"What is true independence?" you ask, well here at Groundwell Farm we consider independence to be:
Meeting, or even occasionally exceeding, all of the necessities and desires of life through either direct work, or through agreeable trade with people we are close to in everyday life.
Notable exceptions to this form of independence for us would include: communications (e.g. telephones and internet); fuel and parts for the two '81 Volkswagens (one of which is a pickup) that we drive; and entertainment, some of which comes from the internet and Netflix. There are many areas, though, in which we are either meeting or are well on our way to meeting the goal of true independence.
Electricity - This falls in the desire rather than the need camp. After all, for many years we lived with no electricity at all, so moving up to limited solar electricity was like having a new toy.
|Taking in wattage even during a monsoon.|
Water - An obvious necessity here, and with no creek, pond or spring on our land, it has been a tricky one to deal with for years. We got a nice cistern built a few years ago that holds about 1500 gallons of water and for a while paid our neighbor for the ability to hook onto her tap with a hose and fill it. But we didn't like that our water was still coming from the city (read: Army Corps of Engineers) and was still full of chemicals. Enter the rainbarrels. We now have 19 rain barrels running across the front and back of our house.
Food - If you read this blog regularly you already know that we grow a lot of food here at Groundwell Farm. However, though growing food is a major step in achieving food independence, it is not the 'full meal deal' so to speak. To be truly food independent you must be growing that food from seed you have saved. This adds in a major aspect to the gardening season. You need to learn how to produce viable seed from different types of plants then take the extra steps to make it all happen. With some crops, like tomatoes and peppers,
|Rows of staked tomatoes.|
|A hand pollinated squash blossom under protective netting.|
|One variety of corn being grown far from other varieties to ensure purity.|
|Sugar beets planted spring 2012 going to seed now.|
|Ripe raspberries wishing the rain would stop so they could be picked.|
Cash Flow - Because we have not dropped entirely out of society, we still need some cash flow. This is a tricky one to make independently, but we're doing well so far. Remember that our definition of independence includes the immediate community, people we actually interact with on a personal basis, rather than a big corporation. So, our current cash flow consists of selling off excess stuff we have gathered over the years, building a bit for people we know and love,
Beauty - Let's not leave out a major desire that lies in the heart of almost every human. We are beauty independent through walking down to the creek, by dancing in the rain, and by growing flowers. We focus on perennials, bulbs,
|Sword Lilly with Raindrops.|
If our definition holds as a strong definition of independence, and I think many of the founding fathers would agree, We are well on our way down the road of true independence.