Monday, May 14, 2007

Do you drop spot? (plus: Go get this right now!)

Do you drop spot? I do! A drop spot is a kind of alternative mailbox -- hidden in plain sight.

Drop spotting is just plain awesome, and I love it. It's a lot like geocaching, only:

-no GPS coordinates or GPS device required!
-less rooting around in remote areas!
-more visual clue-iness!
-and usually less driving involved to get there.

So instead of creating geocaches in the wilderness or out-of-the-way place, drop spots are hidden in plain sight, often in crowded urban environments. I learned about it last December from a very cool, smart undergrad in ITU-Copenhagen - drop spotting is very global!

Here's why I bring up drop spotting now. Drop spots are becoming an increasingly important part of World Without Oil.

One WWO hero in Illinois is doing guerilla gardening and is using Drop Spots to mark the sites of the secretly stashed seeds. He writes:
According to John Jeavons "how to grow more vegetables", the bare minimum it takes to grow a subsistence diet is 4000 square feet per person. My yard total has less than 2000, and now I can't use the best parts of it without getting evicted. So what am I doing? I'm planting my food wherever I can. I've dropped a few fruit trees around town, in public spaces I walk by daily. I dress them up with mulch and the like to make it look like the decorative ones the city puts in. So far noone has notices. I got some "volunteer" tomatoes that grow like wildfire at my mother's, and spread them around town. I hide seed potatoes in the carefully landscaped city flowerbeds. I've found where the wild onions grow and spread them. I blow dandelions in the wind, even though I'm not eating them yet. This is called "guerrilla gardening", and it's very civic minded. In some ways I reclaiming the Commons, making public land productive for the citizenry. Anyone who wants to can help themselves to the food when it's ready, I'm planting enough to accommodate."

A WWO hero in Kentucky is using a Drop Spot to trade life tools to help others get through the oil crisis. She writes:
This Drop is on Preston road, right under I-64 and across the street from the "Green" parking lot. There is a patch of wild bushes/trees, concrete, another patch (where the drop is located), concrete and then a final patch. You shouldn't have to actually step into the patch, I placed it about 2-3 feet in and covered it up with some leaves/branches. It's a plastic "gallon size" ziplock bag.

And for all of your San Francisco area readers who might not be playing WWO yet, this is your chance to get involved. Emil, one of the original WWO team members, writes:
i've set up a San Francisco drop spot for exchanging essential goods, notes and anything else you can shove in this strange little stash. hopefully only fellow world without oil heroes will use it. i've kicked it off by leaving one of evie's favorite books (you know her as mpathytest). the chapter 1 explanation of how we got into this oil mess was, well, mindblowing. and the rest of the book should help any wwo hero think of some ways to innovate our way out of this crisis. if you pick up the book, leave something else behind for me or other wwo heroes. cool.a few hints for finding the spot: it's at ground level. it's about halfway between bluxome and brannan. it's on the east side of the block. if you see a statue of a saint or a monk watching over you from behind a gate, you're in exactly the right spot. no digging required. just stick your hand in and reach to the right.

If you are reading this in the SF/Bay Area, GO GET THIS SOMA drop spot (near the CalTrain) RIGHT NOW! It's your perfect window into the game. Jump through it! Go!

What are you waiting for? The world needs saving, and if you live in San Francisco, you are the person to do it.


makotodriller said...

This is so amazingly cute and fun looking. There just so happens to be a drop spot near my house here in NJ so i am going to go look for it and post my little mis adventures at my new blog over at Glad i found your blog in the latest issue of EGM :-P.

Anonymous said...

Please don't extend the falsehood that digging is involved for geocaching. It isn't - and it's extremely frowned upon by the geocaching community.

Jane said...

hi Jeremy! point well-taken and and post revised accordingly. I guess I was using "digging" loosely -- I've done lots of geocaching, and it usually involved getting my hands dirty brushing things aside. :) but you're right, no making big holes in the ground for a cache!