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Are folks using the Apios Institute website?

 
Eric Toensmeier
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A few of us have been working hard for the last four years on www.apiosinstitute.org, a place for people to share personal experience with useful plants, polycultures, and forest gardens. Some people seem to have been turned off by it costing a whole $2 per month, though anyone can joining for free if they pledge to post some content. We'll also soon be setting it up for five free page views at a time for non-members. None of us are paid a cent, the $ all goes to keep the website up and develop new tools on the site.

What I'm most excited about is seeing good polycultures posted and then replicating them in gardens in different soils and regions, to test them out. For example, sunchoke with hog peanut is an awesome polyculture I'd love lots of people to try and report on.

We get lots of views but not many folks post. I'm wondering a) is it helpful just to read and b) is the technical issue of posting too much of a barrier?

I read recent posts on Apios every day and have posted over 60 polycultures and maybe 200 species. We have some other hardcore folks but never enough.
 
Paulo Bessa
pollinator
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Location: Portugal (zone 9) and Iceland (zone 5)
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Sounds a good idea and I will join.

I am very interested in learning but so far have little experience with guilds, so I can only post little.

Eric, another great idea would be to start a database on how edible (how tasty, how much yield, which parts) is each of these perennials, plus how to prepare them (raw, cooking....); and especially also how to source them (seeds, cuttings).

A database of 1) seed sources, 2) how to grow, 3) how to eat, 4) possible guilds.
 
Ed Colmar
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Hi Eric.

I'm a big fan of your work, and I own both volumes of Edible Forest Gardens.

I can certainly understand wanting to charge a small monthly fee for an online service. For certain things that users feel has value, this can work.

In order to pay your hosting bills, ads might be better.

Personally I am much more of a fan of openness and sharing. Closed proprietary websites (and closed information in general) are not appropriate technology.

Users will bypass closed systems, and will prefer open ones with more flexible licenses, like practical plants or plant-life.

The more open you can be with information the more widespread and pervasive your tools will become.

Read The Cathedral and the Bazaar for some inspiration.

Hope this helps.
 
Amit Enventres
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Location: Ohio, USA
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fish food preservation forest garden
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Hi, sounds like an interesting idea, but I agree with Ed. I'd mush rather work with free media. I also agree with Paulo on the database titles, though I'd also like to add that scientific names are invaluable. It's too easy to mix up plants that use the same common name. Also, and maybe this is where you can get some $$, a place to locate these strange seeds.

Thanks for asking!
 
Xisca Nicolas
pollinator
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Location: La Palma (Canary island) Zone 11
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Price is a difficult topic, thanks Eric for opening the subject so openly.

I had a shock only because it was named "wiki", and for me, a wiki could not be but free.
Then, there are many things we expect cheap or free, but nothing is free. We always pay for free things in any other way!

I did not see how it was possible to join for free.
I made a polyculture last year that worked fine, but I cannot share it on practical plant because it is not proven.
Can I share it in your apios?

Then, the problem is that not enough persons work for free for the community.
It is not so fair if few persons do the work for the others who just wait for the result...

Then, could some of the problems be solved by good design BEFORE?
why people do not participate?
why people make their own project instead of joining existing project?
How is it possible to share the work?
How is it possible to share the usefulness between all website ?
(instead of wanting to put all in one site)

Is it possible, when you work at your best, and when you "own" some idea/project, is it possible to welcome what is new and thus unusual?
(this problem is proved for humans, as a barrier for change as long as one has not made personal what comes from outside)
 
Eric Toensmeier
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All good questions.

You can post plants polycultures on apios that are only designed but not yet planted, or that are recently planted, or that are wild associations that you observed, or that you saw at someone's else's house or farm. We wanted people who don't have a garden to be able to contribute.

Yes, wiki is not really the right term for what we do, because we want to capture people's individual experience not blend it together into a consensus. We are working to get a wiki overview portion at the top of every screen, and also get the data from Edible Forest Gardens plant matrix up there too.

To join for free select the "work trade" option.

We have our first advertiser going up soon, and would love to get seed companies and nurseries to sponsor, and link to species they sell. So far no positive responses. Seems to me like it would be a no-brainer for them. Perhaps now that pages will soon be viewable by anybody and searchable on google that will change.

Eric
 
Isaac Hill
gardener
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Location: Beaver County, Pennsylvania (~ zone 6)
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Signing up right now! Looks like a wonderful project and I hope to be an active participant in it!

EDIT: I can't seem to find the "work study" selection... I would pay but I don't have much money and I really am going to contribute as much as I can to this project.
 
Eric Toensmeier
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Hi Isaac, I know we have had people do it successfully but I don't know how. Can you contact angelini.mark (at) gmail.com, he is our technie board member and should be able to help you. I'll also check in with them and post results here. Eric
 
Isaac Hill
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Thank you, Eric, and BTW I got mad respect for you. I can tell how much you love those plants in your vids.
 
Tina Nixon
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Location: Hunterdon, NJ (zone 6a)
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I decided to join & the wiki looks great. I really like how the plants/forest gardens/polycultures are linked.

(This is my first post on permies.com - I think my prime directive to lurk was overridden by the wish to thank you for all the info you're sharing.)

Thanks!
Tina

I need to get myself over to the Intro thread now!
 
Eric Toensmeier
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I talked to the techie on our board and he's going to put up a more clear process for becoming a work trade member on Apios. In the meantime if anybody wants to get on their as a work trader just send me an e-mail at toensmeier@gmail.com and I'll get you in.

Also thanks for saying those nice things! I do really love plants and permaculture a lot and I'm excited to use the wiki as a place to share them.
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