Not to go all Little House on the Prairie on you or anything, but you might want to consider homesteading. You know — live off the Earth. Make your own clothes. Heck, make the thread for your own clothes. Harvest rainwater, save seeds. When he's not making art or throwing parties, Farmer John Milton's running his Artisan Market and School, where he and guest instructors will teach you how to plant an edible landscape and can your own peaches. (For details on classes and the farmers market he runs on Saturdays in downtown Phoenix, go to www.johnnymilton.com)
New Times: We understand that you teach workshops on homesteading. Hasn't a self-sufficient lifestyle gone the way of the horse and buggy? We saw what happened to the main character in Into the Wild. Dude died alone on a broken-down school bus in the Alaskan brush.
Farmer John: I talk about this a lot. I heard a story on the farm last year where a volunteer got disgusted when they saw that carrots grew in the dirt! It really skipped a generation. Had it not been for the "hippie" movement, it probably would have been lost. The baby boomer generation all remember the chores they had to do in the garden, and their parents making everything from scratch. I'm excited about this new Great Depression "they" engineered. It forces everyone to be more frugal and to be do-it-yourselfers. We Americans were being way too wasteful!
NT: You teach classes on threading? What the heck is that?
FJ: Spinning wool and other fibers into thread/string/yarn to make your own clothes and rugs. If you decide to homestead in the middle of Alaska or Montana, where there isn't a Circle K around, we can teach you how to do everything from scratch. Another good way to make a rug is to tear apart old clothes into strips and mend them together.
NT: And what about rainwater harvesting?
FJ: It's where roof gutters capture rainwater and flow into cisterns. I already installed the gutters on the roof of my warehouse. I just need to set up the cisterns. I'm also talking to some companies about setting up a showroom at the warehouse that will display not only rainwater-harvesting components, but also solar panels and composting toilets.
NT: Composting toilets?
FJ: Yeah. They are toilets with a heating element that breaks down the waste into compost.
NT: What's this about seed saving?
FJ: Seeds are going to be the most critical thing for human survival because once the world runs out of food, we'll only have seeds. They will be worth more than gold and the biggest bartering tool.
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NT: So, Farmer John, tell us where are we headed?
FJ: I'm waiting for the awakening of 2012, the fifth age — the Mayans, Black Elk, and Hopi know all about. An age where time is measured by art, not money. "They" are trying to stop it. Kind of like what they are doing with the art walk. They did the same thing with prohibition and the engineered Great Depression in the 1920s and '30s. The same with the Vietnam War and prohibition of psychedelics in the '60s. And now with this current mess. Everything is cyclical. The Mayans knew that. We would already be living in "paradise" if it weren't for the dominator class preventing it. Enlightened slaves don't make good slaves.
NT: When the world runs out of food, will we be crawling to you on hands and knees begging for a nibble?
FJ: I hope people come and learn how to do it themselves long before it happens. "Give a man an apple, he eats for a day. Teach a man/woman to grow them, and they eat for a lifetime." Something like that.