Friday, January 31, 2014

I Won't Win This Challenge

I have, in fact, probably already spent more than some of the participants will for the entire challenge.  So Why would I participate, doomed from the start?

To those of you just tuning in, I'll very briefly recap.  The first challenge I proposed was to live for a week solely on what participants could grow, forage, or hunt for.  I saw a bear on a PBS special who knew what he could eat outdoors by instinct, yet I could not craft a meal without a grocery store.  It was at first just a personal trial but I suggested it to some friends and family members and they wanted to try too.  Another friend suggested I write a blog about the experience, hence this blog. 

The second challenge was inspired once again by a PBS special.  That challenge was about homesteading in Montana.  People had a bit of money but for the most part were on their own to survive 5 years to 'earn' their land. The proposal for the second challenge was to see who could survive the longest, given roughly $10 per person (plus what you could grow, forage, hunt, or fish for.)  I was the victor in that challenge.  The runner-up in the second challenge was my mom, Therese.  

After that challenge ended I did some number crunching and realized that Therese had spent nearly 2¢ per day less than I had.  This sparked the idea for our third and final challenge.  The spirit of this challenge is the Great Depression, and participants are trying to see how little per diem they can spend on food.

Part of the reason I am participating in this challenge is to connect with a generation of ancestor not too far removed.  Our family came to America during WW1 and settled in the coal mining country of Pennsylvania.  My grandparents were all children during the depression, though truthfully the burdon of this time probably weighed heavier on their parents.  

A greater part of the reason, and it was not anticipated, is that participation helps others.  I imagine there may be some people who read this blog looking for help or inspiration while going through trying times, but that is not what I mean.  Our project has had positive reprecussions outside of our circle.  We've been able to help friends going through tough times to find available food.  We've arranged free food for a non-profit organization from a local bakery that would otherwise throw the food away.  And we, through our grandmother, tapped into a network of donated food that would literally be thrown away if she, and we, didn't particiapte in its distribution and consumption.

For myself and my wife who has agreed to join in this time, I've set a personal goal for this challenge outside of victory.  My goal is to survive on $1.50 per person per day during our 3 month voyage.  We have a few people who do work for us at our building.  They're not well off, and we provide lunch for them.  I'd like to absorb the cost of their meals in that $3 per day (6-7 more meals per week.)  I'd also like to host 4 or more people for dinner each month, with a cost of no more than $20 per gala.  Finally, I'd like to, through atypical means, generate $300 in income by the end  of the challenge tto pay for the value of the food we consume.

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