Small group from rural Missouri

Discussion in 'Introduce Yourself Here' started by ronnon, Jul 7, 2015.

  1. ronnon

    ronnon Junior Member

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    The short version. I have owned my own independent diesel repair shop for 5 years. I have been in the industry for 20 years. I have a degree from OSU and worked my way to general manager of service with in a Caterpillar dealer. Five years ago I left the corporate life style and moved back home to open my own shop. I work on 1 ton pickups up to class 8 trucks, with some tractors and heavy equipment thrown in there every now and again.

    My shop has a huge lot attached to it that I own, and it does nothing but grow weeds and saplings. I have an ample amount of water flow on and to it, as my shop and the parking lot both drain into it. I came upon permaculture sometime ago, however only recently have I began to challenge my own perceptions and dogmas. I began diving deeper into permaculture and enlisted some friends who are also small business owners to help me.

    Our group formed from like minded small business owners who recognize the failings in our current paradigm. We are currently planning a couple of projects. The first being my lot. We plan on building a community area with cob stove and benches surrounded by a food forest. This project and its yields will be completely free for public access during the day. This project site will be about 20000 sq ft. I'll repost exact specs when I post our pics. The aim of this project is to simply provide a place for our community to be exposed to and immersed in permaculture. The location is in town and will probably stretch the city ordinances pretty hard, so that part might be interesting. That leads us to the second project, in the county...where there are no ordinances.

    Our second project is a 10 acre plot with residence. It contains huge bluffs, 2 creeks and a flood plane or wetland. This project we seek to explore the productivity of this type of topography and how permaculture design can create value out of land conventional farming won't touch. We have more of it than you think. We plan to document as much online as possible to show A-Z of our efforts, experiences, successes and failures. The insight and knowledge we can gain from this project and its yields can be used to demonstrate to the community the benefits of such agriculture to at least get the land owners to try it on there undesirable land.

    We are noobs to the permaculture way, and we are from a conventional farming community, so bare with us. We are stubborn and creatures of habit. I challenged this group to pool their expertise and resources with me to see what was possible in a failing community. A lot more than I expected volunteered. We have a ton of work ahead of us on top of our normal daily lives of chasing money. We are happy to be here, and excited to share our projects with you. I thank you for the knowledge you have all flooded into mainstream thus far, I only hope we can add to what you have built.

    Ronnon
     
  2. 9anda1f

    9anda1f Administrator Staff Member

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    Welcome to the PRI forums Ronnon!
    You have outlined two great projects and I'm excited to see more details of what you're working with and the directions you'll be headed with each.
    It's so interesting that you have formed a group of business owners with such astute perceptions ... definitely a unique and wonderful situation!
    Has your group access to Mollison's design manual? Are you planning to take a Permaculture Design Course?
     
  3. ronnon

    ronnon Junior Member

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    I actually have some questions with one section of our lot project, but Ill ask that once I have some pics up. I would love to take a course, but time constraints make it difficult, as nothing available very close. My shop keeps me hopping in the farming season. However I have access to farm and earthmoving machines. I also have one landscaping company involved that wants to promote permaculture landscape in the area. So these will be showcase projects for them as well. So that helps. We were doing a lot of research online, investing in our library, as well as trying to find things close to attend. We're hoping a couple of us can attend a course in the fall. I believe my landscaper has the Mollison's book, but I have not yet read it but its on my to do list. I'm learning a lot, but I'm more of a master of mechanical and electrical things, and I'm fairly good at modivating people. I serve as one of two that is heading these projects, and we are utilizing all the local help I can muster.

    We decided decent plan today is better than a perfect plan next year. I'm trying to use google draw to transpose our hand drawings and will post them as soon as I can. Hopefully we will be moving some dirt as soon as it stops raining here. County Fair this week is a square mile mud hole. We figured can't make any mistakes that we can't correct in the future if need be.

    One of my hooks in the other business owners was, "Do you want to sit on your ass with your kids every evening dissolving your brain in front of the tv, or are you interested in bringing your kids and spouse out in the evenings and weekends with us, having fun while building a self replenishing asset, that can be scaled, cloned, harvested annually, and only requires heavy labor in the beginning?" Some look at me like I'm a crazy person, but I am in rural country. All ask, "What do you mean Self Replenishing Asset?" And there is the hook.

    Rural business owners as well as farmers are not stupid, in fact many are highly intelligent. Even skeptics are interested in observing the project. Farming communities have culture, traditions and collaboration circles that go back many generations all based on the lands history of good and bad experiences, choices, actions and memories. Simply getting Old timers to share stories or old ways of doing things can yield insane amounts of free info about the area, planting failures and cheap or free resources. This also gives you more credibility, respect and influence with the old timer networks. Same with any Elderly person in rural America. These people don't get as much social exposure as they once did. They will embrace your interest in their knowledge and will enrich your life. These networks of old farmers, old businesses, Elderly church ladies, women social groups, old money, and country clubs yield more power in the community than any single entity, person or govt will ever yield in their county. We are attempting unify them into a single force of cooperation and collaboration to save our community and build a foundation of prosperity for those who wish to embrace the solutions we agree to work through together. And do it using Permaculture as our foundation to embrace and master our real problems. There are other influencial communities at your doorstep, few require a campaign to sway. Just good neighbor face to face fellowship will benefit you the most. I know in my community at least, I need these groups and networks as allies and not persistent enemies to successfully change my community for the better.

    We have about 20k people in our county. A town of 8k as the seat surrounded by farm land, rivers, small lakes and small forests. It doesn't take long to meet most of them if you give a little effort. I was gone for 15 years, and had reestablished myself within the community within a year upon returning. That was 5 years ago. Many of them trust me to repair, maintain and advise them on the equipment they rely on to make money. Even though most know way more about green things than I ever will, bending their ears to my efforts is easy. And if I'm fishing I always fish for the big fish. I only ask for advice, never for money or resources when exposing these people to my bait, permaculture ideas, examples and our vision. Many come back after digesting the concepts and examples, just to discuss where they can find info even with our project still waiting to break ground.. And like a bad check, they keep coming back.

    Rural people tend to be very educated in current monocrop farming short falls, from the common citizen to the farmer. The farms success or failure and subsidies is greatly influencing our economics.. Farms aren't the enemy to our businesses or communities. They are our economic blood in rural USA. They also hold massive amounts of land. We see them as victims that have the nuke equivilent power to change the current paradigm. What ever your feelings on farmers, we need them and their land. We also need to protect the family owned farm land from being purchased by Big Agra. We need a better security blanket than tax revenues being allocated to us. And a great many other things we have come to understand. Country people will defend their land fiercely. But this battle can't and won't be won with bullets. So tapping into the protect our privately held lands, traditions and culture has to be achieved while introducing a new tool box of permaculture and rejuvenation. This serves a basis or acceptance for change. Prosperity, food and water security and local manufacturing capability are all keystones of any community. Having them ensures your communities future. This is both simple and easy to convey in your circle of influence. And Permaculture is an excellent teacher.

    Being in the Show Me State, Our first projects entail building some permaculture alters and taking the community to CHURCH. We must have examples and documentation within the community. We concluded we needed a showcase that could give away yields for free; encourage peoples to stop and take a healthy number 2 or deposit excess organic material; serve as a public gathering center for immersion, education and attempt to heavily document all our experiences and results. If we can accomplish this, I believe we will simply be building a foundation to bring life, collaboration and discovery back to our community. Prosperity will start when everyone realizes we just opened a can they may all freely benefit from.

    Don't get me wrong, we have a pretty steep hill to climb, we all have no illusions about the difficulties that lay ahead. I feel even if we only have a couple of farms trying it in small parcels of land within 10 years we will have succeeded. But there is just so much even in town that could be influenced in that time. I think this is what is awakening people here, the fact that the town can survive and thrive if we actually start addressing our situation, problems and solutions as a community and stop waiting on govt to give us the answers to problems they fuel.

    ronnon
     
  4. ronnon

    ronnon Junior Member

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    View attachment 3071

    here is one shot of our sandstone creek overhang. My pictures are too big and this is the only one it would allow me to upload for now. This in on our 10 acre project.
     

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