Every few years, discussions about using straw bales as a building material come up again. As our environmental challenges mount—from wildfires to hurricanes—straw bales seem to offer a sustainable answer. And as we in the American West seem to find ourselves in “fire season” earlier with each passing year, it’s time to ask: Has the humble straw bale’s moment finally come?
By MEA MCNEIL
Now that the tequila craze has crested, the latest Latin liquor to capture the world’s alcoholic imagination is tequila’s grandfather: mezcal. But an explosion of authentic mezcal is impossible—for reasons our correspondent discovers when she goes to Oaxaca to learn how this hyper-local spirit can be sustained.
In a small, Indigenous community in the mountains of Michoacán, Mexico, a band of determined women led the overthrow of a criminal cartel. Their victory gave the town a new sense of purpose by reviving its traditional livelihood, its capacity for self-government, and its communal spirit.
Story and photography by ANDREW SULLIVAN
A molecular biologist is finding what could be dangerous levels of heavy metals in plants like kale, often called the “queen” of the vegetable kingdom. And they’ve shown up the most in organic varieties.
Story by TODD OPPENHEIMER
Photography by CLAIRE BLOOMBERG
It’s 2015, and in the health and wellness world, the Kale Craze is in full swing — people are eating, roasting, blending, and juicing it. But one molecular biologist in Marin County stumbles upon evidence that this queen of greens might be hiding toxic levels of certain heavy metals. And it’s even worse in organic…
Great Dixter offers a mixture of courses for gardeners of all levels who want to learn the concepts of Dixter-style gardening, and how to put them into action in their own gardens. Dominique Browning, ex-editor of House and Garden magazine, wrote of her 2011 symposium at Great Dixter, “To spend a week gardening there is…
Fergus Garrett, one of the world’s preeminent gardening experts, talks about the art of making fine gardens, and fine gardeners. His tips are drawn from his years managing Great Dixter House & Gardens, the famously gorgeous and uncommonly diverse set of gardens that lie just outside London.
By THOMAS C. COOPER
Listen to “Paul and Elizabeth Kaiser on Healing our Soil, and Going Beyond Organic,” A Craftsmanship Artisan Interview
In this episode of our Artisan Interview audio series, Todd Oppenheimer sits down with Paul and Elizabeth Kaiser, a husband-and-wife farming team who have been at the forefront of a promising approach to growing food called regenerative agriculture. Hear how the movement they helped start could slow climate change; some mind boggling results from recent…
On a frigid, eight-acre farm just outside downtown Sebastopol, Paul Kaiser has devised a hyper-intensive form of organic agriculture that is grossing more than $100,000 an acre. And, he believes, saving the planet at the same time. Yet a number of farming experts see trouble on his horizon.
By TODD OPPENHEIMER