Non-Traditional Education: Reconnecting to our Roots

Non-Traditional Education:  Reconnecting to our Roots

Modern, conventional education systems do not work for everyone. They cater well enough to many of today’s students but not to a significant portion of the population that might be better served by alternative pedagogical approaches. In most countries, at the age of 4 or 5, or even younger, kids are shuffled into busy classrooms to learn subjects that will reportedly prepare them for a successful future. As our economies become less predictable, politics less appealing, and the environment ever more damaged, current educational models are losing traction with increasing numbers of people who recognize that the one-size-fits all approach to education is not working for our society.  

Making Microbes: Fungal vs Bacterial Soil Life

Making Microbes: Fungal vs Bacterial Soil Life

Organic gardeners and farmers understand the need to cultivate and protect soil microorganism life. The strategies to do this involve mulching, composting, and avoiding soil disturbance as much as possible. We know that these strategies, in addition to many others, encourage a healthy soil-food-web.

Build Your Skills: 2017 Workshop Series

Build Your Skills: 2017 Workshop Series

Our 2017 workshops exemplify the type of world we hope to shape. They train students to look at their landscape, shelter, and food with a new perspective; one that honors ecology and craft, that promotes a sense of place in an often disconnect world. We hope you will join us for one of these powerful courses.

The Peace in Knowing Yeast: How to Brew Your Own Ginger Beer

The Peace in Knowing Yeast: How to Brew Your Own Ginger Beer

I knew there was something wrong when the fraternity brothers put codeine in the keg, when my friends got so sick that they went splat, when thirteen year old me took a sip of every wine bottle in the house when mom and dad weren't looking and I felt like I had done something naughty. European culture is renown for serving alcoholic beverages to children, yet in the USA where I grew up, something about alcohol is taboo. The cultural history reflects just that. Alcohol in Native American early history is absent, contraband could put you behind bars or blind you, prohibition made speakeasies a mischievous and alluring excursion, and even today a cultural lag in how we enjoy alcohol still exists. 

Food, Familiar Stranger

Food, Familiar Stranger

When I was a teenager thumbing rides around Mexico, I quickly realized my vegetarianism would not survive. If my friend Valente and I got in some dusty car with a family that brought us back to a tin-roofed house and gave us chicken soup, we ate that soup. The kindness of strangers humbled my big picture ideas of right and wrong.

The Art of Stacking Functions

The Art of Stacking Functions

Stacking functions. What does this phrase mean to you? It could mean any number of things depending on what you apply it to. In this case I'm referring to the term as it's used in permaculture. It is one of the primary principles of permaculture design. Here at the Ranch we employ as many of these principles as we can in our work and in our daily lives.