We are a group of artists that decided to live Off The Grid, on 20 acres of West Texas land outside of the small town of Sierra Blanca. We are establishing an Eco-Friendly ranch, with a communal living atmosphere. Our focus is on sustainability and organics, and of course, our art forms.
We will be arriving on our land on April 1st. There are 3 of us at the moment starting the project. Our goal is to have the funds to buy bee boxes, beekeeping equipment, seeds, dirt (our soil quality is very poor), raised beds to grow organic vegetables and an enclosed wooden fence to keep the Texas wildlife away from eating our plants. The fence is a must, as are the bees, and water delivery/tanks.
We are hoping to generate enough funding to run our program. We have sunk all of our savings into our Sierra Blanca project. In August of 2011, we came to a decision that living Green and living Sustainably is a must. We purchased a Starstream 32 foot camper trailer that we will be living in. At this point, there are 3 of us involved in this enormous project. Our Co-Op leader will be without housing when we arrive on our land in April. He's resorting to a tent and sleeping in his car until we can figure something out for him, as the camper, while it is 32 feet, isn't large enough to house 3 people. He is hoping to buy a shed kit, and convert it into a cabin.
We have purchased 2 solar panels which will provide most of our power. Between the gas that we will be spending to haul the Starstream from the Chicago suburbs all the way to West Texas, the cost of our solar panels and food- we are simply out of funds.
Sierra Blanca is a very small town that has rapidly lost population after a battle between it's residents and a sewage dumping company that polluted many acres outside of town. The sewage was being hauled in by train from New York City and had caused a whole host of problems, from unpleasant smells to health concerns. While the dumping has stopped, Sierra Blanca is a dying Texas town, rich in history.
What we seek to do on our land is really quite simple. As we are all passionate about Saving The Bees, we want to start several hives. These bees will pollinate our organic gardens. They will also produce honey, which will help us sustain and maintain our ranch. We will be living off the land- this is no small project. This area of Texas is a vast desert. We know we will face drought issues, the soil is poor, and we will need to have adequate soil brought to the land in order to grow.
Our gardens will need to be in raised beds. The gardens pose another issue: the wildlife will undoubtedly feast on our gardens if we do not build a fence. We don't seek to fence in all 20 acres, we are realistic. We'd like to raise enough money to fence in one acre of land.
Water is also an issue. There is no water pipeline, as the land sits far outside of the actual town of Sierra Blanca. We will need to have large containers of water brought in to water our plants- and animals.
We plan on getting a few goats to produce milk (organic of course), some chickens to produce free-range organic eggs, and possibly a mule.
The chickens pose yet another issue. As there are predatory animals like coyotes in the area, we must provide a safe enclosure for them. This is why the fence is essential. We also hope to raise funding to build a chicken coop.
Our whole program is a food program, getting back to basics. And it all starts with bees. As you are probably aware, bees are the lifeline to nearly everything. However, they face a strange epidemic- they are dying, hives are not producing- or they are just leaving all together.
With our bees, we can grow our gardens. Pollination is an essential part of growing. The fantastic part of all of this is the fact that we will be blogging about the process from the start. We hope to educate the masses on organic growing. While we do this, we hope to get to a point where we are able to produce enough fruits and vegetables to be able to box them up and help feed the needy.
We have a vision, we have the land. Now we need your help to make this a success. If we can raise enough to buy our bee equipment and essential fencing- along with the water tanks and enough money to fill them- we can make it work. But we can't do it without you.
We hope that our project will energize the area- and change the stereotype that it carries with it from the massive amounts of waste that were dumped nearby.
We feel that on our pristine land, we can prove that the area can be productive. We feel that we will be able to study the bees and teach others how to start hives. We seek to educate the World through our blogs and video diaries about the challenges that the bees face- all the while, being able to grow organically and live simply.
We are 3 artists that have grown tired of the city rat-race, that want to make a difference in the World. Two of us have lived in Texas for 8 years- so we know what we face. It won't be easy, but with your help, we are confident we can make it work.
We want to thank you in advance for your contributions. We'll be blogging and updating our website often during the process. Even before actually, as we leave our material possessions behind. It's not an easy process. But... With a little Kickstart (pun intended) we can make it happen.