This era in history may be remembered as the "Peak Age", a brief time when nearly all materials used to power and create our society reach the maximum extraction and production potential. Past this point, all of these resources become increasingly difficult to extract until they are no longer economically viable resources to be using. There are hundreds of examples of resources, currently embedded in our industrial society, which have reached their peak in the 50 years surrounding 2010, but the one which will most impact our society is petroleum.

The goal of living for 100 days without oil is to understand the extent of our dependance on oil in American society today. Specifically, how it will affect my life, as a 25 year-oil living in Minneapolis, MN. By using myself as a metric I can take a close and conscious look at where oil dependance occurs in all aspects of our daily lives : How we transport ourselves from one place to another, what we eat, how much waste we create, how water is cleaned and transported, where oil is used as; an energy resource, in conventional medicine and for hygiene and how oil affects how we entertain ourselves and communicate with others. By demonstrating how someone would be forced to live without using any oil resources, outlining both what the sacrifices will be as well as the benefits, we can can identify the many systems which will have to be re-designed in a world without cheap oil, and explore a new way of living in which we live in an energy balance.

(At the bottom of this page is a link to my version of a flow diagram of 'Where Petroleum Exists in Our Daily Lives' (using information from the Energy Information Administration-Annual Energy Review 2008 fig 5.0 Petroleum flow) click and zoom to enlarge)

Monday, August 30, 2010


29 August 2010

After some failed vegetable spouts and a rapid depletion of variety of foods available at farmer's markets already, I've decided to re-work my grow table plan a bit.  I have some vegetables coming up as sprouts still, but many were fried when it got too hot (and I left the lid on).  One of the problems I'm having is the sprouts look fine and I transplant them and they seem to die in the middle of the stem.  My basil is shown here, it literally just can't keep itself up anymore and flops over (stem in the middle is really thin now).  A project we studied while doing our greenhouse project this summer was a winter-CSA run out of a greenhouse in Milan, MN.  It is about 16'x22' and feeds 20 families, mostly growing microgreens, without any supplemental lighting and barely any heating.  What is interesting is they grow all the greens in rain gutters (only 4" deep).  They can have a continuous supply of nutrient rich microgreens (greens harvested after only a few weeks) by planting new ones every week.  Being that I am already almost out of greens I can find locally, I am going to make this the new main goal of the grow table.  This way I can grow food fast enough that it is useful to me when I run out of other supplies. 

My friend John donated a gallon bag of sunflower seeds to me the other day.  He buys this stuff in 50 gallon bags at garden centers as birdseed for about $25.  You can buy it at the Wedge for $4/gallon, I'll take the birdseed.  Turns out growing sunflower spouts is a super easy and popular thing for people to do in kitchens in the city.  Its nice because they are ready to eat in less than 10 days from planting.  After watching a few videos, my process was this:

video I followed was this raw lady:

1_dump a few cups of sunflower seeds into a mason jar and rinse
2_let sit for 6-8 hours in water and rinse again
3_hang in a mesh bag, or thin strainer to drain all water out till seeds are dry
4_pour back into mason jar and rinse twice a day for a couple days (the seed start to sprout in the mason jar)
5_as soon as most of the seeds are sprouting, put them in a container filled with organic soil (I used a black seed flat, the lady in the video used a plate) doesn't sound like the soil needs to be too thick
6_put seed on top of soil, very densely.  Not so dense they are on top of each other, but John describes it like a 'blanket' of sunflower seeds.
7_sprinkle a little bit of soil on top, not very much.
8_cover with a dark top of some kind (I layered my seed flats, John says the 'cover' flat can actually be resting on the seeds because as soon as they begin to sprout they push the top up they are so densely planted. 
9_allow to sprout for a few days (not sure how long yet)
10_cut with scissors at base of sprout and put in sitr-fry, salad, smoothies, sandwiches
covered with seed flat on top (keep dark and warm)

after 2 days of growth (still covered)

1 comment:

  1. I've had success sprouting lentils, and I just left them in the Mason jar as they grew. I ate them within the first few days, which is how that worked, but if you're looking for a really easy, fast way of getting some sprouts, that might work.