22 February 2009

Bouncing some ideas around

Wow, what a great discussion, thank you all for your honest thoughts and feelings, and your consideration of alternate views. We have regretfully been unable to make it down this week to respond and contribute more to the discussion, the woman who runs the Internet access center here is awaiting her first grandchild, and was out of town this week. She is back just for this morning, so we only have an hour on the net today. Most likely we will be back on Wednesday, after an approaching snowstorm blows over us.

The last thing I did on Monday, when we were here last, was do some research on climate change, and I found a great link. NASA Earth Observatory It shows real time pictures from satellite of features, weather events and ecological impacts. I have been looking for something like this, to be able to step back and take a look at the bigger picture of what is happening on our planet. It shows some images of the bush fires in Victoria, Australia, and only from this heightened view can you really get a perspective on the size of the area burned. It also shows images of drought and crop failures around the planet. And it explained our North American and Northern European deep freeze in January. Stratosphere Influences Winter Weather.

So this week, while we have been snowed in at home, and fighting off cabin fever!, we came up with an idea, and would appreciate some feedback.

We are thinking it would be helpful, especially for gardening and homesteading newbies, to compile some of the tutorials and practical information from this blog, and our experiences in community food systems, and were thinking of creating topical PDF e-booklets. We were thinking of focusing these skill booklets on those who have few gardening and food preservation skills, limited budgets, and limited access to land. As we head into these economic and climactic adjustments in 2009, people who have never grown or preserved food, are going to be starting up gardens as a way to feed their families, and like many others, we would like to help these families meet their needs. These booklets will also focus on community approaches to organizing, such as seed saving, grains on city lots, and non-vegetable foods such as meat, dairy, eggs and honey. Our homestead has been a kind of experimental farm for people who need to start growing their own food in one year, with few tools and less than $1000 a year, to invest in seeds, tools, land, knowledge, etc.

Blogs and Forums are excellent tools for networking and sharing ideas, and for writing out our individual stories of adaption and change. But blogs and forums, although they can provide tutorials and advice, do not necessarily compile and organize this incredible wealth of experience and practical skill. Gardening books can be helpful, but they are an expensive form of information for those on a low budget. We are looking at publishing these booklets under the Creative Commons License, and and then started playing with the idea of putting them up as wiki pages, or as a collaborative website, so they can be updated and amended with new information from all of you homesteaders, urban gardeners, and community organizers. There is a lot of data, experience, and practical information coming from every corner of the world wide web for the backyard gardener, and subsistence homesteader.

Here are some basic topics to start with, that we feel we could contribute some fresh perspectives to, from our own experiences:
Garden Planning
Meet your Staples from the Garden
Garden and Soil Preparation
Crops for Beginner Gardeners
Hygiene in the Organic Garden, preventing pests and disease
Food Preservation on a Low Budget: Drying and Fermenting
Extending the Growing Season on a Low Budget
Seeds: where to get them, hybrid or OP
Seed Saving and Community Seed Lending Libraries
Small Scale Grain Production, even in the city
How to meet your Egg, Dairy and Meat needs in your community
90% Down Power Systems for less than $2000

So what do you think? Would a wiki site be a helpful tool to gather and share our knowledge with others? Many tutorial style blogs could be simply copied in, and linked back. Do you think you would contribute to the wiki? Would you use the site to search for specific information? Or have you found something like this already on the net? What kinds of topics would you find helplful?

We are looking forward to reading all of your thoughtful and thought provoking comments to the last blog post... until then.


ChicagoMike said...

I think that is a great idea, although I tend to favor .pdf docs as opposed to wiki. I can easily print a .pdf and take it into the garden with me (or into the bathroom for a good read).



ChristyACB said...

I also think it is a fine idea. And ChicagoMike is right that PDFs are great for printing without hassle, but can be easily changed and updated.

As a further thought, perhaps if the info is compiled wiki style, it can be regionized. A zone 7 garden in Arizona is far different than a 7 on the east coast, especially when working within nature's boundaries of water and such.

Any thoughts as to that?

Fantastic Idea and though I am learning from everyone, if there is anything I can contribute, I surely would.

Maureen said...

Tho this is our 25th year in the garden we are VERY new to the idea of homesteading and really living off what we can produce on our city lot. Preserving foods and seed-saving are big topics for us right now, but all the ones you mention would be things we would be interested in.

Can't wait to see where this goes!

disa said...

I love it ! Very creative ! That's actually really cool Thanks.

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