Food For All Nonprofit, Organic, Community Permaculture Farm and Food Forest:
I do not currently make any money with this website as I don’t sell any ad space to advertisers. I have sold a few copies of my book and received a few donations, but not enough to support the work I want to do. I do this work for free because I believe life-saving information should be free, but I cannot move forward in the ways I have to without support. Please consider donating to this website or to the nonprofit farm. Every bit helps. For security purposes, I don’t post my e-mail address on this website, so please ask in the comments below for my paypal e-mail if you would like to donate. You don’t need a paypal account to donate. Paypal allows you to use a credit card without an account. You can also send physical donations to my parent’s house. Please ask for their address if that is your preference.
I wrote the following business proposal for the farm with the intention of sending it to different organizations that offer grants, but it has been very hard to get a grant. Ideally, I would love for this farm to be supported by angel investors and readers alone who believe in these ideas. I could get a loan, but it would mean more uncertainty. I may have to do that, but I am saving that as a last resort. I can only make this community farm where it is needed and wanted by the community. I can’t build it alone. You can show your support for this farm by donating or by writing a comment and telling me it is wanted and needed in your town or that you are willing to lend a hand. I have not yet registered as a nonprofit but I intend to do so as soon as the location of the farm is decided. The farm could save many lives, increase biodiversity, and sequester large amounts of carbon pollution while adding oxygen to the atmopshere. This business proposal consists of the eight following sections: executive summary, company description, market analysis, organization and management, service, marketing and sales, funding request, and financial projections. Thank you for taking the time to read this. I hope you are as passionate about this idea as I am.
We face a crisis with our food system today. The Farm Bill and other legislation have consolidated the power of big agribusiness companies that do not value the land or the crops they produce. 80% of the food grown in the US is fed to our livestock. Most animals are raised in unsanitary, cramped conditions, (CAFOs) fed GMO products, and injected with hormones. Consumers and the animals alike suffer as a result, but animals can be raised humanely and sustainably for their resources and they have been for thousands of years by those who recognize the importance of doing so. Only big agribusinesses and unsustainable farmers stand in the way of more environmentally conscious farming. These farming corporations mechanize agriculture and produce identical life-forms in an attempt to reduce labor costs, which results in lower quality food and less job opportunities for hardworking people.
Many farms in the US also rely on one center well, which extract too much water from underground, lowering water-tables, pulling salts to the surface, and eroding the land. This has destroyed much of America’s beautiful land and hurt hardworking Americans just to make money for big agribusinesses. This is not at all sustainable. However, permaculture farmers have realized the need to respect the land and life on it to keep it healthy and capable of producing enough nutritional food to feed the world. The only reason why big agribusinesses still exist is because they are supported by subsidies and consumers. Monopolies are dangerous, but possibly none are more dangerous than those on food and other essential, life-giving resources like water and energy.
Corporations that make billions of dollars are often seen as “assets” to governments, regardless of their human or ecological impacts. But this is nothing short of misanthropic. They tell us they are necessary and many still believe them just because they tell us they are and they turn a profit. But I am convinced Americans and people worldwide would buy mostly healthy, organic food if it was just as available and cheap as current “frankenfood.” Organic foods from corporations like Whole Foods are cost prohibitive to some, but these corporations still see massive growth because the demand for real, ethically produced food is still so great.
In America large farming corporations rent or buy land until they have extracted as much value as they can from it. They then sell it, move, and repeat the process. Mining companies, bottled water companies, oil, gas, and fracking companies do the same (depleting and / or contaminating the groundwater in the process). The US has seen many of its farmlands and pastures turn into deserts because of this mismanagement and exploitation of the land. Crop rotation and composting aren’t usually employed by big agribusinesses either.Instead, monoculture is preferred and biomass is often dumped into rivers, polluting our waterways, resulting in the growth of algae that consume most of the water’s oxygen, suffocating the marine life, (this is called eutrophication) and robbing the soil of natural nutrients. Expensive synthetic fertilizers and mined minerals are unnecessarily added to compensate for the lack of nutrients that are taken from the soil, but this too is unsustainable. Monoculture also creates a feeding and breeding ground for pests that can evolve to synthetic pesticides, and this keeps us on the so-called “pesticide treadmill.” Most of the food grown in America is genetically engineered and it is grown in mass, sprayed with pesticides, and processed. Healthy, nutritional, organic food is less widely available in America due to the lobbying power of big agribusinesses like Monsanto that rely on GMOs and unsustainable farming practices. They spend millions just to prevent legislation that requires the labeling of GMOs because they know they will lose business if their products are honestly labeled. They are too invested in unsustainable practices to want to change. However, this can easily change, so long as permaculture receives the funding it needs and we refuse to support these corporations that truly help no one.
I have been farming for most of my life and I have spent years researching sustainable agriculture, ecosystems, and pollution. I studied sustainable agriculture at Warren Wilson Farm College and worked on the garden and carpentry crews there, which was a very valuable experience overall. I have also volunteered many times at nonprofit farms like Gaining Ground in Concord Massachusetts, which grows 50,000 pounds of food every year for free for food banks, schools, and homeless shelters. I have also interned on a CSA in Vermont, helped teach a class on agriculture at Buncombe high school, run my own nonprofit garden in my backyard (a miniature version of this plan), volunteered many times at Roger William’s community garden and food forest, and I graduated from URI’s Master Gardener course with a grade of 97 . I have learned through my research and experiences that food and water are not distributed based on need, but instead they are distributed to the highest bidders who are often more concerned with profit than ecological or human well-being. This is largely why so people still die of malnutrition, water-borne illnesses, and dehydration. According to Environmental Science (2014): “1.1 billion people lack access to safe drinking water. 2.6 billion do not have access to adequate sanitation services, and more than 1.8 million deaths are traced to waterborne diseases (mostly in children under five).”
I want to change this as much as I can. What I propose to meet this goal is to construct a model, non-profit, organic, permaculture community farm and food forest that would employ the most disadvantaged portions of the population and rely on volunteers within the community. I will prioritize individuals who are homeless, unemployed, disabled, disadvantaged, former inmates, those dealing with substance abuse problems, and anyone else pushed to the fringes of society who needs a “hand up.” I will also work with those with farming backgrounds and knowledge who refuse to work at corporations like Monsanto because of its lack of concern for sustainability and ethics.
Food For All will offer free organic produce and seeds to those most at a disadvantage and the same will be offered for sale to those with the means to pay for them who want to support the nonprofit and those it will support. The farm will also offer the free opportunity to learn more about sustainable permaculture. I want to initially build a series of very small dwellings on the land for under $1000 each using as much natural materials as possible like bamboo, so that those who need housing and are serious about the project will have a place to stay on the farm. Regardless of the size of the farm, sustainable growth, permanent ecosystem health, and thriving biodiversity that will meet the needs of others without compromising the needs of future or current generations would remain the primary goals.
The farm will not use any gas-powered equipment, but instead use only solar panels for electric energy. Polyculture, partner planting, biological controls (like lady bugs), and naturally pest resistant plants will be used instead of monoculture and pesticides to form symbiotic relationships between plants. Fruit and nut trees will also be planted by the thousands. The farm and forest will use no-till and low-till techniques (using hand tools and electric tillers) to decrease compaction of the soil while maintaining a healthy underground ecosystem. All biodegradable waste produced on the farm will be composted though the emphasis will always be on producing as little waste as possible. Only natural predators like soldier bugs and natural pesticides like insecticidal soap will be used to control pests. The farm will generate zero pollution and, in fact, it will reduce pollution by sequestering carbon.
The farm and forest I am proposing could serve as a model that could branch out to multiple regions of the US and abroad to feed and employ those in need. We will offer free lessons at the farm, which will be open to anyone interested in learning about how we can sustain ourselves. Eventually, the priorities of the farm will become broader. I want to strengthen connections between individuals within the community committed to human and ecological wellbeing. Some have contacted me about this already and shown interest but since this is still in the planning stage at the moment, nothing about the location is certain. Ultimately, the location will be determined by where there is most support and need for this project. After a few years of establishment and building, hopefully the resources will exist to create new locations around the world.
This farm and forest will not just support those who need help, but those who do and are willing and eager to help themselves and their community. The farm will be very much based on the principles of experiential education, ecological stewardship, mutual respect, collaboration, nonviolence, and humanism. There will be no formal leaders or teachers. But the owners of the land will reserve the right to terminate anyone’s position at any time should the land or people be disrespected. (Of course, arguments will occur inevitably, which won’t be grounds for termination necessarily but the group should be extremely cohesive and supportive.) This opportunity will require no formal qualifications, only a very open mind and a willingness to help, teach, and learn. We will all be students and teachers. We will all play different but important roles.
Eventually, I hope that the farm and forest will have the resources to open a farm-to-table restaurant on the land as well. On the farm, only organic produce and trees will be grown. The farm will burn any GMO weeds or “volunteers” on the land spread from GMO pollen, so that every lifeform on the farm should be organic. Aside from organic fruit and nut trees, (including Moringa oleifera or drumstick tree, which can be used to purify water via its seed cakes) the farm will grow some timber and hemp if legal (for construction, rope, and paper), bamboo (for construction), peanuts, rice, grapes, blueberries, blackberries, logan berries, hardy kiwi, service berries, hops, herbs for tea, cocoa, saint john’s wort, medicinal herbs, other staples, edible mushrooms, and perhaps even tropical plants and trees should the climate be able to support them. I may also have a small book press there that uses paper made on the farm to distribute open-source, free textbooks to those in need. This would be a joint effort with the Foundation for a Free Education.
The farm and forest should attract a variety of wildlife that will not be hunted, so it will work to conserve life and not just extract. (Any timber cut down will be replanted so that the farm is constantly sequestering carbon.) The farm will be very vegan and vegetarian friendly, but we will humanely raise some chickens, turkeys, boars, lamb, and perhaps a few buffalo that will be fed a diet of organic produce and grass grown on the farm. All animals will be allowed to roam in as large a pasture as the land can provide and they will be moved to regenerate the soil and to give the animals freedom of movement. Peanuts will be grown because they are high in protein and essential fatty acids, and peanut paste will be made to offer direct emergency food relief for those in need.
I would like to grow coconuts and other tropical trees like bananas because they are high in electrolytes, which are essential for brain function. Coconut water rehydrates the body and it also replenishes some of the body’s electrolyte supply. This is why I think coconuts and peanuts are essential foods to grow to reach the farm’s goal of saving lives. Organic produce from Food for All will be offered to the most reputable local food banks and shelters, working to provide emergency food relief. (Some produce will also go to public schools that need food aid.) I hope an NGO will eventually form out of Food For All that can provide these essential foods to the most food and water insecure regions on Earth. However, nothing from the farm and forest (except seeds) will be shipped overseas because this is an unsustainable way to provide relief. (Shipping peanut paste and electrolyte water is more resource intensive than creating these products right where they are needed.)
Food for All, a collaborative, organic, permaculture community farm will intend to feed all in need in the community and eventually provide food and water aid to other regions. It will focus heavily on efficiency, biodiversity, sustainable growth, and human and ecological wellbeing.
The market is growing hugely for organic foods and hormone-free, humanely raised livestock. But community supported agriculture is being undercut by big agribusinesses that don’t care about our health. Markets like Whole Foods have shown there is a massive demand for organic food worldwide. However, even markets like this cater mostly to wealthier consumers, whereas this farm will be open to all people and offer cheaper organic, nutritional food to more people and animals in the community.
Organization & Management:
Food for All will be a democratic collaborative. There will be no formal workplace hierarchy. Days will start with a half hour meeting about the current concerns on the farm, weather, ways to improve (yield, efficiency, sustainability, etc.), and upcoming projects. All employees will have equal say, but merit and experience will be respected. Money (if and when available for personnel) will be allocated to workers based on their effort, the estimated monetary value of their work, and its benefit to the community, which will be judged by all members in a meeting at the end of the day. However, the farm will prioritize food over money. Food and shelter will be exchanged primarily for work on the farm. Members of the farm community will be allowed to nominate one other member as the hardest worker of the day. The person with the most votes will receive the highest compensation. The person with the least votes will receive the least. However, individual need will always be taken into account. Some may only want food and housing as payment, and these workers will be prioritized over others. Need and want will be balanced. Members will be incentivized to improve to help the cause and others, as opposed to beng threatened with “losing” potential earnings. There will never be any punitive pay cuts. Violations of farm rules would instead be discussed with all members in a meeting, and actions will have to be approved by the majority.
Food for All will meet the demand from the community for organic, pesticide-free produce and humanely raised livestock. It will appeal to consumers looking for nutritional food, those looking to support a charitable cause, hungry people, and those who care about the land and sustaining it.
Marketing and Sales:
Food for All will be advertised largely by word of mouth, community outreach, and local and college newspapers. Electronic brochures will also be distributed to inform potential consumers and volunteers about the farm. The use of paper advertisements will be avoided as much as possible. This page about the farm on my blog will be used to keep those interested updated about the progress.
To make this ambitious project a reality I estimate I will need $155,000 in funding. I know this is an ambituous goal, but this may be what is needed. If I can raise this much, I will allocate $100,000 to the purchase of land, $20,000 for chickens, lamb, turkeys, and buffalo, $12,000 to pay initial personnel before the farm generates revenue or food, (after which all work will be exchanged for food and lodging) $10,000 for building materials, $5000 for solar panels, $5,000 towards a building program that would acquire and preserve new land donated or bought, $1,500 for hand tools, (shovels, rakes, broad forks, tillers, and so on) and $1,500 towards the purchase of non-GMO, organically grown seeds. (If you would like to donate one or more of these, please let me know.) I already have a collection of organic seeds, (some heirlooms) so this will likely be the smallest expense. I plan to do community outreach and marketing on a volunteer basis. I also plan to open a farm-to-table restaurant at the initial farm as stated, which would generate more revenue that could be used to expand. This will also help pay back investors but my hope is that the farm can be funded by angel investors alone.
After acquiring a piece of land, the next few months will be devoted to preparing soils, planting seeds, and construction. The farm will not generate revenue during this time, except perhaps by donations. By the fourth month, the farm should be generating revenue and by the end of year, depending on the size of the land acquired, the investment could be returned within two to three years. Over the first five years, we should be able to substantially alleviate hunger in the community. Seeds will be selectively bred throughout the year and this should give us some very stable and prolific cultivars to work with.
Our member base should be large enough to expand to other regions by the third year. I would like to set up more community farms in poor regions with hunger and water insecurity like the Congo, South Sudan, Rwanda, Nigeria, Kenya, Somalia, India, Nepal, Tanzania, Palestine, Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Turkey, Tibet, the Philippines, and many others. I want to improve human and ecological wellbeing worldwide. The financial projections aren’t as important as the lives that could be saved with this project. It could be a seed for incredible change.
Thank you very much for taking the time to read this and considering investing in this project. This project is a dream of mine, but it could become a reality with the funding. I very much hope you can help build this dream.
Spring and Summer 2017:
This year was the most productive so far. My garden is a very small backyard garden in rainy, cold, industrial Providence RI so given those limitations I was happy with the yield. I grew and donated to meal sites at Open Table and St. Stephen’s in Providence 40.97 pounds of tomatoes, 18.18 lbs of peppers, 1 lb of peas, 8.86 pounds of lettuce, 15.94 pounds of kale, 1 2/3 lbs of carrots, 1.02 lbs of cauliflower leaves, and 2.59 lbs of rainbow chard, a total of 89.9 pounds of food. Not everything grown and donated is pictured here. With a decent parcel of land and the right weather, I will be able to grow thousands of pounds of food to donate.
Organic lettuce donated to meal sites at Open Table in Providence RI:
Organic yellow pear, black vernissage, and Roma tomatoes from garden donated:
Organic peppers, carrots, and kale donated to Open Table:
Organic flowers in the garden to feed pollinators:
Here is a greenhouse I built before I went to Warren Wilson Farm College. I was trying to use as little wood as possible in order to minimize the costs. This type of design is fine where there is no snowfall as in arid, dry climates, but it didn’t survive the harsh New England winter. I was at Wilson when about two feet of snow piled on top off the structure and eventually crushed it. The film over the structure is made of winterized, polycarbonate greenhouse sheeting.
Younger tomatoes after we weeded and laid down hay:
Update October 4th:
As I mentioned the wooden greenhouse I built collapsed when I was away at Warren Wilson from a massive snowstorm. But I took all of the scrap I could collect and built these smaller greenhouses with it when I came back: (The larger greenhouse is made of the roofing from the old greenhouse and almost all of the wood is naturally rot-resistant cedar.)
The roofs on all the structures are hinged so they can flip open, letting in more sun and flip closed to keep the rain, snow, and animals out.
These beds stayed. (The beds on the right are now gone though.) I planted potatoes in the left bed in September. A homeslice tomato on the right in front, and broccoli and spinach in the back right bed. This was taken on September 22nd:
This broccoli was decimated by squirrels shortly after this photo was taken, unfortunately. I have since put up cicada netting over all of the crops.
This is the second structure I built. In the pictures there are organic royal Burgundy bush beans from the Sustainable Seed Company and mammoth melting sugar snow peas from Sow True Seed in the center row. They are climbers (viners), so I set up bird netting down the center for them to climb. On the left side there is organic Lacinato kale. On the right, there is rainbow chard. The kale and chard are also from the Sustainable Seed Company.
Video of the garden:
Below is a video of the inside of the larger greenhouse. There are snowpeas climbing up the netting around the perimeter. There is also broccoli, spinach, and a lot of dragon tongue mustard:
For potential partners:
You will never see an advertisement on this site and it will always be free so long as WordPress doesn’t become cost prohibitive. If it does, then I will move the site and all of the same content to another platform that doesn’t charge. I do this without any compensation because I never want this information to be withheld from people who can’t afford to buy the book. I do have partners, however, who you can see below. I partner with other like-minded writers, organizers, social activists, artists, bloggers and independent journalists, and groups working for human and ecological wellbeing to trade exposure and hopefully impact (but no money). I post a permanent link on this page to their content. I only have two partners at the moment, and I am seeking out more now. However, my main goal right now is to connect with people interesting in helping build the future community, nonprofit perfmaculture garden and food forest. If you run a start up charity or a registered nonprofit I can list your organization on the charities page if you would like any additional exposure.
If you would like to be listed here or on the charities page, feel free to send me a message. I only want to advertise to exchange exposure and impact. I think this is the only way advertising should be done to avoid the constant pervasiveness of advertisements for products and services that are useless to most people. If you want to promote this site, you can use this logo:
I also want to create coalitions among low-income workers, farmers in particular, charities, non-profits, green-energy companies, and progressive small businesses that want to support each other and collaborate to increase the exchange of progressive ideas and expand their impacts. I don’t advertise unions here because not all unions are positive. (Nasty police unions, in particular, come to mind. This is not the place for that.)