Ten Signs You May Be A Farm Nerd

HONEY FARMER © Mrphoto | Dreamstime.com

HONEY FARMER © Mrphoto | Dreamstime.com

All Your Beets R Belong To Us!

1. You dream of learning Ruby on Rails and building a chicken coop. You can’t decide which to get started with first.

2. You have been outside working on biochar, but want to check your rendering – You get soot all over your keyboard.

3. You are hacking the timers on your soaker hose system.

4. You are making a quilt based on images of neurons. (Don’t that’s my project!)

5. You wonder if nano-particle solar paint will be available in barn red.

6. All your garden plant markers have latin names.

7. You visit instructables.com every day.

8. You note that being a farmer is a little like being a programmer. You can wear the same type of thing everyday and no one will comment. This pleases you.

9. You are really really scared of bees, but you are considering making a honey bee hive. You think beekeeper outfits are full of awesome.

10. Like most farmers you have a pest problem in the garden.  Unlike most farmers your first thought on solving the problem is the possible introduction of farm lizards.

If you answered yes:

0-2 times You are a farm nerd like Carrot Top is a comic.
3-5 times You may indeed be a bit of a farm nerd.
6-8 times You are definitely, or more accurately speaking “approximately” (of course) a farm nerd, with a margin of error of +/- .04.
9-10 times You rock the farm like Kirk rocks the Universe!

Can you relate? Mail me! Or join us at hyperlocavore.com.


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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!

Hello to my Twitterfriends! How Very Green You Look Today!

Get your twitter mosaic here.

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!

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.

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!

Geek Candy – Ask500people.com

When you are just starting out, and your idea seems a bit odd to people you know it is critical to get honest feedback from people you do not know. Our friends and family love us and so it’s often hard for them to tell us exactly what’s on their minds. Sometimes they are very encouraging even if our idea is disastrously dumb. Sometimes they tear our idea down just because it’s wild and woolly and they kinda don’t get it and secretly they don’t want us to leave town. And exactly what they think doesn’t really matter. Well it matters in the sense that we love them and their feelings are important to us. But what really matters is what the big world thinks.

When you need to ask the big world, take a look at Wondermill Webworks with their mighty little Google Maps mashup ask500people, a site that let’s you do instant market research for your mad scheme.

To use ask500people you simply ask a question. Format the possible responses (multiple choice, essay, yes/no.) Then let your question loose into the wide world. And the wide world starts answering. As people answer, you can see their markers pop up on the map instantly; Fargo says NO!, Calcutta says YES!, Winnipeg says YES! Albany another YES! Poughkipsee says Meh., and Vladivostok thinks you are a gigantic cretin!

As the answers roll in your heart rises and sinks.

They like me! They REALLY LIKE ME!!!

Except Vladivostok.

Ask500People - Instant market research

Ask500People - Instant market research

I’m running about 80/20 positive at the time of this blog. A banner day! I know I’m onto something. I know I can make this a go! I know I can keep tweeking to my hearts content and get the jam and the cake – the instant feedback! It’s kind of like how I imagine it feels to be a budding comic, and to be killing for your first time. Addictive.

I can quit anytime I want.

Here are my questions:

Would you consider sharing your yard to grow fruit and vegetables with friends and neighbors to save money and the planet?

Would you find this site useful? with a link to hyperlocavore.

They also have tools that allow you to target your questions to the entrepreneurial community in a focused manner. Test a logo, or a tagline, a business idea through targeting a community willing to give you honest realtime answers. I’m heading over to see what else the good people at Wondermill are doing these days. As far as I can tell their products are full of awesome.

Starting a big thing with small steps.

hyperlocavore has been banging around in my noggin for about two years now. When I talked with folks about it I generally got lots of encouragement – but often a quizzical look. It’s out in the world making it’s own friends now and the response is amazing! What a feeling! People say when one door closes another opens. What they don’t say is you can’t just stand there looking at that new door like a lumpkin. You have to turn the damn knob and walk out into the world!

Keep growing,

LizM