After a few failed attempts at jump-starting this site as a home renovation blog, we’ve decided it’s time to move on to something different.
While we’re still doing a lot of work on the house, much of that work is extremely slow moving and difficult to pin down in a way that was easy for us to keep writing about. Not to mention that while the ins and outs of our duct insulation is a gripping topic for us, it’s likely not such a relatable topic if you’re not going through a renovation project. On top of it all, having a kid and starting a small business have made it difficult for us to find time to update regularly.
Still, we did at one time successfully maintain a blog with a pretty active readership so it seemed like we should be able to figure out something to do here. One thing about 30 Bucks a Week that made it easy to keep writing was that we were challenging ourselves to change a part of our everyday lifestyle. The project required consistent planning, which it turn gave us fodder for blog posts. A new personal challenge seemed like a good place to start for the future of this blog.
Building on the elements DIY and sustainability that were part of 30/Week, our plan for Minnisingh is focused on localism. In short, we’re going to try to engage as much as possible in local systems, institutions, and people to provide the goods and services we need.
There are a lot of advantages – economic, environmental, social – to turn to local resources first, but it’s not necessarily a straightforward path. Unlike 30/Week, this isn’t a project with one simple rule (don’t spend more than $30/week on groceries). This challenge has the potential to touch essentially every part of our lives and a big part of this new challenge is going to be figuring out what we want the rules to be. There are all sorts of criteria we could use to evaluate the things we do and don’t want to buy.
How much do we care whether the locally-made bread we buy at the locally-owned market is made with flour from halfway across the country? At the moment, the idea of cutting coffee, chocolate, citrus, and olive oil out of our diets seems pretty much like a non-starter, but maybe if we challenged ourselves to use local alternatives for a week we might learn something. And there will almost certainly be times when we have to figure out how we want to weigh local provenance against other important criteria – not least of all cost.
And how close is local? Fifty miles from home?
We do have a couple legs up as we get started. We’re members of an amazing CSA whose farm is located a 10 minute bike ride from our house and we’re looking forward to diving back into writing about cooking as we enjoy the season’s harvest and work to preserve as much of it as we can so that we can rely on this ultra-local fruits and veggies as much as possible over the winter.
There are also a bunch of folks focused on building local economies nearby, including groups dedicated to supporting local agriculture, revitalizing downtown Poughkeepsie, building a local currency, and encouraging localism generally.
We’re excited about this new experiment. We know it’s going to be a long-term project and it won’t always be easy, but we’re looking forward to finding out what we can learn from the challenge and for the prospect of connecting more with the community we joined when we moved here three years ago.
Stick with us!