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My Non-Profit Seeking Bids on Construction and Land Use Design

Posts: 1531
Location: Massachusetts, 6b, suburban, nearish coast, 50x50, full sun, 40" year-round even distribution
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Dear Permies,

So my educational non-profit community has come to a decision that we need to just hire an expert to do a lot for us that's beyond what we have the time and energy to do.

We need to build a building that has the following:

* occupancy 100 people; ideally houses them too for that time period but perhaps they can stay nearby as long as we can house 30 people
* up to 5 days at a time, up to 10 times per year
* large meeting space for lectures and free movement
* integrated with the wildlife, water, wind, earth, and geography around it
* architecture that is aligned with Spirit
*we want the procurement of the building materials to be as low-impact as possible, as well as the impact of the materials themselves within the building once it is built
* if the monetary cost is high that is not a problem if the cause inspires people to step up and contribute what is needed to make it happen; the net effect of this project needs to be support of our spiritual work, rather than us supporting the project. If the environmental cost is high, that's probably going to monkey-wrench the whole thing because we'll just not be willing to go through with it.
* is legal, really really legal.

We're in Upstate NY.

* We have trees. Lots of trees. Maples, beech, some poplar (that often fall over when the wind looks at them cross-eyed), and up higher a bunch of pine
* We have clay.
* We have slope.
* We have water. LOTS of water. TONS of water. Did I mention we have water? it all flows down our slope, in a few creeks, many springs, and lower down there's 2 old mill ponds.
* We have wetlands. Legal restrictions
* We have pristinity (making up a word--ti's pristine here, no toxic gick upstream of us as far as I can tell from looking from google earth)
* We have some animal life,
* We have lots of people who really really care about this, deeply. We're lovable oddballs.
* We don't know how to run a non-profit, or, rather, how to BUILD a non-profit, really, we're all learning.
* We have no paid people basically (just a program director, separate from infrastructure development); we're all well-intentioned volunteers.
* But we have heart. we have spirit. Any one of us would do anything for the community, if the wind is right and the stars line up. Or if the chips are down.
* We can probably motivate money to be donated ot us. We have an experienced fundraiser. And several of us have some fundraising experience
* We have a charismatic figurehead who can also inspire money to be donated if there is a clear need and clear cause and clear benefit. he could inspire money to be donated for him, in a sense, for his mission, rather than for us as a random group of people who are involved in the work but aren't the primary teachers.

I like to think we can have this project just sort of flow past us without takin up too much of our attention, it's a mask to put on for the public, and it just needs to be a sustainable mask. congruent with our values of respect for life and environment.

We're seeking bids now. I'm trying to get permaculturists to bid on this. I also want to be open to any bid that serves the stated goals without bias.

We looking at getting bids on this because doing it ourselves just doesn't look viable. we're not there on the land physically enough of the time. And we need this building largely to please the public, to be a kind of public-face suit we put on. So sourcing this out to someone makes more sense than doing every little piece ourselves (at the same time, we have educated ourselves on what's a sane and sutainable way of doing each piece: composting toilets, water supply, heat, water capturing, using land resourcefully, relating well with wildlife, building materials--so we're educated consumers rather than blind)

We have two decades-long-experienced permaculturists in the area who could bid on this. I don't know if they'll actually bid like a contracting company, rather than needing to be paid first to do a design. Is that what regular contracting companies do? I don't know that either. Never done this before.

* It would be best if we could have one fundraiser of a whole amount we need to raise rather than two fundraisers of a design charge and then a build install charge.

Any idea how to go about getting the best bids?
Any other thoughts?

(This doesn't really go under any of the existing forums I could tell, if someone wants to move it please go ahead)

Hope this is clear.

Thanks geniuses!

Joshua Myrvaagnes
Posts: 1531
Location: Massachusetts, 6b, suburban, nearish coast, 50x50, full sun, 40" year-round even distribution
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PS THIS is already in Upstate NY -- Omega institute's Living Building waste-water treatment building.


Other non-profits in the area have used land that was already built into something--an old Shaker village or something like that.

We can't move our non-profit for spiritual reasons; our land is sacred to us. It took yeras to build the spiritual apparatus on the land--a decade--and it's steeped the land in its impact for that decade. If we did just move into a shaker village (one's up for sale half price down 30 miles away last I heard) we'd have to do 10 years of construction again of spiritual apparatus, and we would still need to maintian the first apparatus, whcih includes having village there, life, people, social energy, ritual, meaningful time spent there. We still must be stewards of that land and our Tingansob (shrinekeeper) is committed to that piece of land and all of us committed to it for the next three generations.
Willie Smits: Village Based Permaculture Approaches in Indonesia (video)
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