Sunday, October 5, 2008

'The Challenge' explained

It suddenly occurred to me last week that we only have two months (8 weeks!) until we start what we are calling 'The Challenge' - aaargghhh!

The Challenge was an idea cooked up over 7 months ago - I confess to being the main instigator and agitator for creating an adventure in our own backyard. Happily though, my loved ones have come on board and shared my enthusiasm for the idea - and so we remain committed to making a go of it and learning as much as we can from the experience on how to live a more sustainable life.

The Challenge 'Rules' we have come up with so far (it is a work in progress!) are:

  • Aim to be self sufficient for meat, fruit, and vegetables
  • Anything we can't grow ourselves we can barter or purchase (using any funds gained from selling our surplus produce) from only Tasmanian Growers/Producers (preferably organic and/or sustainably grown)
  • Exceptions - fair trade cocoa (Johan can't survive without this apparently :) and sugar for Johan's Hot Chocolate & 100% recycled toilet paper (because we're soft!).
  • No supermarket shopping
  • No purchases of new items such as clothing, household stuff etc.
  • Reduce our energy consumption to 'grid neutral' - we have recently installed solar hot water, and will have grid-connected solar electricity installed before the challenge commences
We are lucky enough to have 4 1/2 acres of fertile land to play in, and to grow lush food (both animal and vegetable).

We also live in a state where we have many producers of fine local food - though tracking down these producers has proven somewhat challenging at times - but I'll get into that later.

My intention is to use this blog as a record of our family's experiences during the challenge, and also to share ideas and tips on what has worked (and not worked!) for us. We'd also appreciate any ideas or input others have to share with us!!!

Cheers, Jen


Michelle said...

I am looking forward to seeing how your challenge goes! I am thinking about putting in solar power,,,how is your reductiuon in power usage going so far??


Jen said...

To answer – we’re seeing really significant changes – we’re down from 45 kwh per day to averaging about 5 or 6 kwh per day. The rain and grey skies have made it a bit challenging though! The grid connect system doesn’t create a whole lot of power (approx 5kwh on a clear sunny day) but it has increased our knowledge and awareness of how much we’re using and so we’re changing a lot of our habitual usage. Plus we’ve changed to solar hot water and changed our heating from electric to wood