Posted in General Blogs, US Specific Blogs

Herban Renewal – the overall plan

Herban Renewal is a micro intensive urban homestead.  Although it is a stand alone facility, it is part of the larger structure of Mahala Love. Herban Renewal will be used as a teaching base and demonstration garden for Mahala Love, as well as serving to provide food and income for the family living onsite and a small community of people who visit.

Herban Renewal is three blocks outside the Central Business District in Elizabeth City, North Carolina. It is within walking distance of the local downtown shops, restaurants, and the seasonal farmers market.  The south entrance is located on a broad main thoroughfare with on-street parking, and slow consistent traffic from locals.

The location is a typical urban corner lot with a house occupying the bulk of the center.  Unique to the property are an enclosed large pool area with retractable roof panels, a west facing glassed in porch, a flat roof top porch, small concrete patio, and yard that has been divided into 7 separate areas based on environmental conditions or hardscape features.

A mobile “chicken tractor”  houses the small flock of chickens with chicken tunnels to be implemented later in the season, The tunnels will allow chickens to have adequate leg room and more access to insects throughout the gardens. A test vermicompost  structure is active housing 2000 red wigglers. A prototype aquaponics systems is housed in the enclosed pool area, consisting of 11 comet goldfish and a combination fill and drain and deep water culture bed. As the effectiveness of these is determined, more systems will be added.

Although we have no plans to obtain an organic certification, all methods will be organic.  Permaculture and regenerative methodologies will be implemented with the goal to reduce inputs required each year.  Inputs will be tracked and compared annually.

Products will consist of tangible and intangible products.  Tangibles will include micro greens, salad foods, and eventually eggs, fruits, berries and hazelnuts.  Value added products will include herbal vinegars, dried herbs, plants and more.

Intangible products will be online video classes, and on-site workshops. Formal consulting for MicroIntensive gardening startups will be available starting year 2 and informal knowledge sharing available always. A Community Supported Agriculture, (CSA) style package consisting of both tangible and intangible products will be offered starting Year 2.

Homestead skill classes will be offered at Herban Renewal. Courses such as herbal vinegars, hot sauces, medicinal tinctures, vermicompost, small scale aquaponics and more will be offered. Initially we will offer 1 course per month starting in July.  If the Coronavirus continues to be an issue, courses will be offered online only. Some courses will be outsourced to bring in a deeper skill set, and others will be taught by Herban Renewal staff. 

Beginning in Year 2, consulting will be offered for other start ups. Internships through Mahala Love will also begin in year 2. Travel-based project trips through Mahala Love, will use Herban Renewal as a training base.  The income structure from this has yet to be determined.

Production  and quality manuals will be created and used to provide reliable turn key systems as well as track product quality.

Implemetation Schedule:

Year 1, 2020, April – June:  Installment of permaculture plantings.  Rose hedge, fruit trees, berries and bushes to be planted.  Initial aquaponics system built, vermicompost box expanded, compost started.  Overall design to be drafted.  Business plan completed. Research possible Co-ops or other value added business models.  Implement as many space intensive plantings as possible to tend. Make and sell sprouted bread, sourdough products and possibly micro greens and mushrooms. 

June – August: Begin harvest.  Schedule first two classes online. Begin to preserve food. Continue filming and creating manuals with all processes. 

Fall: Continue monthly online classes. Harvest, preserve, expand, Put together CSA packages to start in February. Film, continue manuals, Rinse and Repeat.

Marketing will be determined as the business plan progresses. Initial year’s marketing will be word of mouth and social media advertising.

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