April 14, 2021

SKIP Update: News & More

Earlier this month, I blogged about SKIP: Skills to Inherit Property.  

"The idea is to connect industrious people with no means of obtaining property, with people who have property that they want to see used for homesteading, farming, and permaculture."

There were quite a few enthusiastic comments to that blog post, so I thought you might be interested in an update and more information. This post will be kinda long, so I'll tell you upfront the points I'm going to cover.

  • Who the SKIP Kickstarter is attracting
  • SKIP is a free online program for learning homesteading and permaculture skills
  • The Kickstarter incentives keep getting better and better.

Who the SKIP Kickstarter is attracting.

It would seem logical that this would attract the attention of people who have a desire for property but no means. Well, it is, but it's also drawing people who have property and want to make sure it passes on to people who will love and nurture the land; to build on what the original landowners started. Quite a few of them have contacted the SKIP organizers about eventually finding qualified persons to pass their land on to. To me, that's exciting news!

SKIP is a free online program for learning homesteading and permaculture skills.

The program has been in progress at Permies.com since last year, offering folks an opportunity to learn and document a variety of self-sufficiency skills. Once the requirements of a specific skill are completed, a merit-type badge is awarded. There 22 badges (aspects) that can be earned, and each aspect has four levels. 

L to R: gardening, natural building, woodland care, round wood woodworking, 
earthworks, dimensional lumber woodworking, rocket stoves & heaters, food
prep & preservation, animal care, foraging, community living, textiles,
greywater & willow feeders, metalworking, plumbing  & hot water, electricity
(including solar), commerce, natural medicine, nest, and homesteading.

I'm not looking to inherit land, but I've participated in the program to learn new skills. It's challenging and fun. Anyone can participate. The only thing that's required is to register for Permies.com. They are pretty respectful of privacy, so all you need to register is a valid email and a real-sounding name. Click here to read more about the SKIP program. 

The Kickstarter incentives keep getting better and better.

The SKIP Kickstarter will fund the publishing of the SKIP book, and also the SKIP program at Permies. Response has been fantastic, partly because of all the incentives that are being offered for the various donation levels.

For donating at least $1 by 2 pm Mountain Time on April 16, Kickstarter participants receive:

  • Access to  Sepp Holzer's Aquaculture documentary
  • Round Pole Reciprocal Roof Framing with Tony Wrench eBook
  • Erica Wisner's "Rocket Canner, Fryer, and Forge" plans
  • Joseph Lofthouse’s Landrace Gardening chapter on Promiscuous Pollination (beta version sneak peek)
  • Thomas Elpel's one hour "Botany in a Day" PDC presentation
  • Joel Salatin's keynote presentation "Fields of Farmers"
  • "Hugelkultur" movie from the World Domination Gardening 3-movie set
  • Brad Landcaster's presentation "Principles, Practices, and Tips for Water-Harvesting Earthworks and Rain Gardens"
  • Raven Ranson's Clean With Cleaners You Can Eat eBook
  • 2 chapters from David Pagan Butler's Organic Pools DIY Manual: Bubble Pumps and Filters
  • Living Woods Magazine 37th Issue (PDF)
  • Leigh Tate's Homesteading How-To ebook - Composting with Chickens
  • Kate Downham's Cookbook selections on jam, nettles, seaweed, and fermenting from A Year in an Off-Grid Kitchen
  • The gardening chapter (PDF) from Paul Wheaton's Building a Better World in your Backyard 
  • Michael Judd's "Uncommon Fruit" chapter from Edible Landscaping 
  • "How to card flax the easy way" from Raven Ranson's Homegrown Linen  
  • Rob Avis presentation "Starting a Permaculture Based Business"

Then there are the Stretch Goal rewards. New rewards are added for every $5000 reached and are available to everyone who donates $65 or more to the SKIP Kickstarter. Right now these include:

  • The full movie "Desert or Paradise" with Sepp Holzer
  • The full movie "Make a Natural Swimming Pool" with David Pagan Butler
  • The eBook Wood Gasifier Builder's Bible by Ben Peterson
  • The eBook $50 and Up Underground House Book by Mike Oehler
  • chance for 6 free tickets to the 2021 SKIP event
  • 117 hours of video from Permaculture Voices 1, 2 and 3
  • The eBook A Simple Roundhouse Manual by Tony Wrench
  • Leigh Tate's 5 Acres & A Dream The Book eBook
  • The full movie "Abundance on Dry Land" by Green Planet Films
  • chance for 6 free tickets to the 2021 Permaculture Technology Jamboree
  • Michael Judd's "Water Harvesting and Soil Building" webinar
  • Living Woods Magazine - all 55 issues
  • Robert Kourik's Roots Demystified eBook
  • The Best of Mother Earth News Magazine 2018 (47 articles) 
That's around $270 of stuff for $65, plus the $102 value of the $1 or more donation gifts. If the next stretch goal is reached, access to Paul Wheaton's "World Domination Gardening" 3 movie set is added to the list. 

Okay, I couldn't not share that with you! You can check out the Kickstarter here


Boud said...

It's heartening that there are people unwilling to let good land be built on and are looking for qualified people to take over and continue it under cultivation. That's good news right there.

Leigh said...

Boud, I so agree. Until now, the idea has pretty much been promoted by one website. It has a lot of members, but it doesn't have the reach that say, a book can have. Hopefully, this book will greatly expand on both the idea and awareness.

Ed said...

If people are interested in purchasing land, there are first time farmer programs and loans for this that can be obtained at your local Farm Service Agency (FSA) and Farm Credit Services (FCS) offices. I know several people who have got into farming small acreages this way.

Leigh said...

Ed, sounds like a good program. I think part of the problem though, is that farmland is priced so high now. Most of what we saw when we were looking price tags at millions of dollars. That kept it out of reach for us.

Toirdhealbheach Beucail said...

Leigh, I did get involved based on your recommendation. I am very impressed by the amount of resources they have behind this (based on the names associated with it).

As to Ed's point and your response, I wonder if the definition of a farm will change as well. The expense of land does make those larger acreages out of reach for most. Potentially a growth in micro-farming?

Leigh said...

TB, I'm impressed with the resources as well. I learned so much from the rewards package for last year's Kickstarter; it was well worth it. Everything here is all new.

I wonder if availability and prices of farm land has to do with location. I'm assuming it does. Maybe because I'm located in an area that attracts people with money who can move farther south, is why we see prices so high. It's probably different elsewhere. I don't know how anyone can expect to be truly successful at farming with a monthly mortgage in the thousands of dollars.

I think you're right that people with smaller farms are reshaping the concept of farming. More and more are family farms that focus on a direct community or regional market. That makes so much sense. It cuts out a lot of the middle men and transportation costs because people want local, seasonal foods. Joel Salatin has been very successful with his business model. Others are following similarly.

Toirdhealbheach Beucail said...

Leigh, land in New Home (were you to want it) is simply unavailable due to cost and the fact we are running out of it. Location is everything - hopefully due to this kind of growth, smaller farmers can make a living near such urban areas.

You convinced me to up my pledge. I have even spoken with The Ravishing Mrs. TB about it - to be frank, the expectation for The Ranch is that none of my children will want to live there (were that it were so, but I doubt it will be). This sort of program is exactly what I would want (and need, frankly).

Leigh said...

TB, between blogging and the forums I frequent like Permies.com, I see a huge desire on the part of ordinary folk to make their livings in a community based food system: farmers markets: CSAs, market gardens, etc. The biggest hurdle is obtaining land, the second is understanding how to work with that land to make it, not just productive, but to make it thrive. That's what makes something like SKIP so exciting, it's trying to offer a way to bridge the gap on both levels. Like you, it might be something in which I'll be interested in the future for my homestead, depending on the direction our kids and grandkids want to take. It would be a (literal) crying shame to see all of Dan's and my work bulldozed to nothingness for an apartment complex or parking lot.

wyomingheart said...

We are praying for the small family farmers to come back into this area, and it seems like that might be the focus in the future. It is certainly a shame to see these, one time thriving little farms sitting vacant. We feel like you and Dan, Leigh... it would be a shame to see all our work be destroyed. Finding the right fit for replacing us on this land, is like trying to find the right plant for the right place to thrive...sometimes we get it just right! We are praying for the revival of small farms, and the end of GMO crops, that have take s all the goodness out of the soils we live on. Ok, I’ll get off my soapbox now!

Leigh said...

Wyomingheart, it's a good soapbox to be on! At least I think so. :) Do you have any small family farmers in your area? Or a local farmers market?

wyomingheart said...

Yes, in the town north of us, there are three farmers markets. Most of the small farms around us have black angus cattle, and the empty farmhouses lease their land for GMO operations. The Amish community to the west of us, is where we tend to spend a lot of our time, and shopping dollars, plus that community does a produce/ flower auction once a week. That auction is perfect during canning season! That community maybe where we explore a stewardship situation, if this place gets to be too much for us to handle, but that’s farther down the road, God be willing!

Leigh said...

It's nice that you have some good resources. The industrialized corporate farming mindset has a firm foothold here too. The closest "farmers market" is mostly arts and crafts. I sometimes think Dan and I should participate more, but we're at the stage of life where we're settling down rather than revving up.