I was sort of surprised to be invited to talk at the Maker Faire (in San Mateo, Calif, on May 23-24). It’s mostly mechanical/digital inventions: robots (galore), high-tech gizmos, computer brilliance and wit. Amidst all this, Farm Aid had a flesh and blood, food and shelter corner of the fairgrounds, and it balanced out all the rest of the stuff.
It’s a fascinating event, and crowded to the gills. Another coup for Tim O’Reilly and Make Magazine: O’Reilly really has his finger on today’s digital pulse. There were a bunch of things there that were brilliant and amusing.
I gave a talk on “The ¼-acre Homestead,” tracing my 40+ years of owner-homebuilding, small-scale farming, gardening, and related matters. The food/shelter angle; I’ve always tried to take care of this first, then to get along with making a living. A pretty good audience. People are (re-) interested in doing some of this stuff themselves. Can you figure out a way to have a roof overhead without borrowing from a bank or paying rent? I think you still can, and in cities as well as the country. I’m probably going to do a book along these lines, after we finish the book on tiny houses (for which I now have an overwhelming bunch of insanely great stuff).