Example of the Home “Stack” in Action

Here’s an idea for how it can be reinvented as a close ally in support of your family’s pursuit of the American dream.  I’m going to use the platform stack (aka –  it’s simply a checklist of things you can do to make a home productive) idea I floated yesterday as a start.

Let’s assume you own a suburban home outside of a large US city.  Your interested in raising chickens to produce eggs for your family’s needs and enough income to pay half the property taxes owed every year (that’s about $2,000 a year).  Let’s apply the “stack” checklist:

  • Home. Fortunately, you bought a home with the outdoor space necessary to build a chicken coop.  Also, after checking, you find that it’s legal to raise chickens within the town’s limits, but you are limited to 15.
  • Connectivity.  The home is located in a town that is sufficiently populous to support a large number of potential customers (while a home can be less expensive and larger in a rural setting, the population isn’t usually sufficient to support a micro-business like this).  Internet connectivity is pervasive in the town.
  • Physical. The home’s foodscape was designed in a way that makes chickens a synergistic addition to the design.  Since the a good portion of the foodscape was already fenced in (to protect against the huge (typically 7x the numbers that are found in nature) populations of wildlife found in town), it makes adding chickens easy.
  • Productive structures.   A chicken coop design and associated equipment (chicken tractor, etc) was found on the Internet and modified to fit the available space.  The total cost of getting the business up is estimated at $500, including the labor put into implementing it, as well as an ongoing cost to maintain it.
  • Micro-business financing.  To pay for the launch of the business and build a customer base for it, the business is listed on a local version of Kickstarter/Indiegogo.   The goal is to find six local families to commit, upfront, to a share of the production (estimated to be a dozen +- fresh organic eggs every two weeks @ $4-5 a dozen).  The response was so strong, a couple of your neighbors decided to build chicken coops too and list them in order to make sure everyone got the opportunity to participate.
  • Micro-business system.  To manage the business, it’s set up in an online micro-business management system that arose from the CSA (community supported agriculture) world.  This system allows you manage the allocations and pickup schedules as well as any financial records.
  • Social networks.  Connections to others running similar micro-business as well as chicken enthusiasts ensures that nearly every problem the coop runs into can be solved, with a little bit of digging.  Social networks that have emerged also enable connections to share owners to allow them to view/participate in the monitoring and feeding of the chickens remotely, enhancing the experience.

So, what’s the potential impact of launching a chicken coop?   15 chickens at organic egg prices gets you into the $1,000 a year range for the venture, which is about half the property taxes paid by the median US household. 

PS:  This may not see like much by itself, but it doesn’t take many home micro-start-ups to pay a mortgage too.

PPS:  This is MUCH more than a simple income stream, its a safety net.


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