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Blending permaculture with my Non-profit Park Project

 
gardener
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Location: Cascades of Oregon
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I've mentioned in other threads about my involvement with river parks in our area. The Park District's limited budget and staffing prevented them from opening the three parks that the District owns on the river.
Everyone bitched but no one stepped up. I partnered with two other local business men and offered to volunteer to watch over the parks.
This started in 2017 It initially was just opening up the gates for day use and closing the gates at night.
One of the parks has campSites after some utter failures, we found a retired  gal as a camp host to watch over the park and rent out the campsites. We accept none of the revenue but roll it back into the park. We have established a long term lease now and created a non-profit benefitting the District. All improvements become property of the District,
The revenue generated pays for insurance, maintenance, electricity and actually a sizeable pot for improvements.
Donations and volunteers have been incredible and have grown exponentially with each success.

On site is a Ranger Station that had been slated for destruction at another location. It was moved to the Park prior to our efforts but needed refurbishing. We replaced all windows, roof, painted, replaced the doors and flooring. This season we will finish the entrance, handicapped access and run the electric prior to finishing the walls and ceiling. Our vision is to use this building as a classroom but are open to other suggestions to make it a revenue generator as well.

A log home builder had a 12x12 display cabin in town that turned into a visitor kiosk and was going to be deconstructed.  We asked if we could have that and it was gifted to our group. A local construction company moved it.  One of the local excavating companies created a pad to set the cabin on. We purchased solar to electrify the cabin and will use it to be the base for a rental operation. We purchased tubes, kayaks and pfd's to rent last summer but with covid, getting a vetted waiver approved by the District and insurance companies ate up the season but we will be ready to go this year.
We started a Faerie House and Garden Art Tour that uses the existing trails for a community art installation piece an anonymous donor contributes to the prize purse each year.  
A white water kayak group has set up a slow moving practice course set of gates since we have deep yet slow moving water. This group maintains the course.
A group of RC car enthusiasts have set up a course for RC racing that takes up a small piece near the entrance and actually has a pretty sizeable draw every Wed. evening, again this group maintains the course.
OrienteEring and X-country ski trail markers were installed by volunteers.

Now to the Permaculture part.
We generated enough funds to purchase a 30x60 greenhouse. The park is 47 acres, we have a space just under an acre for the greenhouse, community beds, and a hugelculture display bed.
Looking forward to developing a food forest with onsite generated plants
Classroom will be ready as soon we can pour concrete for the entry.
We had hoped to have the greenhouse assembled but its delivery was three days before the snowfall started this season.
A local lumber company will donate material for the raised beds our plan is to display waterwise techniques such as hugel, self watering and catchment from the greenhouse.
We get an unlimited supply of chips from the local utility company and their maintaining power lines.
The Park itself generates enough material for Hugel beds.
A new coffee/cafe is opening opposite the park entrance and we have offered to take her compostables for a vermi-bed.
We're starting to schedule classes for this season. Greywater, hugel construction, self-watering beds, bee keeping, propogation, vermiculture, composting.
We have been fortunate to have the revenue generator to make this happen. Even with Covid we generated over 40,000.00 last season and with the additional tube rental income and classroom I can only see it getting better.

It is really hard to put a dollar amount on the  contributions from labor and material.
It all started with solution based thinking, Changing, why can't we open the park to how can we open the park.


What else could/should we do? Classes you might suggest?
 
pollinator
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Wow that is a good park project! I started this topic two years ago https://permies.com/t/125933/permaculture-projects/Building-permaculture-park.  I wish you the best of luck for your park!
 
Robert Ray
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Here is a couple of pictures of our last years efforts. New doors, windows, paint and soffits aren't in these pictures.  Wiring, porch with handicapped entrance, walls, a dropped ceiling with embossed tin is next, I'm debating on keeping the "blue and buggy" pine wainscoting or just drywall. For the siding repair, the profile of the existing siding was nowhere to be found. We filed new shaper cutter heads and molded our own.  I have been gifted a core of helpers that devote a lot of time to get this done. Part of the greenhouse frame awaiting assembly.
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Robert Ray
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Next steps: We have a volunteer schedule set up to help assemble the green house.
During site prep we'll have the trench dug for the hugel demo bed. The bed will be 60 ft long. Each year we have a park clean up where pine needles, fallen trees, rotting logs, have been either burned or hauled away. This year we'll use that material in the hugel bed.
What to plant? Since it is the first year I'd like to see some nitrogen fixers. I'd also like to see a harvestable crop. Lupine, fava, lentil, chamomile, southern pea.
Any other suggestions?
 
Robert Ray
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A couple buying a new tractor gave me their old tractor for my project.
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Robert Ray
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In the high 50's got a chance to assemble the green house trusses. Soon the ground will thaw and I can put up the side walls.
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Robert Ray
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This was used as a display for a now defunct log cabin contractor. The Chamber of Commerce used as a visitor's kiosk for a few years and then decided they no longer needed it. We asked for it and they gave it to us for free. Volunteers moved it and created a pad for it to sit. This will be our new kayak, canoe and tube rental office. More revenue to improve the park.
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Robert Ray
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First spring class: beekeeping.
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Robert Ray
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Cut up a couple ponderosa logs this week to make the community raised beds. After moving the 3-inch-thick x 18 foot planks today my body is telling me that that size might be overkill.
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Robert Ray
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Finally have the frame up, have been fighting the weather and lack of time. I'll get the skin on this week. Couple of volunteers
that worked with me today.
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Robert Ray
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Hugel bed demonstration plot and skin now on the greenhouse.
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Robert Ray
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Finally, last endwall completed, hugel bed planted and sprouting, 24 yards of compost delivered, ready to finish some of my own projects now. Even Freya was tired.
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Robert Ray
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Local lanscape supply shares a load of compost, our community has been very generous.
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Robert Ray
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The vintage ranger station about a year ago and now. Handicapped ramps and porch next. This is going to make a great classroom.
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RANGER-Station-now.jpg
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Robert Ray
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Placing the IBC totes In the educational greehouse there will be four rows of beds with totes. To Keep track of watering needs/use for different types of bed construction. A hugel bed, a self watering bed, a contained hugel bed (a hugel bed in a lined pit experiment), and a conventional bed. There are conventional perimeter beds. We'll pull all the bunch grass in the green house and use it as the local landscapers do for walkway perimeters. The grand plan is to develop some figures for water usage and  production results.
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Robert Ray
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Haven't posted in a bit about my project here is a picture of how we are going to monitor water usage and different types of beds. The bed on the left will be a self-watering bed, next bed is a conventional raised bed, third bed is going to be a hugel bed, the fourth bed will be a contained hugel bed lined like a self-watering bed filled with debris like a hugel. IBC totes will be monitored for water usage and act as a thermal battery.  We plan on making removeable framed hog wire tabletops over the beds that will act as a framework for frost cloth for 4 season gardening and allow space for spring seed starting space. I might hinge the tabletop to use as a trellis on the IBC end if we don't make them removeable. The black screening is a repurposed trampoline screen that is keeping the golden mantles (chipmunks) out with the added shade cloth benefit. Wiggle wire is around the top of each bed.
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What was the greenhouse kit that was used?
 
Robert Ray
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I purchased a 30x60 from Horti-Tech. I did modify the construction minimally for future components I want to experiment with.
 
Try 100 things. 2 will work out, but you will never know in advance which 2. This tiny ad might be one:
Better Wood Heat: DIY Rocket Mass Heaters (8-Movie Set) by Paul Wheaton
https://permies.com/wiki/134176/Wood-Heat-DIY-Rocket-Mass
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