Sustainability

Peak Moment - Grow Your Food in a Nook and Cranny Garden Pt2

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"We're here to help form things. We have a food forest mimicking what the natural forest does." Ann and Gord Baird's edible gardens make use of less-than-ideal growing spaces on their rocky knoll. Nook and cranny gardens optimize micro-climates -- water catchment for perennial plants, rocks that retain warmth to extend the growing period, and trees providing fuel, food and shade. They are transitioning away from the annual food plants. As more perennials get established, they're becoming foragers rather than cultivators.

Peak Moment - Grow Your Food in a Nook and Cranny Garden Pt1

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"Chickens are naturally forest birds." A tour of Gord and Ann Baird's edible landscape starts at the off-grid chicken house and yard, containing fruit trees that provide a protective canopy against flying predators. Roof rainwater becomes drinking water for the chickens, whose “rototilling” has prepared land now being planted in grains — for themselves and people. Don't miss Hannah Hen catching a berry in mid-air! Then visit a Hobbit-ish above-ground root cellar built of cob, where cheeses, vegetables, and beer stay cool and dry.

Peak Moment - Beyond Cabbage - The Fermentistas Show Us How

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Let’s cultivate fermented food not only because it’s healthy, but for the wonderfully rich diversity of flavors! That’s what Kirsten K. Shockey and Christopher Shockey encourage. These food entrepreneurs show us how easy it is to make sauerkraut: slice and salt cabbage, scrunch it to get brine, press into a jar, weight it down, let it sit for a few days.

Peak Moment - The Bean and Grain Project - Outperforming Chemical Agriculture

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The Southern Williamette Bean and Grain Project is exploring bean, grain, and edible seed varieties which can be added to those already grown in Oregon’s Willamette Valley. Oregon Tilth co-founder and farmer Harry MacCormack shares wisdom and stories about farms transitioning from chemical to organic farming. His book The Transition Document: Toward a Biologically Resilient Agriculture is a compendium of organic practices, like using compost tea to feed soil micro-organisms.

Peak Moment - Natural Buildings for Urban Living Pt2

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The Craftsman-style bungalow looks normal on the outside, but the surprise is on the inside: straw bales inside the framing provide super insulation. Natural builder Lydia Doleman designed this 800-square-foot small-footprint house to last centuries, with its metal roof and strong foundation. She used reclaimed lumber and recycled materials extensively. Hot water pipes warm the earthen floors and replace energy-intensive concrete. Day-to-day usage is low impact: composting toilet, vegetative roof and rainwater catchment, LED lighting, and solar hot water.

Peak Moment - Natural Buildings for Urban Living Pt1

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Wanting to demonstrate that “cities can be less impactful on the planet,” natural builder Lydia Doleman bought and remodeled a Portland house to demonstrate her values. Composting toilets reduce water usage while feeding the soil. Growing food shortens dependencies. Building materials were recycled and/or less toxic. She revised the floor plan to create spaces which encourage shared living rather than separate spaces. She also built Portland’s first permitted straw bale residence a cob studio and. Take a tour with Lydia in part 2.

Peak Moment - How Many Community Gardens

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Having learned "How Much Food Can I Grow Around My House?" (Peak Moment 87), Judy Alexander kept right on going. As chair of the Local 2020 Food Resiliency Action Group in Port Townsend, WA, she helped initiate 25 community gardens in her county within four years. Sitting in her own neighborhood's garden, she talks about the power of cooperative gardens compared with individual plots. There's something for people of all ages and skills to do (even non-gardeners), while enjoying learning from one another, and building closer neighbors and a more secure community.

Peak Moment - Sharing Gardens - Chris Burns, Llyn Peabody

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More than a community garden, this sharing garden provides fresh produce for all who've contributed to it, with surplus going to the local food bank. Coordinators Chris Burns and Llyn Peabody note that with one large plot rather than separate plots, Alpine Sharing Garden enables more efficient food production — from watering to optimizing for pollinators. They share tips for getting started, garden planning, communicating with volunteers, garden practices like deep mulch, and especially the joy of giving without expecting a return.

Peak Moment - Your Personal Baker - A Bakery CSA, Jen Ownbey

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Watch baker Jen Ownbey whip up a batch of zucchini bread while she talks with Janaia about doing what she loves. Every week, members of her bakery CSA (community supported agriculture) get a handmade, local, mostly organic, and even personalized box of breads and bakery desserts. Jen talks about getting started, selling wholesale and at growers markets, plus the joys, lessons, and challenges of running a solo business.

Peak Moment - Four Acres and Independence, A Self-Sufficient Farmstead, Mark Cooper

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Take a tour, accompanied by curious sheep and geese, of Mark Cooper's self-sufficient small farm. Over several years, he transformed a rundown house and hillsides of berry brambles into pasture and gardens where he produces and preserves most of his family's food. Visit the Goose Grotto in a constructed pond, a heritage fruit tree orchard, logs producing shiitake mushrooms, and a cheap-and-easy container kitchen garden. Mark gives us a close-up view of the solar dehydrator he constructed from salvaged materials — and his tips on food drying.