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velacreations

Food Web - microponics in action

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What is a Food Web? The Food Web is a holistic approach towards small scale food production. Basically, it's a way to increase efficiency and yields by integrating your livestock. If you are going to raise animals on your homestead, you should design connections and interactions between them to decrease feed inputs and labor.

We're building a Food Web here in Northern Mexico as a working example and sort of an open classroom for the struggling farmers in our area. We are documenting this project in a book, titled Food Web. It will provide instructions for people to be able to design and create their own Food Webs, depending on their unique situations and circumstances.

We need help to get the project off the ground, so we've launched a crowdfunding campaign here: http://www.indiegogo.com/foodweb

Come check it out, and help us promote a simple, real world example of sustainable farming!

We've been living off the grid for more than a decade. Part of our lifestyle is sharing our experiences, so that others may find some inspiration or information in their own projects.

Check out a list of our Homesteading How-To's:

http://velacreations.com/foodweb/howtos

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Liked your smoker design. I have usually used a discarded refrigerator for a smoker. Gets it out of the waste stream and gives it a second life.

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yeah, I love using junk for stuff like that, not only does it give it a second life, it is cheap! we've made a lot of things out of salvaged materials, from wind generators to water tanks. There's always a use for something on the homestead!

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Adobe Oven look fantastic.

1. Do you make goat cheese? I'm very interested in cheese making.

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Lots of great ideas on the website, I need to make a BSF bin like you did. Probably going to copy a lot of your links.

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Adobe Oven look fantastic.

1. Do you make goat cheese? I'm very interested in cheese making.

thank you! yes, we do make goat cheese! We love it. Cheese is very easy to make, actually. We used to make it when we first started out, and we were living in a tent, and our kitchen was under a shade tree. If you can make it under those conditions, you can make it anywhere!

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Lots of great ideas on the website, I need to make a BSF bin like you did. Probably going to copy a lot of your links.

the BSF bin works great. Our climate is a bit too dry for them for the first 6 months of the year, but I'm hoping to get a greenhouse built next year, and that should help a lot. They can really make a lot of waste go away very fast!

Copy our links, pass them on to friends, and don't forget to contribute to our campaign, or at least convince a friend or 2 to contribute!

http://www.indiegogo.com/foodweb

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the BSF bin works great. Our climate is a bit too dry for them for the first 6 months of the year, but I'm hoping to get a greenhouse built next year, and that should help a lot. They can really make a lot of waste go away very fast!

Copy our links, pass them on to friends, and don't forget to contribute to our campaign, or at least convince a friend or 2 to contribute!

http://www.indiegogo.com/foodweb

Will do buddy.

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Liked your smoker design. I have usually used a discarded refrigerator for a smoker. Gets it out of the waste stream and gives it a second life.

Discarded fridges also make great feed storage. They are usually water tight, and if you lay them down, the lid opens up, and you can fit a lot of feed in one.

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post-4395-13795790201398_thumb.jpg

More photos

We are moving forward with the Food Web model system. We have started construction on the barn's water. It is a 7,000 gallon rain catchment system. We've been experimenting with liner-tanks for large capacity water storage, and this one is coming out great.

The basic concept with these tanks is to make a support structure to hold a liner (animal safe or potable, depending on your needs). The structure has to be able to hold the liner in place, and resist the pressure of the water, especially at the base. The trick is to avoid making the tank very tall. A 4 ft (1.2m) tall tank has only 1.8 psi at the base, no matter how wide the tank is. 1.8 psi is not a lot of pressure, and can be held with a very basic frame, like wire mesh, plywood, or sheet metal.

In this version, we used wire mesh.

Here's some more details about the tank:

http://www.velacreations.com/blog/item/280-barn-tank.html

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Discarded fridges also make great feed storage. They are usually water tight, and if you lay them down, the lid opens up, and you can fit a lot of feed in one.

Great idea. Will have to give that a try.

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these tanks are really cheap fish tanks, by the way. We have $1,000 in this one, including the roof, for over 7,000 gallons of capacity.

if you make the tank round, and get a liner shaped in a cylinder, you don't need to pound the posts in the ground, and just put a retaining ring at the top and bottom (rebar or galvanized wire), on the outside of the posts, to hold things together.

If you can find metal sheets in your area, use them, like 1/8" works well. Get the 8 ft by 4ft sheets. Turn them on their sides, so they are 4 ft tall, blot the end together to form a circle, and drop in your liner. No posts or anything else required. We made a 8ft tall one of these for our house water tank a few years back:

http://www.velacreations.com/water/water-storage/itemlist/category/97-cisterns.html

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I'm wondering if I could use this tank for animal water AND fish. Maybe run the water through a bed of water hyacinth or some other heavy feed before it goes to the animals. What do people think of that? Would it be a big deal if animals drank fish water?

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I know if animals drink too much nitrates, it could be bad, but if I made a little wetlands area that the water has to float through before getting to the animals, that would probably strip out most of the nutrients. It would also grow a bit of extra food for the animals.

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I think I am going to try this. At the very least, it will save me from having to make the roof on this tank right away. The tank has about 24 m2 of surface area, so I think I could get away with maybe 30 kg of fish in there without making too much waste in the water. The tank holds almost 30Kl (7500 gallons) of water, so it will be a very light stocking, but should give me a few fish to eat.

Because we have had a lot of rain this month, all of our other rain catchment tanks are overflowing, so I went ahead and put about 5000l in it today. I guess I need to go catch some minnows or carp from the river to throw in there before the mosquitoes find it!

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The Food Web Campaign has ended!

Many people have asked if we will continue with the project, even if we don't meet our funding goal. The answer is YES, we are dedicated to this project and it's goals. We will complete the project! We will not let something like lack of funds stop or deter us!

Even though we didn't reach our funding goal, we consider the campaign to be a huge success. Thank you everyone for your wonderful support during this effort!

We will continue to offer advanced copies of the book and ebook through our website.

Follow the Food Web progress on our blog, Blog - VelaCreations

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Hi velac

Have you been looking in to this ? (living in Mexico) cut/paste from here :

http://www.cd3wd.com/cd3wd_40/CD3WD/AGRIC/B17MIE/EN/B1143_5.HTM#B1143_5_9

Nevertheless, there is a much wider potential role for turkeys in the future. There are types that thrive as village birds or as scavengers, but these are little known even to turkey specialists. These primitive types are probably the least studied of all domestic fowl; little effort has been directed at increasing their productivity under free-ranging conditions. However, they retain their ancestral self-reliance and are widely used by farmers in Mexico.

I found the link (nice) here http://www.aquaponicshq.com/forums/other-micro-livestock/1521-micro-livestock.html

cheers

Edited by ande (see edit history)

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Yes, I have seen that document, and put some effort into finding those turkeys. It is not as easy as you might think. Turkeys are on our list for experimenting this year. I would love to find the native Mexican turkeys, but I think they are in the South, and I am in the North. That being said, we do have wild turkeys around us, and it is a possibility that they might be a feral turkey, rather than truly wild.

There is a bird specialist at our State university that I have talked with and he will be helping me with a few species, like muscovies (native to Mexico) and quail. I am hoping he can find some of the turkeys, too.

The main issue finding these turkeys is that farmers that use them don't know they are special. I have seen heritage turkeys in my area, but I'm not sure if they were this breed. They were red, a bit smaller, and foraged very well (they were never fed)

Turkeys fit well in the homesteads down here, and they are a popular addition. Being able to forage and if they are a breed that can fly a bit, they can roost in trees,

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Hi again

It looks cool I'w had bronze turkeys 3 times but loose them to predators when they hideaway nesting, so freeranging turkeys, I'w ruled out by now.

I might try phasans but they will strugle to survive predation aswell so I'w not decided if it's worth the efforts yet.

Good luck in searching for that wild variation.

cheers

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