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Old 06-20-2009, 08:33 AM   #1
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Old 06-20-2009, 08:37 AM   #2
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years ago, David Fridley purchased two and a half acres of land in rural Sonoma County. He planted drought-resistant blue Zuni corn, fruit trees and basic vegetables while leaving a full acre of extant forest for firewood collection. Today, Fridley and several friends and family subsist almost entirely off this small plot of land, with the surplus going to public charity.
But Fridley is hardly a homegrown hippie who spends his leisure time gardening. He spent 12 years consulting for the oil industry in Asia. He is now a staff scientist at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and a fellow of the Post Carbon Institute in Sebastopol, where members discuss the problems inherent to fossil-fuel dependency.
Fridley has his doubts about renewable energies, and he has grave doubts about the future of crude oil. In fact, he believes to a certainty that society is literally running out of gas and that, perhaps within years, the trucks will stop rolling into Safeway and the only reliable food available will be that grown in our backyards.
Fridley, like a few other thinkers, activists and pessimists, could talk all night about "peak oil." This catch phrase describes a scenario, perhaps already unfurling, in which the easy days of oil-based society are over, a scenario in which global oil production has peaked and in which every barrel of crude oil drawn from the earth from that point forth is more difficult to extract than the barrel before it. According to peak oil theory, the time is approaching when the effort and cost of extraction will no longer be worth the oil itself, leaving us without the fuel to power our transportation, factories, farms, society and the very essence of our oil-dependent lives. Fridley believes the change will be very unpleasant for many people.
"If you are a typical American and have expectations of increasing income, cheap food, nondiscretionary spending, leisure time and vacations in Hawaii, then the change we expect soon could be what you would consider 'doom,'" he says soberly, "because your life is going to fall apart."
The Great Reskilling
But is it the end of the world?
Fridley and other supporters of the Transition movement don't believe it is. First sparked in 2007 in Totnes, England, Transition was launched when one Rob Hopkins recognized that modern Western society cannot continue at its current pace of life as fast access to oil begins to dwindle. Global warming and economic meltdown are the two other principle drivers of the Transition movement, but in an ideal "Transition Town," society would be ready for such changes.
With limited gas-powered transport or oil-based products, a Transition community's citizens would live within cycling distance of one another in a township built upon complete self-sufficiency, with extremely localized infrastructure for agriculture, clothes making, metal working and the other basics of life which the Western world largely abandoned to factories in the late 1800s, when oil power turned life into a relatively leisurely vacation from reality.
Now, Transitionists say, it's time to get back to work—and quick. Localized efforts have sprouted from the ground up in Santa Cruz, Cotati, Sebastopol, San Francisco and many other towns worldwide, where residents and neighbors are putting their heads together and collaborating on ways to relocalize themselves, bolster self-sufficiency and build the resilience that communities will need to absorb the shock of peak oil.
Scott McKeown is among several initiators of Transition Sebastopol. A 53-year-old event coordinator by vocation, McKeown believes that as early as 2012 the global economy could founder. "That's when it's really going to hit the fan," he says. "We're not there yet, but we will be very soon."
McKeown founded Peak Oil Sebastopol in late 2007 as a public discussion forum for what was then becoming a popular topic of relevance among social reformers. Yet Peak Oil Sebastopol eventually proved a bit too heavy on the talking for McKeown.
"I wanted to shift from a discussion group to an action-based effort," he explains. "Transition attracted me as a way in which we could actually begin doing something."
Transition Sebastopol was born in 2008 as the ninth Transition Town in the United States. Boulder was the first; Sandpoint, Idaho, the second. Today, 27 Transition Towns, also called Initiatives, have assumed life across the nation, and what began as an idea has become a concrete reality in which people are taking action. In particular, McKeown has seen tremendous community interest in the growing of food. Currently, the average parcel of food comes from untold distances away. The common estimate is 1,500 miles, though some experts assure that most food travels much farther.
Such external dependence will no longer be feasible after peak oil, and communities must be capable of producing all their own goods in fields, orchards and gardens within miles. In and around Totnes, for example, community nut trees have been planted as a sure source of protein and calories in an uncertain future.
In outlying regions of the Bay Area, backyard food production is already an after-work hobby for thousands, and interest in edible gardens appears to be growing fast. At Harmony Farm Supply in Sebastopol, demand for edible plant seeds, starters and saplings has never been greater, according to nursery manager Kirsten Tripplett. She estimates that sales of lettuce, kale and tomato seedlings has jumped by 25 percent this year, with a particularly large portion of sales going to customers who have never before gardened. Fruit and nut saplings, too, sold out weeks ahead of schedule this winter.
"My reading is that this is the silver lining to the economy going south," she says.
McKeown, though, calls food production "the entry-level thing to do" among Transitionists; other essential actions must be taken for a Transition Town to cushion itself against the drastic changes predicted in post-oil society. A viable Transition Town must be capable of producing its own materials, tools and other products that society now imports from half the globe away. With machines and factories no longer readily available, almost every citizen would need to participate at some level in production of food, energy and goods.
To address this, Transition founder Hopkins details a 12-part process in The Transition Handbook, which has sold more than 10,000 copies nationwide. In its pages he describes, among other essentials, "the Great Reskilling," an effort in which communities must retrain men and women in such trades and artistries as seed-saving and food-growing, pickling vegetables, building simple structures, installing rain catchment systems, building composting toilets, and many other fundamental life skills which most of us simply know nothing about.
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Old 06-20-2009, 09:38 AM   #3
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Old 06-20-2009, 10:05 AM   #4
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Hey Baja how ya been ? therapy ....err vacation go well
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Old 06-20-2009, 10:06 AM   #5
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Old 06-20-2009, 11:16 AM   #6
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I wonder how much food could be produced on that two and a half acres of his..... I guess more directly, how much land would one need to feed, say, a family of four. If you weren't near a transition town, co-op, or whatever, could you create enough food to sustain your family if you didn't have the acreage? Hmmmm...

Great article
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Old 06-20-2009, 12:10 PM   #7
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I call shenanigans.


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Old 06-20-2009, 12:37 PM   #8
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I call shenanigans.


But our shenanigans are cheeky and fun. Yeah, I mean his shenanigans are cruel and tragic...which makes them not shenanigans at all really. Evil shenanigans
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Old 06-20-2009, 12:58 PM   #9
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I wonder how much food could be produced on that two and a half acres of his..... I guess more directly, how much land would one need to feed, say, a family of four. If you weren't near a transition town, co-op, or whatever, could you create enough food to sustain your family if you didn't have the acreage? Hmmmm...

Great article

You don't need that much land. Depending on the climate you live in with one of these babies http://www.geodesic-greenhouse-kits.com/ you can grow all the food you need in just a few hundred square feet.

These were invented in Colorado and allow people to grow food year round, off grid, in the coldest of climates.

I'm in the process now of building a 26footer. I'll post some pics later.

This is a 26 footer in Washington.

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Old 06-20-2009, 01:14 PM   #10
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I wonder how much food could be produced on that two and a half acres of his..... I guess more directly, how much land would one need to feed, say, a family of four. If you weren't near a transition town, co-op, or whatever, could you create enough food to sustain your family if you didn't have the acreage? Hmmmm...

Great article
This thread sucked unitl I say our avatar!! WOW
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Old 06-20-2009, 01:26 PM   #11
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My Brain doesn't feel like reading i take a look at the article later
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Old 06-20-2009, 01:39 PM   #12
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Old 06-20-2009, 01:43 PM   #13
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But our shenanigans are cheeky and fun. Yeah, I mean his shenanigans are cruel and tragic...which makes them not shenanigans at all really. Evil shenanigans
Repped!

I love Ghostbusters!
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Old 06-20-2009, 02:05 PM   #14
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Look who's back! Glad they finally let you out Baja!
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Old 06-20-2009, 02:37 PM   #15
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Repped!

I love Ghostbusters!
Hmmmm I'm trying to decide if I'm starting to turn positively towards your intentional stupidity...and I think I am [why are there no cutting wrist smilies??]
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Old 06-20-2009, 03:35 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by Meck77 View Post
You don't need that much land. Depending on the climate you live in with one of these babies http://www.geodesic-greenhouse-kits.com/ you can grow all the food you need in just a few hundred square feet.

These were invented in Colorado and allow people to grow food year round, off grid, in the coldest of climates.

I'm in the process now of building a 26footer. I'll post some pics later.

This is a 26 footer in Washington.

ohhhhh right right. Didn't you have a thread on this? I think I saw it somewhere on the mane. THATS really somethin, I'd like to see how you do with it. Keep me posted on the project, what a great idea!

Where are you building it? Like, backyard, or do you have some land?
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Old 06-20-2009, 03:36 PM   #17
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This thread sucked unitl I say our avatar!! WOW
that jessica alba is one piece of ACE!
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Old 06-20-2009, 03:37 PM   #18
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hey Baja -- you don't need two-three acres.

Here's where I grow my fresh food. It's only 20 X 14 -- but I still can't eat it all and hand out lots of stuff to my neighbors.

I have licked the aphid problem -- so now will be going year round.

MHG
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Old 06-20-2009, 03:41 PM   #19
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Here's the outside view.

The walls are 15 inches thick stone/concrete. This gives a huge flywheel effect. The stone walls moderate the temp in the greenhouse -- cool it down in summer - warm it in winter.

I gathered the rock for free and used almost 100% used materials. I ventilate it with a fan run by two small photovoltaic panels.

Did the whole thing for $1600 (1996 dollars)

MHG
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Old 06-20-2009, 04:35 PM   #20
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Holy crap Gaff, Let me guess you have an airtight bomb shelter with 5 years worth of food, gas masks, air scrubbers, and an inflatable doll all under your house too....
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Old 06-20-2009, 05:37 PM   #21
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Here's the outside view.

The walls are 15 inches thick stone/concrete. This gives a huge flywheel effect. The stone walls moderate the temp in the greenhouse -- cool it down in summer - warm it in winter.

I gathered the rock for free and used almost 100% used materials. I ventilate it with a fan run by two small photovoltaic panels.

Did the whole thing for $1600 (1996 dollars)

MHG
THAT'S GREAT MARK!!!!

I am running an organic garden at a raw food institute near San Diego Ca. for the next 3 months. I'm going to introduce a a large composting system to the institute. We have tried to warn people what is coming and hopefully some received the message so I feel like I have completed that service.

PS Great link Meck, I love the idea an will give it a very serious look. I am thinking of doing a community on my ranch in Baja using Yurts and this dome of yours would be a great addition to my project. A friendly tip Meck, Don't let too many people know what you are doing because you willnot be able to feed them all.
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Old 06-20-2009, 05:44 PM   #22
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Originally Posted by mhgaffney View Post
Here's the outside view.

The walls are 15 inches thick stone/concrete. This gives a huge flywheel effect. The stone walls moderate the temp in the greenhouse -- cool it down in summer - warm it in winter.

I gathered the rock for free and used almost 100% used materials. I ventilate it with a fan run by two small photovoltaic panels.

Did the whole thing for $1600 (1996 dollars)

MHG

Curious do you live on ruby ridge?
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Old 06-20-2009, 06:03 PM   #23
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I thought it looks alot like parts of Teller County.
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Old 06-20-2009, 06:08 PM   #24
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hey Baja -- you don't need two-three acres.

Here's where I grow my fresh food. It's only 20 X 14 -- but I still can't eat it all and hand out lots of stuff to my neighbors.

I have licked the aphid problem -- so now will be going year round.

MHG
How did you solve the aphid problem mark, Dr. Bronner's soap or something else. I'd like to know.
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Old 06-20-2009, 11:10 PM   #25
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Baja,

Most of the organic gardening books advise to spray with soapy water. Or you can buy various products that are basically soap but also have some insecticide. One brand is called Safer.

They help -- but I found that the aphids slowly slowly build up anyway -- despite everything -=- and in the end they just flat beat me.

I had to shut down for a winter season -- go fallow - -and let nature fix the problem. I left the greenhouse open to the elements and mother nature did the job in short order.

I started up again this spring and so far no aphids. But a botanist told me -- next time to use boric acid. The thing is you have to knock out the ants to fix the aphid problem -- because the ants shepherd the aphids in nurseries underground. I could never locate the ant colonies.

But they say the boric acid is effective against the ants. You leave some in a plate or bowl and the ants are attracted to it,. They take it back to the nest -- and it kills them dead.

That's what I plan to use if/when the ants and aphids return.

BTW I am in Klamath County -- in S Oregon -- east of the cascades.

MHG
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