About "The Blueprint":
“The Blueprint” is a stream-of-consciousness, Morning-Pages style exercise in exploring unbounded, utopian approaches to improving some small aspect of community life - no matter how superficial or significant.
Starting with a simple, open prompter: “How good would it be if…,”penning these pieces is a handy way to broaden the horizons of the creative thinking process and help organise even a small skerrick of the sea of thoughts that swim around the brain.
I think creative exercises like this are great for a bit of brain training and they're also good for introducing a bit of positive thinking into your daily routine. They also serve as a catalyst for a productive conversation on how we can do better - rather than the more well-trodden path of bemoaning how shit everything is.
Little Neighbourhood Farms
How good would it be if there was a productive little urban farm set-up in every neighbourhood. It would be a nicely laid-out parcel of land positively overflowing with verdant veggies and community spirit.
You know how local parks, gardens and sports fields are maintained by local government staff? Yeah, well this would work just like that. It would be just another type of essential recreational land to give citizens the space to grow - both literally and figuratively.
Council parks department staff would establish it all by planting seasonal veggies according to a growing calendar and there’d be perennial fruits and nuts and all that good stuff. They'd also install a bit of simple irrigation infrastructure to help everything tick along without the need for a heap of ongoing labour.
You could offer up volunteering opportunities to people in the community so they can learn about how to plant their own food, get a bit of exercise and meet some sweet new people in the process.
You could build a big, good-looking chicken coop, install a decent array of stingless, native bee hives (so that you don’t get stung when you harvest the honey) and add on a farm-gate (on-site shop) selling fresh produce including eggs and honey.
You could chuck one of those Square card reader thingoes on it so it could run on an honesty system where you just plug-in what you’re taking and then pay what you reckon is a fair price for it. (There’d be a recommended price for it of course, but if you’re struggling to make ends meet you could just pay what you could afford.)
The idea is that after it starts to take a bit of cash in, you’d scale it up and diversify it into a fully-fledged food forest, add in an aquaculture-supporting vertical farm system, a mushroom farm and a place where locals could dump their compost.
If you were able to expand it by a decent amount, you could start selling CSA (community supported agriculture) boxes and even offer a mechanism by which you could purchase them on behalf of other people in the community who might need a helping hand.
There are heaps of little pockets of parkland around where you could start one of these things - like in an unused but sunny corner next to a footy field.
If you made it nice enough you could put a massive long table in the middle of it, hang a bunch of festoon lights over the top, set up a little kitchen in the garden shed and turn it into a nice, little neighbourhood restaurant/cafe too.
And you could do all manner of classes and programs in that space too: cooking; gardening; language; brewing - heaps of good stuff.
All of this expansive stuff could then go and generate a decent bit of cash which you could use to help fund a bunch of positive programs in the community. How nice would that be.
If you've got ideas about this or want to chat about anything else positive, please don't hesitate to drop me a line at email@example.com.
Atlanta Food Forest, CNN Pocket City Farms, Sydney
How To Grow A Forest In Your Backyard, TED Talk
Singapore's Bold Plan To Build The Farms Of The Future, Tomorrow's Build