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Permanent Abundance: Free Food in Freezing Canada?!

A project to deliver fresh food, through remediating damaged soils, while empowering collaboration between local communities in Quebec.

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Explain your project idea (2,000 characters)

A dominant culture that has thrived in North America is the lawn culture. Despite it seeming beautiful to many people, this culture proved to be ecologically and socially destructive. Its labor-intensive maintenance is costly for landowners, their neighbors, the atmosphere, the soil and the biodiversity. Money is being spent on burning fossil fuels in noisy machines to compacts the soil and strip off its nutrients. Not to mention the amount of drinking water invested to keep the thirsty lawns green.

How can we encourage switching from traditional lawns to a food-bearing “bio-lawn”? How can we address this urgent, yet under-acknowledged, need through community empowered activities that unlock benefits, in form of fresh produce, for the whole community? Finally, can we make this into a program that makes healthy food accessible FOR FREE for participants?

Permanent Abundance aims to empower local prosperity through remediating abused soils on residential and public spaces to increase the access to local, fresh, and healthy food. Our aim is to provide a dual benefit through maximizing space usage and community cohesiveness by utilizing public spaces and household lawns to install low maintenance edible forest gardens (fruit and nut trees, vegetable gardens, herbs...) and greenhouses.

This project may be hard to market since the lawn culture is dominant. Also, many people fear that growing plants requires a lot of labor and costs a lot of money. In addition to offering private design consultation, we are excited to offer the option to design, install, maintain, and harvest the gardens FREE OF CHARGE! To compensate, the benefit (produce) is distributed ethically in the following manner:
1/4: Landowner
1/4: FREE community-empowering events
1/4: Sold to local markets for profit to compensate employees who are maintaining/harvesting/distributing.
1/4: Allocated for designing and implementing new food forests.

Note: This format is subject to minor changes.

Who are the beneficiaries? (1,000 characters)

Canadian households:
- Ensure economic advantages for households by giving them a way of producing a portion of their own food.
- Growing their own produce provides households healthy, pesticide-free alternative food sources.
- Positively impact the household’s carbon footprint by offsetting their CO2 emissions with flora capable of photosynthesis.

Local Communities:
- This project will need an ever-growing team of enthusiastic individuals who will be developing and empowering their local communities.
- Creating a multitude of job opportunities across a vast spectrum of fields, including agriculture, logistics, management, etc…

Canadian Government:
- Alleviate the economic burden of importing food that doesn’t normally grow in Canada by growing a substantial amount locally.
- Because this idea doesn’t follow a for-profit model, municipalities and rural communities are at an advantage since this project will be pushing the concepts of fair-trade and sustained development.

How is your idea unique? (1,000 characters)

Our vision stems from the concept of self-sustainability, community cohesiveness, and socio-economic development. The proposal of bringing a community together through agriculture is a new idea worth promoting at a time where a rift is being created in our neighborhoods. Furthermore, the produce that we plan to grow include exotic varieties (grown in optimized hyper-efficient greenhouses) that virtually do not exist in Canadian climates in greenhouses.

Imagine a model, similar to that of Airbnb (or even Uber), in which “hosts” can offer to invest in their vacant space, “co-hosts” can be hired to design and maintain the space, and “guests” can benefit from the available space to meet their personal needs. The same may be applied to sustain urban agriculture. This the case of Permanent Abundance project, our engineers and permaculture designers are the “co-hosts” that maintain and operate the vacant spaces, and “hosts” (as a community) are the “guests” - the beneficiaries.

Idea Proposal Stage (choose one)

  • Prototype: I have done some small tests or experiments with prospective users to continue developing the idea.
  • Pilot: I have started to implement the idea as a whole with a first set of real users.

Tell us more about your organization/company (1 sentence and website URL)

Permanent Abundance is an organization with the mission of making healthy food accessible through minimalistic (low maintenance) permaculture and innovative engineering.

Expertise in sector

  • 1-2 years

Organization Filing Status

  • No, but we plan to register in the future.
  • Other

In 3-4 sentences, tell us the inspiration or story that encouraged you to start this project.

Everyone can appreciate abundant access to fresh food. Some of us have vacant spaces, while other have relevant beneficial skills to share. As a Mechanical Engineer, Permaculture Designer, and Airbnb host, I was inspired to connect the dots. Can we design an organized system that provides job opportunities for locals to benefit their communities by utilizing vacant spaces? How can we provide these services for free while still sustain the project economically?

Please explain how your selected topic areas are influenced, in the local context of your project (1,000 characters).

Peace is influenced through the borders created by monopolies in the existing food industry. In the current economic system that is a race for a higher GDP, we are left drained of time and find it difficult to invest any effort in connecting with one another, or even simply with our own nature. Prosperity is similarly influenced as we are continuously encouraged to compete, when in fact collaborating and growing together makes us thrive beyond. Planet is influenced by the vastly common [ab]use of front and backyards through lawning. These practices are destructive for the environment and for the soil; when just remediating it can be highly rewarding if correctly managed. It saddens us to see the obstacles over food accessibility, especially in northern communities of canada. Despite the cold climate, under a different resource management system, we may be able to produce a permanent abundance of food supply; bridging peace, prosperity, and planet.

Who will work alongside your organization in the project idea? (1,000 characters)

Our main partner is Sensorica, an open source hardware engineering network. Sensorica is a pioneer in prototyping as well as collaborative entrepreneurship, and plays a huge role facilitating PraxEco projects through technical support of relevant sensors and controllers to monitor and optimize temperatures, humidity, soil moisture, plant lighting... We are also closely connected with several local permaculture communities, such as Ecomestible[.com], P3Permaculture[.ca], Naughty Nettles Medicinals [http://WeLoveNettles.ca], with which we have performed work trade.

Please share some of the top strengths identified in the community which your project will serve (500 characters)

The top strengths of having this project in Quebec are:
- Food is getting more and more expensive. It is hard to find fresh food and almost impossible to find organic food, especially outside big cities.
- Exposure and eco-awareness are highly present through good media: Possible Media, La Semaine Verte, Decouverte...
- Most houses have generous space availability.
- Quebec's youth are highly motivated to make a positive impact. There are tons of youth-lead eco-projects. A big change is due

Geographic Focus

Permanent Abundance targets local communities in Quebec.

How many months are required for the project idea? (500 characters)

Our team is already established and ready for the pilot project. We are currently the identifying the first group of neighbors to implement it. Depending on the property characteristics, a given budget is needed to set up and operate the first few food forests. Building one community greenhouse hosting a tropical food forest would be ideal to demonstrate the full potential of such a system. All those aspects are definitely implementable within 36 months.

Did you submit this idea to our 2017 BridgeBuilder Challenge? (Y/N)

  • No

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