All posts by Joe

Veganism vs Traditional Permaculture

A recent discussion on FB made me want to post it here.

I linked to a PBS Nova article about how veganism may not actually be the best thing ecologically for our planet moving forward. This debate is highly nuanced and I don’t think any one book or documentary can adequately capture the full range of items actually in play.

Here is the article. It was originally posted to FB by Robyn Francis, an australian permaculture teacher who may be one of the most experienced and seasoned permaculture educators left alive.

Link to article
This article supports one of the primary dogmas of permaculture which is that we need more perennial plants producing food, and less annual plants taking up space. Here is an article discussing this.

Dogmas of Veganism

After sharing this post, I had a comment from a friend. She asked if I had seen What the Health and Get Vegucated. I responded no, and that they were on my list, which they are.

Here is my response that I wanted to post, but didn’t.

I haven’t yet. I’m not talking about factory farming and eating poor quality grain fed stuff either, I’m more pointing at a holistic system that takes earth care into account.

This particular issue is something we discuss in permaculture design quite a bit. How do we use and heal land for best effect on humans animals and planet. Some of my work on permaculture can be found here Permaculture Salad and a local denver resource The GrowHaus if you want to check out what they are up to.

Soils need animals for soils to be maximally healthy. The planet has evolved for a long time with animals, and separating one from the other can’t work in the long term.

Annual plants are pretty tough on the earth. Killing all soil life before planing with a single crop  at a time. Followed by plenty of pesticides. This is one thing the people at The Land Institute are trying to address with perennial crops.

Almost as alarming as climate change is top soil loss. Top soil loss is happening at an alarming rate and if we don’t build soil actively, we are in trouble, and won’t have enough outdoor space to grow. Modern Agriculture that provides us with vegetables is a problem in this regard. See this Scientific American article on how we have a limited time of farming left on earth if we don’t make some major changes.

Some techy people are working on solutions with garden towers that won’t rely on soil, but the jury is out on if this will help take pressure off the earth enough for it to repair or be repaired to the degree it needs to for us to go on.

Eating the animals is a different kind of debate, as the article points to near the end.

This particular discussion is crazy complex, and I’m willing to be wrong, but from what I’ve studied, we do need a closer connection between perennial plants, animals and humans.

Food needs to be created more locally, and with more ethics. And we need to carefully have these discussions so that we don’t overstep what we actually know.

OK – end rant. More posts soon I hope. 



Last night gave us our first substantial snow up high here in Breckenridge. Weather forecast is looking positive for a bunch more snow over the next few days. Getting exciting.

October snow at Breckenridge 2015
October snow at Breckenridge 2015

Specialized in Fruita


Last night I had a dream that my bike was stolen. It sucked. At this point I think it’s time that I write a quick blog about it.

The bike is a specialized StumpJumper 29er ht comp. It is a nicer bike than I ever imagined owning, and I’m psyched on it. My other bike seems to weigh twice as much is this one, and those don’t have gears and one is rigid.

One of the primary reasons for buying it is that I really wasn’t biking enough here in the front range mountains of Colorado. The climbs tend to be at least 2 miles in length. On the Fourth of July, we ended up climbing about 5 miles with 1500 feet of vertical.

Needless to say, gears come in handy. For a while I thought I would be a single speed purist, and never ride with gears again. I was wrong.

Two or three weeks back I was riding in Fruita, and loved the hell out of it. The bike was excellent, and the trails were amazing. It was about on par with what I expected for some reason (maybe less than I expected, but still amazing). Temperature was the biggest issue for us. By the time we left Fruita it was about 100°, with minimal shade (I was hiding under small trees to recover). My friend and I woke up early at the free campsite and started biking around 7 AM.

We rode the Ziptty trail backwards, which is quite a feat. Huge sandy steep pushes mixed in with very nice descents on a ridge. I think we did Western zip after this followed by Kessler, chutes and ladders (almost died a few times), and vegetarian. All of these trails were at the 18 Road trailhead. My GPS failed on the ride, so it looked like I rode about 1 mile, but we estimate that it was more like 15 or so.
Looking forward to getting back there soon as possible to try out the Mary’s Road area, and ride 18 Road trails again.

My bike
Fruita 18 Road