Strait from the teat (AKA Goat Fest)

Goat fest

Goat fest

Hey Gaia Punk here,

I have two amazing events to report back from this weekend.  First off, I have to say that I was very excited to witness what amounted to probably the biggest amassing of bike punks in US history friday night in Seattle WA during the Dead Baby Downhill after-party compounded by the fact that Seattle was also hosting the North American Bike Polo Championship that same weekend (congrats to Seattle for winning another tourney!  Good luck at the worlds in Philly)!  After the Dead baby after party a couple of friends and I drove to the foothills of Jacksonville, OR for the first annual Strait from the Teat Fest (aka Goat Fest) at the Boone’s Farm.  This festival was a punk and dance festival hosted by an organic permaculture farm and goat dairy.  There were lots of wonderful bands including, the Hail Seizures, Razzamatazz, RVIVR, Mutoid Men, and many more who played on a wooden stage in the midst of a beautiful oak grove under a massive moon.  The hosts were extremely gracious and I think everyone had an amazing time. Below is a interview I did with Mookie about the Boone’s Farm and history of Strait From the Teat Fest.

mookie milking a goat

mookie milking a goat

Gaia Punk: What is the history of the Boone’s Farm and how many folks are involved?

Mookie: I had been doing sustainable agriculture for a few years when I came to this area 8 years ago with the intention of starting a agricultural education center that would promote the next generation of farmers and radicals.  This was the goal around which the Boone’s Farm was founded.  Right now we have 8 people living here, 3 full timers working with the organic goat dairy,  2 working with the veggie farm, and 3 half time interns who help all around and also work on political campaigns.  Besides our growing commercial operation we have a revolutionary program called Turning Tables in which we grow and 1 acre of veggies that we give away at no cost to families in need to help ensure that everyone in our community has access to wholesome organic produce.

Gaia Punk: That fits perfectly with the permaculture ethic of “fair share” or returning the surplus to your community and to the earth.

Mookie: Yes, exactly.

Gaia Punk: How did Strait From the Teat (aka goat fest) evolve and where do you see it going?

Mookie: A lot of us here at the farm have punk and or DIY influences.  Farming of course can be very DIY.  Eventually folks learned of our farm as a inviting punk friendly space and it became a way point for various band and musicians on tour.  It was from these relationships and friendships that the idea for Strait from the Teat as a yearly festival arose.  This festival is a place for people to speak out against the oppressive systems that we don’t want, but most importantly a space for folks to see and realize community in action.  During the festival a natural skill share organically emerged and in the future we hope to bring  even more educational aspects for the benefit of everyone attending.  It seems obvious to me that there can be no resistance without food and no celebration without music.

Gaia Punk: What permaculture techniques and or principals do you employ at the Boone’s Farm?

Mookie: Well water management is critical and recently we just finished a key line dam that after this years rainy season will provide ample amounts of water for the farm during the summer.  We also employ many permaculture practices in our produce production.  Two principals that really stick out for me on the farm are planned redundancy and on site resourcing.   Something that we don’t do is employ hierarchies such as the teacher/student dichotomy because as far as I’m concerned we are all learning and sharing from one another.

Gaia Punk: Do you think permaculture is being popularized by it’s interactions with various sub cultures, and if so will it have lasting effects?

Mookie: I feel permaculture is just the labeling of a ethic that could easily be describe as sanity.  I feel permaculture as an idea will eventually be absorbed into the mainstream and hopefully become accepted and commonplace.  I feel it is the destiny of the term permaculture itself to disappear.  I think it is very important that permaculture can’t remain as something to be bought or sold but must become knowledge that is freely shared.  This is what we’re working for at the Boone’s Farm

Gaia Punk: I agree completely.  Thanks so much Mookie I’ve had a incredible time listening to all the great bands at Strait from the Teat and learned a whole lot too.   I hope you know you got lots of allies out there.

Mookie: Oh, I know it.  Thanks to you too, have fun and keep up the great work.


Are you going to Water Woman?

Let the earth save you…

That is the question many will be asking in the weeks leading up to the 2nd Water Woman Festival this OCT 1,2,3,4 in Joshua Tree, CA.  Water Woman has sprang to life as the new alternative / compliment to the Burning Man Festival.  If your tired of festivals where everyone is burnt out from too many late night drug banazas and would love to learn something more from your communal experience then Water Woman is just the festival for you.  Water Woman will hopefully (if all goes well) feature incredible eco based art installations, permaculture  and natural building workshops, great music, and a warm welcoming community of folks dedicated to living harmoniously with the earth.  I hope to attend and see you there!

Garden Bed Varieties!


Mandala garden pic from Kootenay Permaculture Institute

Mandala garden pic from Kootenay Permaculture Institute



One of my favorite little Permie maxims is, ” Unity Through Integration and Integration Through Diversity”.  There  are many different possible configurations of garden beds each with different advantages so here is a brief bit about some different types and terminology.


    Raised Bed (Boxed):  

  • A garden bed that has been raise off the ground and in which the soil is held in a framed box of some sort.  These can also be made as table beds for easy access for folks with physical challenges.  Raised box beds work well for climates with lots of moisture and appeal to those of us with tidy sensibilities
  • Raised Bed (unboxed)

  • A garden bed that has different layers raised up without a frame.  The advantage of not having a frame is that you actually get more space for plants because the bed is a parabolic curve.
  • Sunken Bed:   

    A sunken bed is a bed that has been dug down in order to gather more moisture and works very well in dry-land settings.

    Hugelkultur bed: 

  • This innovative bed is made by piling wood, newspapers, rubbish and compost up, and then covering that pile with dirt, mulch, and vegetation. These beds are usually raised but could be sunken too.  The wood and rubbish act to attract water as well as aid mycelia (fungal) growth which is beneficial for your plants.
  • Mandala Bed : 

  • Mandalas are beautiful circular and sometimes spiral patterns that may also incorporate forms from sacred geometry.  The advantage of a mandala bed is it’s unique beauty and also that they’re non-linear which can mean significant space savings.   Some mandala designs have seed start beds in the center and more established plants on the outside which is a super convenient way of organizing your plants.


Please enjoy and share these two manuals on how to make a raised bed as well as a hugelkulture bed…





























Permaculture and why I support The Pirate Bay…


have you kissed a pirate today?     

have you kissed a pirate today?

Humanity would never have evolved this far with out recognizing this very basic truth “in most cases it is better to share than to not share”.  Everything was pretty simple until you had the arrogant “landowners” followed quickly by even more ridiculous and “legally” empowered capitalist.  The Pirate Bay (whether the courts agree or not) is a indexing site of the many bit torrent links that have been posted by it numerous users, in reality it is not so different from sites like Google except in one respect, it’s just not used to make billions of dollars for private investors.  

Permaculture and The Pirate Bay incorporate whole systems or “closed loop” design.  Closed loop doesn’t mean closed design, quite the contrary.  Closed loop means whole systems design that emphasises the relationship between elements and facilitates those various relationships in a wholelistic way.  In nature everything contributes and takes in such a seamless fashion it is difficult to distinguish the takers from the contributors.   Nature is the ultimate innovator.  The pirate bay works organically in much the same way because each “taker” in turn becomes a contributor for someone else.  This innovative model has been very successful at distributing large amounts of info to a broad spectrum of people.  The only reason the big media companies are upset is that they are cut out of the loop as they should be.  Middle men are inefficient….look at health insurance in the US, or much of the education system, hell just look at most politicians.  Middle men and the proprietary, inefficient, or bureaucratic systems that support them are truly a dying breed and we can do vastly more without them.  In this brave new digi-tech world we can teach ourselves to collaborate to create, spread, and disseminate our own media while remembering there is no politician anywhere who could ever represent all our dreams.  Let this unjust trial of the pirate bay be a signal of the desperate dying breaths of all the middlemen, a siren call from which we can rally.  This is no longer a issue of who controls the media, but who controls your mind?  I say let it be open…

We are all the Pirate Bay!!!,

Long live the Open source revolutions,

For the future of all the internets,

ArRGH! maties sail on sail

Landslide Community Urban Farm!

Radical Community Profile: Landslide Community Farm

Pittsburgh, PA

The history of the Landslide Community Farm is analogous to one of natures little accidents, a mutation if you will, that with in a certain given context becomes crucial if not startlingly beautiful.

Landslide has grown from a couple of fixed up “farm houses” to a non profit in control of multiple city plots used for urban farming.  Landsliders are using permaculture techniques, inclusive outreach, and smart campaigning to get strong rapport with city (even enough to fight off a unjust eviction attempt).   These permie punxs along with their equally amazing neighbors are making their urban environments more livable, more ecologically sound, and if dare say, all around more krunk.  Landsliders are truly stout folks with aspirations that include more than just themselves, but instead a desire to elevate the relationships around them, including the earth, and the greater Pittsburgh community as a whole.  Many Landsliders volunteer with collectives like Food NOT Bombs and most likely a dozen other awesome radical or progressive projects too numerous to mention here.

It is my view that permaculture is really 10 % physically oriented and 90 % percent community oriented because ultimately it is the community that will implement the work that is most needed.  The first rule for building community is just being inclusive by making what your doing accessible, affordable, and autonomously oriented.   Even when all the steel money is long gone it is the history of our relationship with the earth and others that will remain.  Landsliders are leaving a history in Pittsburgh that anyone would be proud of.

go Gaia punks go!









Eco-Urbanism Strait Out of Brooklyn…

Amazing Urban Permaculture Workshop in Brooklyn, NY

I just got back from a little eastcoast permaculture tour visiting folks in

 Toronto, Montreal, New York, and Burlington VT.  All I can say is that things are poppin’ right now in the world of permaculture.

So I don’t normally post too many course announcements here solely

 because there are just so many, but this one is unique.  It is a urban permaculture workshop with exceptionally experienced instructor Larry Santoyo of Earthflow Designs.  Larry along with my awesome permaculture

 design course  instructor Scott Pittman work together with the US Permaculture Institute doing projects all around the US and the world at large.  Here are the details about the workshops:

iHeartEarthFlow e-copy

Gaia Punks in Toronto

Enough is Enough….

I’ve been kickin’ it tough lately in Toronto, ON Cananda for the

the Question of Sustainability Conference

foucused on the horrific practices of Canadian based mining companies at home and abroad and alternative solutions to destructive extractive industries.  I’ve had such great time working and volunteering with some good friends who are members of the Beehive Design Collective and who have been key helping to organize this important conference on the horrible practices and biased treatment of the Canadian (really multinational) mining industry.   Toronto is a great community with lots of diversity, services and activities, good public transit (oh and did I mention good beer).  But Toronto is also home to Toronto Stock Exchange (TSE) which is the only stock exchange in the world where you can trade shares in mineral futures that may never see production because of legal, financial, or environmental challenges.  The TSE obviously facilitates speculization and although Canadian banks haven’t been hit as bad by the financial crises stemming from the housing bubble it is quite likely them may be hit very hard in the near future by the mining bubble.  Toronto is also home to the worlds largest gold company Barrick Gold which has been stepping on indigenous rights everywhere it goes and has recently been implicated in human rights abuses and even murder in Tanzania.  To learn more I encourage you to check out

Tonight I will be attending a workshop given by Faviana Rodriguez  who is one of my most favorite printmakers and street artists.  Faviana is a inspiration, a woman who not only makes beautiful images that speak of peoples struggles, but who in everyway is commited to those struggles with the soul of her being.  Please see her amazing prints Here 

Heroes List!


Earth Activist profile

Earth Activist profile

Vandana Shiva Is A Eco Warrior Goddess…


Hi folks Gaia Punk here,

While I was having a blast at my Permaculture Design Course in Costa Rica my instructor Scott Pittman of the US Permaculture Institute started a “Heroes” and “Bad Guys” list.   Very high on the “Bad Guys” list of course was Monsanto and very high on the good guys list was the ever lovely Dr. Vandana Shiva.

Shiva participated in the nonviolent Chipko movement during the 1970s when woman actually hugged trees to prevent their felling.  A world warrior in fighting poverty and enviromental destruction with community resiliance and nonviolent action Vandana shiva has garnered countless awards and appreciatioin from numerous organiaztion, instituions, and countrys.  We have much to learn from her kind of militant wisdom!  See her excellent camio in the ONE Water documentary.

Food Forests!!!! EVERYWHERE


Sod your days are numbered...

Sod your days are numbered...

A campaign has just been launched to plant food forest all across the U.S. and the world as well:

 A food forest is a multilayer poly-culture garden that mimics the natural structure of a forest and improves ecological integrity on many levels.  A food Forest may have 9 various layers  starting with:

Mycylieal (fungi) and bacterial

Rhizomal (roots)

Ground Covers (for holding moisture, the soil, and soil fertility)

Herbaceous (vegetables and herb)

Small shrubs (berries)

Large shrubs (small fruits and nuts)

Small trees (large fruits and nuts)

Big trees (hardwoods)

Vines, climbers, and lots of flowers

Eric holzer of Permaculture Earth Artisans  of Sebastopol, CA one of the US leaders of this campaign has this to say, 

“My vision is to educate communities as to the whole system benefits of food forests from, climate change to relocalization of food sources and creating oases of human settlement in our communities. To do this we will help students and interns design and install these systems.”

For more good resources on food forest design see the links and resources below:

Geoff Lawfton’s food forest adventure video

Gaia Punx in Costa Rica

True nature

La Pura Vida de Permacultura


Hola Folks,

This is Permie Boi passin’ the good word from La Florida, Costa Rica where I’m in the middle of a fabulous permaculture design course at True Nature Community instructed by Scott Pitman of the Permaculture Institute.

I’m having a wonderful time learning, exploring, and sharing.  The landscape here is amazing but in a lot of cases in need of regeneration.  Even though true nature is a gringo (expats) community, (for now) it is very nice to see that they have intergrated themselves with in the larger community through helping to support and share with the local ticos (Costa Ricans) in multiple ways.  This is a sharp contrast from much of the negative colonialist like developments happening in many ecologically fragile areas of the country.  The people here from True Nature really practice what they preach at every level and also run a amazing educational service organization called CREER.


The students attending this course are from all over the world and are very excited about what they will bring back to where they live as am I.  In the morning we wake up to amazing to an amazing landscape full of colorful chirping birds (Tucans even!) and verdant plants.  We’ve been eating fresh local foods cooked with local recipies and Luna of True Nature has been kind enough to offer a free yoga class to those who enjoy it. It is amazing to see how much we’ve been able to improve the site in just a few days by building rain swales and various watercatchments.  I know that all of this rewarding work will be greatly appreciated after our departure.  I just recently saw an amazing animal locally known as  a pizote’ (super cute!) for the first time and I’m extremely excited to continue to explore the rich ecology of this area.   Much more more to come soon.

 Living la pura vida,




the porch

Liberty spikes?

Liberty spikes?