Would it be good for the world if people could buy a house and enough land to grow a family’s worth of food for $500?

What should it actually cost to make a house? If we accept cob houses (dirt, sand, clay, straw, and water…) then would the cost of the house be more or less land + labor? And if it’s land + labor then what’s the cost?

Rural parts of the USA still go for $1,000-$10,000 an acre just buying one acre at a time. Large plots of land are available at as little as $100 or less an acre.

As far as the government is concerned, the government has land that it could just designate for housing… given to the people etc…

Why not do this?

10 Biggest Ranches for Sale in America

So yeah it sounds nice to not have to work for your needs and it sounds nice that other people will not have to work either… but here’s why UBI isn’t the best way to do it.

  1. It’s not actually aiming towards efficient use of resources or of environmentally friendly sustainable methods.

If you want everyone fed and housed, why not work on a plan that helps ensure that… in the best manners possible. Why commit to “giving” millions or billions of people billions or trillions of dollars to be spent as individuals… on whatever they want instead of setting up more systems for food production and sustainable shelter?

Everyone who’s serious about making things better in the USA (for themselves and/or others) should have some idea of who lives here and how they spend their time. The American Time Use Survey comes from the Bureau of Labor Statistics and aims to do that.

It has a lot of data that can be utilized when formulating some kind of plan of action for people or for assessing their positions and capabilities.

For example for assessing health or ways for improvement, the average amount of time spent in “sports, exercising, or recreation” was around 18 minutes per weekday and 25 minutes per day on the weekend… but actually it’s only around 22% of people that are engaging in these activities at all and 78% are not.

So 22% of people are spending around an hour and a twenty five minutes on weekdays and two hours on weekends… but 78% are not spending any significant time in these activities.

Though basic, understanding how these averages are comprised are important. It’s not that if you pick a random American and ask how much exercise they did that day and that most of the time they will say something like “around 20 minutes”. It’s that around 4 out of 5 times the person will say that they did not exercise at all and then around 1 out of 5 times the person will say I exercised for around an hour and a half. When you put all these people together, you can say they average around 20-25 minutes per day… but people’s bodies are not really gaining the benefits of exercise when they don’t exercise at all. Just because 1 out of 5 people exercises for an hour and a half a day, doesn’t mean we’re mostly exercising enough. But if we don’t dive into the numbers, we can get fooled by things like that.

Anyhow, we should take this information to heart when considering the conditions of people in this country and the opportunity they or we have.

We should also consider data such as the fact that around 78% of people watch TV every weekday for an average of around 3 hours and 10 minutes and around 4 hours per day on weekends.

Are these 78% of people that watch TV every day the same 78% that do not engage in sports, exercise, or similar recreation activities?

Quite possibly. Quite likely.

If you look at reading for personal interest, you find an average of 15 minutes daily… but that’s actually representing around 20% of the population reading for an average of 1 hour and 22 minutes… and again around 80% not reading at all.

When it comes to people engaged in work there are some interesting findings.

On average men worked 5.08 hours per weekday and 1.38 hours per day on weekends. On an average weekday 60.2% of men were working and on average their workday was 8.43 hours long.

On average women worked 3.36 hours per weekday and 0.87 hours per day on weekends. On an average weekday 45.5% of women were working and on average their workday was 7.38 hours long.

On average, men spent around 3 minutes per weekday job searching and interviewing. The average percent of men engaged in searching for jobs or interviewing was 1.7%. Those searching spent 3.09 hours per day in the week and 2.36 hours per day on the weekend.

On average, women spent around 72 seconds per weekday job searching and interviewing. The average percent of women engaged in searching for jobs or interviewing was 1.1%. Those searching spent over 1.81 hours per weekday and 1.98 hours per day on the weekend.

On average, 1 percent of men spent time with other income-generating activities which amounted to 1.3 hours per weekday or 2.4 hours on the weekend.

On average, 1.1 percent of women spent time with other income-generating activities which amounted to 2.42 hours per weekday or 2.72 hours on the weekend.

On average, men spent 0.55 hours per day engaged in educational activities which came from the 8.1% of men who spent time in educational activities averaging 6.79 hours on weekdays and 4.43 hours per day on weekends.

On average, women spent 0.65 hours per day engaged in educational activities which came from the 10.4% of women who spent time in educational activities averaging 6.24 hours on weekdays and 3.49 hours per day on weekends.

Commentary: We can use these data points to consider paths towards general outcomes in the world. We could be disheartened knowing that around 80% of people watch around 3 hours of TV per day and don’t exercise at all or read at all, but we can also see that as a direct indication of potential. People apparently have the time to spend 3 hours per day just watching TV and not search for jobs, not work on their skills, not exercise, and not read. This amounts of to enormous untapped potential, and it also equates to massive amounts of arguably unnecessary energy usage. I will posit that many people would be much better off watching less tv, exercising more, and reading more books (which they could perhaps borrow for free by walking to the library).

There seem to be generally excuse making for people’s financial positions. While I believe there are issues people face being born into debt and poverty, I see the solutions having to do with people orienting their income generation towards NEEDS over wants and living lifestyles that will decrease the cost of their needs (read live healthfully so that sickness doesn’t ravage both your body and bank account – exercise, prepare your own food, etc…) and I would like people to be able to more easily buy land and legal livable year-round shelter. It appears that currently through unfair and unethical zoning regulations across most of the USA people are unable to live as they not-so-long ago did. The idea of an outhouse and a log cabin may sound unappealing, but I believe that it should be a basic fundamental right for people to be able to live their own lives through their own direct physical effort and what nature provides – and that people should not be forced through a financial and taxation/regulatory system not be able to do so. I would like to see these things changed at a fundamental legal level, but until they are, there are other basic avenues to accomplish similar goals legally. I.e. things like living inside RV’s, buildings that are below certain sizes so they don’t require permitting and setting up utilities, or getting groups of people to invest together so that their per person cost can decrease significantly, and simply aiming to develop in areas that are not so expensive. While rent for one person may cost $500-$1500 per month in many cities, permanently owning an acre of land can cost as little as $1-2,000 in many rural parts of many states. My assessment is that for well under $5,000 rural properties of sufficient size (an acre+) could purchased and they could be improved enough to have a desirable and simple in-door shelter with a water storage and catchment system and a sanitary human waste disposal system. I point these things out partially because it seems many people might focus on things like helping people in general earn more money, as though people’s problems stem from lack of financial resources. While this may be the case for some, it seems more commonly that this is not the problem, or for whatever reason despite having financial problems it appears that something like 90% of people do not engage in activities to improve their financial status – neither educating themselves, nor seeking greater employment, nor working on their own income streams.

If 99% of people do not try to start or work on their own income streams, then there are likely common attitudes and perceptions of starting income streams. I speculate that people will commonly think things like “starting a business is hard” or “I’m not a business person” or have some attitudes about not having services to provide. Maybe watching 20 or so hours per week of television and not exercising at all or reading anything is negatively affecting the quality of life for a lot of people. Perhaps if it’s not so much directly negatively affecting people’s life, as it’s that instead of spending the time doing something that would have a major positive impact like learning new skills, getting enough exercise, reading for leisure, or looking for better jobs or more work – people are just watching tv.

It seems common for think tanks to discuss things like poverty or sickness in the United States as conditions that should lead us to pity, but I wonder if pity is the appropriate emotion to feel for someone that has all the time in the world, apparently has the resources to over-feed themselves to the point of disease, watches more than 20 hours of tv per week, doesn’t read, and doesn’t exercise. But whether seen as pitiable or pitiful or not, it doesn’t seem right – especially when these behaviors have costs to everyone.

If the general foods people eat get produced in manners that are somewhat overall beneficial to the environment at large that would be great; the more people consume the more fertile and wonderful the world would be since the agricultural practices would be sustainable and life affirming. If the general foods people eat get produced in manners that are somewhat overall harmful to the environment at large… that would be quite bad; the more people consume the worse off most people and other lifeforms are. It seems that in many ways we’re at a point where people are hurting both themselves and the environment with their choices. But there’s more data to dive into about the environmental impacts of food and general food choices.

My expectation is that people hold many many erroneous beliefs about money, time usage, decision making, and personal potential.

Do people believe they can have their personal health is more or less in their hands?
Do people believe they can earn more money?
Do people believe they can learn new skills or improve upon them?
Do people think they have enough time to do these things?

I expect that data will show a very large percentage of the population might not truly presently (Jan, 2018) believe in their ability to make major strides in their health – even though I also expect that a series of questions could lead them to the right conclusion for most of them, that yes, they actually could exercise more, they could eat more healthfully (and overall gain from this – not sacrifice), and improve in other health related areas.

I expect that data will show a very large percentage of the population might not truly presently (Jan, 2018) believe in their ability to make major strides in their finances – even though I also expect that a series of questions could lead them to the right conclusion for most of them, that yes, they actually could work to improve their skills, spend more time searching for other potential jobs, or spend more time working on developing their own income streams.

I expect that data will show that many people simply do not think about learning new skills or improving their skills – some because they feel satisfied, others because they have some kind of negative attitude with low expectations of success or rewards from their efforts. I also expect that some series of questions to lead them to the right conclusion that yes they can improve their skills and learn new ones.

I expect that many people will claim they do not have enough time for these things, but they too through questioning and reflection will mostly realize the opposite – once they’re willing to potentially watch less tv.

Here’s what I don’t expect: Too many programs on TV effectively convincing people to not watch TV. I don’t expect YouTube or Facebook or Netflix or Amazon Prime to convince people to watch less either. So long as the public airwaves are sold to the highest bidders, the messages that get broadcast to viewers will not necessarily be delivered with the highest good in mind – but rather what will sell the highest amount of goods.

Perhaps newspapers and magazines can have a resurgence. I have noticed myself more and more interested in reading actual magazines with long form articles from people I respect. I used to buy magazines and really enjoy turning the pages and owning the item in print like owning a book. Perhaps print media can encourage a return away from screens and more towards thought and action. But I don’t know if we should expect this on a large scale. My assumption is that large businesses own newspapers and they also own tv stations and they also own or do business with products companies so they have a business cycle that is based on selling most goods.

We have to understand this when it comes to the forces shaping our behavior. A person is watching 20+ hours per week of television. The person may have major health problems that would be remediated by a bit more exercise and dietary improvement. The person may also have financial issues that would dramatically improved through a few hours a week of income generation. Yet according to the survey 98% of people were apparently not actively seeking employment nor working on their own income generating process. To think that 98% of people aren’t either seeking employment nor working on income generation AND they’re watching 20 hours plus of TV per week, to me, would remove a general sense of pity towards the majority of people that are considered “poor” and instead see a predictable outcome. However, this is referring to adults – not children. The children are unfortunately born into these situations, and I believe that it’s the role of education and media on public airwaves to do their part to ensure that children are not influenced to think that these conditions are attributable to some kind external unchanging powers or some kind of flaw in the system.

That said, it seems that mass media has done nothing but bolster claims that inequalities of outcomes occur from something like systemic oppression. Meanwhile, that very system of oppression could be arguably proven without a doubt to be the media itself. A person is watching TV for 20 hours a week, and the TV is telling the person “people are poor because of racism” or “women make less money than men because of sexism” or “the government is built for the rich people to take from the poor”… meanwhile the TV is not telling the person “you’re wasting the valuable time you do have… mostly watching other people get paid money to pretend to live scripted lives, or you’re watching ‘real news’ that’s supposedly ‘very important’ but for whatever reason you’re not expected to take any action on the matter – while your opinions and feelings seem to matter a lot.”

I wouldn’t be surprised to find a number of pluses from having television, people sharing narratives, sort of shared national experiences, similar subjects on their minds etc… it can be relaxing to just watch tv. Tv can take people’s minds off things, which can be good.

But overall, is it time for people to take their minds off their problems? Especially when it appears that very direct solutions exist for their problems?

What would happen if the people that could walk out of the 80% that don’t exercise (which is most people) would walk for around a half hour per day – instead of not walking at all? There would be what, millions of lives improved, and how many awful disease outcomes prevented? How much money saved? How much potential for more money earned? Would this perhaps decrease crime as well? Could this lead to a better environment?

If we, as a people, are trying to accomplish some great goals… what does it mean if we spend 20 hours per week watching tv and 80% of us do not exercise at all? I don’t mean to judge, but we can ask, why not watch more tv? Why not watch 30 hours or maybe fit in 40? Why judge that?

I think we can use people’s own reports of dissatisfaction with their bodies, their health, and their finances (and other measures) as the reason why we judge it. Not because we have to say that watching tv is inherently bad. Anything could be on tv. It could be the wisest person of all the lands exposing their wisdom and leading to wonderful outcomes for the viewers. Or, it could be someone selling people a product that hurts the consumer, causes long term environmental degradation, but makes a relatively small group of people a large amount of money. Or maybe it’s not even a product but just some show that just overall results in less happy people who live less socially beneficial lives. But the entire idea of living for personal or social benefit is one quite difficult to even discuss directly ON social media where the context of the social media is attempting to always get more and more engagement of viewers on that medium so that more products are sold.

My conclusion is not to get off social media. It is not to ban tv. It is not to turn off the radio. It is to merely consider more directly the amount of time we have as individuals and the amount of time other individuals have and examine their present life strategies and maintain awareness of what would likely lead to great benefit for them – and to NOT simply take excuses. We don’t necessarily have an easy task from there, but if it’s true that the solution for something like 150 million people in the USA is “watch less tv and go for a walk” – then why should we accept a vast number of relatively more negative economic, ecologic, educational, and health based predicted metrics?

Do we really believe that people will not, en masse, shift from 20 hours per week of tv, to something like 13 hours per week of tv and 7 hours of outdoor activity? Why wouldn’t they? Do we not believe the benefits of this shift would manifest for those people quickly? How long would it take to start feeling better from this shift? How can we help people make this shift? Could a person for example, start listening to the audio of the tv shows they like and go for walks while doing that instead of just sitting and watching? Could some people find new forms of media like podcasts and listen to them and go for walks instead of watching some of the hours of tv? Do people need to form walking clubs? Are people too embarrassed to leave the house? There will undoubtedly be a variety of reasons people have, but I figure the initial question might be to find out how many hours of tv a person watched last week, and ask in an ideal world how many hours of tv would you watch next week? And then use the difference in hours (if their ideal is less hours of tv) and ask them to imagine and or plan what they’d like to do with these extra hours… and to schedule in those times and activities.

Takeaway – overall we have the time, overall apparently less than 2% of people are motivated enough to search for work at all or start businesses (so poverty is unlikely to actually be so bad here OR poverty is not a motivating factor?), and less than 10% of people are working on their education or spending time to improve their skills outside of their employment.

To me this means that if a person in the USA is simply willing to NOT spend 20 hours per week watching TV and instead fill it with a variety of activities ranging from walking, reading, educating themselves (which they can do for free or close to it), working on skills, or seeking employment – then they have massive relative upward mobility and can be doing better than 80% of the current (2016) surveyed population segment in terms of health, finances, and basic life satisfaction. I strongly believe that THIS information holds a much higher relevant priority of being disseminated than the story of systematic oppression that gets spread so widely on TV. The message to the “disenfranchised” “oppressed” “minorities” can be the same message to the supposed “oppressors” in the “majority”. I put these terms in quotations because I think that some data that we didn’t discuss yet but could perhaps agree upon would conclude that the majority of people as of today are not really living the lives they would like to if they felt that they had control of their lives.

If people do not feel in control of their lives then they either are not in control of their lives – and this probably should suggest they’re not really quite so much of “privileged” “oppressors” OR they “are” in control of their lives but their education and mindset has misled them to habitually take actions that miss the mark from their best interests. It also seems very difficult a case to prove that a random person who does nothing but work at their job and sit at home watching tv can have such a devastating role with negative race based or gender based attitudes – not only are these people unlikely to be engaged in hiring or firing, the idea that they’re competitively at an advantage seems somewhat strange if the reality is that neither group is really generally competing at all.

If 90% of people aren’t educating themselves and are spending 20 hours a week just watching TV, then whoever wants to start educating themselves and spending 10 hours a week less on TV and 10 hours more engaged in their skill development and implementation – those people will be WAY ahead of the so-called “entrenched establishment privileged” – whatever group.

You can also look into the historical data to realize it’s not just brand new for people to spend 20 hours per week watching TV. They have done this for decades. So we need not just think of a person gaining 10 hours of education on someone else, but of someone gaining 500 hours or 1000 hours or more. But it’s not just about hours, it’s about mindset. If a person doesn’t believe they can change, they probably won’t. If a person doesn’t see a value in changing, they probably won’t try. Do media messages tend to suggest and encourage change? Or do they encourage further emotionally bolstered defensiveness? “I must have the obesity gene” “I make less money because I’m a woman” “White people are keeping me down”.

There may certainly be data to support the notion that the US system advantages white males or that white males have the visible position of powers, but does that data help improve whoever those conclusions would supposedly disadvantage? People can put down the media, and get to work making what they want into a reality.

Use data for good.

My conclusion is not solely that this means people in general are lazy passive idiots, even though that would be a pretty sound conclusion. How else could you describe this group? Well, we might find data showing depression, loneliness, sadness, self-destructiveness, addictions etc… Uneducated. Uninformed – despite taking in 20 hours plus of external messaging per week… they’re not getting the message they need.

There’s something very wrong here…


I really love nextdoor.com . It has been really helpful to me over the last year, and I have met so many people that I don’t know if I would have met otherwise despite living here for more than 10 years.

That said, I think there’s a problem with the status feed as a way of updating everyone – or at least as the “only” way to sort of publicly share information. Curious if anyone could help solve this problem. I started working on an app where the idea in part is to build like a “digital town square” – I think nextdoor should add similar functionality.

The idea could be a different view where people can occupy virtual space and within their space they can post as much or as little as they want, and when they post, it doesn’t automatically get pushed to the top of the status feed where everyone see everything.

This will be useful so that people can feel more comfortable posting more things. I want to sell say 10 different items. Maybe even 10 items per day. I 100% do not want to bother a single person that is not interested in those items, but if the only choice is a status feed post to reach people, then I would use the status from time to time.

The problem is that this way many people may never post. Or they will post much less than they’d like to, or they post more than what other people would like. I think everybody loses from this.

I understand that not everyone is trying to sell their goods or services, but I think actually there’s quite a high percentage of people that would be happy if more people knew about whatever way they make their living. With a type of “digital town square” or digital commons or something, people could occupy equal amounts of digital space and either post their business card or whatever message they’d like people to see that pay attention to them.

I was thinking maybe people could even post messages digitally on their own homes on the map. Maybe you want to say you have some free items and instead of posting on the status feed, you can just post it on the map. I think that could be really neat to look at the map and see lemons somewhere or apples or oranges or whatever.

It could also be useful for people that have some cause seeking critical mass. Or maybe so that people could inform others of some happening. Maybe you will be doing construction at a certain day and time and want to let people know. Maybe there’s some environmental hazard or nuisance or stray dog.

Or maybe you want to write a poem or essay or whatever.

I get the idea that we’re not supposed to “sell things” in the “wrong way” like using “sales speak” and so forth and I think that it’s really great that we’re not doing it for the most part, but I think we’re still missing out on a lot of good local information.

Right now here’s how it is:

1. You can post to the status feed.
2. You can sort of browse people’s profiles, but not really
3. You can message people directly
4. You can put something on your profile, but it’s unlikely people will see it unless you’re posting, and even if you do post it’s probably mostly unseen.

There’s no in between though. I think a digital virtual commons like a town square or town plaza would be awesome. Perhaps there could be virtual open markets like digital swap meet or there could be other distinctions maybe places to meet to discuss specific issues or what have you.

I guess there are the groups as well, but it still has the status feed problem.

Basically, status feeds aren’t ideal for repeating the exact same message. How often does a tutor want to try to get more students? How often does someone who sells some good or service want to sell their good or service? Maybe some people are totally selling out at capacity whatever… but for the most part… people probably want to keep saying “Items for sale! Items for sale! Get your items!” I think people should be able to do this non-aggressively and annoyingly. So that’s why I think there should be some kind of digital content mapping where each person has their own space on the map and they can post as they wish in that space. It can be where everyone has an equal “cover” on the digital map and then when their “cover” or “square” or avatar gets clicked or hovered on then it can essentially open up to an entire website or scrolling page or whatever.

It’s pretty neat!

Can be great for kids too. Maybe they want to trade their cards or toys or games or whatever… but what maybe wouldn’t be so great is if every kid in the neighborhood would post everyday about individual action figures. But I, ideally, would like to be able to post everyday about what fruit or vegetables I have to sell or if I’m available for tutoring or if I have either items to sell or if I want to talk about some politics or whatever. And if I can do so without bothering anyone, that would be preferable.

I really think nextdoor is the perfect place to add these functionalities, but if they don’t for some reason, I’d like to build it. I have it partially built, but could use a variety of help. Curious about people’s feedback. Maybe some googlers or facebookers or nextdoor want to hire me? I think it would significantly improve communication online and a lot of good would come of it.

the other thing is… what if you just… have a lot to say about a variety of issues… how should you do it? even if the problem wasn’t that i need to keep repeating the same idea or offer again and again… what if there are many issues?

snapchat recently pushed content that jokes about losing their virginity at 8 years old. (it has a gif that says “screenshot to find out when you’ll lose your virginity” and then it rapidly cycles through numbers including 8,9,11,12,13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 40, 77, “Never”. snapchat pushes sexualized content every single day to its users. they pretty much can not avoid seeing pictures of near naked bodies and headlines similar to what “cosmo” has that most grocery stores block out with a plastic frame so people can only see the person on the cover and not the headlines. which again points me to another problem with digital information flow – you don’t know who’s watching and don’t have an easy way to make sure that only adults see certain content OR to ensure that children can interact without people that don’t know them potentially preying on them etc… anybody have kids that use instagram? where does instagram lead people? just because someone sets their own content to private doesn’t mean they won’t end up interacting with unsavory characters or seeing a whole range of awful content.

digital virtual space can actually give people a chance to survey the landscape. i know that “building a wall” is not a locally popular idea, but if you could build a digital wall to keep your children safe… would you do it? or would you just let facebook, twitter, snapchat, instagram, and google be the arbiters of what content gets to your kids? how much are we really saving by using their platforms for socializing instead of a paid service? are we even saving? is it just laziness because “everyone’s on” the other platforms? i believe that apps can spread like wildfire and there’s no reason why better, safer, platforms that don’t push extremely questionable content on a daily basis won’t have to be relevant to a lot of people.

i just don’t think it’s worth it at the end of the day, “hey come hang out in my digital world where i am king and i watch everything you do and i force you to watch my advertisements”. it’s not that i don’t think there are some great tools or that it’s so easy to build messaging platforms etc.. but as a society i think we’d be making a huge mistake to stop where things are.

do parents even know that snapchat pushes content? i’d like to inform people of that. how do i do it? i can’t just post “hey did you hear snapchat pushed this content” everyday. but it could be cool to post it once somewhere and to have some kind of way to see who has seen or who has not seen the article. i think it would be cool to see who sees what you post online. it could start a lot of conversations.

i think that’s important to let parents/people know. is that more important than my status feed idea? yeah probably. so i will make another post about it. although this too represents another problem/opportunity with social media. do i want to be associated at all with questionable snapchat content? no i do not. so should i say nothing? i think another potentially useful way to communicate would be to allow anonymity between people that know each other (hopefully civilly/continue to moderate discussions perhaps). it could be useful for a variety of things including perhaps sharing personal or medical problems that you’d like a variety of others’ opinions on but would rather not just post publicly that you have some kind of condition.

or perhaps people have some issue. i know a lot of people have political opinions that they’d love to say something about, but maybe they don’t want to start any debates or whatever so maybe they’d just like to put like a digital bumper sticker in their digital space. this too could perhaps be a semi anonymous set up. like perhaps we each have an anonymous digital space, but we can put some opinion or vote or something. it could be pretty great for perhaps making community decisions. maybe even work well on a city level.

We have heard that organic produce is more expensive. That may be true, but the truth is that we can decrease the cost of goods by buying at scale and at that point organic can actually be less expensive than conventional.

If local, organic, and higher quality cost less than conventional… A WHOLE LOT MORE PEOPLE WOULD EAT IT!

Some items actually store for months in a root cellar. Other items can store for months while refrigerated. Most things can store for years if dried or canned and stored properly. So more and more people can either buy things in bulk as individuals and store them properly OR they can form buyer groups so that they can get bulk orders but divide things up so that each buyer does not need to handle more than they want to at a time.

Here are some examples from August 30th 2017 from an Organic Wholesaler in San Francisco. In general, these prices range from 20-75% lower than retail prices (mostly near 40-50% lower). Ideally, in a given year this could either mean doubling a person’s purchasing power or saving half their money spent on produce.

  • Gala apples 1.07 per pound – 38# case $41 total
  • Granny smith 1.15 per pound – 38# case $43.50 total
  • Bananas 74 cents per pound – 40# case $29.50 total
  • Strawberries $2.50 per box – 8 6 oz case $20 total
  • Raspberries $2.50 per box – 12 6 oz case $30 total
  • Blueberries $2.67 per box – 12 6 oz case $32 total
  • Blackberries $2 per box – 12 6 oz case $24 total
  • Grapefruit (called “juice” b/c of exterior)  71 cents per pound – 33# case $23.50 total
  • Valencia oranges 79 cents per pound – 38# case $30 total
  • Figs $3.50 per pint – 12 pint case $42 total
  • Grapes $1.68 per pound – 19# case $32 total
  • Kiwi $2.16 per pound  22# case $47.50 total
  • Cantaloupe $0.56 per pound 35# case $19.50 total
  • Honeydew $0.53 per pound 30# case $16 total
  • Watermelon $0.41 per pound 650# bin $266.00 total
  • Watermelon $0.63 per pound 35# case $22.00 total
  • Bartlett Pear $0.92 per pound 36# case $33 total
  • Asian Pear $2.07 per pound 22# case $45.50 total
  • Plums $1.89 per pound 28# case $53 total
  • Nectarines $2.03 per pound 20# case $40.50 total
  • White peaches $2 per pound 20# case $40.00  total
  • Pineapple $1.27 per pound 24# case $30.50 total  (or $3.81 each for 3 pound pineapples)
  • Keitt Mango from Mexico $0.75 each 10 count case $7.50
  • Keitt mango from California $2.30 each 10 count case $23.00
  • Formosa Papaya $1.25 per pound 32# case $40 total (or $2 per papaya)
  • Thai Coconut $2.44 each 9 count case $22 total (22#s total)
  • Medhjool Date $4.47 per pound 15 pound case $67.00 total

Below some of the prices are slightly rounded (to save calculation time):

  • Avocados currently 25# for around $4 per pound or $1.40-3.00 each (usually it’s been much cheaper)
  • Baby bok choy $1 per pound 20# case $20 total
  • Green beans $2 per pound 15# case $30 total
  • Beets around $2 per punch by dozen or half dozen bunch $12 or $24 total
  • Loose beets around $0.80 per pound 25# pound bag $20 total
  • Baby broccoli $2.19 each bunch 18 bunch case $39.50 total
  • Green cabbage $0.50 per pound 45 pound case $22.00
  • Carrot Bunches $1.46 per bunch by dozen or 1/2 dozen $9 or $18 total
  • Cauliflower $2.55 each 12 count case $30.50 total
  • Celery $0.65 each head 30 count case $19.50 total
  • Corn $0.73 per ear 48 count case $35 total
  • Cucumbers $0.75 per pound 40# case $30 total
  • English Cucumbers $2 each 12 count case $24
  • Persian Cucumbers $1.68 per pound 22# $37 total
  • Eggplant $1.12 per pound 25# case $28.50 total
  • Fennel $1.63 per head dozen or half dozen in case $10-$20
  • Garlic around $7 per pound in 5# bags… (can get it for $3 per pound from Pinnacle though)
  • Ginger $3 per pound 5# bags $15 total
  • Kale $1.43 per POUND 20# case $28.50 total
  • Kale bunches $1.00 each 1/2 dozen dozen $6-$12
  • Chard $1.50 each 1/2 dozen dozen $9-18
  • Collards $1.17 each 1/2 dozen dozen $7-14
  • Cilantro $1.08 1/2 dozen dozen $6.50-$13
  • Parsley $1 each 1/2 dozen dozen $6-$12
  • Leeks $1 per pound 20# case $19.00 per case
  • Romaine lettuce $0.85 per head 24 count case $20.50 total
  • Green leaf $0.75 per head 24 count case $18 total
  • Romaine hearts 3 packs (bagged) $1.55 each 12 count total $18.50
  • Spring mix $4 per pound 3 pound box $12 total
  • Okra $7.20 per pound 5# case $36 total
  • Shiitake number 2s(they’re great) $7.20 per pound 5# case $36 total
  • Crimini Mushrooms  $3.40 total 5# $17.00 total
  • Onions $0.75 per pound 40# case $30 total
  • Red choice peppers (some may be ugly and a few may have a bad spot) $1.68 per pound 25# case total $42.00 total
  • Extra large red bell peppers $2.90 per pound 15# case $43.50 total
  • Gold Potatoes $0.80 per pound 50# case $40 total
  • Loose spinach $4 per pound 4 pound case $16 total
  • Medium size Sweet potatoes $1 per pound 40 pound case $40 total
  • Bigger sweet potatoes tend to cost between $1.50-2 per pound in 40 pound cases)
  • Early girl tomatoes $2.20 per pound 20 pound case $44.00 total
  • Heirloom tomates $3.10 per pound 10 pound case $31.00 total
  • Roma Tomatoes $1.37 per pound 22 pound case $25 total
  • Red Grape tomatoes clam $1.71 each dozen pints $20.50
  • Various squashes are $1-1.50 per pound in 35# cases for $35-$50 total

Furthermore, by setting up local pick-up spots, people can save the travel time to and from the market, possibly some of the time spent shopping, also save the gas or transport money, and part of the ecological footprint. For some people saving this time and effort can be a significant relief as well.

There are many ways for people to set up these groups. We’d like to set up or find platforms that help put the funding together for the cases so that there can be money sort of “in escrow” or that it can be “pledged” and then taken if enough funds are gathered to buy whatever is needed to buy a case worth. Also, we’d like to develop or find something with a little nuance that will help adjust people’s orders when perhaps they’ve put together enough money to buy a case, but they have pledged more money than needed to get the quantity they wanted. For example, perhaps 7 people are happy to spend $4 for 2 pounds of roma tomatoes. So they have pledged $28 and that’s enough to buy a case for $25. But that’s only 14 pounds desired and there’s 22 pounds in a case. SO this platform could inform them that each of them can get 3.15 pounds of tomatoes each for $3.57 each. There could be some added nuances if certain people say they want to spend the minimum possible for the exact quantity desired or they could place some bid and they’re happy to receive it so maybe each of the 7 people pay $4 and they get 2 pounds and then the rest are donated or up for grabs or it could be like an investment of the initial buyers and whatever they sell it for would be returned equally to the 7 people. Still thinking that part out… but those specific changes shouldn’t be too hard to make once the platform is functional. Or they could donate the rest. Or maybe the excess produce stays in a central place and the produce is canned or dried or something.

Alternatively, once the money is raised to get the whole case, the available lowest cost per unit can be broadcast as available in whatever limited quantity is left. Perhaps some people would still rather get 2 pounds for $2.25 than 3 pounds for $3.57. Or perhaps some people would even rather just get 2 pounds for $3.57 and they don’t care. They just couldn’t all get 2 pounds for $2.25 because that would total $15.75 and they need to at least pool $25 to get the case. Different groups could work different things out. Depending on size of groups, skills, and interests. Some groups would likely have someone who enjoys canning or drying vegetables and perhaps others wouldn’t. Over time though if things grow and are organized well, it’s likely that there could be employed individuals who take care all the excess so that things don’t go to waste.

I currently do not have all the skills to make this platform on my own, without likely paying programmers (unless I can find volunteers), so I could use help if people want to! I do have some people I can likely pay to build it. Alternatively, we can use google sheets and trusted reliable people to start it off.

The other element necessary is a place for people to pick up OR a system for delivery of goods. There could be a flat rate or adjustable rate for delivery or something else. Open to ideas!

Lastly, it’s very likely that the prices will go even lower as scale increases significantly. Provided things can run efficiently.


This was written initially as a post for my nextdoor.com network, but I’m publishing it here to re-iterate some of the goals/purpose of the social platform and to explain it to new people. Here goes:

I have an app that’s written in html/css/javascript using firebase as the back end and I’d like it to be a mobile app with push notifications. Does someone have a person they recommend to help me do this? Would someone like to join in developing an exciting new platform for communication without interruption advertisements and giving people a deeper sense of freedom and ownership?

You can join the app currently here: http://www.betterearthinstitute.org/connect/

It currently puts people in an x y coordinate system based on their latitude and longitude (and people can move anywhere they want).

Instead of focusing on a status feed for sharing, people share into their own space, and others can choose to pay attention to who they want, when they want. We expect this to facilitate a greater quantity of sharing since people do not have to feel like they’re grabbing the mic or standing on a soap box shouting to everyone something (like I’m doing now). It also allows people to more easily have a stable broadcasted message like broadcasting their business availability or if there’s some specific message they’d consistently like people to see when they attend to their digital presence (like wearing a t-shirt or handing out business cards).

In other words, with a status feed, it would not be appropriate for someone like myself to every single day post something saying “I’m available for tutoring today”, but with my design, it’s totally fine for me to have a place on the map to have that clearly written and in the view of whoever is next to it. And conversely, people are unlikely to post everyday “I need help with _____” or “I still want attention to be paid to ______” even though their need may not have been met yet. Status feeds have their value certainly, but things can just drop to the bottom or disappear OR they become quite popular and then people have to see them again and again who don’t want to see it.

I believe that we should have the best of all worlds communicatively.

In the real world, if we’re not interested in what someone’s saying, we usually can indicate that to them and they usually won’t press on because it’s a waste of breath, also, we CAN indicate to people that we’re interested by moving closer to them. This is part of what the app facilitates. I think community is extremely important and that the internet facilitates amazing connectivity, but I think we’re missing out A LOT when we rely on unpaid services from huge companies that want to maximize profits. It puts users at the mercy of whatever manipulation companies want to do in order to make money whether that means interruption advertisements or data mining.

I believe that there are likely long term psychological manipulations at play in other apps in order to make us better consumers – and that this is valued above depth of communication.

Furthermore, I don’t think it should be a goal to maximize time spent on the app. I think people interacting in person is better in general, and the apps should enrich people’s lives not just the owners of the app. Also in other apps you can’t tell who’s paying attention and when. I post on facebook to my hundreds of friends and maybe I get a few likes but I have no idea who even saw it. On my app, you can/will be able to actively see who sees your content for a much more dynamic live experience. There’s a chat feature that’s radius based so that anyone within a certain vicinity can automatically join this chat simply by moving or being within that radius – this allows people to feel like they’re joining active “hanging out” or meetings or social interaction between new people – and also since you can see who’s talking to you, you could make new friends by seeing someone you already know talking to someone new and then join perhaps more easily or simply ask about the person because you’re actually seeing social interactions (which are somewhat hidden on other sites… you don’t see when someone sends a private message to someone on facebook).

That said, most of the features that are good from other platforms can be added as well.

Anyhow, if you want to know more you can watch this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H4koU7HE96Y&t=314s

Or contact me. I’ve just been working on it hoping to eventually have a professionally grade scalable application that will satisfy a number of goals. I could use funding or donations at this point (http://paypal.me/bettearthinstitute) or find a technical cofounder. Also looking for some CSS/design help and javascript. If you have some connections or want to work on this let me know.

We would like to help people eat healthy food. We need to push for a world where the majority of people eat a healthy diet and that diet gets produced in a sustainable and non-destructive/excessively polluting manner. It’s a tricky issue. There are many perspectives about health and sustainability.

Some people really believe that GMO’s are the only way to feed a growing world. Other people really believe that GMO’s will completely destroy biodiversity and produce lower quality food AND that organic can totally feed the world. Others think that the word “organic” does not even mean anything.

Fortunately, everyone agrees that they prefer fresher and tastier food that makes their bodies feel better over less fresh, less tasty food, that makes the body feel bad. We believe that most people would eat more fruits and vegetables if the available fruits and vegetables were of high quality and desirable price.

So we’re starting there.

We would like to see prices of high quality produce go down – and we know how to do it because we’ve been getting better prices for nearly a decade.

It’s simple. Buy in larger quantities from wholesalers or direct from producers – and you will get a better price on everything that has large supply. We have seen prices easily as low as 50% below retail as a regular available option for 20-40 pound purchases of single varieties of items from wholesalers and producers and we can also extrapolate that if a wholesaler sells items at 50% the cost of retail – they too must be making a profit so the price of goods may be as low as 25% of retail.

Prices can actually be as low as 10% of retail based on a cursory look at prices of produce bought at the level of a few thousands of pounds to shipping container quantities (up to around 50,000 pounds).

Part of the price of goods includes the work of distribution and transactions. Things take time. If a seller has to sell to 100 people who are in a line attempting to buy 2 pounds of grapes each… it will take that seller much longer than if they just hand over some boxes containing 200 pounds of grapes. Organized groups of individuals can remove that distribution and transaction cost. They can also save in time. This is especially relevant for people that do not live near farmer’s markets or wholesale markets. Even if a market is 10 minutes away by car, once you factor everything else into traveling, it may take 40 minutes to an hour plus for a person to do their shopping. Take ten people spending an hour each doing their shopping and you have 40 hours per month of people just shopping – the equivalent of a full work week. If one person does the shopping of ten other people, they can easily cut it to 20 hours per month and likely cut it down to less than 10 hours per month.

Cost of goods can also go down if people grow their own or forage their own. We’d like to see more community gardens and areas dedicated to increasing fertility and abundance of food as well as ensuring natural resource availability. Many plants do not require human input for their success at production of edible matter. The cost of goods at some point may only be the energetic cost of actually harvesting the food.

Short story is this: if people organize their purchasing independently they can cut the direct dollar cost of produce by as much as 50%. For many people that will actually alter what they eat – not just save money. In a United States where average fruit and vegetable consumption is often lower than one serving per day… this can make a tremendous impact on our health and future.

Our mission is to see to it that everyone who wants to eat fruits and vegetables grown in manners that actually increase the total fertility and availability of food – can get those foods. We can apply these solutions even for those using SNAP food assistance – many farmer’s markets take SNAP and when people will organize their purchasing, their SNAP dollar purchasing power can double.

How? By each individual being accountable for purchasing one type of item. So perhaps 10-20 people with SNAP go to the market together. 1 person buys the potatoes, another person buys apples, another person buys onions, etc… and then everyone re-distributes… and everyone wins.

Contact David at (510)473-6282 for more information or to contribute.


There are many ways improve land’s hospitability to humans (as well as other creatures).

In some places merely introducing the seeds of some plants, without adding fertilizer or directing water, will lead to the growth of those plants and the consequent growth of other plants. Perhaps one plant grows which attracts animals and the animals bring both urine (source of water) and feces (source of fertilizer and other seeds) and this leads to growth of new plants. This animal may also lead to the presence of other animals which leads to more urine (source of water) and feces (source of fertilizer and other seeds) and the cycle continues.

Other places could require some simple irrigation  and the addition of seeds and soil matters to increase fertility and catalyze the processes discussed in the previous paragraph. I say simple irrigation to mean methods such as digging trenches or setting up simple systems of water containment and distribution – methods that may have a reasonable labor cost but low dollar cost. Ideally, we can figure out something like “dig a trench near the bottom of a hill that will collect water such that more plants can grow” – this process would simply require working with a shovel – work that many people can do.

We want to facilitate change in ways that people can do on their own with little training and little funding; we cannot wait till everyone has an extra $100,000 to create some rural side-projects. Perhaps the government will decide this to be a worthy task and will create permaculture paradises all over the country, but until then – it seems better to work towards facilitating the simplest least expensive in dollars methodologies.

Orienting towards methods of relatively unskilled labor turning to things like: food production and shelter production leads to real empowerment and freedom that rises above economic competitive factors that can otherwise put someone in a crushing position attempting to sell their time as low-skilled labor – which is ever more difficult when that person must pay rent or buy housing for tens of thousands to hundreds of thousands of dollars.

If everyone could build their own shelter and grow their own food – AND they owned their own shelter space and foodspace AND their annual costs associated with these assets were relatively negligible – THEN they would be able to accept a wide variety of work for much lower pay without losing out so much.

It’s not that people of today actually NEED to even earn $1,000 a month to live. It’s that people of today that do not have housing paid for nor food readily available for direct acquisition not requiring financial exchange – that need much more than $1,000 a month to live.

I’m envisioning situations in the US where people have perhaps an acre and a shelter and they paid $5,000-$10,000 for it (or less). Their annual property tax may be $50-$100. And that’s it. Their water comes from the earth and sky.  Their food comes from soil, sun, and water. Their home comes from the earth, trees, rocks, water, and their labor.



Here’s what I want to do: I want to connect properties from around San Diego all the way up to Seattle that are around 30 miles of average distance from each other (around 50 properties) and to use sustainable rain gathering techniques (which would likely also function as a roof/greenhouse/or shade structure) so that there would naturally be enough water for a visitor to drink their fill (probably using some filter) and to plant location appropriate beneficial plants at each location.

I want to do this with essentially the least expensive available properties so that if other people, especially young people, wish to do something like this, then there will not be a huge financial barrier. Most of the properties I have looked at are in the below $10,000 range and my expectation of infrastructure costs per property is around $5,000.

So for $750,000 I expect to be able to accomplish the following:

1. Purchase around 50 properties ranging from the San Diego US Mexico border up to near Seattle and the US Canada border.

2. At each of the sites establish a passive method for water collection so that visitors to the property would have a source of water to drink directly or to purify and drink. In most places I expect this method to also double a shade structures, greenhouses, or sleeping platforms. They would also possibly attach to solar shower set ups. When possible, use time-tested natural methods utilizing on-site resources.

3. At each of the sites, plant location appropriate beneficial plants with the long term goal of having significant caloric yield of edible plant matter in each property so that if a person would wish to, they could sustain a trip traversing the entire 50 property path entirely or nearly entirely from the food matters produced on these lands

4. At each of the sites, set up sustainable and independent waste management systems at each location or use appropriate natural methods.

5. I would also put money aside to ensure that all property taxes are paid for and there’s at least 10 years of resources available. I don’t expect generating revenue by donations or payments for use to be difficult given that the annual property tax on the entire range of sites should cost less than 2% of assessed value.

From there, I would open this path up to paying customers and to unique positive influencers wishing to help pave the way for a more sustainable accessible lifestyle. So that we can show the world that sustainable living connects us across the country (and beyond) and that it can EMPOWER us too and overall just feel FUN and inspire feelings of awe.

I want people to feel like they can travel over 1,000 miles EASILY over the course of a month by setting up hospitable sites with lush edible plant-life in easily accessed distances. 30 miles of cycling is a reasonable expectation of fitness for most ages and sizes.

I want people to feel like they can also access land that’s affordable for them and that we can take land that doesn’t look like much and turn it into something we desire and realize with our effort we can contribute to it and turn deserts into oases and so forth.

Having this connected path will make many rural parts of the country more accessible and attractive. This will help people realize what some directed efforts can do to make a place more inviting and how plant-life and water can make an impact.

I expect that this will lead to some creation of new communities and settlements where people can benefit from nature and the fruit of their labor. Imagine if all high school graduates could own an acre of land that they could access through an epic couple days or weeks of biking. Imagine if each of these places had some source of water for them to start a garden or to use the water to create natural building materials. Imagine if YOU could have an acre of land with water, shade, a place to rest safely, and a growing garden. Imagine if you had that acre paid off and only had negligible annual property tax payments (like $25 per year).

Imagine accessible freedom not just for you, but for society at large.

Please help me create this into a reality.

You can contact me (510)473-6282

I have not yet achieved my goal of providing low cost housing, but I have looked into land costs, shelter, and infrastructure.

It appears that the same economic rules apply to constructing homes andbuying land as do to most commodities – the more you buy in the fewer transactions the better your per unit cost.

We live in relatively more expensive neighborhoods here. But the rules still apply – if many people join together to say invest in building an apartment complex instead of each individual waiting to buy until after its completion – they can save tremendously.

However, many people have nearly no cash and no credit so buying an apartment here even at 50% off (not sure what the markup is on apartments in a large building are), would still not be feasible.

However, the USA has plenty of areas including places within a few hours drive of here where standard neighborhood size parcels of land could cost as little as $500. (Say a fifth of an acre at $2,500 an acre) In actuality there are properties selling for around $5,000,000 for 5,000 acres ($1,000 per acre). I understand these properties are usually not already legally set up for parceling – but all this would require is sufficient local support (counties signing off on it).

So factually, we could say that land costs $200-$500 for an ample site in rural California. Infrastructure may or may not cost a lot more per site depending. I personally do not believe in the inherent superiority of indoor plumbing and electricity – especially not when cost efficiency and sustainability are key overall – this could be up to the individuals.

I believe we will get great returns by truly looking into what a minimalist design for home and shelter looks like – and to legalize it for year round living; currently, I believe in all counties in California, to legally live somewhere year round on property one owns you must have a legal residence which conforms to a number of standards.

I don’t know exactly what the least expensive way to meet the current standards are – but I believe that working on whatever will meet those standards as inexpensively and eco friendly as possible will yield the most benefits for the most people without having to involve any charity whatsoever – while facilitating that which many charities and municipalities aspire to do – help the less fortunate or less economically able achieve land and/or home ownership.

At the same time, I think we would gain to modify zoning at least in certain areas so that people could live in simpler shelters of their choosing provided they abide by some kind of health/environmental standards.

I think we need to facilitate access to the simpler ways of living our ancestors lived. If a person wants to work the land and get the fruit of their labor and not be an employee for life – they need access to land.

It’s hard to provide value to others, but it’s not necessarily hard to provide value for yourself – gathering food, growing food, building simple shelter, hunting, fishing – these are skills most people can employ if they have access to land.

It’s harder to sell services or products especially when you have to compete with others.

So for a lot of people who are competing and making it… but still feel competitive and a loss of power when their money goes somewhere they don’t expect to get a return from… it makes sense why many charities don’t attract sustained interest. Especially here… it costs $1000 just for a single room for a month in a lot of places here. That money could buy an acre of land elsewhere.

So I would propose building a village that prioritizes efficient design and truly low cost living – aiming for something like less than $5,000 per entire unit of legitimate shelter and land. I’m rather confident that a budget of say $200,000,000 could easily facilitate 40,000 sustainable elegant very simple homes in an area within 4 hours of here.

Perhaps there will be less paved roads in this town, and there will not be six electric sockets in each room, less insulation, and much smaller than 1,500 square feet per home, but I believe it will be an awesome opportunity for those living there and a great return on investment. Buyers could also potentially get loans with $1,000 down and pay like $50 a month or so.

If people lived there in a similar density as Menlo Park or Palo Alto – the land cost might be $5,000,000 for 5,000 acres (and have plenty of open space) and leave $195,000,000 for homes.

So… what can $195 million do if you have 5,000 acres paid off and you want to maximize adequate simple sustainable homes/shelters and minimize cost/materials/pollution?

That’s the question I would like to see the experts answer.

Btw, as I understand it the city of SF spent around $241,000,000 in one year on their homeless problem of around 6-7,000 people.

So the money is here and already being spent on an annual basis – as some kind of charity of sorts.

The idea I describe doesn’t require charity – but I could see a type of charity where people who do have $5,000 or much more could help make the commitment to the initial purchases and contracts so that communication can occur with counties and builders and planners of infrastructure etc… it may take a while to get commitments from say 40,000 people to put down $5,000 each – but I have no doubt that if a legal year round residence were available in California for $5,000 there would be no problem whatsoever selling 40,000 units.

So again, the question is what can $5,000 really do per unit if part of some huge construction deal?

Or even without some big deal. If we ignore zoning for a second and just think of ideal function and cost effectiveness – what can we get? What can people make?

School bus renovation with rain catchment and solar shower? That sounds cool to me!