Our topic: Sustainable living.
Our topic in the form of a question to acquire national sentiment: "Is sustainable living a viable solution to the various socioeconomic problems and food crises we face?"
-Occupy SD will then suggest 10 minute discussions with reportbacks from each participating GA on their sustainability projects, so that we can gather knowledge and intelligence and ideas from each assembly. Occupy SD would be willing to give a quick 3-5 minute presentation of what we've been doing and what we've got planned for sustainability and the wellness of our communities. (We can allow for procedural consensus to do so, if participating GA's were more comfortable with that).
-Occupy SD will also suggest that we take 10 to 15 minutes for brainstorming more ideas for national actions against Monsanto. (procedural consensus can be requested for this as well.)
Here is our presentation on our sustainability projects:
Occupy San Diego has, over the course of our entire Occupation, constantly participated in projects that create very little waste, and actually, on occasion, reclaim goods that have been wasted, and take back public space.
Our Occupy Garden has been providing food for our occupation for a couple of months now. When the vegetables are ready for harvest, the Gardening Committee picks and uses them to make many of the meals that we have before GA. We also collect seeds for future use in our Garden and various projects. We did this by outreaching to the local community here in San Diego and found that City College, a local community college, was more than willing to share their space with us. After looking up the proper ordinances, we plan on taking an empty lot to use for a another, larger garden.
Urban foraging, with permission, has also been fruitful (literally). Some Occupiers volunteer in the surrounding neighborhoods to harvest fruits and vegetables, and in return, some of the produce is donated to us. Dumpster diving is also a viable option that ‘Food Not Bombs’ has been using for many years to feed people. You can work with your local chapter to learn which locations are better than others, but in general you want to look for grocery stores, restaurant locations and other such businesses. Ask around your Occupation for anyone with experience reclaiming food - they may know where good locations are, as well as which places that accept diving and which places do not.
“Seed bombing” is another fun option that Occupations can use to both grow food and beautify your communities. Occupations can create small (or large) balls of dirt, clay, and seeds, that you simply throw on the ground, and with luck, it blossoms into something awesome. Remember to use plants that fit into your region’s ecosystem, as nature intended.
For many Occupations, hunting is an option when considering how to acquire food for your community. Here in California it's very easy to obtain a boar hunting license and tags, which is all we legally need to go hunting. It's important to find someone who can teach your committee how to plan a safe and successful trip. We encourage not wasting anything brought back from your hunting excursions. Someone like your local butcher can explain to your group how to accomplish that.
Together with hunting and gardening, we plan on preserving and canning food so that nothing is wasted or goes bad. Canning is a good way to have fruits and vegetables available year round, especially during the winter. A vacuum sealer works wonders with meat as long as you have a freezer available for storage. You could also smoke meat and make jerky, though this process will be time consuming. Again, ask around - you may have Occupiers who are already familiar with these processes, otherwise you can find instructions online.
Another way we’re trying to be sustainable is through the making, and eventual use of, Stirling Engines. Stirling Engines have been around since the early 1800’s and are more efficient than steam and combustion engines. Stirling Engines use expanding hot air to push a piston and then cool air to retract the piston, which in turn usually makes a wheel or gear turn, creating energy. This model is so effective that it stays cool to the touch when using it for long periods of time. This is a project that our Science Committee has been and continues to work on in an effort to have Occupy San Diego using free, renewable energy.
Occupy San Diego encourages all Occupations to continue advancing toward 100% sustainability and assisting their communities in doing the same.