At Every Living Thing Nursery, you will find many of the plants grown in Subtropical Food Forests. Earnings from the nursery help me meet my financial obligations as I dedicate most of my time--on a voluntary basis--to the Community Supported Foodscapes Project. (CSF)
THE CSF PROJECT
By fostering symbiotic relationships and providing educational content and opportunities for hands-on learning, The Community Supported Foodscapes Project is helping people throughout Tampa Bay transform their lawns into edible landscapes.
The mission of The CSF Project is to redesign our Local Foodscape(s) while strengthening communal bonds and helping people to create intrinsically rewarding, regenerative lifestyles. --By coming together as a community, we can bypass the economic barriers, time constraints, and physical limitations that often get in the way of this.
How does all this work?
* EDUCATIONAL CONTENT: My name is Riley Matthews: I am the owner of ELT Nursery, and a Permaculture Designer working voluntarily to convert a quarter acre lawn in Gulfport, Florida into an edible landscape. I am documenting the entire process and making this educational content freely available via videos, blog entries, and live feeds.
I will also be visiting other gardens, urban homesteads, and Permaculture sties throughout Tampa Bay and chatting with the homeowners. --These discussions will be recorded and freely shared with the public. (Learn about my education and background below)
--Keep in mind that I am not a professional Videographer: the point of this project is not to create high production value videos, but rather to impart information and make connections.
* HANDS-ON LEARNING: The quarter acre property I am working on in Gulfport serves as the CSF hub and provides an opportunity for hands-on learning. As I work to install the various elements of the landscape design, community members are invited to join in on the fun. These events, which are basically hands-on workshops, are free of charge and beneficial on many levels. --They provide opportunities for meeting new people and learning new skills, and in doing so, aid in the creation of a stronger, more resilient community that is capable of meeting more if its own food needs.
* SYMBIOTIC RELATIONSHIPS: CSF Members are encouraged to share information and resources with one another. To facilitate these interactions, I have created a CSF Facebook Group. --This is an online space where community members can share photos and videos of their gardens, ask questions, share gardening tips, swap seeds, barter, etc. CSF member are also encouraged to host community work days in their own gardens. By pooling our information, resources and time, we will all benefit. Truly, "the Whole is greater than the Sum of its parts".
* INTRINSICALLY REWARDING LIFESTYLES: "Envision a world where people do things for love, not money. What would you be doing in such an economy? Would you be reclaiming a toxic waste dump? Being a "big sister" to troubled adolescents? Creating sanctuaries for victims of human trafficking? Reintroducing threatened species into the wild? Installing gardens in inner city neighborhoods? .... What does your own life, your true life, look like? Underneath the substitute lives we are paid to live, there is a real life, your life." ( --Charles Eisenstein, SACRED ECONOMICS).
The more of our needs we are able to meet through community, and without money, the less time we will have to spend earning money. Ultimately, this means more freedom to pursue those things that are in-line with our values, ethics and interests---things which are intrinsically rewarding.
This project is specifically aimed at helping people grow their own food because that's what I--as a student of Permaculture-- have to offer my community. But every single person that becomes involved in this project will have their own unique gifts and skill sets to share.
I believe wholeheartedly that when we nurture and support those around us, we will be treated in kind. As much as this project is about transforming foodscapes, it is about proving that concept.
I'm Riley "Bird" Matthews--owner of EVERY LIVING THING edible nursery, and creator and organizer of The CSF Project. I hold a degree in Sustainable Living from Maharishi University of Management, and received my Permaculture Design Certificate from Permaculture Institute USA in 2011. --Over the years, I have increased my knowledge base and skill set by working on numerous farms and homesteads throughout the U.S.
That being said, I am not doing this because I believe myself to be an expert. Far from it. And actually, I believe I have a healthy degree of Impostor Syndrome: Who am I to do something like this? (I have asked myself this countless times). --But really, who am I not to?
I realize that if I want to see certain changes, I have to be willing to step up and be a part of those changes. So that's what I'm doing.
GET INVOLVED / SHOW SUPPORT
If you see this project as being of value to the community, you can show support and help in any of the following ways:
* Come work with me over at the CSF hub.
* Volunteer to help your neighbors convert their lawns into edible landscapes.
* Convert your own lawn into an edible landscape (with the help of your community)
* Purchase plants from the ELT Nursery, or book a design consultation with me.
* Make a virtual tip via Cash App or Venmo (I'm basically busking; gardening is my music; my shovel is my guitar).
* All educational content generated through this project is FREE to everyone.