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Posts Tagged ‘eco-friendly’

The future of agriculture in Wales

In eco-friendly, garden, good life, healthy life, Uncategorized on October 4, 2016 at 13:50

Here’s my contribution to the debate

Many small scale experiments for a more resilient future

Now that we have an opportunity to rethink the future of agriculture, land management and the life of rural communities in Wales, let people to experiment and to find out what will work. There is no need to play havoc with all of the rural economy at once but please allow innovation and initiative on a small scale, as long as there is no clear and obvious risk to people, animals and the environment. There must be people willing to experiment, creating all sorts of new businesses, eco-villages, homesteads and seasteads, various intentional communities. Give them a good fighting chance then take evidence-based decisions, not affected by fads or overrated opinions of the most vocal of lobbies. Even then, no government should ever place all eggs in the same basket (be this sheep farming or timber). Diversity in business models and lifestyles improves the resilience of any economy just like biodiversity helps ecosystems to survive changes and hard times.

 

alexfarmboysmallWhy the contribution is important

Presently there are lots of things going wrong with our lives. Our towns are surrounded by countryside but people may feel very distant from it. The farmland creates backdrop to their lives but is inaccessible due to lack of footpaths, public transport and human connection to the farming community, lack of internet – and lack of interest too. This is not a healthy relationship. The people are suffering, stuck to cities and towns with ridiculously small gardens and manicured parks. People need real nature and countryside for mental and physical health. People need fresh quality food, need connection to the land and to the community. So, we need our intelligence to develop a way of living in harmony with nature, surrounded by nature everywhere where we are. I am thinking in the direction of sustainable small scale farming, food forests, “garden cities”, decentralisation, edible landscapes, living roofs and walls, passive houses, forest farming, green burial sites, silvopasture, permaculture, aquaponics, real community gardens serving real communities, etc. – whatever works. I believe human activity and flourishing could be conducted within a healthy ecosystem made of us, our stuff, wide variety of plants and animals.

I am an artist and a geographer interested in creating a prototype semi-rural intentional community (an eco-village, an eco-block or an eco-neighborhood), an ongoing experiment for a better way of living, more sufficient and efficient, closer to Nature, working with the help from newest technology. An open lab of an honest, creative and compassionate life, strong friendly community, better health and well-being. Doing research into reintroducing wildlife, into more efficient food production and waste recycling systems, into automation, working on the new ways to get energy, new building methods, new educational systems, restoring useful agricultural and building practices from the past, and so on. People of various interests and abilities creating better lives for themselves, their friends, neighbours and families, ultimately, for the whole Earth. In the world obsessed with divisions this should be a place of honest enquiry, free of prejudices and any party rhetoric.

What we need is relaxing of planing permissions and other regulations for experimental / alternative communities, eco-villages, or self-built houses; we need land and we need grants. It is vitally important that public money won’t go to some smoke screen / green wash projects for clever bureaucrats but to real people building real future. There also should not be any exploitation of vulnerable and gullible “volunteers”, like in some modern social enterprises. People who will be living and working in those future communities are also the best candidates for building them.

The wast green spaces of Wales are treasures. We have a chance to make them also different to all other rural parts of the world in being a magnet for innovation and future-friendly experiment, brain-and skill- gain rather than drain, place for openness and cooperation, honest work for common good.

 

If you are interested in participating, please join the New Good Town project athttp://goodnewtown.uk/ and our Facebook page athttps://www.facebook.com/groups/goodnewtown/

by AlexandraCook on October 04, 2016 at 11:27AM

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Dream House

In about me, eco-friendly, gardening, good life, organic on October 12, 2009 at 11:25

Etsy site is having maintenance at the moment so they put this video for people to watch:
[blip.tv http://blip.tv/play/oF6BopZbAg%5D

That’s probably the closest thing I’ve ever seen to my imaginary dream house. Being a child I have been daydreaming about 3-4 families of friends living self-sufficiently in a very close tied community (but it looked a bit more Siberian, less Californian!). Even now, when my daughter got Sims3 game and I sometime play it, I desperately try to build a homestead like this. What if I found some like-minded people and we could build something like that near Aberythwyth?… Enough day dreaming, back to work!

Pelargonium Sanctuary

In Uncategorized on October 5, 2009 at 08:40

 

Is it just me, or somebody else feels sad looking at perennial flowers being dumped at the end of summer by numerous gardeners?

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Pelargonium Sanctuary

In about me, autumn, eco-friendly, gardening, good life, winter on October 5, 2009 at 08:36


Is it just me, or somebody else feels sad looking at perennial flowers being dumped at the end of summer by numerous gardeners? Even hardy ones. Recently I found (on brambles-covered land locally known as “dump”) a couple of perfectly healthy Pelargonium/ geranium plants and rescued them. I bring my geraniums indoors in winter to save from the frost and because I think the are SO beautiful against the background of fresh falling snow outdoors.

(the pretty photo is not mine – I’ve got similar ones somewhere, but they are a bit difficult to find at the moment).

Wild Food in September: Himalayan Balsam and Cherry Laurel fruit

In cooking, eco-friendly, healthy life, organic, wild nature on September 27, 2009 at 06:29

Both invasive (but beautiful) plants are abundant by the river where I live (Wales). Cherry trees have plenty of fruit, and the balsam has flowers and seeds on different stages of ripening at the same time. After reading the articles here and there, I collected some wild food (under surprised glances from some locals) and made cherry laurel and Himalayan balm petals jam (I added to it a little bit of orange juice and plenty of brown sugar). I had to do quite a lot of skimming. Now I am very happy with the jam, its dark (apart from little bits of chopped pink petals) and doesn’t taste too sweet, in fact it reminds me of true cherry jam cooked with pits (mine one was without pits). We don’t eat much jam at all, so I made just a little, mostly to use later as a middle layer in cakes. As for Balsam seeds I found them very tasty, sort of nut-like, but they don’t need shelling. I hope to collect more before the winter. Happy foraging!

Solanum muricatum

In car-free living, eco-friendly, gardening, good life on May 7, 2009 at 11:18

A very interesting & useful plant database:

http://www.pfaf.org/index.php

Planted Solanum muricatum (bought from Lidl) today. Sound too good to be true – perennial tomato which tastes like melon, an Ancient American crop plant. I hope it will survive!

I’m doing my gardening in an non-intrusive manner, encouraging useful plants which appear by themselves and with the ones I plant, I’m not forcing them to grow in my garden if they don’t want to. Certainly no pesticides or non-organic fertilizers. My biggest problems are slugs and snails plus the fact that the compost bags in most shops are too heavy to carry without a car.

Toxic fumes

In eco-friendly, good life, healthy life, kids, moral issues on May 1, 2009 at 10:22

If you smell something, it means there are some particles or droplets in the air. We inhale them.

Its good that smoking doesn’t regarded as harmless anymore. Yet its difficult to avoid the second hand smoke. Very often here in Newtown, when I’m at the playground with my kids, I can see a mother and a father with a pram coming, sitting on the bench and… starting smoking. Or it rains cats and dogs, we are waiting at a tiny bus shelter and suddenly a person next to us is starting smoking… Its not so much the government to blame but the people who doesn’t care if they cause discomfort (headaches, coughs, etc) or even are harming others health.

And its not just cigarette smoke. I remember starting to have a terrible headache several times when somebody next to me obviously used lost of synthetic perfume in public transport or gym. Its probably just as harmful. And all this room-fresheners, tumble-dryer additives etc.

Anyway, its such a joy to create an unique smell with natural essential oils instead of buying something with ingredients totally unknown to you. And there are plenty of books with recipes for this in libraries.

Shopping trolly

In car-free living, eco-friendly, shopping on March 31, 2009 at 13:17

It would certainly increase the number of people shopping without using their cars if we were allowed to take standard BIG shopping trolleys strait to the doors of our homes.

Broken Solar Panels

In art, eco-friendly, moral issues, xenophobia on December 8, 2008 at 13:00

There is a house not far away from ours. Just one more of the simple 70s dwellings. It is the only one (as far as I know) having solar water heating system in the area. And it is BROKEN. I don’t know what had happened but it looks like somebody had thrown a stone at it from the street, breaking this expensive piece of technology and the owners couldn’t afford to (or just didn’t wanted to) replace it. Some people don’t forgive you for being different, be it an accent or solar panels…

Another sad thing, I’ve noticed quite a lot of desperate messaged from artists on the net like “this recession kills me”, “I have to lower my prices for a time being” and so on… Well, somebody actually told me that people may invest in art during depression as its price ought to go up eventually. So, lets hope for the best!

Fighting additives

In cooking, eco-friendly, good life, healthy life, kids, organic on November 20, 2008 at 09:52

An interesting site about natural living:
http://www.imperfectlynatural.com/index.php
I’ve read Janey Lee Grace book “Imperfectly Natural Woman” last year and in some respect it was an eye-opener, especially about unnatural fragrances and other additives. Well I think most people still don’t suspect that if you can smell something – there is some substance in the air and it may be very bad for you. Natural essential oils are easy available, I think lavender (for headache and just very nice smell), Olbas (oil mix for blocked noses) and tea tree (for scratches, etc) are must have in any household. But people still use artificial perfume dispensers to mask perfectly natural cooking smells… Instead you can either open the window, or peel an orange, or boil a bit of apple with cinnamon. I sometime put some mandarin peel in the microwave or hot oven (just for few minutes).

Few years ago I bought a little packet of child juice drink (you know, that square type, with a straw) and found out it was full of artificial colourings. Why??? There is no way a child could see what color is his drink inside the carton.

Another thing which bothers me is additives (colorings, flavourings, even perfume) in medicines. Why again??? I’m an adult person and can swallow any bitter pill if really needed. Even kids at eight can. As our funny doctor said: stick it into his baked beans…

Saying all that, I still have lots of problems trying to feed my family healthy food. I don’t have a strong will, and even small amount of nagging, moaning, screaming or frowning makes me give up. My son often points to me how much factory made food is better than mine. All those E numbers which enhance the flavour plus I’m not a very good cook… Well yesterday improvisational “curry” sauce was a success and I even was asked to make more of it:

Take 2 chopped onions, 2 garlic cloves, some fresh ginger, a teaspoon of
oil, a little bit of lime, cranberry and orange juice, plus a lot of your
favorite dry curry spices (e.g. coriander seed, chili, cinnamon, allspice, curry
leaves, black pepper and so on) and put with enough water in a food processor.
Process until smooth then gently boil for 5-10 min, adding creamed
coconut. Could be added to meat or vegetables when they are almost
ready.

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