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COMMERCIAL & RESIDENTIAL REAL ESTATE ATTORNEYS

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CHARACTER 17 BACKYARD 29 TEXTURE 43 PROVISIONS 57

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a TMM T H E M I L L M AG A Z I N E

E D I T I O N 7 N O . 4

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FEATURES

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BE A GOOD NEIGHBOR

BE A LOCALIST

p.30AFFECTING

LOCAL CHANGE MAKING A MOVEMENT

p.44 THE MAKER MOVEMENT RECLAIMING INGENUITY

p.58 SUBURBAN

HOMESTEADING FERMENTING & CANNING LOCAL-IST•EDITION 7 NO. 4•THEMILLMAGAZINE.COM

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Dr. Amy Kirkpatrick with Mary Dr. Damian Bracy with Bridger

Dr. Melinda Whitaker with Sami K

Dr. Patricia Young with Stryker

Dr. Johanna Clark with Chilli

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Melissa Boykin Broker/Realtor NC/SC 803-242-2743 boykinshesellhomes.com

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Randy C. Newton, CPA, CVA

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C CHARACTER ...inspiring small town living

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BE A GOOD NEIGHBOR BE A LOCALIST Te x t b y C a n d a c e M a t t i n g l y

Localism starts with you -- THE LOCALIST. The way we interact with our neighbors, neighborhoods and towns affects our lives and the lives of others. Everything we do at home and in our surrounding area matters -- all of it. The places we choose to spend our money, how we connect to other community members and the way we use the land reflects the type of society we want to create. Relationships are the bedrock of a community. Small town living is about knowing your neighbors. Buying from local entrepreneurs helps maintain a town’s unique flavor. Maintaining that unique culture starts with your actions and the way you strengthen or weaken the fabric of your town. Your everyday decisions reflect the community and cause powerful ripple effects to every aspect of a culture.

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Photo by Brooke Cagle

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Photo by Brooke Cagle

One commitment to your community spreads the idea that localism matters. How you serve your community matters. Why you choose to participate is up to you. YOUR HEALTH Preventative care begins with the food you eat. Eating food from local farms is not only good for the local economy and the farmer, but it serves your body’s well-being too. Buying from a local farmer gives you direct access to fruits and vegetable that are at their peak time for consumption. Foods that are grown chemical-free contain the most benefits and vitamins for your health. Fruit and vegetables from the farm and from the supermarket may visually appear similar, however, the taste and nutrients vastly differ. Donald Davis and his team of researchers at the University of Texas at Austin’s Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry

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published a study in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition on the nutritional data collected by the U.S. Department of Agriculture on 43 different vegetables and fruits from 1950 and 1999. The study found “reliable declines” of protein, calcium, phosphorus, iron, vitamin B2, and vitamin C. The study concluded that the “efforts to breed new varieties of crops that provide greater yield, pest resistance, and climate adaptability have allowed crops to grow bigger and more rapidly, but their ability to manufacture or uptake nutrients has not kept pace with their rapid growth.” Commercial farms need to meet a quota to keep up with demand. Their goal is to improve production and streamline processes. If more demand for their product means squeezing out the nutrition, then that is the business decision that is made.


Photo by Brooke Cagle

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Photo by Seth Doyle

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Photo by Aspen Plummer

Small farms do not have to keep up with mass production. They can take care of their growing process to protect the purity of the food they grow and their career. These farmers are also your greatest ally. Their livelihood depends on people purchasing their goods. DIVERSE OPTIONS Anyone that came of age during the height of music CD sales in the 1990s knows the chain stores Sam Goody, Camelot Music, and Musicland. They can also tell you that they went to those stores to buy the latest top-selling albums, but asked the advice of the music nerd at the local independent record shop for the coolest, underground CDs. Today, it feels like we have a million choices, but really it is only preference of a few options. Do you want the original Nacho Cheese Doritos or one of the other sixteen flavors?

Local shops bring the individuality that is missing from big box stores like Target and Walmart. You can walk into any Target and generally find the same items for sale. Independent retailers carry a smaller selection, but the discovery and diversity of selection cultivate culture. Each item in their store is hand-picked for local customers. Cobble together enough local businesses to replace the need for the big box stores and suddenly you have a vast array of options. Artisan maker and entrepreneur opportunities also open up. They are no longer competing against massive brands and needing to shell out thousands of dollars for an opportunity to undercut their business to land on the biggest shelves in the world -- Walmart. This big-box store is not only the largest retail store in the world, it’s the world’s largest company. Bigger than General Motors

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Photo by Tim Evans

and ExxonMobil. They were able to achieve it with one business strategy -- deliver the lowest price to their customer at all cost.

that, all the other products of yours we buy, we'll stop buying.' It was a clear threat.”

At all cost. This was a lesson that was learned by national brands like Vlasic pickles. In the late 1990s, they struck a deal with Walmart to sell their novelty gallon jars in the store priced just under three dollars. The pickles flew off the shelves. The store and the pickle company were only making about a penny per jar, but they were selling 240,000 jars a week. Both companies were happy. That is until the gallon novelty jar started eating into their profit margin.

Walmart finally gave Vlasic reprieve and allowed them to change the size of the jar to just over a half-gallon. Young recalled their response was, “Well, we've done to pickles what we did to orange juice. We've killed it. We can back off." Vlasic filed for bankruptcy in January 2001.

Customers stopped buying the high-profit margin items like pickle spears and hamburger chips in favor of the low-low priced gallon jars. Vlasic saw their profit plummet by more than 25 percent. When they asked Walmart for relief, Steve Young, a former vice president of grocery marketing for pickles at Vlasic, recalled to Fast Company that their response was, “If you do

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CREATE JOBS The number one thing you can do to help your community create jobs is to stop shopping at Walmart. Vlasic is not the only company squeezed out by the big box store. Walmart favors low prices and requires their vendors to drop their prices every year they do business together. That means less profit for the makers. Like corporate farmers, when a business needs to turn a profit or go out of business, they are forced to meet the pricing demands


Photo by Brooke Cagle

of their distributor. Makers in every department were forced to lay off American workers, close plants and move their operations overseas. Carolina Mills, a leader in textiles headquartered in Maiden, North Carolina supplies thread, yarn, and textile to apparel makers. The company supplies about half of the makers that are distributed by Walmart. The pricing affects their business, too. As their customers moved overseas, there business dropped off. The company was forced to reduce to 1,200 employees from 2,600 and 7 factories from 17. They were also forced to move their production to Asia. Small businesses are invested in their community. They support local nonprofits, little league teams, and buy girl scout cookies. They also employ over 77 million Americans, will never send their business overseas and account for 65 percent of all new jobs created in the past 17 years.

Do them a favor and stop “showrooming” in their stores to find a better deal online. This is one of the biggest problems small businesses face. Over 80 percent of small businesses are affected by this tactic to save a few bucks. It significantly impacts 47 percent of small businesses. It’s the little changes that make the greatest impact. A study in San Francisco found that if only 10 percent of the dollars spent went into small businesses, there would be 1,300 new jobs and $192 million in additional economic activity. THINK LOCAL FIRST The independent retailer is also more likely to source from other local companies and return three times as much money per dollar of sales back into the local community. Local restaurants return more than double per dollar than national food chains.

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Photo by Brooke Cagle

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When you’re asked for the name of your favorite restaurant, what is the first place that comes to mind? Over ninety percent of you will recall your favorite local cafe or family-owned restaurant. We are naturally drawn to a unique place where people know our name. Yet, we’ve been conditioned to think of the chain restaurants when we’re hungry. Make a concerted effort to take the extra ten minutes and dine at a local restaurant. Drive the extra twelve minutes to the store with bad parking. Buy your insurance from a local broker, and get your taxes done by an independent CPA.

customer service, and variety these small independents bring to the community. Freedom of choice at a big box store is a fallacy. Purchasing that shirt also bought by three of your neighbors is like shopping at Camelot Music for that new Britney Spears album. When you could have had a unique shirt and The Magnetic Fields’ 69 Love Songs.

aM T M T H E M I L L M AG A Z I N E

Every choice you make builds or breaks the community. The community depends on you. These businesses depend on you. You owe it to yourself to consider the quality of experience,

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Photo by Edu Lauton

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AFFECTING LOCAL CHANGE MAKING A MOVEMENT Te x t b y L i s a M c T i g u e

A large swath of people sit around on the grassy knoll. Music of the festival drifts up the hill to the people clumped together, relaxing enjoying the warm afternoon sunshine. A man, off to the side in an open area of grass begins to dance. As he dances, his movements grow bigger, more wild, more erratic. His motions draw the attention of the people around him. A woman picks up her mobile phone and begins to record this crazy, dancing man. The crowd laughs as the man’s dance becomes more exaggerated. The man, oblivious of his onlookers, feels the music deep in his soul expressed by kicks and flailing of his arms to the rhythm. Another man runs over to him, joining him. He too kicks, flails, and jumps around to the music. The original dancing man acknowledges his new follower, as they dance and jump.

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Photo by Andy Beales

The dancing follower beckons his friends to join them. One bounds over and joins the flailing, kicking, and jumping. Soon, two more people rush over to join the dance party. Quickly three more people jump in on the impromptu dance party. This is the tipping point and the once open space fills with people running over to join the dancing, kicking, flailing, and jumping around. The swath of people gathered on the grass are mostly up and have joined the dance party. This is how you make a movement. THE MAKING OF A MOVEMENT The leader of any movement needs to be willing to stand out and apart from the crowd and to be ridiculed for their ideas, yet strong enough to persevere. A leader does not need to inspire everyone. He needs to inspire one person - his first follower.

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When the first follower joins the dance party, he was acknowledged by the leader and treated as an equal. When the leader did that, the one man show became about the two of them. The leader’s nonverbal acceptance gave the first follower permission to invite more people, which he did. The first follower plays a critical role in the development of a movement. They are the person that transforms the crazy idea into a plausible concept and a loon into a leader. This is an underestimated leadership role that creates the ability to take one person’s idea, build momentum, and make a movement. The first follower also plays an important teaching role. It is from him that the other participants learn how to follow the leader. THREE’S A CROWD When the first follower’s friend joined the dance party, it became


Photo by Sonja Guina

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a crowd. A crowd makes the moment notable. A movement must be public in order for it to affect change. The leader is the public face and voice of the movement, but new followers emulate the person that brought them into the movement. Creating a tree graph wherein the new follower emulates their friend, who is emulating their friend, so on and so forth until you reach the top of the ordered tree graph and the first follower who is emulating the leader. THE TIPPING POINT The momentum of membership or the critical mass threshold moment when people feel it is acceptable to join is the tipping point to an established movement. For each person that joins the movement, it becomes easier for the next person to join because it makes the decision to join less risky. Therefore, the people that were hesitant to join before the

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movement reached its tipping point are now ready to sign-on. These followers are not seeking to stand out from the crowd, they do not want to be ridiculed for joining a movement, but they desire the cache associated with joining the movement in this early phase and want to be recognized as part of the “incrowd” or the initial founding group. If you are a leader, remember the importance of acknowledging, encouraging, and nurturing your first followers. Treat them as equals because the movement needs to be about the idea, not the leader. It is the first follower that is the catalyst for the movement. If you care about starting a movement, have the courage to join a leader with an idea that you believe in by standing up, rolling up your sleeves, and encourage others to join in.


Photo by Brooke Cagle

LOCALIST MOVEMENT A localist is a person that believes that their community comes first. The relationships built in the community create a stronger foundation for a prosperous community. They teach others through their words and actions.

ACT LOCAL FIRST The best path to developing, resurrecting, and resuscitating a strong community is to create a bond between neighbors. The more a person is connected to their community; the more they care about and put effort into it.

Localist think before they act. They care about who they do business with, how they connect with people, and the ways they use the land. THE LEADER The Business Alliance for Local Living Economies, BALLE, sits at the forefront of the Localist Movement. They represent thousands of communities and entrepreneurs, conveners, funders and investors who are affecting change by changing the way we perceive ourselves and our communities.

Creating opportunities for local entrepreneurs to open businesses creates a diverse eco-system of locally-owned businesses that pour money back into the local economy.

Their mission is to create economies that work for everyone and build prosperity for all.

When these new businesses rely on, seek suppliers from, and distribute to other locally-owned businesses, the local economy swells. This is the first step to local wealth-building for everyone by creating more local jobs.

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Photo by Chirobocea Nicu

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Photo by Alice Achterhof

PRIORITIZE EQUALITY When we help the least of our neighbors, we all prosper. Community supported infrastructure to training and education for the under-employed creates a strong and reliable workforce for the new local economy. Be a change agent for public policy. Demand our political leaders to create a level playing field for small, locally owned businesses. Cities, counties, and states have the ability to expand their financing for local businesses. It’s in their power to help make commercial real estate affordable, put an end to corporate subsidies that are short-term solutions to long-term problems. In exchange for corporate subsidies, create robust local ecosystems that build strong towns and solve real economic issues.

CULTIVATE CONNECTION Humans desire connection. We live in isolated times. A room full of people can create an instant conversation without speaking a word. When we look up from our devices and look into the eyes of our neighbor, that is when we can begin to heal ourselves and our community. We need to tap into a deeper level of humanity, discover who we really are and define who we want to be as a society. As creatures, we are all interdependent. The world we’ve created blocks our natural desire to connect and feel connected. We’ve lost our sense of communal purpose and desire for generosity. Our interpersonal connections make us fundamentally human. ACCELERATE COLLABORATION No man is an island. No business should be a solo sport. Create reliable, effective backbone organizations and mentorship

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structures that put the collective “we” over the importance of “me.”

building a prosperous community, or will it choose to continue in its complacency with the status quo?

Community centers like accelerator programs or alliances build the infrastructure, resources, and shared expenses to help propel small businesses and entrepreneurs. The development of local distribution channels and collectives help scale businesses at the necessary rate to make them relevant in a modern growing economy.

Movements are created by people who are no longer content sitting on a grassy knoll enjoying the music -- they are literally being moved by the thing that they are feeling.

aM T M T H E M I L L M AG A Z I N E

THE TIPPING POINT “Look at the world around you. It may seem like an immovable, implacable place. It is not. With the slightest push — in just the right place — it can be tipped.” —  Malcolm Gladwell, author The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference. As much as humans desire connection, we also instinctively have great disdain for partial solutions to our greater problems. Being convinced that a comprehensive solution involving multiple levels of mass teamwork that also requires steady, continual work and mindfulness to reach the solution is a massive sell. In The Tipping Point, Gladwell talks about the small moments that propel a movement into the mainstream and mass awareness. Every idea that reaches the threshold had the support of The Law of the Few. There are natural connectors or salesmen that spread the word and are able to galvanize groups of people. Localism calls for the reframing of the information we have been given and the solutions we’ve been told are the best solutions. A movement of this magnitude calls for people to reshape their ideas of how society and community work. Humans absorb and relate to new information in different ways. We reflect the new against the old and begin to reject the elements that appear to be false. This is one of the greatest hurdles of our time. CREATE A RIPPLE The thing most misunderstood about movements is the leadership factor. We are conditioned to look to the top for an answer or an explanation, however, movements are a culmination of something -- a ripple effect through people emboldened by the cause. If you are tired of your community being hung out to dry, it is time to create a ripple by learning more about the localist movement. We are interdependent. It is time to look in the eyes of our neighbors and decide if this is the place we want to be and how we want to live. Will your community rise to the challenge of

Photo by Lechon Kirb


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THE M A K E R M O V E M E N T

RECLAIMING INGENUITY Te x t b y K e r r y M c G i l l

“As makers of today and shapers for tomorrow, we Americans seem to share an inborn understanding of how to go about making the things we want – whether we’re reaching for the moon, hobbying in the home, doing our part on a convenience to be enjoyed or preparing a tasty titbit, we’re all of us makers,” expounds the narrator in the 25-minute 1960 promo for Chevrolet titled American Maker by the Handy (Jam) Organization. The promo relates how as Americans we build throughout our lives using our ingenuity, not only in technological advancement, but in everyday life, everyone is a maker. It is who we are as a culture. The Maker Movement is a wish for the ability to return to tinkering and making things with the hands. We, as a culture, have moved away from learning the fundamentals of building and creating. Classes taught in 1960 like shop,

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Photo courtesy William Holman

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Photo courtesy Dale Dougherty

music, art, and home economics are no longer available in the majority of our culture’s formative curriculum. We’ve grown accustomed to fast. We swipe our phones and tap a few buttons for a quick headline on information. We pop frozen pies into the oven and connect a computer to our cars to discover the reason the warning light came on. Making is a fundamental desire we’ve outsourced to technology and other countries. CREATE Think about a coffee mug. Did you envision a simple white mug? Does it have a design or phrase that reflects your personality? Is the mug machine-made or handcrafted? Aside from nature, everything on this planet was created, designed, and crafted by someone. The power of technology allows us to mass produce “maker” goods, but the greatest

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Photo courtesy Dale Dougherty

minds still need to tinker and collaborate in order to create. Albert Einstein and Steve Jobs did not innovate in a vacuum. They explored ideas and learned skills from their peers and community. Conversation and collaborative problem solving spark solutions and innovative ideas. Across the country, groups are gathering and meeting places are being established to bring together the people that make and want to collaborate. It’s a definitive culture shift that is empowering communities to share ideas, gain access to modern tools, and learn new ways to build better solutions together. MAKE The Maker Movement kickstarted in 2005 with the publication of Make: magazine. Each issue focused on do it yourself and do it with others projects for disciplines like technology, science, woodworking, and metalworking. Crafts and design were spun-


Photo courtesy Amanda Cole

off into their own magazine in 2006 and later re-integrated into Make:. Dale Dougherty launched the magazine to feed the growing online desire for do it yourself projects. He coined the term Maker to describe all the people that prefer to make things with their hands from engineers to fashion designers. “I like to think of it as in some ways I gave a name to something that already was happening. And, it’s what people did. But, they tend to think of it narrowly. And, I gave it a general name Maker. They said, ‘oh I like robotics’ or ‘I like to do weaving’ and they would never see the connection between the two. All of the people doing these things are connected,” Dougherty shared in the short film We Are Makers, the story of the Maker Movement. The magazine showcases simple projects by other makers that can be completed with simple everyday household items or

Photo courtesy Amanda Cole

other inexepensive items. The online portal offers a Show and Tell section that allows Makers to share their own how-to or share a story about what they made. Amanda Cole, a freshman at Penn State studying electrical engineering, also enjoys crochet and ‘making pointless inventions,’ according to her bio on the website. She recently shared, “I’m a young maker who loves Make: and I’ve found a way to merge my passion for electrical engineering with the art of crochet.” Cole created a “stuffed-animal” style resistor, an electronic component from yarn and polyester stuffing. She shared the crochet pattern on Make: called Crochet Your Own Adorable Amigurumi Resistor and recommends the pattern for use as a Christmas ornament or for use in a crocheting workshop. Will Holman built a streamlined lounge chair out of a half-sheet

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Photo courtesy William Holman

of plywood and 44 cable fasteners. Holman found his love for making found-furniture after he graduated with an architecture degree from Virginia Tech, packed his car and moved to Arizona. He lived at Arcostanti, an experimental community north of Phoenix founded by Italian architect Paolo Soleri as a prototype arcology, a dense urban system designed to produce its own food and energy. He spent his days learning the ins and outs of construction, helping to build Arcosanti, which has been under construction since 1970. When he wasn’t pouring concrete and welding, he spent his free time rummaging around the “Arco boneyard,” forty years of scrap construction materials and old cars. He would drag pieces back to the workshop and make furniture for his co-op apartment. On Make:, he shares his version of the Steam-Bent Chair No. 14 that was invented by Michael Thonet in 1859. This chair was

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Photo courtesy William Holman

popular throughout Europe because it was easily transported as a packed flat furniture kit. Using the skills Holman learned at Arcosanti and in the Maker community, he spent six months designing and prototyping the Zip Tie Lounge Chair. He says the chair easily comes apart for moving and costs less than $50 to build. His experiences shaped his design sensibility and led him to writing the book, Guerilla Furniture Design. The book is for makers that want a more stylized and personalize home than big bargain stores offer, but at nearly the same price. Holman says, “with little money, few tools, and improvised workshops, I shaped my environment out of paper, plastic, wood, and metal. Guerilla Furniture Design is meant to help you do the same.” The emphasis in the Maker culture is to learn by doing in a social environment whether it is online or in person. The desire within the Maker community to share their craft in-person led to the


Photo courtesy Zach Kaplan

creation of community networking, peer-led and informal meetups. The community culture encourages each participant to share their knowledge and learn from others. ACCESS Access to the right tools to innovate were previously limited to institutions and corporations. As budgets limited institutions ability to purchase modern tools, the Maker Movement made way for makerspaces and online platforms like Etsy and Inventables, a creator and seller of 3D carving machines and software. In response to President Obama’s call to create a “Nation of Makers,” Inventables CEO, Zach Kaplan, committed to donating a 3D carving machine to a school in all fifty states. The company also donated 50 machines to publicly accessible maker spaces in each state in 2014. Kaplan was inspired by the success of the Harold Washington Library in Chicago, whose Innovation Lab

Photo courtesy Zach Kaplan

offers 3D carvers, cutters, and printers to the public. “We believe that to ignite the digital manufacturing revolution, we need to provide free access to these important 3D carving tools to as many people as possible,” Kaplan said. Inventables hopes that access to a free machine and free software will help reboot American manufacturing education and allow people to start their own small scale manufacturing business in their own community. SHARE One of the first national gatherings occurred in 2006 when Make: launched Maker Faire, as a place for Makers to gather and show off their creations. Adweek captured why the movement quickly gained importance amongst Makers: “hands-on Maker Faires are catnip for DIYers who used to toil in solitude. Makers tap into an American

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Photo courtesy Maker Faire


Photo courtesy Maker Faire

admiration for self-reliance and combine that with opensource learning, contemporary design, and powerful personal technology like 3-D printers. The creations, born in cluttered local workshops and bedroom offices, stir the imaginations of consumers numbed by generic, mass-produced, made-in– China merchandise.” The Maker Faire tipped into the mainstream between 2012 and 2013 when over half a million people attended to see anything from homemade jewelry to homemade electronic muffin cars. Maker Media built the Maker Faire on the TED franchise model, where they produce their Flagship Faires in New York, San Francisco, and Washington D.C., then they offer guidance for others to put on their own Mini Maker Faire. Maker Faire is now a worldwide affair with over one million attendees. In addition to the three flagship faires, there are Mini Maker Faires on six of the seven continents with over 70 planned

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in the United States in 2017. START Makers value skill over money, creation over consumption, and building over buying. Over the past five years, Makers have found a way to gather in so called makerspaces and fix-it places that have popped up across the country. One of the main tenets of the community is to share knowledge, so it is no surprise that the community shares their methods of success. New York Hall of Science’s education department opened a Maker Space on the grounds of the hands-on science museum. They created the space as a learning environment for tinkers, designers, and creators of all ages to explore and experiment with everyday materials. The workshops they host are familyoriented and give young students access to real tools. The museum offers a free download called A Blueprint: Maker Programs for Youth. The 40-page document covers everything


Photo courtesy Maker Faire

from defining your target audience to planning the space, tools, and programs, as well as, budgeting and sample projects. Holman, the maker of the Zip Tie chair, is also the general manager of Open Works, a makerspace in Baltimore partnered with Make: to share several helpful guides for opening a Makerspace. His step-by-step guides cover raising money for a space, opening a mobile Makerspace, hiring staff, growing your membership, marketing your space, and more. The Made in Baltimore series are available for free on the Make: website. Want to bring a Makerspace to your community? Start with Holman’s Made in Baltimore: What Kind of Makerspace to Make? The first phase is research and development. Holman writes, “The idea of a ‘makerspace’ is a shaggy concept, encompassing a wide range of ideas and no foolproof recipes for success.” Holman, himself, immersed himself into the maker culture. As a furniture maker, he attended Maker Faire in San Francisco, as

a part of his R&D process for Open Works he attended World Maker Faire New York in 2014 and 2015, built his own 3D printer, building more furniture with a CNC machine, including his Zip Tie chair. He adds, “All the book knowledge in the world couldn’t compare to walking into actual makerspaces, talking with folks, and learning about their successes and challenges face-to-face.” If you are looking for a similar idea, look into starting a pop-up repair cafe. Fixers gather and help community members repair their tools from sewing machines to lawn mowers. People like to work with their hands. They just need the access and the opportunity.

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SUBURBAN HOMESTEADING FERMENTING & CANNING Te x t b y J e r r y B r u n s w i c k

Growing up, if I was hungry, I went to the refrigerator and grabbed something to eat. When I was at my Granny’s house, she would send me into the storeroom. I never really thought about the difference in the homes until a few years ago when I did a homestay on a homestead in the mountains of the Pacific Northwest. The homesteaders were diligent in using everything they harvested and collected from the various animals across their land. My curiosity was set on fire, not because they told me they consciously used everything, but because of a jar of pickles that was left in my room one night. The jar was warm and my first instinct was to put it in the fridge. It was then, I realized that the homestead didn’t have a “normal” refrigerator in the house. When I was young, we were not allowed to leave anything out while cooking or preparing a meal. My mother was

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Photo by Unsplash

terrified that leaving the butter on the counter would spoil it. Bacteria was the enemy, and refrigeration and heat were our allies. The time on the homestead began the deconstruction of what I was taught by modern society as the “right” way to keep and prepare food. HOMESTEADING IS MORE THAN SURVIVAL Survival preparation and homesteading are two sides of the same coin, however, they have two different outcomes. A survivalist stores items to survive for a few days until they are rescued. Homesteaders grow their own food, often care for their own farm animals, and store items to live on without the need for rescue. Two images come to mind when I think about Survivalists, the reality show Survivor and the crazy family that live in the woods

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wearing military gear with shelves filled with MREs, which are Meals Ready to Eat carried by soldiers at war. This is my own association with Survivalists and I know that it is not true because I know Survivalists that are regular people with homes in the suburbs and corporate jobs. They are prepared for hurricanes, tornados, and other unforeseeable emergency situations. My own journey took me towards homesteading because I want to live as local as possible and the best way to accomplish that is to learn the skills needed to store locally gathered foods. I am not a traditional homesteader, but I implement the ideas into my life. I live in a small town surrounded by small farms. My backyard contains what I’ll call a hobby garden where I grow cabbage, cucumbers, and a few other foods that I like to eat. My electricity is supplemented by solar and wind power. Leftover


Photo by Couleur

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Photo by Sergey Klimkin

foods go into my compost that makes the soil used in my garden. I bake my own bread, make my own laundry detergent, and treat ailments with homemade remedies. Where I fall short on my own property, due to space, complete knowledge, and time, I work with my local farmers. My neighborhood doesn’t allow farm animals, so I am unable to keep chickens and other animals on my property. Therefore, I need to purchase items like eggs and meat elsewhere. Building a relationship with local farmers places a comfort in my mind that if anything happens I will still be on their short list to continue to gather eggs, other vegetables, and meat. While that comfort is there, I am also prepared to go without the support of the farmers. I am building the skills and the knowledge to live off the land if needed. These are the proteins that we would not think about eating in modern society, but if push comes to surviving, then they are viable options.

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FERMENTATION After learning the basics of fermentation from my homestay, I bought a book called The Art of Fermentation: An In-Depth Exploration of Essential Concepts and Processes from around the World by Sandor Ellix Katz, a fermentation revivalist who is nicknamed Sandorkraut. Sandor’s journey began in the early 1990’s when he moved from New York City to rural Cannon County outside of Nashville, Tennessee. Sandor’s interest in fermentation happened one day when he found an old crock pot in his acquired garage and harvested cabbage from his garden. He had a particularly fruitful harvest and decided to try making sauerkraut. Sandor moved to the country to focus on his health and more importantly his nutritional health. He chopped up the cabbage, salted it, and waited, “That first kraut tasted so alive and powerfully nutritious. Its sharp flavor sent my salivary glands


into a frenzy and got me hooked on fermentation,” he says. In the decades since, he has experimented with fermenting a wide range of fruits, vegetables, nuts, grains, milk, meat, and more. His book The Art of Fermentation is known as the most comprehensive guide to learning how to ferment at home. Sandor covers the most important concepts and processes to fermenting all kinds of foods and drinks. WHY FERMENTATION? Fermentation preserves food and their nutrients through a process called lacto-fermentation, where natural bacteria feeds on the sugars and starches already present in the food to create a lactic acid. The lactic acid is the preservative that is also beneficial to the human digestive system containing Omega-3 fatty acids, b-vitamins, enzymes, and various strains of probiotics. I remember the yogurt explosion and the sales pitch to eat

yogurt because the enzymes and probiotics are good for your digestion. What is interesting is that fermented foods have long been a huge part of cultures around the world. It is our modern society that removed them from our natural way of life. My Granny’s storeroom was closer to eating local and organic than anything that I could buy at my local supermarket chain. She was raised to be budget conscious, she was also eating better than the rest of us. As my mother worried about bacteria finding their way into the butter set on the counter, while regularly feeding us Happy Meals; I realize that she may have been worried about the wrong foods. The probiotics in the fermented foods help balance the digestive system and helps reverse some diseases without the need of medicine. The enzymes help your body absorb more nutrients from the locally grown, fresh food you eat. The best part of fermentation is that the food is preserved and can last

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Photo by Jonathan Pielmayer


Photo by WDnet Studio

for months at a time, which helps to cut down on budget and resource waste.

various goods to reach a jar of spaghetti sauce on the shelf and never once did I think that this was a skill that I should know.

The average American family wastes up to $2,500 a year on uneaten and thrown away food. Think about that! Would you take $2,500 out of your bank account and use it as kindling? Of course not!

Canning is one step beyond cooking that preserves the food for future use. Think about the grocery store and all the soups, sauces, vegetables, etcetera that you can buy. These goods are not the cheapest items, however, if you were to buy the base items in bulk and make it yourself, you would save money.

Fermentation allows you to save money, preserve food, improve your health, and eat more locally grown foods year-round. If the sharp, sour taste of fermentation does not sit well with your palette, that’s okay because you can also try canning. CANNING Did you know that you can butter? I just learned this. Canning is relatively new to my repertoire of suburban homesteading. It’s a skill that I wish I had taken the time to learn from my Granny. The times that I went into the storeroom and climbed over her

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Grocery store cans are lined with chemicals and do not retain the nutritional value of the food. Unlike when you make it at home and control the entire process. I use Ball glass jars because the wide mouth on the jar is perfect for almost every type of food. To keep the food from spoiling, there are two main methods used: water bath canning and pressure canning. Before you begin, you’ll want to invest in a Canning Kit that comes with a funnel, tools to pick up the hot jars called kitchen


tongs, and the pressure cooker canner or bath canner. Water bath canning is best for high-acid foods that use a shorter, low-temperature canning process. The bacteria is killed by the high acidity level naturally occurring in the food. This method can be used for fruits and fruit-based foods like jams, tomatobased foods like sauces and salsas, as well as condiments and pickles. Foods with low acidity like meats, poultry, seafood, and vegetables require the pressure canning method. This process heats the jars and their contents to 240 degrees Fahrenheit ensuring the foods stay fresh and bacteria free. When you mix low-acidity foods with high-acidity foods, the pressure canning method is required as there is not enough high-acidity to protect all the food.

months. Canned butter has a shelf life of a few years. That is a bit nuts and something that I will be doing this weekend. LOCAL AND SUSTAINABLE Learning fermentation and canning allows me to live more local and sustainable in my small town. There are fewer runs to the grocery store to pick up items that I need for a meal. As I become more aware of what I eat, the less I want to make the runs to the grocery store and the more I want to improve my health through food. Any version of homesteading is possible, as long as you have storage space for all the jars.

aM T M T H E M I L L M AG A Z I N E

Back to canning butter. Frozen butter keeps for five to six

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The Mill Magazine Edition 7 No. 4 Local-ist  

A local exchange inspiring vibrant, prosperous communities.

The Mill Magazine Edition 7 No. 4 Local-ist  

A local exchange inspiring vibrant, prosperous communities.

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