If we build an off-grid permaculture community in the desert, there would be lots of natural advantages such as access to lots of solar power.
If you want to live off-grid, you will need things to get started. Producing those things can help others get started. Producing better more sustainable alternatives to existing products makes your work an act of justice.
Here is a working list of products that I think these communities could produce with huge natural advantages.
Being in the desert means having low humidity. This means that dehydrating foods is a much simpler process and there is a natural advantage for producing these goods for export.
Starting here is also advantageous because it allows you to develop a sales funnel while importing foods to dehydrate, and then later growing those foods yourself.
Jerky is a popular item across the nation and the world. It sells for ridiculously high prices in every grocery store and gas station. The market is huge and undercutting it would be easy. A pound of beef costs just a few dollars, but a pound of jerky costs ten times that.
Fruits and Veggies
Bananas, oranges, apples, and other fruits and vegetables are popular dried snacks. Hikers, backpackers, campers, burners, and many other groups crave these snacks and you can provide them.
There are many materials that can be recycled to produce great local value. Here are some examples. Composting is a good way to create new arable land. If you’re living on sand or rocks in the desert, adding compost lets you garden in the ground or raised beds.
Ashes are a valuable addition to compost which increases the potassium and allows better results for your plants.
Composting takes time and space. If you have a few hundred acres in the desert, you are in a good position to take vegetable waste from restaurants and cafes in nearby towns and compost it.
This produces a lot of heat for up to a year. It could easily be used as a heat or power source by running pipes to collect the extra heat produced by the composting process.
When the compost is done, it can be sold as valuable soil or used to grow more plants.