Son of Five Rivers Blog

For the advancement of Entrepreneurship, Sustainability & the Ecology of Everyday Life

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I’ve been blogging for several months now and I’m glad to have recieved the feedback I have.  I’ve enjoyed the experince and for that reason I’ve decided to take blogging to another level.  I’ll be self hosting my blog and that means you’ll see a lot more creativity in the design, functionality and layout of the new blog.

Check it out:


January 22, 2010 Posted by | 1, A Thought, Ads, Agriculture, Art, Blogging, Books, Brochure, Business, Business Cards, Business Development, Business Model, Carbon Credits, Clean Energy, Co-op, Community Economic Development (CED), Computer Networking, Construction, Creativity, Data Recovery, Definitions, Earth, Economics, Education, Electric Cars, Email, Entrepreneurship, Family, Finance, Geothermal, Government, Grants, Great Ideas, Green Roofs, Human Resources, Information Technology (I.T.), Inspiration, Investment, LEED, Life, Marketing, Micro Credit, Not for Profit, Open Source, Packaging, PDA's, Philanthropy, Photography, Politics, Power Piont, Products, Project Management, Quotes, Sales, Search Engine Optimization (SEO), Services, Social Enterprise, Social Media, Solar, Sustainability, Sustainable Community Development, Taxes, Venture Capital, Videos, War, Waste, Water, Website | Leave a comment

A Big Idea for Little Farms

I came across this great article by Venessa Wong in business week and wanted to share with those who would be interested in the subject.

Affordable, efficient irrigation equipment that could change the economics of food

In the countryside of Shanxi Province in north-central China, farmer Xie Xin has struggled for years with water shortages. The 47-year-old, who grows tomatoes and cucumbers, had to pay dearly to use the local well, since the region receives an average of only 16.5 inches of rainfall annually. But this year, Xie started participating in an experiment in which farmers use new irrigation equipment to conserve water. The equipment, similar to a garden hose with small holes every foot or so, is expected to cut his water use by more than half. Through a translator, Xie says he’ll save money and boost production by reducing water-related diseases.

The gear Xie uses comes from a startup in Palo Alto, Calif., called Driptech. Although similar kinds of irrigation systems have been used for decades, Driptech is winning business in places such as rural China because its technology is designed specifically for small farms and costs much less than traditional systems. The company’s equipment runs $300 for a one-acre farm, instead of the usual thousands, and as little as $5 for smaller family plots. “There are literally hundreds of millions of small-plot farmers suffering from seasonal water scarcity,” says Peter Frykman, Driptech’s 26-year-old founder. “We’re focused on reaching our first million farms as fast as possible.”

Experts say low-cost irrigation could alter the economics of food. Subsistence farmers may be able to grow excess crops they can sell. Countries that rely on food imports could see their dependence on outsiders decline. “[These] modern irrigation technologies are the future for water-scarce areas,” says Claudia Ringler, a senior research fellow at the International Food Policy Research Institute, a Washington (D.C.) think tank.

The idea for Driptech grew out of a project Frykman worked on last year at Stanford University, where he completed his bachelor’s and master’s in mechanical engineering. He was looking into drip irrigation, the technique of using hoses and nozzles to drip water only where plants need it, which has spread widely since it took off in Israel in the 1970s. Frykman’s breakthrough was the realization that such systems didn’t have to be made in large manufacturing facilities and then exported abroad. Instead, they could be made with cheap plastic tubing and compact precision lasers, even in facilities in target markets.


Frykman founded the company last June with $5,000 of his own money and set up manufacturing in the second bedroom of his Palo Alto home. The company gradually attracted about $100,000 in grants, donations, and investment, and he moved into an office. “I was drawn to Driptech because, frankly, their success means people are growing food,” says Scott Petry, founder of e-mail software provider Postini, who invested $40,000. “I’m not looking for monetary rewards.”

Driptech is a for-profit company, and Frykman sees plenty of financial opportunity. His goal is to set up local manufacturing operations so he can lower costs and get the company to profitability. He figures that for $50,000, Driptech can set up a facility that makes tubing for 50,000 farmers per year.

China and India are the biggest potential markets, and Frykman has begun to tap both. In Xie’s province, the Lingqiu County government is paying for the equipment for 200 local farms. Liu Wenbo, a county agronomist who has been overseeing the installations, says if the projects are successful the county will buy Driptech systems for hundreds more farms. “I think it will be very useful, not only in China,” he says.

November 16, 2009 Posted by | Agriculture, Sustainability | , , | Leave a comment

Product of Canada, almost….

Consumer demand was the driving force behind the regulation that was implemented on January 1st of this year. A “Product of Canada” label now means that 98% of the product’s contents were grown in Canada. Last year, 50% of the cost of production was enough – and packaging is where most of the cost is incurred. How many Canadians does it take to realize that the pineapple inside of that can was not grown in Canada, despite the label? Not that many. But how many Canadians does it take to complain about it, before that label is corrected? Quite a few, and it has certainly taken a while. Now that enough consumers have complained however, changes have been made, and guess who is said to be complaining now? The farmers.

Laurent Pellerin, president of the Canadian Federation of Agriculture, reported CBC News yesterday that if 85% of the product was grown in Canada, that would be sufficient. It is unclear on whose behalf she was speaking, however farmers are now being blamed for nonchalance towards specification as to the exact percentage of Canadian-made ingredients in a product. Consumers, expressing their opinions on the CBC website, appear to be disgusted at the prospect of farmers shrugging their shoulders and saying that 85% would be sufficient. Consumers are demanding that exact percentages are given, as well as details as to where the non-Canadian ingredients come from. Wrote one consumer in the section for posting comments: “When you buy something without peanuts, are you satisfied with ‘No Peanuts’ meaning 85% peanut-free? No, of course not.”

"Product of Canada" now means that 98% of the ingredients were grown in Canada.

It is all quite complicated. Some producers are objecting to the label because they are now excluded due to a mere 3% of non-Canadian ingredients. Some consumers are blaming Paul Mulroney for the issues that have resulted from his free trade policies. Others are saying, “what’s the big deal? 85% is better than what we’ve had in the past.” There are farmers who are responding to that opinion with a resounding “damned right” and still other farmers who are saying, “heck no! 100% Canadian or GO HOME.”

I find it ironic though, that the main reason consumers demanded the label in the first place was for the benefit of farmers, and in order to support Canadian growers and more locally produced food. And now farmers are being pin-pointed by reporters as the ones who are reacting against the strictness of this label. Riddle me that. I would venture to say that reporters and responding consumers are betting on the wrong horses. It is likely that the ones who will be missing out as a result of this label are the large corporations that import a lot and process a lot. Sodium! Refined sugar! How often are nutritionists warning against the consumption of too much sugar and salt? Eliminating these will present big problems for those processors who like to add a little wee bit of fruit to that “fruit cup” and a little wee bit of tomato to that “tomato soup.” It makes for a tasty product, hooks a lot of kids and adults alike, and can sit on the shelf for months; no, years!

The new guidelines for the “Product of Canada” label means that we are going to have to get a little more creative in order to keep certain products eligible. And this will to the benefit of the Canadian farmer. We can choose to see it as an opportunity for Canadian farmers to shine, and as an occasion to explore the potential of Canadian land to produce perfectly sufficient diets. As many consumers have testified – while proclaiming that even 98% Canadian is not enough – it  is possible to consume a purely Canadian diet, and the “Product of Canada” label can make it a little easier to do so.

Source: Cloopstra’s Blog

August 30, 2009 Posted by | Agriculture, Sustainability | , | Leave a comment

Food Expenditure: Diet per week in different countries

You may have received this email forward about world diets.  If you didn’t it’s shocking and it I hope its a moment of reflection and appreciation. I thought I would just share, as they say a picture is worth a thousand words!  Please forward the link to your family & children.


Italy: The Manzo family of Sicily Food expenditure for one week: 214.36 Euros or $260.11


Germany: The Melander family of Bargteheide Food expenditure for one week: 375.39 Euros or $500.07


United States: The Revis family of North Carolina Food expenditure for one week $341.98


Mexico: The Casales family of Cuernavaca, Food expenditure for one week: 1,862.78 Mexican Pesos or $189.09


Poland: The Sobczynscy family of Konstancin-Jeziorna Food expenditure for one week: 582.48 Zlotys or $151.27


Egypt: The Ahmed family of Cairo Food expenditure for one week: 387.85 Egyptian Pounds or $68.53


Ecuador: The Ayme family of Tingo Food expenditure for one week: $31.55


Bhutan: The Namgay family of Shingkhey Village Food expenditure for one week: 224.93 ngultrum or $5.03


Chad: The Aboubakar family of Breidjing Camp Food expenditure for one week: 685 CFA Francs or $1.23

July 27, 2009 Posted by | Agriculture, Education, Sustainability | Leave a comment

Film Festival Laurels

Since World War II North Americans have invested much of their newfound wealth in suburbia. It has promised a sense of space, affordability, family life and upward mobility. As the population of suburban sprawl has exploded in the past 50 years, so too has the suburban way of life become embedded in the American consciousness.
Suburbia, and all it promises, has become the American Dream.
But as we enter the 21st century, serious questions are beginning to emerge about the sustainability of this way of life. With brutal honesty and a touch of irony, The End of Suburbia explores the American Way of Life and its prospects as the planet approaches a critical era, as global demand for fossil fuels begins to outstrip supply. World Oil Peak and the inevitable decline of fossil fuels are upon us now, some scientists and policy makers argue in this documentary.
The consequences of inaction in the face of this global crisis are enormous. What does Oil Peak mean for North America? As energy prices skyrocket in the coming years, how will the populations of suburbia react to the collapse of their dream? Are today’s suburbs destined to become the slums of tomorrow? And what can be done NOW, individually and collectively, to avoid The End of Suburbia ?

The Trailer:

July 26, 2009 Posted by | Agriculture, Clean Energy, Sustainability | Leave a comment

State of the Village Report: The World as a Village of 1000

If the world were a village of 1000 people:

  • 584 would be Asians
  • 123 would be Africans
  • 95 would be East and West Europeans
  • 84 Latin Americans
  • 55 Soviets (still including for the moment Lithuanians, Latvians, Estonians, etc.)
  • 52 North Americans
  • 6 Australians and New Zealanders

The people of the village would have considerable difficulty communicating:

  • 165 people would speak Mandarin
  • 86 would speak English
  • 83 Hindi/Urdu
  • 64 Spanish
  • 58 Russian
  • 37 Arabic

That list accounts for the mother-tongues of only half the villagers. The other half speak (in descending order of frequency) Bengali, Portuguese, Indonesian, Japanese, German, French, and 200 other languages.

In the village there would be:

  • 300 Christians (183 Catholics, 84 Protestants, 33 Orthodox)
  • 175 Moslems
  • 128 Hindus
  • 55 Buddhists
  • 47 Animists
  • 210 all other religons (including atheists)
  • One-third (330) of the people in the village would be children. Half the children would be immunized against the preventable infectious diseases such as measles and polio.
  • Sixty of the thousand villagers would be over the age of 65.
  • Just under half of the married women would have access to and be using modern contraceptives.
  • Each year 28 babies would be born.
  • Each year 10 people would die, three of them for lack of food, one from cancer. Two of the deaths would be to babies born within the year.
  • One person in the village would be infected with the HIV virus; that person would most likely not yet have developed a full-blown case of AIDS.
  • With the 28 births and 10 deaths, the population of the village in the next year would be 1018.

In this thousand-person community, 200 people would receive three-fourths of the income; another 200 would receive only 2% of the income.

  • Only 70 people would own an automobile (some of them more than one automobile).
  • About one-third would not have access to clean, safe drinking water.
  • Of the 670 adults in the village half would be illiterate.

The village would have 6 acres of land per person, 6000 acres in all of which:

  • 700 acres is cropland
  • 1400 acres pasture
  • 1900 acres woodland
  • 2000 acres desert, tundra, pavement, and other wasteland.

The woodland would be declining rapidly; the wasteland increasing; the other land categories would be roughly stable. The village would allocate 83 percent of its fertilizer to 40 percent of its cropland — that owned by the richest and best-fed 270 people. Excess fertilizer running off this land would cause pollution in lakes and wells. The remaining 60 percent of the land, with its 17 percent of the fertilizer, would produce 28 percent of the foodgrain and feed 73 percent of the people. The average grain yield on that land would be one-third the yields gotten by the richer villagers.

If the world were a village of 1000 persons, there would be five soldiers, seven teachers, one doctor. Of the village’s total annual expenditures of just over $3 million per year, $181,000 would go for weapons and warfare, $159,000 for education, $132,000 for health care.

The village would have buried beneath it enough explosive power in nuclear weapons to blow itself to smithereens many times over. These weapons would be under the control of just 100 of the people. The other 900 people would be watching them with deep anxiety, wondering whether the 100 can learn to get along together, and if they do, whether they might set off the weapons anyway through inattention or technical bungling, and if they ever decide to dismantle the weapons, where in the village they will dispose of the dangerous radioactive materials of which the weapons are made.

(Donella H. Meadows is an adjunct professor of environmental studies at Dartmouth College.)

Links worth checking out:

Doctors Per 1000 People

If the World was a Village of 100

July 26, 2009 Posted by | Agriculture, Clean Energy, Co-op, Community Economic Development (CED), Life, Not for Profit, Philanthropy, Social Enterprise, Solar, Sustainability, Sustainable Community Development, Videos, Waste, Water | , , , | Leave a comment

If the World were a Village of 100

Logo Miniature EarthThe idea of reducing the world’s population to a community of only 100 people is very useful and important. It makes us easily understand the differences in the world.
There are many types of reports that use the Earth’s population reduced to 100 people, especially in the Internet. Ideas like this should be more often shared, especially nowadays when the world seems to be in need of dialogue and understanding among different cultures, in a way that it has never been before.

The text that originated this webmovie was published on May 29, 1990 with the title “State of the Village Report”, and it was written by Donella Meadows, who passed away in February 2000. Nowadays Sustainability Institute, through Donella’s Foundation, carries on her ideas and projects.


In the world today, more than 6 billion people live.
If this world were shrunk to the size of a village of 100 people, what would it look like?

59 would be Asian
14 would be American (North, Central and South)
14 would be African
12 would be European
1 would be from the South Pacific

50 would be women, 50 would be men
30 would be children, 70 would be adults.
70 would be nonwhite, 30 would be white
90 would be heterosexual, 10 would be homosexual

33 would be Christians
21 would be Moslems
15 would be Hindus
6 would be Buddhists
5 would be Animists
6 would believe in other religions
14 would be without any religion or atheist.

15 would speak Chinese, Mandarin
7 English
6 Hindi
6 Spanish
5 Russian
4 Arabic
3 Bengali
3 Portuguese
The other would speak Indonesian, Japanese,
German, French, or some other language.

In such a village with so many sorts of folks, it would be very important to learn to understand people different from yourself and to accept others as they are. Of the 100 people in this village:

20 are underonurished
1 is dying of starvation, while 15 are overweight.
Of the wealth in this village, 6 people own 59% (all of them from the United States), 74 people own 39%, and 20 people share the remaining 2%.
Of the energy of this village, 20 people consume 80%, and 80 people share the remaining 20%.
20 have no clean, safe water to drink.
56 have access to sanitation
15 adults are illiterate.
1 has an university degree.
7 have computers.

In one year, 1 person in the village will die, but in the same year, 2 babies will be born, so that at the year’s end the number of villagers will be 101.

If you do not live in fear of death by bombardment, armed attack, landmines, or of rape or kidnapping by armed groups, then you are more fortunate than 20, who do.

If you can speak and act according to your faith and your conscience without harassment, imprisonment, torture or death, then you are more fortunate than 48, who can not.

If you have money in the bank, money in your wallet and spare change somewhere around the house, then you are among the richest 8.

If you can read this message, that means you are probably lucky!

(The statistics were derived from Donella Meadows “State of the Village Report” first published in 1990)

The Original Report

July 26, 2009 Posted by | Agriculture, Clean Energy, Co-op, Community Economic Development (CED), Earth, Economics, Education, Family, Inspiration, Life, Not for Profit, Open Source, Social Enterprise, Social Media, Solar, Sustainability, Sustainable Community Development, Videos, Waste, Water | , , | Leave a comment

Sea Farming

Here I am trying to become a vegetarian, but I’m blogging about fish farming…  I’m just trying to be realistic and I know not everyone is going to stop eating seafood and meat.   So why not do things more sustainably?

July 26, 2009 Posted by | Agriculture, Great Ideas, Videos, Water | , , , | Leave a comment

When a Business Turns Bad! (Our Food!)

This is an incredible video about the Food Business!  As consumers and as small business owners we should empowers ourselves and future generations… How?  Education! Please watch the movie trailer and make a couple changes in your diet. (You’ll be healthy in mind and body)

polar ice shelf

July 21, 2009 Posted by | Agriculture, Sustainability, Videos | , , , | Leave a comment

Home! (Amazing Film about our Planet Earth)

We are living in exceptional times. Scientists tell us that we have 10 years to change the way we live, avert the depletion of natural resources and the catastrophic evolution of the Earth’s climate.

The stakes are high for us and our children. Everyone should take part in the effort, and HOME has been conceived to take a message of mobilization out to every human being.

For this purpose, HOME needs to be free. A patron, the PPR Group, made this possible. EuropaCorp, the distributor, also pledged not to make any profit because Home is a non-profit film.

HOME has been made for you : share it! And act for the planet.

Yann Arthus-Bertrand

HOME official website

PPR is proud to support HOME

HOME is a carbon offset movie

More information about the Planet

It loaded best on Firefox (I tried Internet Explorer & Chrome)

June 27, 2009 Posted by | Agriculture, Sustainability, Sustainable Community Development, Videos, Waste, Water | , , | Leave a comment