12 Ways to Use Social Media to Help in Sandy Relief Work

I spent 10 years in NYC. I consider it a second home. I love NYC and it’s breaking my heart to watch what is happening and feel so powerless. So I decided not to be powerless. I gave blood first. I don’t have a lot of cash at the moment so I looked for the next thing. I wanted to have a positive impact. So I found ways. If you have any facility with social media you can be a big help at a distance. There will be a need for this help in the weeks, months and years ahead. Real recovery will take a long time. Here’s how to help from where you are:

1. Translate any relief or recovery message you see which has been embedded in an image from pixels to text. Or offer to help any group with this work. Image memes and messages in jpegs are not accessible and will not reach some of our most vulnerable people. When you create an image message ALWAYS provide a text alternative. Here are some guidelines for making your content accessible. tl:dr if you see a relief meme on facebook with critical info type it out if the page owners have not.
http://www.netmagazine.com/features/10-great-ways-make-your-content-portable-and-accessible

2. Interoccupy has been recognized as doing a terrific job responding on the ground and quickly to the most vulnerable. There is no red tape just a direct path to getting involved. Go to interoccupy.net/occupysandy – Volunteer for tasks which can be done online http://interoccupy.net/volunteer/   

3. Get on twitter and watch these hashtags #sandy #sandyrelief #sandyvolunteer #sandyaide – retweet or try to get that information to people who can help onsite. Amplify messaging from reliable sources. Try to get information to the right people. Look for other hashtags for specific locations along the East Coast and in the Caribbean and help them amplify as well.

4. Share videos of what’s happening on facebook. The crisis is much deeper than the mainstream media is reporting. Help get attention to specific problems.

5. Like these pages on Facebook and respond to requests as needed ( Occupy Sandy Relief NYC and  Giving Back to Those Affected by Sandy  and Occupy the Hood ) These communities are doing great work. Jump right in. Also look for other facebook pages where people are doing good work along the East Coast. Many groups are targeted to specific locations. If you grew up on the East Coast start a page for your hometown if it has been impacted. Contact the leaders in that community and let them know the page exists.

6. Connect with animal support groups and assist in reuniting people with their pets or finding permanent or temporary homes for pets by posting images around the web, making phone calls and helping folks connect.
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/11/02/superstorm-hurricane-sandy-pets-animals-rescue_n_2066276.html

7. Respond to specific people on social media who are requesting help by linking them up with resources near them. You have the bird’s eye view. In the chaos, shock and stress – thinking is really difficult.

8. MIT started hurricanehackers.com for tech projects assisting in relief efforts. Many of their projects rely on crowdsourcing information. You can help if you are a programmer – and you may be able to help simply by gathering information for a project. Also Ushahidi has several projects you can help with – http://blog.ushahidi.com/index.php/2012/10/29/hurricane-sandy-in-maps/

FastCoexist has a good piece on hurricanehackers.com and other efforts here.

9. Act as a rumor control sentinel. There have been many rumors flying – let your skepticism be your guide and help track down the truth. Help folks sort through the confusion. Sharks in Jersey! FEMA jobs! FEMA Rumor Control and Snopes: Hurricane Sandy are good places to check things out.

10. Share good news about how people are stepping up. People get overwhelmed and demoralized without knowing there are GREAT things happening. Help everyone be part of the solution. There is real power in WE.

11. Look for issues outside of NYC and NJ. There’s stuff going on up and down the East Coast and in the Carribean particularly Cuba and Haiti but elsewhere as well. The US media is focused on NYC and NJ primarily. Share solutions happening in NYC with places where folks are not plugged in to all the incredible work happening there. Share what works!

12. Share this list and let others know there’s a lot more we can do from far away. There is no need to feel like you can’t help – because you can! Reblog/Reweet away!

Bonus Ideas:

13. Help translate text to other languages. Do this only if you are fluent. Don’t use online translations for relief work. They are just not that accurate yet.

Added after Nov. 5th 2012

14. Send items directly to distribution hubs via this Amazon registry. Send ANYTHING you can buy on Amazon. Amazing.

If you have suggestions for improving this post please comment below. Also please let me know if you have any other ideas about how people away from the area can help via the net.

I’ve noticed attention from the media on people and their needs has dropped off severely. Perhaps it’s just the last day of the election season. But I fear that the news will move on and we will all be distracted when the hardest impacts hit home. It’s getting colder every night. The needs of people impacted by Sandy will be ongoing for months and years. Please help them by giving your attention and access to your networks.

Also – Tomorrow Nov 6th 2012 – VOTE BABY VOTE. It matters no matter where you are.

 

With Gratitude,
Liz McLellan
about.me/lizmclellan

12 ways to help sandy survivors using social media

Interviews with Liz McLellan AKA @hyperlocavore

Openly Balanced
Digital Journal Bob Ewing
v3rsus Interview – Carsten Pade
Shorty Award Interview
New Colonist Podcast

Hyperlocavore.com joins Justlabelit.org to Demand Labeling of GMOs in the U.S.

My Recommended Books on Resilience and Thriving

At a personal and at the community level we are all looking for ways to thrive in tough times. It is surely a struggle our families and our friends. So much change, so much uncertainty even as we hear the economy is improving…. It is not improving for many of us. This is a list of my favorite books to help you get way beyond survival. We can dream bigger dreams while recognizing our interdependence. There is a new vision emerging…join us! Read this list and become engaged and hopeful again.

We are ready.

Check out the rest of my Pinterest boards here. Pinterest is a wonderful tool for the visual thinkers among us. Grab and account and be inspired!

Share this list with your friends and let me know where you find your inspiration!

What makes you more resilient? We have all become so much stronger in these last few years!

Happy Digging!

Liz

SOPA STRIKE Internet DOWN!

Hey folks,

I have shut the blog down (kinda) to protest the SOPA and PIPA bills in Congress.
For more information on why these are crappy pieces of legislation read up on the SOPA STRIKE page.

Baconskillz – Salamiskillz – Prociuttoskillz – We gets em.

I have been really into this year long blog-a-thon focused on meat preserving skills. Charcuterie and cheese personally has always represented the good life to me. If I was doing well I would always have more cheese and cured meats around. So I was thrilled to hear about Charcutepalooza started by Mrs. Wheelbarrow’s Kitchen.

If you haven’t paid it any attention you are really missing out. Hundreds of blogs are participating in trying out the techniques and skills covered in Michael Ruhlman’s book – Charcuterie




I haven’t tried any of the challenges yet, but my good neighbor and Mistress of Pigs Terrie Beech is on notice that I will be needing a big chunk of pig someday soon.

I am delaying for now because I need to rig up a curing box like this one from the good folks at Oink Joint. A shout out to Oink Joint and Pork Dork for having the best blog names about all things pig!

Have any of you guys done any charcutrie?

We’re up for a Shorty Award! Please take a minute to vote!

Here’s what your tweet should look

I nominate @hyperlocavore for a #ShortyAward in #food because (fill in your reason!)

The rules say you have to have been a member of twitter before the contest began. So please note that.

Thanks guys!

Liz<

Win a copy of Paul Stamets – Mycelium Running

Enter the Drawing by Becoming a Member of hyperlocavore.com today! Cool – Sign Me Up
More about Mycelium Running
Contest Rules

 

The Gift of Kefir – How to Make Easy Tasty Probiotics at Home

Milk Kefir Grains

The Culture of Kefir

The culture around kefir is interesting (no pun intended…) It seems a gifting tradition that goes on and on like the potentially eternal bacterial colonies that are used to make it. My neighbor Lois came by a few weeks ago to surprise me with some living kefir grains. They needed care and she was going to be traveling for a while. I wasn’t quite sure what they were or why they needed care but, hoping to be a good neighbor I said I would be happy to babysit.

I read up and was amazed. Kefir is a traditional yogurt style dairy product. It is made by letting milk ferment with the kefir grains. Originally these colonies of bacteria were used in Turkey and the Caucasus to ferment and therefore preserve milk.

I decided to name the colony Mike…and then Mikes when I realized how many there were in the jar – billions maybe trillions! A kefir colony looks a little like a bit of really squishy cauliflower. Some people drink it plain. Some guy on the internet puts molasses in it, a mixture I don’t recommend. I like to let it ferment a second or third day so that it is extra tart and a bit fizzy. I blend a cup and a half of that with a cup of frozen berries, a bit of vanilla and brown sugar. It is the best way to start my day I have found yet.

I’m a coffee addict and can’t really get going until halfway through my second cup of strong java. The day I started the kefir I finished my first cup and didn’t even bother to pour a second. I was super-charged but not in that jittery coffee way.

I have heard kefir translates to “feels good.” I’ve always got a big boost of energy and good feeling from well made yogurt. Now that I have a kefir smoothie for breakfast I start my day energetic, calm and focused.

The Science of Kefir

Our gut actually contains a large amount of bacteria or “flora.” We co-evolved with them in fact and would be six feet under without the friendly ones.

From Wikipedia:

Gut Flora

“The metabolic activities performed by these bacteria resemble those of
an organ, leading some to liken gut bacteria to a “forgotten” organ. It is estimated that these gut flora have around 100 times as many genes in aggregate as there are in the human genome.”

Health Benefits of Kefir

Kefir is a fantastic source of easily digested protein, B Vitamins, pro-biotics and vitamin K.

Using real kefir grains is a great way to keep a cheap and perpetual source of these important nutrients on hand. I don’t know about you but, my budget for vitamins and other health products has been given up. I try to get all I need from the food I eat now.

Here’s a great series on caring for your kefir.
Making Kefir Part 1
Making Kefir Part 2

Thank you to Lois of Stonehaven Shetland Sheep Farm for the gift of kefir…and being my neighbor.

How to Get Kefir Grains

As I mentioned there is a strong gifting tradition around live kefir grains. I am not comfortable recommending sources at the moment as I am new to the world of kefir. Though in my research I have come across this fellow mentioned many times both as an expert and a source for live kefir grains. He lives in Australia and will ship globally.

I would also encourage you to ask around your community and share them if you got em! If you know of reputable folks that are growing and sharing them please post in the comments!

Why the purple….

The purple today is all about grown ups stepping up and doing what we can to tell kids who are bullied for who they are that life does get better – after school – when you are on your own, surrounded by people who love you for who you are, your family and your new chosen family.

You will find the right mix of people and your joy.

You might have to move from where you are but you will find them.

We all did.

Stick around for it.

For those that are bullying but especially the adults that are sending their children messages that it is OK to hate, OK to discriminate, OK to judge a person on their looks, their skin color, their size, their gender, their orientation, their money, their ability or disability and not their hearts and minds – It is time to grow up.

Talk to your kids tonight. It’s not a “normal part of childhood” to kill yourself or want to kill or harm yourself.  Those adults that are saying “kids will be kids” – are complicit. Those of us that think it’s “just a right of passage” or that terrifying people to conform is OK need to wake up.

Bullying today is not like it used to be – it’s 24/7 these days as kids act out in anonymous packs online. Check out youtube comments on any disabled child’s page, any child perceived to be gay…and you’ll get just a taste of how horrible the children have become. It really is different. Because of the way the net is, it is cumulative. It rarely goes away. For a child who is already struggling it can send them over the edge. Kids need to know we get it.

The bullies aren’t to blame though…We show them how to do it every day by creating second and third class citizens of the LGBT community or the disabled community, the Muslim community… the list, of course, is much longer…

For any kid you know that seems to be struggling with this… send them these links:

http://www.itgetsbetterproject.com/

http://thetrevorproject.org

And put some purple on your profiles… Write a note about what you went through as a kid and how it got better. Make a video or just reach out to a kid you know who might be feeling outside of all the good things in life…Let them know you get it and that it does get better.

Everyone complains about the weather…

but no one does a damn thing about it….

Early this season before any of the veg had really started to flower we had a freak hail storm. Most people in our valley escaped any damage. We didn’t. We live in seems very much in the shadow of Cornucopia mountain. As storms go they seem to swoop down onto our wee acre and then disappear but not before acting out.

Surveying the damage, the plants hit most hard were the large leaved and the green tomatoes that were fist sized by then. Quarter sized holes on most large leaves and bruises on the tomatoes which healed eventually but left scars shocked me into the reality of weather and farming.

We noobs have a very romantic vision of what it is to live off what you can grow. We are playing farmer.
I have a kitchen garden and don’t plan to become dependent on my little patch because I understand Mama may contradict me. She may wipe me out in a fit of pique. Kitchen gardeners have no safety net…and urban farmers don’t either. The bleeding edge is a risky place.

BK Farmyards logo

Stacy Murphy @brooklynfarmyards is out on that limb too though on a larger scale. She’s got folks depending on her and what they can grow on her patchwork of experimental urban farms. They were hit hard by the devastating hail storm that blew through my old neighborhood in Brooklyn. If you haven’t read about what she’s doing please do. If you can throw some dollars or attention her way as she tries to bring the urban farms she runs back please do that too!


Here’s the story.

HOWTO: Use twitter to grow your local yardsharing group

OK – So you’ve signed up – but you are not quite sure how to get others to sign up in your area so you can find a great yard sharing partner.

If you haven’t read this page and done these things first – Please do!

How do I start an area yardsharing group or a private yardsharing pod?

General Tips for Getting Started.

How to Grow your Group.

OK – Now that you’ve read through those ideas, let’s focus on twitter. This assumes you have a twitter account and you have developed your lists and connections. How to do that is beyond the scope of this how to but if you would like some help here’s a few great videos on Twitter:

Twitter in Plain English by CommonCraft

How to Use Twitter by Howcast

So here’s how you let folks know about yardsharing in your area or neighborhood. You can get as specific as you want. Either tweet about your general area group or your own yardsharing pod.

Write a short tweet something like:

Seeking yardsharing partners in Denver.

Go to the Denver group page on hyperlocavore and copy the url.

http://hyperlocavore.ning.com/group/seekingyardsharedenverco

Use a url shortener like hootsuite.com to get a short url

http://ow.ly/2ghgx

Add that to your tweet – so now you have:

Seeking yardsharing partners in Denver. http://ow.ly/2ghgx

Now – add hashtags. (What are hashtags? Twitter Search in Plain English)

In this case I will make the town, neighborhood or area a hashtag…in this case Denver

So it looks like this:

Seeking yardsharing partners in #Denver. http://ow.ly/2ghgx

And I will add a few other hashtags:

Seeking yardsharing partners in #Denver. http://ow.ly/2ghgx #gardening #colorado

OK – That’s it… try tweeting this message at different times during the day. You can also add “PLS RT” – which is a request that people ‘retweet’ the message so it reaches farther.

Seeking yardsharing partners in #Denver. http://ow.ly/2ghgx #gardening #colorado #food PLS RT

Keep your tweets well under 140 so that people can retweet without losing any content.

So that’s it! Easy peasy!

A Salute to Some Rabbits…

This post is part of Sustainablog’s Pedal Powered Blogathon in support of Dancing Rabbit Ecovillage in the great state of Missouri.

Dancing Rabbit Sign

About 14 years ago…WOW, I was dating a guy in Silicon Valley named Brian Skinner. We were an odd pair. I was well, a street fighting lefty activist, proud to claim a few nights in Santa Rita State Prison (with a thousand others) after the Rodney King verdict riots and former art school dropout and he was an extremely bright libertarian nerd who generally confounded everything I believed every time he opened his mouth.  He had many great features but, one of his best was to disagree deeply without being a jerk. Something I honestly still struggle with everyday, smart-ass that I am.

He is a pretty extraordinary guy. A couple years before I met him his aunt had passed away and willed him a substantial sum. He was of the opinion though that it was unearned and therefore not really his. So he set about looking at how to  “alleviate world problems and prevent some suffering.” But, he was all about the hard data. After a few years of analysis, he wrote something called The Gumption Memo and gave the majority of the money to organizations providing reproductive health services. I was deeply impressed. I met him as he was just wrapping up this process.

Brian opens the Gumption Memo with this:

“The World Game: To make the world work for 100% of humanity in the shortest possible time through spontaneous cooperation, without ecological offense or the disadvantage of anyone.”
– Buckminster Fuller

Besides Buckminster Fuller, Brian introduced me to a circle of people, mostly Stanford grads, who cared about the world as deeply as Fuller. They were also super smart and unfailingly grounded in the practical, the way he seemed not to be during his time, or so it was said. Many of us met for a book club which often focused on “sustainability.” This was a new word for me. I had been, in my head at least, “an environmentalist.” I had parted ways with the left in some ways over it. Up until then though I was primarily concerned with social justice, understanding how we had arrived at such a dismal place with regard to race, the planet, and women’s rights.
For Brian and many of these people these issues has been subsumed into a planetary resource crisis of epic scale. Everything that was bad now was going to get much worse, they argued, if we didn’t tackle climate, energy, soil and water depletion – fast.

I was used to going to root causes and they proceeded to take me much deeper than I had previously been. They were materialists who made a great deal of sense to me. It was hard to argue with the relentless amount of data they presented. I had tried to connect it all up before but, this did it.

Tony Sirna and Rachel Katz, two of the most interesting people in the group, were leaving the Bay Area. Strange idea…here we were nestled between two great Universities Stanford and UC Berkeley (my Alma Mater) in a place that had sea air, perfect weather, mountains, valleys, meadows, world-class parks…a great music scene. Why would anyone want to leave this?
Though growing up there I had never considered leaving permanently. Unthinkable…really.

It seemed a strange choice for these folks, enjoying all the options they did. Again, impressive. This was at the height of the dot-com boom. It was possible to make a lot of money even if, like me, you had only a freshly minted English degree and moxie, so long as you knew more about computers than the guy interviewing you.

But leaving they were, for Rutledge, Missouri, land of the Mennonites, to live in the middle of “nowhere” to start building something called an “eco-village.” They were going to create a demonstration project, an entire village built using mostly hand tools, solar energy, straw bale, cob, bio-diesel and other “appropriate tech,” another phrase I learned from the Rabbits.  Brian and I were very sad to see them go but promised to visit when we took a road trip someday soon.

A year later, Brian and I took that road trip. While packing we had a spat about what we had each packed for the trip in my tiny Honda hatchback. Somewhere I have it on High 8mm, Brian’s demonstration of our comparative “necessities” lined up on the floor. We were neck and neck until he put my box of cassette tapes on my side to demonstrate that it was I who had packed too much.

Brian was fantastic at helping me grasp the difference between need and want. He single-handedly cured me of Affluenza. But my box of cassette tapes to him qualified as a “nice to have” for the trip rather than an essential. Some of you will get this, actually, most of you will get this. For me 70% of the pleasure of the road trip was going to come from the soundtrack I was planning! For me anyway. Brian was not “into music.”

We were already becoming less of a couple but, this was the moment I accepted we probably weren’t going to work out in the long run. This music thing was the moment where I looked into him and realized that, as intimate as we had been, as good as the times we had were, there was an unfathomable aspect to Brian that was unmistakably “other.”

Our mutually agreed upon nerdgasmic itinerary: We went to the Very Large Array near White Sands, NM. We went to Carhenge. We saw the Experimental HTRE reactors for nuclear aircraft, on display at Idaho National Laboratory and some amazing lava caves. We went to see Amelia Earhardt’s house in Nebraska, as she is one of my heroes. We stopped to smell tractors throughout the Midwest which gave Brian instant recall of time he spent on a farm as a boy. I saw my first fireflies at his mom’s place in Marysville, Kansas and my first tornadoes! We stopped at every historical plaque between San Fransciso and that small town and read it. We saw Moab, and the breathtaking Arches National Park. We visited a friend getting her PhD at UNM in Albuquerque and we stayed at the Earthships in Taos. I feel in love with New Mexico and would move there a few months after that.

We arrived at Dancing Rabbit with a plan to stay the week. It was July or August. We set up our tent and looked around. A single wide where about 8 people lived, a shop building, a garden patch and a makeshift out-door kitchen and a hole to skinny dip in on land surrounded by Mennonites. It was not much back then.

They were just starting out but, in my mind they had given up so much for this neglected weedy patch of land. As interested as I was in their thinking, I’ll be honest, it seemed a little out there. They had computers. They weren’t going to give that up. Many of them make their living via the internet still. So they weren’t entirely cracked in my estimation. They had to make their own fun so, many played instruments but, it was rough, really, really rough back then. Brian and I had toyed with the idea of moving out there on the way to Rutledge. But actually being there settled it. The reality was quite different from the fantasy. Maybe someday…when they had real toilets.

We spent a great week with them and I was impressed by that they spoke about all of these earth issues without a hint of the woo-woo. This was not a bunch of new age hippies in some tie dye idyll trying to reclaim a time past. Sorry, to my hippie friends but, that has little appeal to me. It was an intentional community with a completely secular underpinning. Most intentional communities at the time had some sort of religious thread that held them together. Not the Rabbits. This I liked. There was no possibility of cult here.

We left. Brian and I parted ways and moved on in our lives. But *everything* that I learned from Brian and that group of whip smart and practical rabbits has stayed with me. Meeting them is one of the seeds of hyperlocavore.com, or maybe it’s the healthy soil the idea was planted in. I was changed forever by meeting them and revel in the compendium of real world know-how Dancing Rabbit has become just as they had envisioned nearly 15 years ago.

Also because of Dancing Rabbit, I eventually learned to play the bodhran and moved to NYC to live a car free Irish music filled life.

The main thing I learned from the Rabbits is this…

Stop talking. Do.
And while you do, Dance.

And this priceless lesson will never leave me.

With great fondness to the all Rabbits and immense gratitude to Brian,

Liz

Consider making a donation to Dancing Rabbit Eco-village.

Watch more Dancing Rabbit videos at DRTV.

Follow my blog with bloglovin

Video from Liz – Just 68 hours left. And many thank yous…

The Neighborhood

I grew up in a suburban neighborhood about 20 minutes from San Francisco. It was one of those picture perfect communities with many group amenities tennis courts a swimming pool even a meeting house. The meeting house was rarely used. Maybe the Homeowner’s Association met there to compose their demands upon the people who lived near them. I don’t know.

When we were younger the neighborhood kids traveled in packs. It was a safe place. Idyllic even as it could only have been through a child’s eyes. We roamed and battled. We built a half pipe out of ply wood and spend 3 summers wrecking ourselves on it. But, as we got older it changed. Families seemed to move inside. The personal computer came along. We stopped hanging out all day. Concerns about going to college took over … and most of us got a hand me down car. We were Californians after all. Driving was our birthright and we were all keen to hit the open road.

My memories of the neighborhood later were of letters of complaint from the HOA or a neighbor over this violation or that kvetch. Home prices in CA at that time were going nowhere but up and people had their minds on their money. It seemed to be piling up – if only everyone could keep their homes perfect we’d all be rich!

Money changes everything. Or maybe cars change everything. Either way – when our happy band of little savages grew up all the magic of that place disappeared.

It wasn’t until I moved to a predominately Caribbean American neighborhood in Brooklyn, thirty years later that I felt what a real neighborhood felt like again. Maybe younger families are key and families that stay close to grandparents… This neighborhood was coming up and being gentrified. This dynamic pissed some people off but others saw it as an opportunity to finally sell and move to a sunny place. I hoped they wouldn’t. That sunny place was empty and cold in spite of all the sun.

In that neighborhood there are folks that have live in the same apartment for generations. If you have a good rent situation in New York, you find a way to keep it in the family. So on that block people had known each other for a very long time. Just like a small town if you were not careful about it everyone on the block knew what was up with you.

I don’t want to idealize the situation because a lot of folks there were poor. But people had networks of mutual trust and help. Folks knew who was good and who was not to be trusted with anything. The streets in the summer were full of kids playing, people BBQing on the steps of their apartment buildings, people asking after each other’s mothers. There were sometimes gunshots, but I felt safer there in a way than I had ever felt in my life, even though I was mostly, an outsider looking in. I was treated as a neighbor, once folks got to know me and I miss it every day.

I now live in a tiny town in the wild west of Eastern Oregon. We go back generations here…I just heard a story of my great great grandpa who had a pet bear that road around with him on the runner boards of his Model T Ford at a funeral for a cousin. We are less than 300 here. Mutuality thrives through informal networks of assistance that also go back generations. My mother has been here 10 years and has so many stories of people just doing for her without request. People here too,  know how to take care of each other. It is what makes life worth living. It gives me buoyancy. It dulls all fears. I am learning every day what it means to be a neighbor.

As we all walk towards the future I think we need to understand that there is no way to thrive under a peak everything scenario without building communities and real neighborhoods. There is no escape to the hills, no thriving without mutuality. Look to your left and look to your right. These are the people who will make you or break you. There is no escape from that. And who would want to?

The fantasy of the solo hero is just that. It is based on ideology not reality. It’s based on a psychological need of the person who engages in it. To me it screams a need for therapy to address some deep parental drama that is unresolved. Your mileage may vary. And I do not intend to insult the rugged individualists among you. I am one and I am learning that it is an internally impoverished way of being.

We are primates, and therefore social creatures. Our gene line is not the baboon but the bonobo. That fact alone should give you some hope. It’s our nature to soothe and to cooperate. But even baboon culture, which was thought to be permanently hierarchical, alpha male dominated and warlike has been shown to develop new communal behaviors which profit and protect all in the band. The key is getting the alpha males to calm down and it’s possible.

For a little more on this – take a look at Standford neurobiologist and primatologist Robert Sapolsky’s work.

A Primate’s Memoir – Robert M. Sapolsky

New Normal – A Radio Lab podcast with Prof. Sapolsky on his experience with the changing nature of his troop of baboons.

We cannot separate easily into tiny roving bands. It would be disastrous for us and for the planet if we did. There are simply too many of us. Our thinking has the potential to evolve. We are rapidly waking up to our nature as a primate with an ability to fly out into space and look back at our home, the pale blue dot. Us monkeys have gone to space. Think about that. Just sit with it for a while.

These changes may be a gift if seen as such.
Our task is to look up the block and down the block and see only us.
More of us.
Our ability to thrive depends on it.
The future is a choice.

What choices are you making to make where you live a neighborhood?
Are you focused on your ability to aide others or only to profit in the future?
Do you plan to evolve your thinking or play out an atavistic scenario?
Do you feel responsibility to grow or simply to survive?
Are you thinking ideologically or practically?

Do you have good memories of where you grew up?
Examples of neighborly behavior?

Some sharing resources:
swapmamas.com
sharable.net

and hyperlocavore.com – a yard sharing community.

We are currently crowd funding our next phase of growth. We are happy to report that this model is working very well. We have just three days to cover the last 25% of our pledge drive but we are happy to report mutuality works! (Deadline March 28th at precisely 4:05 PM PDT)

To help with the last 3 days of the crowd funding project click here.

For more about Liz McLellan and Hyperlocavore.com:

Cooking up a Story
Greenopolis
More Minimal

Previous Campfire post:
On Choosing: How a Hyperlocavore Responds to Catastrophe

Today is Ada Lovelace Day. As a woman in tech since I got my first computer in 1981 celebration is mandatory. This post is about my site and community building through technology and low tech combined. I am of the opinion that balance between the virtual and the real is important to our survival. I hope hyperlocavore.com helps you make those connections real.

This is cross posted at TheOilDrum – Please participate in the conversation! We need all voices.

We are so close to our goal. You can send us over! Deadline is March 28th, 2010

We need to let you guys know, it’s 5 days away and only have $2,279.00!

That seems a long way away suddenly.

We are so so grateful for the pledges people have made so far but, we are only at 51% of our goal of $6200.00.

If we don’t hit that goal, we don’t even get the

money pledged so far!

At this point a shot in the arm would make all the difference in our ability to make the site self supporting. Right now we are running out of pocket! We have over 1300 members and we’re growing every day. If each of you went online now and pledged just four bucks we could breathe a sigh of relief and get to work. For now we are waiting to exhale!

If you have already pledged you have our deepest thanks! If you have not please take a moment now. Your pledge now will make a huge difference in our ability to improve and grow the site and services we offer. Yard sharing is breaking out all over and we want to be there to help build resilience and real community block by block.

Make a pledge, it’s easy peasy!

Please also share our kickstarter page with everyone you know! Word of mouth is how we grow.

Your encouragement and endorsement is where we get the energy to keep doing the work! Everything you do counts!

With gratitude,
LizM

Garden Journal

Spring is here! There are so many cliches about Spring but for me, this was my first one with a big garden to build around the corner. Living in NYC, there wasn’t much access so, for ten years I suppressed my urge to dig. Things are changing fast there. All kinds of growing efforts are popping up working to get more access to more land for folks there. The community gardens have such long wait list and interest in gardening exploded last year. Hopefully, the trend gurus are right and yard sharing will be the biggest garden trend of 2010!

We’re in Halfway a little town in Eastern Oregon, hardiness zone 5a, near the old family ranch in Keating. Hundreds of people grow beautiful gardens here. I am the new kid on the block. The terrain looks like all the old western movies you’ve seen, a high mountain valley. Cornucopia is still covered with snow and though, some wise women here have told me that planting outside should wait til the snow is gone from the foot hills of the valley, I have not been able to hold myself back. People have been saying it’s an El Nino year and it’s warming up fast. It was warm enough to turn the compost piles today. Having sat on my butt in front a computer for the last four months was not the ideal training regime for moving huge the semi broke down pile.

So we’ve had two days of 50 degrees or better so I’ve set my makeshift green house out. It’s running 80 degrees during the day inside. It’s not exactly a thing of beauty. Martha would barf I am sure. It’s just a shelf system wrapped in 3mm plastic. Also, lined the shelves with black plastic to protect the shelves but, also to absorb a bit more heat. I am thinking about painting a 5 gallon bucket black and filling it with water for a bit more radiant heat. For a lot of things in there that’s probably not needed. All in all it’s quite serviceable. I’ve decided not to use my LEDs this year, they were a big disappointment last year, and the wood shop where I kept it is always cool.

I may sell some plant starts at the farmers market if things go well!

So indoor starts so far:

Tomatoes
Brandywines
San Marzano’s (for drying and sauce)
Matt’s Wild Cherry
Sweet 100′s
Black Krim

Peppers
California Wonder
Chinese Giant
Anahiem

Herbs
Basil Genovese
Basil Thai
Culinary Sage
Munstead Lavendar
Greek Oregano
Sweet Margoram

Other
Japanese Eggplant

Outdoors (Mar 3rd)

Alliums planted last fall:
Globemaster (big pom poms that look like Dr. Suess plants
Egyptian Walking Onions
White Bunching Onions

Greens
Red Ruben Romain
Spinach

In the greenhouse
Sugar snap peas
Gai Lan (Chinese Broccoli
Chinese Bok Choi
Collard Greens
French Mesclun Mix

Around the yard
Poppies
Lavender Elegance
Sunflowers

I’ve been thinking about hops mainly because I love the smell of them. Apparently, hop workers used to get so drawsy from the hops they would nap at work.

The grapes, trimmed back in early February kind of scare me but, folks tell me if you don’t think you’ve pruned too much with grapes you’re doing it wrong!

The plum and apple trees are starting to bud and, of course, we all worry that a frost will come a long and kill all the blooms. I realize now, I’ve never been here to see the apple blossoms! In this valley at least I’ve been told a good apple year means you have two so so years of apples after that. We have two trees. I am not sure what the one in front of the house is, but the other one, the Cortland produces the most fragrant crisp tart and sweet apples I have ever had. I actually didn’t like apples much before I met this tree…or maybe I just never had a fresh apple!

I know that the people in the valley have a cider pressing party sometime in the fall so I am already looking forward to that.

We have amazing blackberries on the land and down near the pond some raspberries showed up last summer but there were only three or four berries. There’s a couple wild cherry trees and I’ve heard apricots will and do grow in the area. I’d like to plant almonds and a walnut tree but, a few of the volunteer Cottonwoods or the random Catalpa that popped up will have to go.

I’m finding there is a reason it’s called Cornucopia Highway….

[Write Your Own Planting Journal]

Win a GARDEN FULL of SEEDS (Deadline March 1st, 2010)


© Dreamstime

MARCH 1, 2010 DEADLINE IS PASSED.

THE WINNER IS MIKE T of Ridgewood, NY
.


ENTRIES CLOSED – But you can still help!

We are getting down to the wire for the Kickstarter fund drive. We don’t get a dime if we don’t make the pledge goal. SO – I am adding another incentive. For the person that gets the most pledges by March 1st I WILL SEND A FULL GARDEN’s WORTH OF SEEDS. And I will do the same for the person that comes in with the largest dollar amount of total pledges by March 1st.

How this will work: For each person you encourage to make a pledge, have them send me an email letting me know that they go in your tally column. Send the email to hyperlocavore@gmail.com. I will, of course, count the personal pledges of those that have already pledged who are members here towards their tally. I will announce the winner by March 3, 2010 and have the seeds out the the winners by March 5th, 2010.

We desperately need funds to make the site more friendly and usable so every pledge, every retweet, every invitation to friends is critical. I am hoping to reach this goal via members and supporters, and though I have added incentives to green businesses my preference has always been that we keep the majority of support coming from people who find real value in the project for their own lives. A HUGE THANK YOU TO THESE FOLKS

I hope that the possibility of a full garden’s worth of seeds is a truly enticing prize!
It can be expensive to try growing a lot of different things!

Join today to jump in! It’s free!

Happy Digging!
LizM

It’s SPRING – Time for the 2010 Growing Season Seed Swap and Share

It’s time to plan your 2010 garden! Thrilling!! I know!

So we are looking for experienced gardeners to adopt a newbie again this year and share some seeds. Just use the sign up sheet and then contact each other directly via people’s profiles.

NOTE YOU MUST BE A MEMBER OF HYPERLOCAVORE TO USE THIS
It’s free please join!

If you have seeds you want to send to a Newbie Gardener, please sign up as a Seed Angel.
If you are a NEW gardener that would like to receive a getting started garden in the mail sign up as a NEWBIE.
If you are a gardener who would like to swap seeds (seeds for seeds) please sign us as WANT TO SWAP.

(If you are in the growing business, please be a Seed Angel or Swap.)

This is a wonderful part of our community. Please help us keep paying it forward. That’s where all the magic is!

Please don’t use the forum below to post your requests.
Please use THIS FORM TO SIGN UP

If you are like me you try a lot of new things. You’ve been through all the seed catalogs and your seeds are making their way to you right now. You’ve probably over done it again in your enthusiasm. You have saved seed from seasons past. You have seeds from failed experiments! You have enough extra to get one newbie gardener going!

This is how it works. All of you veteran gardeners out there, I’m talking to you! I just mailed four newbie gardeners enough extra seeds for all of them to have lush edible gardens this season!

Pick a newbie gardener on hyperlocavore.com and send them a mix of various seeds, flowers, herbs, fruits and vegetables to help them get growing this season! It took me a few hours to do this for eight different people.

What’s in it for you? Well, the pleasure of giving of course! I just mailed four six gardens and I cannot wait to see how my fledgling gardeners grow.

To the newbie gardeners, I can’t guarantee you will wind up with a seed packet in the mail. I can’t guarantee that you will be sent your favorite fruits, vegetables or herbs. If you receive something you do not intend to plant I only ask that you find someone in the seed swap forum who would like to plant them, and then send them on. This is an experiment! Hopefully a fun and fruitful one!

Please visit hyperlocavore.com for more information and to see what folks are sharing!

Project: How to Grow A Pizza Garden – A Great Idea for the Kids in Your Yardshare!

Note: Posted as a guest post at the most awesome chicken site run by my friend Orren Fox. Please visit Happy Chickens Lay Healthy Eggs to satisfy your poultry keeping curiosity! Orren is raising chickens and honey bees. He’s thirteen years old but, he’s my teacher when it comes to happy chickens! Love his tagline: “There’s a Fox in the henhouse!” Read his blog!

Kid with tomatoes

Photo Credit © Liza McCorkle

You like pizza, right? Here’s a cool project for you and your buds and BFFs to take on this Spring – a pizza garden! There may be no more spaghetti trees left in the world but, you can grow a pizza…kind of!

There are a few things you guys need to know before starting a new garden, so let’s start this right. Great gardens depend on gardeners who know what zone they live in and what kind of soil they have. We all live in different zones. A zone is about the kind of weather you have, how early fall frost comes and how late you might get a killing frost in spring. Where I live, it’s not a good idea to plant until after Memorial Day. If you plant too early you may lose all your baby plants to a bad night of frost! That is a huge drag so figure this out before you start planning your pizza garden.

Find your hardiness zone then come back here…

OK got it? Write that down in your garden notebook! It will be important when you are finding seeds. Keeping a garden notebook is useful to you if you keep gardening. You can use it to remember what works best where you live. Now let’s learn how to test your soil type. You can start seeds inside way before that though.

It’s a good idea to get a jump on the season and have strong teenager plants who can handle the summer much better than the babies.

There are three main types of soil: clay, sand and loam. So go to the area in your yard where you want to plant your pizza garden. Dig down about 2 inches and grab a hand full of soil. Try to roll that hand full into a ball.

  • If you have sandy soil you won’t be able to form a ball at all, it will just fall apart.
  • If you can make a ball about the size of a big grape you have clay soil.
  • If your ball holds together a bit but, is kind of crumbly and comes apart when you stop squeezing it’s loam soil.

Here’s a way to fix most soil types – but this fix takes months so you need to plan in advance. Sometimes you need to add a little bit of this or a little bit of that to make the soil ready for planting. If you don’t have a lot of time do some research on sustainable and organic methods to correct your soil type. OK, there’s no such thing as a pepperoni bush and most of you don’t have your own cow to milk to get your mozzerella. But you can grow most of the veggies that make it taste so crazy good! So what do you need to grow in a pizza garden?

Let’s make a list:

  • the alliums: onion and garlic
  • herbs: parsley, oregano and basil
  • bell peppers
  • tomatoes

Sounds very doable! Garlic is important and onions as well, even if you don’t like them on top, they make the sauce sweet. When you sauté onions they “caramelize” which is a fancy way of saying they become a sugar. When sugar is heated up but not burned it turns to “caramel,” which is what those chewy candies actually are – cooked sugar!

Onions and garlic are the more complicated part of the garden. Usually people plant most onion and garlic “sets” in the fall of the previous year, so it’s a little late for 2010. Mushrooms are a whole other project. NEVER pick them from your yard. They can be poisonous! Here are some onions you can grow from seed in some zones: Italian Red Onions (Flat of Italy) or Ringmaster Onions (Great for onion rings too!)

Plant them about four feet or more from your tomatoes and herbs. For now you might want to just pick up garlic at the store, unless your parents already know how to grow it. For next year, make a note you will want to find a good seller for garlic “sets,” and plant them in October.

You might want to find a organic seed grower that is close to you. Try Local Harvest for seed sellers near your zip code! Most of the links for seeds here are from Botanical Interest.

So where does all that red sauce come from? The lycopene in tomatoes makes them red, and it’s also really good for you. It’s the same stuff that makes carrots orange, and watermelons pink. But it’s not in cherries. It helps your cells repair themselves and keeps your eyes strong.

Growing tomatoes is pretty easy and they taste SO much better than the ones you get at the store. There are three types of tomatoes: slicing tomatoes, cherry tomatoes and paste tomatoes. Paste tomatoes are the kind you use to make thick yummy spaghetti and pizza sauce.

So here are the top paste tomatoes. San Marzanos are from Italy home of spaghetti and pizza! Amish Paste tomatoes will also work. If you can’t find either of those, look for a “paste” type tomato that grows in your hardiness zone.

OK onto the herbs, herbs are a big part of making pizza so tasty. You’ll want to grow oregano, parsley and basil. The best oregano for pizza is “True Greek Oregano.” It’s a perennial which means it comes back every year if you live in zones 4-9.

Basil is an awesome annual. Annuals need to be planted with new seed every year. You can use it in the sauce or on top of the pizza in big whole leafs. A classic real Italian style pizza is just mozzarella, big basil leaves, some great fresh mozzarella, slices or small cherry tomatoes and a little olive oil. A green pizza sauce called “pesto” is made with tons of fresh basil a little olive oil and a cup or so of roasted pine nuts. We grow a lot of basil every year and freeze tons of basil pesto sauce. Just put a ton of basil and a little olive oil in a blender or food processor and blend it up, then put it in small containers in the freezer. Tastes like summer in the middle of winter! YUM!

There are a ton of basil types to grow but, for pizza, you really want one of these types: Genovese or Italian Leaf Basil. Growing tomatoes and basil close together is a classic “companion planting” combo. Basil and tomatoes kind of love each other. Maybe it’s a just a serious crush. Who knows really? They are happiest when they are hanging out. Folks see them together all the time! Plant three basil plants for every one tomato plant.

Don’t tell basil but, parsley likes tomatoes too! You can plant this in between to your tomato plants, as well. We just hope it’s doesn’t make basil jealous! There are a few kinds of parsley. One kind usually ends up on the side of the plate to make it pretty and the other kind is the stuff that tastes so good. Parsley also is a good breathe freshener so if ever Uncle “Bad Breath” Bob needs a bit of something to make their breath sweeter, you can sneak him a sprig of parsley without telling them “Hey Dude, you really need a breath mint.” – because that’s pretty rude.

Bell Peppers are a controversial topic. Some kids love em, some kids hate em. They are easy to grow and love a hot climate. Fire roasted red bell peppers are delish on pizza. The peppers caramelize like the onions and garlic do and become very sweet! Try that technique ONLY with your parents close by.

If you live in a hot place by the sea you may be able to grow an olive tree and make your own olive oil. That’s kind of a long time to wait for pizza though!

Here are some more links to help get you growing!

Seed List (Follow link then scroll down – seeds are low on these pages)

San Marzanos Tomato
Amish Paste
Tomato Cherry Rainbow Mix Seed
Oregano True Greek Seed
Genovese and Italian Leaf Basil
Italian Flat Parsley
Italian Red Onions
Ringmaster Onions

More Helpful Links:

Pizza Crust Making Video
Pizza Crust Recipes
Pizza Sauce Recipes
Pizza Stone for the Oven Method
Build a Pizza Oven

No yard? No problem.

Visit hyperlocavore.com a yard sharing community. We work to hook neighbors and friends up in yard sharing groups – makes gardening more fun and less expensive!

We’re here to help you get going. Join us. It’s free. Then send an invite out to your friends (with your parents permission of course!) on the site and set up a pizza garden group! You can even post blogs, pictures and videos to show off your pizza garden project!

Happy Digging!

Liz McLellan
hyperlocavore.com a yard sharing community because everyone love a homegrown tomato!

20 Tips for a Successful Yardsharing Group

Yardsharing (or yard sharing, garden sharing, land sharing or roof sharing) is a new idea and a new way to develop community resilience. Set to be a huge trend in 2010, people are looking for ways to save money, eat better and get their kids active again.

Yard sharing has a long list of advantages. Let’s assume you are already sold on the idea and you looking to get started. How do you begin it in a way that makes your success much more likely?

Creating community where you are will help you weather tough times but, community doesn’t just fall into place on it’s own. Real community building needs to start with clear intention, anticipation of issues and, especially with a garden, some basic planning.

How do you build a group that gets along?

  1. Pick you growing partners with the same attention you would any relationship but, know it only has to last a season if it turns out you haven’t found the right mix of folks.
  2. Start with a party not with a meeting.
  3. For a long-term group have seasonal parties to mark the year. Planning party on the winter solstice and harvest party in September.
  4. Gather resources you already have. Create a garden book share to start.
  5. Set realistic boundaries (garden hours, rules for broken items, distribution of produce)
  6. Involve all ages.
  7. Remember novice gardeners don’t always have immediate bountiful success.
  8. Take bad weather in stride. Some seasons are just bad.
  9. Set up a kitty for garden expenses and put a cap on it.(Some folks can really get crazy with those catalogs!)
  10. There’s no need to spend lots of money to get started. Don’t make it expensive to “buy in”
  11. Take a ‘resourcefulness vow.’ Have all members agree to try to solve issues the least expensive most resourceful way.
  12. Make it possible for people to exchange hours for financial commitment.
  13. Know that critters will occasionally get to things.
  14. Conflict is inevitable. Anticipate it and resolve it openly!
  15. Respect people’s time and property.
  16. Be ready to let someone know when it’s not working for you. Don’t blame ‘yard sharing.’
  17. Be fair. Share failure and triumph.
  18. If you are the landowner don’t treat people like “hired help.” They are your partners.
  19. Agree on growing methods and principles before breaking ground.
  20. If you have concerns about liability issues get a copy of The Sharing Solution by Nolo Press.


Shop Indie Bookstores

And a bonus!

Remember why you are doing it and enjoy every second of eating the scrumptious bounty from your efforts!

Join hyperlocavore today – We are here to help you get started with yard sharing, neighborhood produce exchanges, seed sharing and, much more!

We have some more tips and fliers you can download on the site to help get your communities growing together!

Over Ruling #SCOTUS

Started by

http://www.pochoblog.com/2010/01/27/frank-schaeffer-on-taking-on-the-corporacrats/

Copied and pasted:

Let all bloggers who agree that democracy is at risk because of this decision unite here today to preemptively declare that any corporation that takes advantage of the Court ruling will:

  • Have its directors, named and outed– inclusive of office addresses of the person posted widely and repeatedly with calls to picket them 24/7
  • It’s executives named and outed– inclusive of office addresses of the person posted widely and repeatedly with calls to picket them 24/7
  • It’s major stock holders named and outed– inclusive of office addresses of the person posted widely and repeatedly with calls to picket them 24/7
  • That there will be agitation for the corporate headquarters to picketed
  • That the PR firm, add agency and creative people who work on any such add campaign (and media firm, TV and/or radio station’s executives that sell them the time) be outed — inclusive of office addresses of the person posted widely and repeatedly with calls to picket them 24/7

…And that all this will be done by all bloggers to the best of their investigative abilities… and we promise to do this regardless of the content of the add and even if in some individual instance we agree with the candidate (or cause) being helped.

Yes, this is a threat and a promise, actually a sacred vow to sustain our democracy.

Let the first corporation to try stripping the rest of us actual individual citizens of our free speech — by overwhelming us with their money at the behest of the election-stealing Court — become a cautionary tale that will not soon be forgotten.

Do you agree?

Will you promise to make this happen?

Then say so! Sign this statement, post it on your blog and pass it on

(We do what we can do!)

Give Hyperlocavore.com a Kickstart!

kickstarter logo

We have started a crowd funding project with kickstarter.com! Kickstarter allows folks to give projects they like – a kickstart! It’s a wonderful resource for innovative projects, artists, musicians or anyone with a compelling idea!

We have until the end of March 2010 to reach our goal. If we don’t gather enough pledges to cover or exceed our goal we don’t get anything. You can help by sharing this link with folks with a note about why you think the project is worthwhile. You can also pledge some money. Any amount helps!

Skribit – A Blogger’s Best Friend

If you are a blogger you know sometimes the well runs dry. Skribit is a great little site that lets your loyal readers suggest topics for you to cover. I took skribit out for a trial run last year and loved it. The interface is straight forward and plugs nicely into most platforms.

The relationship between a blogger and readers is what keeps blogging juicy. Skribit works because it keeps that relationship two way. I want very much to serve the folks that take the time to read what I write.

Let me know how I can serve you better!

Make a suggestion!

Top 10 Posts – 2009 – Best and Worst Year Ever

It’s been an amazing first year. It started with a huge turn both privately and publicly. Obama’s inauguration was the highest point and the lowest point. On that same evening we got the news that my father was not well, and six months later he was gone.

He taught me many things some useful and some not at all. I am grateful most of all that he told me many times that I could do anything I set my mind to. He certainly thought them strange, many of those things that I have set my mind to. I was able to share some interviews I had done before  he died, and he liked the idea.

He was never a gardener but, always a foodie and a fiend for the super fresh. Some of my best memories of him are the car trips we’d take down California, through the Central Valley stopping at all the fruit stands. The last time we went out together, we went to a fruit stand just down the road from my aunt Duff’s where we were staying. He was too weak to drive and only tolerating fruit at this point. In a real rare moment, he let me drive. Clearly a sign he didn’t have much fight left in him.

My brother Matt got married this year to a great woman with a fantastic sense of humor named Angela. Dad hung on until the wedding in May. We were so glad to have something joyful to gather around, as we knew we would be gathering soon again for something with no joy in it. I have no idea where he found the strength to make the flight. He was a wisp by then, as you can see in the picture at his full strength he was a lion of a man. We had a bagpiper at the service. I wish we hadn’t done that, from now on the sound will rip through me.

This started as a” Ten Top posts” blog but, I digressed. I haven’t been able to talk about this year much. So thank you for indulging me. There’s no talking about this year without talking about losing my dad. When he lost his ability to enjoy food, his sense of taste and smell gone, a full belly causing pain, nausea and reflux, he didn’t want to be here any more. I understand that. I’m a foodie, because he was. I care about food, taste, and freshness because he did.

Throughout the year friends and family have come through over and over again. People I didn’t know very well reached across the screen and gave me themselves. I’ve been surrounded by love and support by the people who I have gotten to know through this project. I can’t mention you individually. The list is so long. I am so grateful to all of my new friends. Without the encouragement you’ve given me so consistently through this very difficult year, I do not know where I would be really. This project, certainly, would not have survived.

My wish is that 2010 brings all of you as much as you have given me and more.

And here we go:

DIY Project – Low Watt LED Greenhouse

100 Reasons to Become a Hyperlocavore

Ten Signs You May Be A Farm Nerd

The Twitter FAQ on @hyperlocavore or How I Tweet

What is yard sharing?

Yardsharing Return on Investment – How Does 61K Sound?

What is a distributed suburban CSA?

The Great Let’s Get Growing Seed Share

On Choosing – A Hyperlocavore Responds to a Catastrophe

How To Start a Produce Exchange in Your Neighborhood

10 Ways to Prepare for the Success of Your Yardshare Garden this Winter

garden can in snow

From @dreamstime

As gardeners of all stripes will tell you, winter is the planning season. Stuck inside, with little chance to get your hands dirty, it is the perfect time to pause and reflect. What will your garden be? Who will you bring into the project? What are your hopes? How will you get the resources together? What will you plant? What worked last year and what did not? There is a lot to think about, and when the days get short and the night long – dreaming is the best thing to be doing, because come spring you will be very busy.

1. Start Finding Partners NOW. It can take a while to work out agreements and plan for a substantial garden. The sooner you start the more successful you will be at finding the right folks and planning for your yardshare. Call your friends who live in apartments or your grandmother who knows a thing or two about growing food in your area…Make it a family affair, or a way to gather some folks you don’t get to see often enough. Or bring up a yard sharing project at your house of worship. Perhaps your faith community would be interested in growing fresh food for the hungry this spring? It pays to start now. Healthy groups and good agreements take time to develop!

2. Start it off with a party! Once you have found some people you would like to garden with, have a potluck party and celebrate your new community! Getting to know people over a shared meal and music sets the proper tone for real community. It above all should be fun and light. Save the substantial discussions for another day. Light candles to brighten the winter dark, play some good music, talk about your dreams for the garden or gardens and break bread together because this is the beginning of something wonderful!

3. Read up. Get a copy of The Sharing Solution by Nolo Press. Read it!  For those that are more risk averse and have some anxieties about how to share without encountering legal bumps this is the place to start. I am not a lawyer, so I suggest everyone with these sorts ofconcerns consult my favorite legal eagles – Nolo press. Make a list of other books that are useful to your yard share group. Will you use permaculture methods, bio-intensive or no till? Bring everyone up to speed! Tons of great books are available in our hyperlocal Indiebound bookstore or you can create your own little library.

4. Create your online home. Once you have found your yard share group start your private pod on hyperlocavore to share planning, documents, videos, pictures, links and jokes! Teach each other what you know about how to grow in your zone and create a place where new members down the line can catch up on all the ideas and wisdom you’ve gathered. Documenting things will help you evaluate what worked and what did not in terms of what you tried to grow but also in how you chose to organize the project. Imagine the yard share going on for many seasons, plan for success by sharing knowledge from the start.

5. Have an expectations discussion early. Get your worries and how you will address them on the table. Do this online so people can flesh out their concerns, people can respond and agreements can be documented. If things get tense, have another potluck – and work it out over something yummy. Face to face builds real community, online tools can support it but doesn’t substitute for it. Start asking these sorts of questions…When is it OK to be at the home/yard of the host yard – and when is it NOT OK? Will you compost collectively? Is it a strictly organic garden?

6. Involve the Kids. If kids will be part of the garden share, make sure they participate in the planning and expectation setting. If they are involved at the start they are more likely to enjoy participating. Here’s a list of garden activities for kids. Work some kid centered fun into your plan. A garden is one of the best hands on learning experiences a kid can have. If you have any biology geeks in your group – maybe they can hold a lesson now and then?

7. Have a resource gathering. Gather together and make a list of all the things you hope to grow. Research what works for your zone and pull a kitty together and order your seeds and starts. Some heirloom and specialty seed houses run out of stuff before spring. some things like garlic starts go quickly. Take an inventory of who has what tools, seeds, transplants, cuttings and a list of the items you will perhaps need to buy. Plan for storage of tools and make sure people know where everything goes at the end of the day. Make sure people’s time, knowledge, and commitment is valued, money shouldn’t be the only currency you acknowledge. Be aware that many people are coming to the yard share project with a need to save not spend heavily. Get ready to bargain hunt and browse all those spring garage sales. It does not need to be an expensive project.

8. Talk to your neighbors about what you are doing. Introduce them to your new friends. Let them know about hyperlocavore, maybe they want to start their own yard share. Think about how this sort of project can revive the neighborhood.

9. Visit hyperlocavore.com and ask questions of folks that are already yard sharing. Share your ideas and concerns. Maybe someone has already worked through it. The forums are built for just this sort of sharing.

10. Plan for harvest, storage, success and failure. Some things you try will have fantastic results. Other things you try to grow will fail. Set your expectations with this in mind. Will you can or dehydrate the excess? Will you need to plan to purchase some tools for this as well? Will you seed save for swapping next year?

Let me know if this is helpful in the comments – and please add your own suggestions!

Happy Digging!
LizM

Hyperlocavore Book Club – The Transition Handbook by Rob Hopkins

Read about the book club and our first choice – The Transition Handbook by Rob Hopkins.

Podcast Interviews with Liz McLellan aka @hyperlocavore

Podcast Graphic

Podcast Interview with hyperlocavore on Vox Civitatas

Podcast interview with hyperlocavore on About Harvest(temporarily unavailable)

B is for Beef Borscht…Soup

borscht

As some of you know the reason I started growing my own, is that deep down I am a person with champagne tastes on a beer budget. So I cook and I garden. And when I cook, I cook for an army and freeze what I can. I was raised in part by a man from a family of Portland foodies. We love to cook because we love to eat, and love eat really well, even more.

It’s Fall, and so my thoughts turns to soup and sweets. This is my on the fly recipe for beef borscht. I am an improvisational cook. I have many hits and a few misses. This is a hit. Take time to enjoy the colors! Make a lot and freeze it!

Beef Borscht

1/2 pound of beef. It’s soup, don’t splurge.
6-8 beets
5 cups beef broth
2 cups chopped celery
5 cloves garlic (more if you like)
1 cup tomato paste
1 large red onion
1/2 head of red cabbage
3 bay leaves
1 tsp dried marjoram
1 tbs olive oil
3 tbs fresh dill or 3 tbs fresh parsley
plain Greek yogurt, sour cream or crème fraîche
salt and pepper

Peel and cut beets into medium pieces.
Cut the beef into bite sized pieces.
Chop celery, onion, garlic and cabbage.

Over medium heat in a large thick bottomed soup pot, stir in beef (seasoned with salt and pepper), after a bit add garlic, onion, bay leaf and marjoram. Brown the meat. Add the broth, the beets, tomato paste. Stir. Let simmer for 30 minutes. Add chopped cabbage and celery. Simmer 10 more minutes. I like the vegetables to be crunchy. You can simmer more if you like.

Serve hot with generous dollop of sour cream, crème fraîche or yogurt and fresh dill or parsley (or both). Some may like more salt and pepper, dill or cream on top, so I always serve those on the side.

Takes 1 hour
Serves 10

Nice with a crusty bread with butter on the side…but what soup isn’t?

Banana Bread with Pecans and Chocolate Chips

banana_bread

There is a special rung of hell for people that let bananas go bad, because for most of us they come from so very far away. This is why we have banana bread. When your bananas start to go brown make this moist and spongy treat!

Makes 2 loaves.

3 cups over ripe bananas
1 tbs fresh lemon juice
2 eggs
1 cup vanilla or plain yogurt
2 cups crushed pecans
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips*
3 cups unbleached flour
1 cup wheat flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
1 stick softened butter
1 cup brown sugar
1 tsp fresh ground nutmeg
1 tbs vanilla extract

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.

In a mixer blend bananas, eggs, butter, yogurt, brown sugar, nutmeg, vanilla and lemon juice. This is easier if you crush with a potato masher first. Mix well. I used thick Greek vanilla and honey yogurt for this and it was wonderful.

In a large bowl mix the flour, salt, baking soda, chocolate and nuts. Mix well.

Combine all ingredients in large bowl and mix very well.

Oil two 9 by 5 baking pans.

Pour mixture into both pans splitting evenly.

Bake for 1 hour. Test for readiness with a toothpick. The toothpick will come out of the bread without and mixture on it when the bread is ready.

Let sit 20 minutes to cool. Then pop them out of the pans and serve!

*not required but very tasty.

10 Reasons Becoming a Hyperlocavore is a Positive Climate Action

Having a positive effect on climate, is not the reason I made these changes in my life. So yes, a bit of the old bait and switch here. I made them because I wanted more pleasure incorporated into my daily grind. Having a positive effect on my ecological footprint, was the icing on the very tasty cake my life has become through growing a good portion of my own food. But for Blog Action Day ’09 I will re-frame my reasons in climate terms.

And with no further ado, my list.

1. Distance to plate.

There has been a bit of confusion added to the discussion lately about locavore eating strategies actually being a negative if the only measure is distance to plate, that food miles are actually increased. Of course, distance to plate is only one of about 100 reasons being a locavore makes sense. Depending on how you access the growers in your food shed, what you use to get to where your veg is, it all depends on quite a few variables in your own life, your city’s infrastructure, your community…The arguments I have seen are very strangely skewed in ways that I will save for another post.

However, you cannot convince me that an efficiently delivered but tasteless tomato from 2000 miles away is a winner no matter which way you slice it. The distance to my plate is about 10 feet, because I grow my own mouth watering fresh vegetables.

Growing my own heirlooms is much cheaper than buying them by the pound. They don’t travel well. So you can’t really get this unless you do it yourself or get to know a very local grower, at least on my limited budget. Life must be worth living or why save anything… yourself…the planet…Who cares if everything tastes like cardboard? Kill me now!

Before you call me an elitist, please note I live on very little money per year. We all have choices and priorities to make. These are mine.

2. When I am gardening I’m not watching TV, using the computer or game station.

Though some gardeners use some plug in tools, most of the time I am using my human power and a hand tool. Don’t get me wrong. I love my computer, my Battlestar Gallactica, Glee and So You Think You Can Dance as much as the next boob tube addict. Still, I do less of these energy intensive activities now that I have a gorgeous garden to tend. My garden feeds me and my spirit in return for my attention and time in a way that no toy can.

3. Factory meat is grown in a factory-like setting which, is generally a semi automated system dependent on cheap oil.

Though there are a few farmers out there that are closing the loop with methane powered energy storage systems, and I salute them, they are in minority. Maybe someday these systems will become the norm.

A back yard chicken coop doesn’t use electricity for much at all, unless you live in a place with four seasons and need a heater. I don’t have my own flock yet, but I am definitely thinking about it. There are a lot of climate related reasons to forgo meat, but for me the jury is still out – however I do need the manure!

4. Efficient though oil dependant food systems constantly shed and de-skill workers while at the same time suck more from the energy grid to replace them with expensive machinery.

I’m not a Luddite, nor am I anti-efficiency or anti-science. But I do question the wisdom of creating a world where so few of us have profitable meaningful work. There are nearly 7 billion people on the planet, only a small number of us have good work. Localizing means that much more needs to be created and distributed locally. The crafts of bread making, beer making, wine making, honey making, guitar making, candy making, soap making and vegetable growing are having a resurgence. Some of us know the price of food is tied intimately to the price of oil, and oil in the long run has no where to go but up. Localizing goes a long way to help many issues, including the cost of food, re-skilling a de-skilled work force and keeping money in the hands of people in our communities.

A localized economy doesn’t ship in goods from halfway around the planet unless absolutely necessary, like coffee, otherwise known as “my dark master.”

5. Growing my own vegetables means I am likely to eat a lot more of them.

Eating meat regularly has a higher impact than driving an SUV. I’m not a strict vegetarian, but I do eat less meat now that I have a productive garden.  Having a super fresh garden 10 feet away means easy means I don’t have to think much about it – just walk outside, see what’s ripe and pick my dinner. When I was living in NYC and eating out a lot,  the easiest thing was to simply pick what was immediately appealing, which for me usually involved meat- which I used like a reward for a harried day. Again, your mileage may vary.

6. Growing my own and having a decent pantry means I go to the grocery store about once a month.

Once a month? Yup. I do sometimes have to make a trip for things I have forgotten, but that’s my error. I’m getting a lot better at keeping a full pantry and making good lists. A full pantry means that whipping something up from the yard is not at all taxing. To make full use of a great garden you need a well stocked pantry.

Being conscious of simple strategies like building a real pantry and making lists mean that I don’t have to put a lot of energy into feeding me and mine.  I do know that all of our lives are different. And this may not be a choice you make, but I’m on the other side of eating out all the time – and I am really enjoying myself doing things very differently.

To get into the cooking groove check out these fantastic sites:

7. I am fitter now that I am growing my own.

Benefits beyond feeling better about my climate impact include being much fitter, less depressed, having better skin and feeling generally more resilient and capable in my life.

Being fit means that my moods are even. I am less inclined to look for things to distract me from the general state of anxiety I experienced when working for a corporation and being handsomely rewarded. The hidden cost of my higher pay check was a great deal more anxiety and stress brought on by long commutes, expensive dress codes, unrelenting deadlines aimed towards goals that were not my own.

I know now if I start to feel anxious, a rarity, I have a bunch of weeds that need pulling. Pulling weeds, tending a garden in general beats any anti-anxiety strategy I have tried.

So what is the climate connection? Glad you asked! Things I used to distract myself with were shopping for hours for crap I didn’t need wandering the mall in a fugue state ‘relaxing’, driving hither and yon for bargains to ‘save money’ while paying what 18% on a credit card, taking a lot of looong weekend ‘get aways.’ Sound familiar?

Because I am where I want to be in my life, I do all of these a lot less. I am quite content now, and that itself has a huge climate impact. The open road beckons, but it does so in a whisper rather than a yell.

8. I cook my own meals much more often at home.

I’m re-skilling myself, in the kitchen, a direct result of having a flood of produce to handle and cooking a lot at once, means I do not buy many highly processed, plastic wrapped, small serving, factory made, well traveled meals these days. And no, you cannot convince me it is ‘food’ now that I’ve gotten used to the real thing. I prefer my tomato sauce over store bought any day. Does that make me an elite foodie? How can it when I am spending far less on far better tasting food?

I do understand that many of us are living under serious time constraints and pressures. And I certainly do not intend that this should be seen as an argument for the re-domestication of the American female. Real food skills make everyone sexier, men too.

9. I waste far less food.

“Americans waste more than 40 percent of the food we produce for consumption. That comes at an annual cost of more than $100 billion.”
-From Wasted Food

That’s 100 billion, with a B. A shocking number. We are getting far too used to numbers that should shock us. If I grew it, you can be sure I am not going to waste it. I watched it grow sometimes for months! We may take other people’s labor for granted but we rarely take our own for granted. How much food do you see wasted  in a week…take a look around. That means that all the energy put into growing it was wasted too.

10. I don’t use petrochemicals to grow my own food.

The list of products and strategies for growing your own luscious fruit and veg without petroleum and other petroleum dependent chemicals is very long now. Sustainable agriculture has been proven to be more efficient per hectare than industrial agriculture.

Now you might be inclined to attack any one of these points. Feel free. I may be moved, but remember, I made these changes so that I would enjoy my life more not to save the planet from catastrophic climate shifts. Are you a climate skeptic? I could care less. Please take that argument elsewhere.  I am over it. I am interested if you are a ‘tasty food skeptic’ because that would be weird and interesting. Tastiness, just another liberal plot…

If I am really honest, my immediate quality of life is more important to me than the rather abstract “massive climate disruption.” Probably true for most of you too. What can I say? I am, at base, a person who grew up loving fast cars, burgers and fries, road trips, fireworks and instant gratification… you know, an American.

My instant gratifications have simply shifted and incidentally I am actually… gratified.

Have no space to grow your own? Consider starting a yard sharing group with folks you know.

Creative Commons License
10 Reasons Becoming a Hyperlocavore is a Positive Climate Action by Liz McLellan is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 3.0 Unported License.
Based on a work at hyperlocavore.wordpress.com.
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at http://hyperlocavore.ning.com/profile/Liz.

I’m a Little Baby Bumble Bee…

I’m a Little Baby Bumble Bee!
Won’t My Mama Be So Proud of Me!
(Adapted from the absolutely horrible murderous bumble bee song taught to kindergarteners everywhere!)

bee_big

You may be wondering why I am playing honey bee! Strange thing to do, I have to agree. I’ve always had a connection to bees, always thought of them as the magic little beings that make us possible. Have you every thought about your near total dependence on the humble bee? Nearly everything you eat is in some way connected to the diligent work of a armies of bees.
This is why when I came across the Tweehive project I said “Oh yes! I’d love to play!”

From their site:

Tweehive is a mass role play by human beings of a bee colony on twitter. This will take place on three days, July 14, August 5 and Sept 5. The aim is to raise bee awareness, wonderment, interest, actions – plus generate traffic to bee related sites and resources. We are affiliated withThe Pestival and our third daily role play will be featured at this South Bank event (London) in the first week of September.
- Tweehive Project

Everyone is welcome to jump in and play so, please read up and then participate in the Tweehive. The twitter game will raise awareness, teach you a bit about the complex lives of our most unappreciated allied creature. And maybe you’ll even find some honey of your own!

Note: The image is not actually a bumble bee, but a French bee, from France.
For my BEEEEEEEEES!!!


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How To Start a Produce Exchange in Your Neighborhood

How do I start a local produce exchange on hyperlocavore.com?

What is a produce exchange? How is it different from a ‘yard share‘?

A produce exchange is an informal gathering of people who are already growing extra food in their yards. Some groups invite non growers to participate but that is up to each group. A yard share is an arrangement to share the work and share the harvest. You can set up either on hyperlocavore but in this post we are focusing on a produce exchange.

Let’s say you have a lovely large lemon tree which produces more lemons than you could ever squeeze. And let’s say Joseph down the way has a fig tree, and the Lees around the block have a giant rosemary bush, and your friend Marguerite has yet again planted way too many tomato plants. You start to get the image. There is a cornucopia of tastiness within a quarter mile. It’s time to start a produce exchange or perhaps a food donation system for a shelter in your neighborhood.

To see and example of an existing local produce exchange on hyperlocavore take a look at the Lamorinda Produce Exchange Many thanks to Amy Greacen who organized it.

How do I get a produce exchange going in my neighborhood?

1. Create a group on hyperlocavore.com. Be sure to name it in a way that is easy and clear.

  • go to pods/groups from the top (tab) menu on hyperlocavore.com
  • towards the right of the screen hit + Add a Group
  • enter the details of your group and hit Save at the lower part of the screen.
  • when you save the group there will be an opportunity to invite people to that group on the following screen. Use this feature if you have the emails of friends who may be interested.

2. If you don’t have emails then create a flier for your neighborhood, cafes, houses of worship to find interested gardeners. Many folks are just overwhelmed by all the extra they have and would love an opportunity to move it. On the flyer be sure to list the groups page on hyperlocavore so people can find you online easily.

Content example for your produce exchange flier:

Join us in starting a neighborhood produce exchange:
Some of us have extra lemons, some have extra figs.
We will have a biweekly produce exchange at the corner of Main and 4th every
other Saturday. Bring the kids!

We are organizing online at:
Lamorinda Produce Exchange Online is at:
http://hyperlocavore.ning.com/group/lafayetteproduceexchange

You don’t have to be a grower to be involved!
For more information call Edna Wreems at 555-414-1212 or email her at edna@—

Your groups rules.

The details of how your group works, when it meets and who can participate is up to you. Use your group page for hashing these issues out or meet in person and post your decisions. You are able to have a ‘members only’ discussion on the site.

Is there a limit to the number of people?
Must everyone bring something every time?
Can people bring prepared foods such as jams, baked foods, cheeses, pestos or chutneys.
Will you have a monthly BBQ or potluck to make it a real community?
Is exchange of money for things allowed?

Other ways to work together:

  • create a group tool lending library
  • create a seed exchange
  • create a community comport pile
  • do a group run to the nursery or hardware store
  • have a yard building party to help a newbie grower install raised beds
  • go on a scavenged materials hunt
  • start a bulk buying club to reduce costs
  • start a group meat buying club – free range cow? not so expensive when you share the cost.
  • have a neighborhood ‘jam session’ – some people make jellies and jam – and maybe other folks bring their guitars!

How you work together, how creative you get in supporting each other is up to you!

Are there legal considerations?

Hyperlocavore.com does not give legal advice, however Nolo press puts out a terrific book called The Sharing Solution which is available for purchase on hyperlocavore.com and hyperlocavore.wordpress.com

Be sure to let the rest of the people on hyperlocavore.com know how your produce exchange is working by posting to your profile or in the discussion forums!


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The Twitter FAQ on @hyperlocavore or How I Tweet

(With a tip of the hat to Jamais Cascio from @worldchanging and @cascio for the format and questions.)

(I’ll re-post or re-link to this when I get a flood of new followers on Twitter.)

So you’ve decided to follow me on Twitter. Thank you! I really appreciate that! I hope you will find me interesting, funny and helpful.

So, don’t take this the wrong way, but who are you? I just added you because [other Twitter user] suggested it.

My name is Liz McLellan. I am, among other things the maker of hyperlocavore.com a free yard sharing community. I am also a very engaged citizen, a cultural creative, a social entrepreneur, a gardener, a foodie, an activist and a believer in a positive future which is completely dependent on us.

What kinds of things do you tweet about?

I tweet mostly about yard sharing, neighborhood resilience and community building, gardening, civic engagement, the various futures we are facing and how to move towards a positive one. I also occasionally become very interested in particular events and may for a time use #hashtags to speak to specific people about such topics as: #iranelections#transition #egypt or #peakoil. I believe we are all connected and because we live in a globalized economy all of it matters. In the evenings I can sometimes be found on Twitter socializing with people often tweeting about silly things like #madmen, #bsg,* or #dragrace.

I tweet about everything.

I have another twitter account at @lizmstrategy which is focused on my professional interests in tech, crowdfunding, social media, small business and other topics tangentially related. It has less traffic.

I live in a very tiny town in Oregon and enjoy fooling around with people around the world on twitter. Feel free to jump in. I like meeting new people!

I hope that those interested in my main topics around green subjects, will humor me when I tweet about other topics. I will usually throttle back to my usual topics after a few days.

If you are looking for a cool headed professional PR feed then this is not it. I am a real person not a marketing bot. I care about a lot of things. Sometimes I use foul language.

I have always tried to engage and reply to all DMs and @hyperlocavore responses. I am not all that interested in engaging in rigid binary debate, not because I am afraid of it, but because in 20 years of being online (remember theWeLL and picospan?), I can tell when I am in a genuine conversational exchange and a competition with a dogged ideologue. I do not see the world in black and white. I don’t respond to the latter, unless I find it amusing. For the most part, if I don’t find you amusing politically I will ignore you.

That said if you are genuinely open and interested in my point of view, I will do my best to be genuinely open and interested in your point of view.

And that said, if I don’t engage, it may also mean that I am simply very busy between running my site, working on the farm or trying to earn a living in some other way. Please don’t take it personally. It is not personal.

You’re not going to overload me with your Twitter posts, are you?

Well, I can be pretty communicative on twitter, the value of what I tweet is certainly up to you to interpret. My signal to noise ratio has been rated “astonishingly high at 94.2%!” by twitalyzer.com. My Klout was 71  and peerindex was 66 last time I checked. I try to keep that number very high, as it’s a matter of pride for me. It will be for you to decide whether I deserve those numbers. I also like to let you know who I actually am so I will tweet some trivial stuff that I think is funny, because you really learn who people are by what they think is funny. And things are so tense these days I think it’s really important we all have a few belly laughs everyday.

I also think we should all help the newbies understand what all this noise about the internets is. I will occasionally post things that are meant to be directly helpful to the clueless newbie, for instance an explanation of #hashtags, which may at first seem to come out of the blue. Actually, I would rather tweet than DM and answer to a question a lot of people are not but would like to ask.

If you are a clueless newbie please check out @leelefever ‘s channel on Youtube. His company Common Craft makes the best introduction videos out there to all these new fangled web tools. I’ve used them for years to bring clients up to speed. Mashable.com is also a great resource and place to hunt for clues.

If at any given time I do obsess on a particular event such as #egypt or #dragrace then of course, feel free to unfollow. But please do check back in if you enjoyed me before the digression – it won’t be forever.

I do appreciate your time and attention and try not to abuse it however I can’t help in engaging my tweeple with what I find interesting and important.

Promoting hyperlocavore.com a free yard sharing community.

My passion and my business is my yard sharing project. I do not have any budget for advertising. I am completely bootstrapping on my own. Twitter has proved invaluably important to the project. I appreciate every single retweet I get, but I am especially grateful to all the twitter peeps who have been helping me make yard sharing a common idea and hyperlocavore.com the go to site your yard sharing needs.

A few posts about yard sharing:

On Choosing: How a Hyperlocavore Responds to Catastrophe
What is Yard Sharing?
What is a Distributed Suburban CSA Farm?
100 Reasons to Become a Hyperlocavore
A podcast interview I did with Nancy O’Mallon on aboutharvest.com
Hyperlocavore’s Youtube Channel

So you’re going to follow me back, right?

Maybe. I tend to not follow social media experts, SEO masters, multi-level marketers, ranters, sex bots, trolls or nasty people. As long as I have time I will at least check your bio. I as a rule won’t follow you if you haven’t taken the trouble to create an avatar and write a bio. I will follow some businesses and organizations back if I think we have some reason to communicate. I am currently trying to pare down though so I can be sure to pass on relevant info to people who are interested in my main topics. Please don’t be offended if I unfollow. It just means I am getting more focused on my areas of interest.

I am using TweetDeck and Hootsuite to help filter and find great people, sort, retweet and stay responsive. Both tools are fantastic and come highly recommended if you want to make the most of your time on Twitter. Hootsuite is especially good if you need to slow down a hashtag to keep up.

I will not follow you if you twitter exclusively about yourself or what happened to you today. It should go without saying that I block at will anyone I find offensive. I am not easily offended but I have no problem blocking people who treat others badly. Life is too short.

I am most interested in people who are working on positive change in their communities, people who are contributing to progress, social entrepreneurs, the scientifically curious, philanthropists, geeky green people, wonky people, burningman people, very funny people and people who respond to my jokes.

Cool! So what’s your Twitter account again?

If you are still interested you can follow me at @hyperlocavore.

* #bsg – Battlestar Gallactica


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Help us Name Our New Donkey!

Congratulations to THE SHIBAGUYZ!

OK, so here’s the story in brief. We have a quarter horse named Roanie, who is of course a roan. He used to have a pal named Jim, but Jim died. Since then Roanie has been a very mopey horse. So we figure we would find him a friend. Donkeys or so we’ve been told make great companion animals for horses. Though mom is hinting that in the future the donkey will be my prime mode of transportation. Mom has a habit of naming animals what they actually are. Mama Kitty for instance, is the girl cat that showed up on our porch quite preggers and dropped all of our barn cats. Though we do have a white Bichon named Moxie and a three legged rescued Labrador named Peaches.

I wanted to name the new donkey  Moon Pie, but was swiftly vetoed, on the grounds I think, that any time we called her name we’d be inciting a craving for the old time treat. Anyway. Mom is calling the donkey Baby Burro. It’s cute. But I think we can do better. I’ve been taking nominations from the folks that follow @hyperlocavore on twitter. They started really rolling in and we’re having fun. So, I thought this is an awesome time for a contest.

We will continue taking nominations here in comments on the blog, on twitter and on hyperlocavore.com until Friday June 19th, 2009 at midnight. At that time nominations will be closed and mom will pick the finalists in the next few days. It’s her donkey, mom gets to make the rules. The nominees will be put to a vote in a poll which I will link to when we have the finalists – for 3 days. The winner will be announced the following week, when I get to it. (Note: there’s SO much to do on the farm these days, I kind of have to work around the daylight and animal schedule.)

The winner will receive a brand new copy of The Organic Gardener’s Handbook of Natural Insect and Disease Control (voted by NYT for their Best Gardening Books list.)

Operation Dandelion – We Need You to help us spread the yard sharing idea!

Even if you are not interested in yard sharing yourself, you can help others find yard share partners by spreading the word!

Be a dandelion and join Hyperlocavore – A Free Yard Sharing Community and then use the INVITE FRIENDS feature to let your friends, family and other contacts know about the site. It doesn’t matter where you are from – you can help us:

  • bring our neighborhoods back to life
  • help people save money
  • help people eat better
  • help kids learn about where food comes from
  • help us build resilient communities
  • help community groups get yard sharing going

Join Hyperlocavore – A Free Yard Sharing Community
We need dandelions!

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Help Me Help You Get Yard Sharing Going in Your Town!

Please share this video with any one you know who might be interested in getting yard sharing going in their communities.
I can set you up very quickly! It’s a service your community can have up and running in minutes – for FREE!

What is Yard Sharing?
100 Reasons to Become a Hyperlocavore
What is a Distributed Suburban CSA?

twitter me @hyperlocavore




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Let’s get growing!

Adding Yard Sharing to Your Community’s Offerings

front_panel_com_groups

Are you a faith community or community level organization looking to expand your offerings and impact without expanding your budget? We understand that creating a yard sharing registry is valuable resource for any localizing organization. We’re here to help.

We can set up a branded group for your organization, assign a member of your staff as an administrator and have the all the resources on hyperlocavore.com available to the people in your community who are interested in starting a yard sharing group.

Here are the advantages to using hyperlocavore.com:

1. For the wider concept of yard sharing and sustainability to succeed we have to support and nurture the relationships that people form to yard share. It’s a new idea. People need help and it is time consuming to attend to all the needs of this community.

2. Simply creating a registry or map, does not support the groups forming or staying together. It takes human resources to deliver anything beyond a matchmaking service. Those groups therefore are on their own, and left to succeed or fail on their own. Hyperlocavore.com offers ongoing support for those relationships, a community of other people all over the world working on yard sharing and group gardens, and a community of support deeply committed to the success of each yard sharing arrangement. It may not be part of your mission to offer anything on top of a matching system. Nurturing these groups takes time and commitment.

3. You program will not be dependent on funding that is not always available from quarter to quarter. This is a self supported site. The members of your community who want to yard share will not need to worry that volunteers may or may not be available to keep your site registry up to date using technical staff or volunteer hours.

4. We can brand your group or area page with your logo.

5. If you DO have staff hours available we can allow you to administer your own pages. If not we can do that for you but maintain the resources with your logo.

6. This is a way to immediately expand your offerings and effectiveness without impacting your non profit budget. If you are a for profit business we will do the same for a small monthly fee.

7. The value to the members of a network such as this is intimately related to the number of people involved. Silo-ing one area from another, means that our mutual friends may never find each other.

8. We are called hyperlocavore because we have the ability to match people on the neighborhood level and allow them to create private groups to internally organize their own yard share groups. We exist to support these relationships and are happy to share credit in partnership.

9. Impress your board members with a quick launch of an invaluable resource whether you are a faith community, a poverty reduction community organization, a real food group or a professional edible landscaper we can add value to what you do every day!

It take minutes for us to set your organization up. It’s free for non-profits and suburban farmers!
Let’s get people growing TOGETHER!




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Liz McLellan hyperlocavore.com

On Choosing – A Hyperlocavore Responds to Catastrophe

“Whatever you can do or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has
genius, power and magic in it!”
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Please note: a discussion with the community at ongoing on The Oil Drum in their Campfire section. Please participate.

One of the most useful things I have ever learned in my life is that the most effective way to deal with worry and anxiety is to act on those things in your life that you can control, and leave the rest up to the Universe. Some call it the “Serenity Prayer.” Whatever you believe in or do not believe in, knowing just what you can control in your life and what you cannot is the key to your joy. This much I know.

Everyday we are presented with immense, rolling, overlapping catastrophes; environmental devastation, [swineflu!?] societal malaise and violence, and running out of the stuff that, we are told, underpins our every creature comfort – oil. All of these things are true. That hand basket you’ve heard so much about, we’re riding in it!

How do we “carry on”, as the Brits used to say? Well, I’m not at all interested in “carrying on” actually. Nose down, joy in check, plodding and miserable. I want to thrive. I was raised with mighty high expectations of what this life can be, and I’m not giving those expectations up. I want to reach the top of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. I want to love and live well. And I want to eat REALLY well. I got used to that in the 1990′s.

Well, first I would like to suggest some humility, for many on the planet, this rolling crisis has been their daily experience for as long as they have lived. It is nothing new. Check in with yourself. What are you grateful for? What have you been given in life by your community, your family, your beloveds, your friends and your neighbors, by this Earth? You can read this. There must be someone who taught you to read. Take a moment. Sit with your gratitude.

That’s where I began when I starting building hyperlocavore.com – a free yard sharing community, sitting with my gratitude. I had just been laid off. It was April. I had been a tech strategy person at a 35 year old sustainability non-profit that had been fighting the good fight as long as I had been on the planet. I took an inventory…

OK. Stop.

Honestly? I can’t lie. First, I felt terror. Then, blind rage with a dollop of total panic. Boiling blood, fist shaking, laying curses on all who had done me wrong – all that. That lasted for a few months, if I tell the truth. Then there was a substantial period of pouting and just feeling so sad for myself, my poor pitiful sorry self. I bore easily. And I got bored with myself behaving that way, pretty quickly.

When I moved on, it was via gratitude. Sitting with and contemplating all that I was and am grateful for, after all the crying, bargaining and bemoaning had subsided. What did I have, well, besides the sweatpants I had been wearing for a few weeks? I am literate and reasonably intelligent, if broke. I have knowledge that people can band together and build amazing fantastical giant things, cities even, because I’ve been part of a community that does that every year now for much more than a decade. I speak of the Burning Man festival and year round astounding creative beautiful community made of doers. I believe I write well enough.

And I have a good idea that has been bugging me since I was about 5. I used to look at the inside of city blocks in San Francisco and wonder, why the heck were the yards all fenced off, in the middle and mostly unused. Why not, I thought way back then, tear those fences down and build a garden full of fruit trees, nut trees and veggie patches? Why don’t people grow food there?

I am grateful that I grew up in the Silicon Valley, a place that fed my voracious curiosity and kept me tinkering. I am grateful for growing up in the Bay Area, a place absolutely crammed with practical minded revolutionaries and doing daring dreamers. The rest of the country seems to think the only thing we gave them was tie-dye and 4 foot bongs, but they would be mistaken. The Bay Area is a place that teaches everyone “Why Not?” A society of people that does not let you just talk about a good idea without telling you, in chorus, to “DO IT!” It is tough to get away with a lot moaning and jaw flapping in a place like that.

Yard sharing is all about being grateful for what you have, not anxious about what you don’t. It’s about responding practically to chaos, to the known unknowns and the unknown unknowns. Never in all my life did I think I would quote Donald Rumsfeld but, there you are. These are strange days, indeed!

You do know these things for sure. You know you need healthy food and you know you need it cheap. So do all your friends and neighbors, the members of your faith communities, so does your slacker posse. So does your family. Doing for yourself, deepening your food security and your community resilience is the most direct thing you can do to bring your rational and general anxiety down to a manageable size. Sit down to a meal that you grew yourself from seeds which you saved, bread you baked, eggs you gathered, and you will know in your bones that you and yours will be alright.

We get new people signing up to the social network every single day, practical people looking to get down to business. I built the site because a lot of us don’t have all resources or skills we need to grow our own. Some of us lack time, some lack space, some have physical limitations, or lack certain tools. Some have so little experience growing things that the task seems overwhelming. Where do we start? All of these issues can be minimized in a well gathered and tended yard sharing group, a healthy community.

Some folks are linking up yards and creating mini suburban farm/CSAs, like Kipp Nash in Boulder, Colorado. Each family gets a weekly box of the freshest produce and the rest he sells at the farmers market. If this looks like the job for you, come on by the site and find some farm clients and yards to tend! Kipp’s got eight yards he is farming. Will you ever look at a lawn again in the same way? When I see a sad lone Honey-Doer on a loud riding mower all I see is wasted space, wasted water and meaningless work.

Look at the world with this skew and green thumbs will appear and share the secrets of plant whispering, food waste will be gathered from multiple households and make a formidable sweet smelling compost pile. Friends will band together to buy 3 year old apple trees, for a lifetime of apples. Abuelitas will pass on magic recipes and kids will coax worms to party in warm living soil. Their curiosity will catch fire! Streets will become neighborhoods, neighbors will become friends. No one will feel alone, frozen or powerless, because no one will be alone, frozen or powerless. Potlucks will abound! All will eat better.

This is the future we see, we hyperlocavores. We know it’s coming, because we’re building it right now. Who has time to fret? Pass the cornbread and fresh salsa. Look someone brought the boom box! Start building, now.

Our great, great grandparents used to have victory gardens but, they also had rent parties. Londoners danced in underground tunnels as fire came down from the sky. They stayed put. They raised rent, barns and kids together. They didn’t just survive, many of them thrived. I hope we will all use this compound crisis as a reminder that the hard times are very often the very best of times. Take note of what you have, be grateful for your loved ones. Take note of those around you who may feel alone. They are not and you are not, alone.

We, each of us every moment of the day, will choose our responses to what’s happening. Some will choose to go numb, watch more TV, play more video games, surf mindlessly. Some will chose hate, rage, to nurse grievances or will choose take their pain out on the people around them, in most cases it will be the people they love most in this world. Look around. Is that what you want for your beloveds?

Will you choose another day of fear, of distrust, anger or powerlessness, of envy, isolation …complaining or will you choose the plentiful garden, the neighborhood, real community, real food and pleasure?

Yes.
Pleasure.

“There’s only two things that money can’t buy,
That’s true love and homegrown
tomatoes
!”

- Guy Clark

I would add ‘real community’ to that list of things money can’t buy.

I choose real community, dancing in the chaos, pleasure, delectable
food and the edible and musical neighborhood.

Happy Digging!
LizM – connector/maker/digger
twitter me @hyperlocavore


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Creative Commons License
On Choosing – A Hyperlocavore Responds to
Catastrophe by Liz McLellan is licensed under a Creative
Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States
License
.
Based on a work at hyperlocavore.wordpress.com.

Take the Hyperlocavore Pledge

Another take on the Locavore Pledge – going hyperlocal!

GROW IT YOURSELF IN YOUR YARD (organically),
If you can’t GROW IT YOURSELF IN YOUR YARD, in a YARD SHARE GARDEN WITH OTHERS
If you can’t GROW IT YOURSELF IN A YARD SHARE, then LOCALLY PRODUCED.
If not LOCALLY PRODUCED, then ORGANIC.
If not ORGANIC, then FAMILY FARM.
If not FAMILY FARM, then LOCAL BUSINESS.
If not a LOCAL BUSINESS, then FAIR TRADE.

How we feed ourselves matters.

What is a distributed suburban CSA?

Some folks are taking the yard sharing idea a step further. Meet Kipp Nash of Boulder Colorado, who farms 8 neighbor’s yards as a Community Supported Agriculture operation called Community Roots CSA. In 2009 Kipp Nash and the team at Community Roots are developing a program to directly feed five food insecure families in the Boulder area and are looking for donations in support of this project.

I built Hyperlocavore.com in part to encourage aspiring food growing entrepreneurs like Kipp to consider the serial yard CSA approach. I encourage interested growers to join the site to seek and maintain yard sharing client relationships, share your experiences with other suburban farmers and yard sharing groups. The site is free. Feel free to create wide area groups such as “Seeking Yardshares, Chicago, IL” in order to find farming clients or private groups such as “New Day Suburban Farm,” which would be just the yards which you have linked together in your yard share farm.

Other yard share farmers:

Your Backyard Farmer
MyFarmSF
Eden on Earth
Brick City Urban Farms
Abundant Life Farm
Backyard Farmer

Feel free to contact me if you have any questions at: hyperlocavore@gmail.com.

This post is part of Fight Back Fridays!




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New Jelly Belly Flavors

srsly wtf?

srsly wtf?

Composting, UR Doing It Wrong!

compost1

compost2_sm

Another title of this post could be, “How to Make a Perfect Worm Proof Barrier.” Sadly, worms really need to be part of the whole composting process. To not invite them is like, not inviting Jack Nicholson to the Oscars. It makes no sense. Worms need to be at the head of the table for the feast, in fact, they are your guest of honor.

In searching the land for composting materials, I was really happy to clean out the barn and add all that old hay. I think it would have been ok to losely layer it on top. Unfortunately it was the second layer after the cardboard. With the winter snow and frozen water it made a perfectly impenetrable mat, a giant bouncer at the end of the red carpet that got his orders wrong. “Sorry sir, you’re not on the list.”

I spent two days digging the muck up, pulling the frozen mush out and retossing the beds. Normally you wouldn’t do this, but they were smelling foul. I think they will be fine in a few weeks.

What is yardsharing?

TAKING A BREAK © Vossphotog... | Dreamstime.com

TAKING A BREAK © Vossphotog... | Dreamstime.com

“You know, the tomato that’s from your garden tastes very different from one that isn’t. And peas – what is it like to eat peas in season? So we want the White House to be a place of education and awareness. And hopefully kids will be interested because there are kids living here.”

- Michelle Obama on the Whitehouse Vegetable Garden

hyperlocavore.com,” which blends bottom-up collaboration with food production. It’s an example of peer-to-peer agriculture, and it’s a pretty neat concept. The founder of hyperlocavore wrote to me, saying that she thought this was a pretty “worldchanging” idea. I agree. Check ‘em out.”

- Jamais Cascio
openthefuture.com and worldchanging.com


What is a ‘hyperlocavore’?

A hyperlocavore is a person who tries to eat as much food as locally as possible. Growing your own is as local as it gets!

What is ‘yardsharing’?

Yard sharing is an arrangement between people to share skills and gardening resources; space, time, strength, tools or skills, in order to grow food as locally as possible, to make neighborhoods resilient, kids healthy and food much cheaper!

Why would I want to set up a yardsharing group?

Yard sharing is a way to connect people who love to garden, people who love healthy fresh food and people who have yards! Often people who have yards have little time time for a vegetable garden. And sometimes gardeners have trouble finding soil to garden in because they rent an apartment! Sometimes older people lack stamina and are socially isolated, finding younger people to partner in growing food together works wonderfully for all. There are all kinds of reasons it makes sense.

Yard sharing works for:

  • apartment dwellers
  • busy parents
  • older people
  • frugalistas
  • foodies
  • tree huggers
  • cheap bastards
  • farmers lacking land
  • land holders lacking farmers
  • people sick of leaf blowers
  • curious kids
  • folks with a disability
  • people who want to get outside more
  • people that want to eat better
  • people that want to eat cheaper
  • people who want to make their community resilient
  • people who like their food super fresh
  • people worried about peak oil
  • and maybe you! (if you’re not on the list – send me a note!)

Yard sharing cuts down on greenhouse gases by limiting the travel time of fruit and vegetables to your table.
Yard sharing is a great way to connect with your family, friends and neighbors!
Yard sharing helps you eat more veggies!
Yard sharing can be a workable solution for people with physical limitations who want to eat better and more cheaply.
Yard sharing is an excellent way to teach children about food and biology!
Yard sharing is a great way to get cheaper produce to older people on a fixed income!
Yard sharing helps you get enough vitamin D from sunshine!
Yard sharing is a way to avoid pesticides and other chemicals on your food!
Yard sharing is a fun activity to share!
Yard sharing helps to create independent local food systems that are less sensitive to the price of oil.

And nothing tastes as good as food you grew yourself!

Who can yard share?

Anyone! If you don’t see a group for your area just create one! Then send invites to people in your neighborhood, your friends and
their friends and maybe you will find someone willing to start with you!

OK, Sign me up! No! Wait, is it free? Yes? OK, Sign me up!


No thanks, but I do want to take a look.

This post is part of Fight Back Fridays!


hyperlocavore.com is a free social network here to help you form a yard sharing group with people in your neighborhood, a group of friends, a community restaurant and it’s neighbors, members of your family, faith communities or new friends made on hyperlocavore.

How to Start A Produce Exchange in Your Neighborhood – Share Your Extra Fruits and Vegetables!


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DIY Project – Low Watt LED Greenhouse

[diy-greenhouse.pdf]

You may not want or need as much insulation as I used. It’s very cold where I live. It is not a thing of beauty and was build strictly to function as a place to start plants and extend our very short growing season. It hides in our garage.

So far it has been a constant 58 degrees inside the greenhouse. I have started only cold friendly plants. It likely gets a bit chillier when the lights go off.

Materials:

Many times you can find some of what you need for free on freecyle.org, reyooz.com, thinggo.com or trusty craigslist.org. A thrift store is another good place to check for some of these items.

Shelf with 5 shelves $50.00
8 LED grow light panels $240.00
Roll of sheet plastic $12.00
2 Power strips $10.00
2 Timers $14.00
1 Thermometer $ 2.50
Trays $3.00

Total: About 331.50 (plus tax)

Time of useful life. The only element I expect not to last for at least 10 years are the LED panels.

Things I had on hand:

old blanket
cotton cord
zip ties
staple gun
blinder clips
bubble wrap
duct tape
some lattice panel to
keep the barn cats out

Notes:

  • LEDWholesalers on ebay.com – 2 orders – 900 LED Grow light 4 Red + Blue Hydroponic Lamp Panels. They have a few negative comments but for the most part they get 5 stars.
  • My shelf was a bargain apparently. I can’t find these very cheap online.
  • Make sure the timers are the grounded type (three prong.)
  • The power strips plug into the timers.
  • The LED panels go into the power strips.

Instructions:

1. Assemble shelf per directions that come with shelf.
2.Test all of your panels. You may need to send them back and it’s easier to do when they are not attached.
3.Attach LED panels to undersides of each shelf. (I used cotton cord and staples because it will be easy to remove panels if they go bad.)
4.Use zip ties to attach power strips to the back braces of the shelf.
5.Set timers for the amount of “daylight” you want. People differ on this. I have mine set for 14 hours. We will see how this goes.
6.Plug all panels into the two strips.
7.Test switches.
8.Make panels of bubble wrap to cover 3 sides of the shelf. (I used 2 layers.)
9.Staple the bubble wrap panels from the top shelf.
10.Use duct tape to close gaps in panels – Do not seal the whole thing up – plants like air. Stay away from PVC plastic.
11.Make plastic sheets into panels that will cover three sides of the shelf
12.Staple them also from the top of the shelf.
13.Use duct tape to close gaps in plastic sheet panels.
14.Create 4th panel – door. Cut plastic the length of shelf. Use a layer or two of bubble wrap. Duct tape edges if you like.
15.Staple door to top of shelf. Use clips to keep door folded open when working with plants.
16.Cover top with blanket for insulation in colder areas.
17.Use string to attach thermometer to easily visible spot in greenhouse.
18.Fill with trays of seedlings.
19.Water and wait.

Check the site for more reports on how our seedling starts are doing.
Happy digging!

LizM

hyperlocavore@gmail.com
twitter.com/hyperlocavore

Need help in the garden – or need a place to dig? Consider  yard sharing!


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The Great Let’s Get Growing Seed Share

The Great Let's Get Growing Seed Share

If you are like me you try a lot of new things. You’ve been through all the seed catalogs and your seeds are making their way to you right now. You’ve probably over done it again in your enthusiasm. You have saved seed from seasons past. You have seeds from failed experiments! You have enough extra to get one newbie gardener going!

This is how it works. All of you veteran gardeners out there, I’m talking to you! I just mailed four six newbie gardeners enough extra seeds for all of them to have lush edible gardens this season!

Pick a newbie gardener on hyperlocavore.com and send them a mix of various seeds, flowers, herbs, fruits and vegetables to help them get growing this season! It took me about an hour to do this for four different people.

What’s in it for you? Well, the pleasure of giving of course! I just mailed four six gardens and I cannot wait to see how my fledgling gardeners grow.

To the newbie gardeners, I can’t guarantee you will wind up with a seed packet in the mail. I can’t guarantee that you will be sent your favorite fruits, vegetables or herbs. If you receive something you do not intend to plant I only ask that you find someone in the seed swap forum who would like to plant them, and then send them on. This is an experiment! Hopefully a fun and fruitful one!

Whether you are a newbie gardener or an experienced grower sign up for The Great Let’s Get Growing Seed Share! It’s free. All I ask is that you share your gardens and your experiences on hyperlocavore.com and pay it forward.

Be sure to check out Fight Back Fridays!


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Super Local and Mighty Tasty – bookofcooks.com

I just came across a wonderful resource called bookofcooks.com that hooks you up with people who love to cook in your neighborhood.

Confused about Climate Change?

There are still a few people out there trying to figure out if they should change their lives based on concerns about climate change.

If you are one of these folks, I’d like to encourage you to watch this video. I promise the guy will not try to scare the pants of you! He just gives you a very handy way to sort through the decision about whether or not to take the claims of those that argue that climate change is a serious problem, well seriously.

If you found this helpful please share this one with your friends, family and neighbors.

Should People Be Able to Grow Their Own Food in Their Yards?

Please click on the pie chart to VOTE!!!

Please click on the pie chart to VOTE!!!

Winter at the Funny Farm