Eric Stewart, Director of Kinship Urban Farm in New Port Richie, Florida has started a Gofundme Project. Kinship Urban Farm is growing fresh vegetables behind the Habitat For Humanity for several years. Eric Stewart brings competent leadership to a group of volunteers who grow clean, wholesome food for the community and offers instructional courses several times throughout the year.
The objective is to build and equip a nursery for raising 10,000 seedlings every month. These will be used to grow several more community gardens, private home gardens, and support the continued success of the Kinship Urban Farm. I've been there personally and can speak to the efforts and progress of the operation and the dedication of the people involved. This place has everything going on and serves as a testiment to what can be done in a small space in an urban setting: backyard laying hens, tank raised tilapia, composting, vermicomposting, raised beds, biodynamic planting, SPIN Farming, a farmer's market, classes and seminars, irrigation techniques, plus the involvement of kids and community members all round the Tampa area.
Your donation will be put to good use. The goal is $5000, but all donations will get through even if the goal is not met.
Meeting and exceeding the goal would be AWESOME.
Please spare a couple of bucks for a good cause!
Edited to add the link. Can you believe I left it out? Where is my head?
Those old ivy covered cottages have great eye appeal, but there is a problem that is often overlooked. Ivy holds on to structures with a tendril kind thing that can corrode the surface it is holding to. Grapes employ a twisting tendril (correct me if I'm wrong). While it is not acting chemically, the growth and expansion of these tendrills can get into small cracks and crevices and enlarge them. Bigger hole, more rain damage. A home is a considerable investment for most folks. Protecting it would be prudent.
Erecting a trellis gives the vines something to hold onto without endangering the home. In order to access the wall of the home, 2-3 feet would allow a person to move behind it. 3-4 feet offers room to move with lush vine growth.
Getting back to Paul's OP, 100 benefits to 20 people sharing a home:
1 Save Money
2 Sense of Community
3 Better stuff
4 Better food
5 Shared Responsibilities
6 Collective labor reduces individual labor
8 More skills available
9 More ideas
10 Project completion
12 Emotional support
13 Reduced burden
14 Human insurance
16 Efficient utilization of space
17 diverse demographic profile
18 Delegated responsibilities
20 Hired staff
21 Meal service
22 Routine chores are scheduled
23 Reduced housekeeping workload
25 Social events
26 Hierarchical command structure
27 Compartmental decision making
28 Generalized participatory policy development
29 Reduced per capita infrastructure
30 Personal and social development, particularly in youths
32 Enhanced access to resources
34 Individuality is promoted
37 Enhanced creativity
38 Emergency Assistance
40 Reduced redundancy
42 Energy efficiency
43 Minimal footprint
45 Someone to share with/from/among
46 Opportunity for personal development
47 Fun, positive interaction
48 Personal enrichment (using the definition of joy, not cash)
49 Self empowerment
50 Greater control of our own destiny
51 Reduced struggle
52 Money and making ends meet is removed as an obstacle
53 Everyone is on the same team
54 Abundant food
55 Better food prices
56 Better food preparation
57 HOT TUB
58 Development of basic skills (Jocelyn Campbell: Make note!)
59 Development of organization and management skills
60 2 ovens
61 Commercial kitchen
62 Life long friends
63 Trust is promoted
64 Shared homecare costs
65 Looking after each other
In the situation I described back in college, we had a strong and vibrant social program. While impromptu parties and keggers were common, plenty of the guys were intently focused on their own goals and spent much of their time studying, applying for jobs, and furthering their educational and occupational goals. Even these hardcore guys needed a break now and then. The Social Committee added formal structure to a seemingly feral group. As an example:
Perhaps the largest planned event of the year. Held in the fall. Starts at 3 PM, ends at 3 AM. Find a date, have a good time, get away from your desk. At all times we put our best foot forward.
The guys on the Social Committee take care of setting up tables, ordering supplies, arranging busses/reservations/tickets, and putting together a series of events for the evening.
3-5 PM Cocktails
Semi Formal in the main house first floor for Undergrads and Graduate members of the fraternity, their guests, as well as faculty at the college, neighbors and dignitaries.
A greeter at the door welcomes guests and announces their arrival. A bar is set up to serve cocktails, a table offers light appetizers. Someone played the piano.
Dinner at a local restaurant, entree selected ahead of time. We board busses and shuttle to the destination. Usually a 3 course dinner service with a selection of prime rib, chicken, or seafood. I recall Shrimp Cocktail being popular, with mousse for dessert. Following dinner the President of our Fraternity would introduce a couple of guest speakers. I recall the Dean of the University, Mayor of Troy, and a couple of our own grads.
An adventure was planned.
Between dinner and the event time was allowed to change out of our wardrobe if necessary. One year we all went on a hayride and enjoyed a bonfire. Another year we boarded a ship and cruised the Hudson River.
This was a less formal event as lots of folks were dropping out from a long day of socializing. The bar was open, a buffet table was available with entrees and snacks. A champagne fountain flowed endlessly. Lots of talking, singing and fellowship.
A late spring afternoon and evening affair beginning at a nearby state park beside the lake. Volleyball, BBQ, egg toss, 3 legged race, picnicing, with friends, families and parents invited.
Late afternoon involved a semi-formal cocktail gathering at the house. Tours of the campus and house for families and guests. Lots of picture taking.
Evening saw an open bar with music and dancing. For some guys looking at graduation, this is the last organized event they will enjoy as a brotherhood before moving on. The photo albums come out.
Grad V Undergrad Hockey Game
A mid-winter tradition going on for decades. You might bring a date to this one.
We reserved the hockey arena for our own use for a few hours and ITS ON. The undergrads have the advantage of youth. The grads have experience and much better equipment. Regardless of who wins, everyone goes home together for a large time. Cigars on the porch, music in the basement, food on the first floor. Captain of the losing team usually suffers dishonor such as an ice bucket (with lots of food coloring) being dumped on his head when he gets to the entrance steps.
These events are successful year after year. Tradition is part of the reason. Putting on a suit and behaving yourself adds an air of dignity. Having a date marked on a calendar gives everyone something to look forward to. Getting on a bus and going somewhere together identifies everyone as part of that group. For some of these guys, going to the store is a road trip. These events get them out of town and add memories. These events promote bonding, alleviate the daily stress of studying, taking tests, writing papers, and making the grade. It's a chance to unwind, let off some steam, and get away from it all, if only for a day.
In the example I presented there were over 40 of us in 3 houses. Housekeeping, sanitation, nutrition, and high standards of food handling kept the raging diseases at bay. In 4 years there was one instance of a disagreement that resulted in one person leaving the community permanently.
woodworking could be a log with rings or a hand plane
Graduation cap for PDC or formal training
lightning bolt for alternate energy
cabin for homesteading
tent for tiny houses
heart for singles
states, nations, flags
microscope for laboratory, citizen scientists
$ farm income
Organic can use the Certified Organic label, without the text
pitchfork/boots/hardhat for WWOOF / organic farm volunteers/interns/jobs
Anvil or hatching egg for projects
beaver for natural building
bus for intentional community
binoculars for hunting for land
Cthulhu for meaningless drivel?
It has now been 8 days since Patient Zero died. There are 2 cases, both nurses at the hospital, likely exposed before Duncan was diagnosed. The media is still sensationalizing the story (Fear Sells), with more people in the US having died of Enterovirus D68 than have been diagnosed with Ebola. We are not out of the woods yet as one of the nurses took a commercial flight to Cleveland with a slight fever (musta seemed like a good idea at the time). If others have been infected, we'll hear about it in the next couple of weeks.
Meanwhile, in Africa, the spread continues with several thousand ongoing cases and potential for food disruption. Look at that situation rationally and put things into perspective. This outbreak has lasted several months. The nations involved have a population of tens of millions. While the percentage of infected who have died is alarming, the disease is not tearing through metropolitan areas such as Lagos and Accra. As for the food situation, food insecurity in Africa is a chronic problem. A rise in oil price or excess rain causes the same alarm.
It is important to understand that societal collapse is a process, not an event.
It is true that some towns and villages in the afflicted area are in a precarious situation. However, the economics of region is still functioning. Public utilities are operating, where they exist. People are still going to work, doing their thing. Gubmint is still guberning. Religions are still religioning. Sure, there are some instances of people fleeing, but there is no mass exodus from the cities and towns in the area. To flee, there needs to be a destination and resources such as available food and water along the way. Before people leave the home they know and the people they love, the situation needs to be dire. A greater motivator than fear would be unavailable water. People can tolerate anxiety, hunger, disease, storms, and the absence of law. Lack of water compels an exodus. War will drive people out of an area. Before an entire society of people are forced to become refugees, a long chain of insurmountable problems has to occur. Even then, it is more likely for people to change their living standards if food and water is available close by than to relocate. The nature of society is adaptation.
Daniel Morse wrote:What do we do to protect ourselves?
Isolation is the first step. Flights and travel out of the affected African nations are still in progress, and there is considerable momentum in the direction of closing the borders. Many world nations have already blocked entry from the affected areas. I am of the opinion the US can and should prohibit entry of individuals from these area.
For the cases in the US: treat, monitor, and quarantine. There are currently 2 active cases. We need to be prudent in these cases.
At the personal level, fear would be irrational at this stage. However, it is human nature to experience anxiety. Redirect that anxiety in a manner that will be of benefit in the event the situation devolves over the next few months. Conduct a drill. Load up the vehicle with your bug out bag, food and supplies and head for your emergency shelter. See to it things are in place and you can get by for a while. Better to discover shortfalls in your evacuation plan now, while you have a chance to make adjustments. If you have no emergency shelter, turn off the grid power and public water at home and see how long you can stand it.
Test your limits.
A few years ago I tried getting by while limiting myself to 5 gallons of water use per day. Drinking and cooking was no problem. I could clean myself up reasonably. Laundry and dishes proved to be a challenge. The toilet was right out.
Back in '06 a tree fell on my house. This proved the be a valuable test. I lived in a camper in my driveway for a year. I was able to hook up water, but not the sewer. I had 15 amps of electricity available from an extension cord to my neighbor's house. I still had the use of the house, along with the bathroom, but there was no hot water. The gas was shut off. There was not enough electricity to operate the big fridge. There was no air conditioning and not much heating available. Forget about the clothes dryer. If I wanted to use the microwave oven I had to turn off the coffee machine. If I wanted to use the space heater, I could run perhaps a light and a laptop at the same time. In my search for solutions to my problems I tried all sorts of peculiar things. Instead of heating the greenhouse with coiled tubing in the sun, I redirected it to the hot water supply in the house. I ended up with all the hot water I could stand (in the daytime) and it was FREE. Cooking was easy-propane camp stove. I bought a small fridge. Since space heating was limited, I hung a blanket to limit the space needing to be heated. Washing dishes was eliminated with disposable dishes. Being a bachelor, this is still a good idea for my particular case.
Hardship, be it self-imposed or thrust upon me, led me to continue to search for alternative methods of living. Interestingly, this led me to Permies.com.
My potato problems arise from ants.
The Hugel Bed and the Back To Eden Beds retain moisture remarkably well. The red and white potatoes were mulched deeply with wood chips. The 5 productive sweet potatoes had over a foot of branches under them that had been rotting away for a while. The soil here is sand-it holds no moisture. I don't know how the weeds and grass survive when it's hot.
In search of water the ants bore small holes into the tubers. The plants keep on growing but the tubers can become unsightly. Perhaps as many as 25% of the hugel-grown sweet potatoes were affected. The non-hugel sweet potatoes are not affected by ants to such an extent, but the yield is half. Hugel still wins.
I'll use the marked tubers for growing slips for next spring's crop.
I started some sweet potatoes from home grown slips back in April, maybe May.
5 plants were grown in a makeshift Hugel bed.
11 plants were grown in beds covered with compost. 4 of these from a bed that had the compost spaded into the soil.
All plants have been equally neglected for the past few months.
Greatest distance between any 2 plants: 75 feet.
All slips came from a few roots from last years crop. That particular crop was pitiful, having grown from volunteers I missed harvesting from the year before.
Having just been hauled out of the ground in the last hour, I have not yet weighed the bounty. They'll cure in the sun for now.
The Hugel Bed
I dug a hole 4 feet wide, 5 feet long, about a foot and a half deep. Branches from a few oak trees beside the drive way were broken to fit into the hole. This went on for a year. Sticks were covered with grass clippings. A couple inches of compost smoothed the surface.
The sticks apparently caused the roots to bend and twist. I suspect they still taste the same.
Total: 5 plants
This is a mix of methods.
3 plants in a bed deeply covered in leaves for a year, mulched with 3-4 inches of wood chips shortly after planting.
3 plants in a bed with an inch or two layer of compost spaded into the soil (sand).
4 plants started in a bed smothered in grass clippings then covered with 1-2 inches of compost
1 plant that showed up beside an apple tree. Mulched deeply with leaves and grass clippings.
Total: 11 plants
Went down to Gainesville yesterday to visit The Repurpose Project. You name it, they probably have it, in good shape, cheap.
The place is currently moving to it's new location and holding a half price sale. There was a Country Living Grain Mill I just had to have for $125, just like out of the box brand new.
While I was poking around I came across the book section.
Lots of books. Textbooks, cookbooks, children's books, literature, fiction...and some gardening books.
I couldn't live without them. Took everything I could find. Perhaps a dozen books with a price tag of $1. I'd have picked up more stuff but it was already 20 minutes past closing time.
I piled my selection on the counter and was asked "How much would you like to pay?"
I was flabbergasted.
The store is located near the University of Florida. I suspect they get a good deal of business from poor college kids needing stuff for apartments.
I make a decent living and explained how I like what the project is doing, how I was thankful for the grain mill and the fact they held it for me for a few days, and that I wanted to support the endeavor.
I handed over a $20 bill. I probably could have had all that stuff for $5.
My little gardening book collection is growing. More books to swap!
It can happen.
Built as more of a compost heap than unmixed layers there would be a better environment for microbes and critters. If the sheet/heap is higher in green materials (a CN ratio of 20-1 to 25-1, the bacteria will take off. A cover of woodchips or hay would retain moisture as well as absorb less favorable odors from the higher N blend. A long season will help things out.
I think this disease has the potential to become a pandemic, but conditions must be right and a series of events must take place.
At this point, only a handful of cases have been reported in the US. While thousands of cases have been recorded in Africa, bear in mind the difference in the culture: widespread poverty, poor nutrition, low education, limited health care systems, few doctors or even people with medical training, barely potable water, poor communication, and traditions that promote spread of the disease.
While I think the media is sensationalizing the story, most of the US population has been made aware of the existence of the disease. There is access to information on prevention. There is a health care system in place that will be able to limit the spread of the disease in the short term. Add to this the nature of our culture and its emphasis on personal hygiene: frequent hand washing, regular bathing, regular changing of clothing, and homes without dirt floors.
The press will keep us informed of every little detail. Should the number of cases reach several thousand, with some in your area, that would be the time to worry.
For now, consider an emergency preparedness drill to help alleviate your anxieties.
There is already a RoboMower out there.
I could make good use of a machine that gathers grass clippings and leaves across an area and drops them off in one spot.
It does not have to be fast or move a huge amount, it just needs to operate continually.
This would gather compost and mulch material.
Solar PV/rechargable keeps the noise and emissions down.
A homebase to recharge would work
I'd want to take the thing somewhere, set up the charger base and solar panels, and set it loose.
I've got a bagging lawn mower I use now. Works on leaves, grass, and weeds. Tall growth slows it down. Sometimes I need to adjust the cutting height.
The cut materials blow into the bag. The bag is removed, dumped, reconnected.
A single spot might be troublesome as the pile grows. As long as the material is close enough, that would be good enough.
A windrow would be just as good as a single spot.
The device needs to navigate around trees/branches logs, avoid ditches, stay out of the road.
Wire fence, cable, rope, string would be potential obstacles that could frig up operation.
The RoboComposter should not drive under the porch or a truck where it can get stuck.
Trash/Debris: paper, cans and bottles, kids toys. A means of detection and avoidance would be handy. It may be necessary to traverse the area and clean up the debris first.
There should be a way to mark the area to be serviced. I would not want the thing to mow up the turnips.
Perhaps a wire. Perhaps measurements entered into a computer/ipad/interface.
If it gets picked up, sound an alarm or send a message to homebase along with GPS coordinates.
Automatic shutdown if it tips over.
Flashing light, perhaps a beeper so people dont get run over and to prevent the device from being run over.
If the thing could gather 1000 pounds in a day this would translate to about a cubic yard of compost.
With a retail price of $20-35/cuyd, there would be a viable market for those who use/produce abundant quantities of compost.
One could set up the charger base at a remote location, and get a property cleaned up. This sort of thing could be an enterprise all by itself.
There exist many places where a RoboComposter would be handy. The power companies may find such a device useful to keep the area under transmission lines clear. If they could also gather a usable resource at the same time, it may offset the cost of operation.
Three years ago I bought this property. The price was $45k. It was previously owned by an elderly lady who's husband had passed away a couple years before. She was no longer able to take care of the place by herself. The property is 275' x 575', 3.6 acres, with pasture and some woody areas, completely fenced. It's big enough to do something with, not so big I can't handle it alone if the job was not in the way. Out back is a 16x20 livestock shelter. It's a few posts with a metal roof and plywood covering the back wall. The garage is 12x24, slab floor, metal roof, with power and in great shape. The house is an old mobile home, 1972...nearly as old as I am. Originally 12x50, an addition was built on to the north side bringing it to 20x50, plus a porch in the front. It's in good repair, everything works, new appliances, new roof, new heater/air conditioning unit (greatly desired in Florida). There is a well with outstanding water, a septic tank, and everything runs on electricity. The place has everything I need, with space to do what I want.
I make a decent living working for an industrial contractor. My bills are low. Truck has been paid off since '09. I'm able to save a few pennies here and there. I scraped together a few bucks, came up with $5000 for a downpayment and went looking for a home. Twenty years ago, following some misadventures, I went through bankrupty. I found the experience to be unsavory. In the years that followed I never took up loans or reestablished a credit rating. A miracle allowed me to finance a truck with no credit score. What helped was the fact I owned my home. In '02 I had found a home for sale with owner financing. The downpayment was 5%, $1600. The mortgage was $372/month for 15 years. Even with 12% interest it was cheaper than renting and a deal I could not pass up. During a storm, a tree fell on the house causing significant damage. The insurance claim, as it turned out, was to be in litigation for several years. I needed another home.
Financing the truck had brought me from no credit score up to 580. Pitifully poor, but it was better than blank. Banks were not interested in doing business with me as my credit history was not established other than the truck. I did not qualify for a USDA loan as 600 is the minimum requirement. There was still the option of hunting for owner financed property.
This property has a critical flaw when it comes to bank financing. The structure is an antiquated mobile home. Although it is in good repair, banks won't touch them at around 30 years old. The only way to buy it with financing is for the owner to hold the note, which is exactly what she did. The interest rate is 7%-a far cry better than my house in town. I signed in May of 2010. If I stick with the regular monthly payment I'll be paid off in late 2017.
Owner Financing has the disadvantage that the rate of interest is usually significantly higher than loans from banks. If I had the credit rating, and somehow found a bank that would finance a 1972 trailer, I'd be paying around 3-4% interest rather than 7%. Banks will set the term of the loan for longer durations, say, 30 years. The seller wants the money as soon as possible so she can move on with her life. A 30 year note with a bank at 4% for 30 years would be $190.97/month. In addition to this amount some banks set up loan payments to include property taxes and insurance, as well as mortgage finance fees. $500/month is affordable to me, and having the place paid off in 7 years is something to look forward to.
There is a distinct advantage to owner financing which can not be found with a bank. I still save my pennies. When I have enough of them I will approach the seller and offer 75% of the balance due as full payment of the mortgage. No bank would ever be able to accept such an offer. My current balance is around $18k. In a few months I'll be able to offer $12k to pay off the place. I know for a fact that the seller is in a weak financial position. Rather than waiting 3 more years with $500/month coming in, the prospect of a lump sum immediately will be tempting, and may be in her interest to accept. She may decline the offer. That will be no problem at all. I can keep making the payments. She may be willing to negotiate a different amount. I can pay the debt off early, but I'll be wanting to settle for less than the balance. If we can find common ground, this place will be paid for by January. What a great way to start the new year.
How about a sugar maple?
Can be climbed in a few years
provides shade in the summer, color in the fall, leaves for winter cover, sap in the early spring for syrup
An added bonus is the helicopters (seed pods) the kids can stick on their noses.
Around here I practice the 1st Rule of Chaos Carpentry: Immediately cover every available horizontal surface with Stuff.
A quick and simple answer: put some empty cardboard boxes on the table. Upside down will allow some airflow. The cardboard will absorb excess humidity.
Egg cartons might work to drive away the would-be Perpetrators of Chaos.
The hay has swung the CN ratio to favor carbon. The mess should cool, smell better and be dryer than before. If the pile is well blended, additional turning would only be needed every few days (at most) to bring in oxygen.
Moving the balance back to the N side can be done gradually to warm up the compost, this time without so much moisture. Give the bin a spin to mixc it up.
Come winter, the microbes will freeze right along with the compost. They'll pick up where they left off once they thaw out.
I think O'Neill cylinders offer the best protection and advantage to long term travel. Safety redundancy would demand a fleet of such craft travel together. This presents an opportunity for each vessel to offer a separate and distinct biosphere. Along with food production, a spacefaring/colonizing community would benefit from as wide a gene pool as possible. Permaculture offers solutions to the needs of the community in terms of food production, nutrient and waste management, yield and genetic diversity.
1-Too many greens
With all other conditions right, the C:N balance of the heap is tilted to N. You'll get a rank odor and the bugs will love it. Being late summer, the bugs have gone through several reproductive cycles and will usually have their highest population of the year. Give em optimal conditions, they'll take over.
Solution: add lots of browns, toss the heap. Mixing in the browns will bring balance back into the heap and absorb odors. The bugs will run their course and contribute greatly to decomposing the heap.
2-Too many greens, soggy mess
Lots of grass clippings and food scraps bring lots of moisture along and need to be balanced with browns to absorb the moisture. It is that moisture that promotes microbial activity, but it also prevents oxygen flow which limits the microbial activity to anaerobic in nature. Your heap is fermenting rather than composting. Since you have lots of bugs, there is plenty of oxygen.
Solution: add dry browns in no small amount, toss the pile. The browns will absorb the excess moisture and add oxygen-containing air pockets. Tossing the pile brings in oxygen.
3-Too much protein
Meat, cheese, dairy, dead worms and bugs bring lots of protein to the heap. Protein decay involves a process known as putrefaction. It's smelly and can attract vermin. This is the chief reason compost instructions tell you not to add these items even though they'll rot just fine.
Solution: add browns, toss the pile. In this instance the browns serve to absorb the volatile aromatic compounds as well as fluids and excess moisture which enables the process.
4-Too much moisture
Perhaps your mix of greens and browns is right but the moisture is too high. The heap is packed and the water prevents airflow. Same situation as #2, but more of a musty, earthy odor which is not offensive.
Solution: add greens and browns in the right proportions, toss the pile. This adds material to absorb the excess water. You can also spread out the pile to let it dry out.
5-Not enough air flow
All conditions are right but the pile is not breathing. All the oxygen is used up.
Solution: Toss the heap. Adding ventilation to enclosed bins would alleviate further troubles.
As for the bugs...
It's the odor that has attracted the egg laying adults. Every bug in range will find the heap and add eggs. If you feed greens to the heap, the bugs will keep on populating to the point of overshoot. Once the food source is depleted they will die off en mass. From what you describe you have problem #1 and will move into problem #3. Hay, dry grass, leaves, shredded newspaper, sawdust, wood chips, bark, should be added in good volume. If getting rid of the bugs is the objective, dump the heap onto the ground, spread it out, let the birds get to it. They'll feast on the bugs in preparation for migration.
Catering jobs I have worked on very often had tubs and trays of food placed in the back of a minivan or SUV.
There is always the risk of spills and splashes. In order to help items stay upright, ice bags can be placed beside the cold items, but they don't splash so much. For the hot stuff, ziplock bags half filled with rice. Works like a beanbag.
Since keeping toxic gick out of the equation is desired, some socks filled with acorns would surely do the trick.
Some of those items look pretty tasty, Dave. I'm staring at the antipasto wraps right now thinking something like it would be an ideal lunch item.
Regular basecamp meals would serve as the testing for new dishes. I'm sure the Kitchen Commander has already produced some fine meals which can be duplicated for a larger group.
A plan is developing:
-Select items which can be produced on site with equipment available.
-Assemble a menu using those items.
-Repeat the menu at each event, scaled according to population.
All this allows planning to be streamlined. Repeating the menu at the next event has a staff already trained in setting up and preparing those dishes. Equipment and wares can be placed ahead of time.
With each repetition, items can be improved, production simplified/streamlined, less successful items replaced, popular items expanded. Documenting the project would be handy.
The volume of product being prepared would become more accurate, resulting in less waste and fewer leftovers to pack away.
For the 50 people event, how many days will this go on?
Back in college we had 40 guys in a fraternity but only 20 seats in the dining room. The solution was to dine in shifts. There was a 6PM seating and a 6:30 seating. Eat your food, clear your table, make room for the next wave. It looks like there is no problem with auditorium seating. This method can double the dining capacity of basecamp.
For the 50 people event, and events to follow, developing a standard meal plan can allow duplication using the same equipment. Menu selection can offer a workaround for some of the equipment, but some equipment may still be needed initially. Refrigeration strikes me as a limiting factor. 50 people can consume 250 pounds of foodstuffs in a day, much of which will need cool storage before and after preparation. Foods which can be served cold can be prepared ahead of time and stored, clearing cooking equipment for use at service time.
Ice companies have ice storage trailers available for rent. Example is 6'x8', 4 days for (HOLY COW) $595.
That dog don't hunt.
The idea is sound. Perhaps an icebox is the answer. Sacks of ice can be had cheaply. Stored in a small space an impromptu icebox can be put together with rudimentary materials. Erect a frame, cover with a tarp, lots of hay for insulation. Is there a suitable space on that slope which can be excavated to serve as a cold storage pit? If you can keep the bears away, this may be something to consider.
I'm thinking this idea could develop into an icehouse. Cold storage all year with ice sourced from local surface water or produced on site.
Getting back to menu selection...
Side dishes can be prepared ahead and held in cold storage until service. Potato or pasta salad comes to mind. Whip it up early, the stove is available for meal time.
Desserts and treats: jello, pudding, PIE, muffins.
Entrees prepared in volume: meatloaf for example, bake a couple big pans of 10 pounds each, you've got an entree ready to head out the door.
Pasta can be cooked ahead of time, rapidly cooled in an ice water bath, drained and stored. To reheat, a pot of boiling water, fill a basket with pasta, dip in the boiling water for a minute, drain into a bucket.
Salad is a given. Cut vegetables will hold up well. Remember the couple with the cold water running down tubing inside an old fridge?
Sandwiches are easy. Set out the bread, cold cuts, cheeses, vegetables, condiments, diners prepare their own sandwiches as they move through the line. A line on 2 sides of a table will move them along in good time.
Tacos have very little hot ingredients, the rest is cut vegetables begging to be salad at the next meal.
Continental style is probably the easiest way to serve 50 people. Breads, rolls, muffins, bagels, donuts/donots, juice and coffee. Add fruits, jams, butter. If hot items are desired scrambled eggs and pancakes can be produced in batches using a propane camp stove. The lower heat requirements hopefully won't generate smoke to fill the auditorium. If you get into bacon, cooking inside the auditorium can make a mess.
Day 1: tacos, fruit salad
Day 2: sandwiches, pasta salad
Brown Bag: prepared sandwich, hard boiled egg, small canning jar of rice pudding, fruit
Day 1: Meatloaf, gravy in a slow cooker, potato salad, tossed salad (leftovers from tacos), bread/rolls, PIE
Day 2: Zuke Parmesan, pasta, sauce in a slow cooker, garlic bread, tossed salad, rice pudding
Ice tea can be produced and stored ahead of time in just about any container available.
Coffee (it makes my world go 'round)
The current kitchen at basecamp, from what I can tell, is a standard American kitchen designed for use by a typical nuclear family of 2 parents an 3.14159 kids.
If I understand the nature of the situation you need to service the demands of a larger group every day, in various locations, plus the occasional large group.
I think looking at the challenge through the lens of a caterer/concession will provide the solution.
1 Construct a production kitchen
Locating this inside the auditorium takes from the limited space available. Construction projects in the auditorium will require extensive cleanup before the kitchen could be used.
Construction inside basecamp does not look to be practical.
Construction near the auditorium seems to make the best sense for logistics. The greatest demand would be when the greatest number of people are involved, which puts them in the auditorium at least part of the day.
Attached to the auditorium as a lean to structure would work by extending the roofline, making good use of existing walls, plumbing, electric and heating systems. This has the advantage of utilizing process heat from cooking operations to heat the auditorium. A free standing structure is also possible.
An interior width of 15' would allow 2' wide countertops on each wall with a 4' work area in the center, and 3' wide pathways. A length of 20 feet allows 2 doors, entry and exit.
Meals served buffet style can be accommodated with the buffet down the center, access from one side by the diners, access by staff on the other, with single direction traffic.
Food production equipment involving heat and sharp edges on the wall away from the doors enhances safety.
The auditorium serves double duty as the dining room. Those bus tubs of which you speak can be utilized for quick clean up and transition back to an auditorium.
If the food is to head out the door, the central workstation serves as the expediting station for loading containers which are loaded into the food wagon.
This production kitchen is a considerable investment. $10k and up is not at all unimaginable. All I'm doing is proposing an idea that I don't have to pay for. The area I mentioned will handle a whole lot more than 50 people, giving you the room to grow and adapt as well as store equipment. At some point you'll need a space to process all the yummy goodness being harvested. This space would serve you well.
2 Construct or purchase a food wagon.
Rough terrain, harsh weather, and primitive conditions is the template.
The function of the food wagon is to shuttle food and equipment, maintain temperatures, provide utility.
A handwashing station is surely a part of the design. Water storage is a simple matter and can be filled with hot/warm water at the production kitchen. Insulation will keep it warm for a while. Add plumbing to a sink, greywater from there. The sink may or may not be connected to the food wagon.
A folding table on each side, perhaps connected with a hinge, offers a service station. Seating can be as simple as lumber and posts, or folding chairs. At work I lug my lunch in a 5 gallon bucket with a lid. It's an instant seat. If I have a seat, it serves as my table.
Maintaining temperatures is a matter of insulated and easily cleaned compartments. Loading the food immediately prior to the shuttle run does not allow much time to heat up or cool off. The only real problem here is containers for the food to prevent splashes and spills while traversing the rough roads. Good shocks, straps, and bungee cords will go a long way towards stability. Menu selection offers an advantage as well. Stews are splashy, goulash sticks to the container and to your ribs. Liquid/drink containers are easy to come by.
If all you need to do is get the food from point A to point B without a mess and don't need furniture, mason jars with caps is easy to do. They'll handle hot or cold contents, seal tight, are difficult to break, can be shipped in compartmentalized crates, and the diner can eat from them directly with regular sized utensils.
If you have more money than Davy Crockett, there are concession trailers out there.