A new year, new beginnings
It’s been a busy week for us—a mixture of work and pleasure. On Monday we took some time to enjoy some hot cocoa and homemade goodies at our neighbors’ home (thanks D & K for your hospitality!).
On New Year’s day, we helped some friends of ours move to their new home (with a backyard yeah!). Another friend had invited us to her New Year’s day party, but we couldn’t do both. Thanks for the invite L – maybe next year!
I hope you have been enjoying posts here at LHITC this year — (over 3/4 million pageviews worth ) . For 2009 I only hope they get better. We are planning on, once again, overhauling the journal for better search optimization – so stay tuned for improvements!
Like most people these days we’ll highlight our tracks of 2008.
Kicked off the year with the 100-Foot Diet Challenge, but not only did we just throw the challenge out for our readers to participate in, we challenged ourselves to see if our little 1/10 acre garden could produce 10,000 pounds of produce. Well, the weather had other ideas, and we’ll just barely make our normal 6,000 pounds tally (I’ll post the year’s tally soon)
A few months later, we added the Harvest Keeper Challenge and Save Our Seeds. LHITC blog exposed the underside of the seed industry; encouraged people to ‘Say Ahhhh’; Liberate their Lawns, be a ‘Conscientious Consumer‘ or the change they wish to see with IMBY and listed our weekly homegrown, homemade menus; and much, much more.
We also had a little fun with flash from the pasts with Flashback Friday & ‘I Didn’t Know Any Better’
And there was certainly plenty of eye candy from cute animals, to luscious gardens, to colorful harvest. So much in fact, it could fill an entire book with pictures and stories!
One, if not the biggest, highlights of the year was the launch of the first-ever social network for modern day “victory gardeners,” FreedomGardens.org. And boy has this site grown since its launch this past summer! FG stands at over 1,930 and growing strong with new & experienced gardeners determined to dig their way towards a free and secure future.
Towards the end of the summer, we hosted the first Freedom Gardens meetup and have plans for these meetups to spread to other cities across the world. We are working on the details as we speak – along with a million other things!
PTF was very active in the community in ‘08. Not only did we host a few successful film screenings and delicious potlucks, starting with the screening of The World According to Monsanto in June, but also gave presentations at quite a few venues around So Cal— Sustainable LA, All Saints Church, Ten Thousand Villages, Smith & Hawken, National History Museum on urban homesteading and a couple at UCLA on food security.
Not to mention that our urban homestead was featured on Chow Magazine, ABC’s Nightline, The New York Times Magazine, CNN, Living Green Channel, PBS’s California Heartland and in an insightful documentary by Robert McFalls, HomeGrown. Also PTF and LHITC have been featured and referred to in hundreds of blogs and websites throughout the world wide web. If you have link to our site from yours, thank you. We appreciate your spreading the word of our project.
Our little in-home video, Homegrown Revolution, topped over 130,000 views on YouTube and was selected to be screened at the largest environmental Film Festival in the USA. After the premier in next week we are considering making it available to purchase online … so stay tuned for details.
Here on the urban homestead, not only did we feed ourselves, produce our own electricity and fuel, some of the highlights this year were harvesting 25 lbs of honey and filling all our kitchen pantry with homegrown, home preserved canned goods.
Because of the economic down turn and lack luster harvest summer season we tighten our belts – making do or did without.
There’s definitely more, but I think I just about covered a few of the highlights from 2008 and now 2009…
We will continue to bring you real life experiences from our daily life here on the urban homestead and do our best to inspire and promote change.
Having been invited to premier Homegrown Revolution at the Wild & Scenic Environmental Film Festival, and PTF to be featured in Mother Earth News in February we are already starting off this year at a full-out gallop.
What you can look forward to in 2009 is continued upgrades to the FreedomGardens.org website, another attempt at organizing LHITC, and a new and improved PTF site, where we plan to highlight steps we have taken in our journey and the 10 elements of urban homesteading.
There are also two other social networks (one for urban homesteaders and the other for backyard poultry and livestock enthusiast) which we hope to launch after we work out all the kinks with Freedom Gardens.org. These new ventures are going to require a lot of work but like a friend so wisely put it, “most importantly you know where you are going and have, like the pioneers of old, staked your claim so now it’s just a matter of slowing working all all the details.”
There’s another huge event that Farmer D will be attending in March –details will have to wait. One thing that I can say is that it’s not in California but down South, as in “Dixie south.”
One of our other projects that we have been working on is a new venture and campaign, FreedomSeeds.org Not only has there been hours of research put in, but the initial investment to purchase the seeds has us worried and wondering if this is such a good investment at this time. Why the hesitation? Well, we are wondering if we can count on our readers to support this new venture of ours. Having been busy these last we months, we are behind (really behind) especially if we expect orders this planting season. We are still not certain if we can pull it all together before everyone starts ordering their seeds – and many of you have.
But no matter what we would like to hear is comments from you – would you be willing to support FreedomSeeds.org a ‘homegrown’ seed company that will feature not only safe but secure seeds (varieties that aren’t owned by Monsanto)? So with that and the uncertainty if we can pull everything together in time for the seed ordering season I guess FS will have to be another one of our “WIP projects” for 2009.
Of course, stay tuned for more events, daily urban homestead life, challenges and more! Well, that’s what our plans are, but you never know what might be in store for us.
Also a tremendous thank you to those few who supported our grassroots outreach efforts this year. With our operating expenses at nearly $10,000 a year for our organization we truly value and appreciate your support. Although we fell short of our donation goal of $10,000 for 2008 we hope that next year, er this year, will be better. I promise to do my part in keeping the donations flowing if you promise to do yours.
Growing On From Here
Now that I gave a run down of highlights (and there were certainly our fair share of low lights but we are keeping this a positive toned post), it’s your turn. Speak up about what this site has meant to you and let us know your thoughts on the direction we hope to go in 2009.
If you are a lurker or a long time reader, here’s your chance to let us know what you think. We would like to hear your thoughts, so speak up! What’s your favorite part of the LHITC, what keeps you coming back day after day.
To our longtime readers, thanks for sticking with us through the our success, progress, failures and setbacks over these last 8 years.
Here’s to another year of homegrown solutions!
Let us, then, be up and doing,
With a heart for any fate ;
Still achieving, still pursuing,
Learn to labor and to wait.
Psalm of Life, Longfellow