I am being offered 35 acres of (neglected) farmland in Las Cruces, NM to establish a Food Forest Teaching Facility. Other than owning my own landscaping maintenance business for 10 years and one certificate in Permaculture Design, and of course, my profound vision and passion for establishing a teaching facility for all people but especially the under priviliged and poor in the surrounding area, I am not experienced enough to take on this project alone. My vision is to have the facility largely sustained through students and volunteers with some financial assistance via the traditional channels, as needed. Where do I turn to obtain the info and assistance I will need? NMSU is on board as a collaborator.
What an exciting project/adventure! I'm looking forward to seeing how you progress in the next few years.
I think your first step would be to set up a non-profit as it would allow you grants since it is educational. Also, if you have a non-profit you'd have a lot more people
wanting to be part of the project.
Quivira Coalition in NM would be a great resource. 35 acres is an awful lot for a food forest unless you have serious markets, but for a smaller food forest and some grazing under silvopasture its perfect.
I have the Non Profit portion set up already and am waiting to hear back from NMSU to whom the owner of the land wants to donate to only if they agree to allow me to develop this project which, will ALSO include an Animal Sanctuary and a Retreat Center (or Respite Home for Caregivers). I already have another Animal Sanctuary on board to expand their services to this property and a number of alternative healthcare providers/teachers etc... on board for that portion as well as Veterinary Doctors and Technicians who have expressed interest. I am looking to utilize NMSU Agricultural Students to provide a portion of the labor for this project in addition to local volunteers (and there are many available due to the level of poverty in that area).
This will be a "Pay it Forward" Teaching Facility. As it progresses, we will look to collaborate and support local markets and food banks. I am looking now at Strawbale housing for volunteers (efficiency studio casitas), permanent and/or f/t workers and housing for the animals and vet clinic.
I really need experienced permaculture teachers to step in and offer mentorship OR, take the lead in what will be a paid position (via grant funding, etc) to design this sustainable community! I don't have the time to educate myself in EVERY aspect of this project while simultaneously implementing it (looking to begin in September 2015 ). I need a team of passionate/experienced people who believe in the value of this endeavor to society, as a whole and who want to be a part of a project which will stand to be a game changer in our lifetime.
I appreciate any information, links and connections anyone has AND, I also need a LEAD Permaculturist!