A Bold Experiment - Be Part of It:
Internship in Skills of Sustainable Living
THE HIGH DESERT HOMESTEADING PROJECT is evolving "off the grid" at an altitude of 7,500 feet "in the middle of nowhere" in the southwest quadrant of Colorado. It occupies land "five miles from nearest maintained road or utility pole," a 45-minute roundtrip from the mail pickup, and "35 minutes one-way from the nearest small grocery store." To reach a well-stocked building supply store or a "real" grocery store means an 80-minute drive one way. All in all, a challenging location. Add in the terrain and climate of the area—thin high-altitude air, short growing seasons. intense temperatures with sudden variations, high winds, and poor soil (primarily dead sand)—and the setting would seem likely to defeat even well- developed strategies of self-sufficiency and sustainability.
Yet what a visitor to the High Desert Project in fact finds there is an oasis of lush, thriving vegetation, even touches of beauty, and an overall ambience of peace and thriving. How did such a miracle happen? For people interested in finding out, Brooks Center for Spirituality is able to offer (by special cooperative arrangement with the High Desert Homesteading Project, which is privately owned) an internship in the necessary skills. And in developing
this form of service to the planet as well.
Cindy and T. J. Walker, who founded and who own the High Desert Homesteading Project, were both trained and ordained by Brooks. They have made the work and teaching of sustainability their principal ministry. Not only in the form of
hands-on demonstration and opportunities for practice at the Homestead, but also through their website , they gladly offer detailed instruction and advice on a variety of practical topics. The number of subjects addressed on their site grows steadily. Works in progress or completed so far at High Desert (and addressed in how-to detail on the site, generously illustrated with photos) include, among others:
gardening in water troughs filled with soil carefully built up by sheet mulching and with compost and outfitted with row covers over PVC hoops
creating a swale for grapes and berries
building and growing potatoes in potato cages
building small solar PV systems
solar dehydrating fruits and vegetables
home roasting coffee beans
building and insulating a passive greenhouse outfitted with both drums of water for thermal mass and provision for shading
To grasp the miracle of the transformations taking shape at High Desert takes only seeing that the natural terrain (left) provides little more than "sand, ant hills. and cactus."
Various small cement basin features catch rainwater (above and third below at right) to provide drinking water for the dogs and (probably) nocturnal wildlife. They also center the small gardens around the main residence at the High Desert Homesteading Project (below). .
Even in the harsh climate, kale more than thrives under row covers in water troughs filled with a carefully built up, amended and blended soil mix.
Chopped onions dry in no time in hand-crafted solar dehydrators..
For more information about opportunities with the High Desert Homesteading Project, either contact Brooks or reach the Walkers directly through (again) their website.