Art, Community Gardening and Ecological Education
After several years of visioning, planning and meetings....along with ongoing activities and programs like our Earth Day Parade Building, managing the Community Gardens, and developing Permaculture-based programs....we have an official HOME to call our own!
In 2009 the Management Agreement for the Historic Barns Park between Little Artshram and the Recreational Authority of the City of Traverse City and Garfield Township was signed. We are now in delicate negotiations with our landlords to ensure our continued presence at the site.
The Historic Barns Park was once a working 54-acre, self-sufficient agricultural farm that served the State Mental Hospital. This beautiful green-space which is just west of downtown Traverse City has been described as our version of NYC Central Park. The landscape truly is pastoral with open space and meadows, and further west of both the Barns property and the Village of the Grand Traverse Commons development, eight hiking trails wind themselves through a beautiful woodland and wetland conservation area and wildlife habitat.
This is now the "official" home-place for our Community Gardens and our projects and programs! We occupy 4.3 acres along with an old garage building which we plan to transform into our Community Learning Center and workshop space.
The first-ever Northwest Michigan Permaculture Design Course, which was held over a six-month period in 2010 and 2011, generated seven student designs for our site, including ideas for the Community Garden, the CSA program (that supplies garden experience to teens and young adults while providing area families with organic produce), the Community Learning Center, and a more remote portion of our site that we call “Zone 5.” As part of Little Artshrams’s ongoing design process that began in 2008 when we first created the “Barns Proposal” that was embraced by the Recreational Authority, these designs will be analyzed and synthesized with input from our board, advisory circle, and the community, as we move towards implementation of our ideas to transform the site.
Our summer camp for children and youth 6 years and older continues to take place at the Community Gardens near the Historic Barns and in the nearby Munson Woods. The theme of last year’s camp was “3 Ways To Compost,” and next summer’s camp will also be based on Permaculture principles.
We realize that not everyone is yet familiar with the term “Permaculture.” Very simply, Permaculture is a science-based ethical design system. Think of it as a toolbox we use to answer the all-encompassing question "How do we live sustainably?" Founded in three ethics: Earth Care, People Care and Fair Share, practitioners of permaculture use nature-inspired design with methods based in science, engineering, agriculture, finance, and community-building to create sustainable, regenerative human habitat. It is a growing worldwide movement that employs organic agriculture, urban farming, “green” design, and many other approaches to teach and provide a practical framework for individuals to take responsibility for themselves, their children and their community.
We are growing a community of Permaculturists as young as 6 years old! It is Little Artshram’s mission to both teach and practice this design science, with its principles derived from systems that work in the natural world. In addition to our classes, camps and workshops, we are developing the Urban Farming Collective, to spread community gardening throughout the region, and are currently sponsoring Continual University, which brings in local, national and international experts to address the important issues of our time.
Please join our efforts by supporting us in any way you can!