Stewart Hung

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since Dec 06, 2014
I resigned from my job to pursue something that is meaningful. It feels like a quest and sometimes I feel ill-prepared for it, but along the journey, I am meeting the right people, encountering obstacles, and learning how to get up after scraping my elbows. In other words, I am growing.

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Recent posts by Stewart Hung

You're welcome, Davin! It was a pleasure to create these meals for all the wonderful folk at the PDC.
3 years ago
Hi Permies,

There are an increasing number of academic institutions interested in "sustainable" farming/food systems, and I was wondering what the advantages are and what potential shortcomings could arise from working with universities or colleges.

Some advantages that I can see are: (a) a larger knowledge base, (b) more research material/land to practice new designs, and (c) name recognition of the institution.

Some shortcomings: (i) they may have an agenda that is attached to the funding (e.g., Ag chemical funds or government subsidies), (ii) goals and objectives may not be aligned (primary focus on marketable foods instead of permaculture), or (iii) backing out of projects in progress.

Does anyone have experiences working with universities or institutions that they would like to share?

5 years ago
Mike, those are some good ideas about the LLC's. We have been looking at some of those ideas to see how to structure each of the nested businesses related to permaculture and value-added products (e.g., fermented foods) because each of us have different skill sets but we could use an umbrella corp (no, not like Resident Evil) for the marketing, sales, and distribution. That is thinking way too ahead because we hope that we have enough to satisfy the local customers.

(Also, I love the projects that you have got going on! Thanks for the pics!)
5 years ago
We are looking at a permaculture nursery business model as a means to have shrubs, trees, and perennials already growing for local permaculture designers and gardeners, so that the plants will give them a head start when implementing their designs. We haven't looked into the financial viability yet. It would be helpful if the nursery could cover our expenses at the very least, otherwise it would not be viable.
5 years ago
Ahh ... it's related to alfalfa!

Thanks for the info, Joylynn. It sounds like there might be medicinal properties, too!

5 years ago
Rose, I'm just looking to solve the shortage of natural phosphates that is expected to occur in the coming decades. However, I wonder if that is a fear campaign by AgChem manufacturers. If I really think about it, as long as we are in a symbiotic relationship (stewardship) with nature, our future will be okay. Their business angle is that they are being "green" in reclaiming phosphorus from our urine that is being collected by the municipally-mandated flushing of nitrogen into largely toxic pools. As we know all too well, the system design is flawed, but they are manufacturing pellets containing phosphorus, nitrogen, and magnesium that is a delayed release into the soil, mimicking nature.

Each of the elements have their cycles (carbon, nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium), and each plant nutrient has its own (ammonia, nitrate, nitrite, carbon dioxide, oxygen, salts, etc.), and each plant utilizes them in their own proper cycle (yes, biodynamics is relevant), and we have the cerebral capacity to work within nature's framework.

Rose, as for its consideration in permaculture, this product was brought up in one of our ecovillage discussions and I want to give it some room to breathe. Maybe it will develop a good track record for remediating urban waste streams, maybe not. But because it is already in production, why not make use of a product that is already available -- so consider it another waste product from urban environments -- to amend soils. A short term soil boost, perhaps.

Dale, it seems that mostly everything in Vancouver that they call "green" is actually greenwashing. Almost every new green initiative that I read about causes me to wince, grimace, or sneer. So many resources being poured into fruitless projects because they are so "chic" or "cool" ... what can you expect from a young and soul-less city like Vancouver, ever grasping for the latest trend, handbag, fashion, or vehicle?

5 years ago
Dale, I am skeptical about most marketed products, too. I will try to find some scientific studies on this product (if I think it's worth my time) at the local university since they did post a couple of graphs without proper axes and they don't make much sense without them ... half truths? :-/

Also, I wonder how much energy is used to harvest this product from the waste stream and then purifying it and blah, blah, blah.
5 years ago
I have mixed feelings about this phosphorus amendment. Has anyone used this type of phosphorus booster for their intensive systems? There is talk of "peak" phosphorus.

My feelings are that nature has provided us with a source of phosphorus, one that we are completely ignoring or not seeing. I have heard of fungi that solubilize rock phosphate. Does anyone have thoughts about this topic?

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From company's website: (http://www.ostara.com/crystal-green)

Crystal Green is the first slow-release nutrient technology to offer plant-available phosphorus, with nitrogen and magnesium, in one citrate-soluble granule.

Made by Ostara Nutrient Recovery Technologies, Ostara's proprietary Pearl® technology sustainably transforms phosphorus and nitrogen recovered from nutrient-rich water streams, plus magnesium, into a high-value, eco-friendly fertilizer that enhances nutrient efficiency, while significantly reducing the risk of leaching and runoff.

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5 years ago
Hi Permies,

I have patches of black medic that are in seed production stage. I noticed that they have low lying leaves and produce really good ground cover. At this stage of this year's El Niño event, they are one of the few plants that are still green. Do you think it can be used as ground cover?

How can I incorporate this plant into permaculture systems?

5 years ago
Peter, I guess that is the compromise: more air for complete burn, but the steel will deteriorate quicker. Cleaner combustion products would be ideal.

For a first build, I may be biting off than I can chew. Would Ianto's and Leslie's build described in "Rocket Mass Heaters III" be a good place to start? What I mean is, should my first build be that rocket core? I can easily find regular bricks, but they don't have the same dimensions as fire brick.

Thanks in advance.
5 years ago