Cocke County (and the rest of the country as well) is currently floundering under the economic tsunami that began in earnest in 2008. Despite the rosy economic assessments issued by various Federal agencies we here in the trenches understand we are in a Depression similar to the Great Depression in the 20's. Projecting current trends we can predict, with moderate accuracy, what to expect in the future.
Most of the jobs lost in the last 10 years are not coming back. The cost of basic supplies, food, electricity, medicine, building materials, fuel, everything is going to continue to rise. Most workers in Cocke County live from paycheck to paycheck, meaning they are no more than two or three missed paychecks from homelessness and hunger. Most families are forced to delay medical treatment until it becomes an emergency room visit, and emergency room visits are so expensive just one can throw a family into unpayable debt, for decades.
There are practical and well understood means of dealing with these problems, especially if you regard people as the greatest asset of any community. An asset that must be protected and developed.
Local Wiki is a strategy for dealing with these problems. People on a practical level are eager to learn. If your life is a struggle you are happy to learn a new trick that will make it even marginally easier. Local Wiki is designed to share the "best practices" of living in the region, shared by those who are using the knowledge daily, and updated when improvements are invented. Much of what Local Wiki is designed to archive is knowledge our Grandparents were taught from the cradle. How to relieve a cough with home medicine. The best method for cutting and drying firewood. Metal repair with hand tools. And so on. There are deep wells of such skill here in Cocke County, and it will benefit all if the knowledge is generalized again. Below are the main areas of interest.
Transparent and Accountable Government: We actually have a pretty good Local Government system in our county and towns. Problems have been with corruption and a tendency to serve some groups and not others. These problems are solvable. What is called for is an informed and active Citizenry keeping a close watch on the activities of their Public Servants, and seeing that they are well informed with regard to the will of us, their Bosses. This WIKI can serve as a place to centralize critical documents, reports and information. I hope the Officials themselves will find time to add their own opinions, correct miss-information, and dialogue about the future here.
Frugal Living; Tiny houses, composting toilets, vegetable gardens. Cash is hard to come by. And there are many critical supplies, electricity, fuel, medicine, that can only be paid for in cash. So save your cash by only using it when there is no other way to get what you need. Learn how to barter. Learn to cook. Learn skills that can be turned into micro-businesses.
Leveraging the Internet; The Internet is the greatest and most efficient means of making knowledge available to everyone. This includes free courses teaching marketable skills as well as a being form of Genii that can answer the most convoluted and obscure technical question in a matter of minutes. If you have a skill and a reliable connection you can begin a career today as a freelancer or remote worker. The ability to maintain lateral communications let's workers and problem solvers communicate directly with other workers and problem solvers, sharing time critical information and ideas freely.
Home Remedies; If I need a kidney removed then I need a surgeon. On the other hand if I suffer an annoying cough it is useful to know the wonders of Ginger Root/Honey/Lemon Juice. Raw Garlic prevents the Flu. A poultice of Plantain leaves is the best immediate remedy for all manner of stings and venomous bites. Jewel Weed cures Poison Ivy. Such knowledge was a familiar component of the average Mountaineer's Survival Kit100 years ago and most of what was needed could be found in the woods or the garden.
Making Connections: List your group, church, business, cause, project, whatever, and tell us about what you are trying to do. People are our greatest resource. With enough friends we can survive almost anything. Southern Hospitality is far more than a quaint openness to visitors. It is the foundational understanding that we are all equals and dependent on one another in a harsh world.