Photos of prototype organic materials based “Fog Harp” or Vertically aligned string arrays for atmospheric water harvesting

Here are the two prototype Vertically aligned string arrays or what shall be known from now on here at the H.S.P. as V.A.S.A.’s. I believe that the fog harp is going to be a trademarked and protected idea that they hope to market to the world’s thirsty farmers. (Hopefully for as cheap as possible with maximum access for third world peoples)

This V.A.S.A. was made using reclaimed wood, and polyester sewing thread. The vertical strings are a commercially available polyester sewing thread. It used approximately 1500m of string. It is 3′ X 3′. This whole array could be made not including labor for under ten dollars. I used metal fasteners due to my lack of knowledge about wood joinery but I am confident that this could be made using dowels and other sorts of organic connectors. Conversely this thing could be made entirely out of cordage from local sources and tree boughs fallen on the ground. in short this is appropriate tech for the masses!
Here is a macro up close shot of the Vertical polyester strings. Compared to the smooth stainless steel strings these bio-mimetic nano tendrils should hypothetically increase the fog collection values. With limited time and resources (AND FOG!) I still have not been able to to a serious side by side test. Although all of the research on the fog gathering capability’s of desert plants with similar nano structures coupled with the anti clogging nature of the vertical strings should increase the water gathering capabilities.

Next up is the cotton sewing thread based VASA.

This VASA was made using almost entirely organic materials except the metal fasteners which again could be replaced with the appropriate joinery technologies. The cotton sewing thread was found to be slightly more expensive than the polyester threads per Meter but if you buy from industrial sewing thread manufacturers the cost is similar.
Here is a macro shot of the cotton based VASA. Look how much smaller the nano tendrils appear to be! Due to limitations on the spacing of the thread we are not exactly going with the research on the pitch to diameter spacing . The optimal spacing in the VirTech research was found to be a 2:1 Pitch:Diameter ratio meaning that every space between strings should be twice that of the diameter of the string. I believe we can overcome this problem with the added efficiency of the nano-tendrils and their superior stokes numbers or the incidence of fog droplets smashing into the strings.

As you can see with even just some preliminary efforts at building a cheaper and more accessible VASA these construction methods could still be vastly improved for strength & accessibility for a global user-base and lowering the cost therein.

In our initial test in our fog simulation chamber (I.E. Our oyster mushroom growing fog machine called Aquafogger from jaybird manufacturing and fruiting chamber) we did observe the same “tangling issues” as the initial “fogharp” research experienced. They recently put out a new research paper that showed (using unintelligible mathematics for me) that by simply halving the size of the VASA to 1.5′ these adhesion factors of the strings glomming onto one another can be over come. This is a welcome discovery as the winding process for each VASA which takes about 2 hours will be easier to wind and the sense of accomplishment will go up with each finished VASA. It will be exciting to see if fixing the tangling issues gathers as much fog as the 2x size VASA due to its increased efficiency sans “tangling”. We are still at the beginning of a new frontier in these discovery’s and they are ripe for the taking and SHARING!

P.S. After realizing the potential for cotton to breakdown from microbial action and lack of UV resistance I began eagerly seeking ways to fix this weakness of the cotton sewing thread using naturally available materials. I found a whole lot of really inspirational research on the usages of Chitosan (“made by treating the chitin shells of shrimp and other crustaceans with an alkaline substance, such as sodium hydroxide” and Aloe Vera to over come these limitations of the cotton threads. ALOE VERA!!!! YES!!!! Accessible appropriate technology will be the hallmark of the success of the biosphere refugia principles of the HSP. In my next post I will showcase this research and my attempts to treat the cotton threads with chitosan from Tidal vision in bellingham WA, and locally grown Aloe Vera treatment made by yours truly. The future is looking brighter and brighter all the time my fellow earth dwellers.

Until next time.

Matthew Gammett

Revolution in the fluid mechanics of vertical strings and also catching fog!

Recently researchers at the Virginia tech institute have conducted research into a new fog catching design. Previous research into fog catching has relied on certain hydrophobic or hydrophilic polymer coatings of existing raeschal mesh designs. There are dozens of biomimetic designs and reasearch on the market including trying to replicate namib desert beetle fog gathering techniques redwood needle fog gathering techniques desert succulent fog gathering of a certain desert species among other naturally occurring fog harvesting abilities.

Researchers at the Virginia tech institute we’re inspired to build a vertical strand oriented fog gatherer which improves on existing designs by three fold.

The Virginia tech researchers we’re inspired by the fog gathering abilities of coastal redwood needles. During periods of zero rain many species under the redwood canopy including the redwoods are able to harvest and utilize this atmospheric water. Fog is at it’s base a cloud that touches the ground so these bio mimetic tech breakthroughs are learning to harvest clouds essentially.

Here at the human sustainability project we have been greatly inspired by the appropriate technology and sustainable application of a multidisciplinary creation of a atmospheric water gathering device. Upon further inspection we discovered that this technology was available to us and so we began to look deeper.

First we thought it would be interesting to see if there were any consumer available nano technological coatings that we could apply to stainless steel strings which are used in the vertical fog harp. Then it occurred to me that the stainless steel wire was far too expensive to do any kind of meaningful experimentation on a small budget. After pondering the other available materials like monofilament, aluminum, copper wire, it occurred to me that simple sewing thread which is cotton could do the trick to replace the stainless steel strings at least for a temporary experimental basis. Then in a flash of insight I realized that the cotton strings themselves have spun tendrils and fibers that come off of the actual twisted string themselves which act exactly like macro vertically aligned carbon nano tube forests. These tendrils greatly increase the Stokes number or incidents of fog droplets hitting the string and also the surface area of the string itself. The cotton tendrils also mimick the fog harvesting capacity of desert plant species of which there are volumes of research available stretching back to the mid-70s concerning fog harvesting and biomimetic technologies. The researchers of the fog harp discovered that the smaller the diameter of the string the more incidents of water droplets will smash into the string.

So what we have done is make an improved prototype fog harp that is significantly cheaper (although not nearly as durable). We will show how this design can be made more more durable while still utilizing the surface area increase of the cotton strings and their tendrils. Also we have built a prototype out of wood with polyester strings of similar diameter which display the same nano hair properties. Although the polyester is a petroleum products it’s embedded energy is significantly cheaper than stainless steel strings.

Keeping to a sort of eco appropriate technology we are delighted to begin building innovative prototypes which can also be made entirely from locally gathered wood and fibers. We will attempt a fully “natural” version when we have mastered the principal’s and properties of our current hypothetically improved prototypes.

Stay tuned for prototype pictures coming soon……getting a new camera soon hopefully with macro ability so we can document the strings nanoish properties. Until then.


Breaking soil regeneration research news!!! Aug. 2019

salt soil


Scientists successfully innoculate, grow crops in salt-damaged soil

Quote from article:

“A group of researchers may have found a way to reverse falling crop yields caused by increasingly salty farmlands throughout the world.”


When we consider the developments in carbon sequestration and biologically enhanced agricultural management (B.E.A.M) and the research above we can all celebrate a new agricultural paradigm together! Dr. Johnson has shown with his Johnson-Su Bioreactor that he can remove the salinity from dairy manure and now we see this news about using bacteria to grow food in salt damaged soils! We are living in very lucky times! We are going to solve the climate crisis, increase our yields, and grow more nutritionally dense foods.

Check out Dr. Johnson’s research page over at:


The Human Sustainability Project


The Human Sustainability Project aims to create a small scale, closed loop, and restorative food production system. This system can exist long term and instead of slowly depleting the land base it will add to it in the form of organic matter, bio-diversity, and water holding capacity. We will also create a refugia for insect diversity to flourish. Ultimately,  we intend for this system to provide a living working example. The central guiding theme is that we will give back to the earth more than we take in the form of land stewardship, soil building and restoring microbial diversity. We believe we can demonstrate a closed-loop food production system that can easily be taught and replicated using nothing more than human powered tools.

After many years of hands-on experience with the topics below, it feels like the right time for our family to set up a more permanent land base from which we can begin the Human Sustainability Project. The project consists of 7 components + Microbially diverse Bio-reactor compost all of which are intrinsically linked. All of it can take place on .1-1 acre of land, and while it might seem complicated at first, each component weaves into the others for a holistic approach to food production with minimal inputs and an investment of human labor.   Here is a brief description of each component:

1. Bio-intensive Farming with an emphasis on the ‘Minimal Area Diet’ as described by Ecology Action in Willits, CA.  We have used the ‘grow bio-intensive’ system and  see that the 60/30/10 model (60% carbon/calorie crops, 30% root/calorie crops , 10% special nutrient and income crops) is very sustainable and can improve and build soil even on demineralized, sloped and marginal lands. Using hand tools,  performing minimal to no tillage, growing your own compost, and closing the fertility loop is a great way to have a gentle impact on the land. We have seen with our eyes the productive and regenerative capacity of bio intensive food raising techniques.

2. Mushroom Cultivation: We will design and implement a bio-intensive grass growing system to provide the feed stock for our small scale oyster mushroom business. Mushroom cultivation has shown great potential for high production in small spaces with solid energy and water efficiency’s. Currently we sell our mushrooms in several local farmer’s markets and a few grocery stores and restaurants. The process we want to develop is a grass growing system to provide a hyper local growing substrate for the mushroom mycelium. We can avoid importing straw once again circumventing the soil mining process by building our own soil with precious Bio reactor mushroom compost.

3. Micro Livestock: There are many forms of micro livestock ranging from fish to chickens, to Peruvian Cuy, to insects. We have experience raising and rotating chickens intensively to improve the soil rather than degrade the soil. After a year and a half long experiment with Peruvian Cuy(Guinea pig) we have shown that the possibility’s for managing and rotating this small grazing animal could have amazing potential in a long term rotational schedule. Also there are many promising results to be found in the passive solar aquaculture revolution that is on going now. Meal worms have also shown us the ability to raise protein rich food for both human and micro livestock abundantly with very little water and feed stock.

4. Dry Farming: We will use some practices and principles of bio-intensive farming combined with various indigenous soil water management techniques to grow food without irrigation. So far this is an area that is in dire need of study and research- especially at the local level. Recently we have been doing a small scale dry farm pilot project at Boontberry community farms. Our goal with this project was to grow potatoes from botanical seed (not tubers) using hand tools and various dry farming techniques. It was successful in producing tubers. Our next goal is to do a whole suite of dry farmed test plots with controls. We will use a mix of indigenous and modern small scale farming techniques to demonstrate how food can be grown with out irrigation. In a world with shifting water reserves this will be a valuable skill to develop. Local research on this topic is going to be very helpful as the climate shifts dramatically.

5. Fukuoka poly culture: Design and implement a small Fukuokian no-till vegetable food forest. We will include “rewilded” vegetables that will create a miniature bio-diverse  food production system. This will demonstrate practices and principles of natural farming that work in our unique coastal mountains here in Mendocino County. This plant diversity will spontaneously produce food in all four seasons.

6. Waste recycling: We will safely capture human waste that is generated by the residents living onsite. Using our waste properly can help repair the broken nutrient cycle. There is so much diversity in the human diet. This provides us with a super healthy humus for the perennials and tree crops to build soil with. In addition, we will grow all of our carbonaceous crops on-site as fodder for our compost piles . By growing our own carbon crops we can eliminate our dependence on Big Ag and their utilization of chemicals and fossil fuels. Those outdated farming systems of old tend to rely on soil depletion to mine soils and ship valuable organic matter to and from far off locations. We will retain as much fertility on site as possible for long term soil building.

7. Wild foods:   When the opportunity arises we can supplement our diet with the consumption of wild foods. This will add variety to the subsistence farm diet in various bio waste forms through consumption and processing. For example, wild game, seafood, sea vegetables, acorns, nettles, mushrooms and wild edible greens all of which will be consciously and sustainably harvested. Although this is input from the outside no system on the planet is truly closed due to the infinite connections between the myriad Eco boundaries.



We have recently been making and using Johnson-Su Bio-reactors to generate microbially diverse soil inoculate to create a thriving rhizophere in soils we are working with. You can see for yourself using a 400x microscope the thriving diversity in the compost compared to mass produced municipal compost that usually only has 3 months of intense thermophilic processing. The Johnson-Su bio reactor system is a no turn cold composting technique that utilizes red wriggler worms as part of a year long composting process. This compost and Biologically enhanced agricultural management (BEAM) could potentially remove all the Anthropogenic C02 in 4-7 years from the atmosphere if only 30 % of global ag switch over to B.E.A.M.!!!!!!


Please visit this Chico state bio reactor information page. This compost is going to be a paradigm shift in our agricultural thinking for century’s to come. Dr. Johnson and his Wife Dr. Su have revolutionized our ability to repair the soil micro biome.

From the site:

“Compost is usually thought of fertilizer, a way of adding nutrients to the soil. BEAM compost actually addresses soil health through soil biology. It replaces soil microbes in soil degraded through conventional agriculture methods. That, along with no-till practices, cover crops and other Regenerative Agriculture practices, enable the normal symbiosis between these microbes and plant roots to occur. Quite quickly, the soil starts to recover, and striking improvements in crop yields and carbon sequestration occurs.”


Thank you very much for taking the time to read about our burgeoning project. For now we do all these things on a small leased plot in Anderson valley and the spaces around our cabin in the red woods. We have all the components needed to begin this ambitious project except a permanent land base on which to begin really intense longterm research. Our species needs a system of living on our planet that rapidly improves rather than degrades our land bases. The earth deserves this and so too do the children now and in the future. This must be done. We will heal our relationship with Gaia or we will likely disappear like the Dodo.