Incredible farming skyscraper could fight poverty and feed the world

April 11, 2017 by  
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This incredible skyscraper is more than just eye candy—its modular and farm-integrated design was created to fight world hunger and poverty. Designers Pawel Lipi?ski and Mateusz Frankowski proposed the Mashambas Skyscraper for rural areas in sub-Saharan Africa as a means to bring a “green revolution” to impoverished small farmers. The modular Mashambas is movable and functions as an educational center for growing crops, hosting markets, and training on agricultural techniques. Although absolute poverty around the world has fallen over 20 percent in the last thirty years, poverty levels in many African countries have stayed high and stagnant. Today, over 40 percent of the population in sub-Saharan Africa lives in absolute poverty. Designers Pawel Lipi?ski and Mateusz Frankowski examined the obstacles holding the populace back, most of whom are subsistence farmers, and found that “poor infrastructure, limited markets, weak governments, and fratricidal civil wars” were among the biggest challenges. In hopes of bringing a “green revolution to the poorest people,” Lipi?ski and Frankowski designed the Mashambas Skyscraper, a modular and multipurpose building that just placed first in the renowned 2017 eVolo Skyscraper Competition . The Mashambas Skyscraper, which derives its name from the Swahili word for cultivated land, features a simple modular design that can be easily assembled, disassembled, and transported. The arched modules are stacked together to form a scalable high-rise and its flexible design allows for multiple uses including a ground floor marketplace, warehouses, drone services, classrooms, and farming areas on the upper levels. Drones would be employed to help bring supplies, whether for building construction or for agriculture , to the Mashambas Skyscraper and would also be used to deliver surplus food to the most needy and hard-to-reach areas. By concentrating a market at its base, the building will help facilitate growth and encourage farming plots to pop up around the site. The building can be enlarged as the participants increase and once the local community becomes self-sufficient , the building can be transported to other places. Related: This massive wind-powered skyscraper would cool the entire planet “Mashambas is a movable educational center, which emerges in the poorest areas of the continent,” write the designers. “It provides education, training on agricultural techniques, cheap fertilizers, and modern tools; it also creates a local trading area, which maximizes profits from harvest sales. Today hunger and poverty may be only African matter, but the world’s population will likely reach nine billion by 2050, scientists warn that this would result in global food shortage. Africa’s fertile farmland could not only feed its own growing population, it could also feed the whole world.” + Mashambas

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Incredible farming skyscraper could fight poverty and feed the world

7 international permaculture retreats for relaxing and learning

November 10, 2016 by  
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The Yoga Forest, Guatemala Perhaps a tropical breeze through a morning yoga session is more your speed. Located in the western highlands of Guatemala , the Yoga Forest in San Marcos la Laguna boasts beautiful views of Lake Atitlán and three surrounding volcanoes. Vegetarian meals sourced from the site’s food forest are served to guests who participate in yoga, permaculture courses, hiking and relaxing by day and rest in a loft, cabin or tent by night. Paititi Institute, Peru The Paititi Institute  in Peru  best serves those who are seeking high altitudes and would like to practice their Spanish. In the Mapacho Valley, near the Manu National Reserve in the Andes, the Paititi Institute maintains a 4,000 acre sanctuary which harnesses the landscape’s varied elevation to grow a diversity of crops. Tropical foods such as mangos, plaintains and yuca are grown at the base of the mountains, while temperate crops such as greens, apples, and pears thrive at higher elevation. At the peaks are potatoes and quinoa, ancient crops of the Andes. Guests assist with the maintenance of the farm, which offers a course on shamanic permaculture. Jiwa Damai, Bali In the tropical rainforest of Bali , adventurous soul seekers may find peace and enlightenment at Jiwa Damai , hands-on, socially responsible organic garden and retreat center. Guests are invited to enjoy a spacious lounge and dining space, a permaculture garden, fresh water ponds and pools as they explore the tranquil grounds. Jiwa Damai offers permaculture courses, meditation sessions, and various seminars and workshops on self development. All income from Jiwa Damai is distributed to the community through programs and projects from the Lagu Dumai Foundation. Honaunau Farm, Hawaii On the Big Island in the 50th State , Honanuanu Farm aspires to demonstrate a regenerative living model through its practices as a wellness retreat. Below Mauna Loa Volcano with breathtaking views of Kealakekua Bay and Honaunau Place of Refuge, Honoanuanu offers courses in permaculture design, animal husbandry, fruit tree care, yoga and Qigong, and medicinal plants. Students stay in tents on site, though there are more luxurious lodging options. Honoanuanu also offers therapeutic massage and wellness services. La Loma Viva, Spain In the village of Gualchos, Spain, near Granada and the Mediterranean coast, La Loma Viva offers permaculture education and peaceful exploration at its retreat center, where most guests are lodged. Meals, bedding and hot showers are provided, as well as organic soaps. Vegetarian meals, prepared as a community and sourced from the permaculture garden, are served in the communal dining area. On the patio and throughout the landscape, guests can revel in the gorgeous Mediterranean scenery of the coastline and local mountain ranges. Earthships, New Mexico If you are simply looking to relax in an environmentally sound, serene home, look no further than the Earthships  of New Mexico . Built to last with recycled materials and permaculture-like systems designed for maximum self sufficiency, Earthships are fully furnished homes with modern amenities located in the desert landscape of Taos, New Mexico. Nightly rentals of Earthships was named one of Lonely Planet’s top ten eco-stays in 2014  and offers relaxation in the ultimate green getaway for two or a group of friends. Center of Unity Schweibenalp, Switzerland If you crave crisp mountain air, the Center of Unity Schweibenalp may satisfy. The Center features a 20 hectare farm, the largest alpine permaculture projects in Switzerland . Permaculture students may take courses on site, where perennial plants are grown in a nursery for later transplanting outdoors, where edible plants cover the landscape. Most of the mushrooms, fruit, and vegetables gathered from the farm is used by the community and seminar house kitchen, available to guests at Center of Unity. Images via  Flickr   (2) , Scott Hudson ,  Nicolás Boullosa , Kai Lehmann , La Loma Viva , the Yoga Forest

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7 international permaculture retreats for relaxing and learning

How meatless shrimp could solve seafoods sustainability problem

August 29, 2016 by  
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New Wave Foods says “we disrupt food, not the oceans,” and they mean it. Their plant-based shrimp supposedly looks, tastes, smells, and feels like the real thing, but without the pesky environmental destruction and ethical quandaries. Bioengineered food has gone mainstream with lab-grown meat and “ bleeding ” veggie burgers – it’s only logical that seafood would follow suit. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3lu0-v8A9rs The meatless shrimp is made from plants and algae and engineered to reproduce a similar texture and taste as a real shrimp. Co-founder and CEO Dominique Barnes told Seeker Stories how their meatless shrimp even have a similar nutrient profile, except New Wave’s product has less fat and no cholesterol. Related: U.S. shrimp may not be what consumers bargained for Considering Americans eat the equivalent of four pounds of shrimp per person each year, one has to wonder if the planet can sustain such high demand. The answer is not so much, especially since so many natural mangrove habitats are destroyed for shrimp farming. In fact, there are half as many fish in the ocean as there were in 1970, an incriminating statistic for all seafood industries. A future of bioengineered, plant-based alternatives could be a part of the solution. + New Wave Foods Via Collectively Images via New Wave Foods, YouTube

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How meatless shrimp could solve seafoods sustainability problem

Walmart introduces line of ugly fruit to combat food waste

July 25, 2016 by  
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The largest grocer in America is recognizing that beauty is only skin deep, even when it comes to “ugly” fruits and vegetables. Walmart will be rolling out a line of imperfect apples , aptly named “I’m Perfect,” in 300 select Florida stores. These weather-dented fruits are just as nutritious as their more beautiful counterparts and will receive their well-deserved spot at the table, instead of a landfill.

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Walmart introduces line of ugly fruit to combat food waste

Bright yellow dome home completed for Mama Dolfine’s orphanage in Kenya

July 25, 2016 by  
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Torsten told Inhabitat, “When we started this project back in January 2015 the plan was to raise funds to build a permanent school for the center. (We haven’t reached that goal yet). But quickly we had to realize that building a school cost a lot of money. I mean really A LOT. We are talking about $15-20k per classroom.” “So we changed our approach. We knew that we couldn’t do it alone and so we needed help. And the best way to get help I thought was to bring people to Kenya to see and connect with the Center themselves. That’s how the idea of a volunteer program developed.” Torsten adds that the dome home was designed to captivate an international audience and make it sustainable. A great deal of emphasis was placed on using local materials and labor, and improvising where necessary to cut costs and minimize construction waste. Nearly 100 percent of materials were sourced within a 15 kilometer radius of Kisumu, according to Torsten, except door knobs or shower taps that needed to be of a superior quality. Related: Footloose German kid builds an inspiring brick dome home for an orphanage in Kenya Large skylights and windows ensure natural light and ventilation. “It’s like a natural air conditioner,” Torsten says. “We didn’t think it would be that perfect. It’s the place everyone wants to be especially around midday when the sun is high and the other buildings are super hot.” Self-built solar water heaters , comprising nothing more than a few pipes on the roof, generates about 100 liters of boiling hot water that stays warm until about 10pm. Greywater from the two bathrooms and kitchen are funneled into the fruit and vegetable garden, according to Torsten. “The water runs into gravel holes with charcoal and cardboard to filter and to keep the moisture. We also throw other organic waste into those holes and cover them with mulch. Everything that grows around the holes is doing incredibly well,” he said. The 3 watt LED lights used indoors are incredibly powerful and super energy saving compared to local energy saver bulbs, Torsten says. The team aims to go solar eventually, when funds are available. Lastly, all 11 wooden doors were made with recycled pine wood from glass shipping boxes, and the 100 plus trees being planted around the house will further offset the impact of construction. Considering how young Torsten is, still in his early twenties, and how little building experience he had before taking on this project, this dome home marks an impressive achievement for a noteworthy cause. + A Better Me Foundation Images via Torsten Kremser

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Bright yellow dome home completed for Mama Dolfine’s orphanage in Kenya

Fleet Farming transforms suburban lawns into sustainable gardens

May 23, 2016 by  
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Front lawns are all too common across the United States, yet they produce a huge amount of pollution through absorbing fertilizer and pesticides. Homeowners use 800 million gallons of gas to mow 40 million acres of lawn. Fleet Farming, an organization started by Heather Groves and Chris Castro in Orlando, Florida, aims to reduce pollution by transforming those inefficient lawns into gardens that provide food for their local community. It’s not only lawns that are an issue, but our…

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Fleet Farming transforms suburban lawns into sustainable gardens

India shatters records with temperature of 123.8 degrees Fahrenheit

May 23, 2016 by  
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As we continue to break records for hot temperatures, one city in India is suffering under oppressive record-breaking heat. Phalodi, in northern Rajasthan, registered an extreme temperature of 51 degrees Celsius, which is 123.8 degrees Fahrenheit. The prior record was set in another city in Rajasthan, Alwar, back in 1956 with a temperature of 50.6 degrees Celsius, or 123 degrees Fahrenheit. This new temperature smashes not only the country high, but the continent high. It’s shy of…

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India shatters records with temperature of 123.8 degrees Fahrenheit

London man receives bionic arm with a USB port and built-in flashlight

May 22, 2016 by  
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A London man who lost his arm following a traumatic train accident has been offered a new lease on life. He’s the first person to receive a futuristic prototype bionic arm that uses state of the art robotics to connect the nerves and muscles of the shoulder with a functional prosthetic. The arm and hand can perform delicate commands that conventional prosthetics just aren’t able to match, with a few extra, high-tech features built in. At age 22, biological scientist James Young suffered…

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London man receives bionic arm with a USB port and built-in flashlight

Wind-powered vertical Skyfarms look to a more sustainable future for farming

April 11, 2016 by  
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Wind-powered vertical Skyfarms look to a more sustainable future for farming

Syrian refugee inventor builds an electric bike to get around camp

April 11, 2016 by  
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Even in a refugee camp , this man is working to build a better life. Safwan Harb fled Syria with two family members, and they settled in Zaatari , a refugee camp monitored by the United Nations and government of Jordan. Yet Harb and his family are all disabled, and it was difficult for them to get around on Zaatari’s uneven dirt streets. So Harb designed a creative electric bicycle . Read the rest of Syrian refugee inventor builds an electric bike to get around camp

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Syrian refugee inventor builds an electric bike to get around camp

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