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Living Off the Grid in Paradise



Warrick Mitchell lives deep in one of the world’s most remote locations: Fiordland, New Zealand. His home in the country’s oldest national park is nestled in a vast wildness accessible only by boat or airplane, a four day’s walk from the nearest road. Life in isolation can be hard, but surrounded by breathtaking, pristine natural beauty, plentiful wildlife and a small but tight-knit community that is always willing to lend a hand, Mitchell would have it no other way.

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Island Earth GMO Documentary

Right now the islands of Hawaii are in a food fight of global consequence. Although Hawaii has a rich history as a self-sufficient agricultural society, Hawaiians now import 90% of their food. Hawaii is also ground zero for the world’s biotech companies, which capitalize on the tropical climate and lax environmental laws to test experimental GMO crops year-round.

Island Earth is a feature documentary depicting the struggles and triumphs of people fighting to take back their natural resources from corporations, while exploring what it will really take to “feed the world” through thought-provoking interviews with the world’s top biologists and farmers. By exposing the myth that industrial agriculture is the only way of producing food for our growing population, Island Earth shows how to take control of our food supply through local farming and native wisdoms…

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Black-and-White Photos of '60s Back-to-Land Communes in New Mexico

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No one captured the spirit and essence of the ’60s southwest American communes better than Irwin Klein. With a Leica, black and white film, and natural lighting, he created an authentic and artistic record of this unique and short-lived period of back-to-the-land ’60s idealism.

Poet Gary Snyder, in Earth House Hold, described the ’60s communards: “Men, women and children — all of whom together hoped to follow the timeless path of love and wisdom, in affectionate company with sky, wind, clouds, trees, waters, animals, and grasses — this is the drive.”

In this newly-published book, you can see the optimism, the earnestness, and yes, the impracticalities of these young, mostly urban people who left the cities for the harsh climate of the high desert of New Mexico. Irwin was a photographer who was obviously in tune with his subjects, and they with him, so you are getting an inside look at a period now lost in time, with these spare and insightful photos.

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Lloyd Kahn Talks Shelter in Kirkcaldy

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I have been looking forward to this for a while and it was not a disappointment! Lloyd Kahn is in the back of many self-builders’ cerebral toolboxes for his seminal works as Editor-in-Chief of Shelter Publications, California. His 1973 book Shelter is an incredibly detailed catalogue of building techniques through the ages, illustrated with the personal stories and evocative photos of small houses and cabins collected on his travels throughout the USA and Canada as well as Ireland and the UK…

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Home in a Greenhouse

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When it gets cold and dark during the winter months, people find creative ways to stay warm, from the common-sense approach of wearing layers to more wacky ideas like setting up a tent — indoors — to cut down on the heating bill.

But perhaps one of the most unusual approaches we’ve come across is building a greenhouse around your existing home to heat it up. That’s exactly what this family did near Stockholm, Sweden, by renovating an existing summer home and adding a greenhouse structure outfitted with 4-millimetre single-pane glass around it.

From www.treehugger.com/…

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Organic Farmers Make More Money than Conventional Farmers

There are many great reasons to buy organic food, such as reducing one’s exposure to pesticides, mitigating environmental pollution, improving soil quality, aiding pollination, and eating more nutrient-rich produce. It turns out there’s yet another reason to buy organic — it is a bigger money-maker for farmers, meaning your purchase directly helps farmers to make a better living.

www.treehugger.com/…

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Back From NYC, Off to Oregon Tomorrow

What a jet setter! Home two days and then on an airplane again. To the Mother Earth News Fair in Albany, Oregon (about an hour south of Portland). On Saturday, June 6, at 11:30 AM, I’m doing a presentation on Tiny Homes on the Move; and on Sunday, June 7, at 10 AM, “50 Years of Natural Building.” Both at the Renewable Energy Stage.

These Mother Earth News Fairs are great events. Good vibes. Lots of things I’m interested in. Chickens, sheep, gardening, farming, building, homesteading, cooking, renewable energy, to mention a few. They’re like super-size county fairs.

Info: http://www.motherearthnews.com/fair/schedule-oregon.aspx#sat2ren

I’m getting in two days early, and taking my skateboard. Renting a car and probably heading out to the coast and driving south. I’ll be looking for hills to skate and hunting for barns to photograph. Quite a different kind of trip than NYC.

As usual I have a ton of photos and notes from my NYC trip and will try to get some of it out before too long.

I have a big note next to my keyboard, “No appearances rest of 2015.” I’m going to take a break from publicity/marketing when I get back and get a bunch of things done at home, including homestead chores, crafts projects, more fishing — and getting going on layout of Small Homes, our next book.

Music del día: Phil Spector, 1961–1966. What a genius! (at that time of his life). Da Doo Ron Ron, Be My Baby, Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah…

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Shed of the Year 2015

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A competition to celebrate the best of Britain’s most wacky and wonderful sheds showcases extraordinary creations vying to be crowned “Shed of the Year 2015.” The finalists comprise of the top four sheds in each of the eight categories, and for the second year running will feature on hit TV series “Amazing Spaces Shed of the Year,” produced by Plum Pictures, airing on Channel 4 this summer.

www.shedblog.co.uk/…

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A Horse-Drawn Caravan

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Dear Lloyd,

We send you some pictures from our horse-drawn caravan.

We built our first caravan in order to move with our animals and find a good place to live. All the caravan was made in low-cost or recycled wood; it costs us about 600 euros to do it. It was painted with a melting of ochres, linseed oil and beeswax, applied hot.
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New Video of Lloyd Kahn's Homestead by Kirsten Dirksen, Fair Companies

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Photo by Nicolás Boullosa

Kirsten Dirksen is a filmmaker with Fair Companies, a bilingual media operation that she and her husband Nicolás Boullosa run out of Barcelona. Kirsten is a former TV producer for MTV and the Travel Channel who now focuses on “…community and access to tools on sustainable culture.” She has produced almost 600 videos, an amazing body of work when you consider that it’s the editing, not the shooting, that is so time-consuming. I don’t know how she does it.

We’ve had a bunch of people shoot film (OK, OK, video) around here and they generally take a long time to get set up, then follow a preconceived series of shots and questions.

Kirsten walked in the first time and within 5 minutes, was shooting. We were comfortable with her. She winged it, seeing what we were doing, following us around. On one of her visits, her two little long-haired girls explored the garden and chickens and Nicolás shot photos.

…[more on full post page]…

One thing I love about this video is that she recognized what Lesley is doing in her life and with her garden, her art, and her attitude towards a home. Often that gets missed in people coming here to see me.
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Contractor Bid Deadline Today: West Oakland Urban Farm And Park Project

Kind of late notice, but we just got a request in for contractor bids for this West Oakland Urban Farm And Park Project. They need to be filed by tomorrow morning (Thursday, May 7).

Hi, Lloyd,

I work at City Slicker Farms, an Oakland non-profit working on food self-sufficiency. We’re now accepting contractor bids for the new West Oakland Farm and Park Project that will be built this year. It’s late notice, I know, but I’d love it if you and your readers got involved with the project!

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Fifty Free eBooks on Homesteading

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Learn tried-and-true methods of building and maintaining your small farm or homestead from these free ebooks on homesteading created from historic U.S. Department of Agriculture books and bulletins.

The University of North Texas provides online editions of thousands of United States government-sponsored books and documents. Here’s a small sampling of USDA publications from the 1930s through the 1960s. These old works do not show the latest and best methods, but they are still valuable for ideas.
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