In Ann Arbor, Michigan there is a plot of land called Arbor Hills Farm, an organic farm that leases land from bigger property called the Tilian Farm Development Center, where vegetables and livestock are cultivated.
The products are then sold to members of the community through a system called Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) in which members, consisting of local citizens and local restaurants, receive fresh produce on a normal basis.
Arbor Hills is no ordinary farm, however. They lease out land and provide fresh produce and chickens for bitcoins.
Arbor Hills Farm is run by Katie Shafer, a yoga instructor/farmer who previously studied physics at Michigan State University, and Dan Till, who studied economics and Chinese at University of Michigan and currently runs a Bitcoin Consulting business: bitcointegration.com.
More recently, Dan has been responsible for Tilian Farming Development Center’s “Bitcointegration.”
“After talking to the head of the organization that oversees the Tilian farm development center about Bitcoin, they loved it,” says Dan. ”I am paying the next Arbor Hills Farm Lease payment to Tilian Farm using Bitcoin,” he adds.
Arbor Hills is now raising funds in bitcoins for the Tilian Farm Development Center. The Tilian Center helps promote new farmers and experimentation with new farming technologies and practices; these include ideas like shrimp farming, a plan to farm llama to create local alpaca goods, and experimentation with innovative ways of heating the greenhouses on the farmland. This agricultural testbed, facilitated by bitcoin, will serve to introduce novel farming practices around the globe.
On a typical day at Arbor Hills Farm, the chickens get fresh food and water in the morning, then fresh water and watermelon throughout the day. Fruits and vegetables for the CSA are picked and delivered throughout the week.“We provide our community with the highest quality, best tasting produce, while utilizing farming practices that improve the health of the soil and the health of the people fed,” says Katie.
As Bitcointegration works to help local restaurants accept bitcoin, these locales will be able to use their bitcoins to purchase produce from Arbor Hills.
In addition, the yoga studio where Katie teaches plans to accept bitcoins as a form of payment; many of the individuals in this yoga community are members of the CSA that will also be able to pay for their produce in bitcoins.
Finally, these bitcoins will then move from Arbor Hills Farm to Tilian Farm Development Center for the lease payment.
This effectively creates small bitcoin economies that feed into one another.
“The farm will expand in many ways next year,” concludes Dan. “The size will increase to six acres, the number of workers will increase to five with rotational intern opportunities, and educational classes will be available to the community. We also plan on increasing the livestock numbers.”
This pioneering experiment will show how cryptocurrency can transform and disintermediate the farming industry.
This micro economy can serve as a model for functions of the greater bitcoin economy, and at the local level, communities can now benefit and create new forms of wealth, health, prosperity, and innovation for themselves.
You can find more information about the Tilian Farm Program at their website here: http://tiliancenterorg.startlogic.com/about-us/farmland-history/
You can donate to this great project here, in bitcoins or fiat currency.
Original Article here: http://bitcoinmagazine.com/16135/farm-michigan-growing-local-bitcoin-economy/