Monday, January 5, 2009

Wilder Institute on Nursery Projects

The following text was pasted word for word from and is a must read for all sustainability and permaculture enthusiasts.

Nursery Projects

A successful nursery brings to a community an enormous diversity of plants as well as jobskills. Each of our projects has a nursery component, and our team has extensive nursery design and development expertise.

The nursery becomes a job and educational center from which we concentrate, propagate, and then disseminate the best and most appropriate plant material from around the bioregion into the local community.

Our goal is to establish a network of locally-owned permaculture nurseries throughout Central America by generating an easy-to-replicate business model.

Whenever a community can grow and make available more and different kinds of foods to eat, and more and different kinds of building materials, people are nourished in many ways; besides new foods and materials, new jobs and skills are created in the local economy.

We are adamantly opposed to genetically engineered seeds. A healthy, agrobiodiverse, organic, and thriving local agrarian economy can be facilitated through the development of small locally-owned nurseries.

Nurseries and Small Market Economy

Benefits include small markets for the various crops and yields, protection of soils and watersheds, reduction and possible elimination of toxic pesticides and synthetic fertilizers, and the creation of animal habitat in both wild and cultivated areas.

Diversity of Plants:

  • Food: enormous varieties of fruits, nuts, oils, edible tropical leaves, tubers, spices
  • Medicines: roots, bark, sap, leaves, seeds, flowers, lipids
  • Firewood: fast-growing easily harvestable woods for cooking
  • Construction materials: hardwoods, bamboos, thatch palms, fencing, rope
  • Soil cultivators: nitrogen fixers, plants for soil tilth, shade
  • Animal fodder: grasses, trees, leaves, nuts, fruits, tubers
  • Animal habitat: the more niches in any environment the greater the diversity of flora and fauna
  • Pollinator attractors: flowers for bees, butterflies, bats, hummingbirds
  • Materials for artisan and other crafts: wood for furniture and fine carpentry, gourds for water, seeds for jewelry, bamboos for everything

Diversity of Jobs:

  • Nursery: management, maintenance, grafting, pruning, propagating, composting, irrigation systems, labeling, various levels of horticultural expertise
  • Agro-forestry: establishing and maintaining healthy forest ecosystems
  • Harvesting and processing: drying fruits, shelling nuts, pressing oil, making juices, syrups, wine, flour, natural dyes, fibers, medicinals, finding markets, selling products
  • Working with clients: marketing, client interface, site assessment, consulting, mapping, design, installation
  • Skilled crafts and artisan products: fine woodworking, weaving, natural building
  • Education and outreach: schools, workshops, consulting

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