[microfarmer] Re: Ideas, please

  • From: "David Parkinson" <parkidavid@xxxxxxxxx>
  • To: microfarmer@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Sun, 25 Nov 2007 18:07:22 -0800

Hi Robin & Tajh & others:

Speaking for the Upper Sunshine Coast. I would like to find a way to get
more of us up here looped into what you folks are doing down there -- makes
sense, since many of the concerns are identical one, only aggravated here by
the increased physical isolation.

One thing that has been occupying my attention for some time is exactly what
you are looking into: INCREASING CAPACITY. As you know, we've been fighting
land development partly driven by our city government, which aims to remove
ALR land and convert it to housing or industry or something that won't put
food on the table in the years to come. Many people in the community are
pushing back against the loss of farmland, but the terrible reality right
now is that farming continues to decline, farmers are under fire from every
direction, and younger folks who might be interested in getting into farming
are crushed by the high cost of land, complexity of regulations, amount of
knowledge required, and so on. But somehow we need to find ways to increase
food production and processing.

I can't help thinking that the solutions will come from small-scale projects
scaling up naturally: like backyard garden to SPIN-type model to value-added
to common processing facility & co-op, and so on. All I can think of doing
is encouraging people to stretch what they're currently doing, in hopes that
1 out of 100 of them will go on to something like commercial-scale farming
or processing. But I'd like to brainstorm with other people concerned about
this stuff. Mind you, I'm not a farmer, nor much of a producer on any scale,
but my role in the community is supposed to be as catalyst for increased
production. Somewhere out there, there must be other people trying to figure
out how to help themselves or other people overcome all the barriers to
producing enough food to be self-sufficient and then some. I haven't even
thought about what all those barriers are, and how we (as communities
without huge cash resources) can help people get past them. But others
probably have...

Anyway, I think I'm repeating what you're already thinking about. So count
me in.

On Nov 25, 2007 3:25 PM, Tajh Leitso <tajh@xxxxxxxx> wrote:

> I don't know if this was covered by the food security work, but it
> might help to have a realistic idea of what produce people on the
> coast are eating and buying (and from where).  This might be enable us
> to see what sort of potential market we have.  If we have some sort of
> index for what the organic (or not) produce prices are we can easily
> calculate the return we will get for our sweat.  I don't mind putting
> a few (hundred ;) hours of labour in the garden, but if it just
> results in a truckload of rotten tomatoes... or netting $0.25/hour, I
> would be sorely disappointed.
> I would be a new person attending a microfarmer forum, and what stops
> me from even contemplating growing commercially, is that I don't even
> know (I am learning) how to grow everything we eat.  My goal is self
> sufficiency, and it would be amazing to grow enough to share, but we
> ate everything that came out of our garden that the deer didn't poach
> - so next year it has to be even bigger.
> You could probably sell out several forums if you titled it "Growing
> bananas and coffee beans on the Sunshine Coast."  If we could grow our
> own coffee and cocoa what would we need the ferries for ;) ?
> Somewhat off-topic:
> I would also like to see some farmers and/or their vendors posting
> what they have on hand to avoid any disappointments.  I know that
> farmers are busy - but they could probably make an extra $50 a month
> out of our family if they posted info about random "sales."  Even
> something simple posted on onestraw like, "Got too many Blue Moon
> Bananas over here at Lunar farm, so we are letting them go at $1 a
> kilo... let us know how many you want"  Ideally there would be a few
> RSS feeds that produce consumers could subscribe to that show what
> sort of inventory is available.
> On Nov 24, 2007, at 11:27, Robin Wheeler wrote:
> > Hello, all -
> > I am planning the next Microfarm Forum for late February. This might
> > be something that only new people will want to come to, or something
> > the last gang might still benefit from. I would like to call this
> > Forum -
> > "Increasing Capacity". If we are growing nothing now, how can we
> > begin? If we are growing "some", how can we grow more?
> > I am inviting speakers from the Non Forest Timber Product division
> > of Royal Roads University to speak to us about the fringe markets
> > for items like this, and they will be talking about Value Added
> > components and marketing.
> > I would like to set aside time to talk about food plant aspects of
> > increasing capacity. We have hundreds of acres of grass and
> > partially used veggie garden on the coast. What are the mental and
> > physical walls that are keeping us from turning this land into
> > highly productive food growing area?  What, as any of you stepped
> > out into your gardens to begin growing commercially on even a tiny
> > scale, occurred to you as problems or barriers to getting going?
> > If we could think-tank that a little bit here, it would help me
> > design something useful for this Forum.
> > Thanks for tossing and turning on that problem -
> > Robin


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