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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.


The Miracle of Farming: Toward a Bio-Abundant Future

Charles and Perrine Hervé-Gruyer’s Le Ferme du Bec Hellouin is a celebrated model of innovative, ecological agriculture in Europe, connected to national and international organizations addressing food security, heralded by celebrity chefs as well as the Slow Food movement, and featured in the inspiring César and COLCOA award-winning documentary film, Demain (Tomorrow).In this excerpt from their […] Read More

Sow Seeds: Stop Walking Around Doing Nothing

“In the last one hundred years, 94 percent of seed varieties available at the turn of the century in America and considered a part of the human commons have been lost.”That’s one of the key takeaways in award-winning author and activist Janisse Ray’s book, The Seed Underground: A Growing Revolution to Save Food. In her book, Ray […] Read More

True or false? Figs contain dead wasps

They are trees of life and trees of knowledge. They are wish-fulfillers … rainforest royalty … more precious than gold. They are the fig trees, and they have affected humanity in profound but little-known ways. Gods, Wasps and Stranglers tells their amazing story.Fig trees fed our pre-human ancestors, influenced diverse cultures and played key roles […] Read More

Imagination, Purpose & Flexibility: Creating an Independent Farmstead – Q&A (part 1)

Twenty years ago, the land that authors Shawn and Beth Dougherty purchased and have come to name the Sow’s Ear was deemed “not suitable for agriculture” by the state of Ohio. Today, their family raises and grows 90% of their own food.Such self-sufficiency is largely the result of basing their farming practices around intensive pasture […] Read More

Eight Seed-Saving Myths

You don’t have to move to Svalbard, Norway in order to have access to a seed bank.Author and plant breeder Carol Deppe believes that every gardener should have her own seed bank. Even if you aren’t a seed saver, you should have your own seed bank. Even if you never experience any disaster beyond the […] Read More
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