Every Dollar your neighborhood saves producing something for yourselves, is a Dollar that can be invested in more capacity to produce for yourselves. That is the feed back loop that will bring our systems back from the brink of disaster.
The problems we face are systemic and cannot be solved one at a time. To solve the big problems like peak oil, climate change, poverty and environmental degradation, we have to change the way the system functions. One big stumbling block to that kind of change is the belief that work must be converted to money before it can be converted into goods and services. The market is a great system to convert work to money so long as there is demand for your skills. If there is no demand for your skills, the system has no other way to use your potential contribution. The system will make you beg or starve or maintain you on some form of government assistance.
At the API we are developing Community Sufficiency Technologies. That is, we are figuring out how to organize ourselves to provide for ourselves in ways that supplement what we get participating in the market. When we take this other approach, and invest our time in developing the capacity to provide for ourselves, labor is not a cost. Labor becomes an investment in all that will be produced from the capacity we develop. In the case of building bee hives, we are investing in all the honey that can be produced in those hives. If we simply distribute the honey to ourselves, there need be no money involved after purchase of materials.
The way things lay out, 7 Warre' hives is an efficient way to use 4X8 sheets of plywood and a few pine boards. We are looking for 4 people with $100.00 each who want to help build those 7 hives and take one home with them. The $400.00 will buy the materials for all 7 hives. The a retail value of similar hives purchased in the market is about $2000. Our team will supply the facility, the tools and the expertise and we will keep 3 hives. The event will be a joint venture of all the participants to invest in capacity to produce for ourselves . . . and improve our habitat by increasing the number of honey bees.
The main objective is to figure out the relationships that get us over the stumbling block and closer to the kind of world in which we want to live. It is a step toward a neighborhood with gardens and greenhouses that provide all the food the neighborhood needs. And a neighborhood in which anyone can get a share of that food by contributing what they enjoy doing. As Geoff Lawton says in Greening the Desert; “You can fix all the world's problems in a garden”.
So David, if I can collect 7 people to make their own Warre hives and if the price we pay for lumber is comparable to yours that would lower the price to about $57. right? Add to this the plans I think were available at $27. the only other consideration would be the tools (specified in the plans?) and a suitable place for construction. Not being able to attend your workshop is it reasonable that the group will be able to muddle through O.K.? Thanks, Maxine
I am so pleased with your reply Maxine :-). You have the right idea on a group of people pooling resources to invest in the capacity to provide for themselves. There are two levels in this activity when it is undertaken locally. 1) how do our actions impact the living things around us (our habitat)?, and 2) how do our actions provide for the needs of the human participants.
Your question brings up 3) how are we as a species going to figure out how to live sustainably on this planet.
I paid the $27.00 for the plans, and I am not sorry that I did, but I do not recommend those plans if you are going to do more for the bees than just a hobby hive for your own use. I went back to the original metric measurements from Abbe Warre and adjusted them for the fact that we live in a backward culture that does not use metric measurements. I am also using plywood as a cheaper material and using a rabbet joint at the corners to make them stronger. We set up a table saw and a router table to make all the cuts, templates to mark all the angles and jigs to hold the pieces during assembly.
We are promoting what we are doing in order to empower other neighborhoods to take into their own hands the improvement of their habitat. I will document the entire process and make that available to you free of charge. In return, I ask that you use you local contacts to let people know what we are doing and that they can start doing the same things for themselves.
I am certain that there are people out there who are much smarter than I am. If this process results in the know how to do things better here, it will have been worth all the effort I put into it.
Yes, I was dismayed at the challenge of converting metric. I have put the word out to Transition Snoqulmie Valley members for a Warre beehive building event. One member knows of a woodworking shop whose business has dried up and maybe we can use it with compensation of a hive donation. It is we who will benefit from your work in so many areas of Transition and I will certainly be passing them on. Our Gardening group has scheduled a Grow Your Own Food event for March 3rd and a seed exchange on Feb 14th next year. Both were attended well last spring. Water too is crucial and I have put out the consideration of a well or two with hand pumps for community use. There are existing wells on private properties here - any info on converting to hand pumps if they are not already? So glad I have someone to talk to about these things who is working for the same goals!
So glad I have someone to talk to about these things who is working for the same goals!
There are two basic approaches to thinking about the future. We can think about what other people should do . . . which I find entirely unproductive. Or, we can think about what we can do to make our communities a better place to live . . . which I have been actively promoting for some 7 years now.
If my group here and your group in the Snoqulmie Valley can begin sharing experiences . . . and share those experiences with other neighborhoods around the planet . . . we can figure out how to improve the habitat for people and other living things in each of those places. That is how we will learn to live sustainably on the earth. This is so exciting :-)
Maxine, I tried to send you a private message about a new discussion on sharing information between our groups but that function does not seem to be working either.
If you are interested, send me an e-mail to d-braden AT comcast.net.
It is said that a double hand full of healthy soil contains more organisms than there are people on earth. It is those interactions that form the basis for terrestrial ecosystems. Healing nature and producing abundance starts with the soil.
At the Applewood Permaculture Institute we teach gardening techniques called sheet mulching and hugelkultur. They are based on encouraging the interaction of soil organisms to maintain a healthy habitat for themselves, to produce the nutrients our plants need, and form the basis for a healthy habitat for humans. Tilling destroys habitat for soil organisms. That is why traditional gardening and farming deplete nutrients from the system.
Interactions in an organic soil produce a flow of nutrients that cannot be duplicated by manufactured fertilizers. The interactions form an ecosystem if the nutrients flow in whole cycles . . . each step supporting the next step . . . continuously . . . building nutrients into the system. That takes a complete set of organisms to use the nutrients through the complete growth, decay and regrowth cycle. Each of those creatures has needs that must be supplied by the habitat . . . or that creature cannot contribute its gift to the system.
In our gardening system, in Colorado's front range climate, human participation comes in four stages. 1) We build gardens with sheet mulching and hugelkulturs, providing the carbon and nitrogen to fuel the soil habitat. Carbon and nitrogen will be converted by the soil organisms into a full range of nutrients to cycle through our system. 2) We start indoors those plants that need a longer season than we have and plant outside those plants that like the cool season. 3) We set out our plants and put in seeds for our warm season crops and make provision for the water they will need. 4) We watch our plants grow, identifying the tiny seedlings and making mulch of the other plants that volunteer . . . accepting their gift.
There will be several events at the Institute, and hosted by API team members, for each of those stages. The events will be listed on the Organic Landscape Design web site and on the events calendar for Transition Colorado. We ask for a $25.00 contribution, to attend these events, to support API and its work but, if you are also engaged in this work, by being on a team of gardeners tending to your relationships with the people and other living things around you, then these events are free . . . then, they are a collaboration in developing the technology to build better habitats . . . to heal nature and produce abundance.
Well said, David. Onward!
Demanding that someone else do something to fix the world is generally ineffective. The important question to ask is, “What can I do to improve the habitat for myself, and the other living things around me?”
We are, already, a part of something larger than ourselves: our habitat. Our health depends on its health. Every living thing in your locality is a part of it . . . starting with the soil ecosystem . . . and the health of every living thing depends on the health of this habitat that we, collectively, create.
The plans to Building 7 Modified Warre Bee Hives are ready and posted on line, or I can e-mail a set to you. On January 29 we will build 7 hives as an exercise in alternative production systems. We have 4 people who contributed $100.00 to participate in the build. That will cover the cost of all the materials for 7 hives. Each of those participants will take home a hive worth about $300 retail. Our team will have three hives in exchange for our efforts and expertise in holding the event. That makes it a partnership in developing the capacity to produce honey.
I am making the plans available free of charge as a part of developing the technology. The technology we seek is the know how to have productive relationships with other living things that are not mediated by money. It requires being aware of the needs of other living things, and their contribution to the habitat, when we choose how to spend our available time and money. I have expressed that as, “Honoring the gift of the least among us”.
You may not be interested in raising bees, or have carpentry skills, but there are people in both categories in your locality. All of you, and the habitat in your locality, will benefit from more bee colonies, in more bee hives, with more diverse genetics, pollinating more flowers, in an environment with fewer poisons.
Making those connections, for the people around you, is one thing you can do to improve your habitat.