Everyone complains about the weather…

but no one does a damn thing about it….

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

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

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

BK Farmyards logo

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


Here’s the story.

HOWTO: Use twitter to grow your local yardsharing group

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

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

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

General Tips for Getting Started.

How to Grow your Group.

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

Twitter in Plain English by CommonCraft

How to Use Twitter by Howcast

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

Write a short tweet something like:

Seeking yardsharing partners in Denver.

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

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

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

http://ow.ly/2ghgx

Add that to your tweet – so now you have:

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

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

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

So it looks like this:

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

And I will add a few other hashtags:

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

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

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

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

So that’s it! Easy peasy!

A Salute to Some Rabbits…

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

Dancing Rabbit Sign

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

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

Brian opens the Gumption Memo with this:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The main thing I learned from the Rabbits is this…

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

And this priceless lesson will never leave me.

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

Liz

Consider making a donation to Dancing Rabbit Eco-village.

Watch more Dancing Rabbit videos at DRTV.

Follow my blog with bloglovin

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.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Kid with tomatoes

Photo Credit © Liza McCorkle

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

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

Find your hardiness zone then come back here…

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

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

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

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

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

Let’s make a list:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Here are some more links to help get you growing!

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

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

More Helpful Links:

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

No yard? No problem.

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

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

Happy Digging!

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

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

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

On Choosing – A Hyperlocavore Responds to Catastrophe

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

OK. Stop.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Yes.
Pleasure.

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

– Guy Clark

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

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

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


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

Take the Hyperlocavore Pledge

Another take on the Locavore Pledge – going hyperlocal!

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

How we feed ourselves matters.

What is a distributed suburban CSA?

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

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

Other yard share farmers:

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

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

This post is part of Fight Back Fridays!




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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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Super Local and Mighty Tasty – bookofcooks.com

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

Yardsharing Workbook – Requesting Your Ideas!

GARDEN GNOME ©Cammeraydave

GARDEN GNOME ©Cammeraydave

I’m in the process of writing a workbook for yard sharing groups and I could use your input!

The success of any garden share depends entirely on the expectations set by the entire group at the outset of the relationship between the members of the group. Respect of each other’s needs and hopes for the project should be a given.

It’s important to keep the workbook a flexible tool. I am assuming groups will have different needs regarding the formality of their agreements. My question to you is what sort of things would you need to work through in an agreement with your yardsharing members before you felt comfortable forming a working group?

  • What needs to be in your agreement?
  • What would be a deal breaker?
  • What questions would you have for the garden or property owner?
  • What questions would you have for the gardeners in the group?
  • What questions would you want to work through regarding finances for your group?
  • What is important to formalize?
  • What is important to keep loose?

These agreements will depend only on what each group sorts through. How can we help make these groups enjoyable and workable for all the people involved?

Thank you in advance for sharing your thoughts!

Next round – help hyperlocavore.com pick a logo!

Which conveys the yardsharing idea best?
Which logo is warmest?
Which do you logo?

Please note the text at the bottom will read:
A Yardsharing Community
Because everyone loves a homegrown tomato!

Thank you for helping us sort this out!

100 Reasons to Become a Hyperlocavore.

First a definition, a hyperlocavore tries to eat as much food as close to home as possible, in order to reduce the food miles that his food travels. It is an extension of the term locavore. A locavore typically tries to eat seasonally within 100 miles of her home, to reduce food miles and to develop the local economic base. A hyperlocavore therefore wants to bring food even closer. And what’s closer than your neighborhood? We have a time crunch, we have land and property that is loosing value fast, we have kids who don’t know where their food comes from, and we have a climate crisis.

Hyperlocavore.com, a social network, is here to help facilitate yardsharing. Yardsharing and group growing is new. It’s different from a community garden – but the site (hyperlocavore.com) can be used to create and manage one. A yardshare might be an arrangement between an elderly couple and a young one to grow more food cheaply for both. Or friends who live in an apartment and a friend in the burbs to save money and food miles.

This is a list of the reasons I think group gardens and yardsharing is an idea whose time has come. The links hide some people, websites and imagery that have inspired me to build hyperlocavore.com. Have fun exploring. Every reason is not meant to appeal to everyone. See if just one make sense to you! Then join us to explore the possibilities. The site is free, and you do not need to commit to anything to participate. It’s new to most of us. It’s up to you what makes sense for you and yours. We just hope to inspire and facilitate. If you agree with more than two of these, you just may be a hyperlocavore!

(A note: I’m a North American, citizen of the U.S., so this certainly reflects some of my perspectives and biases. Please contact me if I’ve got something really wrong, I’m happy to discuss any concerns!)

Happy Growing!

  1. You want to taste those real tomatoes you’ve heard so much about.
  2. You want to decrease your reliance on fossil fuels.
  3. You want to teach your kids where food comes from.
  4. You want the smell of soil in your nose.
  5. You want to pick your salad from your porch.
  6. You want your neighborhood to have positive street life.
  7. You want to be less isolated.
  8. You want to build food security into your life.
  9. You want to get more sun!
  10. You want to develop some upper arm strength.
  11. You want a hotter bootie!
  12. You want to help that nice old man down the block. He works too hard!
  13. You want your neighborhoods to have cheap access to healing herbs!
  14. You want to be a farmer but you have no farm.
  15. You want your high cholesterol to go down!
  16. You miss the family farm.
  17. You especially miss the rooster on the family farm.
  18. You want to lead and not to follow!
  19. You want to be more independent.
  20. You want to show em how it’s done!
  21. You want to walk out the door and eat mangoes!
  22. You want your children to be sustainably self sufficient.
  23. You want your children to eat their veggies.
  24. You want to involve your family in a group activity.
  25. You can’t live without fresh organic veg, and it seems to be getting too expensive!
  26. You want to do something with your friends besides drink beer.
  27. You’ve never been able to find that Hatch chili from where you grew up.
  28. You want to shorten the distance from farm to plate.
  29. You have a brown thumb and want to know what that’s all about.
  30. You have a yard that is full of weeds.
  31. You want to reduce the chemical load on your body.
  32. You think the lawn is a sign of all that is wrong with America.
  33. You hate mowing.
  34. You know that cute chic down the block is a big freakin’ hippy but you wanna get to know her betta anyway.
  35. You know that dude down the block is a big freakin’ hippy but you wanna get to know him betta anyway.
  36. You took Obama’s call to service to heart.
  37. No one sees your gardening triumphs.
  38. You want to lessen your ecological footprint.
  39. You look around and you see your neighborhood dying, and you want to do something.
  40. You have been blessed and you want to express gratitude.
  41. You remember what the neighborhood was like when people talked.
  42. You need to pay it forward.
  43. You need something to do besides what you been doing.
  44. You want your food to taste as good as Gordon Ramsey’s.
  45. You don’t have a farmers’ market near you.
  46. You can’t get into the local CSA – It filled up fast!
  47. You work too many hours and need some help in your garden.
  48. You have physical limitations, and a garden and could use some help.
  49. You are a former hedge fund manager with a lot of time on your hands now.
  50. Your kids need to get moving.
  51. You really need a new set of friends.
  52. You know it’s the end of the world as we know it, and you want to feel fine.
  53. You want to quit talking the talk and start walking the walk.
  54. You want to simplify your life.
  55. You find no joy in fragging any more.
  56. You are an exceedingly cheap bastard, and want to save even more cash.
  57. You are sick of living on Top Ramen.
  58. Yes we can!
  59. Si, se puede!
  60. Chop wood, carry water.
  61. You’ve been saving seeds, but have no place to plant them.
  62. You want to surprise your hard working single mom with regular homegrown fruit and vegetables.
  63. You are unutterably bored, filled with ennui, and about to jump.
  64. Om, nom, nom, nom.
  65. You want to live more like the rest of the world.
  66. You want the suburban wasteland to become juicier.
  67. You can’t afford the gas to get to the market, and your veggie ride isn’t road ready yet.
  68. The bodega in your neighborhood doesn’t carry anything but candy, cigarettes, and booze.
  69. Guerilla gardening just isn’t giving you the thrill it used to…sigh.
  70. The force is strong with you, little one.
  71. You are actually serious about this “reliance on foreign oil” thing you keep going on about.
  72. Better jam.
  73. Better pie.
  74. Better chutney.
  75. Fresh eggs! Like still chicken butt warm fresh.
  76. You really need to step away from the computer.
  77. You actually do have a vitamin D deficiency from lack of sunshine.
  78. You’re afraid of the veg your freegan roommate brings home.
  79. You’ve never actually tasted a fresh vegetable, ditto fruit.
  80. You decided you didn’t like vegetables when you were 6, you stuck to your guns but you’re a big girl/boy now.
  81. You are down with the peak oil hypothesis, and want to stop freaking the f$ck out.
  82. You want to find like minded people and be useful.
  83. You’ve got a hankerin’ fer something really dirty.
  84. Your grandmother, who has been dead for 8 years keeps coming back to you in dreams – She reminds you there is an elephant in the root cellar. You want to sleep more soundly.
  85. You really, really like potlucks.
  86. You want to grow enough extra to donate to the homeless shelter.
  87. You take the very long view.
  88. Your houseplants are telling you to get out and make new friends.
  89. You’ll be damned if your gonna spend five dollars for a sack of potatoes !
  90. You think that you are surrounded by ugliness, and you’re right.
  91. You will simply die if you don’t have a St. Germaine cocktail and the godforsaken town you live in has no reputable supplier of elderflower liqueur. You are therefore, desperate enough to make your own.
  92. You walk softly but carry a giant gourd.
  93. You have a lot of stuff, but you feel empty.
  94. Your country has been embargoed by the rest of the world and you are hungry.
  95. You want to live the good life, not that one! This one!
  96. You want to make it easier to cook at home.
  97. You really want to slow down but don’t know how.
  98. You want to see this, not this when you go outside.
  99. The spirit of true community has filled your heart and you want to fill your days differently.
  100. One word – zucchini.

Join us at hyperlocavore and find or start a yardsharing group in your neighborhood. You don’t have to have a yard to share or a green thumb – This is a learning community.

* OK I admit there are a few repeats. I said the same thing a few different ways… Use the comment to add your own!