Staying connected to the internet is a challenge in rural areas. Services are limited and expensive, and often the perfect site for a homestead is not necessarily provisioned with all of the services easily accessed by city-dwellers. In our case, we are far from agribusiness and the drift of gmo pollens or chemical sprays, which was a priority for us, and we are in an area with relatively affordable land. But the power and phone lines end 500 feet down the road. It was our intention to live off-grid, so this was not a hindrance, but it has been a challenge for us to find an affordable solution to connecting to the internet. Our only option for internet at home is satellite, which is really too expensive to justify itself, and we prefer to search for more community minded solutions. Gratefully, we found affordable public access at a local community center, only 7 miles from our home. We have been members here for over a year, and do all of our blogging and browsing (mostly downloading to read at home) and research from the community center. But with a busy gardening season, weather (we ride our bikes here), and various projects at home, our time online is limited, and it sometimes takes us a while to find all the great sites, blogs, wikis and projects that are springing up all over the net.
In January, we started to brainstorm about the wealth of information related to homesteading, city-steading, and low-impact living solutions we see on the net, and wanted to see it collected into a reference site, something like a wiki site where the various plurality of solutions to issues such as energy and food in a post-carbon world, could be compiled, and easily researched. We thought of starting a wiki site with our own skeletal topics, under the Creative Commons License, and inviting others to contribute their blogs and experiences. But I wondered whether there was a project like this already going, because I know how crucial the internet has been, as a research tool, in my own journey from an agriculturally ignorant city-dweller, and I know I'm not the only one. Well, this week I found that site. Appropedia! And it is set up as a wiki, completely open to editing and contributions. I have only begun to dig in, and have downloaded much to read at home. It looks like there are still plenty of gaps to be filled in, and it looks as though there is a very active team working hard on this site. I am looking forward to contributing our own little golden nuggets of survival skills in a post-carbon world, and I hope you do too!