Sunday, September 4, 2011

People on my Gulch: Farming Talent

Alright, now I mentioned in my last post that I've decided to pursue bringing other people into my Galt's Gulch venture with me, so that I'll have help on my farm. Originally I planned on doing it alone, but all my ambitions would make it either extremely hard or nearly impossible to achieve in their ideal state, so rather than compromise I'd like to bring people aboard. Among other things, they would help with planting, dairy, harvesting, animal husbandry, livestock slaughter, and other things, but in thinking more about Atlas Shrugged I realized there's potential for something greater than that.

In short, on top of bringing bringing in people to help me complete certain tasks either difficult or impossible to do alone, I want to seek out and bring out other people skilled and talented at things beyond farming and use my farm as a way for them to cultivate their skills. In return for food, shelter, and other things, they'll trade me their own goods and services. Aside from being practical, this would also further contribute to the protection of my and others' happiness in economic crisis, as we'd be forced to give up fewer values than the economy would otherwise force us to.

What would motivate people to join me is the same motivation I have in doing this project to begin with: To protect, secure, and cultivate my happiness during economic collapse. To restate some points, my project has always mainly been concerned with happiness and the growth of talent rather than with mere survival. Sure, cultivating my own produce and livestock is practical from a survivalist perspective, but since I want to become a culinarian my ultimate aim is to grow the ingredients with which I'll use to foster my culinary practice and education. Most importantly, during any time in which supermarket shelves become bare and stories of people starving become prevalent, my own health and spirit will be virtually immune to the disaster, as with my preparations I'll still be able to roast red peppers from the garden, grill my home-slaughtered and butchered steak, spread my own crafted butters, and so on. I won't be able to cultivate everything, such as coconuts or ostriches, and will certainly have to give up some major values, such as chocolate, but the essentials will be there. At the worst of times I'd still be able to nurture my talent, expand my knowledge, and maintain, maybe enhance my physical well-being, albeit with a less conventional, more difficult and laborious lifestyle. The important thing is that if I achieve the farm the way I envision it, the worst of economic times won't stop me from pursuing and gaining my happiness.

This is what I view as what could be the main appeal for those not exactly interested in farming. If the economy goes to pot, then everyone in every trade is going to be affected in some way, and trying to depend on a failing economy could very well hurt or destroy their ability to pursue their trade. When the value of the dollar finally goes under the hair stylist will have empty chairs, the seamstress with no materials to sew, and so on. In other trades outside of my culinary interests, a failing economy means those people in love with their career will be hindered in their pursuit of happiness, if not totally stopped.

I propose my farm as the remedy. Everyone would have to step out of their boundaries somewhat, as I am in cultivating my own food rather than depending on cooking pre-made stuff (e.g. vegetables and beef from other farmers), but if they too exert their minds and efforts they'll be able to find ways to continue practicing their trade on my farm and use the other workers as their clients; the only difference is that they'll have to find new methods, work with different materials, cultivate their tools, and so on. For instance, a seamstress could tend to the feeding and maintenance of fiber animals, such as sheep and goats, and maybe cotton, and then collect those materials to create garments, clothes, blankets, and more, which could be given to other farm members or barter partners in trade of other goods. A hair stylist, given a large enough staff, could tend to the hair cuts and shaving needs of the staff, for which we receive free service in exchange for allowing them to experiment on us with new styles and techniques. A carpenter could see to the maintenance and creation of the home(s?) and structures. Even an inventor could have a place, such as by being the innovator who could help figure out practical solutions within limited means, such as generating self-sufficient energy.

So at a time in which a failing economy would prevent these people from using their skills to trade with a broader group of people, I can provide them with a means to keep at their jobs to continue developing their skills and talents, with the insignificant caveat of trading with a greatly reduced selection of people. (An insignificant caveat given the alternative is not being able to work at all, plus maybe being out in the street and starving.) Consequently, my aim in bringing other people aboard is not merely to get assistance in the muscle work, but to find people who connect their happiness to their trade and would like nothing more than to continue being engaged in it whether the economy prospers or fails. By searching for these people accordingly I could not only keep and protect values I wouldn't be able to otherwise, such as haircuts, I would also gain a highly self-motivated staff that would find it easier to find contentment in their security of shelter and food, and the ability to practice their trade when I'll likely be unable to pay them anything else, though I think I could figure something out.

Oddly enough, this does mean the aim in my project is starting to look more like what was seen in Atlas Shrugged, where the striking producers created a self-sufficient, small-scale society within the mountains. I have no intention in making my farm so large as to, ha, support a small society or to become so self-sufficient as to have its own grocery store, but I do want to strive to bring together a number of life-loving producers who could live a meaningful, happiness-serving, and mutually beneficial life together, with the only difference that we'd be trading our goods instead of relying on monetary payments.

This, I think, is a great way to enhance the scope of my project, progressing from mere bodily survival to the nourishment of my trade, to protecting values even further beyond. I don't know how I would go about seeking those people, but since the project is mainly in its research and capital gathering phase that doesn't matter much right now.

I even already have system in mind as to how I could introduce people to the farm, mainly depending on the conditions of their life. In short, I could offer them options everywhere from allowing them to move-in and establish themselves immediately, travel to the farm intermittently to get themselves used to the setting and duties, and keeping the farm only as an emergency backup plan.

Immediate move-in: Not much needs to be said about this option. This would be for people who would be ready to give it their all immediately once it becomes available to them. This I would want to be chosen by those who would be contributing at least partway to food production, such as a gardener for the produce and muscular men for the livestock. I myself intend to dedicate myself to the farm once I do establish myself sufficiently, as the farm itself changes my life's plans significantly, and I wouldn't want to be forced to it such as by witnessing the deterioration of my local economy and getting laid off.

Intermittent travel: This would be for those who want to continue maintaining their current lifestyles, but at the same time get themselves used to the new settings and lifestyle, whether it be spending the night every few weeks or visiting every few days. This could be for less-essential, though still important persons, such as those who would tend to the dairy animals. It is of question, however, as to how I could fulfill their duties with their temporary absence. These people would move in fully either when forced to (e.g. lay offs) or when they finally choose to fully commit.

Emergency backup: This would primarily be for people who want to continue fully their own lifestyles without really being concerned with the farm until they need it. This would be mainly for less direly important people or people we could do without until things get really difficult. For instance, take a hair stylist and carpenter. In good times the staff would be able to afford their hair tending needs while the stylist would still have costumers, but in failing times, once the chairs are empty and no more costumers are coming in, the hair stylist can then proceed to move to the farm, virtually the same time the staff won't be able to purchase hair services anymore. As for the carpenter, in good times the farm might be able to afford bringing an outside builder to perform or job or we could else rest easy with what we have, but once things go to pot the carpenter, lacking worthwhile finances and costumers, would move in to help with the maintenance and farm expansion at a time the farm staff would have to direct their attention elsewhere.

This option would allow the security of knowing that an important person with an important skill will be moving to the farm once we do need them, only that they'll be received at a later date. With this option I'll have to be cautious, for I would need to know that a person's interest in eventually committing will remain sincere no matter how much times passes, and that there will be a backup plan for the farm itself if it should happen that the person chooses to protect themselves in a manner that rules out the farm. I'm not so sure about the backup plan safeguard, but one requirement I could think to employ is to contract with the person to maintain weekly contact to keep clear his interest, and to move onto other options and plans if the person should lapse in communication and fail to be contacted.

* * * * *

As my thinking progresses this project becomes more and more exciting and ambitious. As stated before, my current concentrations are to research and gather capital, and to gets hands-on practice with slaughtering and butchering, skills I think would be important to have before jumping into the farm.

If you're actually interested in joining up with me, then send me an e-mail or like communication to indicate your interest and tell me what you have to offer and will contribute. At the very least I'll be able to take note of your interest and keep you more up-to-date on a regular basis with my progress, considering I'm not updating this blog as frequently anymore. The only warning I'd like to issue is that I haven't settled on where I plan on moving, as I'm thinking of leaving the dry conditions of Texas into a place with a favorable rainfall and climate, to maximize my produce and pasture potential (particularly for grazing livestock).

For my next article I intend on elaborating on another great idea for the farm, a barter network, which would also be a practical measure for those with even far lesser ambitions. Additionally, I'll also work at crafting an appeal to advertise my farm better to other people, to gain some backers and participants.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Comment Etiquette

1.) Do not use vulgar swear words that denote sexual activities or bodily excretions.

2.) Employ common sense manners when addressing the author or other commenters.

Additionally, you're welcome to present contrary and challenging positions within these guidelines, but please do not assume that my lack of response, even if I commented before, is evidence of my endorsement of your position.