Chelsea Green Publishing

Chelsea Green Blog

WATCH: Eat the Suburbs: Peak Oil and Permablitz Gardening

Eat the Suburbs: Gardening for the End of the Oil Age does a fine job of drawing a line from peak oil to food security.

In this short film by Tanya Curnow, Richard Heinberg explains peak oil thusly:

Peak oil is a geological peak. It’s not just a problem of not drilling enough wells or not throwing enough money at the problem. When the first well is sunk into an oil field, it’s under pressure. The oil rushes out. It’s very easy to extract. As time goes on the pressure declines—we have to start pumping the oil, and beyond a certain point it is physically impossible to continue increasing the rate of extraction. So there’s a natural kind of bell-shaped curve of recovery for any given oil field, and that’s peak oil.

And as society adjusts to the downward side of the curve, a fundamental change to the energy infrastructure of modern society will need to take place— either voluntarily, now, while we may still be able to do something about it, or by necessity later, when it will be much more painful. One lawn-turned-food garden may not make much of a difference, but millions of backyard vegetable gardens would certainly aid in the transition to a post-peak world. That’s where the permablitz comes in.

In a permablitz, a bunch of folks get together to share their knowledge and skills about food production in a sort of permaculture-based home makeover. Watch the film to see what I’m talking about.

Visit the Permablitz site to learn more.


Inside the Rise of the Local Grains Movement

Our daily bread. Breaking bread together. Bread and butter. These are all common phrases that reflect bread’s foundational role in our diet and in the building of our civilization. The stored energy of grain first allowed our ancestors to shift from nomadic hunting and gathering to building settled communities—even great cities. So why in an […] Read More..

3 Ways Spraying More Herbicides on Public Land is Bad

The following is a guest post by Tao Orion, author of Beyond the War on Invasive Species. It is an open letter to the US Bureau of Land Management (BLM) regarding its proposal to add three new herbicides for invasive species management on western public lands. Find out below, how you can voice your concerns […] Read More..

Arid Agriculture: How to Reduce Heat Stress in Crops and Livestock

Regardless of where you stand on the climate change issue, there’s one reality few can deny. During the summer, many places in North America are now regularly suffering temperatures above 100˚F, whereas they rarely did in the past. It’s also widely known that such high temperatures put heat stress on crops that are not very […] Read More..

When it Comes to Invasive Species, Just Say NO to Eradication

What if we looked beyond the notion of invasive species as enemies, and instead harnessed them for beneficial uses? Beyond the War on Invasive Species offers just such a bold alternative to the chemical and intensive eradication efforts, one that is holistic and inspired by permaculture principles. First-time author Tao Orion makes a compelling case […] Read More..

A Conversation with Medicinal Herb Farmers Jeff and Melanie Carpenter

In their new book, The Organic Medicinal Herb Farmer, Jeff and Melanie Carpenter offer a business guide and farming manual on how to successfully grow and market organic medicinal herbs. The Carpenters cover the basic practical information any grower needs to get an organic herb farm up and running, including size and scale considerations, soil […] Read More..