TECHNICAL ESSAYS

Technical Essays

  • Homeless Garden Project: Cultivating Community Through Urban Farming
    Homeless Garden Project: Cultivating Community Through Urban Farming by Holloway The Homeless Garden Project in Santa Cruz, California is one of the m...
    January 26, 2015
  • Agroforestry: The Art of Farming With Trees
    Beans grown under trees By Dan Kiprop Kibet Kenya is an agricultural country, endowed with an abundance of fertile soils. Farming serves as the most i...
    November 3, 2013
  • The Inga Foundation: Providing an Alternative to Slash and Burn Agriculture
    by Ryan Sitler “Making serious change is a very time consuming and costly business.” – Mike Hands, founder of the Inga Foundation. The village of Gavi...
    October 2, 2013
  • Moringa oleifera: The Miracle Tree
    by Dan Hughes The Moringa tree (Moringa oleifera) has many names throughout the world, likely due to its profligate uses. It is called the ‘drumstick ...
    September 30, 2013
  • The Reverse Phenology of Faidherbia albida
    by Vanessa Ventola Faidherbia albida Faidherbia albida is a unique tree species native to Africa, the Middle East, and India1. Faidherbia albida is a ...
    August 28, 2013
  • Investing In Indigenous Chicken for Sustainable Livelihoods
    By Dan Kiprop Kibet “Small scale farming is a way of life in Africa full of challenges and equally full of huge opportunities” (Xinhua). The unprecede...
    July 2, 2013
  • Grey Water for Home Scale Food Production
    By Ross Mittelman Over the past five years, droughts have caused many Americans throughout the Midwest and western United States (U.S.) to reevaluate ...
    May 10, 2013
  • Integrated Pest Management and Biological Control in Cuba
    by Vanessa Venotola Cuban Farm Landscape (taken by author) History: Commercial pesticides and herbicides were introduced to Cuban agriculture in the ...
    April 26, 2013
  • Hugelkultur: The Composting Raised Beds
    by Dan Hughes Hügelkultur, translated literally from german, means ‘mound culture.’ More specifically, it is the use of rotted wood and other organic ...
    April 11, 2013
  • Concerns about Lead in Urban Agriculture
    by Vanessa Ventola Hand in hand with the growth of public interest in local and organic produce is the increase in urban farms, community gardens, a...
    April 7, 2013
  • Natural Beekeeping
    by Lady Spirit Moon, CB, CN, MH Commercial beekeepers keep from 100 to over several thousand beehives for pollinating and creating nucs (a small colon...
    April 7, 2013
  • The “Win, Win, Win” Strategy. On-farm Biochar Production
    by Filippa Harrington-Griffin “No society can become a post-food society. … Fertile land is a very precious and very scarce resource .. It needs to be...
    February 26, 2013
  • A Second Look at a Classic Holiday Tradition
    by Ryan Sitler Introduction Sometime after the Thanksgiving holiday Christmas decorations begin to appear in shop windows and front yards, and by mid-...
    January 18, 2013
  • A Review of Forage Soybean Production: Quality and Yield
    by Asher Wright Introduction Soybeans (Glycine max (L.) Merrill) have a long history of being cultivated as a forage crop. Historically soybeans were...
    January 7, 2013
  • A Review of Sloped Agricultural Land Technology (SALT)
    by Ross Mittleman As the global population continues to explode at an exponential rate the encroaching pressures upon agricultural lands and those who...
    December 20, 2012
  • Vetiver System: A Green Investment For Sustainable Development
    Abstract The basic Vetiver Grass Technology comprises a dense vetiver grass (Vetiveria zizanioides L) hedgerow that is planted across the slope of th...
    November 24, 2012
  • Management Intensive Grazing: why not?
    When grazing beef cattle or other ruminants in the Southeast USA or other humid temperate regions around the world, a well-designed grazing system is ...
    November 2, 2012
  • An Innovative Way of Raising Pigs
    by Dr. Paul Oliver Since 1992 the anaerobic digestion of pig waste has been quite popular in Vietnam. Here urine and feces are flushed periodically du...
    August 24, 2012
  • A Review of Agriculture Biotechnology: Part II
    Part two of this review will continue to elaborate on the techniques used to modify organisms. The point of these two articles is to present a fairly ...
    August 10, 2012
  • A Review of Agriculture Biotechnology: Part I
    Introduction Contrary to popular belief, biotechnology has been around for a while. The idea encompasses a wide range of procedures for modifying all ...
    August 3, 2012
  • The cultivation of Chinese medicinal herbs at Mountain Gardens -- Western North Carolina, USA
    A Growing Culture is pleased to announce it’s first article by Joe Hollis. For the past 25 years, Joe has been engaged in developing a Paradise ...
    July 14, 2012
  • Grafting May Help Control Soil-Borne Diseases in Tomatoes
    GAINESVILLE, Florida – Grafting tomatoes to control soil-borne diseases may be a cost-effective management solution in some organic production situati...
    June 30, 2012
  • Fermented Bed Technology
    Written by William Rutherford and Loren Cardeli There has been much discussion amongst swine producers throughout the world about the most optimal con...
    June 7, 2012
  • Learning Mob Grazing on the Nebraska Sandhills
    by Erica Romkema and Mae Rose Petrehn The Peterson Ranch, owned by Chad and Jenny Peterson, extends across 4600 acres of the Nebraska Sandhills. In th...
    May 17, 2012
  • Transgenic (GE) Alfalfa in the United States: a blessing or a crutch?
    By Asher M. Wright All across the United States stands of Alfalfa in different stages of growth are reaching to the sky; putting on their spring growt...
    May 2, 2012
  • The Seed Banks of Tomorrow: Towards Seed Sustainability and Sovereignty--Kenya
    by  Dan Kiprop Kibet Statistics reveal that, of the over one billion undernourished people in the world today, 265 million live in sub-Saharan Africa....
    April 20, 2012
  • Insights on Beginning a Pastured Pork Operation, by Worth Kimmel
    Sectors of Production Pig production is one of the most accessible enterprises for a beginning farmer or an established operation to get underway. Giv...
    April 4, 2012
  • Breaking Vietnam’s Coffee Monoculture with Perennial Peanut (Arachis pintoi)
    For coffee production in Vietnam, we strongly recommend the establishment of the perennial peanut or Arachis pintoi.  Perennial peanut is used through...
    March 20, 2012
  • 3 Simple Pest Remedies for the Garden
    Maintaining a garden has its various setbacks especially when pests overrun your garden. Your instant reaction is to reach out immediately for the com...
    March 7, 2012
  • Appropriate Solutions for Encouraging Polyculture in the Developing World
    As many NGO’s, governments and outreach programs strive to aid developing world farmers, the real struggle is to implement low cost, long term solutio...
    February 15, 2012
  • A Look at Small-scale Coffee Production in Colombia
    by Ross Mittleman Coffee is one of those crops that seem to defy traditional categorization. It has taken on a life and purpose above and beyond that...
    January 30, 2012
  • Renovating an Old Orchard Provides an Opportunity for Diversification and Creativity on the Farm
    Hickory Nut Gap Farm — The family that owns and operates our farm has history on this land that dates back to the 19th century. A wealth of agr...
    December 26, 2011
  • Gardening without Digging by Les Anwyl
    One of the easiest and most effective ways to improve and build soil fertility in any gardening situation is to use a method known as sheet mulching. ...
    December 12, 2011
  • Biomass Gasification and the Benefits of Biochar
    When we think of air pollution, we normally think of outdoor air pollution in heavily populated urban areas. However some of the worst air pollution o...
    November 22, 2011
  • The Relevance of Indigenous Trees in Sustainable Agriculture, Ketindui, Kenya -- Dan Kiprop Kibet
    Reclaiming and Reconciling with the Ecosystem ‘’It’s the little things citizens do. That’s what will make the difference. My little thing is planting ...
    November 7, 2011
  • Compost Biodiversity and the Myths of Composting -- Joe Jenkins
    COMPOST BIODIVERSITY Compost is normally populated by three general categories of microorganisms: bacteria, actinomycetes and fungi (see Figure 3.3 an...
    October 24, 2011
  • The Use of Green Manure/Cover Crops for Relay Cropping in Northern Thailand
    A Growing Culture is excited to announce our first essay from guest author Rick Burnette, director of the ECHO Asia Impact center. This is an excellen...
    October 11, 2011
  • Integrated Pig Farming
    Sadly most pig farms in Vietnam are far from being integrated. Feces and urine are allowed to flow together, and this slurry is discharged into nearby...
    September 27, 2011
  • Recycling Human Waste
    On a yearly basis a human produces roughly 500 liters of urine and 50 liters of feces. These two products contain enough nutrients to grow most of the...
    September 19, 2011
  • Black Soldier Fly & Red Worm Bioconversion
    Black soldier fly (BSF) adults are attracted to mesophilic storage units as an ideal site to lay eggs. Once BSF larvae reach maturity within the stora...
    September 6, 2011
  • Painted Valley Farm Associative: The benefits of a CSA in Argentina
    We had taken hands and formed a circle around an earthen bowl of corn kernels, marvelous kernels with every color under the rainbow.  One by one, thos...
    August 27, 2011
  • Thermophillic Bacteria, Composting Stages, and the Sanitization of Compost -- Joe Jenkins
    A wide array of microorganisms live in a compost pile. Bacteria are especially abundant and are usually divided into several classes based upon the te...
    August 18, 2011
  • Indigenous Method of Food and Seed Saving -- Kapchelonge Village, Kenya
    African art is not based on a single tradition. It is influence by the traditions of many diverse cultures, all of which have their own way of doing t...
    August 9, 2011
  • Humanure and the Carbon Nitrogen Ratio – Joe Jenkins
    One way to understand the blend of ingredients in your compost pile is by using the C/N ratio (carbon/nitrogen ratio). Quite frankly, the chance of th...
    August 5, 2011
  • The Role of Scavengers, Sand Seperators, Cement Kilns & Incinerators
    If bio-waste is stored and processed on site, and is not commingled with other types of residential waste, then it becomes a lot easier for scavengers...
    August 1, 2011
  • Making Waste our Greatest Resource -- A new series by Dr. Paul Olivier, Todd Hyman and Loren Cardeli
    The Small-Scale Production of Food, Fuel, Feed and Fertilizer Vietnam faces waste management problems of almost unimaginable complexity, and consequen...
    July 21, 2011
  • Growing with the Fermented Organic Fertilizer 'Bokashi' -- Steven Leong
    The purpose of Bokashi ‘Bokashi’ is a fermented organic fertilizer.  In the previous edition, the importance of making good quality compost for the pu...
    July 12, 2011
  • Compost Microhusbandry: Harnessing the Power of Microscopic Organisms -- Joe Jenkins
    There are four general ways to deal with human excrement. The first is to dispose of it as a waste material. People do this by defecating in drinking...
    July 7, 2011
  • Feeding The Poor
    As world hunger has been increasing, there has been a boost in urban and residential agriculture initiatives worldwide.  Population trends reveal a ma...
    June 29, 2011
  • Tenkei Green Liquid Fertilizer
    In recent years, liquid fertilizer as a supplement has become rather common especially among the vegetable and flower growers, and also in golf course...
    June 23, 2011
  • A Worm Composting Manifesto
      The Joy of Creating Less Waste, Soaking Up Carbon, and Fostering Healthy Soil As the industrial age draws to a close, we’re left with a b...
    June 14, 2011
  • Creating a Kitchen Garden as a Tool to Overcome Hunger – Dan Kiprop Kibet
    On March 8, the United Nations Special Rappoteur on humans’ right to food, Dr. Olivier De Schutter, released a report arguing that “the use of small s...
    June 8, 2011
  • Contemplating Integrated Farming Systems: EM (Effective Microorganisms) in the 21st Century
    Across the spectrum of farming systems, there exists a principle that links us to the land inextricably.  We are Earth bound humans.  We live and eat ...
    May 30, 2011
  • Durian: The King of Fruits—Penang, Malaysia
    I had heard stories about the fruit that stinks like gym shorts and rotten onions; the large thorny fruit that foreigners traveling throughout South-E...
    May 26, 2011
  • Quality Organic Input: Following in the footsteps of the Shimamoto Microbial Farming Method
    A focus on the restoration of organic matter in the soil, specifically the use of compost in the cultivation of crops should be standard practice. How...
    May 24, 2011
  • Large Scale Farm Changes Perceptions Of Organic Farming Practices; A Score For Organic Fertilizers
    In Kenya, most farmers are skeptical of organic farming practices and their relevance to modern day agriculture. However, if these farmers only looked...
    May 20, 2011
  • Can A "Farm-in-a-Back-Pack" Help Feed Africa?
    More than 14 million people in the Horn of Africa are in need of international food aid. At the same time, Africa has the agricultural potential not o...
    May 17, 2011
  • Healthy Soil Practices
    Laura Lengnick, PhD Soil Sciences, Director of Sustainable Agriculture at Warren Wilson College shared the following four basic practices for soil hea...
    May 10, 2011
  • Composting Through The Shimamoto Microbial Farming Method -- Steven Leong
    ‘UNLESS THE ORIGIN IS NOURISHED, NEVER WILL THE END FLOURISH’. This is the motto of “Shimamoto Microbial Farming Method”. Soil is the final product fr...
    May 6, 2011
  • The Use of Wood Vinegar In Reducing The Dependence On Agro-Chemicals
    Modern research on the use of wood vinegar was first carried out in Japan in the early 1950s. It was reported to be effective against: rosette or gree...
    April 29, 2011
  • Organic Raspberries, Living Soil & Seed Saving at Granja Piedra Pintada – El Bolsón, Argentina
    You know, it is always encouraging when you begin walking through a farmer’s field and the first thing you see is their hands in the ground, holding w...
    April 19, 2011
  • Self-Sustenance & Agrotourism at La Confluencia -- El Bolsón, Argentina
    On the rugged outskirts of the small, progressive town of El Bolson in the Rio Negro province of southern Argentina there is place where two rivers co...
    April 12, 2011
  • Seed Saving and Community Agriculture at Granja Valle Pintado, Argentina
    The trail veered off of the main dirt road into the woods, I could hear the river in the distance, “are we walking in the right direction?” I asked. C...
    April 6, 2011
  • The Self-Proclaimed Lazy Farmer
    There is a common misconception throughout the developing world that if a farmer is to switch to organic he will no longer sell on the market and will...
    March 29, 2011
  • A Look at Aquaponics in Kona, Hawaii
    Even as humans continue to alter the natural systems that sustain us at an alarming rate, we are becoming aware of cultural practices and technologies...
    March 26, 2011
  • Farming and the Yin Yang Theory at the Health Club Farm, Thailand
    Pairod got his degree in engineering around thirty years ago. Ten years later he was diagnosed with Hepatitis B and became ill. The doctors wanted to ...
    March 24, 2011
  • Biodynamic Wine in Chile
    As the bus began to veer off of the Panamericana highway between Santiago and Puerto Montt we began to find ourselves in vibrant wine country. The rol...
    March 21, 2011
  • Technologies for the Poor
    Job Ebenezer was born in Vellore, India on October 10, 1941.  Job started growing vegetables in Chicago in 1993.  Since that rooftop garden, he has be...
    March 16, 2011
  • Beyond Production: a story of Buddhist farming
    I was told that few foreigners have trekked out this far.  The locals studied me as I rode my motorbike through their village roads, waving and snappi...
    March 13, 2011
  • Beyond Permaculture at Tacome Pai -- Thailand
    For many environmental farmers, the defining questions are: How do I incorporate my operation with the natural biological processes of the environment...
    February 21, 2011
  • Farming... in the City?
    Contributed by Lou Laux, Wittenberg Emeritus Biology Professor Dr. Lou Laux currently lives in Springfield, Ohio at a retirement community called Oak...
    February 21, 2011
  • I Learned to Live Like This
    This story was submitted by Peaks Over Poverty. Peaks Over Poverty seeks to connect rural mountain people with outdoor enthusiasts to address common i...
    February 21, 2011
  • Soil Restoration & Seed Saving — Thailand
    After blindly venturing out into Thailand’s countryside, I stumbled upon an ecological treasure. In the Northern Mountains of Thailand about 60 kilome...
    February 8, 2011

Innovation Brochures

  • Local Traditional Innovations by Individual Indigenous Farmers, Odisha, India
    Documented in collaboration with Debal Deb and Basudha Trust, Odisha, India Click here to download the full innovation brochure.  
    October 7, 2016
  • Local Innovations by Individual Indigenous Farmers, Odisha, India
    Documented in collaboration with Debal Deb and Basudha Trust, Odisha, India Click here to download the full innovation brochure.
    October 7, 2016
  • Smallholder Farmer Innovations in Northern Vietnam
    Documented in collaboration with i-Nature and Center for Creativity and Sustainability (CCS) in Northern Vietnam. Click here to download the full inno...
    May 7, 2016