SEED CLIPPER CLEANER
We (NSF) are purchasing a seed cleaner and screens to make our seed processing more efficient and to provide higher quality seed for our seed distribution programs. The new seed cleaner costs $5,800 and is partially funded for $3,500 by a USDA SARE grant that NS/S received to work on heirloom wheats in Arizona. The seed cleaner uses different types and sizes of screens for cleaning a variety of crops. At the Conservation Farm, we grow and clean a lot of crop diversity, therefore we will also be purchasing a set of 13 screens for the seed cleaner that cost $60 each ($780). This seed cleaner is a small-scale, 2-screen type that is an appropriate model for small-scale farms. It will be available to our farming community to use, including Borderlands Restoration who work on native plant seed conservation for land restoration. It is an example of appropriate technology that is transferable to other small farms and it could be run on solar power.
OVERHEAD SPRINKLER SYSTEM
We are in the process of improving our water and energy conservation on the Farm by switching from flood irrigation to overhead sprinkler irrigation. The Farm has always pumped water up to an irrigation pond using a lot of electrical energy in order to flood irrigate. The pond is now in a endangered species restoration project with Fish and Wildlife that requires a continuous level of water to be maintained in the pond. For this reason, and for reducing the Conservation Farm’s water and energy use, we have decided not to use the pond to flood irrigate. We are looking to fund the equipment for an aluminum sprinkler irrigation system that will include mainlines, moveable hand-line sprinklers, and valves. This system will replace the gated PVC pipes that we have been using to flood irrigate. The aluminum pipes and metal sprinklers will be more durable and eliminate PVC from our farm landscape. PVC is a material that breaks down under UV in 3 to 7 years and it is not recyclable when it wears out.
Thank you Director Nancy Wall for arranging this grant.
The Yachats Public Library is located in a coastal town of 700 in Oregon. Even though it is a “public ” library it is solely funded by the generosity of local residents. This grant is for the Children’s Library program to create and offer a weekend children’s program in conjunction with the local adult community celebration of Earth Day 2015. This addition to the various seminars, demonstrations, beach cleanups, etc. will, hopefully, become an annual event at the library.
Also, this grant will be applied to develop a summer reading program focused on environmental issues and concerns as they relate to the local community. In addition to readings and videos, will be the involvement of participants with relevant expertise–trail management; sea life protection; ocean clean-up; flora habitat protection; birding. Also, the inclusion of previous Amaterra grant recipients; Washed Ashore and Gerdemann Botanical Preserve in your activities may be possible.
Thank you Director Joe Swaffar for arranging this grant.
Watershed Management Group, Tucson, Arizona
Preparing the land
The specific project that Amaterra is funding is a green job training program that WMG is running in partnership with Goodwill. The funding will be used to cover the time of expert instructors working with the youth and for some project materials to complete the project. Over the next two months, WMG will teach how to create a food-producing rain garden.
We will start with facilitating a design activity, where young people will learn how to design a landscape and contribute their ideas. Once the design is finalized, they will help with implementing the garden step-by-step. They will create sunken veggie beds, work on soil enhancements, and create a surrounding rain garden with native plants to attract pollinators like bees to the garden area. They will participate in planting and caring for the garden as well. They will learn about water-wise gardening and desert appropriate food crops at WMG’s Living Lab and Learning Center. We will work with the youth weekly to implement sustainable features at the Living Lab, including rain gardens, greywater systems, native and edible gardens, rain tanks, and natural building projects at WMG’s Living Lab and Learning Center.
WMG also has been working in Tucson neighborhoods (three currently) as teaching composting, demonstrating ways to capture runoff from rains and guide the water to tree wells (a really important project in areas where the streets regularly flood during storms), and encouraging the implementing of water storage tanks.
In addition to the strong local presence, WMG also has similar projects in foreign countries. Last year they partnered with Grampari, an organization in India, to give technical support and train new workers in the areas of sanitation and watershed management. This year they are shifting their emphasis to the Southwestern United States and Mexico.
Another shovel full
The Mission Statement of WMG: “Watershed Management Group develops and implements community-solutions to ensure the long-term prosperity of people and health of the environment. They provide people with the knowledge, skills, and resources for sustainable livelihoods.”
Click here to view their excellent website complete with Youtube videos.