Our Story: A Forest Garden at a Health Clinic Bringing Free Nutrition to All!!
Meeting each other as members of the Syracuse Peace Council's Advisory Board, Magda Bayoumi and Frank Raymond Cetera hit upon a serendipitous endeavor to use Permaculture to grow healthy food outside of the newly developing Rahma Free Health Clinic. Magda shared the story of the clinic and their desire to landscape the lawn area around the clinic building. Rahma ("mercy" in Arabic) is a project of the Muslim American Care and Compassion Alliance (MACCA). Frank said to Magda, I can help you create a forest garden to share nutritious food and bring the health care mission of the clinic outside of its doors. Working through The Alchemical Nursery, a Syracuse nonprofit organization using Permaculture and Ecovillage methodologies to instill community regeneration. They both said: "Let's do it!".
The Rahma Clinic is a new resource for Syracuse providing free health care services at 3100 South Salina St. An important part of health is nutrition and healthy eating; it is a well known fact that the southside of Syracuse currently does not have a grocery store providing fresh produce and healthy food choices, and is commonly referred to as a food desert. Young and old are often tasked with finding food options at local corner stores, which often specialize in pre-packaged sugar laden snacks and processed “foods”. More healthy food options are needed for southside residents and visitors.
Read an article about the project from the Southside Stand at http://mysouthsidestand.com/more-news/a-growing-community/
On the surface, this project directly relates the concept of nutrition through proper food choices to health and wellness through integration with the Rahma Clinic’s health care mission. On a further cultural level, this project will communicate and educate wellness choices through lifestyles related to self-sufficiency skills, edible landscape design, and native plant knowledge.
This project will integrate perennial edible landscaping into the urban fabric showcasing: > Use of perennial plant species to reduce annual maintenance of propagation, cultivation and planting needs > Use of native species and ground covers to reduce watering needs > Use of multi-story design to utilize vertical growing space without expensive built infrastructure > Use of diverse plant products for self-mulching and self-fertilizing (maintenance of site integrity).
Want to learn more about forest gardening? Learn from the best at http://www.edibleforestgardens.com/about_gardening
What We Need & What You Get
This project is 100% grassroots and non-profit in nature, and the forest garden will be open to the public for free picking.
We needs funds to pay for plant material (trees, shrubs, berry bushes, perennial vegetables, herbs, ground covers - some of these are largely unknown perennials that are being rediscovered through the Permaculture community worldwide and can be divided in the future for sharing) - $600; educational and identification signage for the plants, site infrastructure such as bench seating, and tools - $700; and administrative & overhead costs towards project implementation and maintenance over the next growing season - $700.
You can view and download a full size version of the planting plan (as seen at left, designed by Steve Gabriel for the Community Permaculture Design Open) by visiting: http://www.alchemicalnursery.org/news/370-edible-forest-snack-garden-design-chosen.html
And you can see our full plant list at: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/ccc?key=0AojqPrjAiK0HdEp1b01jemJrYkJ4VzJRMUliZ1FhbHc
We'll also accept direct plant donations of starts, seedlings, saplings, or divisions if you are able to bring them to the April 14 volunteer day! Just contact us directly to report what you will provide so we can update the plant list.
If we don't reach out entire IndieGoGo funding goal of $2,000 we'll use what we have to make sure we get the forest garden planted with as much stock as possible this spring, and then continue to work into the future for funds to pay for educational signage and maintenance needs. We're also going to apply to a local grant program for watershed related projects - what's more exciting than green infrastructure that also creates food we ask? We all know however, that grants are often hit and miss even for the best writers among us. So your contributions now will ensure our success. Any excess money will go towards a fund for future Permaculture and forest garden projects in CNY.
Check out our unique perks to the right. In staying within our design and creation activities, we're providing variety such as perennial seed mix packs, Permaculture consulting, signed full-color prints of the design seen here, and even a picnic in the garden, among more traditional offerings such as stickers and t-shirts.
Donations made through the PayPal option will be disbursed directly to The Alchemical Nursery (a 501(c) non-profit tax exempt organization), and thus will be tax deductible. Tax deductible donations of $250 or more will receive a donation receipt from the Alchemical Nursery as per IRS requirements. Sorry, IndieGoGo does not enable tax deductions for direct credit card payments, but you can still pay that way if you're not concerned about a deduction.
Other Ways You Can Help
No matter at what level you can give or not, we ask that you help us by spreading the word about our campaign. After all, this is called crowd funding, so we need a crowd right? Don't worry about worrying about who to send it to. If you think it is cool and merit worthy, your friends and family and co-workers probably will too.
Please join us in making this project a reality - it really is as unique and worthy as it sounds, just ask others who are supporting the forest garden. Students from the S.U. Newhouse School and the comm.UNITY program, who filmed, edited, and produced the trailer video for this fundraising campaign. The trainees of the Finger Lakes Permaculture Institute's Community Ecological Design Training course will be giving of their time to join us on April 14th. The Rahma Garden is recognized as a Member Community Garden by Syracuse Grows here in Syracuse. And we will be fortunate to have a Say Yes To Education group high school project participating through a media studies after-school course documenting the project, and volunteering with us on April 14th as well.
We're certainly a fan of the IndiGoGO mantra of DIWO! - 'Do It With Others'. So let's make some action together! It's easy just by using the share tools right on this page, send us a note if you need help figuring them out. And once you sign in as a supporter and a donor, you'll learn much more about the project, our partners, and events and activities though our updates, can't wait to share with you!