Category Archives: Natural Life

Bamboo Water Collecting Towers

The need for fresh water has pushed humans into exploring new and innovative techniques. For thousands of years, in regions where water is scarce, sometimes using air wells, people have harvested water from the rain, fog or even dew. In Ethiopia, we can witness an upgrade to the age-old technique. With a slick modern design, the WarkaWater will definitely improve collection of water from the surrounding environment. Standing 30 ft. tall and 13 ft. wide, the bamboo tower was envisioned by Arturo Vittori and his team, Architecture and Vision. How does it work? Well, the mesh netting installed on the structure captures moisture from the air and directs it into hygienic holding tank. Then, you can access the water via a spout. Check out the blueprints and other images involving this modern technique of collecting water!

The WarkaWater Tower, which is easy and cheap to construct, uses no electricity and has the ability to produce up to 25 gallons of water in a day by capturing condensation and could be the answer to water scarcity in parts of the world that have little to no access to water. A project developed by Architecture and Vision

See more at: http://www.goodshomedesign.com

Complete Earthbag Tiny House Build


Sept. 7 – 14
Bottom Leaf Intentional Community
 
near Asheville, NC

During this workshop, we will build an entire house from the ground up. The build will last from five to eight days, depending on how fast it goes. Participants should leave with all of the skills needed to build their own home. Participants will get hands-on experience with earthbag, cob, bottlewall, earthplaster, and more. We will also discuss house design, site selection, roof and foundation types and much, much more!  

See morgancaraway.com to sign up.

What Is An Earthbag Building?

Earthbag house construction uses bags(often polypropylene grain bags) filled with dirt or other mineral-based materials that are tamped down in place – similar to laying bricks in courses – which creates an incredibly strong and durable wall.

Why build with earthbags? 

Earthbags are a great medium for building strong, versatile, inexpensive structures. They can be used in applications that would be too moist for wood, cob, or strawbale. They can be used to build above and below ground houses, sheds, root cellars, stemwalls, greenhouses, walipinis, freestanding walls, cisterns, spring boxes, storm and emergency shelters, pools, steps, and many, many other things. Earthbags are non-toxic, fireproof, bugproof, moldproof, rotproof, bulletproof, impactproof, and floodproof

Barbed wire between courses keeps bags from slipping and adds tensile strength. The final plastered walls look just like adobe structures.

 

DIY Earthbag house building is considered to be one of the easiest methods for the average person to build. Even I might have a fighting chance.

Earthbag Modern House @ buildagreen.world

 

If building an Earthbag house seems like something you may be interested in, the go to person is Dr. Owen Geiger. His book, Basic Earthbag Building is considered a must have for those who have an interest in DIY Earthbag construction.

John Hopkins launches Psychedelic Research Center

The university is launching a Center for Psychedelic and Consciousness Research within John Hopkins Medicine. It’s believed to be the first of its kind in the U.S. and the largest research center of its kind in the world, according to the school.

“Johns Hopkins is deeply committed to exploring innovative treatments for our patients,” said Paul B. Rothman, dean of the medical faculty at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, in a statement. “Our scientists have shown that psychedelics have real potential as medicine, and this new center will help us explore that potential.”

The center is funded by a group of private donors, who collectively donated $17 million to start the center. Its focus will be on how psychedelic drugs affect the brain — looking specifically into brain function, behavior, learning and memory, the brain’s biology and mood.

That also means that the center will research the medical benefits of psychedelics. The center has already said its researchers will study psilocybin, the chemical naturally found in “magic mushrooms,” and see whether the compound helps with things like opioid addiction, Alzheimer’s disease, post-traumatic stress disorder, post-treatment Lyme disease, anorexia and alcohol use in people with major depression.

Read the full article at CNN

How to Clone Mushrooms 101

How To Clone Mushrooms

Remember Dolly the sheep?

It’s the first thing I think of any time I hear the word “clone.” It took scientist many years, but eventually they were able to create the worlds first mammal cloned from an adult somatic cell.

Luckily, cloning mushrooms isn’t nearly that complicated.

In fact, it’s something any budding mycologist can easily do at home.

Why Clone Mushrooms?

  • Capture Wild Strains

    Cloning wild fruits allows you to copy mushrooms from the wild and cultivate them.

  • Finding Valuable Traits

    Cloning allows you to copy fruits that have interesting genetic variations, color, shape, ect.

  • Clone Cultivated Mushrooms

    You can also copy store bought mushrooms, or mushrooms that you have cultivated yourself.

There are several reasons why you’d want to clone mushrooms.

First of all, the forest is the original source for all commercial mushroom strains. Now, you could try to collect spores to propagate these wild mushrooms- but it would be a gamble, not knowing what type of genetics you’d end up with.

Cloning, on the other hand, allows us to take new mushroom strains from the wild, easily make identical genetic copies in the lab, and eventually cultivate them for food or medicine. With cloning, you have a better chance of getting a prolific strain. If growing outside, it will already be genetically adapted to your local environment.

Cloning also allows us to copy mushrooms with interesting characteristics and unique genetics- such as larger fruits, faster colonization times, or a whole array of other potentially valuable traits- and capture those traits for future benefit.

The Cloning Process

The process of cloning mushrooms is relatively simple, and basically the same whether cloning wild species, cultivated species, or even store-bought fruits.

All you need to do is harvest a piece of tissue from a mushroom fruitbody, place it on agar, and allow the mycelium to grow out until you have pure culture.

Easy!

cloning-mushrooms-process

This strategy works because the mushroom fruitbody, even after being picked, is still a living, breathing, manifestation of mycelium.

The cells are still willing and able to reproduce.

By transferring the live tissue to a nutrient rich agar media, the cells can spring into action, propagating mycelium across the plate.

Why Not Start From Spores?

You could always search for novel strains by starting from spores, instead of creating a clone.

The problem is that spores are a total crapshoot. When you dump millions of spores on an agar plate, they will germinate and start to grow “hyphae”, single celled filaments which contain exactly half the genetic information required to form a fruitbody.

To form mycelium, two hyphae need to meet. When they do, they essentially create a new strain- with any number of potential genetic variations. The results are very unpredictable, which is why commercial growers start from copies of proven strains, rather than spores.

Cloning is a way to guarantee that the genetics of your culture will be the same as the genetics of the fruit which the clone was taken from.

That being said, starting from spores does have it’s applications, just not if you are looking for predictable results.

Harvesting Tissue

The tissue can be taken from any part of the mushroom fruitbody, but some of the best sites to harvest reproductive cells are the stem butt(which often contains remnants of mycelium), close to the gillsunderneath the cap, or smack dab in the middle of the stem.

NOTE: It is not recommended to harvest actual gill tissue, mainly because it will be difficult to ensure cleanliness, and because it will be covered in mushroom spores- which may germinate and create a novel strain different from your clone.

It is also hard to ensure cleanliness if taking tissue from the stem butt, since it has been exposed to contaminate rich environments.

If possible, I like to take tissue from the inside of the stem, because that is where you get the cleanest sample- even though it may be a little slower to grow than the rapidly reproducing cells directly under the gills.

mushroom-tissue-clone


Cloning At Home

You can easily perform clones at home… so don’t be afraid to give it a shot.

Step 1: Select Fruit and Clean

First thing you want to do is select the fruit.

Try and find a relatively large fruit body, since extremely small specimens, or thin fleshed species can be hard to obtain clean tissue samples from.

You’ll then want to clean the outside of the fruitbody by thoroughly wiping it down with an alcohol soaked cloth. This will damage the mushroom and make it not suitable for eating, so you’ll need to be willing to sacrifice it for the clone.

The reason we do this is because the outside of the fruitbody has been exposed to air and is no doubt covered in all sorts of contaminates- which could easily find their way on to the plate. Wiping the fruit down won’t completely eliminate the hazard, but it will significantly reduce the potential for contamination.

cloning-king-oyster

Step 2: Tear Fruit In Half

Once the fruitbody has been cleaned, tear it in half in a sterile environment. In front of a flow hood is best, but this can also be down in a SAB (still air box).

You should tear the fruit rather than cut it to prevent pushing contaminates from the outside of the fruit into the center of the fruitbody. The inside of the mushroom will be naturally sterile and contain nothing but fertile mushroom cells.

If using a flow hood, remember to always keep the fruitbody downstream of the flow hood.

taking-tissue-samplestransfer-mushroom-clone

Step 3: Transfer Tissue

Take a flame sterilized scalpel and remove a small piece of tissue from inside of the fruit body.

I usually like to flame sterilize the scalpel before tearing the fruitbody in half, allowing it to cool in the stream of the flow. You can also force it to cool by dipping it in the clean agar plate before transfer.

Either way, the scalpel should be cool before contacting the mushroom, otherwise it will likely kill the tissue.

There are many places to remove tissue- but the easiest to work with is the thickest, fleshiest part of the mushroom. This is typically the center of the stem or the center of the cap, and will vary depending on species.

Just keep in mind that basically anywhere you take the tissue will contain cells that are suitable for cloning.

Remove the tissue by scraping your scalpel along the fruit a few times. You can also cut a small 1/8” square, but this is usually more cumbersome.

Bring the tissue upstream and place it on the agar dish.

This motion should be smooth and quick as possible, minimizing the time that the agar plate is open. This is especially true if using a SAB.

I like to put at least three pieces of tissue in a triangle pattern on one single plate. Not every tissue will take off, and some will be contaminated, so placing multiple pieces of tissue on each plate will be more economical.

king-oyster-clone

Step 4: Clean, Colonize, and Store

Once the plates have been inoculated and wrapped in parafilm or masking tape, store them on a shelf at room temperature away from direct sunlight. I like to also place the plates in a Ziploc bag to keep them free from dust or other airborne contaminates.

Watch the plates closely, and over the next 2-3 days you should see mycelium starting to grow radially from the tissue.

It is possible to get a clean culture on the first shot, but there is also a good chance that your plate will contain contamination, especially if working with wild clones.

If that is the case, simply perform culture transfers by removing a piece of clean mycelium from the contaminated plate onto a new dish. Repeating this process a few times should eventually give you a clean culture to work with.

Of course, if your plate is overly contaminated, and there is no visible clean mycelium, it may be best to throw it out and try again.

king-oyster-clone-growing-on-plate

Source – freshcapmushrooms   

Mushroom Extraction 101

Source – TheHerbalAcademy

Although the art and science of making plant preparations can seem to grow ever more complicated the longer an herbalist maintains a practice, the accessibility of making full-spectrum plant extracts frequently remains within the grasp of do-it-yourself home preparation makers. Today I’m going to share with you how to make a medicinal mushroom double-extraction tincture.

This process, known as “double-extraction,” is a method commonly used for immune stimulating herbs, including many of the known mushrooms such as reishi, maitake, chaga, shiitake, turkey tail, and cordyceps.

Mushroom use has a long history in traditional medicine, a history which current research is only beginning to catch up with. Modern biochemical data shows an array of active constituents and compounds which assist the human body in the maintenance of health and in the healing process of ailments.

Fungal polysaccharides, actively researched since the 1950s, are long branching chains of complex sugars and have been shown to exhibit immune-modulating, anti-inflammatory, and anti-tumor activities (Hobbs, 1986), while compounds such as phenolics and terpenoids display a reduction in oxidative damage on the cellular levels (Mase, 2012).

These activities have indicated these wellness-supporting mushrooms in instances of under-active immune systems (such as in common cold and flu season), overactive immune function (such as in cases of autoimmune diseases), and carcinogenesis (such as in the growth of tumors and metastatic cancers) (Masé, 2012).

Because mushrooms contain this variety of constituents, both easily water-soluble (polysaccharides) and of lesser solubility (terpenoids and phenolics), the double-extraction process is necessary for making a full-spectrum preparation.

During the researching of this article, it became apparent that many highly-esteemed preparation makers and clinical herbalists differ in the particularities of making double-extractions of medicinal fungi. For this reason, we will offer an outline of the basic steps required during the double-extraction process, appended with more detail as to the options and variations recommended by a variety of experienced practitioners.

5 Steps To A Mushroom Double-Extraction Tincture

1. Wash, Chop, and Dry

After harvesting the mushroom bodies, wash and chop them into small pieces, and dry them on screen or in a dehydrator.

Most folks agree that making preparations with dried mushrooms is best for determining the final water content of the extract, which some folks say should be at least 25% alcohol for preservation purposes, although the common consensus is often higher for shelf stability (40% alcohol). Buhner (2012) suggests using 16 ounces of powdered reishi mushroom, 64 ounces of water for decoction, and 16 ounces of 95% alcohol for a 1:5 mushroom:menstruum extract resulting in 20% alcohol.

2. Single Marc or Double Marc?

Decide whether you will make the alcohol extract and water extract from two separate batches of dried mushrooms, or whether you will use the marc (leftover plant material) pressed from the tinctures to decoct during the water extraction process.

Some research suggests that high-proof alcohol destroys the water-soluble polysaccharides, so it doesn’t make sense to use the tinctured and pressed mushrooms in the decoction (Hobbs, 1986). Stephen Buhner (2012) recommends making the decoction first, while many other herbalists advise the inverse.

3. Ethanol Extraction

Many herbalists make the tincture first, filling a jar with the dried and chopped mushroom, covering the material with high proof (80-95%) clear grain alcohol, and allowing it to sit for 2-6 weeks away from sunlight. Hobbs (1986) recommends putting chopped dried mushrooms into a blender with the menstruum (alcohol) in order to achieve the greatest surface area for extraction, noting that the marc will settle in the jar over time and leave one inch of clear fluid at the top, which should submerge the plant material enough to prevent fermentation. Some herbalists even add a small amount of glycerin to the tincture during the ethanol extraction process in order to maintain emulsification (Masé, 2012).

When using dried plant material, it is important to shake the tincture jar every day in order to encourage the constituents to venture out of the stiff cell walls.

If the tincture is made first, it should be pressed, bottled, and kept in a cool dark location where it will be stable and won’t degrade.

If the decoction is made first and strained, it should be kept in the refrigerator while the tincture is steeping. Stephen Buhner (2012) offers a third variation, a combination method which recommends adding high-proof alcohol to the cooled decoction, which still contains the mushroom marc and should sit for 2 weeks.

How To Make A Medicinal Mushroom Double-Extraction Tincture | Herbal Academy | Medicinal mushroom has a long history in traditional medicine. Learn how to make your own medicinal mushroom double-extraction tincture.

4. Decoction

The word decoction refers to the slow boiling of plant material—usually woody roots, stems, barks, and seeds—over a long period of time.

Buhner (2012) recommends a half-hour decoction, while other herbalists suggest everything from 45 minutes (Green, 2000), several days of slow-cooking in the crock pot to whatever length of time it takes a slow boil to reduce the menstruum (liquid) by half. Some herbalists suggest adding water in order to maintain decoction process for 1-2 hours (Masé, 2012).

Hobbs suggests decocting the marc pressed from the tincture in a 1:5 marc/spring water ratio, simmering for 1 hour, pressing and composting the decocted marc, and then simmering the water extract further until it has evaporated to 1/5 of its original volume.

5. Strain, Press, Decant, Store

Be sure to strain and press the fluid out of the marc very well once the decoction is cooled and the tincture is ready. The alcohol percent goal for the combine ethanol-water extraction should be 25% (Hobbs, 1986), so the volume of the water extract should be adjusted according to the percent of alcohol of the spirits used for the tincture.

Using 190 proof (95%) ethanol makes the math the easiest—in order to get close to a 40% alcohol double extract, combine approximately equal parts alcohol extract (tincture) and water extract (decoction). Sometimes the polysaccharides will precipitate out of solution while on the shelf, so it is a good habit to shake the bottle before dispensing.

How To Make A Medicinal Mushroom Double-Extraction Tincture | Herbal Academy | Medicinal mushroom has a long history in traditional medicine. Learn how to make your own medicinal mushroom double-extraction tincture.

Medicinal Mushroom Double-Extraction Tincture Recipe

Mushroom Double-Extraction Tincture

Ingredients

(adapted from Guido Masé (2012).

Dried, chopped mushrooms
100 proof vodka
Food-grade vegetable glycerin

Directions
  • Divide dried and chopped mushrooms into two equal parts.
  • Prepare a tincture by covering half of the mushrooms with a menstruum composed of 70% alcohol (100 proof vodka), 20% glycerin, and 10% water.
  • Allow to steep 4-6 weeks, shaking occasionally
  • Strain
  • Prepare a decoction by combining the second half of the mushrooms with twice the volume of water than what you used for the total solvent volume of the tincture you made. Simmer the decoction for at least one hour, preferably 2 or more. Keep adding water as needed during the cooking time.
  • Strain the decoction and continued to simmer the liquid until it equals the amount of strained tincture. Remove from heat and cool completely.
  • Combine the liquids from the decoction and tincture, with the end product roughly 25% alcohol by volume.

You can learn more about wellness-supporting mushrooms in The Herbarium!

medicinal mushroom

REFERENCES

Buhner, S.H. (2012). Herbal antibiotics. North Adams, MA: Storey Publishing.

Green, J. (2000). The herbal medicine-maker’s handbook. Berkeley, CA: The Crossing Press.

Hobbs, C. (1986). Medicinal mushrooms. Williams, OR: Botanical Press.

Masé, G. (2012). Medicinal mushrooms: A brief history and overview of principal species. Retrieved on 08/27/2016 from http://www.vtherbcenter.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/04/Medicinal-Mushrooms.pdf

Cactus being converted into Bio Degradable Plastic

While some Earth-friendly plastic is now made from corn, cacti don’t need the resources and can be grown on land we don’t need for food production.

This new biodegradable plastic is made from cactus

In a university lab near Guadalajara, Mexico, researchers trim cactus leaves and feed them into a juicer, creating a bright green liquid. When it’s mixed with other natural materials and processed, it undergoes an impressive transformation: The cactus juice becomes a biodegradable plastic.

It’s one experiment to help tackle the world’s plastic problem. Around nineteen billion pounds of plastic ends up in the ocean each year, and as plastic breaks down there and in landfills, it makes its way into the food system; people now eat an annual diet of more than 50,000 pieces of microplastic. Plastic made from cactus wouldn’t necessarily help stop the flow of trash into waterways. But the researchers say that the material biodegrades quickly and is nontoxic if it’s eaten. And unlike plastic made from fossil fuels, the cactus-based plastic is carbon neutral as it breaks down–the carbon dioxide it emits equals the carbon dioxide it took in as a plant as it grew.

[Photo: Sandra Pascoe Ortiz]

The prickly pear cactus used in the experiment, which grows locally, is well suited to become plastic. “The cactus of this species contains a large amount of sugars and gums that favor the formation of the biopolymer,” says Sandra Pascoe Ortiz, a chemical engineering professor at the University of the Valley of Atemajac, who is leading the research.

Cactus also has another advantage over some other plants that are currently used to make plastic. Corn, for example, which is often used to make compostable forks or cups, still has an environmental footprint from the fertilizer and other resources used to grow it. It’s also using land that could be used to grow food. Cactus, which survives in harsh environments with little or no intervention, can grow on land that doesn’t make sense for farming. “It does not require much care for its cultivation and production,” says Pascoe Ortiz.

The resulting material isn’t yet as long-lasting as plastic made from fossil fuels. But it could still be useful in some applications. “We are thinking of products that are disposable, single-use, or that do not need to be durable,” she says. It may also be more biodegradable than other alternatives; corn-based plastic, for example, is unlikely to break down unless it’s in an industrial composting facility, and most consumers still don’t have access to that type of facility. The cactus-based plastic can biodegrade in a backyard composter within a few months.

The researchers are currently working with a company that is interested in bringing the material to market.

Source – FastCompany 

Aboriginal approach to mental health in times of drought

In Australia, psychological tools developed with Aboriginal people can also support farmers whose land is suffering the effects of climate change.

‘If the land is sick, you are sick’

A coal truck roars past, stirring up red dust that blows over the famished cattle and sheep lying in grassless paddocks. The carcasses of dead kangaroos lie next to empty water troughs. There is no birdsong.

Some say it has been the worst drought in a century here across the central and eastern part of Australia. As in other parts of the world, climate change and land clearing are driving soaring temperatures and extreme weather events, including heatwaves and droughts. Australia already sees several weeks each year when temperatures climb above 45ºC, but few people were prepared for the drying-up of dams and waterways.

Food insecurity is now a real threat in parts of the country as livestock and wildlife are dying in inner New South Wales. Farmers are struggling; rates of depression and anxiety are increasing among those who stay.

“I was sleeping for 15 hours a day,” says Richard, a cattle farmer living near White Cliffs in western NSW. “I felt so sick and tired I thought I had cancer. But it was depression.”

His depression hit just before this drought, and was brought on, he thinks, by extreme stress and family issues. But drought only adds to farmers’ stress: it degrades the land, which makes it harder to earn a living.

In 2018, a study from the University of Newcastle in NSW found that farmers in rural parts of the state experienced “significant stress about the effects of drought on themselves, their families and their communities”. Other research suggests that income insecurity related to drought increases the risk of suicide among farmers.

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Psychologist Pat Dudgeon at the University of Western Australia is used to people suffering in response to extreme stress. She was Australia’s first Aboriginal psychologist, and specialised in suicide prevention because of the mental health issues in her community in the Kimberley, a region of north-west Australia.

Throughout Australia, rates of suicide have increased dramatically for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people over the past 30 years. The rise is due to ongoing issues of racism, poverty and intergenerational pain, the legacy of centuries of colonisation and mistreatment by British and Australian governments. For instance, many Aboriginal people have had their land taken from them and been forcibly removed to live in missions or be fostered by non-Aboriginal people.

Dudgeon believes many lessons can be learned about grief and trauma from the loss of land and culture that Aboriginal people have experienced. She says psychology can move away from the Western tradition of expert and patient, towards a more narrative form based on Aboriginal traditions and reconnecting with the land. And as more psychologists begin to incorporate these Aboriginal concepts into their practice, such a combined approach might help farmers dealing with drought to reconnect with the land and improve their mental health, too.

“If the land is sick, you are sick,” says Fiona Livingstone, who manages a suicide prevention programme at the University of Newcastle’s Centre for Rural and Remote Mental Health.

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She explains that the traditional Aboriginal concept of health is much broader than that of conventional Western medicine. Aboriginal people, she says, are deeply connected to “country”, the place with which they have spiritual ties. The personal, social and ecological are closely interconnected: “health” is the state in which they are all in balance.

Prolonged drought affects Aboriginal communities in farming regions economically, because it leads to a lack of work. There’s also grief at the loss of nature from the deaths of wild animals and plants. These experiences of not being able to take care of the land during long periods of drought increase stress, leading to an increase in antisocial and risk-taking behaviour such as drug dependence and drinking. People begin to “mistrust each other, gossip maliciously and turn against each other,” say the authors of one report. Droughts can have the effect of “exacerbating underlying grief and trauma”.

Read the full article at Scroll 

What is Ethnobotany?

What is ethnobotany and why does it matter?

Ethno (as in ‘ethnic’) refers to people, culture, a culture’s collective body of beliefs, aesthetic, language, knowledge, and practice.

Botany is the study of plants—from the tiniest fern or blade of grass to the tallest or oldest tree. Botany includes all the wild plants and the domesticated species. Domesticates are species that we humans have selected over time from the wild plant species, then tamed and trained to optimally produce for us: food, fibers, medicine, materials, and more. The domesticated species are both the subject and object of agriculture.

Ethnobotanical knowledge encompasses both wild and domesticated species, and is rooted in observation, relationship, needs, and traditional ways of knowing. Such knowledge evolves over time, and is therefore always changing and adding new discoveries, ingenuity and methods.

The impacts of modern human societies on traditional cultures and natural habitats have caused huge losses of individual species, and profoundly disrupted communities of species (plant, animal and fungal). Displaced or dispersed peoples—who may have passed along hundreds of generations of observations and customs via oral tradition—lose their languages, the names of things, and their place in the web of relationships. Sometimes new relationships develop as people migrate, and this generates new or modified ethnobotanical knowledge.

What is ethnobotanical lore?

At Botanical Dimensions, we particularly treasure those threads of the fabric of knowledge that carry an awareness of how humans are woven into nature. This knowledge is apparent in the worldview of a people, which arises as beliefs, stories, myths, instructions, songs, art forms, rituals, recipes, and practices. The lore has for millennia informed the young people of these cultures in how to be human in a natural world. Lore comes from the same root word as learn. It includes both knowledge and know-how, passed down from ancestors.

Which tools do ethnobotanists use?

Ethnobotany is an integrative, multi-disciplinary field of learning. So the tools of ethnobotanical investigations are many: botany, mycology (the study of fungi), taxonomy (ways of categorizing), anthropology, ethnography, archaeology, comparative folklore, religious studies, medicine, chemistry, pharmacology (uses and effects of chemicals in plants), and more. Some of the psychoactive species and their lore carry us deep into realms of ritual, mythology and cosmology. Sometimes, in ethnobotanical inquiry, we call upon ancient history, or colonial socio-economic histories, or even examine the roots of our modern social movements.

Field ethnobotany is the observation of the human-plant relationship in places where it is visible and may be either experienced and/or documented, in stories and images.
These are a few of the many branches of investigation that draw on cultural knowledge, and that begin with the prefix ethno:

Ethnobiology is the study of the relationships between people, the lifeforms surrounding them, and the environment in which they live, in the past or present. Ethnobotany is included within the greater category of ethnobiology.

Ethnomycology is the study of folk knowledge of mushrooms and other fungi. Ethnomycology is often subsumed under ethnobotany, as mushrooms were long believed to be plants, which they are not.

Ethnoscience is the study of the various ways the world is perceived and categorized in different cultures. Ethnoscience regards the operational concepts in an indigenous knowledge system, and is sometimes called folk science. Folk classification and naming systems are also called folk taxonomy.

Ethnomedicine is the study of traditional medicines, whether written (as in Ayurveda or Traditional Chinese Medicine), or remembered and transmitted via oral tradition (such as in much Native American, Latin American or African folk medicine, or in Euro-American herbal medicine). Medical anthropology studies contemporary ethnomedicine, which includes concepts of what illness is and how healing occurs.

Ethnopharmacology is the study of the uses, effects and modes of actions of naturally-occurring drug compounds. This is a key field that often explains the effectiveness of herbal medicine, stimulants, analgesics, inebriants or psychoactive species. Both ethnomedicine and ethnopharmacology overlap significantly with ethnobotany.

Ethnomusicology is the study of the music of different cultures, and musical instruments they make and use, which are often made of plant materials. Ethnomusicology may include the study of dance.

Ethnoecology refers to a paradigm that is gaining ground in the early 21st century: Understanding and documenting how peoples perceive and manage the ecosystems they inhabit.

Source – BotanicalDimensions

 

Black Beekeepers Bringing Detroit Vacant Lots Back To Life

Black Beekeepers Are Transforming Detroit’s Vacant Lots Into Bee Farms

A pair of Detroit natives have decided to combat neighborhood blight in a pretty sweet way — by transforming abandoned vacant lots in their city into honeybee farms.

Detroit Hives, a nonprofit organization founded by Timothy Paule and Nicole Lindsey in 2017, purchases vacant properties and remodels them into fully functioning bee farms.

“These properties are left abandoned and serve as a dumping ground in most cases,” Paule told HuffPost. “The area can be a breeding ground for environmental hazards, which creates a stigma around the city.”

Paule, a photographer, and Lindsey, a staff member for the health care provider Henry Ford OptimEyes, had been dating for some time before launching the nonprofit. Paule attributes their inspiration to a cold that he just couldn’t get rid of.

“I went to the local market that I normally go to, and he suggested that I try some local honey for my cough,” Paule said. “He said you consume local honey because it has medicinal properties.”

After he started to feel better, the couple also began to think about how urban blight contributed to allergies through overgrown ragweeds in abandoned areas. They put producing local honey and erasing urban blight together, and Detroit Hives was born.

To become certified beekeepers, Paule and Lindsey took two courses at Green Toe Gardens and Keep Growing Detroit. The duo bought their first vacant space on Detroit’s East Side for $340 with the help of the Detroit Land Bank Authority, an agency that works to redevelop abandoned properties.

“The land bank offers a community partnership program for nonprofits and faith-based organizations to purchase structures or vacant land from the land bank to put back to productive use,” Darnell Adams, director of inventory at the land bank, told HuffPost. “We encourage them to bring their visions and their proposals to the land bank so that we can give them access to land to implement them.”

Currently, Detroit Hives owns just the one farm, but they’re looking to expand in 2018.

Besides raising honeybees, the nonprofit aims to spread awareness about bees by hosting public tours of the farm ― they encourage community members to schedule an appointment ― and by traveling to schools in the Detroit area to speak with students.

“It was a little hard at first because most high-schoolers are afraid of bees or they really don’t care,” Paule said. “So I had to find a unique way to introduce bees to them. One thing they found intriguing is how each honeybee had a unique job.”

And of course, Detroit Hives sells honey to the public and to local vendors that use it to create products such as handcrafted beer and sauces. They’ve even created Bee Moji, an emoji sticker app.

While you’d think people would be concerned about thousands of bees in the area, the local community loves the bee farm, according to Paule and Lindsey.

“The neighbors love it. They say they wish we were there 10, 20 years ago,” Lindsey said. “That area has always been a place where people dump trash, so when we came there, we gave that area a sense of purpose. The neighbors keep an eye on the area to make sure that people aren’t dumping anymore.”

Detroit Hives’ tagline is “Work Hard, Stay Bumble,” fitting for a city that knows all about perseverance.

“We’re hustlers, innovators and thinkers,” Paule said. “Bees work really hard, and they’re humble. In Detroit, you have to work hard and be humble. It’ll take you far.”

Source – Huffington Post