Coming soon, Binikou seed packets as thank you gifts to anyone who contributes to Binikou, either materially or with a solution on the wiki.

Hopefully we’ll also be able to get a monetary online contribution link set up too, to make things simple for everyone.

Seeds to get excited about seeing include: Kale! Stevia! Lettuce and greens mixes! Fennel! The miraculous Ground Cherries! And more!

We’re getting bulk seeds and putting them into custom made Binikou seed packets, with hand colored artwork on them. We’re also using some seeds that we’ve saved from last year’s crops, and getting some from seed swapping events (tomorrow we’ll be at the MOFGA seed swap at the Common Ground Fairgrounds, yay!). Most of the seeds are organic, and all of the seeds are untreated (no synthetic chemicals added). We’re focusing on greens, and easy to grow stuff, so that you can enjoy the most awesome foods possible for your gardening efforts!

So, what are you most excited about growing this year?

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Now that Binikou’s website is up and running and slowly, and steadily growing, we are looking for a home in meat-space. We want some land to build the first model of a “school for humanity” that focuses on researching, testing, and sharing knowledge about how to help everyone get more of the basic needs – nutritious food, clean water, fresh air, warmth, light, and the freedom to express the body’s excess solids, liquids, gases, and energy. We’re tentatively calling these spaces for hosting Binikou type programs Community Growing Spaces. (Or possibly living Resource Centers. If you really prefer one or the other name, let us know!) Here is a brief introduction to our current goal for creating a space somewhere around Augusta, or Belfast, Maine:

Community Growing Spaces are publicly owned places for sharing resources to help increase everyone’s access to basic needs for a healthy life.

Would you like to see this area with it’s own public growing space, where everyone could come to share physical, emotional, intellectual and philosophical resources for increasing the basic health of the whole community. A place to learn about, grow, prepare, and share exceptionally nutritious and delicious local food. A place to exchange your own excess resources for resources that you can use right now to improve your life. And a place to bring your stories, ideas, problems, and solutions for improving the quality of life for your family, friends, and world.

Community Growing Spaces are just that, and a whole lot more!

The first goal is to secure a location on community owned property that will host a variety of public amenities open to all, unconditionally. Our own growing space could include such amazing things as a public garden, farm, tool workshop, kitchen, library, community center, classroom, food pantry, playground, campground, event space, organic and inorganic recycling center, and nature preserve, depending on the growing needs of our community members. The space will be highly adaptable to the changing needs of the community, so that the space itself grows as the community grows. The space will be independently owned and/or run by the community itself – a public “commons” that everyone is freely encouraged to use for their needs for health and wellness.

The long term goal is to increase the availability of high quality nutritious food, clean water, fresh air, warmth, light, and the freedom to express the body’s excess solids, liquids, gases, and energy for everyone in the community, so that everyone can grow into their best selves.

Right now we need help finding some land to begin creating our very first community growing space. If you know of some property that could either be donated to the project, please get in touch! Or if you want to help us locate some property for donation, please let us know!

You can also follow the progress of the folks who are spearheading the mission to create a community growing space here at the Binikou blog.

With curiosity and compassion,
Turil Cronburg

We need trees!

Possibly my favorite Binikou solution ever has just been put up:

Making maple syrup from a tree!

No fancy equipment involved except for a large drill bit and drill. Though I imagine you could easily use a small pocket knife as well…

Maple syrup is one of the best things about winter in New England!

And if you have any other ideas on how to use the raw, fresh sap, please enter them onto the wiki, too. Make tea with it?

Enjoy!

golden elixer, filled with manganese, apparently!

Another successful Binikou event! Today’s Superfoods Sampling Day went exceptionally well, bringing out 2-3 times the number of regular winter Saturday afternoon visitors at the quiet and friendly little Palermo Public Library. There were around 20 people who showed up and tasted a large variety of super nutritious and delicious foods such as chia pudding, walnut basil pesto, flax crackers, fresh wheat grass, and miso. And, as usual, the kids and adults got a good workout using the human powered blender to make yummy green smoothies with an all time favorite Maine superfood, blueberries (picked from my Mom’s front yard last summer and waiting patiently in the freezer until today to be devoured). There was even one generous visitor who also brought her own very popular and healthy version of Macaroni and Cheese made with cauliflower instead of wheat pasta.

Oh, and adorable little basil seedlings were offered up to green food lovers, who were happy to adopt the younglings and give them a warm, sunny windowsill to nourish them and help them grow up into happy, healthy superfood!

Next up in the School Vacation Week Community Sharing Extravaganza, on Tuesday, is storytelling. The storytelling will no doubt be featuring my all time favorite kid’s book Jerome, the story of a frog who is told he is a prince, and so he starts acting like a prince by creatively and compassionate solving problems and saving the town from a dragon who turns out to be quite happy using his fire to burn garbage rather than the houses, a crow who learns that he doesn’t need to horde all the corn and from then on only eats a crow-sized portion of the harvest rather than all of it, and a wizard who is helped to realize that he was much happier as a joyful young child than as an evil wizard and then POOF! turns himself into that joyful child chasing rainbows and running down emerald green hills for the rest of his life. And, of course, for storytelling day my Mom, a professional storyteller and theater teacher, will likely perform some grand tales from a long time ago in a place far away (but not that far away). I can’t wait!

Happy melting Maine snow to everyone!

inspiring conversations, possibly about super foods :-)

This young man really, really loved everything.  Seriously!

human powered blenders are kid magnets!

Last fall Binikou was a small part of the Boston area Urban Homesteaders League event at the Union Square Farmer’s Market. You can see a small appearance of me, Turil, teaching Somerville, Massachusetts folks all about wheatgrass, greens, and juicing with human power in the Urban Homesteader’s League short video. (I’m the goofy one with the blue vest and green scarf, babbling about juicing!)

You can also take a look at a few blog posts about the event at:

The View from a Skillshare Leader–Lorie Reilly

The View from a Skillshare Leader–Jaime Alberts

The 10.23 Market Stand (Photos)

And the handout, with the wheatgrass growing mini-lesson, along with the other lessons from that day, can be downloaded as a PDF, if you’re especially curious!

No, this isn't wheatgrass, but it's pretty and green!

If you’re anywhere near the Palermo, Maine area (kind of near Augusta), please join Binikou in a new week-long event we’re calling the Community Sharing Extravaganza at the Palermo Public Library!

Saturday February 19 is Superfoods Sampling Day
Current Events page
Tuesday February 21 is Storytelling Day

Thursday February 24 is Crafts Day

Saturday February 26 is Games and Movie Day (featuring the most awesome movies Nausicaä and Zeitgeist: Moving Forward).

For more information, check out Binikou’s

If you hadn’t already noticed, Binikou’s Encyclopedia of Solutions has it’s first few entries now!

Please check them out, add any informative and/or creative stuff to the solutions, and consider creating more solution entries to teach others about solutions to improving your quality of life that you already know and love.

In the Food category, we have: Sprouting Seeds and Nuts

And: Vitamin C from a pine tree

In the Warmth category, we have: Triangle Shelter for making geodesic dome type buildings

And in the Air category, we started off with a supercharged yogic breathing technique: the 4-7-8 breath

What do you think? Are we off to a good start? What do you want to see? What do you want to add? Check out the Solution Wish List where wishes for a better life can be granted! You now have the opportunity to grant others their wishes, and they can grant you yours…

Enjoy!

mung beans ready to sprout into a super food!

The most ancient traditions of ritual served the purpose of keeping the balance between the unpredictable push and pull of the chaos of the universe. Ritual addresses the human desire for stability and centeredness by setting at least some regular time in our lives for meeting at least one of our basic needs. Thus, we have traditions of ritual practice surrounding food, water, air, warmth, light, and all manner of self expression.

For many people in “modern” society, rituals have become corrupt, or even disappeared entirely. Our common daily practices often involve things we definitely don’t need. I’m sure you can name many of the daily routines that you and others you know go through that decrease quality of life, rather than increase it.

Which is why I suggest, to everyone I counsel, to create a new, healing ritual, based on something they need in order to thrive, to add to their life. Many people swear by certain particular rituals, such as meditation, preparing tea, gratitude journaling, or going for a walk every day. I’ve realized that it’s less important what specific activity you do, and more important that you just give yourself permission to, and support in, doing something good for your world every day. For me, my specific activities and times when I do my rituals change regularly. But I do always do something every day that improves my world – either focusing inside my body, or outside it. I’ve been doing this for years now, though, and I find it easy to naturally just choose something to do on a whim. Others might be more happy focusing on doing just one activity each day. Whatever works best for you.

Also, notice the rituals you already do have that are healthy. Healthy practices can be things like waking up in the morning and taking a warming and physically expressive shower (washing the toxins off your body), drinking warming and hydrating herbal tea, talking a physically expressive walk in the woods in the middle of the day allowing you to get some sun and plenty of oxygen into your lungs while you exhale all that carbon dioxide for the trees to absorb, or checking in with a loved one every day or so to express your own personal stories and to get energy from theirs. These are the more normal rituals that many folks regularly do. Other, more interesting and uncommon ones might be fun to try as well. You could nibble on a few blades of some fresh wheatgrass in the morning, do some yogic breathing at sunset, or do a simple collaborative piece of writing, singing, or drawing every night with your partner before bed.

Any way you do it, if you choose to spend at least 15 minutes a day in a celebratory act of doing something to improve your world, inside and/or outside, by increasing someone’s basic needs of better quality food, water, air, warmth, light, and the freedom to express the body’s excess matter and energy, you will automatically be making the world a better place for all of us…

And, from what I’ve seen, the more celebratory healing rituals you do, the more you tend to want to do!

you can always take a deep breath at sunset

Jeremy Rifkin, economic adviser to the European Union, notes that scientific research has revealed that even in young human children, the brain is wired for empathy. When very young humans see someone else struggling, they experience similar frustration, and they actively seek to help, without ever being asked to do so. He says humans are naturally empathic at the core of our selves. And he’s working to help restructure our society so that our natural empathy is allowed to be fully expressed, so that we can evolve into a far more compassionate and collaborative species.

How do we actually prepare an empathic civilization? What I’d like to get my hands on is the school system. This school system around the world reflects 18th century ideas about Utilitarian self-interest — each individual is an autonomous agent in the classroom. Knowledge is power — you don’t share it, that’s cheating. Each person is trying to become a productive, competitive agent in the market. No wonder we’re having problems. What we want to do in our school systems is we want to set up collaborative learning environments. We want knowledge to be interdisciplinary and distributed. We should take service learning — you know when you serve in the community — and ratchet it up to pedagogy, so our young people begin to think that the classroom is the community where they engage empathically with others, and actually create relationships that are designed to express our core values. That would be a revolution worthy of America – a new revolutionary educational system.
~ Jeremy Rifkin – KQED Public Radio Forum 2010

Binikou is a big part of that revolution! We are founded on the observation that as long as the human body (including it’s brain) has the basic physiological needs reasonably well met on a regular basis, then empathy and collaboration and creativity and passionate problem solving naturally emerge in abundance.

joyfully engaging in the community!

Some people wonder what exactly Binikou is when it comes to the mainstream concept of the for-profit vs. non-profit business/organization dichotomy. Binikou is neither, and both! Binikou is really just on a whole different dimension!

Binikou is a work of ART! It’s interactive, globally networked, neurologically minded, scientifically curious, spiritually motivated art, that is. :-)

Which means that the more your brain interacts with Binikou, the more brilliant and beautiful this work of art becomes, and the healthier the world becomes!

Binikou is officially starting out as a personal project of me, Turil Cronburg, with the help and support and inspiration of two beautiful boys — Zack and Ariyeh — who I’ve had the joy to be a teacher and friend for, for the past two years. I, personally, have a neutral goal when it comes to monetary “profit” — money is just one possible temporary tool for helping increase the health and quality of life of all humans on the planet, which is my ultimate spiritual and scientific goal, following my own Prime Directive in life. Thus, any money that I and/or Binikou receive will go directly towards serving that goal in the most efficient way possible at the time. Money, and any other material resources that I have already gotten, has gone towards supporting the basic needs of those who are working on growing the project. Binikou’s most active teachers, website contributors, students, and hosts will always be the ones who’s basic needs will be supported as the first priority, so that they can contribute their best selves to the work. Any excess material resources will go towards serving other individuals and communities basic needs, in the most efficient manner available.

Does that sound good? Does that sound like a revolutionary way to do good, beautiful, true, and inspiring work? Would you like to become an active contributor to Binikou, either as a teacher, website contributor, student, and/or host?

If so, either contact me, Turil, via at thewiseturtle(at)gmail.com (add the @ symbol before mailing!), or comment here, or head on over to the wiki at www.binikou.org/solutions, because you are an important part of this art work!

Binikou is like a May Pole, a brilliant collaboration of art and science!