How to Turn L.A. into a Giant Orchard

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Is it possible to make LOS ANGELES a city of: Safe and friendly neighborhoods; Full employment; Easy Transit; Solar Power; Orchards; Pure Water; Clean Air; and Natural Beauty?

That is the question posed on page two of Paul Glover’s Los Angeles: A History of the Future. The answer is, of course, YES – otherwise his pamphlet, most recently published in 2012, would not be 55 pages long.

Glover is the founder of 18 organisations and campaigns for ecology and social justice, ran for mayor of Ithaca NY in 2003 and for governor of Pennsylvania in 2014, on the Green Party ticket.

Throughout his long and varied career, he worked as a gardener, cartoonist, masseur, dishwasher, farmhand, lecturer at Cornell and other universities, sidewalk artist and inhalation therapist – though not necessarily in that order – and much more. He has campaigned against war and Walmart, and for local currencies, better healthcare and urban farming.

In A History of the Future, Glover paints a picture of an L.A. where progress does not mean more cars, concrete and pollution, but less. It is a vision that somewhat reminiscent of that old Talking Heads song in which “The highways and cars/ Were sacrificed for agriculture”.

According to this detailed sequence, the city would become a giant orchard looped with bikeways and solar rail. Industries would return to neighborhood scale, and workers would control them. People would live in ecolonies: solar co-ops specifically designed for this subtropic climate. It is the sort of possibility we hope unfolds during our decades…

You could say it is refreshingly visionary. Or overly optimistic. Or crushingly naïve. To take your pick, read the pamphlet in full. We stopped short at the maps, which distill the transformational message down into a mesmerising cartographic sequence of progress – realistic or not: if it is mappable, at least it has the air of the do-able:

PAST: Ninety years ago, several homes were built on a beanfield. Graded dirt streets connected to a concrete boulevard. Food, fuel and most water were produced locally. Trolleys made transit easy. Air was clean. Homes were safe unlocked.

PRESENT: The land is mostly paved and built on. 400 people live in 74 houses. Most rent. Food, fuel, metals and water are piped, pumped and trucked from great distances. Many commute far to work. Fuel is wasted, air is poor. Crime confines women at night. Garbage is the main product of the…

Why Rosario Dawson Is Backing A Home Compost Campaign

Composting leftovers may seem like a hobby reserved for only the most dedicated environmentalists, but it’s a lot more accessible than you may think.

The social media star and sustainability guru recently teamed up with celebrities including actress Rosario Dawson, singer Jason Mraz and actor Adrian Grenier in a campaign to get more people to compost their leftover produce at home. In the video above, she shows how easy it is to start your own compost bin at home, from start to finish.

To get started, all you’ll need is some dirt,…

20 Maker-Made Projects For Earth Day

First celebrated in 1970, Earth Day was declared as a day to honor our amazing planet, consider the environmental issues it faces, and focus on formulating viable solutions. Who better to throw a hat in the ring but makers? The formidable cleverness, creativity, and compassion of makers shines bright in the arena of Earth-loving projects. Here is but a sampling of 20 good-for-the-planet projects that will be at the 12th annual Maker Faire Bay Area, the biggest DIY festival on Earth, taking place on May 19–20 at the San Mateo Fairgrounds. Plus, read on to learn how to join the Maker Faire Green Travelers and help reduce waste at the Faire.

Green Skies Vertical Farm

Green Skies Vertical Farm is an urban micro-farm in West Oakland, Calif., that uses soil and hydroponic methods to produce the freshest certified organic herbs, microgreens, and salad greens. Part of the Future Food Institute, Green Skies will be exhibiting the ways they grow food, including their microgreens production in rain gutters.

Hamama Microgreens

Hamama‘s first product line, the MicroGrow Kit with Seed Quilts, makes growing healthy microgreens indoors attainable for all. No prep, no mess, and you only water once. Microgreens are the seedling versions of your favorite veggies. They’re up to 40x more nutritiously dense than their mature counterparts, according to USDA research. The exhibit will raise awareness about all the types of nutritious microgreens you can eat and also showcase living art, including “paintings” and sculptures made out of microgreens grown with the Seed Quilt technology.

Compass Green Mobile Greenhouse

Compass Green is a mobile education project that teaches sustainable agriculture, inspires creative solutions to food security issues, and demonstrates an environmentally responsible way of living, all from the back of a mobile greenhouse. Tour the greenhouse and see demonstrations of various aspects of the deeply researched technique of biointensive sustainable agriculture, such as deep soil preparation, companion planting, seed saving, and composting. Compass Green’s school programs focus on educating young consumers about the dangerous impact that conventional agriculture is having on our planet and empowering them to make a real difference in our environment and their own health by supporting sustainable agriculture.

WaterWorks Backyard Hydroponic Gardens

WaterWorks chronicles Bruce Gee’s hydroponic journey over the past two years. Learn how to grow and harvest 10 heads of lettuce per week in a backyard hydroponic system. Grow fresh vegetables using 90% less water than typical gardening. This system can be built using standard parts from a hardware store.

Bug Hotel

UCCE Master Gardeners show you how to build a Bug Hotel using recycled materials (such as used wine crates, old bird houses, large tin cans, bamboo, branches, and other nesting material) to attract beneficial insects to your garden. Learn to identify “good bugs” and how to deter “bad bugs” and other garden pests in a sustainable way.

Local Greens Indoor Farm

Local Greens is an indoor hydroponic organic produce farm in Berkeley, Calif., that utilize the latest technology to grow thousands of pounds of microgreens, sprouts, and basil monthly for 40 Bay Area grocery markets. Come see how they do it.


BioPile is a completely autonomous vertical hydroponic indoor growing system. BioPile units are stacked vertically, enabling them to provide food for many people while occupying minimum space. Grow 30 different vegetables in the space of a person! The water reserve lasts a month and the system can work anywhere, thanks to the energy-efficient lighting and ventilation systems.

Grow Bucket Life

Come learn about growing food in your home, no matter how little space you have, and assemble a free seed germinating bag to start your own sprouts! Grow Bucket kits come with lighting, ventilation, and a timer.

Root Hydroponics

Root is a smart in-home hydroponic system that helps you effortlessly grow and maintain fresh herbs, produce, and flowers of…