5 cool measurement tools attempting to quantify regenerative agriculture

February 11, 2021 by  
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5 cool measurement tools attempting to quantify regenerative agriculture Jesse Klein Thu, 02/11/2021 – 00:05 Many practices are associated with regenerative agriculture — anything from no-till practices to pesticide-free farming. What’s more, the concept means different things for different crops in different regions. What is considered regenerative in one location might not qualify for the same label under other agricultural conditions.  It’s clear the food and agriculture sector needs to start defining regenerative agriculture specifically and measuring it quantitatively — it’s essential for the concept to scale. Some practitioners and regenerative ag pioneers are piloting new technologies to help with that process. These new tools — under development or in the early phases of testing — are helping put numbers to the abstract concept of regenerative agriculture and helping measure metrics such as biodiversity, carbon sequestration and other soil health considerations.  Following is a list of five emerging options, focused on two primary concerns, measuring biodiversity on agricultural land and gauging soil health and carbon levels.  An image of an insect used in Ecdysis’ AI recognition software//Courtesy of Ecdysis  1. Quantifying insect diversity using AI  Ecdysis is building an insect database that will use artificial intelligence to identify insect species and extrapolate the population of each species on a farm. The nonprofit, based in South Dakota, got off the ground with a crowdfunding campaign and now pays the bills with a combination of donations, foundation money and competitive and corporate grants. The 11 team members, four of which have Ph.D.s, are working with General Mills’s regenerative agriculture pilot to build up and verify its library of insects.  “Insect diversity actually scales really well and is a good indicator of profits, of soil carbon, of soil, of water,” said Jonathan Lundgren, director of Ecdysis. “We can use them as bioindicators because insects are a great responder, they’re so sensitive to what’s going on in a habitat. Just by taking the snapshot, you can tell an awful lot about the health of that environment.” Ecdysis asks farmers or people involved with regenerative agriculture projects to use a butterfly net and take 50 sweeps of the air near their wheat or oat fields to collect a sample of insects to send to Ecdysis as live samples or as photos. Then Ecdysis uses those photos to train its artificial intelligence system to identify the insects and model out the population. It then compares the insect population to other regenerative agriculture indicators taken on the farm, such as carbon soil levels and pest outbreaks.  Once the image recognition database is ready next year, Ecdysis says it will be ready to start predicting all the factors that affect a farm.  The hand-held probe is connected to a hand drill.//Courtesy of Yard Stick. 2. Measuring soil carbon levels with a handheld probe Chris Tolles, CEO of Yard Stick , is working with Christine Morgan, a principal investigator at the Soil Health Institute , to create a handheld soil probe that measures carbon levels with LCDs and pressure sensors. The original probe was so large it had to be mounted on the back of a truck. Tolles’ company, Yard Stick, is miniaturizing the technology so it can be used with a simple handheld drill and creating a commercial business to support the product.  The tip of the probe is a small camera that uses wavelengths to sense the presence of organic carbon the way our eyes sense the presence of blue when looking at the sky. The resistance sensors on the probe calculated the density of the soil. With those two inputs, Yard Stick says it can calculate the amount of carbon sequestered in a particular area of soil.  These new tools are helping put numbers to the abstract concept of regenerative agriculture. Right now, the company is working on verifying the accuracy of the soil probe by comparing its data to the traditional method of measuring carbon in soil, dry combustion. Using the latter technique, a sample of soil is burned to indicate the amount of carbon stored within it.  “That’s not scalable,” Tolles said. “The incineration of things at thousands of degrees, people trudging through fields, scooping up soil and putting in the mail. [Yard Stick] can take samples way faster, we can take more samples per field, the cost is dramatically lower, there are no consumables, we’re not shipping anything so you’ll get a more accurate measurement of your carbon stock.”  Yard Stick, based near Boston, plans to have a commercial product ready for sale by 2022 and is partnered with large industrial food companies to connect the probe to U.S. farmers for testing.  These satellite maps are used to monitor crop and soil health//Courtesy of Applied GeoSolutions . 3. Mapping soil health with satellite data and remote sensors Using satellite data publicly available from National Aeronautics and Space Administration and the European Space Agency, along with specialized algorithms, Dagan is monitoring the landscape to map adoption of conservation practices and soil health management.  Its platform can monitor tillage practice, cover crop planting and rotational crop-growing methods, and track soil residue dynamics — how the materials left on the surface decay. A model created at the University of New Hampshire predicts how those agriculture management practices map to greenhouse gas emissions and nutrient cycling.  Dagan, a startup based in New Hampshire, was spun off from Applied Geosolutions and supplies the agriculture sector with data services to recommend regenerative agriculture practices and track the results. It was able to create a system that can calculate the emissions and soil health without on-the-ground baseline reference data usually needed for projects such as these. And it is working on a way to calculate biomass. “We can create not only maps where cover crops have been adopted, but actually information on cover crop performance,” said William Salas, interim CEO of Dagan. “How well the cover crop establishes will influence the nutrient loss, sediment and nutrient uptake, as well as the amount of biomass to cover crops achieves because that is organic matter going back into the soil.” Dagan is working with The Nature Conservancy and the Ecosystem Service Market , whose members include food partners such as Mars and Nestle.  Microphones tuned to bird sound allowed researchers to dramatically increase the amount of data on bird diversity. //Courtesy of John Quinn. 4. Evaluating bird diversity with microphones Imagine standing in a field 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, pressing record every hour for a five-minute audio sample of the bird noise. In some ways, that’s the dream job of John Quinn, associate professor of biology at Furman University. But Wildlife Acoustics , the 18-year-old Massachusetts-based company, created the next best thing: a programmable, weatherproof recorder that does just that. “Instead of me having to drive 9,000 miles to visit all these sites, multiple times, I can put the recorder out once and then program it to record and really quickly, we have scaled up to massive amounts of acoustic data that we can then go back and analyze,” Quinn said. Quinn is working with General Mills to categorize and identify each bird in the thousands of hours of recordings taken by WildLife Acoustics microphones. The goal is to compare the bird populations on farms practicing regenerative agriculture to control groups to see if there is a statistically significant difference in bird populations.  Last summer, he had recorders on 30 farms in Kansas and is working on analyzing the sounds. Databases of bird sounds such as Kaleidoscope, also created by Wildlife Acoustics, and BirdNet can group or identify bird sounds, but the songs are so complicated that it still takes a trained ornithologist to make the final call.  “The regional dialects that different birds have is so diverse,” Quinn said. “A Carolina wren down here in South Carolina, that might sound different than one out in Kansas.” The hope is to one day be able to mail these recorders to farmers, have them program them and stick them in fields all over the world to get a clearer picture of bird populations and changes as regenerative practices are adopted. That’s something that would be cost-prohibitive before the invention of this easy-to-operate technology, Quinn said.  Faunaphotonics insect sensor in the feild.//Courtesy of Faunaphotonics. 5. Identifying insects using lasers  Denmark-based FaunaPhotonics creates a sensor that gives farmers real-time information about the type, number and activity of insects flitting between their crops. The company, spearheaded by two Ph.D.s., hired a business expert to bring the sensor to market. The sensor uses LEDs and photodiodes to see and interpret the wing flutter patterns of insects that fly past the sensor. The machine-learning algorithm uses the wing flutter to identify the insect and create a report for the farmer.  “The sensor is like a one-stop-shop,” said Kevin James Knagg, commercial director of FaunaPhotonics. “You can see how many bees, the number of different types of bees, this many moths, or break that down to say, you’ve had 1,628 honey bees been active past this center in the last four hours. Or if you’re looking to see how you can generate more bee activity, or maybe you’re looking at biodiversity as a whole and want to see all the insects.”   Pull Quote These new tools are helping put numbers to the abstract concept of regenerative agriculture. Topics Food & Agriculture Regenerative Agriculture Food & Agriculture Featured in featured block (1 article with image touted on the front page or elsewhere) Off Duration 0 Sponsored Article Off Regenerative farming requires more high-tech equipment than tractors. //Courtesy of Unsplash 

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5 cool measurement tools attempting to quantify regenerative agriculture

Xin Wei Yi Technology Park reduces energy and water demands

February 4, 2021 by  
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Located along the Yangtze River about 6.5 kilometers from Nanjing’s downtown area, the Nanjing Eco Hi-Tech Island will serve as an ecological destination and sustainability resource for residents and tourists in China . The Xin Wei Yi Technology Park is the first plot to be developed from the design’s masterplan. The Xin Wei Yi Technology Park will be situated adjacent to the island’s main bridge and across from the city’s new central business district. Its campus features an exhibition hall and office research buildings for technology and environmental companies, with plans for residential buildings to come at a later phase. Related: Green-roofed theater in Shenzhen raises the bar for civic architecture Featuring a dramatic roof line, the exhibition hall is designed to inspire a lasting first impression for visitors and citizens as they approach the island from downtown. Eight rooftop peaks symbolize the area’s neighboring Zhong and Stone Mountains, each with an oculus or “light cannon” to drive natural light into the large floor plates. This concept of light cannons is magnified in the design of the eight pentagon-shaped office research buildings, complete with large interior courtyards. The plans for Xin Wei Yi Technology Park put it at 13.4 hectares, comparable to 20 city blocks of New York’s Central Park. Organized into clusters along a central spine, the campus promotes an open-park feeling while promoting visibility and interaction among building tenants. The design includes several green elements to touch on a critical conversation about design practice in China, where fast-moving development often focuses on utility and cost more so than environmental impact . The exhibition hall’s dual-layer roof helps to significantly reduce excess energy, while cantilevered eaves provide shading. A geothermal heat pump system keeps energy usage 30% lower than comparable conventional buildings. The office research buildings are lifted off of the ground by a few stories, and vertical fins are strategically placed to achieve passive cooling . Rooftop gardens on both office research buildings eliminate water runoff and provide refuge for local wildlife while also providing workers and visitors with a green oasis to take in the views. Rainwater harvesting strategies help reduce water use for irrigation by 50% compared to traditional systems, while local plants and trees cover more than 30% of the landscape. + NBBJ Via ArchDaily Images via NBBJ

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Century-old water tower is now an award-winning home with stunning views

January 22, 2021 by  
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Seven years after purchasing the water tower next to their childhood home, cousins Ruud Visser and Fumi Hoshino of RV Architectuur have successfully transformed the century-old structure in Nieuw Lekkerland into a stunning home for their families. Built on a relatively modest budget by their own hands, the adaptive reuse project has also been awarded the Dutch Watertowerprize 2020, an annual award that honors the owners of the best transformed water tower. The transformed tower now houses a shared double-height garden as well as two dwellings on the top floors that overlook stunning views of the river De Lek and the Dutch polder landscape.  When Visser and Hoshino purchased the water tower in 2013, the pair were in their early twenties. Today, the cousins have gotten married to their partners and started families with two children each; the two families of four live together in the 9-meter-diameter water tower . The hexagonal tower is divided into three sections: a ground-level garden room and a pair of two-story dwellings, each with a unique layout informed by views of the landscape. One dwelling faces views of the river while the other overlooks the polder. Related: Reclaimed NYC water towers are upcycled into a NEST playscape in Brooklyn “The basis of the successful transformation is formed by the powerful design of Ruud Visser and Fumi Hoshino,” explained the jury of the Dutch Watertowerprize. “Huge floor-to-floor windows looking out over the river De Lek and the Dutch polder landscape contribute to the quality of the spaces inside and fit perfectly with the robust appearance of the water tower. The motto of the architects during the design process was: ‘Do not change a water tower into a house, yet live in a water tower’ and exactly this was the strength of this transformation!” As a result, the exterior of the water tower was largely preserved with the original diamond-formed windows intact. New floor-to-ceiling windows were thoughtfully inserted so as not to detract from the tower’s hexagonal geometry and are screened from the outside by vertical wooden lattices. + RV Architectuur Photography by René de Wit via RV Architectuur

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Century-old water tower is now an award-winning home with stunning views

Washington is the first U.S. state to hold a climate assembly

January 22, 2021 by  
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Starting this month, residents of Washington are going to have direct say on climate matters in the state. Eighty members of the public have been randomly selected to join the country’s first climate assembly in Washington. The assembly is constituted to develop pollution solutions and deliberate on environmental issues at large. In a bid to bring the direct voices of the public to the table, the state of Washington has randomly selected state residents, representative of every congressional district, to its assembly on climate . The state assembly members will be learning about climate change and discussing the issue, then they are required to forward recommendations to the state legislature by March. Related: Washington bans wildlife-killing competitions “It’s going to hinge on getting people from different ideological perspectives to talk and be informed and come to some consensus,” State Rep. Jake Fey, D-Tacoma, told Crosscut . Although concerns over climate change have been growing worldwide, a recent study shows that Americans are more divided on the subject than they have ever been. Pew Research Center  found that 78% of Democrats cite climate change as a top priority, while only 21% of Republicans have the same opinion. “One fact that has become clear is that the polarized nature of this debate harms us all,” Fey and three other state representatives said in a statement. “This issue cannot be another ‘us versus them’ issue, because it affects us all.” While the Washington Climate Assembly might be the first in the country, there have been similar assemblies internationally. Last year, U.K. citizens were randomly selected and asked to give their recommendations on how the country could attain net-zero emissions by 2050. After being educated by experts on climate change, citizens managed to reach a consensus, which has since been published in a report. “The first weekend changed me really. I thought, ‘Oh my God, [climate change] is really going to happen,’” Sue Peachey, one of the 108 people who took part in the U.K. assembly, said in an interview . The state hopes that the new assembly will help everyone involved collaborate and build relationships with one another to find meaningful solutions to the increasing risks of climate change. + Washington Climate Assembly Via EcoWatch Image via Dave Hoefler

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This green-roofed cabin is made from local cedar and glass

January 18, 2021 by  
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A year-round retreat for a young family in British Columbia, this contemporary cabin is found nestled along the north shore of stunning Bowen Island. Made from sustainable building materials such as cedar and glass, the Bowen Island House maintains deep connections to nature while minimizing environmental impact with a design that touches lightly on the ground. The Bowen Island House is set on a rugged, 8-acre site on a secluded side of the island, characterized by a lush, lichen-covered rainforest and some of the best views in the Canadian province. While the island itself is somewhat isolated and requires a ferry ride to access it from the closest city, the landscape here has become increasingly vulnerable to development over the years. In a place where over-scaled homes have become the norm, the Bowen Island House by the Office of McFarlane Biggar Architects + Designers (OMB) presents a sustainable alternative with a small environmental footprint. Related: Cedar Haven is a forest retreat made with reclaimed logs A simple, two-level volume is clad in locally sourced cedar and insulated glass , with three bedrooms, two bathrooms, an open-plan kitchen, a dining room and a living area. This modest scale, along with off-grid functionality and independent sources for heat and electricity, helps minimize the home’s footprint. Additionally, the project prioritized simple details in its design to ensure minimal disruption to the natural surroundings during construction. The home’s position perpendicular to the rocky coastline hides it within the landscape and captures the sun from east to west, while the cedar cladding is stained black to help it visually recede into the forest. There is also a green roof to reinstate the absorptive qualities of the forest floor below. Mediation between architecture and nature is achieved through cast-in-place concrete walls that connect the constructed elements to the natural elements as well as large areas of outdoor decks that look out over the water. + Office of McFarlane Biggar Architects + Designers Via Dwell Photography by Ema Peter via OMB

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This green-roofed cabin is made from local cedar and glass

Dolmen Shelter renderings imagine stone-shaped guest rooms

January 18, 2021 by  
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Sibling team Davit and Mary Jilavyan have imagined a boutique  hotel  with stone-shaped guest rooms partially inspired by their housing complex in Moscow. The project, known as Dolmen Shelter, is a fictional rendering that the duo hopes to someday see brought to fruition by their friends in the building industry. The hotel measures from 35 square meters to 55 square meters on 100-120 square meters of site area. According to Davit and Mary, they came up with the idea while walking near their house and seeing a landscape design made up of three  stones . The structures are reminiscent of single-chamber megalithic tombs known as dolmens, which date from the early Neolithic age. Related: Marc Thorpe designs live/work buildings built from earth bricks The project imagines a mini-hotel with at least three small stone-shaped guest suites, a design that the team chose instead of buildings made from different blocks to keep the project unique. The idea is to move away from modern house designs that prioritize contemporary shapes and glass, and instead focus on more organic shapes. Each stone-shaped suite is made of reinforced concrete and faced with plaster to imitate natural stone. A few very small windows help mimic a  cave’s  atmosphere. Red lighting evokes the same mystery that characterizes  ancient  dolmens; archaeologists still debate the reasons behind their presence and methods of construction. The team says this choice intentionally alludes to the mesmerizing estrangement and overall characteristics that attract people to these ominous stone structures.  Simple, minimalist furniture provides enough to live comfortably without excess, while a rectangular black volume with an entrance space is built into each suite to indicate the doorway. Overall, the hotel renderings remind one of the ancestral caves of early humans, a feature the Jilavyans believe will distract guests from their busy lifestyles and allow them to concentrate on themselves and their inner voices.  + Dolmen Shelter Via Dezeen Images via Davit and Mary Jilavyan

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North Americas first mass timber hotel opens in Austin

January 6, 2021 by  
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Acclaimed Texan architecture firm Lake | Flato has teamed up with hospitality company Bunkhouse to create Hotel Magdalena , an 89-room establishment that is also the first mass timber hotel constructed in North America. Located on Music Lane in Austin’s popular South Congress neighborhood, Hotel Magdalena takes cues from its surroundings with its landscaping that evokes Barton Springs as well as with programming that celebrates the area’s history and live music. Large windows open up to patios, terraces and balconies, connecting the hotel with views of downtown while allowing natural light and ventilation to flow through the building. Opened in Fall 2020, Hotel Magdalena is Bunkhouse’s latest and largest hotel project to date. The hotel consists of four new buildings assembled in pieces with mass timber construction. Timber is deliberately left exposed in the ceilings and the exterior elevated walkways that link the four buildings. Inspired by the sloping topography of Barton Springs, the hotel sits at varying elevations and features a Ten Eyck Landscape Architects-designed landscape plan with native Texan species such as Bigtooth Maples, Redbuds, Meyer Lemon Trees and Little Gem Magnolia. Related: Hood River’s mixed-use Outpost achieves industrial chic with mass timber The 89 guest rooms and suites comprise a mix of types ranging from top-floor Treehouse Studios that include up to 50 square feet of outdoor space to spacious Sunset Suites that face west with balconies offering 65 square feet of outdoor space. In addition to leafy outdoor walkways and a variety of balconies and terraces that open the interiors to cooling cross-breezes and daylight, the hotel further strengthens its indoor-outdoor connection with its materials palette, from the custom walnut wood built-in beds and inlay desks to the poured concrete floors with exposed aggregate that mimic Texan river rocks. Amenities at Hotel Magdalena include community-driven experiences such as live music and nature walks, a guest-only pool bar next to a 900-square-foot sunken swimming pool , a full-service restaurant and an events space. Rates start at $275 a night. + Lake | Flato Photography by Nick Simonite via Lake | Flato

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North Americas first mass timber hotel opens in Austin

Proposed skating rink uses melted ice to sustain wetland habitats

December 25, 2020 by  
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Designed by FaulknerBrowns Architects, the $40 million Lee Valley Ice Centre in London will feature two Olympic-sized ice rinks and use ice from the facility to benefit the sustainability and biodiversity of the building site. Along with sustainable design features like high performance insulation and rooftop solar panels , the facility’s melted ice will be filtered through reed beds to create new wetland habitats onsite. The design, which will replace an existing 36-year-old single rink, is pending second-round approval from the Greater London Authority. If the project does get approved, it will double the center’s capacity to 557,000 visits per year, providing more community access and complementing the surrounding Lee Valley Regional Park. The 26-mile-long park comprises 10,000 acres and a mixture of diverse heritage sites, natural reserves and award-winning gardens, along with another Olympic-sized venue also designed by FaulknerBrowns. Related: Renewable energy to power 2024 Olympic aquatic center The building site is in an important region for nature conservation , so the design team remained aware of the responsibility to preserve the unique, natural character of the area with the smallest possible environmental footprint. Their response was a pavilion-like structure that uses a heavy base plinth on the lower portion of the elevation to anchor the building to the flat landscape. The base forms a podium under the ice halls, which are insulated with cladding panels to create two environmentally controlled “fridges” that are wrapped by a copper-colored metal band. This band is separated from the plinth with a flowing, curved edge to create the illusion of a building floating within the landscape. The Lee Valley Ice Centre has also been rotated from its previous position to allow natural movement through the green spaces and to create a more welcoming gateway to the neighboring marsh. According to the architects, this reimagined position plus the proposed landscaping design with native plants and melted ice filtration system will result in a biodiversity net gain of 35%. + FaulknerBrowns Architects Images via FaulknerBrowns Architects

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Proposed skating rink uses melted ice to sustain wetland habitats

Luxury timber home mimics a rocky outcropping for minimal site impact

December 18, 2020 by  
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As part of an ongoing series to promote the eco-friendly use of renewable materials, Montreal-based studio Natalie Dionne Architecture has completed the Forest House I, a low-impact luxury home that celebrates timber inside and out. Set atop an outcrop of the Canadian Shield in the forested Eastern Townships, roughly 100 kilometers southeast of Montreal , the recently completed dwelling was commissioned by a couple who had long dreamed of a home in the heart of nature. In addition to a predominately timber palette, the architects inserted large glazing and outdoor living spaces to achieve a seamless transition between the indoors and out. Though rich in natural beauty, the client’s 3-acre property posed major siting challenges in the beginning due to suboptimal orientation and the presence of many rocky outcrops. Rather than fill in the landscape with concrete, the architects took inspiration from a “particularly impractical” 3-meter-tall rock formation to devise an elevated design solution that would not only minimize site impact to the existing terrain but would also improve the home’s access to views and natural light. Related: This timber-clad cabin appears to hover over an idyllic lake landscape Wrapped in low-maintenance eastern white cedar pretreated to encourage a silvery gray patina , the linear, 215-square-meter home rises out of the landscape like a rocky outcropping that is anchored on one end atop a base where a rock once stood. The other end, which is supported by slim columns, appears to hover over the rocky cleft and culminates in a partially sheltered terrace pointing toward a moss-covered escarpment. Glazed sliding doors allow for an uninterrupted transition between the outdoor living area and indoor kitchen, dining room and living room. The couple’s bedroom suite is tucked away on the southern end of the house. A staircase leads down to the smaller ground floor, where the entrance hall and a bunkroom — capable of accommodating up to 10 guests — are located.  Views of the forest are pulled indoors by floor-to-ceiling glazing, and a variety of timber surfaces reinforce the design’s connection with nature. Solid maple was used for the kitchen islands as well as for the vanities and stairs. The built-in cabinetry is constructed from Russian plywood. The timber palette is harmoniously integrated with polished concrete floors, white gypsum walls and natural aluminum windows. + Natalie Dionne Architecture Photography by Raphaël Thibodeau via Natalie Dionne Architecture

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Luxury timber home mimics a rocky outcropping for minimal site impact

Embracing the stylish, sustainable cottagecore trend

December 17, 2020 by  
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It’s the birthright of every generation to rebel against its forebears. So how can young people today define themselves as different from their phone-obsessed, digital-native parents? By donning Little House on the Prairie dresses, baking pies and cavorting with fairies. The cottagecore aesthetic has become popular with Gen Z, but what many don’t realize is how this trend actually finds its roots in sustainability. According to the Urban Dictionary, cottagecore is “a niche aesthetic based around the visual culture of an idealized life on a Western farm. Common themes include sustainability, gardens , farm animals, rural living and nature.” That makes this trend a good way to embrace an eco-lifestyle, learn some new skills, breathe fresh air and have fun. Related: What is cottagecore? “During the worldwide pandemic and long periods of stay-at-home orders, the movement accelerated rapidly as people looked for an escape from our dark reality,” said Amelia Ansink, accessories editor for Fashion Snoops, as reported by Today. “Cottagecore unintentionally represents the ideal quarantine life, where isolation in nature is strived for and everything we need can be produced at home and by our own hands.” Cottagecore apparel When the world is in lockdown and people are working from home (if at all), choosing clothes can feel like a game of dress-up. Who are we dressing for right now? Mostly ourselves. So if you’ve ever yearned to dress like a Holly Hobbie doll, this is your fashion moment. Whether you’re baking muffins, embroidering on the porch swing or picnicking in a field, prairie-inspired dresses of seersucker, faded denim, cotton and linen fit the aesthetic. Think ruffles and soft colors, paired with straw hats, jute bags and a wicker picnic basket. Gingham checks and floral prints are top choices. Hair is worn long and natural, topped with flower crowns or wrapped in a bandana. If you’re doing something a little dirtier — say, cleaning up after the chickens — striped overalls may be a better wardrobe option. Courtney Fox, 27, runs the cottagecore Instagram account @thefoxandtheivy . “I grew up in rolling farmland in rural Pennsylvania, not too far from Lancaster County, which has a large population of Amish, so this landscape and way of living helped to inspire me,” she said, as reported in Today. Her fashion role models include literary heroines like Anne of Green Gables and the characters in Little Women. The trend has helped Fox live in a more eco-friendly manner. “For me, cottagecore has meant trying to reduce my waste production and purchase things more sustainably, including my clothing,” she said. “There was a time when I was buying fast fashion , but I realized it didn’t really align with my values.” While cottagecore fashion tends to be femme, anyone can join in. Flat caps, tweed, knitted sweaters and walking sticks all help you dress the part. Bonus points if you take up beekeeping and baking. Your cottagecore home Because cottagecore makes the old new again, that means upcyling , thrifting, garage sales and flea markets are all part of the lifestyle. No need to contribute to the manufacturing of new goods and the accompanying emissions. If you picture a stereotypical grandmother’s cottage — lace curtains, floral tablecloths, vintage baskets and antique vases — you’ve got the right idea. Related: Unpacking the cottagecore home decor trend You may be able to tweak existing household accessories for the cottagecore look. Tone down brightly colored wood furniture with white chalk paint, which gives a rustic, shabby-chic feel, or use other muted paint colors like cream, light pink, yellow or green. If you’re lucky enough to live close to your mother or grandmother, raid their garage or attic — with their permission, of course — for cottagecore finds. They’ll probably be thrilled you can use something that’s just gathering dust and taking up space. Your cottagecore home needs a soundtrack. The Irish artist Hozier is at the top of the playlist, with Bon Iver, Florence and the Machine and any kind of romantic dark folk rock right behind. Taylor Swift has even joined in on the act with her new albums folklore and evermore. Cottagecore hobbies Cottagecore is about more than the way you and your house look. It also involves reviving wholesome hobbies of yesteryear. Gardening has become very popular during the pandemic and is directly tied in to other sustainable activities like baking and canning. Nothing beats growing your own rhubarb then serving it in a pie. Lockdown is the ideal time to improve your needle skills by sewing or embroidering. Top embroidery subjects are natural things like mushrooms , foxes and woodland fairies. Then there’s gaming. Cottagecore aficionados who can’t give up their technology can play rural- and nature-inspired games like Animal Crossing and Farmville. Everybody needs a break from the pandemic right now. Of cottagecore, popular British Instagrammer Keri-Anne Pink who runs @ gingerlillytea says, “I think it gives people a little bit of escapism from their own world and busy life.” Images via Bertrand Bouchez , Lê Tân , James DeMers and Lexi T

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