I have lived in the Hampton Roads portion of Virginia for for almost 25 years, and we are moving! Our family is headed to the Bristol, Va/Tn region this June! It will be an adjustment for sure, but we are excited about the new adventure.
This should allow our little plant nursery to expand a little bit from a large suburban yard to a few acres. However, our stock for next year will probably be quite limited. I'll post an update once we get to our new location, hopefully with some pictures of rolling pastures! (we haven't picked a property yet as of this post).
I will assume you don’t have a nuclear reactor. With that assumption all the rest of the energy of the world originates from the sun, with some help from gravity. Fossil fuels, wind, hydro, and animals are all different forms of solar energy. Fossil fuels are plants and animals squished under layers of sedimentary rock. Wind is formed by differences in temperature creating areas of more or less dense air, and gravity is constantly trying to level out those differences. Solar energy also does the extremely heavy lifting of evaporating water...think of all the potential energy in the water lifted up into the sky. Last but not least, the current collection of solar energy by plants that feeds all of the life on earth, large and small.
As a sustainable designer that is our job, making sure every life form in our care has enough to eat. We get ourselves in trouble by just trying to feed our families. This is not woo woo hippy stuff. There are many types of soil organisms in a heathy soil ecosystem. These organisms do valuable work (ever pay for fertilizer?). They break down organic matter and convert it into usable forms of nutrients that our plants need access to. In return, our plant roots send them little thank you notes in the form of squirts of sugars (exudates). These little squirts of sugars combined with, organic matter, and the soil life are what give healthy soil its rich smell and slightly sticky crumb structure. Healthy soil creates bioavailable nutrients which creates healthy plants and the base of the food chain.
If we are only worried about feeding ourselves, and destroy the soil life, we will have to attempt to find a way to provide all the nutrition our plants need. It’s my opinion (and many others), that this is a big part of why we have seen culture of sickness forming. We are not capable of providing the proper nutrition to the plants like a heathy soil ecosystem is. Scientists are measuring lower and lower levels of nutrients in our food supply, because the soil ecosystem has been continually abused. Without the proper building blocks you can't build a healthy ecosystem.
Before the industrial revolution allowed our current situation, many civilizations would cut or burn down a forest to gain access to the forest soil. Modern farming only worries about the three nutrients critical for plant growth (N, P, K). Moving forward we want to do all we can to capture as much incoming solar energy as we can, converting it into fertilizer, feed, food, fuel, and building materials that provide for all we need, with some left over.
I don't believe true wealth can disappear over night, and we have all seen that happen in the stock market, and probably will again (soonish?). That doesn't mean no one worked for any of that "evaporative" wealth, but does first world labor really deserve such a larger payday than that of 2nd/3rd world labor? This can all get very complicated, and the goal isn't to pin one part of the world against another, so I'll leave that part alone, but my point is that part of the VAST difference in standard of living is partly because of "Monopoly money" rather than us being that much more productive.
A lot of the wealth today has been created out of thin air (monopoly money), to which it might return. Much of the rest of the real wealth (potential energy) has been pumped out of the ground and wasted, some has been used in amazing ways. Only a small percent is currently tangible and sustainable (mostly sun energy, stored and rearranged by creative people in any way possible).
The good news for the poor of the world, is that the sun shines on the rich and poor alike, and the sustainable type of wealth can be created out of what's available. The issue then becomes equitable access to land and education. The education part is quickly becoming free to those who want it.
If your reading this you likely fall into the 1st world, likely overpaid (thanks to massive unpayable debt, due to the perceived credit worthiness of our bankrupt nation(s)) category. While I don't give financial advice, I think it's worth thinking about wealth more as the storage of potential energy rather than a number in a computer.
You might be thinking land or food storage or precious metals, which aren't bad compared to computer numbers. But what truly has the most potential energy, and the ability to harness that energy into more useful forms? I think people do. No, not like slavery, more like social capital. Investing into people and places, so they make your/our local economy truly richer. Everyone has different gifts and skills, the more of a blessing we can be to one another, the less need have for those numbers on our computer screens.
I'm not calling for the abolishment of money, it has its place (though it could stand improvement), but I'm more trying to spur some thought into the things that have real lasting value, and hopefully spur some changes into what we invest our time and energy into. Maybe your current skills are all in handling money "department", maybe you should see what else your good at, on the side. Maybe your rich in skills but not financial resources. Maybe your rich in land, but are tired of managing it all... opportunities abound for everyone. Let's think about how we can make them more available!