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The Umbrella: Summer 2019

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


New, full color, revised editions of the award-winning books Rainwater Harvesting for Drylands and Beyond, Volumes 1 and 2 are now available for order and pre-order!


Buy direct from Brad for big discounts, and to help him fund the creation of additional publications and free online educational resources.


Over 50,000 copies of Rainwater Harvesting for Drylands and Beyond sold!

As we launch the new editions we’re proud to share that we sold over 50,000 copies of the old editions of the books. 


Resilience design resources and trainings developed for smallholder farmers and agricultural extension agents – and available to you

Brad had the honor of working with Tom Cole, Warren Brush, Andrea Mottram, Elin Duby, Abby Love, Eric Carlberg, the Mercy Corps, and many indigenous farmers and agricultural extension agents in Zimbabwe, Malawi, Kenya, and Nepal to develop permaculture- and indigenous innovations-influenced trainings and tool kits for a more wholistic and integrated approach to farming and gardening that cycles, reinvests, and naturally enhances on site resources and life; rather than becoming dependent upon purchased and imported/extracted fertilizers, water, and materials.

Bouwas Mawara on right and Abraham Ndhlovu of the Muonde Trust on left in a dryfarmed field of Mr. Mawara’s contour plantings bordered at top and bottom by contour berm ‘n basins planted with fruit trees and perennial grasses.

The tool kits and trainings share principles and strategies that guide practitioners on how to:

  • Plant, rather than drain, the rain to freely irrigate plantings in a way that helps recharge local groundwater, springs, creeks, and wells;
  • Return to the soil, rather than burn, organic matter and nutrients such as crop residues, leaf drop, and manure;
  • Grow, rather than buy, fencing that also produces food, fixes nitrogen, creates shelter belts;
  • Place and orient buildings and plantings in relationship with the seasonally-changing path of the sun to maximize hot season shading, cooling, and reduction of water loss to evaporation; while also maximizing cold season sun exposure, heating, and reduction of burning of polluting fuels to stay warm;
  • Grow healthier living soils that naturally deter crop pests, grow healthier nutrient-rich crops, and ward off disease.
Farmer directing his roof runoff to boomerang berm to irrigate newly planted fruit trees that will grow to shade and cool home. Zimbabwe.

The tool kits are mostly geared towards collaborating farmers, agricultural extension agents, and aid agencies, though are available to anyone for free download in the link below:

Also big thanks to for all their amazing work and teaching in Zimbabwe.


Eat Mesquite and More: A Cookbook for Sonoran Desert Foods and Living available for purchase

More than a cookbook, this award-winning guide also encourages a renaissance of “wild agriculture,” one that foregrounds the ethical harvesting and selection of wild foods and the re-planting of native food sources in urban and residential areas without imported water or fertilizers. It contains stories of significant individuals, organizations, and businesses that have contributed knowledge, products, and innovation in the planting, harvesting, and use of wild, native desert foods. Additional essays reveal the poetry of the foraging life, how to plant the rain, and medicinal uses and ethnobotanical histories of desert plants.While rooted in the Sonoran Desert, this book also offers a template for harvesting and cooking throughout the Americas. Many of the food plants included in this cookbook—or close relatives of them—can be found or grown in the other deserts and drylands of North America and South America. Universally, the book’s concepts and approach can help communities everywhere to collaborate with their ecosystems, enhancing the health of all. Over 100 images, index, harvest calendar, and additional resources included.


Upcoming events

Regularly check Brad’s Events page as he’ll soon be posting new events including book launches and talks.