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Pedal Power solutions to petroleum dependence and polluting vehicles: Arcata Library Bikes, Pedal Power Produce, and more!

CAOE - Committee Against Oil Exploration - stop offshore oil drilling to protect sensitive habitats and cut petroleum dependence.

Culture Change through music! The Depavers eco-rock!

Take our Pledge for Climate Protection and learn about the Global Warming Crisis Council.

SEI hometown action!
Arcata city council's proclamation against war on Iraq and Kyoto Protocol proclamation.

Overpopulation has become a reality.  Overpopulation Resources and News Tidbits

Sail Transport Network

Fact Sheets
Press Releases

Long Distance


Pedal Power Produce Update

by Bill Le Bon

Spring has sprung and the farmers are busy at the Fossil Fuel Free Farm (4F). 4F is the APM's new agricultural experiment to grow and distribute food-sans petroleum. In years past, the farm was operated as an organic farm. A tractor was used for tilling, and pickups and dump trucks were used to bring manure, fish emulsion and other non-chemical fertilizers to keep six acres producing. A well with an electric pump and piping was used for irrigation.

The farm is eight miles from Arcata. Because of location, past farming methods and our late start (we took control of the farm in January and didn't find any farmers willing to try fossil fuel free farming until March) we decided it would be easier to transition into fossil fuel free farming gradually. We're hand tilling as much as we can, but so far it seems that under an acre is all we can manage by hand so we brought in a tractor to till another two acres. Our plan is to use as little nonrenewable energy as possible this year and do without it completely in 1999. There are four people living and working on the farm plus occasional help from volunteers. Everyone rides bikes between the farm and town as much as possible, but some people's schedules necessitate occasional hitchhiking. We've used a pickup for a few loads of manure and one load of compost, as we haven't had time to create our own compost, nor find a source that is close enough to bike from. The Mad River Brewery, however, is located just across the river from us, so we've been biking over spent barley and hops to add to make compost. Next year we hope to rely only on our own or biked-in compost. We are interested in using a horse for the tilling, but it will take some time to implement this. By next year we hope to be able to get off the grid and irrigate the crops with solar, wind and/or human power. Bart Orlando, human power wiz at Humboldt State's Campus Center of Appropriate Technology, can build a pedal powered water pump. We also plan to build a solar-heated shower and use solar voltaics for lighting and charging batteries for solar-electric assisted bicycles.

We have planted over fifty fruit trees. Once they start producing, the need for tillage and irrigation will decrease. Ideally most of the farm will be a combination of dry farming, permaculture and a small amount of alternative-energy irrigated "biointensive." By combining the no-till methods of permaculture with the labor-efficient methods of biointensive, we hope to maximize our output with a minimum of labor. There are local sources of manure near the farm so we can bike it in, and of course we are commencing pedaling the produce to market as we did last year.

Jeavons' Depaving Calculations
John Jeavons, global biointensive-farming guru from Willits, visited Arcata to lecture at HSU. His electrifying presentation alerted everyone to the real threat of topsoil depletion and population growth. He easily convinced the audience that "organic" does not suffice when outside inputs are depended on. Growing soil is the goal, and if this is followed, then crops will be sufficient-with no outside energy or materials. Jeavons offered to Jan Lundberg that if we sent any city's statistic of paved surface, and the population size, he would calculate how much depaving would be required for a city's local self-sufficiency!

After we are producing enough for the farmer's market, we will start a pedal powered CSA (community supported agriculture) program. Organic farming is hard work, and going one step further by doing it without fossil fuels in a market supported by cheap energy will at first be harder. But, like the Amish, remembering the old ways is not only a good safety net for the end of cheap oil, and to deal with global warming, it also is empowering and nurturing to the spirit, body and planet.


Articles of interest:
Measuring and controlling the actions of governments 

Anti-globalization protest grows, with tangible results. 
WTO protests page

Tax fossil-fuel energy easily
by Peter Salonius 

UK leader calls War on Terror "bogus"

Argentina bleeds toward healing by Raul Riutor

The oil industry has plans for you: blow-back by Jan Lundberg

It's not a war for oil? by Adam Khan

How to create a pedestrian mall by Michelle Wallar

The Cuban bike revolution

How GM destroyed the U.S. rail system excerpts from the film "Taken for a Ride".

"Iraqi oil not enough for US: Last days of America?"

Depaving the world by Richard Register

Roadkill: Driving animals to their graves by Mark Matthew Braunstein

The Hydrogen fuel cell technofix: Spencer Abraham's hydrogen dream.


Ancient Forest Protection in Northern California. Forest defenders climb trees to save them.

Daniel Quinn's thoughts on this website.

A case study in unsustainable development is the ongoing crisis in Palestine and Israel.

Renewable and alternative energy information.

Conserving energy at home (Calif. Title 24)

Culture Change mailing address: P.O. Box 3387 , Santa Cruz , California 95063 USA
  Telephone 1-215-243-3144 (and fax)

Culture Change was founded by Sustainable Energy Institute (formerly Fossil Fuels Policy Action), a nonprofit organization.