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The Umbrella: Spring Equinox 2017

Umbrella2colTHE UMBRELLA:
A catch-all of resources,
events, media, and more
from Brad Lancaster

Spring Equinox 2017

Around here we like to rhyme with the seasons whenever possible. In this case, that means welcoming the fast-approaching beginning of SPRING (the Vernal Equinox (in the northern hemisphere) is March 20 this year in Tucson, and marks one of only two days each year when the sun rises and sets due east and west) than by sharing our latest seasonal newsletter. See below for inspiring and educational videos, new “Plant the Rain” caps, cool new community programs, water-harvesting and regenerative-design resources, new blog posts, and more!

MEDIA: Two new videos on Brad and his work

Brad’s TEDxTucson talk “Planting the Rain to Grow Abundance”

After watching this talk on YouTubeFacebook, and/or Twitter, please help make Brad’s message go viral by liking and sharing the heck out of it on all three platforms—thank you!

Kirsten Dirksen’s documentary on Brad:
Dryland Harvesting Home Hacks Sun, Rain, Food & Surroundings

Join Kirsten Dirksen as she tours with Brad around his home, his and his brother’s urban-Tucson property, and the surrounding neighborhood, learning about their harvests of rainwater, stormwater, wild foods, sun, shade, would-be-wastes, and more.

You can find more such videos here.

MERCH: “Plant the Rain” Caps

…to protect and enhance your HEADwaters and promote the practice of planting the rain.

Find more information about these brand-new conversation-starting caps, including how to order yours, here.


New “Neighborhood Foresters” program

This is a collaboration between Desert Harvesters, Rainwater Harvesting for Drylands and Beyond, and neighborhood activists such as Omar Ore-Giron whereby through the planting, stewarding, and harvesting of rain-fed neighborhood food forests we strive to:

  • Build community and evolve our skills and capacity as we collaborate face to face;
  • Bring back and enhance life in our public commons in a way that lifts health and accessibility for all;
  • Enable a daily reconnection with nature and indigenous vegetation unique to our bioregion;
  • Create and practice what we’d like to see grow, city- and watershed-wide;
  • Demonstrate public food forests that thrive solely on passively harvested rain and stormwater—no pumped or extracted waters from wells, or municipal systems, and;
  • Continually grow and deepen our understanding of—and beneficially reciprocal relationships with—our plant, animal, insect, soil, human, and watershed communities.

You can get more info on the Dunbar/Spring Neighborhood Foresters—including how to join or use our template to start your own Neighborhood Foresters—here.

Huge thanks to neighbor and forester Marina Cornelius for the graphic inspired by the Tenderloin National Forest!

Tucson Audubon’s cool new Habitat at Home program

“Years ago, I contributed to some of the brainstorming on this program, and Tucson Audubon ran with it and made it happen. The program (click link in header) incentivizes and rewards great practices such as implementing water-harvesting wildlife habitats where we live. My brother and I applied, learned a lot, enhanced our site, and were awarded Cardinal level.
Next step: Encourage the neighbors and neighborhood foresters to do likewise so our neighborhood can apply.”


Stormwater Irrigation: Can Retention Basins Significantly Improve Soil Moisture?

by Aaron Kauffman
This report shows that stormwater gardens in the drylands of New Mexico can bioremediate toxins, provide soil moisture for plantings long into the dry seasons, and enable well-designed landscapes to thrive on rainwater and stormwater irrigation alone.

Small Homes: The Right Size

Brad is especially honored to be included in this book since the article, “Residence Renaissance: Recycling a Small City House,” in author Lloyd Kahn’s 1973 book Shelter was key in motivating and inspiring Brad and his brother Rodd in 1994 to buy a dilapidated property and turn it into a showcase of dryland sustainability. The garottage project featured in Small Homes is on that same property. You can read still more on this project in Brad’s book, Rainwater Harvesting for Drylands and Beyond Volume 1, 2nd Edition, and here.

Sowing Seeds in the City: Ecosystem and Municipal Services

Brad contributed to this book a chapter called “Planting Abundance: Alternative Water Sources for Urban Farms.”

Regenerative Development and Design

A great book, written by some of Brad’s mentors and collaborators, and featuring some of Brad’s and his neighbors’ work planting rain and native wild food forests in the urban core.


Lots of new posts since the last Umbrella… click link above to peruse any—or all!—of them!

  • Bandsar Agriculture: Indigenous Runoff-Harvesting & Climate-Change Resilience from Iranian Drylands
  • Important Elevation and Slope Relationships of Eddy or Backwater Basins
  • Street-Side Eddy Basins
  • Harvesting Rock Water and More in Kenya
  • DIY Steam Harvesting in Rural Kenya
  • Evolutions Within the Dunbar/Spring Public Commons
  • How to Make a Bucket Light: A DIY Dark-Sky-Compliant Outdoor Light
  • Night-Sky Harvesting
  • Evolutions on Mr. Phiri’s Water-Harvesting Plantation, 1995–2016
  • The Passing of Mentor and Master Water Harvester Mr. Phiri



  • GOING ON NOW: Eat Your Dirt Online Conference: 30+ Speakers including Brad Lancaster, March 5–11, 2017

Check Brad’s Events page regularly for the latest additions.

Also, if you regularly check Desert Harvesters’ calendar of events, you’ll find opportunities to learn about and engage with wild Sonoran Desert food plants, plantings, and celebrations.

…& MORE!

Brad has been doing some Moth-style storytelling at Odyssey Storytelling in Tucson. Check out these story-sessions here.