Jennings Ingram

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since Apr 30, 2018
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Recent posts by Jennings Ingram

Thank you all so much! These are very insightful answers and I didn't even know QGIS existed, definitely going to look into it, as well as basic land surveying skills.
2 weeks ago
Hi everyone!

I've been interning/working in permaculture/agroforestry for 5 years now since getting my PDC, and am at a point where I really need to uplevel my mapmaking skills to be able to deliver better designs that show information effectively, in a professional looking manner.

The original method I was using was on-foot triangulation drawn onto a physically printed to-scale GIS map, which I then scanned and photoshopped. However, this is very time consuming and headache-inducing, and with higher demand for the mapmaking part of the design process than ever before, (I work with a small team designing and installing food forests, where this is one of my main roles, and we all still have other jobs to make ends meet financially) I'm assessing my options.

Action steps so far:
I purchased an iPad with which I've been able to cut down the design process time, by uploading topographical/satellite maps into the app Procreate and then using on-foot triangulation measurements to add in to-scale future trails, fruit tree & plant placements. This works relatively well, but is still kind of headachy and still isn't as professional looking or as detailed as I've seen other maps be. I attempted to use GIS tracks, an app for iPhone, to place trails & landmarks in a GPS map I can translate over to the property maps I'm using without having to physically pace out/measure, but the margin of error (5'+) is too high for the precise placements of fruit trees, trails etc. I dowloaded the app theodolite, which Ben Falk uses for surveying, but after watching several tutorials and still feeling pretty confused on how to actually apply this data to my admittedly amateur process, it was taking up a lot of space on my phone and I deleted the app.

Potential courses of action:
1. Learning ArcGIS cartography and using that for designs.
Does anyone here use the ArcGIS mapping software, and is it worth it? At this point I'm getting paid a few hundred dollars per map, and the software costs $500 a year, so that's something to consider that makes me somewhat hesitant. I also would need to learn how to use it, for which I found this free cartography course that starts in February:

I feel somewhat resistant to learning even more new software, however, and wondering if it's worth it.

2. The other option I can see is to simply get better at doing it on foot, by ordering this section of the regrarians handbook that teaches more about cartography:

3. I could try both!

4. I could seek out a local land surveying company and approach them for an internship to try and learn better triangulation/surveying/software skills in person.

I'm so interested to hear opinions on what to do at this crossroads in my progress! Also, if you have any online resources teaching more about on-foot triangulation, I'd really really love to see them.
Thanks so much for your input,
3 weeks ago
These maps are fantastic! I love how you did 5 different layers, each showing a different side of the details of your plan/different information. What software do you use to make these?
3 weeks ago
One idea, which doesn't involve not using plastic bags at all, is to make bottle bricks (aka ecobricks) by packing the used plastic into discarded plastic bottles & using them for green building material.
Just a thought! Obviously not ideal, but it is a possibility.
2 years ago
Hi permie community!
A little over 1 year ago, I collected & inoculated myself with indigenous microorganisms (IMOs) via Korean Natural Farming methods.
Since then, I've gotten sick dramatically less & it's really improved my life!

For me, self-inoculation with IMOs has been a very empowering citizen science experiment that's gone so much better than I ever imagined.
Read the full process & learn about research that informed me via this article I published on the decentralized content blockchain Steemit:

I'm so curious to know what everyone thinks, and I hope this experiment helps other people too.
All best,
2 years ago

Marco Banks wrote:Any farmer that buys into this "treatment" solution to the millions of gallons of pig shit that their factory farm produces should be required to draw their water down-stream from their operation.  How many more of these lagoons need to rupture and pollute everything downstream before there is legislation against them?  Make then bath in the creeks down from their toxic pig wasteland.

If an environmentally sane solution causes the cost of pork to rise by a couple of bucks a pound, so be it.  

The solution is to not overstock the land with more animals than can reasonably poop their waste on the ground to be naturally fed into the soil.  Confined feeding operations are cruel, plain and simple.  Pigs were created to wander the forest and eat acorns.  As Joel Salatin puts it, "Let the pig express his pig-ness."  There certainly are plenty of forested plots in North Carolina that could be thinned and turned into free-range paddocks.  That would provide lumber for the North Carolina furniture industry (which is quiet large), grazing habitat for the hogs, and completely eliminate the need for storage lagoons for a bazillion gallons of concentrated toxic pig shit.

This is Joel's pastured pig operation.

His phrase is "a light footprint" --- no concrete, no fans, no electricity, no smell, and certainly no pig shit lagoons.

Marco, I completely agree with you. This is an insane system. It's not okay by any stretch of the imagination. Joel Salatin's systems and pretty much any other system anyone could come up with would be better,
But, the reality is that this is the way over 2,000 of NC farms are set up, and I want to help them start making incremental changes towards not poisoning the surrounding communities by not aerially spraying this gick and not contaminating the nearby wells with this toxic waste seeping into the groundwater. And, hopefully, to improve the lives of those pigs who are imprisoned in this system even a tiny bit by giving them vines to nibble through the bars which would also be uptaking nutrients from the ground, or anything else we can come up with. My idealistic side HATES these solutions. These factory farming designs are so far away from anything any of us would ever put together or bring into being or support. But. change has to start somewhere, and this is why I'm asking: what can we do FROM HERE. From where they are right now, understanding the tiny budget given for any kind of change and huge greed of this company. You know?
Solutions, even tiny ones > idealistic rage
2 years ago
Here is a transcript of the original article detailing the huge problems with hog waste lagoons and the "lagoon & spray" "systems" that are mostly utilized by these large companies to manage the waste, the health effects on the surrounding communities, and the disasters that ensued in the last hurricane that hit the area (so many dead animals in waterways):

Come on, permies! Please, NC needs your brainpower! What else you got? Anyone ever lived near one of these places? Any info at all is so helpful. Thank you in advance!!

2 years ago

Tyler Ludens wrote:Here are a couple links I found which might help:

I love the idea of converting the waste to biogas. I wonder if there's anyone here who is knowledgeable on biogas who would help us do the math for this facility?
We need to crunch numbers in terms of equipment for capacity needed and installation cost, and then the potential profit or savings from sale or use of the biogas.
 Especially in the aftermath of whatever havoc is wreaked on these facilities in the hurricane, if I can compare the costs of installing a biogas system with costs of coping with the next climate disaster, that could build a VERY strong case!

2 years ago

wayne fajkus wrote:I saw one impressive system. It wasnt the raising side, but the slaughter side. All byproducts were ground and fed into a massive worm farm.

Interesting! I definitely hadn't thought of this. This is definitely an idea worth bringing up. Thank you, Wayne!

And yes, I agree that the machine is broken, and a different machine is vastly better. But this is a case of working with what we've got to help a severely inhumane system get even a little bit better for everyone. Even one tiny step towards a humane existence is better than none at all. I've cried, I've raged, but the bottom line is I'm a designer with skills to offer and now it's time to go to work and make some change here.  
2 years ago
A few ideas I can think of, to start us off:

1., Planting extra voracious vines (maybe even kudzu?) next to the sheds so the pigs can eat the foliage as it grows through and some of the nutrients are being converted that way. These would need to be somewhat protected planters, maybe with willow around them to suck up extra nutrients....maybe there should be thick willow surrounding the whole building also (except access points of course) and the pigs could eat that as well as a chop & drop foliage.

2. LIVING BUFFERS around the lagoons, definitely! All the trees & shrubs, all the places. This at least could be pollarded and turned into biochar if nothing else. I do feel concerned, though, about the roots punching holes in the "dam" walls and increasing groundwater contamination that way. I'm wondering if there are potential tax breaks for this the company could be eligible for that would help sway them towards foresting this land.

3. Partnering with local tree removal companies to have consistent wood chips dumped into or at least around the lagoons and then pushed into them to start the composting process by balancing the carbon-nitrogen-etc. ratio.

4. Partnering with other local companies like breweries to get spent grains & food waste to feed to the pigs and increase diversity & nutrition in their diets.
2 years ago