BICYCLE TRANSPORTATION FUNDING: LAWRENCE 2015 BUDGET

May 15, 2014
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MAJOR FUNDING FOR LAWRENCE BICYCLE TRANSPORTATION ON HORIZON

average cyclists
In a lead up to the Lawrence KS budget hearings, Sustainability Action launched an effort to get full funding for a safe and efficient bicycle transportation system.  A slide presentation by S.A.N.’s “Bicycle & Alternative Transportation Program” was well received by the City Commission on 13 May 2014.  The Commission expressed interest in making more money available by increasing the property tax mil levy and/or sales tax.  Sustainability Action also thinks it wise to consider increasing the transient guest tax, a tax paid by visitors to Lawrence for their stay at local hotels and motels.

For 38 years, Lawrence has developed plan after plan for bicycle facilities, but for the most part the plans remain greatly underfunded.  Of the typical spending by Lawrence for all transportation modes, less than 1% has gone to bicycle infrastructure.  For the next 28 years, the Transportation 2040 Plan calls for 0.82% of an annual $41 million total be spent on bicycle AND pedestrian facilities, or only $464,000 per year.  It’s no wonder our existing bicycle network is fragmented, confusing, and unsafe.  Unless funding priorities change dramatically, the future doesn’t look any better.

Citizens can make their voice heard now.  This could prove to be a watershed moment for Lawrence bicycle transportation.  Sustainability Action is proposing that Lawrence budget 10% of all transportation revenues, or $2 million per year, for a build-out of the bicycle system.  We are also proposing that Lawrence hire a professional bicycle transportation engineer who has the expertise to design the system components, a position in the Public Works Department on equal footing with the motor vehicle streets engineer.

To read the specifics of the Sustainability Action budget proposal, click here – $2 million a year for bicycle transportation in Lawrence proposed by Sustainability Action.pdf.

To view the Sustainability Action slide presentation, click here – Lawrence Bicycle Transportation Budget Plan PPT_13May14.

We encourage you to support this through the budget process and make your voice heard.  The first Commission study session will be Tuesday, 20 May, at 3:30pm at City Hall.  That will be followed at 6:30pm with the Commission meeting, where the public can provide input.  More information on the budget calendar can be found at – http://www.lawrenceks.org/budget – when there, scroll down for details about the 2015 budget.

TEN DAY PERMACULTURE DESIGN CERTIFICATION COURSE (PDC)

May 6, 2014
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SUMMER 2014 PERMACULTURE DESIGN CERTIFICATE COURSE (PDC)
by

Kaw Permaculture logo  Kaw Permaculture

 

and the

KPI logo

 

 

Wednesday 9 July – Friday 18 July, 2014
SubTerra Castle Permaculture Center
Keene, KS 66420

 

The Kansas Permaculture Institute is pleased to partner with Kaw Permaculture who will teach this ten-day PDC course at the SubTerra Castle Permaculture Center, 20 minutes west of Topeka, KS.  This is a wonderful opportunity to learn from four instructors well-versed in North American temperate permaculture of the Great Plains Bioregion – Steve Moring of Kaw Permaculture, Michael Almon of Forest Floor Permaculture, Laura Odell of The Light Center, and Amber Lehrman of the Phillips Road Homestead.  Students who complete this 72-hour course will be awarded a Permaculture Design Certificate from the Kansas Permaculture Institute, a program of the not-for-profit Sustainability Action Network.

Our industrial society is experiencing a period of energy and resource depletion while compromising our ecosphere’s life support.  Permaculture promises to create an ecologically sound and economically abundant way of living for all, that neither pollutes nor exploits our natural resources.  By enrolling in this P.D.C. taught by Kaw Permaculture, you will learn about regenerative agriculture, urban permaculture, building soil fertility, food forest design, energy saving structures, biointensive gardening, earthworks and water catchments, and how to foster long term financial and food security for ourselves and surrounding communities.

This information-packed course promises to be personally transformative and a community building experience.  Congruent with the topics central to permaculture design, participants will learn how to apply principles of ecological design to both the urban and broad-acre settings.  The course will include classroom instruction, hands-on exercises, group discussion and teamwork, and field trips to six local urban garden and farm sites

The keystone of the permaculture movement is education in the ethics and principles of ecological design.  The PDC course is the foundation for a regenerative design of our human environments, agriculture and communities.  To this end, Bill Mollison, co-founder with David Holmgren of the Permaculture Movement, established the content and curriculum of a 72-hour Permaculture Design Certificate (PDC) course.  Since the mid 1980s, these courses have been taught in thousands of communities worldwide.

Begin your journey toward sustainability by registering today, and save $245.  Our discounted registration period ends on 1 June 2014.  For detailed information and registration materials, click on the following links:

KPI PDC Course_Syllabus Details_9-18July14

KPI PDC Registration Form_9-18July2014.pdf

For more information, contact Steve Moring at 785-691-7305, or Michael Almon at 785-832-1300.

 

Introduction to Permaculture Ethics, Principles and Design

April 12, 2014
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A Workshop for Urban Gardeners – Learn how to grow your Food the Permaculture way…..
Saturday, April 26, 2014 at the Dreher 4H Building 2110 Harper Ave. Lawrence, KS

This workshop is an introduction to permaculture design for urban gardeners, taught with a practical focus, for renters, apartment dweller, home-owners and lot-owners alike. We will showcase our PermaCommons community garden, its development and management as a collective.  For suburban or city residents who want to transform their immediate environment into something beautiful, productive, energy lean and functional, this workshop was designed for you.

Time: Saturday 8:30 am to 5:00 pm

Cost: $50, includes lunch & resource information

Course Description & Registration at www.kawpermaculture.com/education-training/
For more information contact Ruth Story at rvstory77@outlook.com or 785-418-9620

BURROUGHS CREEK TRAIL EXTENSION TO CITY HALL

January 29, 2014
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Burroughs Trail Extension

 

Burroughs Creek Trail ¤ KDOT Could Link it to Downtown

A key bicycle transportation trunk line is about to become a reality if the Kansas Department of Transportation (KDOT) funds it.  The Burroughs Creek Trail now serves the three east-side Lawrence neighborhoods that launched it in 2004 – Barker, Brook Creek, and East Lawrence.  But currently the trail goes no farther north than Hobbs Park at 11th Street.  If it is built from there to the Lawrence City Hall, this would be the first major bicycle corridor in the city connecting to downtown.

For the past six months, Sustainability Action has been gathering endorsements from a large constituency that supports building the trail from Hobbs Park to City Hall at 6th Street.  A local architect has been sketching possible routes for the trail that has captured the imagination of City officials.  This bicycle link is supported by at least one City Commissioner, by members of the original Burroughs Creek Trail Planning Committee, by local developers, by neighborhood associations, and by many other groups and businesses.

Now the Lawrence City Commission needs to be convinced to commit local money as matching funds for a KDOT partial grant.  Citizens are encouraged to add their voice and speak at the Commission meeting on Tuesday, 4 February 2014 at 6:30pm, at City Hall, 6 East 6th St.

 

SUSTAINABILITY ACTION’S 6TH BIRTHDAY PARTY

December 27, 2013
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Annual Meeting & Birthday Celebration

6th-birthday-cakeFriday, 31 January 2014, 5:00pm-9:00pm

VanGo Arts

715 New Jersey St.

Lawrence KS 66044

 

Come help Sustainability Action celebrate our sixth birthday beginning with a potluck dinner, a great speaker, and conviviality!

We are pleased to have as our keynote speaker, Rachel Myslivy, Program Director for the Climate and Energy Project.  Her speech topic will be “Religion and Ecology in Kansas”Rachel has been involved in many community sustainability efforts, is co-founder/co-chair of the Environmental Women’s Group, coordinated the Ecology, Ethics, and Community Lecture Series, was co-founder/co-chair of the Lawrence Environmental Education Project and Lawrence Community Environmental School, and won the 2013 Sustainability Leadership Award from the K.U. Center for Sustainability.

At 7:00pm, we will recap our 2013 achievements in permaculture, bicycle transportation, rural ride sharing, community gardens, and more, followed by a discussion of our 2014 plans and funding.  Then we will elect our Board of Directors for the coming year.  Since forming in late 2007, Sustainability Action has been bringing to our community local solutions for transition to a sustainable economy.  Everyone is welcome, non-members and members alike, so we hope to see you there!.

LAWRENCE COMMUNITY CURRENCY ☼ An Ecologically Sustainable Economy

September 30, 2013
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How sick is the dollar?Lawrence Community Currency an Ecologically Sustainable Economy

 

In Tom Greco’s 2009 book, The End of Money & the Future of Civilization, he writes: “The politicization of money, banking, and finance has enabled the concentration of power and wealth in few hands. Government and banking have colluded to create a political-money system than embodies a ‘debt imperative’ that results in a ‘growth imperative’ which forces environmental destruction and rends the social fabric. Under this arrangement, the banking cartel gets the privilege of creating money as debt and charging interest on it, while the central government gets to spend as much as it wants without regard to its limited tax revenues or the popular will.

The growth god is dead. The era of seemingly endless growth is, in fact, coming to an end. Shall we lament its passing and try to sustain it a little bit longer, shall we passively watch as our world crumbles into ashes, or shall we welcome the crisis as the opportunity we’ve been hoping for to create the kind of world we want?”

In light of our current economic instability, national and global, Sustainability Action has launched an effort to create a local complementary currency that will help our local economy thrive, and also be able to weather a global economic upheaval. We intend this complementary currency to be a multi-faceted exchange system between all levels of the local supply chain of goods and services.

Money = AgreementA planning group has begun meeting to learn in what ways a local complementary currency will serve our needs and benefit our community. We are exploring how it may function, how to enlist the participation of keystone businesses, how to launch it and expand its use, and what form it will take, whether an electronic trade system, cash currency, time bank, or a combination of these.

Our planning group is helping each other to understand the basics of money and to become more “money literate”. We welcome anyone who has creative ideas and energy to help organize this project. If you are interested in helping, please send an e-mail to – - ralfaroota@me.com

GROWING WITH BIOCHAR ☼ Research and Education

September 30, 2013
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Biochar magnifiedGrowing With Biochar Research and Education

 (Biochar electron microscope image)

Charcoal is an ancient, well-known substance, made from burning wood or other cellulose with limited oxygen. While its use in soil was unknown until a few years ago, we now know that “terra preta” or “biochar” was successfully used by the Mayans in the Amazon for 6000 years to improve the soil’s physical and chemical properties, to enhance soil biology, and improve fertility and productivity. But how to implement this ancient method in temperate climate soils and crops and with modern farming methods is largely unknown, requiring extensive research.

 Several local growers collaborated on a grant application to the U.S.D.A. under the auspices of the Kansas Permaculture Collaborative of Sustainability Action to research biochar. These growers are using experimental plots of vegetables and fruit trees to study the attributes of biochar for their respective crops. The Growing With Biochar Research & Education Project will assist growers to use and test charcoal biochar in soils, monitor, measure and document these early efforts to use biochar, share the information and insights obtained, conduct open house field days and trainings to teach growers about carbon-smart farming, and develop a Grower Manual on how to use biochar.

Hoyland Farm biochar test plot

A series of open house field days are being scheduled for the public to learn from the growers and the research team. The first open house is in conjunction with the Kaw Valley Farm Tour on Saturday-Sunday, 5-6 October 2013. It will take place at Hoyland Farm, operated by Bob and Joy Lominska. Their research protocols involved growing onions, peppers, and sweet potatoes under varying conditions. They used “control” plots in which the crops were grown in their unamended soil. Then they grew the same crops in test plots for comparison’s sake, some plots amended with biochar alone, and others amended with biochar and a bacterial innoculant that tends to quicken the effectiveness of the biochar. Some of the crops showed marked benefits from the biochar use, but for others the effects were inconclusive.

Other growers who are participating in the Growing With Biochar Research & Education Project are Pam Bramlett of Lulus Garden, Jeremiah Peden of Subterra Castle, Jill Elmers of Moon on the Meadow CSA, Tom Buller of Buller Family Farm, Bill Price of Greenman Farm, Stu Shafer of Sandheron Farm, and Steve Moring of Vajra Farm. These growers likewise used test plots and control plots to compare the behavior of their crops under varying circumstances.

A number of these growers will be hosting open houses this Autumn to present their projects to the public. Following the Hoyland Farm open house during the Kaw Valley Farm Tour, the remaining dates will be (subject to change):

Saturday, 19 October; Saturday, 26 October, Saturday, 2 November; and Saturday, 9 November.

These will be half-day field days that feature an intro presentation on biochar use, a biochar demonstration burn, a tour of the test plots, Q & A and discussion, and an opportunity to buy one gallon bags of biochar.

Yarrow Burner_350Also on Saturday, 16 November will be the first of two day-long training days in carbon-smart farming, taught by David Yarrow of the Kaw Valley Biochar Project. The morning session will be classroom instruction in the history, theory, current state of the science, and methods of preparing and applying biochar into the soil. The afternoon session will be hands-on field training in design and construction of a biochar burner, biochar feedstock preparation, screening and mixing and inoculating biochar, and methods of applying biochar into the soil. The locations of each of these open houses and training days are To Be Determined.

DESIGNING EDIBLE FOREST GARDENS ☼ TWO DAY WORKSHOP: Saturday-Sunday, September 7-8, 2013

July 30, 2013
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The Kansas Permaculture Instituteof Sustainability Action is pleased to offer this workshop taught by three well versed and experienced permaculture designers.

Edible forest gardens mimic the structure and function of natural forest ecosystems through all stages of growth. Well designed forest gardens use our temperate deciduous forest as a model, maximize photosynthesis for perennial production of food, fodder, and fiber, while emphasizing low maintenance and minimal external inputs.

The course will cover: forest ecology and architecture, examples of forest gardens, principles of permaculture, site analysis and selection, healthy soil, water management, understanding plant guilds and plant community functions, selection of plant species, the design process of forest gardens, goals and financial plans, and tours of two urban food forests.  Participants will leave the course with plant lists, resources on design strategies, and a base map for scheming and dreaming their forest garden.

The instructors, who have decades of permaculture experience between them are: Michael Almon of Forest Floor Permaculture, Steve Mann of Cultivate Kansas City, and Steve Moring of Kaw Permaculture.  For more information and to register, go to http://www.kawpermaculture.com/education-training/, or contact Steve Moring at moringse@gmail.com, or (785)691-7305.

Course fees are $125 up through 16 August 2013, and $160 thereafter.  Make checks payable to “Sustainability Action”, and mail to: Sustainability Action, P.O. Box 1064, Lawrence KS 66044.  Or pay with our PayPal button in the upper right corner of this page (please add a $5 service charge for PayPal, and note that it is for “food forest workshop”).

 

BICYCLE NETWORK FUNDING PROPOSED FOR LAWRENCE 2014 BUDGET

July 8, 2013
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City Commission Budget Study Session
Tuesday, 9 July 2013, 4:00pm-6:15pm

Budget Public Hearing and Adoption
Tuesday, 23 July 2013, 6:30pm
Lawrence City Hall, 6th & Massachusetts, Lawrence KS 66044

 

After decades of talking bicycles, of making bicycle plans, of drawing bicycle maps, and of piecemeal random construction of bicycle infrastructure, Lawrence still has no comprehensive strategy to fully implement a bicycle network system.  Many local organizations, including Sustainability Action, have lobbied over the years for inclusion of bicycle facilities in road projects.  If Lawrence builds them at all, they usually are small segments (like lanes on 9th Street) or else located in outlying areas where there is low ridership.

Lawrence now has a Climate Protection Plan and a Peak Oil Response Plan that calls for expansion of bicycle transportation, and also a Complete Streets Policy that calls for equitable funding of all modes of transportation.  It is time to do away with the scatter-shot approach to bicycle implementation where too often the excuse is given that “there’s just not enough money in the budget to include bicycles”.

Moving beyond the project-by-project level of requests, Sustainability Action has proposed extensive changes to the 2014 Lawrence Budget.  Not only have we proposed more than $1 million in bicycle construction above and beyond what Federal Highway or KDOT pays for, but we have proposed a reorganization of the Public Works Department to manage that $1 million.  We have requested that the City Commission create a “Bicycle Network Engineering Division” parallel with the existing Streets Engineering Division, and headed up by a Bicycle Division Manager.  This is the way to have year to year continuity, and have someone who will dust off all the bicycle plans and take them beyond being mere wish lists.  With someone in charge and dollars to spend, Lawrence will finally see meaningful bicycle construction.

5th ANNUAL PERMACULTURE TOUR ¤ KANSAS CITY – LAWRENCE REGION Saturday-Sunday, 20-21 July 2013, 8:00am-5:00pm

June 26, 2013
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Saturday – a guided tour of urban sites in Kansas City & Lawrence
Sunday – a guided tour of rural sites in the region

The annual tour is sponsored by the Kansas Permaculture Collaborative, a program of the Sustainability Action Network.  Permaculture is a design science by which we pattern our surroundings to harmonize with nature rather than to subdue nature.  The end result is a farm or garden that is a low-input, self-organizing, mature polyculture ecosystem.  The tour will include a range of examples, small and large, newly developing and well established, garden formats and food forests.  The final farm site on Sunday will host a pot luck dinner at 6:00pm.

This is a group guided tour, but transportation is on your own or by carpooling.  Upon paying the fee, registrants will be provided a daily itinerary and map.  The tour happens rain or shine, within reason – dress appropriately.  Bring water, a hat, sunscreen, bug repellent, and a lunch.  The tour costs $12 per person per day (2 people for $20), and children 11 and under are free.  Space is limited, so pre-registration is required by contacting (785)832-1300 or <paradigm@ixks.com>.

Your Donation Is Tax Deductible