Reflections on our year – 2019

Published by Dylan on

2019 was a year of many changes and growth at Pachamama. There has been a big shift towards focusing energies on the reforestation – and we are very pleased to be receiving funding for 2000 indigenous trees to be planted by June 2020. 

We begin 2020 with an established and committed, long-term team of people living onsite: 

Nixiwaka, Dylan, Dan, Chris and Kate. As well as new shareholders, Helene and Alex, who are also spending regular time on the land contributing to the community and opportunities for growth. 

The team has defined roles or departments, although we continue to work collaboratively in all areas, this has been a useful step for focused flow. 

  • Nixiwaka: Founder/Director
  • Dylan: Ecotourism Manager – Kitchen and guest lodge portfolios
  • Dan: Forest wood lot Manager/Firekeeper – manages harvestable log supply, firebreaks and firewood. Key member of the chainsaw gang. 
  • Chris: Pachamama Projects NPC Managing Director. Project manager for the Pachamama Forest Restoration Project. Nursery Manager.
  • Kate: Garden Manager. Volunteer Coordinator. Living Learning Center Lead. Nursery and Forest Restoration support.
  • Werner Avontuur: Sawmill manager, Woodsman and Maintenance. In charge of heavy machinery and the Chainsaw gang. Employed in part by Pachamama and in part by Homtini. Werner has worked on the land for 20 years, serving as an invaluable part of the team.

Economic: 

2019 has seen many systems set-up for improved monitoring and reporting in different areas- these include the sawmill, water storage, the tree nursery, ecotourism/cabins, volunteer and guest contributions, kitchen and food expenses. It is our aim to be able to monitor and record our progress in these interconnected areas, with transparency and accuracy. 

This year we started asking volunteers for a small contribution towards the kitchen and it has been received well.

Funding:

We are really pleased to have been granted a 3 year funding agreement. 2000 trees will be planted in 2020, and the budget includes a part for invasive, alien vegetation clearing and is a great support to continue with the work that has already started in this area. 

In 2020 we hope to get additional funding to expand on this critical work and invest in machinery and tools to facilitate a successful reforestation and ecosystem restoration project. 

Volunteers, Guests and Events: 

2019 has brought more than 25 volunteers to pachamama. They not only contribute to delicious, healthy meals and  hard work on the land, in the garden, nursery, cleaning, etc. They also bring a vital element of appreciation, fun, joy and learning! We have had very positive feedback from all volunteers this year, and are happy to continue the program next year. 

Many sweatlodges, men´s events and beautiful ceremonies have taken place on the land- offering a chance for the community to connect with each other, the land, the forest and the greater community of friends and shareholders. 

The team also participated in the Summer Solstice Gathering – Nixiwaka, and Dan held the sweatlodge space,  and Nixiwaka offered sweatlodge a talk on plant medicine, Chris, Dyl and Kate offered a talk on the Pachamama Forest Restoration Project,  and held a tree planting ceremony.

There have been different workshops, yoga classes and healing sessions offered in the Yoga Hall and many beautiful music sessions in the opa and around the fire. 

In general most volunteers and guests express feeling very at home, enjoy the silence and space and they don’t want to leave! 

Gardens and Land: 

The food gardens are at their best at this time of year! The hard work of early Spring of remaking the beds and filling the pathways with woodchip is really noticable- The community is eating fresh greens from the garden daily, and is stocked on a supply of home-grown seedlings from our new nursery bench. We look forward to harvesting: corn, beans, zuchinis, tomatoes, lettuce, chard, spinach, calendula, celery, beetroot, carrots, chives, onions, potatoes, and much more! 

Soils:

Our composting systems are running at full steam. The vermicompost system is running well and more, large compost piles for use in the tree nursery and generally improving the soil conditions have been set up. We have also made and applied our first batch of compost tea and created a system for creating compost tea every time it rains, then being directly fed onto the nursery and zone 2.

Water:

We´ve been blessed with good rains so far this summer, and are monitoring the rainwater harvesting tanks to keep an eye on this vital resource. We are currently carrying almost full capacity of 35000 liters. We hope to improve catchment in the upcoming year. Two new 5000 liter jojo tanks are needed to increase drinking water capacity, or a bio-filtration system, that allows us to treat dam water to drinking quality.

Alien Vegetation: 

Various large, invasive Eucalyptus trees have been felled to prepare for a future food forest (Zone 2) area. The large logs were dragged by the tractor to the sawmill for milling, other branches were removed and organised used for lining pathways and chipping- so as to be turned into compost. We were very grateful to have a men´s weekend here and their hard work was greatly appreciated in this area! 

Ecologically, clearing these “thirsty”  trees will have a big impact on soil fertility and water holding capacity of the land.

Post fire: many Pines in the area affected by the fire last year have also been cleared and milled, creating space for  some of the 2000 funded indigienous trees to be planted next year.

Sawmill:

The Sawmill powered by the Homtini Foresters team, have been hard at work felling trees, and processing timber to be used in the Pachamama Tiny House Project. We are working on a tiny house design, that will use the resources we have available on the land; and cutting a different cut to usual for the building material. We are blessed to have the woodl on our doorstep, thus are able to use bigger and heavier pieces without the high cost of transporting it. We trust that our new design will be unique and be taking specific sustainable issues related to our immediate environment into consideration.

Carpentry Workshop:

Nixiwaka and Werner are developing templates for the production of Marimbas, bringing the music of the forest to the world. A new and exciting venture at Pachamama.

Tree Nursery: 

The tree nursery, in partnership with Bioharmonic, now has over 2000 trees and is set up to grow and supply the Pachamama Forest Restoration Project.

An additional nursery bench with irrigation has been set up in order to be able to propagate more trees from cuttings and seeds. This plays a vital role in the reforestation. 

Ecotourism:

After a quiet period over the winter, we are now receiving more frequent guests and campers. Reviews have been positive and we often have people returning! We are now also offering volunteers free camping or a 50% discount on cabins, helping to improve occupancy over the quiet months.

Website and Patreon:

Dylan has put considerable effort into updating the Pachamama Website, which is used as an interface between Pachamama and the outside world, communicating what we are doing and what we are about. 

He has also set up a Patreon system for Pachamama, of which we have 3 patreons bringing in $11 a month. We look forward to marketing this, using the video that was made by Shannon, one of the volunteers who spent time at Pachamama over 2019. Link to video

Thank you for your interest in this project, we value your support.

With Love

The Pachamama Team

Compiled by Kate Curtis

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Categories: Blog Post

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