Category Archives: Grow

Cloud House

CLOUD HOUSE is a unique rain harvesting system that creatively reuses the rainwater it collects to provide a deeper look into the natural systems that give us the food we eat. It is a sensory experience that amplifies the connection between our existence and the natural world.

PRESS RELEASE – drive.google.com/file/d/0B-T3JvWIFb1WQVZ4ZE9ld3V1RDA/view

On rainy days, a gutter system collects rain that hits the roof and directs it to a storage tank underneath the house. Sitting in the rocking chairs triggers a pump that brings the collected rainwater up into the ‘cloud’ to drop onto the roof, producing that warm pleasant sound of rain on a tin roof. At the same time, rainwater drops from the tops of the windows onto the edible plants growing in the windowsills.
Designed to collect and store rainwater for the ‘cloud’ to rain, this display of the water cycle illustrates our dependence on the fragile natural systems that grow the food we eat: at points throughout the year when there is low rainfall, the ‘cloud’ will not rain on the roof because it is simply out of water.

CLOUD HOUSE is clad with barn wood and tin reclaimed from a nearby abandoned farm by a group of Amish builders. With rocking chairs on a barn wood floor, the sound of rain on a tin roof, and rain drops bringing the necessary elements for plants growing in the window sills, the look and feel of CLOUD HOUSE are the epitome of a rural farm experience from simpler times and offer a space to reflect on the natural processes of food production.

Located at Springfield, MO’s largest farmers’ market, CLOUD HOUSE is a poetic countterpoint to the busy market, inviting visitors to a meditative space in which they can slow down, enjoy the fresh edible plants, and listen to rain on a tin roof.

“For years, grocery stores have provided food that relies on large agro-conglomerates with unsustainable farming practices, international food distributors, and chemical companies. Many people have demanded that we have another relationship with our food that focuses on personal health, the health of the planet, and supporting local community. Farmer’s markets, like the one at Farmers Park, give the option to know by whom and how our food is made. However, the changing climate has brought a new threat of increased instability to our food systems by creating unpredictable weather patterns, which we are seeing as more drought in some locations and more floods in other locations. This makes it harder and harder to grow food. It is becoming increasingly important that we have a clear understanding of how closely we are tied to ecological systems like the water cycle. CLOUD HOUSE offers a moment to sit in a rocking chair and listen to the rain on the tin roof to reflect upon the fragile dance we are in with nature and our own survival.”

PROJECT TEAM
Matt O’Reilly at Green Circle Projects – Developer | Patricia Lea Watts – Project Manager | Jeff Broekhoven – Artistic Advising | Sujin Lim – Cloud Design | Ben Jennings -Structural Engineer | Sue Evans and Kenny Underwood at Elemoose – Cloud Construction | Omar Galal and John Walker at Rain Reserve -Water System | Aaron Sampson at SamCo Construction LLC – Barn Wood Siding and Tin Roof Steve | Wilson at Wilson Creek Rustic Furniture – ootings/Piers | Richard Thompson at CHR Metals – Steel Framing | Bryan Simmons at A Cut Above – Landscaping Jeff Shelton Outdoor Lawn Service, Gravel | Pam Bachus at Picky Sisters, Rocking Chairs and Table | Tim Hawley – Photography

High-Res and Low-Res Images of CLOUD HOUSE: timhawley.com/160412_CloudHouse.zip

For More of Matthew Mazzotta’s work — matthewmazzotta.com/home.html

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Status of The Medicinal Mushroom Industry?

A wave of studies say psychedelics can treat depression, end-of-life anxiety, addiction and more. So we asked experts when we’ll legally be able to grow medicinal shrooms at home.

It’s 2017, and legal weed is coming to Canada. It’s close enough that you might even have your first non-criminal session planned out. If you’re corny enough to imagine making history by sparking a joint on the steps of Parliament minutes after the paperwork is signed, it’s worth remembering you won’t be the first legal weed smoker.

Medical weed, and the right to grow it, has now been on the table for two decades, starting with an epileptic guy named Terrence Parker. After being charged with possession a bunch of times, Parker fought the government and won the right to be exempt from further growing and holding charges in 1997. An appeal court decided that exemption should apply to anyone growing for a medical purpose in 2000. Though regulations tried to outlaw homegrown medicinal bud again in 2013, that was struck down in court last year.

What we haven’t had in Canada (yet) is a legally-sanctioned medical shroom grower. With a wave of recent studies suggesting psychedelics are an effective treatment for depression, end-of-life anxiety, addiction and more, that prospect doesn’t seem as far fetched at it once did. As you can probably imagine, some fans are already looking at Canada’s path to medical weed, and applying the same arguments to magic mushrooms. Will that take another 20 years to grow your own? Or is the legal precedent already set?

Twenty-three-year-old Spencer Allison is on precisely this trip. He’s read much of the new research on psychedelic treatment for depression, as well as a few court decisions, and thinks it’s just a matter of time before he can grow his own medical mushies. Allison’s been bugging a bunch of bureaucrats at Health Canada for a new “section 56” exemption, just like Parker’s in ’97. So far, it’s not going so well.

Allison says he found the Parker case on Wikipedia, and went to the Ontario Court of Appeals site to get a summary of the arguments. “I went through that, hit Ctrl-F, and just started changing every mention of epilepsy to depression, and found anything that applied to marijuana also worked for LSD and other psychedelics.”

Read More: What Are the Medical Benefits of Psychedelics?

Allison thinks the very same argument will eventually force the government to let him legally grow at home. “I think it’s just a matter of when, more or less.” Given all the excitement (and caution) over psilocybin’s medicinal possibilities, I decided to call a few science and legal experts to find out if Allison’s optimism holds up to scrutiny.

When I called up Mark Haden of the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies, aka MAPS, he said weed and mushrooms are entirely different drugs, and their legalization will probably be super different, too. Haden recently put out a paper that laid out how he thinks psychedelics should be regulated in Canada, including a new agency of government-licensed trip sitters.

“The path to legalization of cannabis is completely different. The path to legalization of cannabis has been political,” he told VICE. According to Haden, because psychedelics don’t have the same widespread popularity that weed does, we’ll never see mushrooms on a ballot question in the states, or the right to micro-dose rolled into a major policy plank in Canada’s next election.

Read the full article at VICE 

Nutrigenomics

Nutritional genomics, or nutrigenomics, is the study of how foods affect our genes and how individual genetic differences can affect the way we respond to nutrients (and other naturally occurring compounds) in the foods we eat. Nutrigenomics has received much attention recently because of its potential for preventing, mitigating, or treating chronic disease, and certain cancers, through small but highly informative dietary changes. The conceptual basis for this new branch of genomic research can best be summarized by the following five tenets of nutrigenomics:

  • Under certain circumstances and in some individuals, diet can be a serious risk factor for a number of diseases.
  • Common dietary chemicals can act on the human genome, either directly or indirectly, to alter gene expression or structure.
  • The degree to which diet influences the balance between healthy and disease states may depend on an individual’s genetic makeup.
  • Some diet-regulated genes (and their normal, common variants) are likely to play a role in the onset, incidence, progression, and/or severity of chronic diseases.
  • Dietary intervention based on knowledge of nutritional requirement, nutritional status, and genotype (i.e., “personalized nutrition“) can be used to prevent, mitigate or cure chronic disease.

 

The promise of nutritional genomics is personalized medicine and health based upon an understanding of our nutritional needs, nutritional and health status, and our genotype. Nutrigenomics will also have impacts on society “from medicine to agricultural and dietary practices to social and public policies” and its applications are likely to exceed that of even the human genome project. Chronic diseases (and some types of cancer) may be preventable, or at least delayed, by balanced, sensible diets. Knowledge gained from comparing diet/gene interactions in different populations may provide information needed to address the larger problem of global malnutrition and disease.

To find out more information check out NutriGenomics 

The Nanjing Vertical Forest

How do you combat the ills of poor air quality and pollution in a massive city of over eight million people, where there’s hardly room to plant new trees? You build a forest straight up into the sky. That’s the idea behind the Nanjing Vertical Forest, which is scheduled to be fully built by 2018, and will bring thousands of trees and shrubs into the highly populated Pukou District of the city, absorbing tons of CO2 and producing a wealth of oxygen at the same time.

The Nanjing Vertical Forest isn’t just a night bit of eye candy, it’s also extremely valuable from an environmental perspective. The structure will have 1,100 large and medium-sized trees on its facades, along with 2,500 other plants and shrubs. The plants are expected to provide 60kg of oxygen per day while absorbing over 25 tons of carbon dioxide every year.

This isn’t the first vertical forest that Boeri has designed and built; Milan, Italy, has its own pair of towers that resemble the planned Nanjing structure. Construction began in 2009 and was completed in 2014, and the buildings are now residential structures. However, the Nanjing project is much larger in scale and ambition, more than doubling the number of plants as well as increasing the total height of the towers themselves.

 

Medicinal use for Dragons Blood

Dragon’s blood is a resin produced by the rattan palm tree, Daemonorops draco. It is native to Southeast Asia, appearing in tropical and subtropical climates and occurring on the Malay Archipelago, specifically cultivated in Sumatra. There are in fact many red resins colloquially known as dragon’s blood, many of which possess different properties and come from entirely different plants. The resin of Daemonorops draco is the most commercially available, and is the species provided by Mountain Rose Herbs.

Dragon’s blood resin is often burned as incense, and its deep red pigment is used as a varnish and a dye. The resin is still used today in modern witchcraft where it is powdered down and used as an ink to write spells.

Dragons Blood also has medicinal properties detailed in the video below.

Jail time for Tanzanian Farmers trading seeds?

With the changes in the legislation, Tanzania became the first least-developed country to join the UPOV 91-convention. All countries that are members of the World Trade Organization must include intellectual property rights on seeds in their legislation, but the least-developed countries are exempt from recognizing any form of intellectual property rights until 2021. After that, the issues would be reviewed.

In order to get developmental assistance, Tanzania amended its legislation, which should give commercial investors faster and better access to agricultural land as well as a very strong protection of intellectual property rights.

‘If you buy seeds from Syngenta or Monsanto under the new legislation, they will retain the intellectual property rights. If you save seeds from your first harvest, you can use them only on your own piece of land for non-commercial purposes. You’re not allowed to share them with your neighbors or with your sister-in-law in a different village, and you cannot sell them for sure. But that’s the entire foundation of the seed system in Africa’, says Michael Farrelly.

Under the new law, Tanzanian farmers risk a prison sentence of at least 12 years or a fine of over €205,300, or both, if they sell seeds that are not certified.

‘That’s an amount that a Tanzanian farmer cannot even start to imagine. The average wage is still less than 2 US dollars a day’, says Janet Maro, head of Sustainable Agriculture Tanzania (SAT).

Under pressure of the G8

Tanzania applied the legislation concerning intellectual property rights on seeds as a condition for receiving development assistance through the New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition (NAFSN). The NAFSN was launched in 2012 by the G8 with the goal to help 50 million people out of poverty and hunger in the ten African partner countries through a public-private partnership. The initiative receives the support of the EU, the US, the UK, the World Bank and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

Companies that invest in the NAFSN are expected to pay attention to small-scale farmers and women in their projects, but sometimes little of that is noticed. As a result, the NAFSN receives a lot of criticism from NGOs and civil-society movements. Even the European Parliament issued a very critical report in May this year to urge the European Commission to take action.

Read the full article here Mo.Be