Saturday, January 8, 2011


A couple days ago the farm got a call from someone at the USDA.

They wanted to know how many goats we had.

How many kids born?
How many deaths?
Raised for milk or meat?
How many breeding females?

Non-violent communication is all well and good when dealing with groups or individuals face to face, but when some faceless corpgov entity comes snooping around my food, I've just got one thing to say;


My food is MY business.
Too bad I didn't take that phone call.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Surf That Wave

The basic principle of surfing is to gain a little momentum just before being hit with a lot of momentum.
When you are already flowing with the direction things are headed, potentially destructive change becomes a powerful and useful force.

That is the underlying thought behind what I am trying to accomplish here.
It is abundantly clear to me that our current 'business as usual' model has a very limited life expectancy, for the simple reason that a society based on consumption will consume itself.

I see a huge transition ahead for us. How well we survive it will depend on how well we "learn to surf".

Learning how to live as a tribe, learning how to produce our own food and energy locally without depleting our resources, and creating new local economies are critical skills we need to figure out fast if we don't want to be pounded into oblivion by the massive wave coming at us.

When the current economy fails to meet the needs of the people it is supposed to serve, alternative economies will arise to meet those needs.
So here are some tips on starting your own underground economy;

1. Identify your needs.
Look for ways to meet them that do not involve the almighty dollar changing hands.

2. Focus on being a producer, rather than a consumer.

3. Know your neighbors.
What do they have that you need? What do you have that they need?
Can you trade skills for your needs? Do you produce anything you can trade?

4. Pay it forward.
Help a neighbor in need. Cultivate useful relationships.
Network and identify ways to meet community needs.

5. Resources are everywhere. Practice seeing them.
Where most people see a trashy junked car, I see a new generator, a new chimney top, plumbing repair parts, a solar dehydrator or cooker...the list goes on. Use your imagination, and procure the tools you need to work with those resources.

6. Don't overlook government programs as a resource.
They might not be around for long, but while they are you can use them to gain capital to increase your efficiency or trade for your needs. I paid into this system my whole life, so I may as well try to get something out of it before the whole thing takes a shit.

Community "free markets" are being organized as a way to exchange goods, cultivate a gift economy, re-purpose useful items that would otherwise go to landfills, and network with neighbors.

Some progressive towns are going so far as to come up with their own local currency, called "scrip" which is accepted by most independent local businesses. Using scrip helps support the local economy since it changes hands among residents and small business, and discourages shopping at chain stores which drain local economies by sending capital to "corporate".
From the "local currencies" page at The E.F. Schumacher Society Website;
The local and decentralized banking systems of a hundred and fifty years ago had the advantage of diversity. The failure of a local bank-even a New York bank-was still a local failure, and its costs were internalized. But today we are facing the failure of an entire system. Consider the billions of tax dollars spent by the national deposit insurance system to bail out the Savings and Loan industry. And recall that billions were added to the national debt in order to bail out large banks when developing countries defaulted on their loans. These systemic failures are bound to occur if local economic control of banking customs and money supply is compromised by centralization and sacrificed to serve the heedless demands of growth.

Underground economies already exist wherever something is illegal. I'm not saying you should cook meth for a living, but I have observed a vast migrant workforce that hitchhikes up and down Hwy. 101 in the PNW following harvest season with their own tiny scissors to trim the best kind bud the US has to offer. Regional hardware stores realize this and stock up on small pointy trim tools and turkey roaster bags just before harvest season. Look for ways to take advantage of existing underground economies, or organize your own.

Lots of us don't have jobs anymore, so we should have plenty of time to do something useful.

Underground Economy

After much thought and meditation on my recent challenging situation, I realized that most of what I do, and much of what makes me who I am (in an egoic sense) arises from never feeling safe.
I can find/grow/butcher my own food, I can build shelter, I can invent and assemble contraptions to meet my needs. I have made it my business to learn these things because I know I can never count on anyone to take care of me.
When I went ballistic over my sex life being thwarted, it was because I was trying to protect an experience that afforded me a few moments of illusory security.

After a few days I realized how ridiculous it was to expend so much energy to protect an illusion, and decided to get busy protecting something that gives me a very practical feeling of security; this land and community.

This decision was partly catalyzed by the announcement that my friend K and her partner, Chef, are leaving the community. Both K and Chef are highly functional people who fulfilled many critical responsibilities here on the farm.

A couple days after their announcement, it began to sink into my brain. I started to see how much there was to do, and how I would have to take the lead if I wanted it to get done. I thought about the world out there falling to bits, and realized I might be the only thing between chaos and sanity.
All that fear, that unsafe feeling, that knowing that it was ultimately up to me to protect what I care about, came rushing in.
I was shaking, and felt like I was watching myself from a point outside my body.
The only times I've felt that way before is in severe grief or severe adrenalin rush.
My whole being was screaming;

One of the big questions I had in exploring egalitarian community is the fairly obvious fact that we are not all created equal.
There are leaders among us and there are followers. There are self-starters and there are slackers.
Each of us is a unique individual with characteristics that fall somewhere on a spectrum of human experience on many, many different levels.
So how can we be equal?
How do we distribute responsibility fairly?
How do we ensure that that the leaders and self starters don't take on too much and burn themselves out while the slackers coast along in pipe dreams of rainbows and unicorns?

I wish I had the answer.

But I do know that this is the best thing I've ever found.
I am happier than I've ever been, and even in times of stress I am thrilled to realize that my life no longer consists of fading into a gray haze of wage slavery, mind controlling media, and poisonous subsidized food.

So hell yes I'm gonna fight to protect this.

Any way I can.

Even if I have to suddenly take on a management role (ugh).
Even if I have to make little(slacker)girls cry, or tell our founder and matriarch that she needs to release financial control because the farm is slowly going broke while she is slowly going crazy.
Even if I have to start an underground economy here because MommaHen just can't bring herself to hand over the checkbook to someone with a little fiscal responsibility.

The People support me in this. The financial situation is the main reason people leave this community. Everyone agrees something needs to happen, but everyone is too scared to make it happen. And they are too grateful to MommaHen for manifesting this place 40 years ago to tell it like it is to her face.

Am I scared and grateful?

Hell yes.

Has that ever stopped me before?

Hell NO.

There's a big storm coming. We don't have time to waste.

I love my People and I love my Land.

I will do what I need to do to protect this security.