|6915 S. 1875 Rd., Humansville, MO, US
Ten acres have been dedicated to create a Sustainable Model Village for use as an Educational Template for the Chapters of the Nemenhah Indigenous People, in Chapters around the North American Continent, as well as to provide a learning center for the local community. The PermaVillage will provide PDC Courses, Week-End Seminars for the Local Transition Town Movement, and will act as a resource to disseminate Permaculture Principles on many levels.
Upon the Northwestern edge of the Ozark Plateau, the site is 10 acres, situated less than two miles from Stockton, Missouri, USA. It resides on the margin between the glaciated and the un-glaciated plain, and the Ozark Uplift bioregion. This entire area was defoliated at one time, all the Oaks, Hickories, Pecans, and other native trees, being completely decimated for use as either railroad ties or fuel for steam locomotives throughout the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. The land was then used for various crops until the soil simply gave out. The region is now characterized by the Missouri State Department of Agriculture as a “Fescue Desert.” Corn and soybeans are still grown in some of the river bottoms, but not without extensive chemical inputs. Where conventional agriculture has largely played out, the original forest is beginning to return. The Nemenhah Model PermaVillage is nestled within a second-growth recovery area, and acts as an example of forest recovery from complete collapse. The most recent is the collapse of the natural environment and its subsequent recovery (although there is still much to do). This provides a legion educational opportunities for our Chapter Members to apply in there own locations elsewhere in the continent, as also for local communities.
Several ancient societies inhabited this region, with archeological evidence placing organized, city populations as long ago as 4,000 years. At one point, the principal city, Cohokia, is said to have had some 200,000 inhabitants, at the same time London, England had significantly fewer. Situated as it is on the edge of bioregions, one being Temperate Savanna and the other Temperate Deciduous Forest, the rivers that transect the region were used for transportation, and many diverse peoples and life ways converged. Most of these peoples were extinguished or relocated to other areas by the Federal Government, leaving the land open to exploitation by the conquerors. The Cherokee Trail of Tears passes very close to the site itself and a burial ground is located less than a fifth of a mile from the southwest corner of the property.
Geography and Soil:
Located on the edge of the Ozark Plateau, agriculture (cattle and hogs) and forage has constituted 100 percent of land up to the collapse of the soil and the local economy in the 1950s. Revovery of the indigenous tree species is nearly climax on half the property. The other half is more sparsely populated with trees and small open areas allow for the preservation of glade and savanna grasses and other plants. The site is located at the very top of a sandstone ridge protecting a poor quality Leonardite Coal deposit at about thirty feet deep. The slope is gentle - never more than 3% - and the soil is mostly sandy silt loam and sandy clay loam in a severe state of humus depletion. constitute as much as seventy percent of land use.
The climate is temperate and unusually humid and rainy, because of the fact that the Ozark Uplift rises out of the surrounding plains and creates a “Weather-Maker” effect over the entire bio-region. Temperatures in summer average in the eighties, but can rise to over 100, with humidity in the eighties to nineties. Spring is stormy with a great deal of rain. Fall is mild and winter is short. Most precipitation falls as rain for an average annual total of 46 inches. This part of the Ozark Plateau has an average growing season of 210 frost-free days.
Vegetation and Wildlife:
Two vegetative categories (savanna glade/grassland, and wooded riparian and forested slopes) exist. Native plants include forty species of Fescue and over three hundred perennial flowers and flowering shrubs, five species of Oak, three of Hickory, Elm, Sycamore, Sassafrass, Persimmon, Dogwood, Redbud, Shadbush, and hundreds of related undercover perennial shrubs and annuals. 32 mature Oaks have been identified as “Guidlmasters” and swale and berm projects are underway.
Wildlife is abundant. Whitetail Deer, Turkey, Grouse, Pheasant, Quail, wild turkey, Skunk, Raccoon, Martin, Fisher, Mink, Armadillo, Opossum, Hog, Black Bear, Bobcat, Porcupine, Fox and Coyote are present.
Project Duration & Schedule
Phase one of the project is midway to completion. A twelve foot diameter Cob House is completed except for the final exterior plaster. This structure was designed as a storm shelter, but also doubles as guest quarters. Two additional cabins have been erected, on of 120 square feet and the other 192 square feet. A 960 square foot double-wide mobile home was placed as a “home recycle” project, and will be retrofitted with light straw/clay - adobe hybrid walls, efficient windows, and interior thermal mass. The well was drilled and a twenty foot deep cistern was dug. The first three “Farmer Trees” now preside over ring berms and provide seven hundred square feet of garden space. When all thirty-two trees are bermed, the total garden square footage will be increased by a magnitude of ten. Each tree will be guilded to six semi-dwarf fruit trees and ten dwarf fruit trees, or berry bushes. Graywater and Septic Reedbed systems have been designed and will be completed this spring. Bamboo forests and coppice Willows will be fully utilized surrounding the reedbed systems. A worm farm has been completed and is providing the earthworms for the garden beds.
Plans for 2011 include: An expansion of our garden to cover more of the families food needs, and the addition of an eighty by twenty-four foot hoop house for income purposes. Produce Surplus will be sold at the local farmer's market and through the Transition Town joint venture group and perennial seedlings will be sold to the Nemenhah Chapters around the continent. Two ponds for Chinampas growing systems and for irrigation will be dug and the dirt removed will be used to level the ground for the hoop house. Zone 1 improvements will be made this spring, including the building of keyhole beds and seeding them with a more diverse range of perennial food and medicine plants, as well as with insectary and mulch plants. Fencing will be used to create paddocks for free range poultry. Barrelponics systems will be featured as research projects in joint venture with the Transition Town group this year. In addition to several other community presentations, we are establishing a calendar with scheduled volunteer days, tours and hands on workshops. We have plans to hold a PDC in late Spring or Summer of this year. DVD Educational materials will be created covering every aspect of the Model PermaVillage for use as a template for repetition in the now over 60 Chapters of the Nemenhah.
This phase will include construction of a light straw/clay - adobe home and classroom with kitchen facilities, and a separate covered pavilion for seminars and outdoor gatherings. Another, larger pond for fish production and erosion control is proposed and will be used also for large Chinampas growing systems.
Time? and Willing Hands
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