The Farm

Problem

Our community needs shelter. Lane County has one of the highest per-capita rates of homelessness in the nation with 80% of the unhoused population living in places not meant for human habitation. We are 24,000 affordable housing units short of need with fewer than 2 shelter beds for every 100 people living unsheltered. With existing providers at capacity, our interventions must leverage our existing systems, build on our assets, and produce a diverse array of alternative, non-congregate housing options that can provide positive impacts to the surrounding areas and help those in need achieve lasting stability.

Our community needs food security. Some 527,000 Oregonians are food insecure, including more than 173,000 children and Lane County’s food insecurity rates are among the highest in the state. The pandemic highlighted the need for secure, sustainable, and inclusive, nutrient-dense food systems. A secure, reliable workforce for the agriculture, food, and natural resource industries is necessary to our food supply.

Our community needs a sustainable shelter ecosystem. Climate studies predict population growth in the Eugene and Willamette Valley area as we begin to experience more extreme weather and as the climate and environment change. Government and healthcare partners will invest millions of dollars over the next 3-years on infrastructure and operations to transform the way we design and deliver homelessness and housing interventions using primarily one-time funding dollars. We need to build a model that can sustain itself and scale up to meet the need. Overcoming objections from neighbors concerned about negative impacts on the surrounding areas is vital for the success of participants in the program and the surrounding community. 

Solution

The Farm will connect intentional communities that provide multiple pathways towards socioeconomic recovery and community resiliency in an effective, scalable mutual benefit model for stakeholders.

Benefits to Individuals

  • Belonging. Communities will be designed to empower healing, bolster food security, create jobs, and add to community resiliency.
  • Shelter. Non-congregate sheltering opportunities will be available on the primary hub site and at spoke sites that could include tiny house villages, small dormitory manufactured housing, Conestoga hut, vehicle dweller, cob housing, and RV/5th Wheels.
  • Transportation. Residents will have access to shared bikes from ReCyclized.
  • Work Opportunity. Stipended and paid workforce training opportunities will be available to residents along with personalized support to increase individual stability (income, housing, health, social). Additional hands-on work experience, training (emergency preparedness, first aid and outdoor ethics courses) and/or entrepreneurial support may be offered to planned spoke benefit communities.

Benefits to Community

  • Neighbors: Added community benefit projects that add to a sense of place, and expanded access to fresh local food and community resiliency supports.
  • Site Hosts: Choose from a menu of value-added benefits including on-site security services, on-site agriculture, mural painting, solar power generation, and community recycling services.
  • Businesses: Access to our pre-screened job applicants enrolled in state and federal incentive programs and customized workforce development programming opportunities.
  • Government: Opportunity to Incorporate climate change goals at a local level and support the marketing of local food and beverage industries. Community building with the public, host partners, providers, neighborhoods, and businesses.

Key Metrics

Some of the metrics we will be tracking to judge the success of this program.

# of people sheltered

# of people housed

# of people employed

# of microbusinesses spawned

# of lbs food produced

# of lbs waste regenerated

# of carbon sequestered

# of lbs of items recycled

The Farm is partnering with subject matter experts to design replicable models that will help us sustain more liveable cities, distribute value more widely in the economy, and foster community participation in large scope and scale problem-solving.

inspirations

We are currently working with Ja Schindler, the director of Fungi for the People. He has been a mushroom cultivator and student of fungi for over 20 years, in both research and production scales, and has facilitated hands-on mushroom workshops to over 5,500 individuals since 2009 as an act of social and environmental activism. Ja brings together progressive cultivation methods, environmental research, rich cultivation history, a vast knowledge of fungal ecology, and creative approaches to connecting with diverse peoples into an engaging learning experience.

In October, we are planning a trip to Santa Cruz to meet the Homeless Garden Project. Now in their 30th year, the program has provided sanctuary, refuge, and meaningful work within the healing space of an organic farm. Harvests have provided an opportunity to support their vision and community through a CSA program, farm stand, and crafts sold at local stores and on-line. Our goal is to learn their best practices and replicate their operational success at a local level and with a nod to the Oregon Mushroom Belt.

Organizational Development

We are in pre-pilot mode during our design phase, seeking startup capital investment. Some of the funding streams we are exploring include family foundation grants, Weyerhaeuser Giving Fund, The Ford Family Foundation, Chambers Family Foundation, Oregon Community Credit Union Foundation, business sponsorships and government contracts.

Please contact regeneristas@carryitforward.net for more information or sign up for occasional updates about this project.

ReCyclized

Our first pilot project is launching in the summer of 2021 and is slated to last 12-months. Our goal is to (1) build out a sustainable transportation infrastructure program and (2) develop a collective impact model for nonprofit, for profit, and government partnerships. Regeneristas believes in the mission of solidarity not charity and strives to create more pathways for fulfilling human potential in worthwhile work.

We are partnering with Cyclized, a local company for sustainable transport products. Together we are developing the curriculum and pathways towards a self-sustaining program. The business will donate a percentage of the proceeds of each product sold to support facilities, staffing and stipends for the program. During the initial pilot, Cyclized will help to develop train-the-trainer curriculum and fund research and development.

We are partnering with Carry it Forward (CIF), a 501(c)3 that serves unhoused people in Lane County, Oregon, with a primary concentration in Eugene, Springfield, and rural areas in East Lane County. CIF is a grassroots organization that addresses our community’s housing and homelessness problem on multiple fronts, seeking solutions at the individual, organizational, and larger systemic levels. They will provide fiscal sponsorship and case management support for the ReCyclized program.

We are partnering with Bent Spoke Outreach, a team that has been operating an outreach by bike program since January 2021 in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Bent Spoke is currently distributing over 1000 meals a week to hard-to-reach camps throughout the community. They are working towards nonprofit status. Roger Jensen, Bent Spoke Outreach founder, is the team lead and site manager for the residential sheltering program for the pilot.

Program details

Participants receive (1) basic shelter supports and case management and (2) training and opportunities for work in the following areas:

  • Re-Cyclized: restored, reincarnated and electrified old bikes, made to be stylish, fun and functional.
  • E-cyclized: Customized e-bike conversions
  • Cyclized Bikes: Innovative new electric bikes, trikes and cargo trailers, redefining sustainable micro-transport. 

July 2020 through July 2021

  • Q1: Regeneristas will prepare a transitional shelter site, finalize agreements with community partners, and welcome the first cohort of four to six pilot participants into the program. Together, we will develop our program structure and business plan for rebuilding and electrifying recycled bikes.
  • Q2: Re-Cyclized workforce development program training, focused on teaching bike mechanics and detailing to participants, will begin in earnest. Housing navigation assistance, case management, and peer support are provided to support individual and collective goals.
  • Q3: E-cyclized workforce development training begins to teach participants how to electrify recycled bikes for resale. Cohorts and individuals who wish to incubate microbusiness models enabled by etrike begin work with business mentors.
  • Q4: Cyclized workforce development training concentrated on the production of high cargo capacity etrike begins. At the conclusion of the training, participants leave the shelter and are offered opportunities to apply for paid employment or develop their microbusiness further at a community partner microsite.

cyclized ecargo trike Designs

Cyclized is in the final stages of finalizing the eCargo trike design. The initial bike parts will be largely manufactured in China and assembled by the ReCyclized team until we are able to design components locally.