MATAGALPA, Nicaragua – That morning cup of coffee gives many of us a needed boost, but Central American coffee farmers have found a new source of energy in their beans: turning agricultural waste water into biogas.
An often overlooked by-product of the world’s favourite stimulant, the water used to process raw coffee beans is usually dumped back into the environment untreated. In Central America, locals call it “honey water” because of its sweet taste and yellowish colour.
Extremely polluting, it is high in methane gas – a leading contributor to global warming produced, in this case, by the fermentation of the coffee tree’s berries.
Across Nicaragua, the 1.3million sacks of coffee produced annually generate pollution equivalent to about 20000 cars. Now a pilot project at 19 farms in Nicaragua, Guatemala and Honduras is treating that water, separating out the methane and using it to fuel electric generators.
“Look how high that flame is,” said Sarahi Pastran as she…
Building low tunnels that are about 30 inches tall to protect your crops through weather that is outside of their comfort zone is fairly easy to do using plastic pipe and plastic sheeting. You will find directions for this at Homeplace Earth. The tricky part is securing the covers. I have seen directions to make the cover with enough plastic sheeting on each end to draw it together to tie to a post in the ground. Sometimes the design calls for simply gathering the extra….
Garlic is Chandran Chaliyakath’s big test this year. Their wiry, green stems grow out of a couple of plastic cans on his terrace. Last year, he harvested onions. “I got about 20 kgs,” says Chandran who makes metal grills and shutters for a living and grows vegetables for passion. In the past eight years, ever since Chandran moved into his new house in Cheruvannur built on 10 cents of land, his family began to grow vegetables. From…
In yet another example of the federal government’s war on self-sufficiency, the U.S. Department of Agriculture shut down a seed library in Pennsylvania, claiming that a system whereby residents could borrow heirloom seeds and then replace them at harvest time was a violation of the 2004 Seed Act, while a commissioner warned that such behavior could lead to “agri-terrorism.”