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The Umbrella: Winter 2014

Umbrella2colTHE UMBRELLA:
News, media, and events from
Brad Lancaster

Winter 2014

DECEMBER 20: Guided Home & Neighborhood TOUR AT BRAD’S Showcasing Integrated Harvests of Water, Sun, Wind, Shade, Fertility, Carbon, & Community

Brad will lead this 2-hour tour of his home property and sites within the public rights-of-ways of the Dunbar/Spring neighborhood just north of downtown Tucson. Come see and learn about the integrated systems that allow Brad to safely drink rainwater, harvest both sun and shade seasonally, grow food, live comfortably in a tiny house, turn ‘wastes’ into resources, support the native bee population, and much more!

Click the linked header above to find out more about the tour, see photos & videos from Brad’s place, and purchase tour tickets in advance (be sure to read the Fine Print) via PayPal. 


Click the linked header ABOVE to find more details about some of Brad’s early-2015 events, including:

  • ENCINITAS, CA (January 8 & 9): Presenting, consulting, and meeting with local stakeholders (details still being finalized)
  • BOSTON, MA (February 5): Presenting at New England Grows Horticulture & Green Industry Trade Show and Educational Conference
  • TUCSON, AZ (begins February 7): Teaching the Water day of the Sonoran Permaculture Guild’s annual Permaculture Design Course
  • TUCSON, AZ (February 10): Giving the keynote at Tucson Audubon’s Annual Gala
  • TUCSON, AZ (begins March 16): Teaching integrated site design and leading a water-harvesting tour as part of WMG’s Water-Harvesting Certification Course

These are in addition to some private events including a multi-day consultation at a retreat center in Tecate, Mexico; a workshop in Washington, D.C., for senior agricultural and program specialists in the international non-profit community who work in agriculture, food security, natural resource management and resilience; and a water-conservation presentation to the employees of a large water-supply entity. Click here if you’d like to inquire about hiring Brad for your public or private event.


Rains of Hurricane Odile Captured in West Texas Water-Harvesting Workshops and Beyond
Back in September, Brad got to spend a lot of time working & playing in the rain! In the extended watershed of the Rio Grande, he got to teach in Albuquerque, speak at a conference in Ciudad Juárez, and give public talks in historic theaters and lead hands-on workshops at a public library and international school in west Texas. To recharge at the end of the trip, he spent a day basking in the natural world of Big Bend National Park. He made his trip notes into a multi-faceted, multi-media blog post.

Harvesting Rain from a 1,000+-Year Storm Event
In his urban home micro-watershed, Brad used a simple flow-diversion technique to turn a 1.5″ storm into the equivalent of a 19.5″ deluge, and harvested all that stormwater in streetside water-harvesting basins in the public right-of-way. If you need to see it to believe that small-scale, localized, green-infrastructure solutions can beat the pants off large, centralized, resource-intensive interventions, check out the text, photos, and (optional) arithmetic here!


Earlier this month, Brad’s conversation with Dave McGimpsey of the Water Values Podcast was released (“Water Values” Podcast: Planting the Rain with Brad Lancaster). As Dave describes it, they “discuss permaculture and rainwater harvesting. Brad tells us how he got involved in the permaculture community and harvesting rainwater and greywater. Brad also goes into great detail about the method he uses to “plant the rain,” which is used in his rain gardens to irrigate soil, plants, and trees. He also explains how the soil helps filter out toxins from greywater to keep us safe and healthy, but also transforms those toxins in the greywater into a valuable fertilizing resource for the plants. Brad talks about how other communities across the country are adopting the use of greywater and rainwater harvesting and how he’s working with them to create a more sustainable future. Tune into this week’s episode for fascinating insights on planting the rain!” Listen here.

In November, a group of ASU students interviewed Brad and 3 of his water-harvesting colleagues, Greg Peterson of the Urban Farm, Ryan Wood of Watershed Management Group, and Ken Singh of Singh Farms, to create Water Rainglers, a short, very sweet film highlighting place-based, community-building, common-sense solutions to Arizona’s water needs. Film by ASU students Ren Andres, Philemon Henry, and Thomas Hawthorne. Watch it here.

Over the summer Ivy Anderson’s article, “Rethinking Water Storage,” was published in Water Efficiency, an engineering-oriented journal for water-resource management. In it she highlights her research, including conversations with Peter Gleick of the Pacific Institute, Brad, and others, all aimed at “taking small-scale steps to obtain long-term results.” Read it here.


Brad’s water-harvesting books make great gifts that give back to the world—when they land in the hands of folks who will implement the thinking and strategies within. Be an agent of change—put a bow on a copy of Rainwater Harvesting for Drylands & Beyond this holiday season… or any time of year!

Nice to have you visit!