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Its time Appalachia became abundant- will you join us?  RSS feed

 
christopher Sommers
Posts: 8
Location: Appalchia
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Hello, I am a millennial working on turning my newly acquired Appalachia property into an abundant food forest system. I have always loved the Appalachian mountains and after I finally bought some property, this time last year (November 2016), I have had a burning desire to connect with the diverse and endearing people of this great region. For too long, I believe the continents' most diverse and unique landscape has been overlooked and forgotten. Poverty, drugs, depression, and more have plagued our homes but through our community network and using permaculture principles, I believe we can bring prosperity to this diverse place. Instead of communities filled with crime, addictions, and joblessness, we can bring hope, peace, and fulfillment one food forest at a time. Although I know food forests alone will not solve all the problems facing this forgotten area of the nation, just as Diego Footer says, I must start somewhere and do the work.

So I call out to anyone and those specifically with a burning desire and passion for the people and places of Appalachia for your partnership in reviving our Nation's treasure. This is our Country's and the continents most diverse ecosystems. Instead of destroying it for a few, why not work together in our own local communities throughout this region to begin building our futures and investing in our lives. For the other millennials out there, I hope to reach you and form a network of driven men and women that want to work hard for themselves and work together to make a future for all of us!

Let's get growing and I would love to hear from you on your amazing work, food forests, tiny houses, community work, and more.
Check out my channel to see what I have begun. I do want to make a positive impact so I've begun. [youtube]https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC5FPrppGlEV_py3U0Q8CMZw[/youtube]
 
Kat Vernon
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Hi Christopher,
My name is Kat Vernon. As fellow milleniels, my husband and I have been looking for permaculture opportunities for a while, and what you posted looks perfect for us. My husband is proficient with any kind of construction, including primitive technology. I have previous experience with working on a permaculture farm, and i can produce references. We both have experience working with animals including cows, horses, goats, sheep and alpacas. We prefer manual labor, but we have other skills, such as accounting and project management. If you would like any other details about our resumes, please email me at moxopolis@gmail.com.
We are in northern California right now, and we won't be heading east until spring, but we would love to help you bring your vision into reality. We may even be able to put together a self-sustaining subculture that thrives off the earth alone.
Thank you for your time and good luck with everything.
Sincerely,
K. Vernon
 
Noah Smith
Posts: 2
Location: Holmes County, Ohio
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Instead of destroying it for a few, why not work together in our own local communities throughout this region to begin building our futures and investing in our lives. For the other millennials out there, I hope to reach you and form a network of driven men and women that want to work hard for themselves and work together to make a future for all of us!


Well said Christopher.  Fellow millennials, My wife and I just relocated back to my hometown in Ohio and share a similar vision. I look forward to keeping up with your progress.

NOAH
 
bruce Fine
Posts: 54
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i have been thinking along the same lines as a homesteader in east tn.  driving through east ky , inc harlan, cumberland, whiesburg the other day,  thinking how absolutely beautiful the area is but it so very economically depressed. I offered some local kids opportunities to make money and I even offered to teach them skills I went to school for including welding, metal fab and engine rebuilding and they are too lazy to even come over and take advantage of what I offered them. Too many young people want to sit around drink pop, eat chips and play video games all day every day. Stuck in a coma of complacency
 
christopher Sommers
Posts: 8
Location: Appalchia
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Hey guys and gals, thanks for your encouragement! I am right there with you Bruce with how tragic it is. In my opinion the next 20 years will look very different than the previous 20 we have known. I want to start now building friendships and networks throughout this region and neighboring places so that we can help each other learn, grow, and adapt. Recently I have been thinking about Youtube and how I love watching people in warmer climate zones showcase their food forests but hardly anything is shown about our incredibly diverse region. A number of delicious foods we can grow and create is staggering. That is why I want to draw attention to our areas and educate/set an example of what can be done. Plus, as Bruce has mentioned the amount of poverty in such a biologically wealthy area is perplexing. I wish I had you as a neighbor because I would love to learn how to do those things!

Noah, thanks, I will definitely keep up with posting. How has the move been with your goals back in Ohio?
 
Wyatt Bottorff
Posts: 26
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forest garden fungi hugelkultur
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christopher Sommers wrote:I want to start now building friendships and networks throughout this region and neighboring places so that we can help each other learn, grow, and adapt. Recently I have been thinking about Youtube and how I love watching people in warmer climate zones showcase their food forests but hardly anything is shown about our incredibly diverse region..... I wish I had you as a neighbor because I would love to learn how to do those things!


Hello friend, I have been looking for the same for some time! My homeland is a particular(-ly rural) region where VA meets NC at the edge of the mountains. Think Floyd VA, most folks in these communities have heard of that. Anyway I started traveling to Florida 3 years ago for love (I'm now 22, her 47) and took it as the opportunity of a lifetime to ingrain myself deeply into the network and activities there in permaculture; and found my love of herbalism. What drives me now is mixing the two to the fullest possible extent, and making the most of every resource we have from plants and ecosystems, to technological materials/systems, but most importantly communities. If we as this more "cooperative" mind and culture are going to continue to grow and influence as we have we need to get our act together and organize to support one another.
What I'm facilitating, like many others are, is a transference of knowledge and highly localized/specialized goods such as medicine, food, technological manufacturing/scavenging, as well as old-fashioned honest support; across broad yet particular areas. Growing and living are very different in the mountains than they are in Florida, yet the experience I gained there and through those connections is fueling creativity here at home even more.
I agree that Appalachia has, perhaps, the highest to rise of anywhere in the country. (I own literature on the subject)
Personally I have spent the last ~5 years studying several properties in my region of the mountains. Fall and late summer this year we've begun ramping up activities such as sowing and maintaining endangered, wild-simulated forest medicinals, starting trees from seed and bare roots, improving garden beds and installing key perennials to maintain it while providing "something for nothing", importing organic matter, working with water, maintaining existing forest. I have lists of plants native and introduced to each area, something I like to do where-ever I visit.
Something I don't see here is businesses, there are next to no permaculture installation services, not enough consultants OR herbalists/medicine-makers. All are up-and-coming, and I think in time we'll find more like myself who used one or two of these businesses to fuel others. I find that embracing the full breadth of passions is what keeps them alive and helps them grow.
 
christopher Sommers
Posts: 8
Location: Appalchia
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Hey Wyatt, dang you seem to be on the right track. Having the knowledge and experience of traveling also helps our understanding of various places in order to take the best lessons from them and apply them to your area. I am right there with you on the medicinals. Being unable to afford healthcare, I've turned to medicinal plants. Although I have a ton more to learn about them, they have saved my butt many times since I started 3 years ago. Stephan Buhner's books have been a valuable resource on growing this passion. I also see it as my responsibility to look after myself now being in my late 20's. My dad died of kidney disease and not once did he take steps to further his health through medicinals, exercise, organic foods etc. This is not who I am nor do I want to become. I want to take action when and where I can and not just throw up my hands. Have you been able to rent/buy property in your area? I'm up by western MD, there seems to be a growing subculture of organic-back to the land movements here but we have A LOT more to go. My major concern is the economy sinking into an abyss where the forests will be cut, again and again, more mining, more devastating resource extraction destroys any future for us Millennials and generations after us. Having a small piece of property in the mountains now, I do feel a calling to start organizing and making networks with you guys and gals in order to help this beautiful region of the world. In my part, overgrazing is a huge issue. So many farmers put way too many cows on their poorly performing hillsides only to have the grass snipped all the way to the ground and not once does anyone question this system. I am going to be growing thornless honeylocust to get them started to use as a test planting so I can offer the pods to these local farmers in hopes of showing them first hand the benefits of silvopasture. Chestnuts are a major food source for us humans as well as animals. I reference J. Russell Smith's book "Tree Crops" on this when he talks about the European chestnut forests on Corsica and Sicily. Do you have any experience with chestnuts in the Appalachian region? I am trying Euro/Japanese hybrids from Burnt Ridge Nursery due to their blight resistance and their growing habits.
 
Wyatt Bottorff
Posts: 26
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forest garden fungi hugelkultur
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I learned a lot about what I don't want from my parents as well, which I am grateful for. I have not bought land myself, but my parents still live (separated) in the area; I'm fortunate enough to have something to inherit. My expectation is to spend this next ~year to continue building and gaining exposure for my herbal business, using it to fund modifications to the properties. It is good to see a resurgence in homesteading, organics, herbalism etc. The more mass culture screws up, the more people that will see through it. I share your concern for the region, however; it has been raped some thoroughly for so long I have COMPLETE faith that it will continue to serve us. All we have to do is decide to make us of it.
In time as we help each other to get projects at home and in our communities fulfilled we can begin to focus on larger tasks. (Forest restoration, farm-scale designs, community programs, etc.) I'm seeing firsthand how permaculture communities in states such as Florida and California are maturing, since it's been there longer; and it's the real deal! You could live solely within those communities, never needed to deal with the "common folk." Better yet, the numbers of "normal people" joining the cause grows by the day. It turns out people love the idea of self-reliance, they have just forgotten what that means beyond providing themselves a big enough paycheck to live on.
We do have enormous issues that, as you say, most folks never question. From overgrazing to building codes designed for the lowest common denominator, to a medical system that provides just enough service to keep people from taking health into their own hands. (hospital in my hometown closed recently, many of us were thrilled to loose it..... that bad) You've got some good resources between "Tree Crops" and Buhner's books, if there is anything in health or herbalism you could use a hand with let me know; I just finished a certification course in Clinical Western Herbalism and work diligently daily to add to my medica. I'll never know it all, but if I don't know I'll find out where to learn.
I do have some experience working around chestnuts, though I haven't planted one myself. The full Chinese do well, though the folks at the Chestnut Hill Tree Farm have a cross 15/16ths being American Chestnut that will cost you more but may be worth it for somewhat local genetics. I've only just recently heard of Burnt Ridge, I'd love to hear how they do; you may agree that it's very possible that nothing would mean more to this region than the successful repopulation of the Chestnut.
 
christopher Sommers
Posts: 8
Location: Appalchia
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High five to you Wyatt for starting your own Herbalist business! I do have some questions concerning pokeberry. With your schooling, has this herb been something that has been brought up for fighting viruses or other hard to kill bacteria? For the Appalachian region, is there a herb(s) that are particularly well suited for Lymes? I finally found siberian ginseng for sale through Strictly Medicinals for $20 and has been doing ok in a pot outside all summer long. Even stood up well to west facing sun against a wall with less than ideal watering. Ill be planting it in the ground though so I look forward to it's progress. I also have been trying to find Panex Ginseng seed or roots but seems kinda touch in the plant trade on this continent anyway.
Ironic you say that about starting local bc I just saw a video by geoff lawton where he said- nail it, then scale it! That is exactly what you are saying and I couldnt agree more!
I do enjoy the chinese chestnuts as they are the most common ones here, however according to Univ. Michigan their test plots have found that the chinese pollen when fertilizing euro/jap chestnut hybrids produce some sort of nut rot in the bur so I have made my chinese chestnuts for sale on ebay in order to preserve the euro/jap hybrid trees. Looks like I will be growing them and staying away from the chinese.
That is unfortunate about the parent situation and I am glad to hear you are rising above it to make a life/livelyhood for yourself and following your own passions. That is really tough as mine never could understand why I was drawn to loving plants so much. They would have rather seen me do something in corporate which would crush me. I am currently unemployed but very strongly want to start my own plant nursery business. I have a few plants on ebay but would like to have my own website that is similar to Rolling River Nursery and Burnt Ridge.
This is just based on my personal experience, Rolling River is WAY better than even Burnt Ridge. The customer service is fantastic at RRN. They get back to me quickly, settle any possible issues and are just great down to earth people. Burnt Ridge plants do not overwinter well at all here both in zone 7 and zone 6. I have had many chestnuts, english walnuts, and apples die over winter despite proper care on my part. For the price that you pay, you want them to make it and be replaced if they die which Rolling river is much better at doing in my opinion
Even though you have inherited the land yet, are you still able to have areas to plant any medicinals or make them yourself? What are some that are your favorite to grow if you do, and make yourself? I am a huge fan of making my own tinctures. The Everclear will kill most things if the herbs do not HAHAHA!
 
christopher Sommers
Posts: 8
Location: Appalchia
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After listening to Diego on Permaculture voices, I have been really inspired to start a permaculture plant nursery. I am now working towards making my purpose in life my source of income. Being unemployed, and needing to pay for my phone, food, and car insurance has really put the pressure on me to look for employment. I have been filling out many job applications and I have to laugh at some of these places. I know what I am capable of and for anyone else who has built their own house will know, you have more experience than most. This one persnickety human resource woman who interviewed me for a job has almost zero experience other than getting a degree. It amazes me how someone can say to me that I am not experienced enough for what they want. So I laugh and now I am starting my own nursery. Truthfully I have zero idea how this is going to work out and that is not really my job, my job now is to work towards making myself useful in regards to my talents and enriching myself as well as others through plant propagation.
I shudder at the thought of working for someone or a business. Spending your time investing in someone or something, that bottom line does not really care or invest in you. So here it goes, I'm launching Appalachia Tree Crops. This is not limited to tree crops, or the Appalachia region but really takes up the torch from J. Russell Smith and will offer permaculture grown plants of all sorts. Medicinals will be available too and in time I will diversity my inventory. To quote Geoff Lawton "nail it then scale it". Lets do this!
 
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