Honeybees Could Get a Boost from Open Source Printable Smart Beehives

If you’ve been paying attention to the disturbing news about the current state of honeybees, which we rely on for pollinating a large percentage of our food crops, you know that colony collapse disorder has been wiping out beehives across the country and around the world. Even more disturbing is the fact that we don’t know why it’s happening, or how to stop it from happening, and with beekeepers losing an average of 30% of their hives, it’s quite possibly…

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Aquaponics Kit Turns 10-Gallon Aquariums into Gardens

Got a 10-gallon aquarium laying around in the basement or garage? The detritus of a failed attempt at adding tropical fish to the home decor? Austin, Texas college sophomore Jack Ikard found one in the back shed a year and a half ago, and decided to…

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Water Filter Made from a Tree Branch Removes 99% of E. coli Bacteria

A low-tech water filter system made from a branch of a tree can filter up to four liters of water per day, removing up to 99% of E. coli bacteria and producing fresh, uncontaminated, drinking water. A team at MIT used a small piece of sapwood, which contains xylem tissue that transports sap inside the tree, to build an effective water filter that could make a big difference in places where contaminated water is the norm. By using this type…

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Portable Solar Power Suitcase Reduces Maternal and Infant Mortality

Here in the developed world, we take modern healthcare and all of the technology that supports it for granted, including the most basic of services, such as power and light. But in the developing world, mothers and newborns can die during childbirth for lack of those simple services, even with the most skilled midwives or doctors attending them. In some areas, midwives have to resort to using candles, kerosene lanterns, or even the light from their cellphones, in order to…

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A turnkey scalable system for commercial urban farming

Opportunities abound for creating a sustainable business in the new food economy, and with the rising demand for year-round local organic produce, developing an urban farm could be one answer for an ecopreneur looking to help build a strong local food system and generate an income. But if you don’t have access to open space for farming, or the use of a greenhouse for year-round vegetable production, it can be virtually impossible to get started, unless you can build or…

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The Secret to Ending Hunger? Indigenous Crops

  “Potatoes may seem fairly humble, but there are more than 4,500 species of potato in the world. Likewise, there are at least 1,000 pepper plant varieties, 7,500 tomato species, and 7,500 known apple varieties worldwide. However, the incredible variety of the planet’s plant life is disappearing. The U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) reports that approximately 75 percent of the Earth’s plant genetic resources are now extinct. Another third of plant biodiversity is expected to disappear by 2050. This…

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Local Orbit Provides Tools for Entrepreneurs Building the New Food Economy

The relocalization of our food system is happening, slowly but surely, as the demand increases for a stronger connection with the food we eat and the people who grow it. But to rebuild our food systems and continue the growth of a new food economy, it’s not enough to simply plant more lettuce and hope for buyers. Like any venture, making a food business sustainable and profitable calls for skills and strategies that may not come easy to those who…

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An Urban Micro-Farm in a Mobile Box

Do you want to help change the nature of food production for urban consumers and reduce your community’s carbon footprint at the same time? One way to that goal is by producing more local and sustainable food, even in the heart of the city. One promising solution bypasses the need for a plot of land by building a mobile micro-farm in a box, using vermicomposting and a heat and nutrient recovery system to grow food in an aquaponics setup inside…

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