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.

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Visit the Permablitz site to learn more.


New French edition of The Resilient Farm and Homestead available

Great news for French-speaking fans of Ben Falk’s The Resilient Farm and Homestead: An Innovative Permaculture and Whole Systems Design Approach. The French language translation is now available from Imagine Un Colibri, from French booksellers, and on Amazon.fr. Falk’s book is a technical manual that details the strategies he and his team have developed for […] Read More

How to Make Biochar

Doing some spring cleaning around your property? By making biochar from brush and other hard-to-compost organic material, you can improve soil—it enhances nutrient availability and also enables soil to retain nutrients longer. This excerpt from The New Farmer’s Almanac, Volume 3, explains how to get started. To make biochar right in your garden, start by […] Read More

Generosity as Activism, and Other Homesteading Principles to Live By

“Like everyone I know, we occasionally find ourselves faced with a decision to which there is no obvious answer,” says Ben Hewitt, coauthor of The Nourishing Homestead. “Do we borrow money to build a bigger barn, or do we keep getting by with what we have? Do we spend our meager savings on trees and […] Read More

Pass the Walnut Syrup?

Everyone knows and loves maple syrup, and in some states (like Chelsea Green’s home state of Vermont), it’s big business. However, it’s a widespread myth that maples are the only trees that can be tapped to produce sap, according to Michael Farrell, sugarmaker and director of Cornell University’s Uihlein Forest. Sap can also be collected […] Read More

4 Books for Growing Food in Winter

Don’t let cold weather stop you from producing and enjoying your own food. For many, the coming of winter simply means cultivation moves indoors or under cover. Small farmers, homesteaders, home gardeners, and commercial growers can extend the growing season with techniques outlined in these essential books. There’s no need for urbanites and small-space dwellers […] Read More
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