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growing a million calories on an acre, the first year, starting with dirt

 
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Michael Helmersson wrote:If the whole thing is carefully structured and monitored, I could see it being utilized as data for others to write articles, papers, etc. This is exciting.




Exciting indeed. I'm already thinking about doing something like this on part of my  ( unused ) pasture . Looking at marking off an acre, starting with a soil sample, breaking up ground with a broadfork, planting whatever y'all say are the control plants. Buying a tripod and camera, the list goes on and on... Lots of interest in this thread.
 
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I think it is fair - give everybody a materials budget to get started.   Plus pay people to start earlier in the year - start in january?  So three extra months.  

Of course, this makes it so that we need more from kickstarter which lowers our odds of getting funded.

I wish to make the bonuses bigger.  

At the same time, I wish to improve the odds of the project being funded at all.  So far we are looking at something in the $250k to $500k range, but my best ever kickstarter brought in only $150k.  

Further, the kickstarters are what give us our annual operating capital for the bootcamp and for the permies.com servers, my assistant and stuff like that.  So if we get just the exact minimum, we won't have operating capital for other stuff.  

Risk.

So we try to figure out how to balance all these things.  

 
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I like the idea that we have 100 candidates.  Maybe part of this is to get an idea of what the candidates want.  Maybe the thing to do is to set up a questionnaire that asks a dozen questions like "what is your horticultural style?"  and "what do you think is 'damn good pay' for a project like this?"

Maybe there is a link to some pics of past gardens.  

"How many calories do you think you grew last year?  On how much land?"

...  so we come up with a dozen questions and we open it up to everybody to fill it out if they want.  And then when we get to a hundred then we can get an idea of what the compensation package might look like.  

We could even open it up to the videographer and the project manager.

 
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paul wheaton wrote:Kickstarter "rewards" ....

A new one hour episode every two weeks?  Starting around mid-march.  So a total of 16 episodes?   To get the final 16 hours when it is all done could be something like ...  $65?   Does that sound like a decent price?  People can get a new movie for $20 ...    How much is a season of game of thrones shortly after they release the final show of the season?  Maybe $40?  And that is for 8 one hour episodes.  

So maybe $65 during the kickstarter and $80 after the kickstarter.  


During the kickstarter, people could pay $100 to get the episodes as they come out.  ??

Maybe $200 to have some level of interaction during the year?  


$250,000 at $65 per person ....    I would need 3846 backers.  But the most I have ever had was 2768 backers.

$250,000 at $100 per person ...  2500 backers.  


Suggestions?




Maybe an hour long episode at the end of january to show the few that came to get an early (unpaid) start.  And another in feb and another in march.  Maybe this extra stuff is reserved for a higher level.  Maybe the $100 level.

Maybe some weekly, live stuff?  Each week could be an open, live, on-site Q&A with one of the growers?  Maybe this is like a VIP pass for a concert?  So this could be part of the $200 level.

Maybe at the $1000 level, people could choose the name of one of the plots.  

Maybe at $5000, a person can be named, in all of the episodes, as a producer.  


I think that for this whole project, this will be the hardest part:  coming up with the stuff that will break my past kickstarter records.


 
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"How many calories do you think you grew last year?  On how much land?"  



I think this would make for a really interesting thread. Call it a "garden showcase." Have people do a little garden summary; how much space is it, how much food did it grow, how much time is spent working on it, what sort of inputs were used, and also how long has the garden been established? Maybe also some recollections from the first season? It would likely be a rough sketch, and vary wildly by climate type - but it would be really interesting to see what people are doing, and how their gardens are evolving.

Calorie estimates are going to be tough retroactively, but estimates are better than nothing. I looked back at my bean patch on google earth last year and from an area of 800 sq ft (including pathways) was able to grow 30lbs of beans. Even with poor soil, that would be approaching 2.5 million calories per acre, and all I gave them was water.
 
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paul wheaton wrote:

On the lab, each person starts with a raw acre.  

Maybe something like a $5000 bonus for hitting a million calorie minimum (and some other minimums).   And a $20,000 bonus for the gardener that grew the most calories (above the other minimums).  

Feedback?



I'm wondering why you want to measure calories, when there are other values that permaculture excells at? Is it because of the costs named in one of the responses, to test nurtient or protein content?
 
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Kickstarter rewards ideas:
1.) Seed saving. Backers get a selection of seeds saved from the project.
2.) Or, alternately, a seed company sponsorship includes seeds for the project, plus seeds to send as rewards for backers.
3.) A Tool sponsorship to outfit the project, which then at the end is given away as rewards to backers (autographed by the farmers?). And/or extra tools to send as rewards to backers.
4.) A role in choosing farmers and planning the project. Producer credits.
5.) Seats to a Harvest Banquet at Wheaton Labs, featuring the farmers and produce from the project. This can be part of an episode, a cameo role for backers. A meet and greet, and tour of the project.
6.) Packages of staple crops from the project, to be shipped in the fall. (potato, onion, carrot, garlic, beans, etc...) could just be a bulk box (USPS Flat Rate box?), or maybe a "recipe kit" for a soup? that backers could all cook at home one weekend in solidarity. Maybe even shoot/submit their own videos of doing this to montage in the end credits?
7.) Publisher sponsorship of relevant books? for farmers to use? and/or extras to give away to backers?
8.) Multiple weekend, or week--long opportunities to visit the project, possibly as guest labor? maybe a blitz at the opening in April/May to get things rolling? Each farmer gets a "farmhand" or two? four? This can be part of an episode, a cameo role for backers. A meet and greet, and tour of the project.








 
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If I were to apply to this as a gardener-player, here is where I'd likely be coming from, and what I'd want most.
Perhaps potential players could corroborate?

I'd be able to leave my work/family/etc for several months to a year and go to Montana.
That means I'd be, to some extent, free of encumbrances, but likely need the pay too.
I'd be experienced and knowledgeable enough about gardening and permaculture to qualify.
That means I may have a desire to make money at market-gardening and a willingness to accept help getting there.

It means most of a year committed to garden food production would give me a really good idea if this was something I could commit to as a career, self-employed back home.
Maybe that means the best prize would be like a winner support team after the game is over, made up of experts.
A small-business class, a set of garden experts on speed dial, and an in-depth walk through someone else's successful building of a produce business.
 
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Part of the project costs should include preservation, unless all the harvested food that can't be immediately eaten would go to a local food bank. Perhaps early spring could involve building some root cellars and/or the freezer wofati could be part of the project?

I would suggest starting with a project of "farming Allerton Abbey 100%"- the fence is almost complete, water is piped to it, there are several hugels and lots of texture but other spots that can be bit flatter to provide a variety of growing spaces. It could be expanded by fencing/farming around Cooper Cabin as well. Once I get my place built I'll be going wild on the food forest front which would likely be spring 2023. I have a couple pounds of black locust and osage orange seed I can share that can be planted to start growing a living hedge/fence around those spaces too.

The lab has areas with better/deeper soil, and areas with poorer soil and evergreens blocking southern exposure.I would consider that any contest needs to account for increasing or decreasing soil fertility, as we know most methods can do well without external inputs for a year or two by tilling and using up existing fertility. Power tools would likely include a tiller to break up the soil for such a large space, or a tractor. There's also the issue of seasonal variation, if there's late frosts in spring or early frosts in fall then some plants can die and not provide a yield, and all participants could fail. So a single year of growing might not be as good as some extended test, especially if we want to make the argument that a food forest is an ideal goal/target. So as you mentioned the goals can change over time, I would just consider how to address the possibility that all the gardens could fail due to "acts of nature".

The no irrigation over time could be interesting for others in drier climates, since the lab gets much less than the average US rainfall. Would a person be allowed to capture and store rain in barrels/tanks, in addition to soil organic material retention?

Is there enough junk pole-like trees to build fencing around all the plots? Plus all the posts to hold them up? Asking since I'll be building my own 1000' of fence up there next spring and needing poles for the house 8) Having the land all in the same spot so a single fence can surround it all also keeps the soil/slope/sun/rainfall as similar as possible and minimizes the fence needed. But even with the fence in place to handle deer and turkeys, the ground squirrels/chipmunks will be another issue to prevent losing the garden, as well as insect pests, since there will be a massive influx of plants the aphids and the like will swarm in, would purchasing ladybugs in that case count for the "no external inputs"? It will take a while for birds and predatory insects to move in. But fencing will be mandatory, otherwise the deer will be the ultimate "act of nature" knocking out competitors. I think each person would be wise to integrate deterrent plants, so while the caloric density per acre drops, the chance of loss by pest would also drop.



 
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It seems the test has grown out of the thread title to some degree...So I'd like to know if a thinking-busy-hardworking human can outperform two dozen or so eatin-poopin-chillin goats when it come's to making 3-sisters level productive soil.  

Even if Team Goat won't be planting any perennials, or be in the run for early calories (unless a human is busy working with dairy and meat) Team Goat could compete in a multi-year end result;  how much Corn beans and squash can you get out of this dirt without off-lab inputs? Given other teams are allowed inputs from the lab that are not sourced on their site, Team Goat is allowed to browse on idle acres.  The Savory catch is that they have a skiddable night pen, which they use until the pen has a 1 or 2 inch layer of poop in it, ya know, at which point the pen is skidded to the next adjacent clean spot.   The skiddable night pen stays on Team Goat's acre for the duration of the competition.   The competing teams are not allowed to use any goat poop they find laying around, because that would be cheating!

In the final year, somebody plants the completely pooped on portion of Team Goat's site in plain old chisel plowed rows of corn beans squash, buries the weeds in mulch, irrigates with as much water as everyone else is, and compares yields to the competition.    

I would find it kinda funny if Team Goat was in the running.
 
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I think it would be awesome of there were 20 parallel projects while we did the test.  And then each episode could have a bit of something added in from afar.   A person could say "Hi everybody!  My name is Bob and I live in kansas and I thought I would do this too.  Here you can see I mapped out my raw acre and started doing the exact same thing.  And here are my results so far!"

 
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As for what to do with the food:   we do have two giant food dehydrators.  We also have events, and we have many boots in the bootcamp.  And, of course, there are the gardeners involved in the project.  



 
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Sarah Theo wrote:I'm wondering why you want to measure calories, when there are other values that permaculture excells at? Is it because of the costs named in one of the responses, to test nurtient or protein content?



If you look through this thread, you will see a lot of disparity on the calories front.  There are people that think that 1 million calories is too low.  And there are people that think it is too high.  

I say that a million is about what one person eats in a year.  Others have different numbers.

For every person that is currently permaculture savvy, there are 10,000 that are not.  I am obsessed with guiding non-permies to permaculture.  If I have just nine seconds of their attention in an attempt to have them come to my world and see more, I have to choose a metric that will most appealing to them.  I think the metric is "a million calories from an acre of raw dirt. In Montana."

I could be wrong. But at the moment, this seems the most powerful to me.
 
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Getting sponsors:   That would be lovely.  And having product placement.  Or the gardeners wearing t-shirts that say "team _______ seeds".  All sounds great.  But I think we need to not depend on that.  

For the greenhouse kickstarter, we contacted over 200 organizations seeking any kind of relationship.  We probably put in more than a hundred hours of trying.   I think six responded and two did something - stuff that turned out to be not much.

Because of that, for the SKIP kickstarter we made the choice to not waste an hour on that, and the kickstarter did much better.  

The moral of the story is if there is a way to develop that sort of relationship, it is beyond my abilities.
 
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Kenneth Elwell wrote:4.) A role in choosing farmers and planning the project. Producer credits.



I like this.  Maybe a $5000 backer level.  Name the acre.  Options for t-shirts and options for style of the techniques.  Maybe even have some influence in picking which gardener is hired.  


8.) Multiple weekend, or week--long opportunities to visit the project, possibly as guest labor? maybe a blitz at the opening in April/May to get things rolling? Each farmer gets a "farmhand" or two? four? This can be part of an episode, a cameo role for backers. A meet and greet, and tour of the project.



Hmmmm ....  Maybe something like the sepper program.  Something where a person can stay ....  in the tipi.   And they will make themselves available as help - if they want.  Maybe just observers.  Maybe there is one gardener they would like to help more than others.  We cannot guarantee that the gardener in question (or any of the gardeners) will be cool with accepting the help, but it is left as an option to the gardeners.  If all else, the bootcamp will be active, and they can do stuff with the bootcamp.

??
 
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Trevor Walker wrote:If I were to apply to this as a gardener-player, here is where I'd likely be coming from, and what I'd want most.
Perhaps potential players could corroborate?



I hope that the final vibe of the gardeners is collaborative.

At the moment, my rough thinking of all this is ...  

soon:   start building lists of people that might be involved in the project.  I think we should not even start the kickstarter unless we have 100 gardeners that have provided info as potentially being part of this.  This could take a few months.  

This will be, by far, my most ambitious kickstarter.   So rather than doing a 30 day kickstarter, I think it will be wise to do a 60 day kickstarter.  And the kickstarter would have to end December 20th - so the funds will be paid out January 3.  This gives us a full year to spend all the funds without taking on additional tax burdens.  This means that the kickstarter would start October 21.  

If the kickstarter is funded, then it might be funded in november or maybe december.  Whenever it is funded, we would then begin making arrangements with the gardeners - so they have as much lead time as possible.  They might arrive before January 1 and start making plans.  Maybe get their auxiliary acre prepped.  Maybe get some fence materials set up.  

Some gardeners might want a warm bunk - with the boots.  Some might want to rent a nearby house for themselves and family.  A few might bring a camping trailer and park it on the auxiliary acre.  And ...  a few might choose to do "winter camping" in montana (not for me, but there are some folks that are just that fucking awesome).  

Some gardeners will start january 1.   And some will start April 1.   And some will start somewhere in between.   Each gardener will have their own style.  

I think some gardeners will do the whole project perfectly solo.  Others might have a bunch of helpers.  This project is strictly about the amount grown in the end.  And each video episode will track each gardener's artistic choices for the week to achieve that.  

It is possible that people that are already here, in the bootcamp, or ant village, or deep roots, will be given a small amount of preference.  They already know how we operate, and why.  And they will be more familiar with the lands and soils.  It is also possible that they will stock their auxiliary acre with fencing and mulching materials ahead of time.







 
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Marisa Lee wrote:This is a very interesting and fun idea. One thing I'm curious about is beginning in April. I'm also in a cold place with a short growing season. For me, gardening begins in the dead of winter, planning/dreaming and ordering seeds, and then I start many of those seeds in late winter (that is, late March). In April, if the snow has melted enough, there are some things I can direct sow, but I mostly wait til May (and for some things, the end of May - I'm sure you know about late frosts and late snow storms).

So will you start seeds for them? Or is the idea that, on April 1 or whenever they start, they'll choose their seeds and start some? (In my climate, that isn't too late to start.) Will they have a place to do that indoors, with lights/warmth? Or do you imagine the majority of the first-year plantings will be things that don't need starting indoors (which, to be fair, are the calorie-heavy crops anyway), along with those seven-year-plan items?


I agree. For me my first start with Permaculture in my garden started even before winter. My idea was: first start making a compost heap, so you can use your own compost next spring. And then thinking out plans, drawing garden designs and of course starting the seeds indoors (on my windowsill) so they could be planted in May.
 
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paul wheaton wrote:I think it would be awesome of there were 20 parallel projects while we did the test.  And then each episode could have a bit of something added in from afar.   A person could say "Hi everybody!  My name is Bob and I live in kansas and I thought I would do this too.  Here you can see I mapped out my raw acre and started doing the exact same thing.  And here are my results so far!"



I know a few Bobs!

paul wheaton wrote:Getting sponsors:   That would be lovely.  And having product placement.  Or the gardeners wearing t-shirts that say "team _______ seeds".  All sounds great.  But I think we need to not depend on that.  

For the greenhouse kickstarter, we contacted over 200 organizations seeking any kind of relationship.  We probably put in more than a hundred hours of trying.   I think six responded and two did something - stuff that turned out to be not much.

Because of that, for the SKIP kickstarter we made the choice to not waste an hour on that, and the kickstarter did much better.  

The moral of the story is if there is a way to develop that sort of relationship, it is beyond my abilities.



Building relationships with sponsors does take time. If a person had a good relationship with a willing sponsor who would support the kick starter. Would this be welcomed?
 
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T Blankinship wrote:Building relationships with sponsors does take time. If a person had a good relationship with a willing sponsor who would support the kick starter. Would this be welcomed?



Maybe.  Probably.  Deets?

I think the thing is that I am open to this.  And, at the same time, I am trying to sort out what the project will look like.   I think it would be good to put something into the kickstarter allowing for five sponsors.  Maybe we get five, and maybe we get zero.  

The cool thing about kickstarter is that if we start off saying "we need 300k to do this" and we get three sponsors, but only 250k, then the whole project is canceled.  And if we got 350k and zero sponsors, we're fine.  And if we got five sponsors and 200k then we don't have to do it.  

The thing that would be awkward is if we got five sponsors, but not enough money to do the event.  The sponsors will feel like "don't care - you have to do the event anyway.  We need the event happen to make it so people can see the t-shirts and stuff."  

So I like the idea of the sponsorship to carry the kickstarter.  And if we get funded, then the sponsorship is awesome!  


 
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paul wheaton wrote:Tomatoes, zukes, winter squash, grain, corn, potatoes, peas, beans, cole crops, daikon, lettuce, carrots, cukes, peppers, onions, melons ...



Stinging nettles would be required.

Earlier, somebody asked about non-daikon radish.  Yes!  I think there is a lots and lots of stuff to grow that would add to the calorie count, plus build soil and do lots and lots!  But I don't think I would add it to the list of required stuff to grow.  

 
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paul wheaton wrote:

T Blankinship wrote:Building relationships with sponsors does take time. If a person had a good relationship with a willing sponsor who would support the kick starter. Would this be welcomed?



Maybe.  Probably.  Deets?

I think the thing is that I am open to this.  And, at the same time, I am trying to sort out what the project will look like.   I think it would be good to put something into the kickstarter allowing for five sponsors.  Maybe we get five, and maybe we get zero.  

The cool thing about kickstarter is that if we start off saying "we need 300k to do this" and we get three sponsors, but only 250k, then the whole project is canceled.  And if we got 350k and zero sponsors, we're fine.  And if we got five sponsors and 200k then we don't have to do it.  

The thing that would be awkward is if we got five sponsors, but not enough money to do the event.  The sponsors will feel like "don't care - you have to do the event anyway.  We need the event happen to make it so people can see the t-shirts and stuff."  

So I like the idea of the sponsorship to carry the kickstarter.  And if we get funded, then the sponsorship is awesome!  



In short using a little social capital and just asking questions. I would start by talking to family who are involved in civil organizations. Next just talking to people I know around town face to face.  Since this is December a time of treats and goodies. This is a good time to catch up and see who might know someone who would want to be a sponsor or a backer. Or they might say "you know (input name or group here) would be interested". It is surprising how connections are made and kept in this area. For example, if one needed a handyman or other trades person, just ask at the hardware store.


Now the hard part getting funds into the kickstarter. I do not know amount of money right now or if people and organizations would speak to me but I will try. When the kickstarter is nailed down and about to go, I feel that would be the time to get the sponsors ready to go.
 
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I suppose if I needed 300k to pull it off, and I went into the whole thing with two different parties putting up $150k only if i got the other 150k, then I could do the kickstarter for $150k.  Much easier.  
 
Kenneth Elwell
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paul wheaton wrote:
I hope that the final vibe of the gardeners is collaborative.



Maybe the "conventional plot" part IS collaborative somehow... Either a group effort on a single acre, or a separate effort on segments of a contiguous acre, or aggregating the separate smaller conventional plots to equal a full acres worth for a 1:1 comparison.
 
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Hello,

I think that no matter what, any challenge in this regard requires significant data before starting.

The data being climate data of rainfall including the largest water event in the past 150 years or more.

Sun light and wind records.

Topographic maps.

Ecological surveys of current plants and animals.

Soil testing of the sight in regards to soil type, fertility, microbes, PH, tilth.

I also think that People should not be paid to do so, I think if someone wants to cultivate a reputation, they should apply to the challenge and post a proposal, which would only be viewed by the Monitors.

I believe reputation is more valuable than money, as well as the cash prize for winning and possibly prizes for innovation and persistence. And a trophy and Title would be great for the winner.

I think a list of qualities of the best candidates should be listed.

As well as a list of potential resources that would be provided to the those willing to undertake the feat.

Reputation is quite valuable and many people could potentially use the reputation made in the challenge to establish a name for themselves. This would get rid of the "prison of obligation" and motivate people to pursue the limit of themselves.

Regards,
Alex




 
paul wheaton
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First, I am trying out my brand new acronym, GAMCOD (growing a million calories on dirt).  GAMCOD1 is the first year.  

I want to direct all discussion about the quarter acre "control" to this thread:

https://permies.com/t/171307/permaculture-projects/GAMCOD-quarter-acre-control

 
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I think it could be nice to encourage cooperation, not competion. How can we help eachother to reach 1 miljon calories a acre?
 
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Has the nation ever been placed at the GAMCOD1 threat level? The closest that I can recall is the 1962 Cuban Thistle Crisis, when the threat of full-scale international herbicidal exchange briefly raised the level to GAMCOD2.
 
paul wheaton
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As for the 20 different crops, I am trying to direct that discussion to this thread:

https://permies.com/t/171308/permaculture-projects/GAMCOD-crops

 
pollinator
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Here is an unsolicited suggestion, to be considered as seems appropriate.  Since its a multi-year endeavor, regardless of what crops are chosen and where the initial seeds come from, in the second year a minimum of 25% of seed has to come from the project with that percentage increasing each year. Processing and storing the seed has to be documented along with everything else. In the case of something like potatoes, participants have to arrange for storage somewhere on the lab grounds and the amount needed for seed has to be deducted from the calories produced, unless of course they opt for using true seed. Trading or even buying and selling of seed between participants is allowed.
A nice bonus at the end is a collection of Wheaton Labs specific landrace seed.



 
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Paul, An acre is a nice size of ground, could be a nice size of ground for a food forest...??  At first there's nothing, but tree seedlings and other perennials could be planted at the same time as the row crops...they'd not steal much ground, at first, from the annuals, but gradually would start producing -- berry shrubs etc in maybe 3 - 5 years, the trees starting around 5 yrs, and growing bigger and more productive, maybe some nuts starting around 10 yrs...I'm not an experienced tree farmer myself, but believe the concept has merit...some other permaculturists have surely done this, are there accounts out there?
 
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Here may be another way to decrease costs, both in terms of being able to pay the competitors less, and lower the administrative/videography costs:

Part of the gardeners' responsibility would be to submit their own footage, and find their own sponsors - there is an easy way to do this:

- The Modern Social Media Income Strategy -

1. Gardeners submit their own footage by making Youtube videos; the ad income from their channel would help defray the cost of living.
2. Gardeners can solicit their own sponsors, both traditionally and through SM engagement, directed to Patreon.

This avenue of income would also generate secondary advertizing/engagement for the resulting movie made, a second round of Kickstarter halfway through, and Wheaton labs overall.

The videographers could then harvest part of their needed footage from the competitors videos, reducing the costs here as well.
 
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Some of us are urban gardeners. My entire lot is barely 1/6 of an acre.

How about something for urban gardeners? I do hugelkultur and at least 2 other permie techniques every year. (I recently dismantled my keyhole garden because it was underperforming--poor location. I'll pick something different for next growing season.) I build all kinds of structures out of many kinds of materials, most very humble and homemade. And I do most of it in my front yard right now so that I can spread the word, be an educational resource and proselytizer.

My heirloom tomatoes and giant collards plants and extensive arrays of herbs and medicinals spilling down my hillside are the envy of the neighborhood and many walkers-by ask me how I do it. I always tell them to quit tilling their soil, keep it covered, stop using chemicals, and welcome all life, including ants and spiders and all kinds of creepy crawlies. I teach them how to be pollinator friendly and make them aware of pollinators many people overlook, like ants and butterflies. I dig up small portions of my STUN garden and show them soil structure and explain its benefits, including carbon sequestration. I teach them to make compost tea.

But there's no way I could ever be in the running for growing the most calories on an acre.

With the pandemic and continued working from home, many people in my neighborhood now walk more often and farther afield than ever before. More are taking up gardening, even if it's just a few tomato plants in pots. So, my audience is bigger than ever, and hungrier for tips on how to be successful. What an opportunity to educate people on our broken food systems and how we can help heal them, and how that can contribute to mitigating climate change!
 
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In my opinion, the two most valuable posts on this threads are... *drum roll*

paul wheaton wrote:Part of it is that I am still trying to figure out what I want.  

I know that I want it to be here, not remote.

I know that I want it to be a million calories on one acre.   I know I want the quarter acre to be flat and without mulch - as a sort of control.

I know I want something for a 7 year plan.  

I know that I want the gardeners to be paid, and I need to have a pretty good list to choose from before doing the kickstarter.

I feel like a big part of this is to show people that you can grow a lot of food, the very first year, in a cold climate, with really poor soil.  

I like the idea of having a rough plan for similar kickstarters for years 2 through 7.

I like the idea of saying that year one has 20 staple crops.  Plus about 20 other species that must be established for future years.

I like the idea that each of the five have different philosophies.   One can be permaculture, one biodynamic ...  at least one vegan ...  

....    most of all, I am still trying to nail down some general things.  

....  and trying to think through what will be the kickstarter rewards so that we might get enough coin to pull this off.



↑↑↑ together with ↓↓↓

Robin Katz wrote:I'd like to interject something before Paul's head explodes from all the ideas coming his way. As a retired project manager, much of what I'm seeing is called "scope creep." In itself it's not bad to brainstorm, and in fact brainstorming is a lot of fun, but the fact is that there will be a budget for this project. And the money will be coming from donors. And the current estimate is already over $120k for just the basics of labor, not even counting tests, lodging, or whatever else people want to see.

From what I see, if the project becomes too complicated, it will be harder to succeed. All projects tend to expand as they progress and it's a very hard thing to keep costs under control. As much as I'd love to see lots of testing, data acquisition, number crunching and all that fun, the fact is that this sort of thing is expensive.



The above reminds me of convergent vs divergent thinking.  In my former life in the military I got a fair amount of exposure to various innovative methods, people, books, and groups.  I learned that with any creative project, there are times to zig and times to zag, times to think right and times to wrong think, times to work and times to play.



Both sides of the coin are essential if you want to earn coin.  There is a time to accept assumptions, and a time to challenge the heck out of them all.  The risk is, like Robin said, your head may explode.  Or if you challenge too many assumptions or get too creative, you get ostracized for wrong think.   I'm not a certified wrong thinker, however I imagine a wrong thinker would encourage you to boldly challenge the following statement to begin with:

"GAMCOD1 is a Kickstarter."

A wrong thinker wrote:"GAMCOD1 is totally not a Kickstarter!  It is a ________"



A wrong thinker might then generate a huge list of things that GAMCOD1 is instead of a kickstarter, and dial up the wrong think intensity.
 
GAMCOD1 is a _____:
  • Competition sweepstakes hosted on the forum (Dial it up!)
  • Permaculture survival reality TV show on YouTube (yea buddy!)
  • Dedicated website (dial it up!)
  • Radio show (yes, and?)
  • Not-for-profit...(Dial up that wrong think!)
  • Flash-mob! (Now we're thinking wrong!)
  • GAMCOD1 is a PENGUIN! (Yes!!! We've gone plaid!)


  • Huh? Did a wrong thinker just say GAMCOD1 is a penguin?! Rule #1 defer judgement.  Such divergence is crazy at first, but still useful.

    GAMCOD1 is no longer a kickstarter in the eyes of a wrong thinker.  GAMCOD1 is...a penguin.  Penguins are black and white and slow.  Penguins are cold and huddle together in community.

    Newspapers are black and white and slow.  Bring it all together...

    An (uncertified) wrong thinker wrote:"GAMCOD1 morphs to a subscription permaculture 'newspaper' service where people learn about permaculture happening specifically in colder climates like Wheaton Labs.   People get to write in with tips and tricks from their area, and the best tip of the week earns $$$ and recognition.  There is an ongoing competition where anyone can show off their garden methods for GAMCOD1.  There is also a weekly conferencing call for more local bio-regions to do permablitz flash mobs and make labor intensive collectives.  There is even a radio hour meetup for super remote folk in cold climates to chime in.  GAMCOD1 is no longer a kickstarter for the masses, but rather a premium global service to build and expand cold temperate, hardy, locally-minded ecological communities.  Its branding reverses to:

    COLDGAME1 "Calories On Local Dirt -- Grow a Million Ecologically!  (The 1st year)".    Subscribers are called "Cold-gamers".

    The COLDGAME service will help Cold-gamers grow to live like permaculture millionaires, starting by learning how to grow a million calories on one acre of land...together!

    And it's mascot is Permie the Penguin, who kinda' looks like the Linux penguin if it was a lumberjack.



    Penguin is also a book publisher.  COLDGAME years 1-7 now becomes a book.  

    "All the best tips and newsletters and articles from the COLDGAME seasons are compiled into a book every 7th year.  You get to see progressions of temperate food forest from all COLDGAME-rs over a long period of time, and learn what worked, and what didn't."



    Anyway, what I originally meant to say is having a creativity framework and tool set like the ones in the links, or Design Thinking specifically, could really help you zone in on the core challenge or problem statement at hand, and flip from one side of the creative coin to the other.




    P.s. COLDGAME1 could still be a kickstarter.  I am just making a point that challenging core assumptions can lead to really creative solutions.
     
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    Great idea!
    We set out to grow, gather, and hunt/raise our own food for a year. As one person, I harvested over a million calories. I use less than an acre, but then also had chickens (and venison hunted on a neighbor's plot).
    The calories are toted up here: https://lowtechinstitute.org/2021/02/16/calories-grown-in-foodmageddon/
    I'm excited to see this, but hope you'll share the episodes eventually in a public place. I think people would love to see it.

    Best of luck!
     
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    Love this idea!
    I’m a renter in MN, so all my gardening is done in containers on our little patio (unless you count a bahjillion house plants), so
    Watching a weekly/bi weekly progress and “tips” video would be awesome!! I’d love to be able to garden along, even in a much more scaled down version.
    I love these great ideas!
    I’d add, too, I would be avidly decimated to see “wild” foods make an appearance on these plots, and YES!! Measuring the nutritive qualities would be VERY interesting! Perhaps a different prize for whose food has the most nutrient density? (This would be a great intro to the importance and difference sustainable agriculture like biodynamic farming can make vs the conventional practices. Hmmmm... perhaps this could even be a different contest.... hmmmm.... or!! Eventually expand the contest to diff bio-regions- so people in diff climes and regions using what they’ve got to work with and successfully producing calories and nutrition... hmmm....)

    I’m here for it. 😄
     
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    paul wheaton wrote:Urine is allowed.  Poop is not.



    Does this mean that added nutrients have to come from compost/mineral fertizers/supplements or...? Especially, if there is a hope to show progress after ~5 years.

    Also, I would definitely like to try to garden along.
    We just bought a farm this past fall, the 2.5 acres here was used for conventional oat production. 2022 will be the first year growing on this farm with the same objective as your challenge.

    It would be most enjoyable, I feel, if I could follow along as Skandi Rogers suggested with 'grow along'.

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