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manifesto- alcona county michigan homestead/farm  RSS feed

 
Rob Luna
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the exodus is about to begin. we are leaving southeast michigan, headed to alcona county.

please read this manifesto (which has been read many times by our friends, with almost no interest from them). then contact us. we want to be out of here this fall, by spring at the latest. we have the money.

I may be just one person in this great big world, which keeps getting smaller everyday, but I must use my 1/10th of a zillionth in nano-micro grams of weight in a progressive way for things I believe are right, as opposed to only looking after my own fortunes and live with a bad conscience…or lose any conscience-feeling altogether.

< February 4, 2013


Most all of the dysfunctions that we are experiencing today in our society and our world – economic instability, social breakdowns (now at home as well as abroad), violence & war, environmental degradation, toxic food in our stores – are all inevitable results from a society living with an economic system that totally disregards nature and is geared to concentrate money & power within the hands of the upper classes, while the rest of us accept willingly or unwillingly that this is just the way it is. Society took a wrong turn about 120 years ago and the robber barons are still in charge today, selling us the same illusion of a democracy that provides freedom of choice for all.

The society we live in today has put limitations on the earth’s carrying capacity and created limitations for personal growth that stifles our hearts, our creativity, our dreams and our resolve by keeping us on a never ending treadmill of debt. We struggle & waste valuable positive energy trying to pay off the mortgage, pay the doctor bills, pay our taxes, pay our ever-increasing insurance premiums, etc., etc. This drains our energy, our spirituality & our freedom while we continue to do our best and hope against hope that someday things will get better. Oh, but please Mr. Stock Market Man, don’t do anything wrong that may affect my individual or group retirement. And please Mr. Government Man, don’t do anything to my Social Security or my Medicare. So we are left running on a treadmill that continues, round and round in a never ending circle of fear and hope.

For the near future, business as usual will continue, while increasingly weird weather patterns and sporadic social breakdowns continue. The business-as-usual thinkers, bereft of any logical thought about the future they are leaving their children, will continue to have bizarre reactions, searching to blame someone or something for the increasing awareness of their own insecurity. Wall Street will continue to run unregulated as the “players” speculate on food commodity prices without any concern for the less fortunate in the world. The cold-hearted will continue to profit when they gamble to see if any food crop becomes so expensive that poorer nations can’t afford to import enough to feed their people. And they will profit again as people starve because a certain food crop becomes so cheap, that countries with more buying power will out-bid the poorest nations.

Many communities will continue to struggle to stay afloat with a depressed housing market, high unemployment rates, wages that will no longer reflect the cost of living and reduced tax revenues. School systems budgets are being slashed instead of being shored up, which usually results in the loss of music and art programs, so that they can keep a questionably needed sports program alive.

Some of us today may live with a sort of schizophrenia as we try to make sense of all this and attempt to reconcile our lives with what may lie ahead:
1st – on a personal level that we might have some control over.
2nd – on a societal level that we have little control over and could affect us on a personal level in very big ways.

Any hope for change: Living wages, secure retirement plans, healthcare for all, safe-organic food, a restructuring of Market Capitalism to some form of Commonwealth where people and communities create their own sustainable markets from the ground up, to finding logical solutions on how to live in a powered-down society as we reach the end of cheap oil – will require that enough people start acknowledging the problems, who will then begin to weave a new societal fabric that represents an earth-based and people-based way for us to live.
At present, despite many organizations, businesses and individuals that are pursuing a new way forward, there just aren’t enough people who recognize that we have a problem. And certainly there are plenty of those who will suggest that we really don’t have a problem and that it’s only a matter of time until we turn our economy around and happy days will be here again. But we must now and forever remember that it has been the business-as-usual thinkers that have led all of us towards this point in time.

Therefore we would like to propose an alternative way forward. In our vision, we turn to each other for the kind of security we will never find in our over-leveraged, under-valued homes. Or from a speculative stock market that continues to pillage its way from one market bubble to another and can wipe out our individual security or an entire nation’s economy in one 24 hour period. In our vision, with love leading the way and a sense that there must be a better way, that there must be a higher purpose, we look to our friends who may be on a similar path or are just plain struggling their way through life. Let us build a new community for ourselves. A tribal-family which can set the foundations for our own security; a tribal-family where we ground ourselves in the hands-on life of growing our own food; a tribal-family where we supply as much of our own energy needs as possible and reduce our footprint on Mother Earth by utilizing green energy technologies; a tribal-family that embraces and encourages individual talents based on an individuals heart-felt desires. This will in turn helps us find power, creativity and wisdom within ourselves that we may not have known existed or that has been kept from our natural expression.

Within this idea we will also be able to create our own holidays, traditions and ceremonies, instead of being an outsider or feeling a sense of obligation to participate in other peoples’ traditions who can’t acknowledge our own. This in turn allows us to talk with people who care about things that matter the most which we hold dear to our hearts, instead of being frustrated with people who repeatedly “don’t get it” or don’t seem to have the time or concern for something someone needs help with. And of course within the idea of shared concern and shared responsibilities, living in close proximity to one another, comes a sustained positive change. A sustained positive outlook which elevates everyone’s spirit to realize that they just might be more free than they’ve ever been, because they now have more time and/or money to do more of what they really want or have been called to do.

Free to paint, draw or write. Free to create music, a healthier lifestyle or a higher spiritual potential. Free to travel or just plain engage with nature more. Meal planning can be fun and expressive with more time to experiment with and create new recipe ideas. The joy of sharing food with those desiring this ideal will be something to celebrate daily, with year-round fresh vegetables, fruits, herbs, chicken, eggs, and possibly down the road, dairy and beef that we’ve raised ourselves. It will provide time for communal exercise, where together we keep everyone in better physical condition to provide those feel good emotions that elevate the spirit which can only lead to a reduction in medications and medical costs.

It should be said that we suffer no illusions we can become totally immune from the ill effects of the society we presently live with. However, we are looking to create a strong buffer against the madness that just doesn’t work anymore. A buffer where everyone is guaranteed a home or homes that are paid off, that they can live in for as long as they desire. We are looking at an abundant life with fewer bills and less worry within an intentional family that solves problems cooperatively and creates new ideas for sustaining this alternative life by tapping into each person’s talent and their heart-felt purpose. We are hoping to create a model of personal and earth-based sustainability that will transcend the years and could become an educational destination for younger generations.

This intentional community/farmstead could serve as an ongoing demonstration of another way to live and once established, become a learning center. Utilizing a website & blog, we communicate what we are doing with crop reports & project updates. At some point we could then invite those who would pay for a workshop or just a weekend retreat, and offer internships where younger folks seeking experience before they create their own farmstead can come to learn and help to expand and maintain what we’ve already created. The farmstead could also actively seek younger pioneers with limited resources to become permanent resident homesteaders.

Our website could also post our larger intention of expanding this community idea around the area we live. It can serve as a portal that provides listings of properties for sale, where to receive real estate advice and land/farm grant information for those seeking to create a similar lifestyle. It could serve as a way to advertise upcoming area events and businesses that are in line with our larger sense of purpose.

Exploring just a few ideas for income:

CSA > The usual model that could include delivery to members, restaurants, co-op/food buying clubs.

Farm Extras > Possibilities are endless based on desire, logical return on investment and an evolutionary process that suggests the timing is right where we could add things like: Spring vegetable and flower starts, cut flowers and dried herbs, farm-made salsa/jam/jelly and possibly honey or even maple syrup, animal boarding and grazing, baby goats, chicks and puppies, goat stud services and depending on location, perhaps a petting zoo.

A Gourmet Homesteaders Cookbook > Utilizing permaculture’s edible perennials, mixed with the usual and unusual annual vegetables, resources for obtaining perennial vegetables, fruits and herbs, a chapter on how to establish ultra- low maintenance perennial gardens, with different models on how to save money with space available.
(There is nothing like this available as of yet) Other writing opportunities > more cookbooks, poetry, Freelance articles, or anything that strikes an individuals’ fancy.

Garden Design & setup services > Homeowners, farm-to-school garden planning & education, entire community food security garden systems, etc.

Useful craft items & garden supplies > jewelry, birdhouses & birdfeeders, tools. Use our imagination here!

Health & Healing Retreat, future income from Holistic Orchard, firewood sales, Great Lakes Seed Company, Winter Greenhouse demonstrations, possible Earthship demonstrations, farm-to-school vegetables, bed & breakfast. Festivals for planting, harvesting, music& art, school-to-farm, etc.

A Mission Concept

“An interdependent cooperative grouping of aligned humans, animals, plants, trees, earth energies & benevolent multidimensional beings who together comprise a secure, sensitive, loving & sustainable ecosystem for all who would enter this sacred circle of earth-life.”

Bringing together those that can feel the energy of this idea is like calling forth a personal transition, as opposed to attempting to transition a decaying society. It may be easy to say that our suggesting society is in a state of decay is a little harsh. But for those that can see the vast web of life we now reside in as having multiple strands of intertwined problems that refuse to complement our earth energy and the natural human condition, it may be easier to see how to build a new web of life that is as old as the earth itself. The ideas here only scratch the surface of possibilities. We feel rejuvenated and motivated at the prospect of what could be.

For a broader perspective we would like to suggest that everyone go to Youtube and view:
* A Whole Village, Episodes 1-6
* And anything on the “Peak Moment Channel”
Then we could all sit down and discuss things like: How much do you value the life you’re living today? What would you be doing if money wasn’t an issue? What 3 things would you like to change about your life or see as an issue on the horizon that you perceive as being eventually solvable on your own? What issues could be easier solved by sharing with a family/tribe/community of people that with love say: “Why not, we can solve this.”?
 
Travis Schultz
pollinator
Posts: 303
Location: South East Michigan Zone 6
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Do not have time to watch videos right now sorry, but I am from southeast mi. I am a biointensive farmer who owns a small csa. I have just finished my tiny home and am finishing a successful first year at a larger scale garden. I want to move to alcona. My family owns 100 acres of hardwoods in alcona, though an intentional community is not on the table anytime soon. PM me if you want, I would love to discuss in detail your plans.
 
Laura Bee
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Location: CA Zone 10b
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I'm pumped to see several threads about people looking to homestead in MI the last week or so. I'm from central MI, living in CA, and feel responsibility to move where water isn't chronically over-harvested. I have lots of family in MI and I know how things grow there, so it's one logical choice.

High on my selection criteria are progressive community and as-moderate-as-possible USDA zone. I hadn't scouted Alcona County. I'd love to hear what draws homesteaders there.

I should also say there were less than 6 words in your manifest I didn't resonate with. Most of the friends I see day-to-day wouldn't get it, either. Hoping someday to live in closer proximity with those that do. DH is a hermit, and I'm a GDI, so I don't know if IC is for us, but we like having (and being) good neighbors.


(edited for clarity, then to say why I edited)
 
Karen Crane
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Everything yu say sounds good and I would love to live like that.
Why MI? Why want to be involved with winter?
Rather be somewhere we can grow food all year and not freeze ourselves or plants.
How do you resolve those with not much money? Low income?
Are of a minority? Or are LGBT? No one wants to talk about those issues?
Would not want to live around bigots and rednecks ( sorry if that is offensive).
Would like to hear more about those problems.
Want to MOVE! Any thoughts?
 
Travis Schultz
pollinator
Posts: 303
Location: South East Michigan Zone 6
25
chicken dog fish food preservation hunting tiny house
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Karen Crane wrote:Everything yu say sounds good and I would love to live like that.
Why MI? Why want to be involved with winter?
Rather be somewhere we can grow food all year and not freeze ourselves or plants.
How do you resolve those with not much money? Low income?
Are of a minority? Or are LGBT? No one wants to talk about those issues?
Would not want to live around bigots and rednecks ( sorry if that is offensive).
Would like to hear more about those problems.
Want to MOVE! Any thoughts?



To help me understand better Karen, are you assuming Northern MI is full of rednecks and bigots? Or is it just how you view MI in general? Some that grew up in it are very fond of winter, and you do not need a full growing season to grow enough food to last all winter, with out supplemental heat we can grow some greens all year round. Root Cellaring, fermentation, drying.

My favorite part of winter is that when my spring rushes into summer and then into fall, it suddenly crashes to a hault with the first snow, life slows down, and I then have 3 months to learn all the things I did not have time for in the summer. I get to cozy up to a fire, put on warm cloths, and snuggle comfortably with my lady. And right when I am tired of the cold and snow, the days lengthen, and warm. The birds that left us in the fall come back to signify spring is finally here. Ones trash can be anothers treasure, it just depends on what each of us like.

In a way, you are being a climate bigot, Karen, thought I would point that out. At least THIS redneck can understand why people like the warm
 
Rob Luna
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First to Laura Bee: Perhaps I should have wrote more on the variable concepts of an "intentional community." In the first sense, most folks think of an intentional community as a group of folks living on one chunk of land. Depending on how many people have joined on, this could merely be a large homestead with many hands working for the good of this, shall we say, intentional homestead. This is of course a well intended concept and many people will resonate with this type living/working arrangement. However, when some folks think about community and what is so intentional about it, they may resonate with the idea that a community of well intended people could have a major impact on the larger community around them. I would like to suggest that the future almost commands us to create change in whatever form we desire.

For me personally i could work with either group, but prefer a bit of the "having (and being) good neighbors." Almost everybody I know requires some level of personal space & personal solitude. This leads us easily to the idea that if we see the future for what it is, and believe in our hearts that we can find a better way, outreach to the larger community provides the change we seek personally and doesn't automatically squeeze us into a one size fits all setting. And isn't that really what it's all about? I mean how can we honestly hope to live with any sized-group of like-minded people and expect to insulate ourselves from those in the larger community around where we're living that can't wrap their heads around the majority of ideas discussed here at permies? It is my true hope that as more and more people begin to accept that we are entering the post-petroleum era, we can help with the transition for others a little more gracefully and create a much larger community.

This takes me to Karen Crane: Why Michigan? Transition to a more sustainable future requires as many hands-on-deck as possible. and in as many places as possible. i will admit that i may personally prefer Hawaii or the Virgin Islands for year-round perfect weather for everything. Or Arkansas for a more temperate mainland environment. But then that would lead us into a discussion about how many rednecks & bigots might be living in Arkansas. Or how Monsanto and the radiation from Japan is taking over Hawaii. It is interesting to note that many of the more successful intentional community projects, either individual group efforts or larger Transition Town efforts, in North America seem to be in the northern climate regions. British Columbia, Washington & Oregon. Or the Toronto, Maine & Vermont area. Why Michigan, which is second right behind California for the diversity of crops that can be grown, hasn't emerged as a stronger transition to the future region is beyond me. It should also be said that Michigan, particularly the Alcona County area, has some high quality soil, low prices on land, some rather relaxed zoning and the area in general presents itself ideally as almost begging for change.

And the winter thing? Orland Harding has hit the nail squarely on the head. Some people love winter and resonate strongly with the changing of the seasons. Living through winter reminds of how fragile homo sapiens really are. Oh but then, the transition from winter to spring is almost sublime. While i may at times get a little bored and impatient with winter, the arrival of the gradually warming weather is something special for some folks. It feels like a fresh start or a kick in the pants that signals a renewal of the spirit that i may not feel living in Hawaii. Additionally, you may be surprised to see how many rotations of many vegetables can actually be grown under hoops using no heat. Combine that with a root cellar, canning and dehydrating and you most likely will be eating way better than those at the grocery store during winter.

Speaking to the low money, low income part. That is an issue for too many people that will take a great effort to resolve. Perhaps that is one primary reason why so many people are drawn to the idea of intentional communities. Everyone has talents that are useful in a low income situation. Many may have talents that are yet to be discovered. And it appears that most folks here at permies have something that is most important: Big-Time Desire! Continuing these types of conversations is the first step to putting a group of individuals together that uses whatever each individual can bring to the table. But again i stress that these conversations must continue. Keep the thread alive and share with as many people as possible. These issues can be resolved eventually with an open mind.

Also, who's not talking about being a minority or being from the LGBT community? You started that portion of the conversation, so let's keep it going too.





 
Laura Bee
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Rob, thank you for your thoughtful reply. I like your thinking about community.

The more years go by, the more I reminisce about cold, snowy winters. Year-round food production in the San Francisco Bay Area gets to be a drag after awhile. There is no rest. I would like easier rhythms, and longer days in the summer.

I'm used to the gorgeous loam of the Prairie Farm in Saginaw County. I looked at properties in Alcona County on realtor.com. Excellent values, but the soil looks sandy. I suppose I could learn to work with that. We have heavy clay soil here that turns near hard as rock in the summer.

I'll be watching here for news about how well you're transplanting.

Best wishes.
 
Rob Luna
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Hi Laura and anyone that has an interest. Made the move to Alcona County, 20 acres,an open pallete of possibilities come spring. Yes there is plenty of sandy soil types to be had here. However,we bought something a little more workable,that is in an area wish the Amish working their lands and other parcels very reasonably priced. We will write about our progress and perhaps post land opportunities in the area."peace in transition." Rob & Leah
 
Laura Bee
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Rob, I'm glad you and Leah are on your land now. It looks like you're having an average February weather-wise; that's a boon for your first winter.

I didn't mention it before, but I appreciate the videos you recommended. Watching them keeps me hungry for community.

I'm looking forward to hearing about your progress, and land for sale. Best of luck this year.

Laura
 
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