Category Archives: Projects

Box Rocket


The next rocket stove design to test, a box rocket! Luckily consumer culture has just the thing to make a stovetop, a cast iron casserole pan.  It burned reasonably well when the wind wasn’t knocking over the chimney. It burnt much better when we converted it to a standard J tube (sorry no pictures). It burnt well enough and had enough functionality that I would like to test this in situ. The next steps are to build the infrastructure to set this up in a hoop, we need a concrete and a chimney. Then, we can test out some designs and zero in on a design to build!

Here is the original inspiration:

Conversations with Jesse & Milton – City Permaculture

Jesse Tack and I have been sitting down and filming ourselves in conversation. Our first session was wide ranging on the theme of social permaculture. This, our second, was much more focused as we talked about ways that we could address the design deficiencies of our current living situation.

Permaculture is an operating system for problem solving. It runs the programs of appropriate technologies from all human cultures, at all locations on Earth. This is our field of study. The designer chooses the programs for any given situation based on timing, location, and pattern understanding/recognition.

City permaculture would therefore be specific to the particular city, climate, hydrology, stage of succession, people, shape and size of neighborhoods, and a host of other factors. However most cities share many common features and many common fragilities.

In brief, some fairly reliable appropriate programs to run in most temperate climate cities would include:

  • Micro-communities: Groups of people working together toward common goals. 100 people is a good target.

  • Increase water storage in soils, ponds, and roof water collection by several orders of magnitude. Measure results.

  • Use buildings for South-facing trellises for lowered energy costs of most buildings.

  • Link roof water and grey water systems (toilets, sinks, washing areas) to pond systems.

  • Subsidized forest gardens through programs like Swan Song for the Lawn, free trees, wholesale purchase, tax breaks, grass tax, et al. Establish beautiful, breath-taking demonstration sites within each neighborhood.

  • Season extension for leafy salad greens. Cold frames. Tunnels. Glasshouses. Root Cellar winter production of nutrients and vitamins. See mental health numbers improve. Measure results.

  • Use time banks and gift economies to establish an abundance of time and an abundance of the giving spirit. Get creative and imagine systems that reward time and giving.

  • Use of wood efficient heaters and radiant thermal mass heaters combined with coppice tree systems for endless firewood.

  • Compost ⅓ of all city waste for fuel and compost. Raise chickens on compost.

Remember, the unique mix of elements you will find in each location may mean that these items will have to be adapted to the locale. This is not an exhaustive list, merely a place to start. The implementation of just one of these ideas would be a great step forward towards a future worth living in.


This site is currently in progress, I suppose it always be… It’s meant to reflect the things I do in both the virtual and real worlds. Currently some of the projects I’m associated with on one level or another:

Chicagoland Permaculture Guild

Great Lakes Permaculture Portal

Midwest Permaculture

The Permaculture Project LLC

Permaculture Design Build LLC

Center for Sustainable Community