Food and climate change

Simple living, extreme early retirement, being wealthy, ...
Papers of Indenture
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Re: Food and climate change

Post by Papers of Indenture »

Alphaville wrote:
Tue Dec 01, 2020 5:36 pm
Would love to have you and Hristo down 295. I was in Baltimore City in 00's through '14. Spent many of those years dreaming about doing what you tried.

Grew up in one of those old inner street car suburbs Hristo talked about. They had names like "Gardenville" and "Parkville" around here.

Now i'm out in an outer suburb of Baltimore that started as a passenger/dairy Railroad stop.

Alphaville
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Re: Food and climate change

Post by Alphaville »

Papers of Indenture wrote:
Thu Dec 03, 2020 10:48 am
Baltimore City
hah! i spent some time around federal hill in the very late 90s.

actually it was riverside, but the fun stuff was a few blocks up.

i had a great time there. after that i 'd go up for shows at the ottobar and the recher theater and some late-night scrapple hahahaa.

wow, i love the east coast. read that the recher closed some time ago. everything changes...

Papers of Indenture
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Re: Food and climate change

Post by Papers of Indenture »

Alphaville wrote:
Thu Dec 03, 2020 11:02 am
hah! i spent some time around federal hill in the very late 90s.

actually it was riverside, but the fun stuff was a few blocks up.

i had a great time there. after that i 'd go up for shows at the ottobar and the recher theater and some late-night scrapple hahahaa.

wow, i love the east coast. read that the recher closed some time ago. everything changes...
I lived a half mile from Ottobar. Recher 2.0 is re-opening! Or at least that was the plan before COVID hit :? Towson has grown up (literally) since then though.

I'm glad you're thriving with City life.

I think i've found the right geography for me now. I'm about 4 miles outside of the old streetcar suburb I grew up in, about 9 miles from the heart of the City, but in a tiny little house on 2/3rd acre surrounded by State Park land and old truck farms. A little bit of everything to satisfy each of my divergent personalities.

Papers of Indenture
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Re: Food and climate change

Post by Papers of Indenture »

On the topic of food...my wife and I have been eating flexitarian and doing almost all of the shopping at Aldi. We grab a few extra veggies elsewhere. Ground turkey, red cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, kale, and chickpeas do the heavy lifting for us. Stopped 90% of red meat consumption a couple years ago. We do have a dairy farm nearby that practices holistic management. But they have to make most of their income off of an agrotouristy ice cream parlor. It's unclear to me whether the science really supports holistic management of ruminants as serious alternative. Most of what i've read is opinion and it seems like a mirage. I'll give them credit for trying.

Alphaville
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Re: Food and climate change

Post by Alphaville »

Papers of Indenture wrote:
Thu Dec 03, 2020 11:12 am
I lived a half mile from Ottobar. Recher 2.0 is re-opening! Or at least that was the plan before COVID hit :? Towson has grown up (literally) since then though.

I'm glad you're thriving with City life.
towson since i knew it had that monstrous mall with the theme restaurants... was threatening to expand. bit of a hell on earth for me, that mall :lol:

and thanks! new mexico isn't great at cities i'm afraid, because they were developed in the postwar and for the car. well, we have some very old cities but the old cores are tiny/for tourists.

but there are some walkable spots with fast improving transit options, there's decent internet, there are creatives and knowledge workers, there are college student populations, there are retailers of obscure merchandise, and there are way too many tattoo parlors hahaha. but better jobs with better conditions than in the boonies for sure.

still, to see the kind of bands you'd see at ottobar or black cat in dc one generally has to travel many hours, to either phoenix or denver.... oof....
Papers of Indenture wrote:
Thu Dec 03, 2020 11:20 am
On the topic of food...my wife and I have been eating flexitarian and doing almost all of the shopping at Aldi. We grab a few extra veggies elsewhere. Ground turkey, red cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, kale, and chickpeas do the heavy lifting for us. Stopped 90% of red meat consumption a couple years ago. We do have a dairy farm nearby that practices holistic management. But they have to make most of their income off of an agrotouristy ice cream parlor. It's unclear to me whether the science really supports holistic management of ruminants as serious alternative. Most of what i've read is opinion and it seems like a mirage. I'll give them credit for trying.
legumes + brassicas are full of good stuff!

i'll confess i'm wary of turkey due to antibiotic use. but when i can find free i make breakfast sausage with it.

im relying on a lot of diy fermented milk these days. 1 gallon/week for 2. that's $3 and turns into regular yogurt, which then can separate as yogurt cheese and whey with the help of a strainer. the whey makes great pancakes cuz it reacts with baking powders like buttermilk. the cheese part goes to sauces (eg mixed with spinach) or spreads (on bread, or like a thick sour cream) or dessert with nuts and berries and honey. the unseparated yogurt we eat with granola, etc.

the science might support holistic management, but the price of land in your area probably does not. nevertheless, a clever way to make an income from farming. first world farming needs value added really. ice cream, cheeses, soaps and gift baskets, that sort of thing: boutique goods & luxury services, vegetables for famous restaurants, etc.

one cant survive on mere commodity production these days except with federal subsidies and large machinery in iowa.

i don't know how wisconsin does dairy. but i know they have the lowest acreage per animal unit on the continent. eta: i mean that their grasslands are super-rich
Last edited by Alphaville on Thu Dec 03, 2020 4:38 pm, edited 1 time in total.

chenda
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Re: Food and climate change

Post by chenda »

Very interesting to hear your thoughts @alphaville. Years ago I lived for a few months in a town called Belfast in Maine (long story) It was an old fishing village which had developed into a more of a touristy place. I couldn't drive because of age insurance problems so I was sort of marooned.

The old centre was very walkable and a nice, though mostly cafes and antique shops and the like. For essential shopping you mostly had to go to a bit of sprawl just out of town, although it was just about walkable (there were pavements) and it was actually quite well landscaped. So living without a car was just about doable. The main problem was it was difficult to leave without one, and the town was so small I felt the need to. If I had stayed in New England car less I'd have liked to have lived somewhere like Burlington, which is bigger, seems to have a lively street life and just rent a car for the occasional road trip to Montreal or Boston...

Loner
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Re: Food and climate change

Post by Loner »

chenda wrote:
Thu Dec 03, 2020 4:22 pm
Burlington, which is bigger, seems to have a lively street life and just rent a car for the occasional road trip to Montreal or Boston...
You can get to Montreal by bike in a (long) day, or by canoe I guess, if you're really motivated. No need for a car :lol: Jokes aside, it looks like a beautiful, liveable town with the university right at the heart of it.

Alphaville
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Re: Food and climate change

Post by Alphaville »

chenda wrote:
Thu Dec 03, 2020 4:22 pm
Belfast Burlington
hah! i love that whole region and used to go there on roadtrips. burlington is nice! i could probably have lived there in another life. lovely little town, very laid back and pedestrian and bike friendly and still lively and connected.

as for that village you describe, yes--pretty much everything from the 1950s onward was built for the car. it's a horror we rarely acknowledge.

not having a car in the usa (outside probably of new york, dc, and other places where parking is a massive chore) is likely to get you branded a loser, a felon, a drunkard (who got their license taken away for dui), and elicit some kind of emotional response. if you tell people you don't have a car they look at you with pity, like you're the elephant man or something :lol:. and if you tell them it was done on purpose they think you're either lying or mental.

but anyway it was worth saving $500/mo. for us to get rid of it (payments or parts & tools & repairs, insurance, registration, gas+consumables, parking, depreciation, real estate, deductibles & potential liabilities, etc. etc.), it all adds up. cheap car, pricey car, old car, new car--they all cost more than people think. plus the infrastructure for it, we all pay from our taxes; and the dirty air, we pay for with our health; and the supply lines take a lot of standing armies to maintain.

i'd rather take a nice bike road everywhere. :D

chenda
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Re: Food and climate change

Post by chenda »

Alphaville wrote:
Thu Dec 03, 2020 5:24 pm
hah! i love that whole region and used to go there on roadtrips. burlington is nice! i could probably have lived there in another life. lovely little town, very laid back and pedestrian and bike friendly and still lively and connected.

as for that village you describe, yes--pretty much everything from the 1950s onward was built for the car. it's a horror we rarely acknowledge.
Yes the region still has a vibe of a world of Edward Hopper paintings and Patricia Highsmith novels, which I greatly value :) Good job for giving up the car! Don't get me wrong, I think there is a need for a certain amount of private motoring, and obviously for things like delivery drivers, tradesman, emergency services etc. But we use cars at an absurdly irrational scale. Hopefully the tide is turning and people find car free living a liberating experience, or a least see the financial benefits of it.
Loner wrote:
Thu Dec 03, 2020 4:44 pm
You can get to Montreal by bike in a (long) day, or by canoe I guess, if you're really motivated. No need for a car :lol: Jokes aside, it looks like a beautiful, liveable town with the university right at the heart of it.
Yes its closer than I thought! I like the sound of canoeing, maybe not in the winter though :lol:

white belt
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Re: Food and climate change

Post by white belt »

Papers of Indenture wrote:
Thu Dec 03, 2020 10:08 am
Old brick rowhome cites like Baltimore, Pittsburgh, Richmond. End of row houses can have pretty generous yards. I lived in a neighborhood in Baltimore called Hampden and had a few neighbors who gardened intensively and raised chickens.
I lived in an old brick rowhome city for several years. I agree that some of them had decent sized yards. However, there is one major problem with such neighborhoods: gentrification. Any neighborhood that is walkable, near desirable social/cultural activities, and affordable will quickly be gentrified. I've seen it happen in less than 5 years in neighborhoods that friends live in. It starts as lower class or working class, then the artists/bohemians/hipsters move in along with the "cool/trendy" businesses, then the developers move in because they realize the neighborhood is on the rise, then the developers buy out said rowhomes and knock them down to build condos or luxury apartments with roofdecks and yards disappear, then the yuppies ($80k+ salaries) move in to said homes as rents and property values continue to climb. Any frugal person will quickly be priced out with either rent or in property taxes if they own (unless you timed the market perfectly and can sell with large appreciation).

I can't yet ascertain whether trends that have accelerated due to COVID-19, such as teleworking, will be bullish or bearish for such cities. The bullish argument that I've already heard anecdotal evidence of is people fleeing from more expensive cities like NYC to more affordable large cities on the east coast. Also, we know that there will be a boom due to pent-up demand for at least a few quarters when vaccines become widespread. The bearish argument is that many of the service jobs and cultural/entertainment amenities might not come back to cities. Additionally, the social unrest and strict lockdowns in urban areas might drive many folks to suburbs or to vacation areas with more space and outdoor amenities. A flight from cities like what we saw in the 1960's and 1970's would be devastating for the tax base at a time when governments at every level are already heavily indebted.

Having said that, and getting back on the food topic, I do still think a viable ERE model for me might be to own such a rowhome that is already split into multiple units and still has a backyard. My tenants above me pay most of the mortgage, while I live in the bottom unit with my backyard access. Biointensive garden beds/plots go in the backyard with bees/chickens (zoning laws depending) and whatever other stuff I can make work to improve the system.

I also know that many of these rowhomes have large unfinished basements, which are typically not very productive damp/dark places with a washer/dryer, water heater, furnace, and random storage. I'd be tempted to throw a 1000 gallon aquaponics or aquaculture system into the basement with one of these: https://www.amazon.com/Intex-Round-Back ... T7PGBQ8T0Q. Basement temperatures should stay consistently cool year around, so I could grow some cooler water fish like trout, minnows, arctic char etc without having to worry about heating the water. The bonus is that aquaponics is still possible in areas with zoning laws that forbid livestock, and also has no noises or smells that neighbors could complain about.

Alphaville
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Re: Food and climate change

Post by Alphaville »

urban backyard chickens are legal in new mexico (it's a bit of a cultural thing here), but having having raised chickens (in the country) i should comment that you can't grow their feed in a backyard and will have to purchase it from a store or supplier.

they eat a lot, too, and they're messy and will tear up your yard, and the feed can attract rodents (but a grown chicken will catch rodents, lol). they're also vulnerable to hawks, skunks, raccoons, foxes, coyotes, and other predators. just saying.

for laying hens, sure, then you make hen soup, but i think rabbits are better for meat (unless you get that freak hybrid chicken the cornish x which grows unable to walk in something like 2 months.)

rabbits do ok in cages though, are never loud, and rabbit poop is nicer and more manageable too, makes a good fertilizer pellet. easier to clean for eating also cuz the skin slides right off.

some people grow alfalfa in grow rooms to feed their rabbits. i remember having seen somewhere. seems to need a lot of electricity to feed a rabbit though.

i wonder if yeast could be used for protein-in-a-vat.

white belt
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Re: Food and climate change

Post by white belt »

Alphaville wrote:
Thu Dec 03, 2020 9:44 pm
urban backyard chickens are legal in new mexico (it's a bit of a cultural thing here), but having having raised chickens i should comment that you can't grow their feed in a backyard and will have to purchase it from a store or supplier.

they eat a lot, too, and they're messy and will tear up your yard, and the feed can attract rodents (but a grown chicken will catch rodents, lol). they're also vulnerable to hawks, skunks, raccoons, foxes, coyotes, and other predators. just saying.

for laying hens sure, but i think rabbits are better for meat (unless you get that freak hybrid chicken the cornish x which grows unable to walk in something like 2 months.)

rabbits do ok in cages though, are never loud, and rabbit poop is nicer and more manageable too, makes a good fertilizer pellet. easier to clean for eating also cuz the skin slides right off.

some people grow alfalfa in grow rooms to feed their rabbits. i remember having seen somewhere. seems to need a lot of electricity to feed a rabbit though.

i wonder if yeast could be used for protein-in-a-vat.
I've never raised chickens but they do seem like the first recommendation for homesteaders for whatever reason. I think rabbits probably are the better choice because they breed faster and are easier to care for. I've also read rabbits provide some of the highest yields per pound of meat when you factor in inputs. The only thing that would stop me from raising/processing them is laws that forbid it in residentially zoned areas (most cities on the east coast seem to do this). Also the smells would keep me from raising them indoors.

I think most of these small scale systems (to include aquaculture) will require feed that you purchase from a store or supplier. A closed loop system is aspirational, but maybe it's possible to reduce some of these inputs over time with permaculture principles. Nevertheless, even with conventional feed I think you are going to end up with reduced footprint by producing your food on site.

Alphaville
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Re: Food and climate change

Post by Alphaville »

rabbits go outdoors, definitely, but my experience with them is in a mild climate (hot in summer but not brutal in the shade)

and having been involved with an urban rabbit operation, i can say rabbit hutches can be *very discreet* :lol:

UK-with-kids
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Re: Food and climate change

Post by UK-with-kids »

We used to keep chickens for eggs, and unless you buy a premium coop, it's overall cheaper than buying quality eggs from a shop. So it gives you a net reduction in monthly household expenditure. The feed is very cheap, bearing in mind you can feed them partly on scraps. And keeping backyard chickens is more convenient too if you've run out of eggs at breakfast time. :D

I've been interested in the idea of rabbit keeping for a long time now but never taken the plunge. Keen to know more about making it discreet as there are a lot of militant animal rights people where I live. Regarding feed, I imagine they can eat a lot of household waste like garden weeds, vegetable peelings and so on? Any favourite resources for learning more about this?

UK-with-kids
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Re: Food and climate change

Post by UK-with-kids »

Oh yes I meant to add on rabbit keeping - I'm pretty sure the number 1 barrier to this for people in the UK is that you would have to know how to kill the rabbits and be happy doing that. But you only have to go back a few generations and it was very common to keep rabbits for meat. Definitely in my family for example, but I don't know how much of that was due to food rationing during WW2. Nowadays rabbits have become fairly common as pets, so I guess that means people are less comfortable with the idea of even eating them, let alone killing them. A bit like guinea pigs which are eaten in South America but are pets in the UK.

chenda
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Re: Food and climate change

Post by chenda »

white belt wrote:
Thu Dec 03, 2020 7:55 pm
Having said that, and getting back on the food topic, I do still think a viable ERE model for me might be to own such a rowhome that is already split into multiple units and still has a backyard. My tenants above me pay most of the mortgage, while I live in the bottom unit with my backyard access. Biointensive garden beds/plots go in the backyard with bees/chickens (zoning laws depending) and whatever other stuff I can make work to improve the system.
Yes a friend of mine does that. She has a semi-detached corner dwelling, lives in an annexe and rents out the 4 rooms of the house, which cover the mortgage and basic living expenses. The garden is big enough for a vegetable patch, chickens etc with a garage and shed. Only downside is that is not the best area (hence the strong rental demand) although it's not car dependent. Essentialy it allows you to quasi retire on the mortgage deposit. You need to be good at dealing with tenants though, who have a fast turnover and inevitably you'll get problem ones.

Alphaville
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Re: Food and climate change

Post by Alphaville »

chenda wrote:
Thu Dec 03, 2020 6:50 pm
Don't get me wrong, I think there is a need for a certain amount of private motoring, and obviously for things like delivery drivers, tradesman, emergency services etc. But we use cars at an absurdly irrational scale.
Yeah, it's a great tool, not opposed to it, but having to sustain one motorized metal cage per individual human is a big ask.

And also don't get me wrong---I love a good leisurely drive on a mountain road, shifting gears, or cruising along the beach or whatever. Road trips are fun! Great way to explore.

But start and stop traffic, looking for parking from one store to another, and daily commuting at rush hour? Please kill me now... :lol:

Alphaville
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Re: Food and climate change

Post by Alphaville »

UK-with-kids wrote:
Fri Dec 04, 2020 4:40 am
a few generations
Killing rabbits is not hard: grab them from the cage by the scruff of the neck, club them in the head, then the break the neck, now you can process over a utility sink. Scraps go to the dogs, meat gets wrapped and frozen, furs can be tanned (but that's more of an art).

It's still a gory business, but quieter and easier than chickens with all the chasing and flapping of wings and clucking and feathers and splatting feces.

But yeah, raising something from a baby only to whack it afterwards can mess with your head. Takes a certain level of sociopathic detachment. You develop an emotional bond with the creature, regardless of intentions--then shut it down and blam! Dinner is served.

And without generations passing: my wife grew up butchering animals, always hated it regardless; nowadays as a grownup she simply refuses to participate in killing and butchering. And she eats meat--but if she knows the face of what she's eating, she'll water the plate with her tears.

I on the other hand grew up eating from the supermarket; and while I don't enjoy killing stuff I can perform the dirty deeds.

ertyu
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Re: Food and climate change

Post by ertyu »

Alphaville wrote:
Fri Dec 04, 2020 7:20 am

But yeah, raising something from a baby only to whack it afterwards can mess with your head.
For this reason my grandfather, who kept meat rabbits, had my uncle slaughter them. Grandpa just said he couldn't.

UK-with-kids
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Re: Food and climate change

Post by UK-with-kids »

From low tech to high tech...in today's news, Singapore has given regulatory approval for the world’s first “clean meat” that does not come from slaughtered animals.
https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/amp/business-55155741

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