Solutions for Self-Reliance

Growing Lots of Food in Extreme Environments


We’re learning so much about how to produce more of everything at the local level.

Food, water, energy, and products.

For example, I had a great talk today with Brando Crespi today (from the NGO Pro-Natura).

He’s been working on ways to radically improve how small farms grow food, particularly in marginal and extreme environments.

One of the more interesting projects he detailed was a development project in the Sahara desert (Mali).  In this experiment, they were able to take biochar techniques from Brazil and apply them to growing food in sterile desert soil (members can download the entire talk for more detail).

bichar sahara

The experiment was so successful, it proved that even in an environment as marginal as this, it was possible to feed up to 1,000 per hectare using this approach.

Wow.  That’s just the tip of the iceberg.  There’s so much more.  Another example is Allan Savory.  His work on holistic land management has provided some impressive results (here’s his TED video).

Essentially, he found that livestock herds are essential.  They stop desertification by turning barren soil into fertile soil.  How?  They break it up the hardpack with their hooves and fertilize it with their poop.

These results can be accomplished on a huge scale or on a scale as small as a family farm (see Polyface for more).

So, dive in and join us.

Learn and benefit.

Sincerely Yours,



colorado john

Like it? Show your support on Patreon! Let us change the world.
Become a patron at Patreon!



Suggested Videos

Self-Reliance is Hard
We Make It Easier

Solutions for Smarter Self-Reliance:

You'll find them in The Self-Reliance Catalog; a carefully curated collection of the best plants, tools, shelters and systems for self-reliance and resilience.

Free Registration