Dear friends, this is part three of my latest blog. Previously, we covered diverse topics such as ineffectual rock dust and intimate arachnids. Here, I hope to share the plans of my future, post-Songaia. I welcome you to join me in what will be an incredibly rich and fun journey to a more sustainable place (and coincidentally present an amazing investment opportunity).
First, a note about myself. Many of you know that I come from the pompous, over-educated world of academia, where I was expected to cure cancer or save infants or improve vaccines.
Being the nonconformist that I am (recently described as a neo-hippy), I have since traded a respectful, well-paid profession in this field for the maligned and decidedly unprofitable career of growing food, using permaculture and sustainable methods.
Where to begin?
I want to demonstrate how humans can co-inhabit a space with an almost unlimited host of other organisms, in a way that is productive, resilient, respectful, and holistic.
I want to create space for rich communities of all types: microbial, plant, animal, and human. I want to do mad alchemical experiments that reveal the symbiotic capacity of previously uncharacterized combinations of life. I want to give others the opportunity to learn with me as I explore the mechanisms of healthy, happy, and beautiful ecosystems. And I want tiny houses, god damnit!
How can this be done?
Permaculture. This is a philosophy that entails living in harmony with natural systems. We carefully observe and recreate natural processes. We nurture and emphasize relationships over individual components, encourage diversity, and carefully manage resources. Together we create a small community of like-minded humans that share this vision, on an intensely cultivated small piece of land, exploring the boundaries of sustainability, agriculture, and ecotourism.
Imagine a place that is part Alice’s Wonderland, part Middle Earth’s Shire, and mostly Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory. Welcome to Wonderlust Enclave, where we embrace a new symbiotic life, in harmony with nature. Tiny homes dot the verdant landscape, with meandering pathways, shady meditation groves, heavenly blossoms, and tons of juicy fruits dripping from the trees.
Hobbits and Oompaloompas can be seen busily pruning trees, harvesting fruit, and feeding the chickens (kidding, those are just the wwoofers).
Seriously, though. My business model will be a small demonstration farm that is also devoted to ecotourism. I hope to include long term residents who lease or rent tiny home situated on the property. My specific enterprises will include laying hens, meat rabbits, honey bees, delectable fungi, fruits, nuts, and all sorts of other plants imaginable. These operations will be managed completely naturally (beyond organic) and sold to local restaurants and stores and donated to charities. We will invest in alternative energy, natural building, food preservation, and resource conservation. I will happily offer classes, tours, and nightly tiny home rentals to those interested in sustainability.
Currently, I am looking for a property in Oregon or possibly southern Washington, approximately 10 acres, and in a county that is hospitable to creatively implementing alternative housing.
Regrettably, the current architecture of our society is prohibitive to my goals. A la Joel Salatin’s Everything I want to do is Illegal, it often seems like the government, and the corporations that control everything else, are anti-environment and sustainability. Tiny homes especially, are rarely established in current codes and regulations, leaving county planners pessimistic and distrustful of any new changes. Can someone please explain to me why it is acceptable to have a 4,000 sq ft house and rent out each room, but objectionable to have two 200 sq ft tiny homes occupied on one property?
And then, “safety” is often the reason why we cannot use natural building techniques, greywater systems, or composting toilets—instead we literally piss into our precious resources, poison the land with chemicals and fertilizers, and liberally use antibiotics because we vaguely feel ill (as a microbiologist, I strongly advise against this http://gizmodo.com/watch-as-bacteria-evolve-antibiotic-resistance-in-a-gig-1786389688). I digress, but I think you get my point. I have many challenges ahead of me. I welcome your energy, advice, and assistance.
How you can help?
Come visit me and have fun! Learn about where your food and resources come from. Take my fungi identification class. Give me a new plant. Teach me a new plant (or anything else). Hire me as your garden and permaculture consultant. If you really have a lot of extra money, buy me a tiny house and I’ll rent it out for you!
I have spent more than two decades in educational institutions, mostly learning about the intricate mechanisms of life. I’m so grateful to have now discovered the greatest application of biology: the art of living harmoniously together in multi-species community. It’s been a pleasure sharing with you; I hope that we will meet again someday!
Look carefully at the spider on the left. It has a special hat..... a blob of water!