DYI Seed Bombs for wildflowers & Guerilla Gardening

I stumbled upon some alluring images the other day of colored seed bombs. I was interested in purchasing a few but they were sold out. Luckily there were no more left, because it only enforced my determination to learn more about them. I did a little research trying to find a local carrier, when it suddenly came to me why don’t I just make them myself!”

I remembered I had a bag of Wildflower seeds stacked away that I had bought not to long ago to attract hummingbirds. When I saw the ingredients called for clay, composte, water, and wildflower seeds I was really excited because I was already equipped and ready to go. There were a few different recipes to choose from, some with coloured recycled paper, but I opted for the more ancient traditional one made with clay. Since they lacked colour, I decided to just add a bit of rose petals, lavender, and calendula, elderberry seeds, and sumac in the mix to give it a subtle natural colour boost.

The plan is to Seed Bomb Valhalla this weekend! They say its best to bomb just before rainfall. Looking forward to see the mysterious flowers, that will one day miraculously bloom at Valhalla.

Ps: you might want to give people heads up that the seed bombs are not edible (hence clay & compost ) as you can see by the picture they could easily be mistaken for dessert 😉

What are Seed Bombs?

A seed bomb is a seed that has been wrapped in soil materials, usually a mixture of clay and compost, and then dried. Essentially, the seed is ‘pre-planted’ and can be sown by depositing the seed ball anywhere suitable for the species, keeping the seed safely until the proper germination window arises. Seed balls are an easy and sustainable way to cultivate plants in a way that provides a larger window of time when the sowing can occur. They also are a convenient dispersal mechanism for guerrilla gardeners and people with achy backs.


Seed bombs may have been used by the Ancient Egyptians to seed the receding banks of The Nile after annual floods. They have been used in Asia and elsewhere, especially in arid regions, because of their ability to keep the seeds safe until conditions are favorable for germination, and the ease at which they can be distributed.

In the Carolinas in the 1700’s, West African slaves, predominantly women, were brought in to cultivate rice using a seed ball technique that was used in Africa. Rice seeds were coated in clay, dried, and pressed into the mud flats with the heel of the foot. This served two purposes, protecting the seed from the birds, and also preventing it from floating off when the fields were flooded.

More recently, Japanese agricultural renegade, Masanobu Fukuoka, began exploring the use of seed balls (nendo dango in Japanese) to help improve food production in post WWII Japan. His research and outreach efforts has brought the seed ball back into the public eye. Today, seed balls are fun for green-minded kids and adults, and are also an important tool of the guerrilla gardening movement.


Air Dry Clay



Wild flower Seeds ( preferably organic non gmo if possible)

*Optional: Dried Lavender, Elderberry seeds, Roses, Calendula, sumac for color.


For the dried clay mix 5 parts clay with 1 part compost and 1 part flower seeds, put some careful drops of water into the mixture (make sure not to make it into a goopy mess), Knead with hands into a ball, flatten it out and cut to desired size. Now just make into a small ball and let it dry in the sun. If you want to add color, roll the balls it to a tray of herbs.

Bernie Sanders Vows to Protect Organic Farming, Calls Out Monsanto As Presidential Campaign Heats Up

Unlike most of the top candidates, Vermont senator Bernie Sanders has a long history of speaking out against big corporations, factory farming, and the Biotech giants. As early as 1994 he was fighting against companies such as Monsanto using chemicals that impact human and animal health. He was also one of the few senators that introduced the Farm Bill that would require labeling of any genetically engineered ingredients in food.


Unlike another candidate running on the democratic platform Hilary Clinton who fully supports GMOs, Sanders believes that the biotech companies are “transforming our agricultural system in a bad way.” He says that he stands for the right of the people to know what is in our food (through mandatory GMO labeling that he helped pass in Vermont, an effort that the GMO giants are trying to block through the DARK Act) and supports family-owned and organic agriculture.

During a private dinner event on December 27 th, Sanders spoke about how to make sure our food is healthy and our farming is ethical, as well as other big issues that his campaign stands for.

“The debate should be – how do we make sure that the food our kids are eating is healthy food. And having the courage to take on these huge food and biotech companies who are transforming our agricultural system in a bad way,”

– Sen. Bernie Sanders

He also goes off on the fossil fuel industry, saying it’s past due time we start to shift toward renewable and alternative energy.

Perhaps the most exciting part of his speech happens a few minutes in as he describes the food scene in his home state, where organic farming and farmer’s markets are becoming commonplace.

Bernie Sanders

“We have hundreds of farmers markets (in Vermont), you’ll find people buying food, beef and poultry directly from farmers, and there’s a growing farm to school pipeline,”

“It’s something we’ve worked very hard on and I think all over this country people are concerned about the quality of food their kids are eating.”

Sanders goes on to talk about how his own additions to the Farm Bill would help make this vision a reality for people across the country, and also calls out Monsanto on a key food and GMO-related topic that is being completely ignored by the mainstream media once again.

He also gets a few shots in against the factory farm industry. “We need legislation and efforts designed not to protect factory farming, corporate farming but to protect family-based agriculture,” he says.

You can watch the full speech by clicking here.


[Photo Credit: E.Hernandez & DonkeyHotey]

Sorry Monsanto: Organic Food Demand Is Absolutely Exploding

To any current or ex-employees of Monsanto, Valhalla would like to offer itself as a potential employer at our farm, legal or media teams. Just write to us at [email protected]
There is place for everyone in this new world we’re building.

You can attribute this change in market demand to education. You can attribute it to the mass awakening happening around the planet. But either way, you can’t argue with the numbers. Eating organic is no longer ‘fringe’ or something done solely by health-nuts and athletes, hippies, and paranoids. In fact, consumer demand for organic food is seeing double digit growth year over year, and it doesn’t show signs of stopping.

Over 20,000 stores now offer organic food products. A report has shown that in 2012, more than $28.4 million was spent on healthful organic food, and that number has grown since the report published such findings. According to Nutrition Business Journal, organic food sales will reach a startling $35 billion this year. For those of us who don’t take our health for granted, this is just the beginning of a food revolution.

We’re eating better in every category of food, too, not just organic apple and oranges. People are boycotting toxic food-producing companies faster than you can say ‘lawsuit’ as they realize we’ve been lied to. People now know that something made in vats with chemical additives or spliced and diced with GMOs is anything but ‘natural.’

We are turning away from companies like Kellogg’s and Pepsi-Co, Coca-Cola, and Kraft to companies that we can actually trust – companies that don’t sell us non-food and call it food.

Organic Tomatoes Lawrence Miglialo Valhalla Farms
Organic Tomatoes. [Taken at Valhalla Farms in Montreal, Canada]
Or how about putting harmful additives used to make yoga mats in bread, as Subway once did before individuals pressured them to remove azodicarbonamide from their food? We just won’t sit silent anymore. Even beer companies are feeling the pressure to not only disclose toxic ingredients, but to change their ways, and stop using them.

While fresh fruits and vegetables leading the way in organics for the past three decades, and accounting for 43% of U.S. organic food sales in 2012, dairy, bread, packaged foods, snack foods, meat, poultry, seafood, and even condiments are seeing an up-turn in organic sales.

For now, individuals are purchasing their organic foods primarily through conventional and natural food supermarkets and chains, according to the Organic Trade Association (OTA), but this is also changing as more people turn to food co-ops and even neighbors for fresh, organic food.

We’ve come a long way since the organic food movement’s beginnings. Yes, our grandparents and great-grandparents just grew… food. They didn’t even call it organic, though they often didn’t use pesticides or herbicides, and certainly not petroleum-based or chemical fertilizers.

Lawrence Potato ORganic Photography HiRes
Organic Potatoes. [Taken at Valhalla Farm in Montreal, Canada]
The modern organic movement began at the same time as industrialized agriculture. It began in Europe around the 1920s, when a group of farmers and consumers sought alternatives to the industrialization of agriculture. In Britain, the organic movement had gathered pace in the 1940’s. Today, people around the world, from the US to Bhutan, are asking for, and even growing organic food.

Indeed, growing our own food is becoming an absolutely essential part of our collective future.

In the same way that petrochemical companies don’t want to see the impending evolution of solar and wind power, Big Ag doesn’t want to accept what is happening with our food consciousness. We know better now, and so we ask for better. Our wallets are truly determining the future food landscape.

#EarthToParis: If You Really Want To Avert Climate Disaster Then Read This

We’ve all heard of climate change. It is a natural phenomenon for climates to fluctuate and change, however, as most of us know, human caused atmospheric pollution is exacerbating the issue, accelerating the rate of change, making it’s impacts more abrupt and extreme. Climate scientists agree that if we surpass a 1.5 degree (the UN …

Read more

The Soil Will Save Us: A Manifesto For Restoring Our Relationship With The Land

Article originally published on What if we could reduce greenhouse gas emissions and grow enough food to feed our ballooning population using resources we already have? Kristin Ohlson, author of The Soil Will Save Us, thinks we can do just that. And like a growing number of scientists, farmers, and good food advocates, she …

Read more

Young Bloggers Become Guerrilla Gardening Gangsters

Guerrilla Gardening : The act of impromptu gardening in public spaces for the purpose of beautifying our community. /ɡəˈrilə ˈɡärd(ə)niNG / In this video stars our two phenomenal Web Developers and Coders, Greg and Jordan. The Shady character is Marty, our Networking Specialist and behind the cameras are Germ, Marc and yours truly. This video has been sleeping in …

Read more

Ancient Maya used food forest permaculture to feed their population

Classic ancient Maya “collapse” not caused by overpopulation and deforestation, say researchers

The Maya practiced sustainable agriculture that supported dense populations well beyond the Classic period.

For years, archaeologist has been arguing the case that the ancient Maya knew well how to manage their tropical forest environment to their advantage, eventually sustaining large populations even beyond the time when many archaeologists suggest the Maya declined and abandoned their iconic period pyramidal and temple constructions and monumental inscriptions during the 8 th and 9 th centuries CE. She challenges the popular theories long held by many scholars that the Maya declined because of overpopulation and deforestation from increased agricultural production, perhaps aggravated by draught and climate change.

“In the past there was no extensive deforestation,” states Ford.*

At the base of her reasoning stands years of research related to the ancient practice of the Maya in cultivating ‘forest gardens’, a method of sustainable agroforestry that employs an agricultural methodology called the Milpa Cycle- the creation of a polycultivated, tree-dominated, biodiverse landscape by dispersed smallholder farmers, employing natural cycles and maximizing the utility of the native flora and fauna. Having its roots even before the rise of the Maya, it worked by sequencing an area from a closed canopy forest to an open field. When cleared, it was dominated by annual crops that transformed into a managed orchard garden, and then back to a closed canopy forest in a continuous circuit. “Contrary to European agricultural systems developed around the same period, these fields were never abandoned, even when they were forested,” says Ford. “Thus, it was a rotation of annuals with succeeding stages of forest perennials during which all phases received careful human management.”

She explains the process and its implications in detail in her new book, The Maya Forest Garden: Eight Millennia of Sustainable Cultivation of the Tropical Woodlands, co-authored with Ronald Nigh, a professor at the Centro Investigaciones y Estudios Superiores en Antropología Social (CIESAS) in Chiapas, Mexico. The book summarizes years of research evaluating archaeological, paleoenvironmental, agricultural, botanical, ecological and ethnographic and historical data from Guatemala, Mexico, and Belize, including a focus on the large Maya center of .

“Ecological, agricultural, and botanical research on the Maya forest demonstrates that it is in fact a variegated garden dominated by plants of economic value, and thus highly dependent on human interaction,” says Ford. Thus, “the co-creation of the Maya and their forest environment was based on a strategy of resource management that resulted in a landscape called the Maya “forest garden.”

A Maya forest garden. Courtesy BRASS/El Pilar

The Milpa Cycle, from maize field to perennials and back to the forest. Courtesy BRASS/El Pilar

Moreover, Ford points to the Milpa Cycle as being responsible for producing much of the visible fabric of the ancient Maya jungle ‘backdrop’, including the Maya landscape of today-a forest that is in a real sense itself a creation and ‘monument’ of the Maya people. “The Maya forest, once thought to be a wild, pristine jungle, is, in reality, the result of prehistoric, colonial, and recent human activities,” write Ford and Nigh in their book.*


Courtesy Exploring Solutons Past: The Maya Forest Alliance

In other words, by managing and shaping the forest landscape elements through the Milpa Cycle into a human-sculpted environment beneficial in terms of the food, shelter, medicinal and other material needs for sustaining ever-increasing populations, the Maya became the actual creators of their tropical environment-in essence, the architects of the jungle itself. Most significantly, because of its sustainable, renewing techniques, the Milpa Cycle became a key to the longevity of the Maya civilization long after the Classic period ‘collapse’. Ford and Nigh conclude: “When political crises struck Classic Maya society, the population largely retired to the forest garden, leaving elite centers abandoned.”*


The book, The Maya Forest Garden: Eight Millennia of Sustainable Cultivation of the Tropical Woodlands, is published by Left Coast Press and can be purchased at the Left Coast Press website .

*Ford, Anabel and Nigh, Ronald, The Maya Forest Garden: Eight Millennia of Sustainable Cultivation of the Tropical Woodlands, Left Coast Press, June 2015.


Read more in-depth articles about archaeology with a premium subscription to Popular Archaeology Magazine .

In addition, the latest is now available.


Popular Archaeology’s annual Discovery Edition eBook is a selection of the best stories published in Popular Archaeology Magazine in past issues, with an emphasis on some of the most significant, groundbreaking, or fascinating discoveries in the fields of archaeology and paleoanthropology and related fields. At least some of the articles have been updated or revised specifically for the Discovery edition. We can confidently say that there is no other single issue of an archaeology-related magazine, paper print or online, that contains as much major feature article content as this one. The latest issue, volume 2, has just been released. Go to the Discovery edition page for more information.

Dreaming the Dark Mountain: Time, Economy and Development in Senegal’s Ecovillages

“I would burn my right hand in a slow fire
To change the future … I should do foolishly. The beauty of modern
Man is not in the persons but in the
Disastrous rhythm, the heavy and mobile masses, the dance of the
Dream-led masses down the dark mountain.”
– Robinson Jeffers, “Rearmament”, 1935

I first discovered ecovillages on a small farm in southern Sweden. The farm itself was not an ecovillage, but it did have a small book called Ecovillages: A Practical Guide to Sustainable Communities. Between pulling weeds and trench digging, I absorbed the book in a single day. Like its author,I found provocative the idea of living in “community with others” and in “harmony with nature,” and became part of a Global Ecovillage Network​, a worldwide movement of people building a new world. It was an alternative, at least, to that dark “mighty cosmos of the modern economic order” that the German sociologist Max Weber prophetically wrote would determine the life of “every individual … born into [its] mechanisms until the day that the last ton of fossil fuel had been consumed.” Ecovillages seemed to me like a blueprint for a new world. Buzz-words like “Permaculture,” “small is beautiful,” and “sociocracy,” and technologies like reed-bed watering systems, passive solar houses, and communal living all seemed preferable to consumer capitalism, mass culture, and the dominance of rising towers of glass, steel, and concrete. At least, that is what I thought when I came across a puzzle: The Senegalese government was attempting to convert 14 000 villages-nearly half of Senegal’s rural communities-into ecovillages. How was it that the “model” of the ecovillage, a reaction to environmental and social problems of modernity in the global North, had come to be seen as a State-sponsored development solution in Senegal?


It was a question at once personal and intellectual: I had lived in ecovillages as an “environmental anarchist,” studying statecraft and development critiques by the likes of James Scott, Arundhati Roy, and James Ferguson. My challenge was to explore how a model of anti-modernity created in the North was becoming embedded in a decidedly pre- (or even post-) modern West African nation. I went to the land of the long boats- pirogues- to find an answer. Yet, what I found was anything but…


There were not, in formal ontological terms, any ecovillages in Senegal. What I encountered were not ecovillages being built “out there,” but a variety of experiments with alternatives to deeply held assumptions about Western development. Those assumptions centered on the axes of time or temporality, and value or economy. Ecovillages were, in this evaluation, a continuation of a much older history of people experimenting with, re-theorizing, and critiquing modernity in situ, effacing conventional boundaries between thinking and doing, analyzing and acting, and between the worlds of theory “in here” and of built models “out there.” In a country where the phrase ” la modernité“-in North America more often the preserve of an educated elite-came instead from the voices of Senegal’s youth; I came to see ecovillages not as a solution to the problems of modernity, but as opening up a broader questioning of modernity itself. The problematic, it became apparent, was not solely a question for the privileged intellectuals of the West, but a subject of live, political discussion about the right forms of life in Senegal, a country that has yet to experience totalizing modernization. In failing to find model ecovillages, I encountered instead ways of thinking that problematized some of the most deeply held assumptions of development.

Traditional development policy assumes a sort of that time progresses linearly towards the future. In Senegal, I saw this view of progress reflected in le Monumentde la RenaissanceAfricaine, a statue depicting an uncharacteristically small nuclear family in its advance towards a wind-swept future-trash strewn below. I read this as an inversion of Walter Benjamin’s Angel of History: an Angel of Progress oblivious to the cultural and environmental havoc wreaked by a globalizing detachment that subsumes capital interest at the behest of those at the bottom of an exploitative hierarchy. Here modern time, as E.P. Thomson brilliantly observes, takes “time as money.” While the State continues with visions for that model of growth, I encountered communities hoping to reverse the logic of time converted into value. One ecovillage advocate wanted to return to an imagined past where “at night the children … would play hide-and-seek between their parents’ rice warehouses … [and] the elders would remind them of the region’s reputable populations of lions, hyenas, crocodiles, hippopotamus, and brilliant multi-colored birds.”


Contradicting the ideal image of development-the standardization and formalization of markets managed by a rationalized bureaucratic State-I found myself a disruptive economic agent in a world disrupted by Western capital. GEN Senegal, the NGO of my first contact in the country, dissolved after the promise of potential “millions” from the UNDP and the Global Environment Fund to build ecovillages at the national level. Once they realized the national government would only be appointing its own agents, many of GEN Senegal members felt disillusioned and disenchanted with the money they felt was already poisoning Senegal’s hopes for a better future. The National Ecovillage Agency, a government program I was also trying to explore, turned out to be a gate-keeper for corruption, eating away the funds provided for it by Western development agencies without engaging in the sort of disciplined work that donors foresaw. While the goal was to build ecovillages, it seemed more that foreign funds were being turned into an economy of non-sustainability, low quality solar panels, non-performing villagers and agents, and endless piles of government development documents with economic calculations being the “solution” to Western imaginaries of development. Everywhere I went, I found myself viewed as a lifeline to such notions of foreign investment. In the final weeks of my visit I even encountered a marabout (Islamic religious leader), who did a ceremony involving boiling water and ground nuts to convert my stolen laptop into $240 dollars for his own benefit.

The politics of development in Senegal turned out to be not about ecovillages but about competing visions of past, present, and future. In one community, I found myself in the midst of a political fight: between an idealistic mayor wishing to “return” to the ecovillage past (his slogan was: ” ici, on vit ecovillage“) and a new mayor more resigned to the pragmatic present of the development status quo. Both were in desperate need of solutions for the country’s youth (in a country where the average age is 21), but they were looking for it in terms of different technical models and development projects. Senegal is a country from which many young people are taking off to Europe, and many are dying in trying to escape. On this score, I found only one village-Ndem-that perhaps, could be said to be approaching that sought-after “solution.” Oddly, unlike any other Senegalese community I encountered, it was not working from established models. It resisted scalability. Its marabout had come back not to “develop” but to “reincarnate” the village’s founder, and to return the village to its past through religious teaching and practice. Its members were looking to build things as a community ” petit-a-petit“, not with sudden leaps and jumps of technology. These Baye Fall (an Islamic sect seen as a nuisance in Dakar) were more concerned with the rhythm of religious devotion than with standard uses of time and money (like getting a job and an apartment in Dakar). All the same, despite its decidedly anti-modern stance, Ndem is considered by many to be one of the most successful rural development examples in the country.


Ultimately, my exploration of ecovillages and resulting examinations of temporality in Senegal delved into the politics of progress, the efficacy of established models, and conflicting interests wrapped in a seeming lack of sincere direction. If there was a “model” that worked best, it was a project more considerate of local conceptions of past and future than about the clichéd standardizations of modernity. On the side of value, ecovillages offered an unforgiving look at both activists who were resisting the importation of Western money as a solution and development agencies opportunistically taking up well-funded projects doomed to fail in Senegal.

I began my search in Senegal to see how ecovillages, a posited solution to hyper-development in the North, had come to be seen as a development solution in the South. Through this exploration, I came to question conventional notions of modernity, a goal the very term “development” assumes many countries are striving to obtain. I did not find a unified vision for the future, but a multiplicity of attempts to dream a better life-often ones starkly different from the narratives of the high-level organizations working in the country, or even of “ecovillages”. There was not, I learned, a solution (singular) to the problems of modernity in Senegal or elsewhere. There were solutions (plural): operating at different levels and all at once, bringing out the multiplicity of meanings that make up our modern world. In my subsequent explorations with Aesir Lab, I hope to open up investigations that move past conventional social science framings, resisting realist framings that presuppose both the “problem” and the “solution”. Instead, I will use methods that the Senegalese context called for: pushing against realist thinking that imposes “ecovillage”, “environmental crisis”, or “development” as totalizing frames; using “both-and” instead of “either-or” logics; and looking at “actors” as theorists of their own situated contexts. In the end, what was born out of my study was a dazzling, kaleidoscopic world challenging Anglo-American framings of development as a goal to be “accomplished.” I concluded by asking whether there are not more open, discursive forms of cross-cultural engagement that bring in, rather than overwrite, the voices that are today excluded from expert discourses on development.



To learn more about Ecological Villages around the world, visit The Global Ecovillage Network Global Ecovillage Network


Photographs by Hilton Simmet (unless otherwise stated).

Featured Image by b. hessmann


Bang, Jan Martin. (2005). Ecovillages: a practical guide to sustainable communities. Gabriola Island, BC: New Society.

Benjamin, Walter. (1969). Illuminations: Essays and Reflections. (H. Zohn, Trans., H. Arendt, Ed.) (English Language edition). New York: Schocken.

Ferguson, James. (1990). The anti-politics machine: “development,” depoliticization, and bureaucratic power in Lesotho. New York: Cambridge University Press.

Jasanoff, Sheila. (2002). New modernities: Reimagining science, technology and development. Environmental Values, 11(3), 253-276.

Scott, James C. (1976). The moral economy of the peasant : rebellion and subsistence in Southeast Asia. New Haven: Yale University Press.

Weber, Max. (1949). Objectivity. “Social Science and Social Policy.” The Methodology of the Social Sciences. New York: Free Press, 1949a, 49-112.

Senegal Turning 14,000 Villages Into Ecovillages!

“You think there is just a desert and a tyrannical regime, with nothing happening on the ground. And then you go in, and find all these people doing fantastic work in their communities, like peace projects, environmental justice projects and community building. Suddenly, you have a totally different image and landscape emerging from a country.” (Source) These …

Read more

These Best Friends Want to Grow Old Together, So They Built Their Own Tiny Home Village

Most best friend’s see each other every once in a while, sometimes a couple of times a week, but how amazing would it be to grow old alongside your best friends? These 4 couples have been friends for over 20 years, so they decided to build their own tiny home village!

They named the settlement ‘Llano Exit Strategy,’ which faces the Llano river outside of Austin, Texas. The 4 homes are about 400 square feet and cost $40,000 each.

The slanted roofs and rain barrels can hold up to 5,000 gallons of water, reflected walls help to keep the homes cooler in the hot summers, and they are working on a garden for their food needs.

None of the homes come equipped with a kitchen, so they built a community kitchen in the middle of the settlement.

How Mushrooms Could Hold the Key to Our Long-Term Survival as a Species

​ The collapse of our planet’s natural ecosystem is accelerating, but it turns out nature may have already developed the technology to save us. And it’s right under our feet.

Mycelium​ is the vast, cotton-like underground fungal network that mushrooms grow from-more than 2,000 acres of the stuff forms the largest known org​anism on Earth. Omnipresent in all soils the planet over, it holds together and literally makes soil through its power to decompose organic and inorganic compounds into nutrients. It has incredible powers to break up pollutants, filter water, and even treat disease, and it’s the star of a film called Fantastic Fungi that’s currently raisi​ng funds to bring awareness to how we can wield its many properties to save the world.

“Mycelium offers the best solutions for carbon sequestration, for preserving biodiversity, for reducing pollutants, and for offering us many of the medicines that we need today, both human and ecological,” says famed mycologist Paul Sta​mets, who’s the main voice of the film.

A regular keynote speakerat major think-a-thons like T​ED, Stamets has authored seve​ral seminal books on fungi, and done groundbreaking research on the medicinal, environmental, and ecological power of fungus with the likes of the Department of Defense, Environmental Protection Agency, and Centers for Disease Control. He’s also filed more pat​ents and research pa​pers than you can shake a mushroom stick at-not to mention that his signat​ure hat is made of fungus.

“Fungi, I think, hold the greatest potential solutions for overcoming the calamities that we face,” he says.

The apparent intelligence of mycelium lead Stamets call it “nature’s internet.” If a plant is harmed, mycelium tied up with its roots transmits the​ warning to other connected plants (turns out mo​st plant life is part fungus). It’s responsive, reacting immediately to disruptions in its environment to find a way to make it into food for itself and, thus, everything around it. Mycelium can also learn to consume compounds it’s never encountered before, breaking them down into nutrients for countless other organisms, and sharing the knowledge throughout its network.

This adaptive power can be applied in amazing ways. Stamets and co. showed the critical role mycelium plays in mitigating bee colo​ny collapse and filtering bacteria li​ke H1N1 out of water. When removed of spores, certain strains become potent at​tractors for termites and other pests. A side-by-side comparison showed that oyster mushrooms were superior for breaking down pollut​ant hydrocarbons into basic nutrients that in turn fed foraging insects and animals, a process called mycoremediation. Mycelium was also literally trained to eat V​X, the nerve agent used by Saddam Hussein against​ the Kurds in 1988.

All this speaks to a wide range of critical roles fungus has played in our past, and how it may be essential to our future if we choose to embrace it.

Conversations about them inevitably drift toward psilocybin and its mind-expanding properties. While it’s also being researched for uses in less cosmic concerns like breaking addiction and treat​ing cancer, psilocybin’s third-eye-opening properties aren’t superficial. Some the​ories argue that modern human intelligence itself was borne of consumption of the stuff. Magic mushrooms are something about which Stamets is (naturally) an expert, having written​ the book on the topic, even identifying four new species. It’s something he ​largely credits for his own mycological insights.

“I’ve never been an apologist for this, but in my younger days I consumed a fair quantity of psilocybin mushrooms,” he says. “My experiences using those mushrooms opened up my mind’s eye to nature, and frankly I think it’s rewired my brain and made me a lot more intelligent than before.”

Ultimately it’s just such a perspectival shift that may be necessary to steer our fate away from a world in which nature as we’ve known it is just a m​emory. This isn’t a call to wandering into the forest and trip on mushrooms (although I’m certainly not saying you shouldn’t). Stamets’s proposed solutions are actually quite practical, centering on fostering the health of mycelial networks so that they are better able to equalize out ecosystems and provide us the benefits like those listed above. Encouraging people to garden and grow mushrooms (which spread mycelium), or halting the practice of forest burns and the removal of dead wood, both of which rob essential nutrients for mycelium, are among other examples. Utilizing mycelium in these ways will also require a wider understanding of its nature, which is why Stamets suggests making mycology a mandatory part of primary education, with funding more equivalent to the computer sciences.

“The good news is these things can be put into practice very very quickly,” Stamets says. “Mycelium reacts quickly. I’m an impatient person, so mycelium and me are perfect partners.”

Learn How This Family Grows 6,000 Lbs Of Food on Just 1/10th Acre

Ever thought of growing your own food but didn’t think it was possible? It’s more that possible! It might even be the way of the future. If the Dervaes family can do it while living in Los Angeles, I think you can to.

The Dervaes family live on 1/10th of an acre 15 minutes from downtown L.A.. In itself that’s not strange. What’s crazy is that they manage to maintain a sustainable and independent urban farm. Complete with animals!

In a year they produce around 4,300 pounds of veggies, 900 chicken , 1000 duck eggs, 25 lbs honey, and pounds of seasonal fruit. There are over 400 species of plants. What?! They have everything they need to ‘live off the land.’ From beets to bees. Chickens to chickpeas.

What the family doesn’t eat they sell from their porch, making around $20,000 a year. Local organic food is so popular that they don’t have any problems finding customs. Even chefs from restaurants seek them out.

I tried to figure out how big 1/10th (0.1) of an acre is in perspective to other things . I used this website,, and put markers around my ‘house.’ I got a rough estimate that mine is 0.062, but my math seems wrong since my place looks way smaller. It’s interesting to know all the same. Check it out … if you’re curious to learn what size yours is.

Here’s the video… Enjoy!

This Organic Farmer’s Ideas Are Working. He’s Grossing $100K An Acre…

Support Local Food! Please Share…

We need GMOs to feed the world like a fish needs dry land. A controversial farmer in California is proving that a veritable bumper crop can be had using new farming methods that don’t require GMO pesticides, herbicides, or even weeding, and require 10 times less water than the average farm. The best part – he earned $100K per acre last season without even harvesting all of his land.

How does he do it?

What kind of super-fertilizer allows Paul Kaiser to grow so much food on a mere 8 acres? Lot’s of rotten food scraps and rotten plants – otherwise known as compost. And he uses loads of it.

He uses farming practices both old, and cutting-edge-new so well that agricultural specialists from University of California at Davis who have tested his top soil can drive a four-foot steel pole all the way through his fields. This, as opposed to most parts of California, where it would hit infertile hard-pan in less than 12 inches.

Last year, Kaiser’s farm located in Sonoma Valley, CA grossed more than $100,000 an acre, too. This is ten times the average for most farmers of this area, even in lucrative wine-country.

His farm is no mega-farm, either. At just under 8 acres, he is beating even other large organic farms because the soil is still so damaged in other conventional and organic farms alike.

He is certainly out-performing Big Ag methods of farming as his unique farming practices have turned the soil into a goldmine.

The 3 Rules of Soil Health

Kaiser follows what he calls the 3 main rules of soil health: Keep roots in the ground as much as possible, keep the soil covered as much as possible, and disturb the soil as little as possible.

Kaiser also doesn’t plow his fields (which means a lot less work) and he uses around 10 times less water than his peers. His neighbors still run sprinklers, but he waters for about an hour a week, using almost exclusively drip irrigation. This means that while California is still recovering from a drought, most farmers are watering the air – since most of the water is lost to evaporation. Kaiser is watering – how novel an idea – just his plants.

Many California farmers recently spent millions tanking in water to try to save their crops, while Kaiser just made a healthy annual salary for even most high-paid lawyers. Water was being sold on the black market for ridiculous prices, but you can bet Kaiser wasn’t paying them.

Kaiser uses a thick, acrylic blanket to keep both soil and compost piles covered. Most farmers, if the cover soil at all, us immense plastic sheets, which end up each year in the landfill. “These blankets last me 10 years!”

Kaiser is a bit of a mad genius, and a dreamer, too. He rattles off statistics at local talks he gives about exactly how he grows so sustainably, often including surprising facts. For example, he leaves his roots in the ground after harvest to feed the worms. He sounds a bit like a Martin Luther King for growing green:

Sustainable farming methods are just one corner,” he said. “Economic sustainability is another, and social sustainability is the third.”

During a recent Sunday farmers’ market, representatives of several different agricultural organizations approached Kaiser, each asking him for advice. Now, when billed for talks, he often packs the house.

Kaiser envisions small farms near every city around the globe, even in the most dry, arid climates, and with the proof of his own sweat, and soil, I believe his dream is possible.