Holly Brown

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since Dec 29, 2011
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Recent posts by Holly Brown

Most FREE resources for dietary change, and recipes, plus a support forum: http://www.drmcdougall.com/
Popular diet that's going mainstream: http://engine2diet.com/
LOTS of great recipes: http://blog.fatfreevegan.com/

hth
8 years ago
We are newbie beekeepers, and I have found loads of helpful info by joining this group on Yahoo! http://pets.groups.yahoo.com/group/Organicbeekeepers/?yguid=370403239 It is moderated by Dee Lusby who is just an incredible force behind natural beekeeping. Michael Bush is also a great resource: http://www.bushfarms.com/bees.htm Just last week we added a box to our hive, and added in frames without foundation, to allow the bees to form and build their own foundation naturally. I am very interested to see how they do with this. HTH
8 years ago
We are lucky enough to live in a county where the local SWA (Solid Waste Authority) gives away free compost (it is really black gold!) and mulch (not so pretty, but it works). So you can check out that sort of option. I also read somewhere recently (forgot where) about how someone topped their hugelkultur off with horse manure, let it sit for a while, and then planted. Horse manure should be free, you just have to live close to a horse-owner and be willing to come and get it. Check Craigslist. You may want to ask about whether they have given worming meds to their horses recently, though. I will probably try to do this for a hugelkultur I started for my parents this summer. It was so big, that my Dad didn't want to buy that much dirt to cover it, so it is still bare. DH and I can cover it when we visit at Thanksgiving, they can let it sit and plant it in the spring. HTH, let us know what you figure out.
8 years ago
Okay, I moved it. Thanks, Paul. ~ Holly
9 years ago
Thank you so much for stopping by and answering my questions, Toby! I plan on sharing your work with as many people as possible! I especially appreciate your post "Is Food the Last Thing to Worry About?" Since I only recently had my peak oil "moment" and have been kind of obsessed about this type of issue, it really put my mind at ease. I am looking forward to reading all of your archived blog posts.

I did want to reply to a statement in one of your blog posts relating to population, since there are no comments allowed there. You said, "I cannot help but wonder if eating high on the food chain via meat, since it will reduce population, is ultimately a more responsible act than eating low on the food chain with grains, which will promote larger populations. At some point humans need to get the message to slow their breeding."
Since I just this morning read a great article about population linked to by another person on this forum (sorry I can't remember who!) I couldn't help but pause here. Here's the article: http://www.ishmael.org/Education/Writings/kentstate.cfm

My thought is, based on what Mr Quinn wrote, is that I would have to argue that the act of eating meat would not per se reduce the population. He notes that as we create more food via fossil fuel usage, this creates more people of all kind (rich/poor, well-fed/hungry, etc), but never does the increase in production go to those existing starving folks---it always just increases the population.

A few points that come to my mind: To produce much of the meat the way we do in current society, those animals are fed on mostly grains, produced in the same agriculture manner you describe as so harmful.

With the amount of food easily and cheaply available today, most people in developed countries can still access sufficient meat calories affordably to the point where they can have large or overlarge families. Those who can't (ie third world countries) are probably already very poor and are seeing their own children starving/dying or are having more miscarriages, stillbirths, etc. (A fascinating read on how calorie intake influences women's fertility, and thus reproductive capacity over their lifetime is "Mother Nature" by Sara Hrdy.) This is a different context than over hunting in a foraging context.

Finally, it has been consistently shown that increased education, opportunities and equality within a society for women will tend to lower birth rates. Access to meat is already tilted toward rich countries having more and poor having less because meat costs more. So those better-off meat-eating folks already tend to have smaller families by virtue of being in countries where that is the case. (Of course, omitting folks having large families for religious or other reasons).

Full disclosure, I am a lifelong vegetarian, so I am completely biased. But, when I found out about permaculture, it really seemed to completely mesh with my vegetarian ideals. Even for people who will continue to choose meat in the future of less oil, surely, they will have to be surviving on a more varied diet that includes more fruits & veggies, (replacing both meat and a lot of breads, pastas, etc) since I hardly see us having much success without a permaculture solution. Even without cheap oil, and done maybe within a permaculture context, I believe it will still take a good bit more calories to create each calorie of meat, which would naturally push meat in the diet to a lower percentage overall.

Thanks again for all your work!
9 years ago
Thank you so much for stopping by and answering my questions, Toby! I plan on sharing your work with as many people as possible! I especially appreciate your post "Is Food the Last Thing to Worry About?" Since I only recently had my peak oil "moment" and have been kind of obsessed about this type of issue, it really put my mind at ease. I am looking forward to reading all of your archived blog posts.
9 years ago
Thanks so much! This is just what I needed to hear--no major errors in thinking and encouragement. Your right about the dryness -- I have noticed a major drop in our seasonal 3pm rains that I grew up with down here. We are often on water restrictions. Very sad, as I have really fond memories of those...and it worries me.

I was actually just thinking of the ventilation aspect yesterday while standing under our akee tree and feeling the breeze. We had just cut off many low-hanging branches a couple weeks back to clear room for my laundry line, and that plus a bit of other cutting back had really improved the ventilation in our fenced-in backyard.

Paul- you would be glad to hear that after viewing your hugelkulture page a few days back, my husband started one with a bunch of dried palm fronds, those akee branches and some other brush he had pruned. Now I just have to haul in a LOT of dirt to get it going! Thanks again to both of you gentlemen, I am looking forward to seeing what I can learn from observation and practice in this first year of my permaculture adventure. ~ Holly
9 years ago
"There are nearly one billion malnourished people in the world, but the approximately 40 million tonnes of food wasted by US households, retailers and food services each year would be enough to satisfy the hunger of every one of them."

"The UK, US and Europe have nearly twice as much food as is required by the nutritional needs of their populations. Up to half the entire food supply is wasted between the farm and the fork. If crops wastefully fed to livestock are included, European countries have more than three times more food than they need, while the US has around four times more food than is needed, and up to three-quarters of the nutritional value is lost before it reaches people's mouths."

"8.3 million hectares of land required to produce just the meat and dairy products wasted in UK homes and in US homes, shops and restaurants. That is 7 times the amount of Amazon rainforest destroyed in Brazil in one year, largely for cattle grazing and soy production to export for livestock feed."

http://www.feeding5k.org/food-waste-facts.php

9 years ago
I am a complete newbie who just found out about permaculture (via understanding peak oil, etc at the Crash Course, and then finding Transition) and only recently joined up. I am making my way through Gaia's Garden but am not quite done yet. So, naturally my first feelings are kind of gung ho, and I would like to do stuff. So far, I have found a supplier of local free mulch and can get free compost at my SWA and I have been stocking up on these as I can. I also found a local source for granite, marble, limestone dust. These are all great and encouraging, BUT the really exciting aspect of design in permaculture is where I really would like to do something but am a bit intimidated about what to do.

The most exciting thing I learned initially in Gaia's Garden was the concept of capturing and storing water in my landscape with swales. I live in SE Florida (Palm Beach Cty) and have less than a 1/4 acre on a city lot with very sandy soil and a FLAT yard. The only slope is the swales are sloped a bit to run water into the street (naturally something I want to stop, without getting cited by the city for digging up the swales too much! Also, there is a VERY slight gradation of the lawn toward the house. I don't want this to prevent me from capturing water, but am rather at a loss as to where to start here. Do I plan a trench around the perimeter of the yard to keep water from going out? Or do I do some type of fish scale swales contoured according to existing trees or planned trees?

Okay, now for my real conundrum. I want to create a REALLY cool micro-climate for my yard. This is South Florida, so right now it is gorgeous, but I do currently run the AC for about 6-7 months out of the year to combat the humidity and heat. Obviously this is not desirable. We already have a few mid-size trees and two large trees established in the yard, plus a few of newer small trees. I was wondering if since you could create "heat traps" with "U" shaped planting arrangement of trees, would that also work in reverse? For example, if the bottom of the "U" faced south, around the house would that help to block out the heat? If so, wouldn't that require many years of growth to get the needed height and shade casting? Is there anything else (relatively easy) I can do in the shorter term to cool my yard, and therefore my house?

Finally, would a strategy of planting lots of different legumes around the yard and encircling my existing trees be a viable first thing to do while figuring out my long-term design and saving up to buy my various fruit trees, etc? Would there by anything I should be aware of before doing this. (Although, admittedly I already threw quite a few under my low-producing tangerine the other day--black eyed peas, kidney beans, green "split" peas, cow peas..)

Thanks for any advice!

Holly Brown
9 years ago
Contact a local school (or church or community center etc) and volunteer to get a hugelkultur garden started there with the help of the students after school or as a class. The school may have enough debris from usual landscaping to provide a bit of the supply, and other businesses locally like tree trimmers would be more likely to donate if they can just stick their name on it for a good community cause (education as opposed to someone's backyard). Once you have a model, with happy principal, teachers, students, parents.. other's will want to jump on the bandwagon. As this is happening, it may spread to student's homes as they get excited about it and their parents observe. AND, (this is KEY) have one of your students in the group take videos of the process, and then get them posted to YouTube. Have this linked to your article, and whatnot. Internet is great, I love it, but I believe that human to human connection is so powerful and meaningful.