Yay! Sharon Astyk is starting a new Independence Days Challenge! 🙂 You can read about it here.

We will be reporting our weekly activities on Fridays. I guess we will start this Friday. That means I need to get my butt in gear. I haven’t been doing much, as I have been working some really long hours. But, hey, Spring seems to be here. So, I need to get going.

Sharon had assigned the following categories.

  1. Plant something: A lot of us were trained to think of planting as done once a year, but if you start seeds, do season extension and succession plant, you’ll get much, much more out of your garden, so I try and plant something every day from February into September.
  2. Harvest something: Everything counts – from the milk and eggs you get from your animals to the first dandelions from your yard to 50 bushels of tomatoes – it all counts.
  3. Preserve something: Again, I find preserving is most productive if I try and do a little every day that there is anything, from the first dried raspberry leaves and jarred rhubarb to the last squashes at the end of the season.
  4. Waste Not: Reducing food waste, composting everything or feeding it to animals, reducing your use of disposables and creation of garbage, reusing things that would otherwise go to waste, making sure your preserved and stored foods are kept in good shape – all of these count.
  5. Want Not: Adding to your food storage or stash of goods for emergencies, building up resources that will be useful in the long-term.
  6. Eat the Food: Making full and good use of what you have, making sure that you are getting everything you can from your food, trying new recipes and new cooking ideas, eating out of your storage!
  7. Build community food systems: What have you done to help other people have better food access or to make your local food system more resilient?
  8. Skill up (New for 2012):  What did you learn this week that will help you in the future – could be as simple as fixing the faucet or as hard as building a shed, as simple as a new way of keeping records or as complicated as making shoes.  Whatever you are learning, you get a merit badge for it – this is important stuff.

I am really happy about the new Skill Up category. As a city-dweller, I have focused a lot on this issue.

I’m going to add a Fitness and Health category to my personal Independence Days activities, since getting the pounds off is such a big deal to me (I am down 40-pounds so far. Now I am working on the next 40.). I suspect that a lot of people interested in the Independence Days Challenge are in pretty good shape already. But, for those of us in the obesity boat, you can’t truly be independent or resilient if you can’t walk long distances, lift stuff, or maybe even get up and down your own basement steps. Without getting into the causes, politics, etc. of obesity, from a simply practical standpoint, one might think of obesity as a category of physical disability because the bulk and weight of your body keeps you from being able to do physical stuff (like maybe get up off of the floor or cross your legs; Been there, Done That). I suppose one might think of obesity as another special need that must be considered (and met) when working to be more independent.  (Sort of like my nephews who are allergic to wheat and corn.  Their mom has to store grains other than wheat and corn.)  So, I invite any of you who has special needs to work on these issues with me.

Sharon is also having a Food Storage and Preservation Class. I took one of her classes several years ago, when I was first learning about all of this stuff. It was very helpful and enjoyable. Sharon puts a lot of effort into making it a great experience. I think it is well worth the $$.

Also, you can learn more about Independence Days here. Or you could read Sharon’s [amazon_link id=”0865716528″ target=”_blank” locale=”US” container=”” container_class=”” ]book[/amazon_link].


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