Does your community make you money?
When I ask that question, almost everyone says no (not only no, but hell no!).
In fact, most people make the assumption that communities shouldn’t make money. They should only cost you money (paid via taxes, fees, and more).
Despite the fact that many of the services (roads, schools, etc.) provided by local governments are often worth the expense (if they aren’t providing good value for the expense, you should move), the fact that our communities don’t also generate us an income seems like a design failure.
Strangely, income is something almost everyone seems to leave out of their plans for community resilience, despite how important it is in all of our lives. I hope people rethink this assumption before D2 (the second, and much greater, economic depression) resumes its march.
NOTE: When will D2 kick in? 2013 might be the year that the global economy starts to slide backwards again. The warning signs in China (a fall off in industrial energy use, massive stockpiles of unsold goods, etc.) point to a BIG fall off next year.
How to generate an income as a community
Here are three smart methods to get you thinking in the right direction (I’ll elaborate on these methods more in a future report):
- Take the Johnny Appleseed approach. Get a productive business started and set up a community co-op to manage the costs and the benefits. If you don’t know, Johnny Appleseed was a classical Yankee entrepreneur (which is very different than the financialized poseurs we have today). He started hundreds of orchard co-ops.
- Build a community around a working farm. My friend Simon Black is building a resilient community in Chile from scratch, that I’m advising him on. Every resident of this Chilean community is part owner of the farm it is built around. This resilient community is being built to bounce back from a hard (economic and infrastructure) collapse in the northern hemisphere. If you want to get more information on this community, you can sign up here.
- Make it a community service. Use vacant public land and underutilized facilities to build services that reduce expenses for community residents. For example, the town of Totnes (in the UK) planted 186 nut trees around the town to provide an extra source of food for residents. For more, see this video on the project.
The Sepp Holzer’s Method for Transplanting Fruit Trees
I’ve had only mixed success with transplanting trees sold with wrapped root balls. I’ve always blamed myself for the failure, but I may not be to blame. The method of the packaging and preparing the trees for transplanting may have been the cause of the failure. Here’s a method from the legendary farmer, Sepp Holzer, that may work much better.
NOTE: Sepp’s book on farming techniques is well worth the read and affordable.
For late season transplants, Sepp takes an additional step. He lets the leaves dry out (die) on the transplant, while keeping the root square just moist enough to prevent damage to the roots. When planted and generously watered, the unburdened tree (it isn’t supporting a full compliment of leaves) will quickly sprout new leaves.
Here’s some homework: think about how your community can generate income.