Dancing In The Rain with Brad Lancaster

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The annual rainfall in Tucson, Arizona, where Brad Lancaster lives, is about twelve inches. By harvesting the runoff from the roof, and the roads he radically reduces or eliminates the need for irrigation in the gardens he creates. By returning the water to the same watershed, he creates a cycle of abundance that sustains not just one family, but the neighborhood and the entire ecosystem as well. He adds solar power into the mix, and plants food-bearing native shade trees to cool the home. The result is an oasis in the desert, with a model that can be applied in any community, from desert to coastal ranges and from remote rural homesteads to suburbia. Most important, it’s a model that can help solve an impending water crisis facing communities across the globe. Mr. Lancaster’s enthusiasm for his work is contagious. He exclaims, “It’s all great, juicy stuff, because as you start to harvest the water, you start to harvest the sun, you really start to tune in to what’s around you, to the seasons, to the rainfall. I just love that, because it makes me feel a lot more alive, a lot more connected.” (hosted by Michael and Justine Toms) 


Brad Lancaster is a permaculture designer, consultant, and educator, and co-founder of Desert Harvesters, which promotes ecological and nutrition awareness for Arizona youth. He has taught at the Ecosa Institute in Prescott, Arizona; Prescott College; Columbia University; University of Arizona; Audobon Expedition, and many other institutions. He is the author of Rainwater Harvesting for Drylands, Volume 1: Guiding Principles to Welcome Rain into Your Life and Landscape (Rainsource Press 2006).

To learn more about the work of Brad Lancaster go to https://www.harvestingrainwater.com/

Topics explored in this dialogue include:

  • What steps you can take to begin harvesting rainwater now
  • How you can sustain your garden just by taking a cool shower bath in the summer
  • What are the eight principles of sustainable and successful water harvesting
  • How we can restore our failing aquifer systems
  • How to grow food more sustainably 

Host: Michael & Justine Willis Toms   Interview Date: 10/30/2006   Program Number: 3175