Independence Days Challenge is Back!!!

Sharon February 1st, 2012

Well, to general acclaim I’m bringing back the Independence Days challenge and I do hope you’ll all sign up and participate.  We’ll report on Fridays.  Here are the categories, so you can record your accomplishments.  Please feel free to publicize on your sites or anywhere you like, and please just join in to participate!

The whole idea is to get the positive sense of your accomplishments – it is easy to think we haven’t done anything to move forward, but in fact, we all do, almost every day.  We just think of accomplishment as a big thing – a whole day spent putting up applesauce or a hundred tomato plants.  The Independence Day project makes us count our little accomplishments and see that we are moving forward.  So for each week, tell us what you have done in the following categories:

Plant something: A lot of us were trained to think of planting as done once a year, but if you start seeds, do season extension and succession plant, you’ll get much, much more out of your garden, so I try and plant something every day from February into September.

Harvest something: Everything counts – from the milk and eggs you get from your animals to the first dandelions from your yard to 50 bushels of tomatoes – it all counts.

Preserve something: Again, I find preserving is most productive if I try and do a little every day that there is anything, from the first dried raspberry leaves and jarred rhubarb to the last squashes at the end of the season.

Waste not: Reducing food waste, composting everything or feeding it to animals, reducing your use of disposables and creation of garbage, reusing things that would otherwise go to waste, making sure your preserved and stored foods are kept in good shape – all of these count.

Want Not: Adding to your food storage or stash of goods for emergencies, building up resources that will be useful in the long term.

Eat the Food: Making full and good use of what you have, making sure that you are getting everything you can from your food, trying new recipes and new cooking ideas, eating out of your storage!

Build community food systems: What have you done to help other people have better food access or to make your local food system more resilient?

And a new one: Skill up:  What did you learn this week that will help you in the future – could be as simple as fixing the faucet or as hard as building a shed, as simple as a new way of keeping records or as complicated as making shoes.  Whatever you are learning, you get a merit badge for it – this is important stuff.

Ok, you can sign up in comments, publicize on your blog and tell the world – let’s see what we can get done!

Happy Independence Days!


48 Responses to “Independence Days Challenge is Back!!!”

  1. K.B. says:

    YEAH!! I’m in. Hopefully, this will give me the kickstart I need to get things done – like expand the garden!

  2. Richard says:

    Sharon, I’m in! It’s the coldest day of the winter in Britain so far, but for us down south that means just hovering below freezing and bright clear sunny. The wood burner is lit and I’ve just been down to visit the broad beans in the greenhouse.

  3. risa says:

    I have posted this to G+ and fb with highest recommendations. But my own participation this time around may be somewhat limited due to family circumstances in Florida. Consequently, we’re not even sure we’ll get the potatoes in this year at Stony Run. But I’ll be keenly interested in the reports.

  4. Christina says:

    OK, I’m in and I will publish my accomplishments on my blog (which means I will have to write in English, hmm).

    Lots of snow here (SW Sweden) and several degrees below freezing point, so not much harvesting or planting yet, though…

  5. Rena says:

    I’d like to sign up. I’m busy with my toddler, but surely I can do at least one of those a week. I’m inspired!

  6. Robin Works says:

    I’m in. It was very motivating last time to read what ya’ll were doing. Also very satisfying to realize how much I was doing!

  7. Mary Walker says:

    I’m in. I have several new procedures, plants, or projects plan so this is, I hope, a good way to keep on track. Right now it is unusually warm here in northern Indiana and I am watching the plants I overwintered in my gardens–container gardens that is. I am also saving plastic milk jugs to try out winter sowing. See how that turns out.

  8. Anna W. says:

    Like Rena, I’m taking care of my toddler . . . but I’ll put my hat in the ring, document the modest things I’m doing and hopefully have incentive to do more!

  9. Pica says:

    I’m in! We are setting up a community garden outside Davis at Farm 2.6, where 50% of produce is being donated. Big open house this weekend, we’re planting a dye and fiber garden too. I’m demonstrating spinning and the fermented suint vat. Love the idea.

  10. Teresa says:

    I’m in! I’ll be curious to see if my blog readers think it’s inspiring or wacky, since the blog lives on my fiction-writing site!

  11. Nicole says:

    I’m in. I don’t know that I’ll report every week, because “still composting; took recyclables to curb on Tuesday AM as always” is dull reading. But I’ll report when I have something new to say, and I look forward to reading other peoples’ ideas.

  12. AngieC says:

    I’d like to join in but am a bit tied up running a shop until June. I already do a lot of this but want or even need to do more – will check in when I can!

  13. Anne Trudell says:

    I’d like to join. I found it really worthwhile last time!

  14. Jenn says:

    I’d like to join in. I’ll be pretty tied up for the next two weeks, I imagine, but after that (well, even now, really) I could definitely use the inspiration and motivation to get going and keep going.

  15. Sandy says:

    I’ll play! I neglected my blog while I was taking a couple of grad classes. This will be a great way to get back in the groove. Thanks for the motivation!

  16. [...] I’m just plain old swamped – I’m delighted by the return of Sharon Astyk’s Independence Days, and hope to be participating this [...]

  17. Daisy says:

    Yes!!! I’m in! I’ve really missed this. Don’t know if I will be able to report on Fridays, but will do the best I can. :)

  18. itchbay says:

    Oh, yes! I’m in!

    BTW, I found this site through My Old New House’s post:

  19. I’m in! This is exciting!

  20. Claire says:

    I’m in! I just started the above-referenced blog and may report on it rather than here. It would give me something to post there that won’t take too long to write up.

  21. Gina says:

    Another in! I look forward to both participating and learning from the participants. Thanks for bringing IDC back!

  22. Marian says:

    I’m in! I’ll be encouraging friends and family to join in as well!

  23. Lise says:

    I’m in again. Will you have a button again this year?

  24. KC says:

    Sign me up. Feels like springtime — here in Virginia.

  25. Michelle says:

    I’m in, natch!

    “Skill up” reminds me of the “competency challenge” you ran once upon a time. I used that to inspire me to get my neighbor to teach me how to change the oil in my lawn mower….

  26. Maria Ortado says:

    I’m in!

  27. Hannah Elise says:

    Aye, count me in! :)

    When reporting in, do we come back to this post on Fridays, or will you be writing a new post each week?

  28. Nicki says:

    New to this site, but love the idea! I’m just changing from full-time to part-time work so should have lots more time!

  29. Janet in formerly snowy Nevada says:

    Hi- Looking forward to joining in instead of just reading about it!

  30. Frogdancer says:

    Oops! I started two weeks ago…

  31. Joel Caris says:

    This sounds fantastic, Sharon. I actually was planning on reading Independence Days soon, and one of the major projects on my blog for this year is a series of posts on gardening, homesteading and other household economy activities. This challenge seems like it would fit quite well in that category, so I may just take you up on it.

    I’ll also be excited to follow along and see what other people are doing, getting ideas from the group. This is going to be a big year of learning to be poor, getting my gardening and preserving down well, doing more work-trade and barter, and otherwise delving full bore into the non-traditional economies. It’s always good to have company when doing such things.

  32. Kathleen says:

    Count me in. And thanks for doing this.

  33. Tara says:

    I’m going to give this a go this time. I’m pregnant (due in May) and have reduced my workload accordingly, but I’m finding it hard to want to do ANYTHING, and there’s so much that needs doing. I think this may help keep me on track!

  34. Tamara Griesel says:

    Stepping my first toe in. I have three at home, including the baby, and “home” is a gigantic 19th century hotel mid-restoration with almost no land access, so I’m going to work mostly on skilling up, eating the food (we have a restaurant, and need to work on ways of increasing our use of local products, and reducing costs and waste), and working with the engineering students who will be using our building as a research project.

    Rooftop garden, anyone?

  35. Kind of already started, but I am excited to continue with company!

  36. Gail Griffith says:

    I am in! I like the “skill up” category…There is so much to learn and practice.

    Will have to put up a reminder sticky note to post on Fridays.

    Thank you, Sharon, for everything!



  37. Sue Harley says:

    Count me in, it will be great to be part of the “can do “community. I am sure it will help and support me personally in so many ways. Have started by getting apples and red kuri squash out of storage to cook and eat. Have been away 4 days , our house has only dropped 4 degrees, despite being coldest yet and no heating, so insulation working wonders !.

  38. Anisa says:

    Yay! I’ll play again!

  39. Anisa says:

    Oh and I REALLY love the Skill Up addition!

  40. TraceyT says:

    I’m game! I’ve started some of the stuff already but would love accountability.

  41. fae says:

    I’ll give it a whirl. If nothing else, maybe it will revive my blog from the limbo the poor thing has been stuck in since last spring got the better of me.

  42. Megan says:

    Add me into the “With a Toddler” category. Full time job and a toddler, even. Oy! The last couple of years I haven’t done as much but I think I’m ready to jump in again. :)

    (Shira, are you still out there, my fellow ‘Hamster?) :)

  43. Judy says:

    I’m in! I found it so helpful to keep track of everything the last time. It can be really inspiring to see how much I HAVE managed to accomplish.

  44. [...] Astyk is relaunching her Independence Days challenge, in a slightly amended [...]

  45. Elizabeth says:

    Yay! Me, too. I’d love to play.

  46. Becky says:

    I’m in! Excited about the new skills category. Learned so much from reading previous Independence Days.

  47. Margo says:

    I’m in :-) Seems appropriate as I got the book for my birthday. Although come midwinter down under I’ll start to get jealous when you’re all harvesting lovely things in the sunshine

  48. gita says:

    Well, you inspired me take advantage of a special 50 degree day to uproot the rotting broccoli plants from my winter hoop house, clear out the weeds and get the now beautiful soil ready for some winter transplants of romaine.

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