Wow, today has been a wonderful day... the sun was shining, clear sky, temperatures reminding us it's spring, sprouts in the greenhouse, smiling faces around the ranch, horses playing, kittens walking... we couldn't ask for much more. But wait - we also passed our $2000, half-way mark raising funds for our Food Forest! What an incredible joy! We are so eternally grateful and appreciative of all your support and positive energy. It is truly amazing and inspiring and it really makes us believe that what we are doing can and will make a difference.
We want to say THANK YOU to all of our supporters (and we won't stop doing so). We couldn't have imagined such a positive response and your continued generosity is nothing short of magical. It is so encouraging to know that we have people like yourselves backing us, because we truly believe that these are the solutions we need to be working towards. With your help we are able to put them into practice and therefore we will be able to share them with the world.
We want to take this opportunity to fill you in on the things we have been doing around the ranch. The garden has been receiving the bulk of our attention these past few weeks. We've been preparing beds, mulching and building soil, making compost, feeding worms, installing water catchment, and planting grains and flowers (flax, quinoa, amaranth, alfalfa, clover). We also have two mini-greenhouses running, filled with veggies, herbs and other greens. And lots of new sprouts everyday! Though we've been getting a significant amount of rain, we are staying productive, planning, designing and brainstorming, and making new connections all across the rez.
Today, we were blessed with a beautiful, clear and warm day. While we were outside soaking in the sun and enjoying the clear air, we were able to put some finishing touches on the root cellar we've been building, which will provide year-round storage for all the goodies produced from our garden and soon-to-be food forest. We also had a chance to survey some sites for a future year-round greenhouse. We have some great ideas for sustainably producing fresh, local food in the middle of winter!
But, we really want to tell you about the work we've been doing to prepare for the new food forest! We've identified a beautiful site, next to the garden, kitchen and campground. It is a prime spot for visitors to see and explore, while also functioning within the flows and cycles of our whole system. And, we've already started on some of the core infrastructure for the site. The other day we dug one of two new swales (a shallow, uncompacted ditch, on contour) which collects water and aids soil infiltration. Along these swales, we will also be planting dozens of cedars, cottonwoods, and other native trees. These will serve as windbreaks, providing protection and shelter for the young fruit trees and berry bushes. We are also in the midst of compiling a list of species that we wish to plant. Got any ideas? Send them our way... we'd love your input!
We are very excited, and we are thrilled that you are on board with us! But, just as our work doesn't stop with the food forest, our funding also doesn't stop with the $4000. We want you to know, that all money raised above and beyond the 4k will continue to assist other great projects as well (4000 is just a minimum goal, not a maximum limit). We will certainly keep you updated with our other support and funding needs, but to give you an idea - with money raised beyond our goal...
•We can purchase hives and bees, and winterize the hives with natural building methods, for a local Lakota beekeeper who will use the OLCERI ranch (which has many flowers, both native and from our garden) for his hives. A perfect symbiotic relationship with many yields!
•We can extend the windbreaks around the property, bringing more trees to stabilize the land and water supply, and creating shelter for plants, humans and animals.
•We can repair and retrofit our mobile sustainability library bus and take our tour on the rez road, bringing people cuttings of trees, soil, food samples from our garden, and more.
Thank you and Thank you... stay tuned as this project continues to grow. It is going to be a great summer!
From Pine Ridge...
The team at OLCERI
(find us at facebook.com/olceri to see more pictures and daily updates)