Weeds: Guardians of the Soil

Submitted by Ben Stallings on Wed, 03/11/2020 - 12:27

This book from 1950, now handily available in PDF form, shows that even as post-WWII, industrial chemical agriculture was pushing the doctrine of monocultures and herbicides there were people saying the opposite, that weeds are necessary to soil and plant health.

Weeds: Guardians of the Soil by Joseph A. Cocannouer

Glyphosate and gluten intolerance

Submitted by Ben Stallings on Mon, 03/09/2020 - 17:37

This article from the December 2013 issue of Interdisciplinary Toxicology and archived by the National Institutes of Health makes the case that glyphosate herbicide applied to wheat could be the cause of the rise in celiac disease, non-celiac gluten intolerance, and intestinal infection. The mechanism is "leaky gut syndrome" combined with an imbalance of gut bacteria and enzyme depletion. The authors go on to suggest that glyphosate may be causing a variety of other disorders as well.

Plants feed mycorrhizae lipids as well as carbs

Submitted by Ben Stallings on Thu, 02/27/2020 - 14:51

This article is from 2017 but deserves reading: for years we had been told that plants only fed simple carbohydrates -- what Dr. Elaine Ingham likes to call "cakes and cookies" -- to their symbiotic fungi, but it turns out that the mycorrhizae actually alter the plant's biochemistry so that the plant feeds them fatty acids as well. So put some cream cheese frosting on those cakes and cookies!

Building Science for Strawbale Buildings

Submitted by Ben Stallings on Wed, 02/12/2020 - 14:57

Back when I was a home energy auditor for Efficiency Kansas, we were given a crash course in "building science" that made a lot of assumptions about how buildings are built and what they're made of. While those assumptions were safe for the houses I was auditing, I couldn't help wondering about the naturally built structures my friends had made from strawbales and cob and such.

Closed Loop Agriculture for Environmental Enhancement: Returning Biomass and Nutrients from Humanure and Urine to Agriculture

Submitted by Ben Stallings on Sat, 02/01/2020 - 11:52

This is an in-depth analysis by the Foundation for the Economics of Sustainability (Feasta) on the desirability of separating wastewater nutrients at the source -- that is, at the toilet -- rather than mixing them together with greywater and processing them into sludge. The report was prepared in 2015 for the Irish Environmental Network, and as such some of its analysis is specific to Ireland, but most of the conclusions are applicable to the US and elsewhere.

Gardens and health: Implications for policy and practice

Submitted by Ben Stallings on Tue, 01/28/2020 - 16:27

This excellent and detailed report (PDF, 2.5 MB) by David Buck of the King's Fund, under commission of the National (UK) Gardens Scheme, looks at the impact of gardens and gardening on health and well being and explores what the National (again, UK) Health Service and the wider health and social care system can do to maximise this impact.