Guest article by Bill Loftus
My name is Bill Loftus, agricultural/environmental inventor and I am writing so you can see what I am doing and critique and fine tune your Plan B strategy. I am walking the talk and am now at the point where I am confident I have a workable plan. Now it’s your turn to kick the tires on my plan. Compare it to what you are planning and see if your plan makes sense. See if it can be improved.
Your spouse and friends may think it odd that you have this passion to get prepared and part of my “sell” is to consider the Plan B an investment that has some hope of a payback. Although we, the passionate ones, have this gut feeling that the money that is only numbers on the computer could vanish almost overnight, we are passionate about getting prepared because we care about our families. So the goal I have with my plan is to minimize the financial stress on relationships so that the non-believers can go along with this plan because it has some promise of making economic sense.
I moved up to this neck of the woods, north central Florida about 25 miles from Gainesville, about 5 years ago because I somehow “knew” it was time to learn how to be self sufficient. I was not surprised when the housing bubble burst and wiped out our largest industry construction almost overnight because I became educated on the frailty of the money system back in 1990. Lucky for me I sold my house in 2005 and got rid of the thing at the peak so I could have some play money to go through the growing pains of learning how to be self sufficient. You know the show Green Acres – that was me. Even though I still consider myself a newbie after 5 years, I wish to reach out and share what I know and what I have learned so far and how you can adopt some or all in your neck of the woods – or if you want you can check out my group, provided there are openings.
This article is written for those who are serious about having a place to go when the economy collapses. I wish I had a crystal ball and I could tell you when it will collapse by hyper inflation. My best guess is that we have between 3 and 5 years at the least, and perhaps we have ten years. It is another article to discuss why I have these estimates but they could be wrong. I also wish I had a fast forward button on life so I could tell you how long the transition will take to get back to some sort of normalcy. Once again I do not know but I predict at least 10 years of severe hardship for those left standing and waiting for food vouchers.
My premise was and is that to be self sufficient you need to make your own animal feed. The animal feed is based on growing a plant called kenaf. Kenaf (rhymes with giraffe) is a highly studied plant by the USDA from WWII where the plant was looked at as a substitute for hemp to make rope and continued to 1999 to make paper when the funding ended. You have seen some variety of kenaf – burlap for example. Kenaf is grown for its fiber and the feather in my cap is I grow it for human and animal feed. The seeds makes the tastiest flour. The leaves have a lemony, kind of Cajun twist to them and are very high in protein – up to 34%.
So the plan that works well for my neck of the woods is to have a small central farm, less than 5 acres that raises the 3 starter animals that have kenaf as the predominant factor in their diet – rabbits, chickens and Tilapia. This farm will be in close proximity to the members of the co-op. The idea is that my friends who want a place will go buy 1 acre house lots within walking or bike riding distance to the central farm. Williston, Florida is unique because it has subdivided sections into one acre lots. The rest is mostly pretty good sized cattle and peanut farms.
To make a plan B practical, you need an operational farm. By setting it up as a co-op the expenses for the farm land are shared. The farm equipment is shared. The salaries for the farmer and his help are shared.
In my co-op that I am forming I offer special deals for doctors – you need an MD, a dentist, a chiropractor and herbalists. You should do the same. These professionals are not just a selling point to get members but a practical plan for the survival of the group. What happens if someone needs a root canal or an appendix operation? So the central farm doubles as the doctor’s office and the pharmacy. The co-op pays for the pharmaceuticals and the doctors purchase them. It is warehoused at the farm in a secure room.
The co-op will have its own barter money. If someone in your family needs medical care you will most likely be using the co-ops barter money. People on medications need to privately secure and pay for their meds for as long as they can. Each individual will be responsible for their own condition. It is a very good idea to ask prospective members what medications they are on. People on psychotropic drugs and pain killers could be serious problems for the group. There is no way the doc can order 10 year’s supply of pain medications. I realize that there is a certain hardness on decisions on who is invited to the co-op but finding healthy people is the motto.
Have you heard of Moringa Oleifera? It is called the miracle plant. It is an amazing food plant that has been formulated into a supplement product. We all know about making claims for cures, but testimonials from people using the product have stated they no longer need or have a dramatic reduction for meds for high blood pressure, migraines, cholesterol, diabetes and a host of other maladies.
I think this product should be on the TOP of anyone’s prepper list. I personally use it and am decreasing the amount of my high blood pressure meds. It has the most food value of plant and the working theory is that the body knows how to correct itself if you give it the nutrients it needs. The Moringa supplies the body with those nutrients you just don’t get from other foods. Google “Moringa Olefera” and do your own research. Start with the Discovery Channels documentary and what the formulator, Russ Bianchi, has to say about it at: http://www.foxdigital.com/zdata/Russ_Bianchi.html
I am involved with a company that manufactures and has a distribution network to sell this product. Keep in mind that members of the co-op I am founding will most likely be spending at a minimum $15K ($5K for the central farm, $5K for their 1 acre near the farm and $5K for the minimum supplies secured in a container on your acre). So if you need to make extra money then here is an ethical way to do it. Some people make over $10K a month. The beauty of it is that you don’t sell it, really – you share it. And it is reasonably priced. If you’re interested contact Karol Craycroft at firstname.lastname@example.org
I believe this company will fold when the economy crashes as distribution will be extremely expensive when the dollar crashes as the reserve currency – then the cost of fuel goes OUT THE ROOF. So my plan and advice to you is grow Moringa as one of your key plants that the co-op will grow for its members. It takes a few years and need to be in a warm climate like Florida.
You should begin your search for a location for the co-op that has the following characteristics:
The first thing is where.
You don’t want a location that is cold and does not have ABUNDANT water. It’s easy to see how it does not make much sense to think you can ride it out in the city or suburbia – martial law and food and gas rationing coupled with looting and hungry people who will find out you’ve got stuff. I don’t think you want to shoot people to protect your food so just don’t be there. Keep the kids locked up and hide? Nahhhh. Have a real Plan B. You should be looking for a small rural town that has separately deeded one acre lots. You want it to be as far away from a city as possible. I use the “40 minute drive” rule as a safe distance. I like Williston, Florida for these reasons.
Must make financial sense and have resale value to the members.
While most are on the fence about using their resources for a Plan B location I think owning an acre is perhaps all you need. It can be resold if some miracle happens and the economy does not hyper inflate. In our plan here in Williston, Florida we have an abundance of 1 acre lots for sale and these are separately deeded. They are not something we sell and will not be adjacent either. But all will be within a few miles of each other and the co-op farm. It will be an easy commute so you can ride a bike.
Why you need to be connected with a co-op farm you own.
So the day comes. You lost your job, grocery bills are killing you and you have not made a mortgage payment in 4 months. If you arrive to your Plan B location it would be more than nice to have a complement of mature, egg-laying chickens waiting for you. The plan includes teaching you how to build a Back Yard Farm – this is fish farming where the nutrient filled water is given to plants as food and water and the plants return to the fish tank’s cleaned water for the fish.
We make the bulk of the system using recycled tires that houses the plants in a special gravel and the tires are fastened together in a big circle about 3 feet high. Inside we put a liner to make your fish tank. But when you arrive you will need fish you can eat right away. Tilapia are so prolific they have over 1000 babies per year per female. The babies are harvested for animal feed and blended with kenaf to make animal feed. Get the idea that this is a food factory. It does not take a whole lot of skill or back breaking work. Most people I talk to have pets. You will need to get your pets onto this animal feed as well.
Get trained on this farming method.
The top dog in the co-op is the resident farmer who grows these animals for you so when you arrive you can eat while growing your own. The farmer is also the teacher. If you are planning on starting a co-op you should also be the farmer. The farmer will get paid in Federal Reserve notes. My co-op will be maxed out at 50 families. If each family had monthly membership dues of $100 a month this would be $60,000 a year for salaries and expenses to run the farm. So someone needs to do a 3 to 6 month apprenticeship and learn everything I am doing. This person then becomes the farmer for your co-op.
As a way to make money for my co-op we will be getting other co-ops started with starter animals and training. Right now it is still being worked out. But if you are interested in starting a co-op you should reserve a position with us. There are only so many co-ops we can supply at the beginning and our FIRST priority is raising the breeding stock for our co-op – after that your co-op can be supplied. Prior to having animals you need to grow kenaf as you need to feed the animals and have cages and fish tanks already built.
This will be one of the first questions people will ask you when setting up the co-op. How much will it cost? You need to do a lot of homework and have a realtor help locate land for you. My advice is to let the members buy their own land and deal direct with the realtor. You want to have this set up so people are independent. They have the freedom to do what they want with their property and this is an asset for the family. Some people who come for a tour want to buy a house with land and I set them up to meet the realtor when they come. But for the most part the people I talk to are tight financially and buying an acre with the plan of them putting a container on it is the least expensive thing.
The land costs for an acre should be around $5000 here in Williston. But the realtor found us some acres for $3000. If you are planning to start a co-op you need to stay away from buying big tracts of land as the subdividing costs and the infrastructure costs, the EPA, etc., etc. will be expensive. Also, by spreading people out they will be part of the town as compared to this big development where the existing town people would most likely oppose subdividing a large tract. Rural people like the country and are opposed to developments of any kind. So once again find a town that has separately titled 1 to 2 acre lots already. Remember country people are different from city folk but they love the town and like the privacy. So the co-op central farm can be something new and most townies just love the idea. However, fitting in with the existing neighbors is something your co-op members want to do personally. Letting them know that you are going to put a container on the property and you plan on building a permanent home on the site as money becomes available is an acceptable and true reality.
Many small towns have made it a rule to keep the town a farm community. The next town over requires the minimum subdivision to be no less than 10 acres. This makes it pricey for people as $50,000 is a lot of money just for land. Most people who come to visit want an inexpensive Plan B because they have family members who think the crash is something unlikely to happen. “They won’t crash the economy,” “Our government won’t let that happen” is a typical blind faith opinion in the current system. I think it worthwhile for anyone who has this blind faith to Google “Building 7” and “Dr. Judy Woods.” So to sell the Plan B it has to be inexpensive. It has to be a recoverable asset so that in the unlikely event there is not a crash the acre and container can be sold.
The co-op’s central farm land needs to be purchased as well as farm equipment, doctor’s offices, dentist’s chair, etc. To get started I estimate the low end will be about $5000 for a family of four. Add $1000 per person over 4. This gives the co-op a budget with 50 familes – $250,000.
Note this co-op could very well make money in year 3 as it will be raising animals like rabbits and we all know how they reproduce. We also raise Tilapia – 1000 babies per female per year. We expect to get other co-ops started and sell the starter animals to them. No promises that it will make money. It’s just that if we kept breeding we would have so many animals and fish we would have to sell them. I am not setting this up to be a commercial operation at this point but it very easily could be.
Farmers here grow cattle and peanuts and the farmers will have a glut of animals because they reproduce. They pretty much sell the calves to feed lots where they bring them to fatten them up and slaughter them. In the crash they can not sell their cattle as transportation costs are too high. As a result they will have too many cattle and not enough land to graze. We would then propose bartering our produce and livestock for meat. There will be someone you can barter with to process your animals if you don’t have the stomach for it. All co-op members will have a currency we create to act as the medium of exchange within our group. It is somewhat lengthy of an explanation of how this works and not gone into in great detail here. In a nut shell money creation is best done in the form of IOU’s or gift certificates. If you need to go to the dentist then you create that money according to the official guidelines we adopt and create. The dentist can now use this as money as he can by strawberry jam from the co-op member who is focusing on that. At the end of the year a reconciliation is done to expose those who create money but have not produced any product or enough production. Balancing production with consumption and having enough medium of exchange is all we are solving here.
The devil is in the details. There will of course be compromises as you will be growing and harvesting daily what you eat. Take for example peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. How many sandwiches per year would your family eat? Peanuts grow well here. What kind of jelly? Strawberry – not a problem as we can grow the starter plants for you at the co-ops nursery. Bread is made from the seeds from a plant we grow.
Get the idea we need to know EXACTLY what you eat. This way the co-op can best serve the majority and then for those who won’t or can’t eat what the majority wants can swallow the bitter pill early on and make alternate plans. It is not the idea to make everyone happy but to survive so we can get started. Take milk for example. If everyone wanted milk then I would figure out how much extra it would cost to raise goats. I do not have this figured in the budget. There will be a monthly fee associated with the co-op to pay a farmer and his helpers. I am predicting it will cost each member $75 to $100 a month on the minimum. All members will have a say in what we do. Do we want to install a transmitting tower so we can all reach other on walkie talkies? Remember you are within bike riding distance to each other and if you need help then we are your security and here for each other. I have one MD on board right now. VERY important guy to have on board and we are preparing our checklist of items we need to have on hand to service you if you need it. Where do you get antibiotics, or high blood pressure medicine when things shut down? Alternative medicine professionals are also on board – lots of remedies are out there.
Yes, you should have as much canned food, etc. as you can gather. But this Back Yard Farm coupled to the co-op for its starter animals and animal feed is a permanent food factory. Those who prep are missing the big point that when that food runs out what are you going to do? I would estimate that it will take a solid decade at least for any semblance of normalcy to return.
More than just your family
I would expect that our co-op would be a basis for others to copy. I do not think that a family can survive alone through the chaos that will ensue when the economy collapses. However, the families who adopt this plan because it makes sense will be the ones left standing. Perhaps from these clusters of abundant survival will be the patriots who can reboot America based on the US Constitution.
About the Author:
My background is environmental building but my research took me into self-sustaining agricultural methods. One plant I have heavily researched is used as animal feed, flour and the stalk is used to make a gas-like propane that we have successfully run an internal combustion engine with that in turn runs a generator. The co-op will have electricity. It is planned for those who can afford it to have their own generating system as well. Williston is abundant in trees and forests and by harvesting what is on the ground already there is ample fuel for this. There are some co-op members who are builders and a permanent home can be built for you as well. So this could be a great place to retire as the worse case scenario.We agree that putting a container on your property is the first step. Now you have a place to put your stuff and would suffice as sleeping quarters with some modifications. The builders can bury the containers if you want. (This is a good way to go as the ground temp is 76 degrees.) There is no building associated with this plan. However, we will make all information available. A few are skilled with log cabin building.
I have been at this for a good while now and bring a lot to the table. Please call me at (352) 528-0584. If you are interested or want to start a co-op in your neck of the woods you really should chat with me. I would not advise starting a commune affair on a big piece of land but have people live separately on their own land so it is a self-determined activity and avoids pissing matches associated with management. The other reason is you do not want to be a target. Living in a small town is all we are doing. Everyone owns a gun in Williston by the way – it’s country. People are great. Very independent but I found they will help if you really need it.
I would be foolish to say I wasn’t a little scared but now I am honestly looking forward to the crash on some level. Those who have twisted the meaning of a republic to a democracy where entitlements are expected will also vanish.
This co-op could be fun as I have met so many great people who are like thinkers. I am limiting the amount of people I want in this co-op and by September I hope to be full. But there is a LOT of room for more than one co-op too so do not get disappointed if I am full. There will be others who will want to start a co-op. My guess is we could have 10 of them no problem right here in Williston. But there are bunches of towns like this in north central Florida I bet. Or you might just want to do one near where you live.
I hope this adds to your thinking and wish you the best!
landline (352) 528 – 0584
Snail mail 651 NE 138th Av.