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<

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.

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

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.

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!)

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!!!


Bookmark and Share

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 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!

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.

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.