The Real Know How

How-Tos, Videos, Tutorials — Ramping Up for the 21st Century

Archive for the category “success story”

Growing Sorghum

This video has us meeting the Simonsens, in Nebraska, who grow sorghum. They use no-till rotational planting. They mill sorghum flour themselves and sell it direct through mail order. The grit left over from the milling gets fed to their livestock.

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Straw Bale, Adobe and Post and Beam House in New Mexico

The following videos feature a small (800 sq ft) “hybrid” house built by designer Ted Owens in Corallis, New Mexico, near Albuquerque. His house uses post and beam construction (he got the lumber from salvage yards and home renos), straw bale and adobe with mud used as plaster. The house draws its electricity from photovoltaic solar panels.

The house also uses sunlight, heavy materials (adobe walls and concrete floors) and shifts in temperature (passive solar concepts) to keep the inside temperatures comfortable. Windows are also carefully placed to maximize comfort in the house.

Cooking with the Sun on the Navajo Reservation in Utah

This was a really interesting entry. Here several Navajo students from Paul McCarl’s class at the Whitehorse High School in Montezuma Creek, Utah present their solar cooker projects.

Especially interesting is a Fresnel lens cooker the students built in order to be able to fry the popular Southwest fry bread.

As one of the student notes, you don’t see too many solar cookers that will fry.

The students introduce themselves in Navajo and then go on and explain their projects.

The Power of Compost – The Jean Pain Story

This mini documentary is a bit rough because it’s old and grainy and in German (narration) and French with English subtitles, but it is worth watching because of the amazing energy innovation it shows.

“Jean Pain – A French innovator who developed a compost based bio energy system that produced 100% of his energy needs. He heated water to 60 degrees celsius at a rate of 4 litres a minute which he used for washing and heating. He also distilled enough methane to run an electricity generator, cooking elements, and power his truck. This method of creating usable energy from composting materials has come to be known as Jean Pain Composting, or the Jean Pain Method.”

Dirt and Vegetables in Detroit

This video follows Greg Willerer of Detroit Dirt and Brother Nature Produce in Detroit who is trying to help build a viable food system in Detroit. As part of those efforts he’s trying to create a local compost network (he’s involved breweries, coffee houses and even the Detroit Zoo — all of whom give the project their waste).

Urban Greenhouse Vegetables and Fish in Milwaukee

Will Allen walks us through the Growing Power farm operation in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. They use vertical growing techniques to maximize yields and growing space for vegetables and mushrooms and they also produce tilapia (in heated tanks) and yellow perch (a lake fish that can no longer be fished for in many places because of contamination) in unheated tanks. The greenhouse producing all of this food is heated by compost.

Growing Fish In Greenhouses

“Milwaukee’s Growing Power, a community-based urban food center, is using plants as natural water filters for raising yellow perch. Fred Binkowski, an aquaculture specialist with the University of Wisconsin Sea Grant Institute, provides technical advice on the experimental effort.”

How (Commercial) Biodiesel is Made

A step-by-step explanation of how the folks at Tristate Biodiesel take used cooking oil from around NYC and transform it into biodiesel heating oil that heats New Yorkers’ homes

Cultured Pickling

“Heres the clichĂ©: Alex Hozven craved pickles when she was pregnant with her first son, 12 years ago. And the twist: She started her own pickling business. The Cultured Pickle Shop sells pickles ranging from classic sauerkrauts to unusual kimchees and Kombuchas—way beyond the sour dill. But its the experiments, like the mysterious nuka pot or pickled blood oranges, that really get Hozven excited. Theres plenty of zing, zest, pow in all her pickles, though.”

Alex’s shop is in Berkeley, California.

Growing Seaweed

Lewis Weil of austinseaveggies.com has a productive seaweed farm in his garage in Austin, Texas.

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