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scott romack
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Community?

https://www.pinterest.com/pin/234187249347383997/

This is not something I really want to post on fb but, I don’t know where else I can reach any like minded people.
I have been for years interested in starting (or joining) a christian based agrarian community whose goal is to be a home base for agricultural missions at home and abroad.
This would NOT be a commune nor a dictatorship but a voluntary association of free property owners (insomuch as we can own property in the world today) all with equal say in all big decisions. That does not mean there will not be leadership but there will be as flat an organization of equals as possible with some temporary areas of leadership/servantship..

Also this would NOT be a cult. That means - the members may fellowship in a religious way but that would NOT be mandatory.
Been there done that, it does NOT work well.
Even the deist founders of america admitted ‘There will be found (in the words of Jesus) remaining the most sublime and benevolent code of morals which has ever been offered to man..’ If you want to debate that point, this message is not for you. I’m not interested at this time.

A brief list of benefits to community members of different levels and society in general would be;
A multitude of counselors

A more fulfilling simple but, not solitary life closer to nature
More control over your food supply
Leave ‘the system’ by which slavery and animal torture ARE being used today
(eating humanly raised animals is not wrong btw..)
Teach the next generation self sufficiency but also to help fellow man
Sharing equipment/work (every man doesn’t need his own tractor for ex.)
Someone there if a tree falls on you
Enough voices for your campfire singing
One micro-nation directly under God
Stabilize food systems, energy systems, and thereby political systems
…?

I do not consider myself to be any sort of genius by any means but, I have studied the subject quite a bit and I do believe that a small(wish) group of people working together with a long term vision could produce a great amount of wealth and well being, fulfilling both the great commission and the ‘golden rule’ while having a great time in the process.
Please contact me at scott@romack.net with any ideas or suggestions. Else, carry on..



 
Angelica Harris
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I think that this is a really good idea. Where are you thinking of starting this community? I recently attended the Beyond Off Grid Summit, are you aware of Michael Bunker? Your idea makes me think a bit of how he lives now in his community in Texas, and it works well for them! So I don't see why it wouldn't somewhere else.
 
Alder Burns
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Two places I would recommend you checking out....Koinonia Partners near Americus GA. and ECHO near Ft. Myers FL. Both are unashamedly Christian, both are progressive, and both "do" permaculture.
 
Angelica Harris
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I have had the privilege of visiting Koinonia before, but that was about 6 years ago, so it would be nice to make a trip back and see how it has developed since then. As for ECHO I had never heard of it until now and I definitely will look it up to see what it's all about. I'm very interested in community building. People working together, and looking out for each others' well being is a beautiful thing. I think it should be more of the rule and not the exception.
 
scott romack
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Angelica Harris wrote:I think that this is a really good idea. Where are you thinking of starting this community? I recently attended the Beyond Off Grid Summit, are you aware of Michael Bunker? Your idea makes me think a bit of how he lives now in his community in Texas, and it works well for them! So I don't see why it wouldn't somewhere else.


I do know Michael Bunker. I have even visited his place and may talk to him.. I will also check out the other places that have been mentioned. Thanks for the feedback.
 
Natalie Bee
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Are there any further developments on a Christian permaculture community? I am very interested in finding other permaculture-minded Christians. It's good to do this kind of work with others!
 
allen lumley
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Natalie Ballinger : Assuming that you already know about WWoofers, which is mostly helpers, workers and internships, (separate Forum Topic here ) You might also

want to look into HelpX which is very similar ! ////// Link Below :

https://www.helpx.net


While My wife Martha and I have not personally used HelpX it has come highly recommended by people I trust, who had successful and enjoyable learning experiences!

For the Good of the Crafts ! Big AL


 
scott romack
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To answer some questions and give status update.

The location is TBD which is open to input but.
When I talk to people the first question they ask is 'do you have land?'
And I understand that so, I may go ahead and pick a starting place..

The farm is supposed to be a 'nest' an incubator (seed bank, tree nursery, breeding stock...) and a pattern that can and will be replicated anywhere in the world.

From talking to folks from different communities I already see the wisdom of following biblical (and other ancient) patterns.
Ex. I found a eco village nearby that looked good until I asked where are the cattle going? The reply was no mammals other than cats and dogs?
Doesn't permaculture mimic nature? Aren't mammals part of nature?
And more importantly are there not mammals (sheep for example) that will die without human intervention??
Answer; yes, there are many!

Also, Many communities are more than happy to let you come and work your butt off with no real steak in the ground aka. personal property.
I want to have a community of landowners with an adjacent shared field/forrest system for rotational grazing.
I want to own my land and I want you to own yours!
I am really praying that someone out there knows an old farmer that would rather donate his land to be forever a farm instead of sliced up or turned into a walmart but, I can't rely on that..

Anyway, I am working overtime to earn extra money to buy the first piece of land cash.
And get some trees in and boots on the ground.

My life goal is to plant one million trees and, I don't believe for a second that I can do it alone.

Please join with me even if it's only in your prayers.

 
Angelica Harris
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A million trees is amazing and a huge number. I think it's really great that you want to allow people to have their own stakes in the property. How much land are you considering the entire project would turn out to be? I'd be interested in seeing what your plans are. Have you made a list? For example, what animals you want to have, or what types of plants you want to plant, etc.
 
scott romack
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Twenty to forty acres is standard and enough to start with but, I would love to have some co-investors in up front because the price per acre goes down with larger parcels.
I would love to have > 40..

I have a list somewhere but can't seem to find it. But here's the 'short' list,



Animals = all helpful productive animals, traditional and otherwise. Starting near the bottom

Earthworms(compost,animal feed,tillage),
BSF(compost,animal feed,waste removal),

Rabbits(fir, dogfood), chickens(eggs, meat, fertilizer, bug control, tillage),
ducks/geese(eggs, meat, fertilizer, bug control, weed control)
turkeys(meat, fertilizer)
guineas(eggs, meat, fertilizer, bug control, predator alarm),

Sheep(wool, milk-yes milk, meat, fertilizer),
Goats(skins, milk, meat, fertilizer, tree trimming),
maybe deer?

Mules/donkeys(draft animals, livestock guardian, manure, dog food - sorry pita),
horses(transport, hair, dog-food, manure),
CATTLE!(i love baby cows, milk, meat, manure),

Dogs(awesome, livestock guards, hunting),
cats(worthless but cute, mice)



Vegetables = all helpful productive vegetables, native first and appropriate non-natives. Starting near the bottom

TODO:Trees(fruit, fertilizer, nuts, bark, leaves, medicine, microclimate, timber)
TODO: perennial veg()
TODO: annual veg()



Minerals = Just to complete the list; water, soil, stone
 
Dan Grubbs
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closely following
 
J K Johnson
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Good to see you on this thread Dan.

You might contact Nicholas Burtner. He has his permaculture business in the Dallas area and has started helping orphans and others overseas. He might have some ideas or insights. His site is http://schoolofpermaculture.com/. I got to spend some time with him in Haiti recently. Great guy.

I'd be game to do something, but it's a tough sell to get started. Everyone has their favorite locations. Folks have ideas about what they want to do. Some can afford huge acreage while others only a postage stamp. I was in discussion with a couple of folks about doing something similar in Chile. People get excited, but then aren't ready to follow through.

It seems like the best track might be to get just a few folks with enough funds to buy a decent piece of land, then offer portions for sale to others who might be interested, but are too timid to pull the trigger before the land is settled.

Love the idea. I'll keep my eyes on it.
 
scott romack
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@J K Johnson

Exactly,

I have been waiting to do this for longer than I care to admit.
I'm looking to get 'whatever I can afford' in the next year or so..

I really don't care where I go provided good water and some sort of landscape.
The main contenders are east tx, nashville area and, missouri (we spent 6 mo there where we learned about the dictator model of community) so not as excited about mo as I once was but...

Thanks for all the feedback. I was really expecting the crickets chirping sound I usually get!
 
scott romack
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I appreciate everyone's interest and input,

I am a very good hi-level guy but sometimes have to force myself to dig into the details.
I'm currently re-reading my mountain of books on the subject but here are some questions;

Q1 What is the minimal size of a 70-80% self sufficient community? (because in a pinch 70% can stretch..)

Q2 What are the least possible list of specializations? ex. blacksmith, potter, tanner...

Q3 What is the smallest piece of land that would comfortably accommodate the above list of awesome folks and, if possible allow for future growth?

With the stated goal of getting back to almost 100% human/animal power.

Q4 What machines will be used to kick start the community?

Q5 Of that list what machines will be owned vs. rented?

Of the owned machines, one person will buy the piece of equipment and loan it out to other community members under his supervision with the agreement that other community members will share their equipment under their supervision.
Community without communism, Sharing but with personal responsibility.

Q6 What other inputs will be needed to kick start the community? ex. seeds, minerals, rootstocks, animals..
 
Dan Grubbs
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Here are some random thoughts. Certainly not complete and not vetted.

Q1 – Not to be snarky, but the minimum size of a nearly self-sufficient community is two. There were pioneer and farming couples that lived on their own and were successful. Now, did they have much? No. But, I’m not sure we can define a minimum size. There are just too many variables because a lot depends on your “community” model and to what level of autonomy there is, etc. But to get at your question and make several assumptions, I’d think that 5-6 farming families with various skill sets would do nicely.

Q2 – Assuming you mean aside from farming, specialized skills in one person is not a good idea because they can’t carry their weight in the community or earn a living from a small community. The rise of specialized services comes about more organically as need arises or economic opportunity arises. You won’t need a miller unless there is a need, but how much need will it take for a miller to be able to make a living? When I look at the early communities as Americans migrated west, there was need for supplies (mercantile) and fabrication/repair of needed farming equipment (farrier/blacksmith). But, those initial village communities didn’t start with those. They grew organically as the scale of need grew. If you’re going to farm with draft animals, then someone with farrier skills will be needed. I’d actually start with ensuring one specialization needed from the start is a very good designer to ensure that the landscape itself was planned and maintained properly. However, many of these specialties can be maintained by the farmers themselves and not require a specialist until there is such scale as to make it lucrative for the specialist.

Q3 – I still like the notion of a 40-acre parcel for each family. However, that far exceeds the minimum required for sustainable living. If designed and managed properly, I think a 5-acre allotment to each family would be more than enough to make a very vibrant and diverse and productive community. Regarding the goal to use draft animals for operations, I would suggest to use oxen (of whatever breed) instead of horses. I like the potential of stacked functions with oxen when compared to horses. Oxen can still give you milk and eventually meat that is socially acceptable in this country. I believe their grazing and containment options are better than horses. Though oxen that are used on rough terrain and heavy loads a lot should be shod, if they are working light loads on sod, they don’t need to be shod, according to an oxen expert I consulted.

Q4 – If you mean implements that can be drafted with animals, I suggest a roller crimper and seed drill that can accommodate a wide variety/sizes of seeds and seed mixes. Other items I’d want in the community are a grain mill, sorghum press, cider press, saw mill, earthworks machine likely rented.

Q5 – Almost all of these can be community owned or individually owned depending on the community model and personalities involved.

Q6 – Structure material and items for food supply. Structure material - could be baled hay, could be cob, could be lumber, could be stone, could be plant leaves. Much of this depends on the resources at hand, the climate and location of the community and the community’s goals and philosophy. Food supply - you could start out as hunter/gatherers and work to becoming more agrarian in nature. If not, then you’ll need to bring in your seed/starter stock and appropriate hand/farming tools.

 
scott romack
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I think I am giving a deadline for myself,
Whatever I can get by the end of 2016 will be the 'nest' farm..
 
scott romack
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I like all your answers..


Dan Grubbs wrote:Here are some random thoughts. Certainly not complete and not vetted.

Q2 – Assuming you mean aside from farming, specialized skills in one person is not a good idea because they can’t carry their weight in the community or earn a living from a small community. The rise of specialized services comes about more organically as need arises or economic opportunity arises. You won’t need a miller unless there is a need, but how much need will it take for a miller to be able to make a living? When I look at the early communities as Americans migrated west, there was need for supplies (mercantile) and fabrication/repair of needed farming equipment (farrier/blacksmith). But, those initial village communities didn’t start with those. They grew organically as the scale of need grew. If you’re going to farm with draft animals, then someone with farrier skills will be needed. I’d actually start with ensuring one specialization needed from the start is a very good designer to ensure that the landscape itself was planned and maintained properly. However, many of these specialties can be maintained by the farmers themselves and not require a specialist until there is such scale as to make it lucrative for the specialist.



I mean specializations on top of basic farming stuff. for example I like pottery so I don't expect everyone to be into that..

It is very difficult for one person to do all the different things in a purely DIY world so some specialization will happen.
This stuff would just be traded for other stuff..


* Also note that in the first stages we will need outside sources of money but looking way down the road I would love these little farms to grow into townships with 80% of 'stuff' sourced and traded locally.

 
scott romack
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Trees,

I am preparing to start collecting tree rootstocks/seeds for the community..
For fruit trees I will order some from Starks Bros. (my friend tells we their grafts are patented but idn)
I found this guy on craigslist => http://lawrence.craigslist.org/grd/5345810524.html but havn't contacted him..
This guy => http://ecofarming.org/permaculture/sweetacorn/ is going to donate sweet acorns..!
Some will be gathered from the wild..
Other sources??
 
scott romack
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Please take a moment to look at FLWs 'Broadacre CIty' https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Broadacre_City

This concept has always stuck in my mind. Just add more trees...
 
Lauren Arledge
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This is a really cool thread. I'm interested in how everything works out. I don't have a lot of experience or knowledge... I wwoofed at a family's developing orchard, and helped to work on a cob house. I'm in East TX working on my teaching degree so I can work to create my own paradise on my time off, but sharing paradise with people is even better. How does the saying go... when you have more build a longer table not a higher fence?
 
Dan Grubbs
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Trees -
Be sure to contact your state nursery to find out what kind of retail/wholesale they may offer. Our nursery here in Missouri does a great job and offers bare root trees (saplings) at a very affordable rate. When I ordered in bulk, I got my per-tree cost down to about $0.80. For more options, I also recommend talking to Akiva at Twisted Tree Farm ( http://www.twisted-tree.net/ ). Akiva has a great set up and he is starting trees and harvesting seed in the same kind of context most of us are going to plant them in.

 
scott romack
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Dan Grubbs wrote:Trees -
Be sure to contact your state nursery to find out what kind of retail/wholesale they may offer. Our nursery here in Missouri does a great job and offers bare root trees (saplings) at a very affordable rate. When I ordered in bulk, I got my per-tree cost down to about $0.80. For more options, I also recommend talking to Akiva at Twisted Tree Farm ( http://www.twisted-tree.net/ ). Akiva has a great set up and he is starting trees and harvesting seed in the same kind of context most of us are going to plant them in.



That is awesome, Thanks!
 
Nancy Morris
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Hi! I'm new to this site. I'm looking to move off grid in a Christian community. I've been looking at NW Arkansas for property. I don't have any experience in this area, but I'm very excited about permaculture, living off the land, etc. I'm 53 with two of my children that want to come with. They're 22 and 19. We're ready to learn and work. I am debt free, ready to sell my home and move on. Have you all selected any property yet?
 
scott romack
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Welcome!
We are still in the planning stages and most of the interested parties are in the Kansas City, MO area but North Arkansas is not out of the question however: the thinking is to stay somewhat near a city as some of us will have to ween ourselves off income from city jobs. My personal deadline is at the end of next year buy what I can be it just 5 acres. The ideal is 5 - 10 families on 50 - 100 acres. I will set up a regular call where we can all bounce ideas and push this thing forward. Does one, one hour call a month sound ok?
 
Peter Constantian
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Apartment Permie here currently applying to divinity school. I'm hoping to study with Norman Wirzba and Ellen Davis at Duke Divinity School. Both personal friends of Wendell Berry, check out their books:

http://www.amazon.com/dp/0521732239/ref=cm_sw_r_tw_dp_nkhGwb1HFQBHT
http://www.amazon.com/dp/080109593X/ref=cm_sw_r_tw_dp_PlhGwb0GCYGPY

I'm currently reading the book on the second link. In it, Wirzba explains how neighborliness and the command to love one's neighbor are most recognizably demonstrated through skills like farming, woodworking, machine maintenance, and other skills necessary for agrarian communities. Furthermore, the more we know where our food comes from (ideally by knowing how to produce it ourselves), the more we feel secure and this increases both our capacity and our inclination to hospitality: welcoming in the refugee, caring for the orphan and widow, etc.

I'm happy to see that mainline protestants are seeing this and supporting new kinds of ministry. Check out this New York Times article for three good examples:

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/09/05/us/young-methodists-plant-churches-with-environmental-gospel.html?_r=0


 
scott romack
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Awesome!

Any friend of Wendell Berry is a friend of mine.

Welcome..
 
Deshe Benjamin
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Has anyone here heard about the Twelve Tribes?
 
scott romack
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I have run across the twelve tribes and they may have much to teach us but, I don't believe in communism. If you read carefully the book of acts you will see even in the most 'communist' book in the bible there was still personal property. Ananias and Sapphira were judged for lying about part of their personal possessions that they wished to hold back (after promising it). Acts 5:4 "Whiles it remained, was it not thine own? and after it was sold, was it not in thine own power?"
It is both demotivational and unscriptural to have all property in 'common'. And I would also wonder who really owns this property? We do however strongly recommend voluntary sharing of resources, equipment and work. We are looking for the best of both worlds, voluntary unity and autonomy working together with God's design.
 
Martin von Oadien
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Hi,

its not so far away from our concept, I think.
 
S Bengi
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I love your IC idea. Everyone with qt least enough land to grow all there plant food+honey+aquapnics+chickens on 1 acres. Another 1 acre for dwarf milking goat. And maybe another 1acre for firewood.
 
scott romack
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@Martin

Hello, Google is having trouble translating your page but from the pics it looks amazing.
Edit => If you go here you can have Google translate it.. http://oadien.de/jg/

@S Bengi

Yes, a small homestead area for each person is plenty provided a larger shared Mob grazing setup. The last property I was on backed up to national forest which was great for many reasons..

Welcome all..
 
Dan Grubbs
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Some of you are already aware. We started a Christian Agrarian group on Facebook.
https://www.facebook.com/groups/989094311154225/

If I had to define things a bit, the group doesn't hold a liberal definition of "Christian" so the discussion there is going to be scripture based, edifying or glorifying to God in the context of agrarian pursuits.
 
scott romack
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Hey guys, Just an update to keep this thread alive,

I am concerned with many happenings in the news but what can we do but continue and in the end just trust in God.

I have invested in a house in Texas to live in (near work) and in a few months flip for a profit.
I am however aware that our monetary system hangs by a thread so if you have faith and are so inclined pray that all goes according to the plan.

The money is intended to go towards the buying of the land for the nest farm.
How much money I can raise will determine how big the initial farm is and Co-investors are more than welcome!!

We are still here and alive so there is still time...
God Bless and happy new year!
 
Angelica Harris
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Location: Statesboro, GA
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I'm really glad that I checked back into this thread. I wouldn't have known about the facebook page otherwise. I hope everything is going well in Texas for you, Scott. Don't forget to keep us updated with everything.

I can't wait to see how this community grows, as for me I plan to get my hands dirty with gardening in the mean time. Finally have a place nearby where I can do some food growing.
 
scott romack
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I am still here and proceeding with the plan.
I've been a little distracted with some musical projects but otherwise trying to save money for land purchase.

I don't believe in big government but I do play within the rules I am given.
That said there seems to be govt. money available for starting farmers => http://nifa.usda.gov/funding-opportunity/beginning-farmer-and-rancher-development-program-bfrdp which I will be looking into and perhaps others should also?

I am really glad about the community springing up every and esp. near KC.
That seems to be the general location of the seed farm.

A few people have been asking what the name will be?
Goodseed?
 
Angelica Harris
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That grant is a really super opportunity, but it seems you need to have some type of organization or establishment to apply for it. Maybe once a name is chosen, the community would agree to become a non-profit or something, so that the application could be sent in? Otherwise, I'm sure we could get it.
 
scott romack
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For now I am going with "Goodseed Farms"; goodseed to denote the biblical reference to the 'good seed' which can be animal or vegetable, plural farm(s) to denote the farm itself is to be replicated. I will look into the paperwork and see what is required. Thanks all,
 
E Reimer
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Location: The dry side of Spokane, USDA zone 6ish, 2300' elevation.
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Are you familiar with the Catholic Land Movement? A good book that may help you define your goals is "Flee to the Fields". It pushes the philosophy of "distributism" as an alternative to both socialism and capitalism. The newer edition has a good introduction that speculates as to why it failed.
 
Jennifer Stark
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Location: Central Kansas Latitude 38degrees altitude 1450
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My spouse and I have been looking into Highland cattle as they are multipurpose. they can be used as draft animals, they milk, calve well, good meat and you can also possibly spin their hair.
 
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