[microfarmer] Re: Ideas, please

  • From: "David Parkinson" <parkidavid@xxxxxxxxx>
  • To: microfarmer@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Sun, 25 Nov 2007 18:11:57 -0800

FYI, looks like some overlap between the topics of the next Microfarming
Forum and this series being organized by www.eatlocal.org:


On Nov 25, 2007 6:07 PM, David Parkinson <parkidavid@xxxxxxxxx> wrote:

> 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
> >
> >
> >
> --
> David


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