Solutions for Self-Reliance

What I Found Interesting This Week 1/26/2013


Want to know what the secret to prosperity in the 21st Century?

It’s simple.

Be an asset to a community that grows, harvests, generates and makes most of what it needs.  In fact, the difference in prosperity between resilient communities that do produce and the industrial bedroom communities that don’t will be so stark, it’s very likely that nearly everyone will be living like this by the end of the Century.

The reason this is possible, is that all of the skills, methods, techniques, technologies, and knowledge required to provide local communities with productive superpowers (unlike ever before in history), are growing in functionality and elegance daily.  They are being driven forward by a tidal wave of innovation from a global network of tinkerers, artisans, amateurs, and entrepreneurs.

All I’m doing is helping people to see it and participate in it.  Doing the research required to find out who, what, when, and how this is happening and sharing it with readers here (and at a greater depth and in collaboration with my supporters at Resilient Strategies).

So, without further ado, here’s what I found interesting this week.

Makerspaces.  If you like to make new things, then you need to join a makerspace like this one in Milwaukee.   It has the tools, equipment, expertise, and camaraderie necessary to get things done.  This is where the next economy is being born and where people are rebooting their passion for work.   Every community needs one and if yours doesn’t, found one yourself.

Mil makerspace

Zone 1 — plant your food gardens near your home, so that you can access them frequently.  Permaculture has a useful concept called zones.  Zones help you think about the ways you can best utilize your property for maximal results.   Here’s an example of what a zone map would look like (via Klamath Knot ).


Compost tubes?  Could a compost system feed a garden directly (less work, better results)?  Perhaps…  This composting system (via ecofilms) generated lots of discussion.  I suspect it could, but not in the way the device is currently designed.   BTW:  an effective way to do this was featured as part of an arid garden design detailed in January’s RS report.


Plastic barrel food system.  Here’s a simple design for home aquaponics (the combination of a fish tank and hydroponics to create a small ecosystem) called “barrelponics” via Ann at   As you can see, the designs do a lot with very little material.


Mining local garbage for resources.  3D printing (small machines, like desktop printers, that can print objects using plastic, metal, wood substitute, etc.) is going to make it possible for local artisans to make many of things we currently buy from China.  However, it would much more efficient/cheaper if it was possible to recycle the trash we currently have in piles nearly everywhere (since the 50’s) as feedstock for these printers.  Here’s an entrepreneurial project (funded via Kickstarter) called Filabot trying to do that with recycled ABS plastic (it grinds, melts, and extrudes the plastic you put into it).  This is only the start, technologies like this have the potential to turn garbage dumps into treasure troves.



Here’s some open source plans for a device called the Recyclebot that does the same thing.

DIY 3D scanning using an XBOX 360 Kinect.  Very simple DIY project from the University of Washington.

XBox Scan



Worm farm in a planted pot?  Here’s an idea for a worm farm composting system that’s built into a planted pot.  The idea is to squeeze a micro-ecology into a pot to improve output over the long term.  It’s related to the composting tube seen above.   Not sure it works, but conceptually it’s interesting.

wormfarm_pot copy


Keep your balance and focus.   The ongoing re-localization of economic and social life is going to be a bit disconcerting at first, but it’s going to pay off more than you can imagine.


Resiliently Yours,


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