As I take a look at things when it comes to consumption and waste, one area that stands out is food packaging. While I am not sure I am ready to give up my toilet paper (even though it is 100% recycled) food packaging is an area that I could do without. Here is a neat concept for a quick deploy bulk food store. You have to bring or purchase reusable containers to get all your items, since it is all in bulk, it stands to reason that it could be done a bit cheaper too.
Many of you read a week or two ago about REBURBIA, a contests about revising the way we live in suburbia. Many of you understand that we need to relocalize in order to sustain ourselves. The day of the 1400 mile salad needs to come to an end. Anyway, the contest has announced its top 20 submissions and you can vote on them. Check it out here
Freedom from stuff, freedom from excess space, freedom of time, freedom from cleaning. All of these things take time, energy, money, and resources, going smaller means these demands are reduced drastically. You then have freedom to do what you want, what is important, what really matters in your life.
McMansions cost allot of money, I am sure you have noticed. The average US house costs around $265,000. But it doesn’t stop there! In order for you to get into that big house, you have to get a mortgage, which by the time you pay for it; it will cost you two to three times that, so roughly $800,000. Then add maintenance, insurance, furnishing such a large space, cleaning products, etc.
Then there is the risk that comes with a mortgage, even with buying a house that is conservative for your income, even if you save for 3-6 months of pay in case you get laid off (which 95% of Americans don’t budget for), you could still lose your home after paying it off for 28 out of the 30 years you have on it. So factor the cost, plus risk, then consider the opportunity cost, you could be well in the hole close to 1.5 million dollars and then be left homeless.
Part of the issue of tiny houses is figuring out where to put them. While building codes are so restrictive, it simply isn’t possible to legally place them on land in most states. There is a county in my state of NC where the minimum square footage is 2500 square feet! I continue to feel that the only viable is to buy a large chunk of land and have your house nestled deep within it. But this presents a large barrier for some, including me at the age of 25. Once I do get a sizable piece of land I have often thought of opening it up and sharing with other tiny houses to form a tiny community. The group would contribute to a community garden, upkeep and improvements. There would be public areas such as botanical garden, small park, perhaps a pool or swimming hole. I apparently I haven’t been the only one thinking about this.
Reprinted Treehugger Bonnie Alter January 2009
Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall is a national treasure–a writer, organic farmer, chef, t.v. personality and passionate believer in local communities. His latest venture is “Landshare”–a scheme which puts people with large unused gardens in touch with gardeners wanting space. He calls it a “food revolution destined to be the next great thing.” With more people wanting to grow their own food and allotments being harder and harder to come by, he just may be right.
It is a simple and optimistic idea. People register their interest as a grower, a spotter –someone who has seen land in their area that may be suitable for growing–or an owner. The register, once it is up and running, will put these people in touch with each other.
The facts are that 80% of Britain’s population live in towns and cities, Britain’s food travels 17 trillion miles every year to reach our plates and it costs four barrels of oil per person to feed us every year.
So there is a good reason why the concept is growing and others are proposing variations. “LandFit” is another group that is “encouraging local food production by matching would-be growers with under used land.” They too want to increase opportunities to grow good locally by bringing untended and ignored bits of land back into use. They see it is a way to not only grow food and encourage organic gardening but also as a way to discourage anti-social behaviour. It’s a variation on Jane Jacobs all over again: when you have a well-kept street with local people interested in what is going on then you have a sense of community and involvement.
It is complicated and political because it involves land ownership and the use of private property by others. The group is in the process of discussing matters such as ” governance issues, and developing a model agreement between gardener and ‘lead stakeholder’, and ways in which LandFit style agreements can be supported.”
These are two examples of groups trying to come to grips with sustainability in food production, taking control of food production and the growing numbers of people interested in gardening but without access to land. Landshare and LandFit