch is now a lush haven of lakes, springs, trees and wildlife. Nature will regenerate itself if we take the right steps.

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Roswag Seiler and Pakistani Locals Hand-build a School from Cob, Bamboo and Mud

Cob, Bamboo and Mud school in Pakistan

Cob, Bamboo and Mud school in Pakistan

The Tipu Sultan Merkez School in Punjab, Pakistan has a new sustainable building that was designed by German architects Roswag Seiler and built by locals. Using locally sourced and low-impact materials, the shelter was fashioned from cob, bamboo and mud. Cob is widely used in Pakistan, and is a material made from clay, sand, water and straw. The concoction can easily be mixed by bulls, and once set, works as a natural insulator that keeps humidity at bay and interiors cool.

The new building has two floors — the lower one made from cob and bricks, and the top one with strong renewable bamboo and mud walls. Bamboo scaffolding and stairs connect ten rooms, service areas and the study zone. The flat roof was made using a classic Pakistani technique and consists of three bamboo layers and mud.

Special thanks to Phillip for sending this link.

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Rain Harvest Calculator

Darrel sent in a note on the Rain Harvest Calculator that he has developed and made available free of charge on his website.  Its a dandy.

Its a very good Rain Harvest tool that provides a lot of flexibility — you have control over all of the following:

  • Location — specify your location and the calculator looks up the average monthly rainfall.
  • Collection area
  • Collection efficiency
  • Water usage by month
  • Water storage available
  • Supplementary water available by month
  • Specify years with less or more than average rainfall
The calculator provides very nice graphic output that makes it very clear what your rain harvest and water supply situation is and makes it very easy to do what if studies on collection area, storage, usage, …
Well worth having if you are planning a rain water harvesting system.
Thanks Darrel!
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David’s DIY drainback solar water heating system

David has designed and built a very nice solar water heating system for his energy efficient home. It is a drainback system that uses an EPDM lined, non-pressurized wood tank for heat storage.
Some of the highlights of Dave’s system…
  • Tank design suitable for limited height crawlspaces.
  • Nice tank frame design using half lap joints for the corners
  • Used new old-stock commercial collectors at a very good price
  • Efficient heat exchanger installation
  • Using used and recycled materials kept the cost of the system down
David with his three drainback collectors
David’s system consists of three collectors mounted vertically on the south wall of his house. The heat storage tank for the system is in the crawl space under the collectors. Its a drainback system, so for freeze protection, the water in the collectors drains back to the heat storage tank when the pump turns off.
The collectors were obtained on Craig’s list as “new old-stock” for a very good price.
The heat storage tank is a non-presurized, wood framed, insulated with polyiso rigid foam, and then lined with an EPDM liner – this is a design that has been used on quite a few Build It Solar projects, and works well.
David with heat storage tank in his 29 inch deep crawl space.
The heat exchanger uses a 300 ft coil of pex pipe that has been used successfully on several Build-It-Solar projects. The scheme that Dave used to support the pipe coil and space the coils out is very nicely done and likely provides a worthwhile gain in heat transfer efficiency. One nice thing about this style of heat exchanger is that it stores several gallons of fully preheated water right in the coil.
PEX coil heat exchanger with nice coil separation and support scheme.

See all the details here…

January 13, 2018
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Stuffing blinds

Releasing this one a few weeks late, but a few weeks ahead of waterfowl and archery season. Jeff, Blair, myself, and 3 of my family finally crushed a waterfowl hunt on camera. 84 birds in 2 hours, exactly half and half Canadas and mallards. The plan was to base an entire episode around this hunt, but as sometimes happens we ended up with more material than expected later in the season, and so the cameras follow us and our haul of birds down to the grasslands to see through the original plan of revisiting the grasslands for mule deer for the first time since S1. The birds kinda got in the way, and we’re glad they did.

Mule deer and archery figured prominently in S1, and not at all in S2. It was a regret. In part because archery offers some really interesting variety in tackle, in part because the grasslands are such a fascinating ecoregion, and in large part because my family has been hunting from that same spot since 1972 or thereabouts, so there’s some serious tradition and family heritage that were being ignored. That place and its wild things are now baked into the production plan for S3/4/5+. S3E9 & 10 will make up for some of that lost time, and really dig into mule deer cookery in a big way. Trailer below.

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First Brook Trout

My first success with brook trout

The second half of our adventure with Hank found us back at Elbow Lake in Kananaskis. The smoke had eased up, and the bear closures didn’t impact the hike in. So much more to say about all that, but will leave it to the From The Wild episode. I happen to be a salmonid lover. When asked to choose a favourite protein, strictly from a hedonism standpoint, I’ve been known to choose salmon. It’s delicious.

Brook Trout, an introduced species in Alberta that tends to out-compete our native species [cutthroat, bull], happens to be in the char family. Bull trout, a zero keep fish in Alberta, is also in that family. The rest of the lot are trout, and everything but the west slope cutthroat is introduced – brown, brook, rainbow, lake. That’s my understanding. It’s also my understanding that if you’re going to eat one based on deliciousness, the char family wins. And since we can’t eat bull trout here, look out brookies.

It’s probably worth mentioning that despite growing up fishing, I had zero trout fishing experience prior to the very first episode of From The Wild. Zero. None. I knew perch, pike, and walleye as a kid, that’s it. This whole trout world is still new to me, and I find it fascinating. One of my favourite foods in the planet was hiding in plain sight.

Senger fishing Elbow for Brook Trout

It’s also worth noting that in Alberta there’s been what I’d call ‘aggressive’ moves by wildlife management to remove brookies from some water systems. Google it up and you’ll find stories about electrocuting streams to remove them, and government permission for a select few anglers to remove as many as they could – all highly managed. I know a lot of the biologist folks managing wildlife, and have yet to meet one that isn’t sharp, or that doesn’t give a shit.  The rest of us follow the regulations of course, but it certainly makes me not feel badly at all about taking a limit of them out of a lake that’s teeming with them. It’s a bit of a perfect storm really culinarily: arguably the best tasting salmonid in our province is abundant to a fault, and an introduced species. Game on.

Jeff tending Hank’s cooking fire on the Solo Stove, frying up some Brookie bones.

This day happened to be my day with a fly rod. I was able to land 5 fish, my best trout day ever, and best fly fishing day ever. Super grateful that the next step was eating them with some of the best wild food folks in the planet, all while pointing cameras. Oh, and we didn’t just fry them up – we really dug into their potential, Hank did 4 preparations, one of which he claims on camera is the best thing he’s cooked all year. Season 4 of From The Wild is shaping up to be a stunner.