Blog Archives

Ant Village Podcast #1

I’ve decided to record a podcast from time to time to share in more detail what is going on with my Ant Village homestead project. This is my first time recording a podcast, so it is a bit rough around the edges.  In this podcast I talk a bit about my journey in learning permaculture so far, and what brought me to the decision to move to Montana and take a shot at the Ant Village Challenge.  I also talk about wrapping up my yard conversion project in San Diego, some of the lessons I learned from the experience, and about a visit I made to my Permaculture Bike Park project in Orange County.  Finally, I go over some of my strategies for the Ant Village project, and talk a bit about my feelings on animal systems.

Length: 25 minutes

Jesse Grimes Ant Village Podcast #1


Become a Permaculture Bike Park Patreon

As you may or may not know, I have recently been applying my passion for permaculture to my long time passion for building and riding bicycle trails. Through this work I have realized that this is a big part of what I am here to do, the unique gift I have to offer the world. I have always had a goal of working to get more bike parks built, as I know that bicycles have been a hugely positive influence on my life and I would like to help provide more opportunities for the next generation to develop a love for cycling. Now I have developed my knowledge and skills in permaculture design, I know that I can create bike parks that are also beautiful thriving gardens! The bike park could be a positive gathering place for the youth, a pleasant environment for their families to relax, and an abundant habitat for wildlife. We could create public recreation facilities that are far more beautiful, far more functional, and much more ecologically friendly than the thousands of grass lawns and baseball fields that currently inhabit public parks. is a website that allows anyone to become a patron of artists and creators. Like an ongoing kickstarter campaign, it allows individuals to directly support other individuals who are working to express their unique creative gifts. Inspire by my sister Chelsea​, who has her own patreon page at, I have created a patreon page so that I may be supported in my mission to create beautiful and functional permaculture bike parks. Click on the link and watch the video to get a glimpse of what I am doing, and make a pledge to help me offer this gift to the world.

Permaculture Bike Park – Project Overview

I have been riding BMX and building jumps out of dirt ever since I moved to Southern California in 1997. In the last few years I have been studying permaculture design, and I’ve found that the principles and concepts within permaculture can be applied to my love of building jumps, resulting in easier maintenance and a more enjoyable riding experience, as well as a overall healthier ecosystem. Over the past 2 months I have been experimenting with permaculture at my local trails, which we call the “Sandbox.” This area was once a dirt disposal site, so it is full of sand bags, chunks of concrete, and other construction debris, which has since grown over with native chaparral vegetation A small group of local riders, including myself, have managed to dig and carve out a very enjoyable set of jumps into this landscape, and are now nearly completed with the features we intend to build. Our focus now has shifted towards addressing drainage and maintenance issues, as well as beautifying the area. I have found that the techniques I’ve learned in permaculture are quite useful in addressing these issues, and can be applied to help revegetate the areas which have been dug up and are now bare soil.

My vision for the “Sandbox” is that it can be turned into a beautiful and thriving natural garden, one that provides endless enjoyment to bicycle enthusiasts as well as a healthy environment for the native wildlife. The ultimate goal would be to have the place protected and designated as a public bike park, much like the many other skate parks and bike parks around the world. The “Sandbox” could become a special place for people to gather, to enjoy the thrill of bicycle riding, and connect with the wonders of nature. This video is a journal of my first steps towards making this vision a reality.

Make Your Own Bicycle Panniers Out of Kitty Litter Buckets

My partner and I were on a tight budget while preparing for our bicycle tour adventure, but I needed some larger panniers for my bike. Good quality panniers can cost 60 dollars a piece or more, and that much money could buy a lot of burritos on the road. The solution? I made my own panniers out of the plastic buckets that kitty litter is sold in. I got this idea from a youtube video posted by Paul Wheaton, in which he interviewed some bicycle tourists in Missoula, Montana who were also traveling on a budget. I decided I would make my own version of the panniers that were removable, and document the construction to share with the world so others can make their own low cost homemade panniers. They work great for bicycle touring, or for just carrying your veggies home from the farmer’s market.

Re-using an item that previously would have been thrown away is commonly called up-cycling. It is taking a low value item and modifying or using it in a way that adds value and function. In permaculture there is no concept of waste. Every output from an element, such as empty kitty litter containers, should be the input for another element or system, such as panniers for the bicycle you use for transportation. Any output that does not function as an input somewhere else and begins to accumulate becomes pollution. In our current culture, nearly every home is constantly producing pollution in the form of a full trash bin set on the curb. The landfills and dumps of the world are huge deposits of unused resources that have now become pollution. Up-cycling items is a great way to capture resources before they become pollution, not to mention a good way to save money. I’m certain there are countless other ways to up-cycle these kitty litter buckets. What are some ways in which you have practiced up-cycling? Leave a comment below.