Dan Miller

On October 2nd, Dan wrote:

I was not able to attend the SRC meeting as I was out of town, but look forward hearing of the outcome and perhaps viewing the video transcript recorded by Brent Howard.

One definite input I would have made at the meeting give here..

Water usage is the only definite $ cost for those who will steward the Commons. With consideration of out changing climate that is although not as severe in respect to that of drought conditions in California I think the liberal implementation of huglekultur beds throughout the Commons will overtime mitigate water usage and increase the biomass throughout the site. I am referring to huglekultur beds that are meant for perennials. Dynamic accumulators like (Bocking 14) Comfrey and Lupines will assist the uptake of groundwater to other perennials, and overtime breakdown the mineral composition of the gravel base beneath the beds.

For the installment of perennial hugelkultur beds I recommend commissioning Tayler Krawczyk of Hatchet & Seed permaculture consulting to lead a workshop and workparty to install these beds.

There could also be a Sepp Holzer big type hugelkultur workshop and workparty. For such a offering and event I recommend Javan Kerby Bernakevitch of BC Permaculture, Joshua Wagler, and Nick Poeta to conduct these. I do have much experience with the Sepp Holzer type hugekultur beds and question they will actually work well in our climate as our annual rain patterns are different than Holzer’s native Austria. I can see how this might be remedied. Regardless, I think a single one in the Commons would provide a good demonstrator project. Perennials, and not so much annuals are the best plantings for the Commons. They will provide both food and medicine, and be available as propagation material for the immediate community. Of course Lupins look aesthetically great, and some are edible according to Gord Baird of Eco-Sense.

Further to a community perspective, the form and function of the Commons can provide numerous opportunities as a resource to various flourishing businesses throughout the community who can provide input to it’s growth and draw benefit from same.

On October 2nd, Lotus Johnson’s commented:

Re costs and the Commons: From what I heard at the meeting from Lee Herrin, I think that from the point of view of the Fernwood NRG, there have been major costs this year to do with hauling away garbage, (repeatedly, sometimes once a week) which was left on the property by campers and other homeless people. Further there was a considerable amount of time, and therefore costs involved for NRG staff liasing with and fielding phone calls from concerned neighbours, Victoria High School people, School Board and police….. These costs seemed more significant to him than the water cost (although the water cost apparently was high due to leaks in the irrigation system rather than the amount of water which was actually getting to the plants and trees). At the meeting it was indicated that the irrigation system has been repaired now.

On October 2nd, Dan’s responded:

Thanks. I can appreciate better what the NRG had to incur in terms of resources, time and money. However, I brought up the water to illustrate that it is the only essential expense that would be incurred in money with upkeep of the Commons. Much of the work that could happen in the Commons can be of a voluntary nature. Resources such as cuttings, plants–trees, shrubs etc. could be donated. It would be good if individuals who provide plants could be remunerated through charitable tax benefits. This would entail the formation of reporting non profit society heading the commons. Such can be a headache. History has shown that non profit societies can be taken over by outside parties with interest that depart from the original resolution of intent that was agreed upon and written for when the society actually registered itself.

A lawyer willing to work pro bono for an ad hoc society in support of the Commons may be able to instruct the individuals involved how they can form the intent of the resolution in way the could not be altered at anytime in the future without the complete dismantlement of the society to be formed. This is important stuff. The Commons can directed in form and function in a way the serves everyone– neighbours, gardeners, herbalist, foodist, micro-business operators etc. Back to money.. ultimately very little money need be involved to stewart the Commons. It would be good if some fundraising could happen so to at least remunerate the expenses of those who directly contribute to the Commons. Start there anyway.

On October 2nd, Dan further responded:

..A word to my first comment above.. I really do not know potential yield and long term function of a Sepp Holzer huglekultur bed. And I am not criticizing them, and only think it wise to observe how one in our locale fares. The planting strategy for our location maybe quite different from that of Austria. With delusions of rain we receive at growing seasons end it might be quite wise to sow green crops like (no pun intended..) Austrian peas to ensure that the soil in such a huglekultur bed is not eroded. Otherwise, I think these beds are excellent, especially on properties of limited growing space. Certainly, having one at the Commons would be an excellent educational resource.

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