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Posts: 77
Location: Cape Town
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Rene please draw the conclusion of your own observations. Climate change means the system is collapsing. Everybody I know is struggling, including the salaried supposedly safe and secure options. A trader cannit be richer than her market, so one of the new lifeskills I am learning is how to do more with less. How is reality going to affect your plans?
Adaptability is the heart of permaculture. Indeed Nathanael is right, the most important thing you have to teach may be how to survive under adverse conditions. Not how to carry out the original plan as if climate change was not there. I too would focus on food first, and decent shelter. Everything else is optional.  Except also medicinal plants - one of the obvious consequences of global warming that we seldom think of is how viruses and bacteria can multiply faster because of warmer moister conditions. Sounds to me like you should still be convalescing. Rest and meditation will do much towards a calmer state of mind so you can cope better.  Find the resources within you that you are looking for out there.
 
pollinator
Posts: 300
Location: La Mesa, Cundinamarca, Colombia
85
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s there any high value item that you could ship in dried form, to people who do care about quality ? I'm thinking it would have to be leaf or spice of some sort./quote]

Aloe vera, we can grow that too, effortless... And it's such asuful plant! Pigeon pea grows like mad in our climate... And yes there's more...

 
Rene Nijstad
pollinator
Posts: 300
Location: La Mesa, Cundinamarca, Colombia
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Thanks Natasha,

I think you're right. That also confirms my biggest fears... I believe we still have to find the way forward...
 
Natasha Abrahams
Posts: 77
Location: Cape Town
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Bettet to face the fears head on than to live in denial. Another new skill I am learning is to see possibilities where I used to be blinded by privilege.  You are going to be ok - and more fortunate than most
 
Posts: 9002
Location: Victoria British Columbia-Canada
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On the issue of moringa survival , I think it's best to plant branches and not seeds. I planted two branches about 10 days ago. I didn't know i was going to plant it  , until my future sister-in-law showed up with the branches that were cut from her employer's tree .They are starting to sprout new buds, so it appears that they are going to make it. My neighbor has 4 and he planted 4. It's one of the most common plants in the neighborhood where I'm living , so it appears to be well suited for this climate. The surprising thing is that most people don't eat it. This is the junk food capital of the world and people are more likely to have Doritos.
 
Rene Nijstad
pollinator
Posts: 300
Location: La Mesa, Cundinamarca, Colombia
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We prefer to grow from seed, I believe that gives the trees a taproot where from cuttings I'm not sure. In our wet-dry climate that's important.

The one moringa that lived has created good offspring. They germinate and survive just fine.
 
pollinator
Posts: 447
Location: Boudamasa, Chad
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The last few comments remind me of how easy it is to grow nutritious food in the tropics. I also grow moringa and pigeon pea--so EASILY! You have protein, starch, vitamins and minerals right there. And they're PERENNIAL--well, mostly. Pigeon pea can be iffy. But Lablab is another easy protein and if it has moisture it is perennial as well. It is a protein and a vegetable! Really, food is not hard to get.

I grow moringa from seed and from sticks. I lay the stick down on top of a hugel trench and it sprouts out the top. But I prefer to grow from seed. The seed sprout is more vigorous and ready to harvest in a few weeks. I agree with René that it likely has a better root system as well. Only the sprout is going to have a taproot. As it grows older its root form into tubers fairly near the surface. Most of my moringa I do not water. They will survive eight months without a drop of rain because of the moisture stored in the tubers. Once you have a couple mature trees you will have hundreds of seeds, so in just a few years you could be planting moringa forests.

It seems to me that if you want to end up making cash off your farm it's either going to be through paid courses or export of produce. I certainly don't expect my African village economy to be able to support my Western lifestyle. I imagine it's similar in other developing countries.
 
pollinator
Posts: 391
Location: NW Montana, USA
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I may have missed a few points, but my observation is that you're planning beyond your means, perhaps.  So, I mean, we have a goal and vision here as well.  We share a passion about climate change and people's poor habits and the toxic culture we're stuck in.  But you do need an attainable plan of action.  So, start small and eventually work up to big, even if big is the passionate end-goal.

I agree that the price tag of finishing the houses seem alarmingly high.  Do you have resourceful ways of sourcing second-hand construction materials and house stuffs?  We try to keep eyes and ears out for scrap construction materials, give-aways, and good used stoves and building materials.  I also agree that (utilities aside) a comfortable living space could be had for just a few hundred, and a luxurious one for a few grand; depending on your perspective.  Also, if the cost of utilities are that high to install/hook up, and you have multiple structures to consider, have you thought about going solar?  A $5,000 solar setup would be bigger than what we have now, which is 800~ watt charging system on a nice sized battery bank; we can run 3 freezers, the blender, the washing machine, the computer, the internet, and still be at 14.9 volts when the sun is out!  It ran us under $3k.  Trying to reduce your renovation cost from $5,000 to $2,000, for example, would not be so much about proving a point (although there is something to be said for doing so), but also because you don't HAVE $5,000, let alone $2,000, so it becomes a matter of necessity.  

I also wonder why an excavator is needed for livestock and growing?  If I read and remember your words correctly.  If it's not within your means to get that excavator up there, can you make due with what you have?  We have our livestock in some pretty shear draws, they have to work to get around!  Including the pigs!  We get out with the chainsaws and clear fenceline, pile slash, and thin the trees so the brush and ground cover can flourish.  We build simple structures for them out of wood taken right from the 'pastures' and the animals feed themselves on the vegetation and forage.  We take the old pastures they've been rotated off of, after they've cleared the underbrush and we've thinned the trees, and seed good pasture and ground cover so it will feed them even better the next time they come through.

We also have been planting orchards and crops just on the raw hillsides, utilizing small swales and natural features of the land to promote moisture retention and reduce our labor.   I realize we're in two very different environments. But reshaping the mountain is not imperative to our survival here.

Lastly, what is your target audience for rentals and such?  And your price bracket?  We resigned the idea of renting for money this year because, once we ran the numbers, the cost of overhead, taxes, and maintenance on our main rentable cabin is so high, we'd have to ask $1,000 a month just to make it worth while!   And that's not including any insurances.  No one is going to pay that, let alone even $500 a month to be here (which wouldn't even bring us $100/mo after overhead); there's no way for them to maintain that income stream unless they have a very niche, unique job working from home.  
We are, however, branching out and seeking folks to come stay for fair exchange.  Which could be cash or labor, and honestly we'd appreciate the labor more.  And the folks that we've been talking to are totally fine with staying in a lean-to, a tent, an unfinished, rustic structure, and living extremely simply.  Have you been searching for folks here on Permies and tapping into the right groups of people for work-trades?
 
Rene Nijstad
pollinator
Posts: 300
Location: La Mesa, Cundinamarca, Colombia
85
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Thanks Jen, lots of thoughts, very much appreciated!

The thing is that I think too much. Until I reach the end of the line of thoughts, because then all the pieces fall in place. Mostly that moment arrives with a new piece of information. That came in an email today.

Two weeks ago I did my first consultancy visit. Just an orientation, a walk over the land and a short indication of options. This potential client is exactly my wanted audience: pensioners who want to leave the farm in the best way possible to their kids and grandkids. But I always wondered if I would manage to make people truly interested. I think I can, but you just need to get it confirmed at least once... So this morning they let me know that they think they want to go ahead with it, if their kids and grandkids agree. They have a meeting this weekend to talk about it. Even if they don't, just the fact that they seriously consider it means enough. And this area is changing, from small farms into holiday area and with a lot of pensioners buying up land from farmers who don't see a future in farming anymore... This is going to work out!

I marked the thread as resolved! Thanks for letting me vent my frustrations!
 
Posts: 22
Location: Living Energy Farm, Louisa, VA
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So admire your perseverance and all the obstacles you have overcome -- I’m sure you will push through this as well, even though it’s taking longer than you hoped. I can certainly relate to how hard it is to be patient, start small and give the process the time it needs when there is a huge looming crisis. Grateful for all the words of wisdom and reminders in this thread addressing this.

It has taken ten years for Living Energy Farm to get where it is now, a thriving off-grid community (9 adults + 3 kids) with a comfortable home, growing and processing almost all of the food we eat year round, and our energy systems in place. Volunteers and interns (all work-trade) have been involved since the beginning, when it was just rudimentary camping on the land, and been hosting tours for several years, even though it was and continues to be very much a work-in-progress. Even with the initial funding and infrastructure building hurdles largely behind us, it is still a slow process to get the knowledge out there, share and empower folks to apply the technologies and solutions we’ve developed. I wonder if even the long-established and world renown permaculture sites struggle with how slowly the solutions they’ve found and demonstrated have taken hold, when such a dramatic shift is required in the way we live.

I guess the best we can do is remember that we can’t singlehandedly save the world, and the journey matters as much as the destination. The “speedbumps” can provide us an opportunity to look more closely and question our assumptions about what we need (and the means and resources required to meet our needs and preferences), to explore alternatives and find creative solutions, and to cultivate and appreciate the beauty, right where we are, along the path, and not just at the finish line that might forever elude us.

Since you are still in the beginning stages of setting up your house and homestead, I would encourage you, as other commenters have, to consider your energy needs and systems more closely. Especially given the financial cost to bring grid electricity to your home, and more importantly, the environmental cost -- since the grid is powered by fossil fuel extraction and other destructive sources like nuclear and even solar “farms” (a few years ago 100 acres of mature hardwood forest down the road from us was clear cut from us in the name of seeming noble “renewable energy”). The grid isn’t necessary in order to have electricity and internet -- and it doesn’t require a huge investment in PV panels and batteries either. We use a 2000 watt array to run the machines in our shop, the well pump, blowers for food and seed drying as well as space heating, grain mill, and sometimes solar electric cookers and a blender -- all “daylight drive” with the direct current (DC) electricity right off the PV panels, without an inverter or battery bank. We also have a daylight drive Sundanzer refrigerator. This means we only need a small 100 amp hour battery set (we use nickle iron, because they can last for decades and are non-toxic, unlike lead acid) for lighting and charging electronics. For internet, we use a “hotspot,” which we can charge easily with the NiFe battery sets, along with our phones and computers.

If you're interested in exploring this further, here’s a walk-through of our “daylight drive” energy systems: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N5Wk7inoIxI
and there is also more detailed info at http://livingenergyfarm.org and http://livingenergylights.com

I wish you the best of luck!
 
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