How to Grow $500,000 on One Acre,
and Peace on Earth

Learning the Art of Living, with Solar-Dynamic Bio-Benign Design

Revealing the Truth
about How We Can Provide Electricity, Heating, Cooling, Transportation, Food, Solid Waste and Wastewater Management
in Ways that Reduce Pollution and Depletion by 80% or more,
and also Reduce Cost of Living and Improve Quality of Life.

by Anna Edey

Trailblazer Press 1998, ISBN 0-9662349-0-1.  224 pages, 155 color photographs + other illustrations.
Price:$35. See below for quantity discounts.
RFD 1 Box 582, Vineyard Haven, MA 02568   Tel: (508) 693-3341, Fax: (508) 693-2228,


Solviva Home Page  |  Solviva Book  |  Reviews & Comments
Important Quotes  | 
Designs & Consulting
  Wastewater  | Greyburg or Greendale, and other Proposals
Book 2 - Choosing for Our Lives  |  Yarn & Sweaters
  Recommended Reading & Documentaries



Table of Contents  ||  Introduction  ||  Some current realities   ||  A visit to Solviva
How I got on the path of seeking better ways to live... ||  Wastewater Management
Greyburg or Greendale: where would you rather live?


"In Our Every Deliberation We Must Consider the Impact of Our Decisions
on the Next Seven Generations."


Over the millennia, we Homo sapiens, the so-called Wise Ones, have been striving to improve the quality of our lives and to ensure an ever better life for our children. Many cultures around the world, including Native Americans, consciously planned and acted to protect the well-being of seven generations into the future.

In my native land, Sweden, I know a carpenter who uses wood that was milled and stored by his father from trees that were girdled at the right time of year and cut by his grandfather. The trees were trimmed, thinned and protected by his great-grandfather, great-great-, great-great-great-, and great-great-great-great-grandfathers. The seeds for those trees were collected from the best quality trees and sown on land that was cleared, cultivated, fertilized, weeded and watered by his great-great-great-great-great-grandfather, seven generations back, and he in turn was using wood from trees that were produced during the seven generations before him. Will today's carpenter sow and tend the seeds for his future seventh generation? Not likely.

Only during the last century, especially since World War II, have we all but forgotten the concept of planning for the seventh generation. Forests are being razed; soil, groundwater and lakes are being polluted and depleted; oil is being burned - all at an unprecedented and utterly unsustainable rate, as if there will be no tomorrow. Nuclear wastes, so toxic that a few pounds can kill a city, are accumulating by the thousands of tons, with no viable solution for their disposal. Most of our food is sprayed with many different toxic chemicals, many of which become far more toxic as they recombine in our bodies and our environment.

The cost of living has gone up astronomically, but we hardly feel it because most of the costs are hidden in waste, depletion and debt deferred to the future, to burden our children and future generations. According to the War Resisters' League, 50 percent of our taxes are spent to pay for past and present military budgets, which is spent primarily to ensure US access to resources around the world.

Perhaps the pivotal reason for the lack of appropriate care for the future is The Bomb. Ever since August 6, 1945, it has become self-evident that our technology has evolved to the point that we can destroy our own species and most of the rest of life on this wondrous planet. I am baffled by the sense of relief that spread over the U.S. when the USSR fell apart: "No more cold war, no more danger of the bombs!" Yet, thousands of nuclear bombs still sit in rusting silos, now controlled by smaller unstable nations, capable of going off at any moment, triggered by failing technology or vengeful terrorists.
It seems that we are programmed to self-destruct with either a bang or a prolonged agonizing whimper in the near future. No wonder stress, waste, crime, violence, disease and escapist behavior are rampant. No wonder people no longer think seven generations ahead.

So what are we to do?
Shall we believe those who claim the situation is hopeless, that we have gone to the point of no return and therefore we might as well keep doing more of the same?
Or shall we believe those who say we may be able to save ourselves, but only if we drastically change our lifestyle and standard of living? According to these people, we must give up many of the comforts and conveniences that we hold dear, such as cars, long hot showers and deep baths, meat, plastics. Some claim that giving up toxic pesticides will lead to ugly, wilted and scarce food in our markets and to worldwide crop failures and starvation. Saving the environment will supposedly lead to the loss of millions of jobs. Spotted owls or jobs, snail darters or electricity. If such tradeoffs are required in order for us to survive, then our prognosis is gloomy indeed.

But in truth no such tradeoffs are required. This is a book of Great Good News. I will demonstrate that we now, today, have the technology and know-how to reduce pollution and depletion of resources by 80 percent or more, and I will show how this can be done in ways that can reduce our cost of living and improve the quality of our life.

Since 1977 I have accumulated evidence through direct experience on my farm on the island of Martha's Vineyard, off the coast of Massachusetts. Here I have been seeking to find ever more harmonious ways to live on Earth. The more I looked at the problems caused by our modern ways of living, the more I realized how profoundly these problems are all interconnected. My focus has therefore been broad and comprehensive, to design more sustainable and economical ways to provide for the basic necessities of our lives, including heating, cooling, electricity, food, transportation, and management of wastewater and solid wastes.

It was in the late 70s that I began to develop my own versions of what I call solar-dynamic, bio-benign living design, and I have been continuing this work ever since. These ongoing experiments have provided results that proved far more successful than I had ever imagined possible. For instance, who could have predicted that sewage can be filtered through leaves and wood chips and in five minutes be transformed into odor-free water containing 90 percent less nitrogen? I would never have thought it possible - until I did it. Who could have predicted that tomato plants could grow 30 feet long and live four years right in the kitchen, without any pesticides or normal fertilizers, producing superb-quality tomatoes continuously, even in the middle of winter? I certainly did not think this would be possible - until I did it.

Based on my experiences and knowledge I conclude that with today's technologies the following is possible:
1. We can manage our wastewater, from homes, schools, business and industry, in ways that eliminate water pollution, thereby protecting our drinking water, fishing industry, wildlife, ponds and harbors - and this can be done in ways that save money, as well as irrigate and fertilize our landscapes and forests.
2. We can recycle 90 percent of our solid wastes in ways that save time and money, energy and resources, and that greatly reduce pollution - while creating more jobs.
3. We can produce high yields of high-quality organic foods year-round in any climate, in urban and rural locations, without heating fuels or cooling fans, without toxic chemicals, and with far less irrigation water. Thus we can greatly reduce the depletion and pollution of soil, water, oil and other resources, as well as avoid the health hazards caused by conventional food production methods.
4. We can use solar power to provide most of the energy to heat and cool our homes, schools and other buildings, with renewable plant-derived fuels as backup. This can create more jobs and reduce by 80 percent or more the cost, pollution and depletion caused by conventional methods that rely on oil, gas, and coal.
5. We can greatly reduce our consumption of electricity with various efficiency technologies, and most of the remaining requirements can be satisfied with small-scale solar, wind and water power sources, thereby reducing by over 80 percent the current use of oil, coal, gas, and large-scale hydro - and eliminating nuclear power.
6. We can greatly improve public transportation, and both private and public transportation can be provided with electric vehicles with batteries powered primarily by the sun, supplemented with methanol and other plant-derived fuels. This can reduce consumption of gasoline by 80 percent or more.

There are many in the U.S. and around the world who share my views that these goals are possible to achieve, but most find it unbelievable. I can understand this skepticism. After all, very few people have had a chance to experience such sustainable technologies firsthand. Instead they hear that solar was proven in the 70s to be ineffective, that recycling can never exceed 30 percent, that electric cars are slow and have a very short range, and that eliminating pesticides would result in unpalatable food and global famines.

I am not saying that the transition to sustainable methods will be easy. There are formidable forces at work to maintain the current infrastructure, among them: inertia, doubt, lack of knowledge and experience, pessimism, fear, greed, and perhaps most obstructive, vast investments in the status quo and paralyzing regulations and bureaucracy.

But I believe most people are good at heart and want to do their best to help ensure the well-being of all, for now and for the future. Unfortunately, we are not yet at the point where all the better alternatives are easily available. There is a Catch-22: the sustainable technologies will not be mainstreamed into society until masses of people want them, and masses of people will not want them until they are mainstreamed. There will be a phasing-in period before these technologies become widely and easily available, and are thus able to reach their astonishing cost-effective potential.

As more and more people learn about better ways to live and have a chance to experience firsthand that these methods decrease costs, pollution and depletion and are beautiful, reliable and convenient, then a critical mass of this knowledge and understanding will be reached. When this happens, hope for a better future will be rekindled, and with it the will to spread sustainable and harmonious living systems - like a blessing around our planet.

With this book I hope to greatly increase general public awareness of what is possible for us to accomplish with today's technology. I wish you an inspiring journey through the words and pictures herein, and happy envisioning, planning and action for a better future for us all.

Anna Edey
Thanksgiving 1997


How to contact Anna Edey, Solviva, Trailblazer Press:
18 Solviva Road, Vineyard Haven, MA 02568
Tel: (508) 693-3341- - Cell phone: (774) 563-0898 - - Fax: (508) 693-2228
e-mail:, website:

AND, as of January 2014, at Blog/Website: