Living Learning Demonstration Site
Our Demonstration site is located in Kykotsmovi Village and is a visible model of sustainable landscaping practices and permaculture design principles. Our site focuses on capturing and utilizing rainwater, stormwater, and greywater to irrigate landscapes with native and edible plants; utilizing local natural materials to build homes; demonstrating ways to grow healthy & nutritious food; utilizing passive solar greenhouses that can grow food year-round; growing fruit tree orchards and much more. Our long-term vision to provide hope and inspiration to the Hopi community and the larger global community through the demonstration of appropriate technology to enhance the lives of people and the natural world. We host Natural Building trainings; sponsor workshops on PV Solar, Passive Solar Greenhouse Design/Construction, Garden establishment, and Rainwater Harvesting; and sponsor Permaculture Design Certification Courses.
Passive Solar Greenhouses
Our greenhouses are designed to grow food and plant seedlings year-round utilizing solar heating and active venting systems. Because our greenhouses are passive solar they are economical and sustainable in that fossil fuels are not used to heat or cool the structures. Our greenhouses enable us to garden easily in difficult situations such as: short season, high winds, low night temperatures, low rainfall, high altitude, low humidity, and cold winters. They also serves as learning sites for local school children and youth to learn about establishing garden beds, plant propagation, and greenhouse gardening. Our garden beds are very productive and we alternate warm and cool crops including cucumbers, peppers, chiles, squash, tomatoes, dill, parsley, basil, kale, swiss chard, spinach, lettuces, snap peas, radishes, and plant starts for our outdoor gardens and landscape restoration.
Grey water Catchment Basins
Greywater from our sinks, showers/tubs, and washing machines are piped directly to mulched filled basins and used to water flowering plants, shrubs, and ornamental plants in our landscape. Greywater is a safe and even beneficial source of irrigation water in a landscape. If released into rivers, lakes, or estuaries, the nutrients in greywater become pollutants, but to plants, they are valuable fertilizers. Aside from the obvious benefits of saving water (and money on your water bill), reusing your greywater keeps it out of the sewer or septic system, thereby reducing the chance that it will pollute local water bodies. Reusing greywater for irrigation reconnects people and our landscapes/gardens to the natural water cycle.
Buildings on-site are constructed utilizing renewable, natural and locally available materials. We have utilized cost-effective, environmentally responsible, and traditional Hopi construction methods, adapted to our local region. For example, foundations/stem walls for our buildings are constructed of natural sandstone, collected from an existing quarry a few miles from the building site and wall systems/plasters are made from earthen materials (clay and sand) collected onsite, and insulate straw bale Heating and cooling is achieved through passive solar design. Our buildings consist of hybrid building technologies including traditional sandstone, cob, and strawbale construction. The dwindling supplies of wood on the Hopi reservation, and the increasing cost of building materials and labor, further underscore the need for housing which utilizes local materials and labor, boosts the local economy, is energy-efficient, and maintains the integrity of traditional culture. Our buildings are simple, beautiful, and have been built by our families, friends, youth, and volunteers.
Fruit Tree Orchard & Gardens
We have planted hundreds of fruit trees and fruiting shrubs on site including; cherries, plums, apricots, peaches, almonds, pears, apples, pistachios, nanking cherries, golden currants, black currants red currants, rose hips, grapes and more. The orchard is sheet mulched with cardboard and wood chips and every tree sits in the middle of a berm and basin in order to maximize precious moisture we receive. Trees and shrubs are planted in guilds with companions such as marigold, yarrow, echinacea, strawberries, chives, mints, bee balm, astragula sp., allums, garlic, basil, chamomille, rosemary and other plants which add nitrogen, deter pests, attract beneficial insects, create habitat, and increase pollination. We also have intensively grown lasagne garden beds where we grow corn, squash, beans, potatoes, onions, tomatoes, kale, chard, basil, cucumbers, chiles, lettuces, bell peppers, melons and other delicious vegetables. The fruit tree orchards and gardens are part of our vision to produce locally grown, healthy and nutritious food in our own community.
Chickens & Turkeys
We raise various heritage varieties of egg laying hens including Araucanas, Rhode Island Reds, Buff Orpingtons, and Dominiques. Our chickens provide many benefits including eggs, feathers, meat and rich manure. Our chickens are an essential element in our permaculture site as they help control pests, aerate the soil, prep garden beds, fertilize our orchards and gardens, eat weeds and kitchen scraps as well as provide many hours of entertainment! We also raise heritage turkeys who are alert to predators, are healthy, live longer, and produce significantly more delicious meat and eggs than commercial varieties.
We care for very gentle honey bees who have become a part of our family in the fall of 2012. Our honey bee hives are comprised of thousands of gentle golden bees who help us pollinate our fruit trees and gardens. They create beautiful rich, golden honey combs filled with some of the highest quality honey in our region. Since our bee hives are situated in various locations throughout the reservation they produce a multitude of flavors of honey according to their forage patterns, from wild sunflowers, rocky mountain beeweed to sage and cliffrose. Our bees are easy to work with and are an invaluable asset to the community. Local school children and community members visit our site to learn about honey bees and we plan to expand our hives in the future.