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“I gave up normal life to live in my own wood – for £15,500”

A MAN who gave up his normal life to live off the grid with his family has revealed how – and why – he did it.

Fraser, his wife Rachael and their children Grace and Albie stay in a patch of woodlands in Lancashire, UK.  But the 4.5 acres of land was bare when Fraser managed to pull £15,500 together to buy it 18 years ago.

Fraser said: “Holding out for that perfect piece of land isn’t always feasible because there’s always someone there with a larger wallet than you – get something you can afford.

“Plant trees as quickly as you can, because it’s going to take a long time, then make it your paradise.”

He’s now living the dream after building a completely off-the-grid life for him and his young family.  The dad-of-two says he was just 22 and living at home in council housing when he scraped the money together – and hasn’t looked back since.

He’s left behind the noisy neighbours and ended up running his own YouTube channel named The Off Grid Family, encouraging others to take the leap, too.

Recalling almost 20 years ago, Fraser said: “I was living at home, living on a council housing estate. The area was a bit rough, and you’ve got noisy neighbours and all those things that come with it.”

He said house prices were through the roof – even for back then – so he started up a business in tree surgery to try get some funds together.

Fraser continued: “My passion was growing trees and having nature around me.  You couldn’t get a mortgage for land. I had to get a personal loan. The land was £15,500 for 4.5 acres – it was an awful lot of money for me.

“The only way I managed to do it really was because I was still living at home. There was no inheritance and there was no trust fund.

“People think you can’t get this without help… you can.  I went to work and in the beginning was working six days a week.”

At the beginning he just planted trees on the land and used it as storage – which is called “agroforestry”.

He’s since planted thousands of trees, a massive bar, solar and water filtration system.

Fraser said: “It’s been a massive undertaking. We’re completely off the grid. We’ve got a family now living here and I suppose it’s called the good life. They’re quite fortunate really, we’ve broken the cycle, they’re not going to be on a housing estate, which is brilliant.”

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Brilliant Research Intern Wanted

You will need writing and social media skills, good phone manner and love of the subject

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If you take the dime, you gotta take the crime

Ever since 2008, I have been puzzled as to why individual directors are never prosecuted for corporate crimes in the UK. At the time of the financial crisis, I tried placing numerous stories and TV docs on the subject but nobody wanted to know.

The announcement this month by the US Department of Justice that there is to be a “crackdown” on company executives, is the first sign that the tide is beginning to turn

It will cause an uneasy stirring in corporate circles from Los Angeles to London, where the result of a UK Ministry of Justice “Call for Evidence” on a new “failure to prevent economic crime” offence has been pending since March 2017. Even the government’s own supporters are ashamed of this failure and the Law Commission is now due to issue an update at any moment.

There is widespread distrust of the system in Britain because of the scale and variety of large companies which break the law without their directors facing any criminal charges. chief executives argue that they are worth their hugely inflated salaries, and take the credit in full when things go well, but when large companies are found to have broken the law, its remarkably hard it is to prove that the boss was in charge of the decision making process that led to the crime.

When the companies themselves are fined, it is the shareholders or customers that foot the bill, not the law-breakers themselves. The rules of the game are rigged in favour of the wealthy , who can afford armies of expensive lawyers and tie prosecutors in knots for years on end. This makes a mockery of Britain’s reputation for rule of law, and is harmful to democracy in general.

Sewage dumping by Southern Water

Take the current outcry in coastal areas all around the country over sewage dumping. Southern Water has been repeatedly fined over the dumping. A judge has unequivocally found that previous court rulings were flouted and n evidence of illegal sewage dumping was destroyed or falsified. Nobody individual ever been prosecuted, or as far as I am aware even investigated by police.

The fury currently being expressed in Parliament, and on the nation’s beaches by swimmers is not just at the stench of the sewage, but also at the cosy system which allows company directors to hide behind evidential barriers which were designed to be insurmountable.

Proving a “Controlling Mind”

The issue in the case of Southern Water, and almost every other large corporate prosecution, is the difficulty in proving that the offence was committed by a “controlling mind.” The CEOs and CFOs of our biggest companies, who are happy to take the credit for success, draw large salaries and even larger bonuses, are mysteriously absent from the wheelhouse whenever there is a criminal investigation. You could say that McAvity-like quality is their biggest talent.…

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23,000 Apply for Job on Deserted Island

When more than 23,000 people from around the world applied for two job vacancies, an Irish couple proves that working on an uninhabited island is a dream come true for a lot of people.

Alice Hayes and Billy O’Connor are the owners of a cafe and three cottages on Great Blasket Island off the coast of Ireland.

Two weeks ago, the couple made a post on Facebook advertising two summer-long management positions.

The post said successful applicants would be required to live on the remote island without electricity or hot showers from the start of April to the end of October.

Initially, the entrepreneurs were concerned no one would apply, but the post soon went viral, and was covered by international news outlets and travel platforms such as Lonely Planet.

“We were concerned we would not find anyone willing to leave their job, pack their bags and move to a windswept island with no electricity or hot water in the middle of the Atlantic,” O’Connor said. But it turns out, the remote requirement seems to have been the biggest draw for applicants.

“I suppose people just want to disconnect from the rush of everyday life and get off the grid,” O’Connor said.

“We’ve had coverage in the most unlikeliest places,” Hayes said, speaking from his deserted island.

“We’ve had applications in languages we can’t even recognise.

“We’ve received applications from places like Iran, Argentina, Finland, Mexico, everywhere really,” she added.

Apart from unexpected locations, Hayes and O’Connor were also surprised at the personal stories they received in the process, including “a lovely application from a 79-year-old and 83-year-old couple”.

As of yesterday, the couple said they have responded to about 1,000 applicants, but don’t expect to be able to respond to every candidate.

Hoping to find people who “understand and appreciate the island’s rich literary heritage and history” — one cottage belonged to celebrated Irish author Peig Sayers — O’Connor said they hope to meet some finalists before making their decision.

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People

Harry and Meghan “put planned cannabis brand on hold”

Sources on the West Coast have told Off-Grid.net that a large, legal cannabis farm which had been gearing up production for a super-high quality, recreational cannabis launch from the Sussex Royals, has been told to stand down.

According to rumours circulating among trimmers at the holding, the brand was to be fronted by Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, and would have been called Her Royal HIGHness.

The possible launch of the brand was consistent with other rumours emerging from London about the reasons for the Sussexes departure from the Royal Household. A Cannabis blog in London filed a report based on inside sources that part of the reason for the strained relationships at the palace may have been the Sussexes support for Cannabis legalisation.

The West coast sources asked to remain anonymous and it was not possible to contact the Sussexes for confirmation because Buckingham Palace press office longer represents the couple.

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Cannabis growers lead off-grid energy development

Its a little known fact that the Marijuana growers of Northern California were amongst the first to use solar panels to improve their crop yields, back in the mid 1970s.  Forty years later they are still at the forefront of energy innovation, and a burgeoning number of utility companies are working with cannabis cultivators to better manage costs by:

* Assigning employees to work exclusively with marijuana businesses.

* Recommending lighting, heating, ventilation and air-conditioning (HVAC) systems, which they say can save cultivators tens of thousands of dollars annually.

Here are some of the points growers are focusing on as they consider potential energy savings:

1. Electricity consumption typically is the second-largest cost incurred by indoor cultivation facilities.T

2. Find a Utility executive who is willing to focus on you  0 In May of 2017, I started devoting 100% of my time to the cannabis operations coming into our territory, knowing that all those companies were going to fill one portfolio of commercial account management,” said Matt McGregor, strategic account manager, cannabis operations, for the Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD).McGregor estimates he has roughly 200 marijuana customers, mostly growers, but also about two dozen customers involved in extraction, infusion, processing and packaging.

3. Go to private utility companies, not government funded or municipal Utlities. Private utilities are investor-owned, for-profit corporations; public utilities are government-owned.Public utilities risk losing their licenses.Private utilities don’t have those constraints. Consider Puget Sound Energy (PSE) in Washington state, which has helped about 80 cannabis customers with about 100 energy-savings projects since 2014.  PSE buys the power it sells to customers off the market or from its own power generation.“So, we didn’t have to be concerned about losing federal funding by serving the cannabis sector,” said David Montgomery, an energy management engineer with PGE.

4.Find a private energy company that operates in your own State.  Xcel Energy – a private utility operator serving eight Western and Midwestern states including Colorado – goes by the same premise.“We work with marijuana companies because they are legal operating entities in the state of Colorado,” Xcel spokesman Mark Stutz said.”We are regulated at the state level, and to deny services would be in violation of state law.”

5. Remember what the Utility stands to gain –  Utility companies may have to build new power plants to supply customers’ demands, which is costly. It’s cheaper to persuade existing customers to reduce energy usage by using conservation practices and buying newer, more efficient lighting and HVAC.

Now, utilities are looking to the cannabis industry as a place where they can help customers take pressure off the grid.“With the legalization of the cannabis market in Massachusetts, and the fact that this business is extremely energy-intensive, this is an agricultural area where there is opportunity to proactively influence the design of these facilities in order to mitigate their very significant energy demand,” noted

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hemp encompasses the globe
Community

Hemp – key off-grid industry, USA & global events 2018

Hemp is Hot! It is going to be a busy 2018 for Cannabis expos and conferences domestically and internationally. Below is a running list of some of the events taking place in 2018. At Off-Grid HQ, we have also been invited to a few below-the-radar events and will be reporting from them in due course.
Off-Grid.net recognises that the hemp industry was the catalyst for the solar industry and the off-grid movement, and we will continue to cover the industry in great detail. Please send any info to nick@off-grid.net

UPCOMING USA HEMP EVENTS

March 7 — 11, 2018 — Expo West – The CBD Summit — Anaheim, CA

The CBD Summit is your chance to better understand the opportunities and challenges that exist for the hemp-derived cannabidiol market in the United States. With a better understanding of the regulatory, supply, scientific, labeling, retail and standards issues surrounding the hemp-derived CBD market, you will leave the CBD Summit with new intelligence to help inform your next steps as a supplier, manufacturer or retailer of CBD products.

April 6, 2018 — NoCo 3rd Annual Hemp Summit — Loveland, CO

The NoCo Hemp Expo is proud to host the 3rd Annual Hemp Summit, an important gathering of hemp-focused executives, founders and investors. Receive an intimate, insider’s view of the hemp industry during this VIP-level networking and special programming featuring business-focused information, market intelligence and analysis from leaders and influencers in the hemp industry.

April 6-7, 2018 – NoCo 5th Annual Hemp Expo — Loveland, Colorado

An important gathering of hemp-focused executives, founders, and investors. Receive an intimate, insider’s view of the hemp industry during this VIP-level networking and special programming featuring business-focused information, market intelligence and analysis from leaders and influencers in the hemp industry.

April 14, 2018 – PDX Hempfest Expo — Portland, Oregon

A full day of educational sessions with professional Cannabis speakers to bring you up to speed on rapidly changing developments in the Cannabis industry. A high concentration of Cannabis industry technology buyers will be present.

April 14, 2018 — Oregon Hemp Convention — Portland, Oregon

A full day of educational sessions with professional Cannabis speakers to bring you up to speed on rapidly changing developments in the Cannabis industry. A high concentration of Cannabis industry technology buyers will be present.

May 9 — 11, 2018 – MJBizCon 2018 — New Orleans, LA

MJBizConNEXT focuses on the near future of the expanding Cannabis industry. For executives growing their companies and emerging industry professionals looking at cutting-edge innovations, new technologies and how cannabis businesses grow in a rapidly advancing market, NEXT is your show!

March 2 – July, 2018 – First Friday Tour — Spring Hope, North Carolina

These exclusive bonus tours will take shareholders behind-the-scenes of North Carolina’s burgeoning industrial hemp epicenter to see Hemp, Inc.’s processing equipment in full operation and producing product… from the cultivation of its …

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Firemen battle buringing cannabis planatons
Work

Cannabis farmers battle Emerald Triangle wildfires

Off-Grid cannabis farmers continue to struggle against engulfing wildfires which threaten to destroy their entire crop. More than 200,000 acres of fertile growing land in northern California’s Emerald Triangle has been decimated by the state’s latest string of fatal wildfires, just weeks before the main harvest time and just as they get ready to join the lawful, recreational market.

The fires have hit the Off-Grid cannabis community at a pivotal point in their calendar. October marks the end of the growing season in northern California so most crops have yet to be harvested, potentially resulting in huge financial losses for farmers.

According to ArcView, a cannabis research company, the estimated market value of California’s cannabis industry is thought to be worth around $7 billion and generates between $59 million and $109 million in estimated tax revenue from medical cannabis sales every year. With such large amounts of money potential lost after these most recent wildfires. It is not only the off-grid farmers will begin to feel the pinch. The decline in tax revenues will hurt every citizen in the Emerald Triangle.

One of the worst affected areas is Mendocino County which along with Humboldt County and neighbouring Trinity County form what is known as the emerald triangle. This is essentially the beating heart of the united states cannabis production with over 10,000 square miles dedicated to cannabis cultivation alone. Producing 60 percent of the nation’s cannabis, much of which is currently exported to other states on the black market.

 

On Thursday the executive director of the California Growers Association, Hezekiah Allen spoke of the disaster saying, “At least seven farms have been destroyed” and that this number is predicted to increase significantly as Off-Grid farmers and locals return to their homes to find their crops in disarray.

 

 

 

Because federal law still considers cannabis as an illegal crop, off-grid farmers find it impossible to cover their crops using traditional insurance. As a result, no bank or institution is willing to work with the industry and so farmers are forced into dealing entirely in cash.

 

From 2018 Californians will have the right to legally poses, sell and grow cannabis for recreational purposes. This might appear as beneficial to Off-Grid cannabis farmers however with this new wave of legalisation comes larger corporations who plan to capitalise from the relaxed laws. Out competing smaller Off-Grid operations in the Emerald Triangle. Off-Grid cannabis farmers will also be required to pay state or county taxes which is thought could impact the profitability of their businesses.

  • Medical Cannabis was legalized in California in 1996
  • A Mendocino County commissioned study estimates that two-thirds of the community’s economy comes from marijuana.
  • Voters in November 2016 approved the legal sale and possession of an ounce of marijuana for recreational use.
  • About 147 million people, 2.5% of the world population, consume cannabis

Recent wildfires …

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Surrounded by jungles and adventures.
Community

Farm stay, Central Vietnam

The couple behind Phong Nha Farm stay in Vietnam shows how you can live off-grid and make good money at the same time. Australian Ben and his wife Le Thi Bich founded the farm stay in 2010, and it is a hidden pearl for off-grid lovers. You find Phong Nha Farmstay miles from civilisation, located between the coast and the mountains in the northern part of Central Vietnam. It is highly recommended if you are passing, but you should hurry – tourists are starting to rush to the area.

The farm stay is described as a “French Colonial style accommodation, set in idyllic surroundings of rice paddy fields on the edge of the famous Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park, just off the Ho Chi Minh Trail”.

It is the ideal base for wild adventures, discovering caves or just relaxing in a hammock. They even have free bicycles so you can discover the local village nearby!

An exotic farm stay

The couple´s idea was to start a business in the middle of nowhere, and even though they received a lot of comments from family members and the community such as “you will never see any westerners, you are wasting your money and you time” it has shown to be a huge success!

From housing people in hammocks at their home to personally designing and building the farm stay, they set out to put Phong Nha on the map.

If you want some more information about the farm stay, click here.

If you are interested in reading more about off-grid businesses, check out the Tasmanian Winery who has gone off the grid in terms of electricity.

 

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Community

What are your super skills?

How do you get what you need and want if you have little or no money to buy? I assume you have some sort of skills, something you know how to do and can do it pretty well… there must be something you can do, maybe it’s a job you do or have done in the past (or present), maybe it’s a hobby you enjoy, maybe it’s a talent you have, whatever it is, you can offer that skill in trade for something you need or want.

This is called “Bartering”, it’s an age old method of trade rather than using money, it just cuts out the middleman, you simply trade your skills with someone who needs what you can do for something they have, whether it’s a skill they posses, or an item, or even cold hard cash.

For me, I am able to do things that not everyone knows how to do or wants to do. I used to be a licensed cosmetologist, which is a fancy way of saying I know how to cut hair. I actually don’t enjoy cutting hair, which is why I don’t do it professionally anymore, I did it for 10 years, I paid off the student loan I got to go to school to do hair, the only reason I stayed in it the last few years is I was offered a management position in a department store salon and thought it would be interesting. It was interesting, until I developed another interest, computers.

But that skill is something that not everyone knows how to do, honestly I kept it a secret for quite a few years after moving to our off-grid home. Little by little though, the news got out, I still keep it on the downlow, but people still ask me to cut their hair and I usually agree. I don’t do the ultra modern cuts, mostly just men’s haircuts and traditional haircuts for women, and no chemical processes, no color, no perms… just haircuts.

One of my neighbors (and good friends) get haircuts about once a month, they have chickens, lots of chickens, which means they have eggs, lots of eggs, so I get eggs from them and they get haircuts from me. We do other things for each other as well, he sharpened my work knife for me a few days ago, yes that is something I could do, but I asked him to do it for me while I was cutting his wife’s hair.

A few days ago, while cutting another friend’s hair, yet another neighbor and friend stopped by, I ended up giving him a haircut in return for some metal sheets to use for the roof on a carport that PB is building for me. That wasn’t planned, it just happened. In this process, I am very careful about sanitation, I keep a spray bottle …

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winery self sufficient
Work

Tasmanian Winery

Increasing number of businesses are unplugging.

Tasmanian Wine label Moores Hill recently installed a multi-million-dollar on-site processing facility powered by 108 solar panels, making it the state’s first off the grid winery.

Winery director Tim High was excited to test it out this vintage. “It’s off the grid in terms of electricity, it’s off the grid in terms of water, it’s off the grid in terms of effluent treatment,” he said.

“Basically, this is a standalone, 100 per cent, self-sustained Tasmanian winery.”

Co-owner Fiona Weller said the winery will open the processing facility to visitors as a tourist attraction.

“We can take them out into the vineyard, they can taste grapes and then they can come into the winery and see grapes being fermented and taste wine from the tank,” she said.

“While the investment… is large, over the long term it’s a very positive investment.”

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Working on it!

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