Solutions for Self-Reliance

A Must-See Home Transformation

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It’s time to transform your home, but how do you do it?

How do you take a home that is a static “knicknack” and turn it into a dynamic asset — a resilient home that builds your health, wealth, and security?

The first step in most home transformations is to install a garden.

This becomes a problem if you live in a built up area and the only place large and sunny enough to put a garden is in your front yard.

Why?

There are still lots of people, many of whom are likely your neighbors, living in the past.  They still cling to the bankrupt idea that a home’s landscape needs to be as barren as a golf course to add value to a home.

In time, this opposition will fade.  In the meantime, one way around that opposition is to turn your front yard from a landscape and into a beautiful foodscape.  Here’s a great example: The Landry family used raised garden beds (other options include:  permaculture, fruit trees, etc.) to foodscape their yard in a dramatic way.

1) here’s the home when they started.  As you can see, it has a standard ornamental landscape.

2) the plot design (they used a simple computer program to do it) is turned into reality in the fall.

3) the finished garden is put into use during the spring.

4) the finished garden in use.

Here’s a video that provides a fast time series of the transformation:

It should be pretty clear that the effort dramatically increased the value of their home.  An increase in value that will continue to grow as the shift to the resilient economy continues.

So, while this specific solution may not be a solution for you (resilience comes in many forms), it is a great demonstration of what’s possible in a limited amount of front yard space.

What should he be building next?

On suggestion:  A Rainwater Irrigation System (I have a soup to nuts example of how to build one in our first report!).

Building Gardens for People In Apartments?

If you live in an apartment, is it possible to add food security?  Yes.

One of the ways to do this is to install an aquaponics — a combination of aquaculture and hydroponics — system.  Aquaponics systems allow you to grow food in a confined space and can be as small as a bookcase.

Unfortunately, these smaller installations don’t produce enough food to feed yourself (lots of micro-greens and an occasional fish).  To do more than that, you will need to micro-farm an allotment.  I’ll feature a great example of how great allotments can be in the near future.

The big benefit of a system like this?  It introduces both you and your kids (if you have any) to the process of growing food for yourself.  Not only is it a skill that will prove increasingly useful in the future, it’s a great introduction to how good fresh, wholesome food can be (on many levels).

The big problem with aquaponics is that it is relatively expensive, and difficult to do right.  Not only does it require a lot of gear and knowledge, it requires constant attention to ensure that it works correctly.

NOTE:  I’m currently working on a report that will dive into the HUGE opportunity space for resilient businesses.

One of the people working on a solution to this problem is Eric Maunudu of Oakland California.  Eric is a maker/micro farmer/entrepreneur that I’ve profiled before.  Here’s Eric in an excellent new video by the intrepid resilient reporter Kirsten Dirksen.

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