For the second time this year, Paul finds himself in the interviewee seat, this time for Jan Spencer, and accompanied by Dez Choi at bootcamp.
Some of the questions asked (and their answers) include:
What is your homestead?
A couple hundred acres divided into two properties: Basecamp (normal homestead stuff), and the off-grid Lab with much deeper alluvial soil, despite being in the Rocky Mountains. Current experiments going on in the Lab include the wofati, annualized thermal inertia (heat a home using only heat gathered from the summer and based off of John Hait's work) and the wofatigreenhouse.
What is bootcamp?
A $100 experience that lasts at least a week (Dez has been there for 10 months) - on weekdays you work on advancing Paul’s projects along the lines of natural building and gardening, with the weekends leaving you free to work on your own “soul-labour”. Jan describes it as a permaculture summer camp.
What caused you to move into this realm of education and concern for the planet?
Back in the days of the newspaper, you’d see tales of horrible problems and you’d get some ideas about what you can personally do to help, and prepare for when it happens here. Even back then, Paul was obsessed with gardening and it seemed that almost all of the problems he read about could be solved with homesteading. In 2004 he was working on the systems behind the photography for Google Earth and had the idea that if he infected hundreds of thousands of people with the idea of permaculture and the knowledge behind it, the would would move away from all the horrible things he saw in the news.
What is SKIP?
While Mike Oehler was still around, he would bug Paul every couple of months to try to get the name of someone who was worthy to will his land to. He wasn’t the only person to do this, so Paul started developing an idea that offers basic guidance to people so that they develop the skills and experience appropriate for owning and caring for a permaculture farm. In order to get certified, you have to go and do a collection of BBs (Badge Bits) like cleaning a cast iron skillet, bake two loaves of bread, etc, and prove that you’ve actually done them. They show that you’re motivated to get up and do stuff and competent enough to do them decently (or can learn to). This is all free and can mostly be done from your own home.
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