Our Mission

The Last Straw Journal covers important developments in the natural building world that translate to a reduced impact on the natural environment.  Our mission is to inform and inspire people to build more consciously and with foresight toward future generations.  We fulfill our mission by providing in-depth stories from around the world about people who are pushing the boundaries of building materials and systems and the impact they have on cultures and societies.

About Us

Since 1993, the quarterly journal The Last Straw has been sharing news and developments from around the world about straw bale construction and natural building. The journal includes diverse articles about projects and up-to-date techniques, written by and about those who design and build with natural materials, research them, live with them—and just plain love them.

TLS is the only journal published to record the revival and development of straw bale construction worldwide, with a broader focus on natural building in general. Those who subscribe to this quarterly journal become part of the international straw bale community, supporting the revival of bale building and its emerging presence around the world.

Members of the straw-bale community are the major contributors to our publication—as authors of articles; contributors of information about techniques, methods, materials and projects; sources of construction details, testing and research; and columnists with knowledge and experience. They also help us keep people informed about workshops, hands-on training, tours and conferences on straw bale and natural building.  Members of the straw-bale community are also the major financial supporters of TLS — the ways you can help support this publication are described throughout our web site.

Natural building encompasses a wide range of building materials and methods that have become options for all types of construction worldwide, including straw bale. So, we embrace these approaches to building, along with energy and water systems; green building design principles, practices and products; as well as the use of recycled content products, salvage and indigenous materials. We also are expanding our web site links to a variety of related information sources and resources in cooperative exchanges with associations and organizations, educations and training centers.

Straw-bale construction is a living, changing, growing thing. The caring, committed heart of it remains unchanged — but significant advances in our understanding of how the material behaves and how best to use it continue to develop rapidly. Many clarifications and changes to “best practices” have happened since the early days of the technique’s resurgence, contributing to better and often simpler and more earth-friendly ways of doing things.

TLS speaks to a broad range of knowledge and experience, providing more thorough, complete, and reliably current information on specific topics than books, CDs, DVDs and videos (which are static and quickly dated or are specific to a project or location) typically provide.

What about the internet? Well, there’s lots of information on the web: much of it good, some of it out-of-date, some of it utterly bogus, most of it sketchy and incomplete. The nagging question at the back of all smart people’s brains is Do I have any idea if the person on my computer screen actually has any idea what they’re talking about? A famous cartoon shows a house pet typing at a computer keyboard; the caption reads, “On the internet, nobody knows you’re a dog.” Arf! (A corollary in the straw-bale world is the overlooked message in the tale of the Three Little Pigs: “Don’t let a pig build your house.”)

That said, we wholly recommend that anybody interested in straw bale construction get as much information from as many sources as possible. Books, booklets, videos, CDs, DVDs, workshops… and definitely the Internet, too. While there are a lot of unreliable sources on the world wide web, there are also some of the best and brightest minds in the field.  It takes some knowledge on your own part to be able to recognize which is which.

We Need Your Help

Subscriptions alone do not keep us going.  We need your support through either advertising, listing your goods and services in the Human Resources List or Classifieds, and through your generous donations.

Spread the Word

You can print this flyer and distribute it at your workshop, training program, conference, colloquium, fair or event. We thank you for helping promote and increase the readership of The Last Straw journal.

TLS flyer – download pdf file

The Editor and Publisher of The Last Straw is Jeff Ruppert of Paonia, Colorado.  Jeff is an civil and structural engineer who enjoys getting his hands dirty.  He has built a handful of straw bale structures throughout the Rocky Mountain region of the U.S. and has participated in projects as far away as Mexico and Russia.  Please don’t hesitate to contact Jeff here with any questions or comments on TLS and this website.