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?

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!

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.

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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!

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!

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

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.

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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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

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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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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Yardsharing Return on Investment – How Does 61K Sound?

Growing food together may not be for everyone, but for the frugal healthy eaters amongst us it makes a lot of sense and cents. When you grow fruit and veg together you can share tools, space and work. So let’s assume you and two friends decide to start a yardsharing garden to save some money on fresh organics, have a healthy outdoor activity to share, and to teach your kids that food does not come from Walmart.

green_apples_sm1
GREEN APPLES
© Digidogs | Dreamstime.com

Also keep in mind that when we talk about return on investment for planting your own gardens we are taking into account all of the benefits of growing our own food, which are not strictly about personal economies. There are so many reasons to grow your own, saving great heaping gobs of cash is just one.

Let’s say your families agree that almonds, Granny Smith apples, and blueberries are a good place to start, and so off we go. These are back of the napkin calculations. I am not factoring in anything too complicated like seasonality, storage, inflation, peak oil or buying local. You may pick different crops. I simply picked three things I spend a lot of money on. Almonds and blueberries shock me every time I buy them. Both are considered ‘superfoods,’ densely packed nutrition in perfect snacky form.

Let’s assume that each of our families enjoys approximately:

  • 2 lbs organic Granny Smith apples @ $4.50 per week.
  • 1 lb organic anti-oxidant rich blueberries @ $12.00 per week.
  • .5 lb organic almonds @ 7.00 per week

That’s about $24.00 per week per family, or about $1250.00 per family per year for three pretty basic healthy staples. It’s $3750.00 per year for all three families to eat yummy organic green apples, blueberries and almonds. Now let’s assume that to produce this amount for three families you will need:

  • 4 almond trees (producing about 64 lbs per year)
  • 2 apple trees (producing about 600 lbs per year)
  • 15 mature blueberry bushes (producing about 150 pounds per year)

Your group wants the benefit sooner rather than later so you agree to purchase mature trees and shrubs.

  • 4 producing almond trees – 8′ @ $80.00 = $320.00
  • 2 producing apple trees 8′ @ $90.00 = $180.00
  • 15 producing blueberry bushes 4′ @ $40.00 = $600.00

Your one time investment is about $1700.00 (plus tax and shipping) for all three families, including one time purchase of tools and starting garden costs using a rough figure of $600.00, assuming you have no tools between you and your soil needs a lot of help. Add some sweat equity and a year to let the trees and shrubs settle in.

This works out to about $600.00 per family for 20 years worth of apples, almonds and blueberries! Growing their own saves all three families a total of $74,000.00 over 20 years. – Assuming your families share, or 24K, is conservatively invested expecting a 2.8 % return over those 20 years and adjusted for inflation – that’s $61,072.13 clams via the magic of compound interest!

Now the almond trees, treated well, will produce almonds for 40+ years. The apples for 30, and you may need to replace the blueberries. We’re just playing with pens and napkins after all.

So, how do you like them apples, almonds, and blueberries?

Note: Numbers were revised on Feb. 5th after being published on Feb 4th 2009.