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Who’s Your Farmer? Marshall Chrostowski

December 8, 2013

Marshall Chrostowski is an organic farmer with decades of experience. Point out any plant at the Pacifica Market Garden in Carpinteria, California and he will not only know its name, but also the plant’s history and uses. We were lucky enough to follow Marshall around his garden for a few hours with our video cameras. We learned so much about heirloom varieties of plants, how the Pacifica CSA works and some organic methods of pest control.

Marshall was recently honored in the Santa Barbara Independent as a Local Hero. We couldn’t agree more. Marshall knows and loves plants and when you visit the Pacifica Market Garden, and witness its verdant beauty, it’s obvious how much they love him!

Who’s Your Farmer?  is a new YouTube video series created by Sustainable World Media that highlights the farmers who grow food and nourish both people and planet by using organic and regenerative agricultural practices.

Permaculture In Cuba- Don’t Miss The IPC11

November 17, 2013

We met with Permaculture designer and teacher Roberto Perez on his whirlwind tour of the United States promoting the International Permaculture Conference and Convergence (IPC11) that takes place in Cuba in November of this year.


Roberto Perez works at the Antonio Núñez Jiménez Foundation for Nature and Humanity and is on a mission to spread the word about the conference and also about the positive impact that Permaculture has had on his country.

Agriculture As Art- PA Yeomans Exhibition Opens In Sydney

November 17, 2013

The Yeomans Project opens on November 28th at the Art Gallery of NSW. The exhibition highlights the work of Australian farmer and engineer PA Yeomans whose work is now used on farms throughout the world. Yeomans developed the Keyline System- an agricultural method that increases soil fertility, conserves water and regenerates land.

Ian Milliss and Lucas Ihlein, curators of the exhibition have gathered images, writing, films and educational videos as part of the exhibition.

We are delighted to announce that our five-part Keyline Design At The Beach Video Series with Permaculture Designer and Keyline expert Darren Doherty will be included in The Yeomans Project.

The exhibition will also feature an old Yeomans Plow, books and artifacts lent by PA Yeomans’ daughters, a large chalk map of one of Yeomans’ properties, live discussions and a Field Trip to an early Yeomans experimental farm outside of Sydney (free, but bookings required).

Here’s to you, PA Yeomans who practiced the art of transformation with soil and water.

MULCH- Good News for You and the Soil

October 7, 2013

MULCH- what a descriptive word for an excellent method that keeps your garden healthy and your plants thriving. Mulching is an easy cost-effective way to recycle green waste, hydrate your garden beds and soil and increase the population of  soil food web inhabitants .

Mulching mimics what happens to plant materials that fall onto a forest floor. Leaves and other plant debris are decomposed by the soil organisms, including the mighty FBI- fungi, bacteria and invertebrates.  Adding a layer of mulch to your garden, about 4″ high, keeps these critters on site; improving your soil with their presence and activities.

When you mulch, you are stacking functions, a concept found in Permaculture. Mulching not only increases the fertility and moisture content of  your soil, it also alleviates weeds, so you don’t have to pull the weeds out yourself or use toxic herbicides.

What can you use for mulch? Pretty much anything!  Cardboard, bark, straw, newspaper and finished compost can be reincarnated as mulch, that eventually after the decomposers are through with it, will become soil.  Sheet mulching is a fun, no-till way to get your soil ready for planting.

To learn more about mulch we visited the LifeScape Garden, a beautiful organic garden located on the grounds of Santa Barbara City College. There, we met Dr. Mike Gonella, mulch man extraordinaire who showed us how to use this fun, easy and aromatic method of gardening.

Growing Fish and Plants Together…In A Parking Lot

July 29, 2013

On our first visit to Santa Barbara Aquaponics, we weren’t sure what to expect.  When we heard that Kevin Childerley and Randy Turner were growing vegetables and raising fish in a parking lot, we wanted to see for ourselves how Aquaponics, a closed loop system works.

When we arrived at the site, we were greeted by Kevin Childerley, an enthusiastic and entertaining Aquaponics proponent. “Welcome to Santa Barbara Aquaponics!” he told us as he opened the gate to let us in. “This is our first system. We’re trying things out and seeing what works and what doesn’t.” Kevin then led us over to a tank, filled with Channel Catfish which we observed with an “AquaScope.” (a plastic tube Kevin made that’s used to view the fish underwater.)  The fish looked healthy and were actively swimming about. Kevin explained that the fish poop is filtered in a bio-filter and is then used to fertilize the tomato, kale, chard and other plants growing in the floating trays that comprise the Aquaponics system.

Santa Barbara Aquaponics

Aquaponics isn’t a new method of growing food. It’s been around a long time and is a combination of hydroponics and aquaculture. The promise of Aquaponics is that food and fish can be grown in places with degraded soil, in urban areas and as Kevin and Randy are now demonstrating, even in a parking lot.

Tea Time For The Soil! How To Brew Your Very Own Compost Tea

July 14, 2013

Sustainable World Media visits Biodynamic grower Oscar Carmona of Healing Grounds Nursery in Goleta, California where he demonstrates how he makes Compost Tea in two different ways; with a brewer or with a bucket. By following his simple technique–you can make tea, too!

Compost Tea is an excellent way to build soil fertility, increase the microbial life on and in the soil and turn your food scraps (which most people throw in the trash) into a valuable soil amendment. When food scraps are buried in the landfill they emit Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC’s) and methane gas which contributes to climate change. Why not turn waste into value? Making your own compost tea, saves you  money and time- no more trips to the store to buy costly fertilizers.

Compost Tea contains billions of microbes and beneficial organisms that help plants maintain a healthy immune function. Keep your Soil Food Web alive and thriving. It’s Tea Time!

School Gardens Sprout Up

July 11, 2013

When children grow their own food, they become empowered in many ways. Research shows that children who grow their own food have a deeper understanding of ecology, receive higher test scores in science and have a healthier diet because they tend to eat more fruits and vegetables.

Learning environmental stewardship at a young age is important and gardens are a great way to teach kids that their actions can have a beneficial impact. There are nearly 4,000 school gardens in California alone and the number is growing yearly.

In this short video, Gardening Educator Bill Palmisano talks about his work at a local elementary school garden, picks lots of gigantic and yummy carrots with students and shows the trench composting that they use to prepare planting beds. Nutritionist and Organic Chef Carrie Clough shares her thoughts about why gardening is so important to learn at a young age and some of its many benefits.

Want Beneficial Microbes? Try Compost Tea

July 4, 2013

When we arrived at Healing Grounds Nursery in Goleta, California  to meet Biodynamic grower Oscar Carmona, it was a hot summer day.  Oscar stood outside watering the organic starts he grows, not with water, but with compost tea. We were meeting Oscar to film him making the tea- an excellent soil  and plant amendment. Carmona, owner of Healing Grounds is a knowledgeable horticulturist, seedsman and organic enthusiast who knows pretty much everything there is to know about plants and their needs. We knew he could explain why compost tea is so powerful in its beneficial effects on soil and plant life.  In this short video Oscar Carmona gives a brief introduction to compost tea and why it works. Stay tuned to the Sustainable World YouTube Channel to see Oscar in a “how-to” video explaining step by step how to make the tea.

Plant The Rain! Rainwater Harvesting Saves Money and Water

June 15, 2013

Brad Lancaster has a lot to say about water. In his books, Lancaster writes about the importance of “planting the rain” and shares with readers the many benefits they receive when they learn how to keep their rainwater on site.

Lancaster is now on tour prompting the newly published 2nd edition of his book Rainwater Harvesting for Drylands, Volume 1: Turning Water Scarcity Into Water Abundance.

brad lancasterIn urban environments most rainwater falls onto impervious surfaces. The water runs off quickly, carrying litter and pollutants with it as it flows directly into creeks, rivers and oceans. Why not use this free resource to water your garden or lawn?

The benefits of harvesting rain are many. Rainwater falls from the sky for free. Rainwater doesn’t contain salt and is a natural fertilizer that’s great for plants. When you harvest rain, you help reduce flooding and surface runoff. Keeping your rain in your garden or yard can reduce your water bill.  If you live in an area with little rain, don’t despair. Lancaster harvests over 100,000 gallons yearly (379,000 liters) of rain and runoff in the soil of his 1/8-acre home in Tuscon, AZ.  (12″ or 305 mm of average annual rainfall per year.)

To learn more from Brad Lancaster about rainwater harvesting, watersheds and how to make a water level visit the Sustainable World Channel on YouTube.

“May The Flock Be With You”- Chickens Are Part Of The Soil Solution

May 31, 2013
Pat Foreman in The Soil Solution

Pat Foreman in The Soil Solution

Spend a few minutes with chicken expert and appreciator Pat Foreman and you’ll be tempted to order a flock of six chicks for your backyard. Foreman, the author of the best-selling book City Chicks is an advocate for all things chicken. She appears in our film The Soil Solution where she talks about the impressive skill set of chickens. According to Foreman (and Oprah Henfry, her chicken ambassador) chickens are expert soil builders, compost creators, bio-recyclers  and egg producers. Chickens will keep your garden and yard pest and weed free as they forage and munch on insects.  An average chicken will eat about eight pounds of food scraps a month and will return those scraps back to the soil as fertilizer (chicken poop). This keeps compostable waste on site and stops it from contributing to overcrowded landfills. In the landfill, food scraps emit methane, which contributes to climate change.

Pat says, “May The Flock Be With You” and we have to agree. These expert soil builders will increase your soil’s health, save you money on garden inputs, give you delicious food and decrease your carbon footprint.