We’ll All be Solar Farmers

The weather in New England today is sunny, but crisp.  I couldn’t imagine a better day to work outside.   This means it’s a great day for some solar farming.

Solar farming?  That’s what I call working on my home’s garden.

Actual Sunset

Here’s what I mean.

My home’s garden runs off of solar energy.   It captures it and converts it into delicious vegetable calories that I can harvest.  My family eats stored solar energy when I feed them the vegetables produced by my garden.  Finally, in a pinch during a future long emergency it could become a source of income, since I could barter some my garden’s produce for things that I need.

I love this and you should too.

Solar energy doesn’t cost anything.  It’s delivered to us directly, without any intermediaries, and while it can be variable, it’s on the whole, extremely plentiful.

To the extent we can capture it and put it to use, we’re not dependent on a predatory global economy or government to:

  • price it,
  • ration it, or
  • determine the quantity available.

This means that if our homes and communities are good at solar farming, we gain resilience.  Solar farming provides us with the productive capacity needed to quickly bounce back from the growing amount of dysfunction and breakage in the global system.


Solar Farming

You’ve probably already guessed that solar farming is bigger than just growing food.

It’s about finding and exploiting ALL of the ways to capture and store the solar energy available to us.

Growing food is only one way to do that.

Other ways include solar energy to heat your home through passive solar capture, or cool your home through geo-exchange air conditioning.  It’s also about generating electricity, through inexpensive solar thermal systems or directly through photo-voltaics (PV).

Thinking in terms of solar farming is the way to turn a passive decorative home of little value in an economic crunch or disaster into a dynamo of value.   It becomes a productive asset.  One that produces value in a way that is constantly replenished.

Our ancestors understood this.  They relied on solar farming to power their farms and farming communities.

However, they used only a small fraction of what was available to them.  Solar farming in the resilient communities we are building will capture thousands of times more solar energy than they did and will generate thousands of times the quality of life, prosperity, and independence.

I’ll have more on solar farming tomorrow.

Your happy to be a solar farmer analyst,


John Robb


PS:  If you like this letter please send it to your friends, kids, parents, and co-workers.  The more people that read it, the better for all of us.

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  • Alan


    I grew up in a large city on the East Coast and I didn’t see a farm until I was an adult. I have absolutely no farming or agricultural training or experience whatever. I can’t be alone in this status. How then do we relate to a farming-based resilient city?

    • johnrobb

      Alan, That’s a common issue. The solution will be resilient developments where the solar farming (from food to energy) will be installed and maintained for you (as you make your money online). JR

      PS: Not sure cities that are 3 m ++ will do too well in an expensive energy/threat rich future.

  • http://palaopensource.wordpress.com/ ryan

    Geek legend hacks together an off-grid smart home


    The video is a bit long but shows off some cool uses of solar air/water/power generation.

    Solar air heating system designers, greenhouse builders, etc would be wise to take into account the likelihood of dramatic rises in temperature (for most but not all global regions), droughts, and major climate disruptions.

    10,000 Simulations Show Warming Range of 1.4 to 3 Degrees by 2050


    “The results suggest that the world is very likely to cross the ‘2 degrees barrier’ at some point this century if emissions continue unabated, and that those planning for the impacts of climate change need to consider the possibility of warming of up to 3 degrees (above the 1961-1990 average) by 2050 even on a mid-range emission scenario.”

    • johnrobb

      Ryan, Thanks much. A weather and economic disaster is baked into the cake. You either become resilient enough to ignore it, or take your lumps. JR

  • http://www.blueherontexas.com Christian S

    This is the main idea behind permaculture. To find where energy is flowing by naturally and put in taps to make it useful for work in some way. It’s all about design, with the thought in mind that everything you do will mean less work later on. For instance, planting perennials in the garden instead of annuals. If you’re pumping water into the house for the shower, let it flow outside onto a fruit tree instead of down the drain. I highly recomend the work of Toby Hemenway. He’s got some really good books on the subject. Unfortunaltely for many homeowners, mods that will increase the resilience of your home are against the law. F*ck it. Become an outlaw and do the mods anyway.

    On the subject of barter: Always barter an asset that is not productive for one that is. It’s the natural/permaculture bartering version of compounding interest. For instance, when you hatch out some roosters, grow, slaughter and package them up, and then trade them for a laying hen. Trade a basket of tomatoes for an apple tree. The growth in productivity through this is exponential.

    • johnrobb

      Thanks Christian.

    • Carl Farnsworth

      Nicely said Christian.

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