This post will be dedicated to you, the 1,000+ followers of the Alternate Economy blog. Please use the comment thread below to share your ideas as to how the profits from the Experimental Farm this summer should be used.
I have suggested donating half the produce to the Shepherd’s of Good Hope. This idea has received tons of support and will definitely be a part of our plan.
The other half of the produce is the question. After we sell it at market we could have somewhere in the range of $7,500. I have suggested taking this money and going to Uganda, to buy a small plot of land there and create a winter garden. This idea has received mixed reviews. What do YOU think that we should spend that money on?
Please, discuss amongst yourselves. Comment on each other’s comments. And help me decide how best to use the money raised from this summer’s venture.
Hi, since I don’t know where you are located, I don’t have enough information to form an opinion about a winter garden in Uganda. I like the idea of planting a garden anywhere. Maybe go to a warmer climate city and plant a garden in an area of the city where there is poverty and no access to fresh vegetables. Like in Oakland, CA there’s now a good food coop. I think this is a great use of resources and gardens. Pick a new location every year to start a garden!
I am currently located in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada and the first plot of land will be located here. I am hoping to use the funds raised to start another initiative of some sort. All of the information about this idea can be found on this blog.
the money should be reinvested into the farm and the crops the following year from the investment should be given away to the poor needed or families and friens of those that help with the farm 🙂 (:
A share to Ian, naturally, for the use of his land. Half of the remaining to Shepherd of Good Hope — I like the thinking there –> doing good, they come out & help, spreading the word, etc.
The idea of giving the rest to you for your journey to Uganda is not quite right. Though it seems a very worthy thing to do (free ticket — yea!!), I feel that re-investing in AltEcon is the best thing to do. And wasn’t that part of the original idea, anyway??
Putting it in a conventional bank (for now:), & using it for next year, expansion, etc is the best use.
Now, I think you can & should receive a percentage share, for the work you’ll be doing, & spearheading the whole thing. Even though you won’t be doing this as your “job” & we can’t provide you w/the yearly salary yet, you should get SOME recompense. Converting it from produce to cash seems ok.
Maybe when we have the bank, & lots more resources, we can collectively fund & support the Uganda deal, at that time.
I appreciate your sentiment, but I will not take any money from this venture. That will not help us, and I already earn a decent salary.
I think that using dad’s offer to start the book-drive, on a separate bill is not a bad idea. As for the money from this venture, reinvesting is probably best. I still feel buying land somewhere is important. Any ideas as to where we should buy? My natural instinct is to say Canada for stability but we lack the climate to do much.
I have two ideas. The first being the least expensive and the easiest/quickest to accomplish. You could take the profits and invest in community beautification. Purchase billboard or wall space in poorer neighbourhoods and find a volunteer to paint murals. Depending on the content of the mural, it will help spread your message, but more importantly, it livens up dingier areas of town. It’s also relatively inexpensive.
My second idea is admittedly a bit more complex and may require two or three seasons to both fund and prepare for it. I propose starting a permaculture farm version of the children’s safety village (http://www.rotarysafetyvillage.com/) or a free summer camp for kids to learn how to live sustainably. Everything from elementary school class trips to high school co-op students wanting to learn about agriculture could eventually be a possibility. This is also the sort of venture that local businesses could sponsor. Franchising the camp would also be possible. Setting up AE farming camps across the country and beyond would benefit many communities and expand the profit margin of the marketable produce and livestock.
The benefits of this are many. One being that non-religious families rarely have access to organizations that promote charity, love and compassion. The AE is a non-religious option for people who would like to teach these ideals to their children. Sustainable education is also a great benefit, for people both within and outside of the AE community. Working with the public education system would help the AE gain acceptance in society, and possibly gain media attention. Right now, the ideals of the AE can come off as a little out there to a mostly capitalist society. By “mainstreaming” it will normalize the idea of living in Love and gain a greater following.
As I said, this proposal may take more time and expense, but it’s certainly feasible. I’m very curious to read other suggestions for the profits.
This one gives me lots to think about… How much would a small summer camp really cost, I wonder?
Any project involving Africa is very complex if you don’t want a complete waste of the money and effort. It must be a project driven by, and with input from, a deserving community, with safeguards galore to prevent it from benefiting exploiters and shady officials. It is depressing how few of the aid packages or well-meaning training programmes actually do any good whatsoever.
As a seasoned gardener, I think it’s wise to have a general sense of what you might do with proceeds AND food if you are lucky enough to grow a successful crop, be able to harvest it in a timely way and actually generate dollars. But, I would start with low expectations and hope to learn. Maybe in a few years you might have some success and surplus. OR – you’ll end up with 2700 watermelon and everything else might die. Tomatoes going gangbusters till one day when the plants are completely defoliated. These are the realities of gardening. Stay hopeful, ask a lot of questions, put in a lot of time, and enjoy every moment out there. If there’s money at the end, consider yourself highly successful.
Actually, the climate in South Western Ontario is pretty mild, pretty similar to northern California. For example, our growing season last year was from a late March planting with a mid November final harvest. My shortest season here was a late April planting and an early October harvest. We’re about to put up our hoop houses this weekend to extend the season even further. In fact, we may get a couple of solar panels and space heaters to have a year round growing facility. There are loads of greenhouses in Southern Ontario (google Leamington Ontario and Heinz for more info). It’s actually a very successful business in this region. With fairly cheap greenhouse building supplies, climate is rarely a concern for any region you’re considering purchasing land.
I love the idea of a billboard somewhere. That’s brilliant.
what you need to do, being in canada, is use the money to build an all-year-round greenhouse, and pump out herbs and plants and sell them at farmers markets, you’d turn that money into profit pretty quick, then go to uganda or something, with the knowledge on how to farm under any conditions
I like this idea. A greenhouse would be an awesome addition in Canada.
it’s too cold to make it work without one 😉