there is already a babel package and a luci plugin for it in openwrt and babel is the primary magic sauce in byzantium. the services are all easy to setup on linux systems (except status.net kinda sorta) and they are all projects run by other people that we just borrowed from. there isn't really any specific requirement at the moment for what exactly those services are and as long as they don't actively interfere with the protocols used by the mesh it would add to the mesh to have any services running when people connect rather than an empty network where people don't have anything to do or ways to connect. the stuff we selected was selected with our use case in mind and there aren't many things that can't run over a mesh so the services you provide are up to you and your use case. aside from the babeld configs and the BSSID we don't have much in the way of compatibility restrictions either.
we are using babeld by default http://www.pps.univ-paris-diderot.fr/~jch/software/babel/ . it's has mathematically proven loop avoidance. most protocols also don't pass the full routing table around anymore. babeld has gotten past 500 nodes spanning 3 countries at a battlemesh in europe.
as the previous comment stated we added a bunch of network services to the livedistro and if you have ideas on other things to add you can create issues on our github page http://github.com/Byzantium/Byzantium/issues we would love to have more ideas on what could be included for emergencies and we will probably be asking for similar ideas for community mesh networks in the near future for a separate but related project. also those food bins tend to be stuff you can get cheaper at the grocery store or online crammed in a 5gal bucket and they don't last forever so you need to cycle the food in the bucket so you don't have a rotten food supply when SHTF.
in genuine emergencies the fcc tends to turn a blind eye to violators who are aiding the effort to help people in need. that said it helps to have actually done things before you need them to work 100% so that you can shake out all the bugs and gain some experience.
they don't have to be the ones immediately adjacent to you
try installing it to usb as well. apart from the mac issues, the CDs have a version with some issues at boot that are mitigated by using the "copy to ram" boot option and/or using a usb instead of the CD. there are instructions in the "USBINSTALL.txt" on the CD.
we've wanted to do lots of different things including putting routing protocols on tiny embedded devices and air dropping them (missiles/rockets add excessive complexity to design of electronics due to high g-forces). as well as making something like a viral smartphone mesh that propagates as clients connect, but those are significantly more complex and less immediately useful than just helping people to use what they have already. also byzantium is just a collection of tools that we've made play nicely together. the individual bits are all available independently and we only really wrote the control panel and captive portal which are not required for the system to work, just to make it easier. the software we used for mesh routing is already available as a package in openwrt and the other two protocols we are trying to support in the control panel still are either part of the linux kernel or also available in package form from many distros. point being you can put the routing protocol on everything and have the services run on the "beefier" devices.