Saturday, March 28, 2009

Food and Farming Updates

Bob Ogden sent me the following e-mails:

March 28:
Hi Jennifer, Just wanted to update you on the progress of the community garden. I met with Don Jones, City Mayor a few days ago and he is glad to help us get started. He agreed to have the city install a water meter, a water line running the length of the site, and several faucets for our use, at no cost to the group. We will however, be responsible for the water bill. We need to think about fund raising in the very near future to cover expenses.

The first meeting of the people interested in the community garden was held last night at the Senior Center. On very short notice, we had a small, but motivated group of people who had a lot of great ideas. We decided to call the group Sonnenschein Community Garden. We are looking for someone to plow up part of the site (after the water lines are put in) for the start up beds, and the rest to sow in a cover crop for green manure for use as we expand. We talked about open pollinated seeds, heirloom varieties and the dangers of genetically modified seed. We will meet again on the night of April 2nd at 6pm at the Senior Center. I will meet with the mayor Monday afternoon to talk with him and the water supervisor, Bobby McCann about putting in the water system.

PS: We ordered a copy of the film, "The Future Of Food" today. We are anxious to share it with the group. We will let you know when it comes in, so you can check it out.

Anyway, we are on our way to really having a community garden in Hohenwald!
Talk to you later, Bob & Sara Ogden and Leila Oertel

March 14:
Just wanted to bring you up to date on what's going on with the Community Garden project. Terry Bunch, the Director for the Housing Authority, has offered us the use of a two acre lot. It is located next to the Highland Retreat Academy, across from the Ambulatory Care Center. The Academy has a greenhouse right next door and the Principal, June Defoe, seemed excited to help us and said we may be able to start seedlings in their greenhouse. It is likely that we'll get the kids involved with the garden. The land is level, has roads on two sides, water is available by setting a meter. Bob will contact the city about that Monday. Terry also took us out to see another piece of land behind the housing project on the other end of town, back east of High Forest Hardware that is available. Jerry Risner of Buffalo Valley also donated some land that we could use for another garden site. We personally thought the property next to the Highland Retreat Academy is perfect for our project, but it is always nice to have more options. Check it out and let us know what you think.

We are meeting with John Mast, an organic farmer and some of his friends, along with David Mitzel and Leila Oertel Tuesday night at 6pm at the school house by the Yoder Market to discuss a Farmers Market for Hohenwald. If anyone from the group wants to join us, we would be happy to have their input. Things seem to be starting to click for the project, so we are hopeful.

Next week, we will be making phone calls to scout out a place for the Community Garden group to meet and brainstorm ideas. We were thinking about the Senior Citizen Center because the Garden Club meets there already, and they also have a nice big kitchen area that would work well for the Community Kitchen projects. Bob just got off the phone with Mike Sheth, who is very enthusiastic about the Community Garden. He said that he wouldn't be able to physically participate in the garden, but that he would like to help out financially to get it started.

We will be at the County Commissioners meeting Monday night to show support for the proclamation put before the commissioners.

Talk to you soon, Bob & Sara Ogden and Leila Oertel.

Lewis County Green Guide

On Friday March 27 the Lewis County Green Guide was printed. The Guide was put together by Jennifer Daukhsa-English and the Sonnenschein Green Initiative. The eight page guide is loaded with GREEN events and projects for 2009, local businesses that support the Initiative, contact information for all the working groups and their mission and goals. The Green guide will be distributed throughout the city of Hohenwald, Lewis County and the surrounding Middle Tennessee region. It is hoped that the guide will serve to educate residents about local initiatives and that it will increase tourism to the area. Click here to download a copy of the Green Guide.

Green Evening Cafe with a Seed and Plant Exchange

The Sonnenschein Green Initiative hosted the third Green Evening Cafe on Tuesday, March 24, 6-8:30 pm at the Emporium Cafe, downtown, Hohenwald. Food and Farming was the theme for the March Green Evening. Fifty seven people attended the evening, which began and ended with a seed and plant exchange. Cassandra and Tom Warner of Cane Creek Nature Works Farm sponsored the event. Cassandra spoke on the benefits of gardening. Matthew English of Ecological Artisans spoke about applying Permaculture to your gardens, orchards and landscapes.

The Sonnenschein Food and Farming working group also gave a presentation on the development of food and farming businesses such as a local farmers market, community kitchen and community gardens. After the presentations Jennifer Dauksha-English led a World Cafe on Food and Farming. She explained that the cafe process was a cross pollination of ideas and that folks needed to remember that there were no right answers. The process is like an invention room - where all ideas are accepted.

Following is a small sampling of ideas that were harvested through the cafe conversations:
Hold harvest dinners and potlucks; Host garden and farm tours with fun activities for kids; Contact your local farmers and get them to grow just what you need; Start a Freecycle; Incorporate crafts and art into plans for a new Farmers Market; Educate children through 4-H, Future Farmers of America and other unique activities; Need Market to have perfect location and lot's of participants; Co-op market and surplus taken to Nashville; Need a central person to disseminate information about initiative and tips; Support local farmers and businesses; Buy bulk produce from Amish and then sell at market; Give out awards for growing food at local fair.

Jennifer ended the cafe with a think and listen to give people the opportunity to discuss next steps. Although there were no specific plans to adopt any of these new ideas immediately, the evening was a great success as it is a great building block and networking opportunity. Throughout the event 15 door prizes were handed out, more than half of them were plants. On leaving, several event participants stated that they had a lot of fun and that the evening was wonderful for the community. Please join us for these planned series of free, once-a-month evening events building on Hohenwald's efforts to make Lewis County greener, safer, and more economically viable. The Green Evening Cafe series will be the fourth Tuesday of every month. Call 931-796-4874, 888-878-2434 x 5 or e-mail for more details.

Below is a list of Green Evenings:
January 17 - Green Talk and Trade Show Join us for a Green Home Products Trade Show with an evening presentation by Lawrence Brothers Construction.

February 19 - Recession To Sustainability - Getting From Here to There, by Adam Turtle of Earth Advocates Research Farm. Discuss the development of appropriate cooperative local trade.

March 24 - Food and Farming
Join us for a Green Evening World Cafe to discuss the development of food and farming enterprises. A seed and plant exchange will take place.

April 28 - Transition Towns
Join us for a Green Evening World Cafe with discussions on the making of Transition Town Hohenwald and Lewis County!

May 26 - Complimentary Currency
Join us for presentations and discussions on appropriate cooperative trade and regional currencies.

June 23 - Home Grown Fuel
We'll hear presentations on fuel efficiency and alternative fuels, and then discuss the development of local alternative fuel and energy enterprises.

July 28 - Green Business Incubation
Join us for a Green Evening World Cafe on the development of green enterprises and economic development strategies.

August 25 - The Built Environment
Join us for a Green Evening presentation, view a home energy and money saving video called Kilowatt Ours and then discuss the development of green building enterprises.

The series will continue the fourth Tuesday of each month September - December, 2009.

Fourth Transition Update

Transition Proclamation Signed

On Monday, March 16 the Sonnenschein Green Initiative presented a Transition Proclamation to County Lawmakers. Connie Sharp, Debbie Landers and Jennifer Dauksha-English stood before County Commissioners, the County Mayor, the County Executive Director of Economic Development, and the public, explaining the proclamation. In summary, they stated that Lewis County and the City of Hohenwald proclaim to be a community interested in relocalizing its economy through energy conservation, applying Permaculture designs, and through the creation of more green businesses. The proclamation will build on Hohenwald and Lewis County's efforts to make the town and county greener, safer and more economically viable. Members of the County Government gave an unexpected standing ovation after Ms. Sharp, Ms. Landers and Ms. English finished their presentation. A photo was taken of the County Government just before they signed the Proclamation. Attached here is the photo along with the signatory document. Click here to read Proclamation.

On Wednesday, March 18 the Sonnenschein Green Initiative held it's bimonthly meeting. There were 34 attendees to the meeting. Everyone applauded their own work and the success of the Proclamation. During the meeting we spoke about our plans for debuting ourselves as a Trainsition Town. We agreed to continue to wait. We began discussing moving forward with our plans to form a Resolution. Other items on the agenda for this meeting: plans for upcoming Green Evening Cafe's, completion of the Green Guide and new Sonnenschein website, exhibiting at upcoming green events and the Food and Farming Group gave a presentation.

On Thursday, March 19 the Lewis County Herald printed the following on the front page of the newspaper: Lewis County Government Supports Transition T
own Declaration. County Lawmakers Monday Evening signed a document declaring their support in naming Hohenwald (and Lewis County) a part of the Transition Town movement.

The Sonnenschein Green Initiative has not yet declared itself a Transition Town or County despite the signed Proclamation. The group plans to go before the Hohenwald City Officials and the Hohenwald, Lewis County Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors seeking support for the Proclamation during the month of April, 2009. A celebratory event has been planned for June 6, 2009 to unleash Hohenwald as a Transition Town. A date was also set for September of 2009 to unleash Lewis County as a Transition County. The process is moving much quicker than the Sonnenschein Green Initiative organizers had predicted, when they started writing the Proclamation back in December of 2008. When they began the process the committee agreed that they wanted the community at large to embrace the transition initiative before any public declaration was unleashed. Although this process is not at all a required step in transitioning, the organizers wanted to ensure that the support for transitioning came from the residents and that the community leaders were provided the courtesy of having a voice in the declaration.

Aside from the County Government support received on March 16, more than 65 businesses and organizations have declared their support for SGI, during the month of March. The Initiative has about forty active individuals who attend meetings and/or are involved with one of the Sonnenschein projects. To gain even more public support and understanding, on April 26, SGI will host a Transition Town Green Evening Cafe open to the public. During the evening a presentation will be given on the history of the world wide Transition Movement and our local process, there will be a viewing of the Financial Permaculture Documentary about Hohenwald and the evening will end with a World Cafe on Transitioning.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Third Transition Update

The Sonnenschein Green Initiative, Transition Committee held a meeting Wednesday, March 4, with 27 people in attendance. Here are the highlights:

OUTREACH EDUCATION: Jennifer Dauksha-English presented the details for our Summer Permaculture Certification Series, and our 3-day Regional Sustainability Forum, which will be held June 5-7. The group spent 20 minutes reviewing Jennifer's 8-page newly developed Green Guide for Lewis County, TN. The group is trying to raise $800 by asking local businesses and organizations to join the initiative and get their names listed in the Green Guide. The Guide will hopefully be posted in a few weeks.

YOUTH EDUCATION: Debbie Landers again introduced the four students from the General Assembly Academy. The students started a blog - to view their blog click here. They also wrote a letter to the editor about the Sonnenschein Green Initiative - to read letter click here. Debbie shared the students curriculum that they helped design. Click here to view curriculum.

GREEN PROCLAMATION: Debbie Landers and Connie Sharp reported on the progress of the Proclamation. The group decided that the Proclamation would be brought before the City and County in the month of April instead of March, so that we have more time to speak with the City Council Memebrs and Couty Commisisoners. By postponing we will have more time to educate them on the initiative before they vote. Connie Sharp made photocopies of all the Commisioners contact information and passed this out to our group so that the group can make calls over the next weeks.

Food and Farming Working Group also held a meeting Wednesday, March 4. The group is organizing the next Green Evening Cafe' on March 24, 6-8:30 pm at the Emporium in downtown Hohenwald. The Food and Farming Group spent time figuring out the itinerary for the Green Evening. Presentors during the evening will include: Matthew English and Cliff Davis of Ecological Artisans and Casandra Warner of Cane Creek Nature Works Farm. We will also have a cafe conversation (for details on world cafe click here) on food and farming in Lewis County. There will be a seed and plant exchange as part of the event.

After the event planning session we split into three breakout groups: Farmers Market, Community Garden and Community Kitchen. The Farmers Market group noted that the creation of a Farmers Market was being discussed on both the city and county level. One of the members of this group has started communicating with a number of Amish and Menonite in the community to gain their interest in participating. The Community Garden group announced that Buffalo Valley was going to lease the group some land to start a garden this Spring. The lease will be minimal, just enough to cover property taxes. Just after the meeting about 14 people took a field trip to the new garden site. The Community Kitchen group did not have much to report on as this was the first time the topic was discussed since November, 2008. They did identfiy an immediate need for the community kitchen for a potential alternative cheese business. The group came up with a few next steps to contact other operating kitchens.

The next Sonnenschein Green Initiative meeting will be held Wednesday, March 18 from 11:30-1:30 at the Technology Center in Hohenwald. The group meets every other Wednesday. For more details about upcoming meetings and projects contact, 931-796-4874 or 888-878-2434.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Summer Permaculture Certification Series and Demonstration Site

The Center for Holistic Ecology and Ecological Artisans will be offering a summer Permaculture certification series in Hohenwald, Tennessee. This series, as part of the Sonnenschein Green Initiative, will provide local residents with a unique opportunity to receive training and certification in Permaculture at a very reduced price. The organizers of the series anticipate training up at least a dozen locals and hope that the price reduction will enable low-income residents to attend. Aside from receiving this valuable training, participants will partake in the community design and implementation of the local Museum’s new downtown Discovery Center Permaculture site. This training and the development of the new demonstration site will be a first for Hohenwald. In fact, prior to a year a go, there were only a handful of locals in Hohenwald city limits that could identify the term Permaculture. This has changed dramatically since the October 2008 Financial Permaculture Summit and the post-summit outreach efforts.

Permaculture is a design science that takes a whole ecosystem approach to sustainable development. The word Permaculture means permanent agriculture and permanent culture. Permaculture developed in Australia in the late 1970’s by Ecologist David Holmgren and Natural History Professor Bill Mollison and has since spread throughout the world. Leaders of the sustainability movement are applying Permaculture principles and design methodologies to everything from gardens, home sites, village designs, businesses and entire regional economies. The residents of Hohenwald Tennessee are beginning to use Permaculture a primary tool for redesigning their local economy.

The summer series will be taught by local Permaculture Designers: Matthew English, Cliff Davis, Greg Landua, Jennifer Dauksha English, Albert Bates and Adam Turtle.

Summer Saturday Series (click here for full itinerary)
June 13 - Permaculture and Systems Thinking
- Evidence, ethics, principles and design science
June 20 - Natural Systems - Forest, Trees and Climates
- Tour different forest ecoregions in Tennessee
June 27 - Natural Systems - Water and Soils
- Principles of bioregion repair to restore water and soil sheds for productivity
(water storage, conservation, and soil food web)

July 11 - Domestic Systems
- Alternative energy, natural home building and landscape design
July 18 - Cultivated Ecologies - Gardens
- Gardening, mulching, companion planting and composting
July 25 - Cultivated Ecologies - Agroforestry
- Orchards, forest gardens, propagation, aquaculture, bamboo, mushrooms and domestic animals
August 1 - Community Design and Infrastructure
- Business 101, financial ecosystems, regional currencies and strategies for earning a living
August 8 - Broad Scale Permaculture
- Urban design, village scale, ecovillages, transition towns, green ways, bioregionalism and carbon farming
August 15 - Elements of Practical Design
- Tools for site analysis (including zones and sectors), mapping exercises and conducting client interviews
August 22 - Design Day
- Tools for project management, giving presentations, costing and drawing
August 29 - Design Presentations (Open to the public)

$150 Lewis County Students
$250 Lewis County Residents or Chamber Members
$500-full series or $75/day for Non-Residents
Event Location - Downtown Discovery Center, Hohenwald

The event will be held in downtown Hohenwald. Meals, lodging and course books are not included in the course price. Classes will be taught at the Strand Theatre and Lewis County Museum Depot. In February of 2009 Directors from the Museum and Lewis County Historical Society approached the Sonnenschein Green Initiative Permaculture Team, requesting that the group design the Museum’s Discovery Center into a Permaculture demonstration site. Participants of the summer Permaculture training series will partake in the community design and implementation of this new downtown Permaculture site. The full implementation of the site may take many years to complete. The design will likely include: interactive Permaculture and soil food web areas, forest gardens, wetlands, water harvesting features and riparian zones, and a Native American and pioneer historical settlements with naturally built dwellings.

See picture of preliminary site drawing above right.

To register or to receive further details about the Permaculture training contact or call 888-878-2434x5. For details about the Discovery Center project contact The Museum and Historical Society are accepting donations and volunteers to complete the development of the Discovery Center.