Citizen Science: Testing a small-scale rapid aerated composting system for urban environments

Update January 4, 2017: Success! With an abundance of support for this research, the project earned sufficient funds to proceed with the study, and was awarded a $500 grant for placing first in amount of pledged supporters for the project by a common deadline between other projects within the realm of Cities & Transportation on Experiment.com! Thanks for supporting this citizen scientist, Syracuse resident, and backyard forest gardener in their proactive research efforts – we look forward to learning from his findings, and putting them to practice!


A local Syracuse resident is engaging their passion for environmental science and waste management with composting. Through crowdfunding, Ethan Bodnaruk hopes to kick off a science project to explore efficient, decentralized composting systems that can be used throughout Syracuse and other cities around the world. Here is an excerpt from Ethan’s research proposal:

Urban food and yard wastes can contribute in multiple ways to greenhouse gas production and water pollution. But they can instead be transformed into resources through efficient neighborhood-scale composting. I will test and demonstrate the use of a novel small-scale aerated composting system for rapid composting coupled with bicycle-powered collection of neighborhood yard and food wastes. I aim to make it simple and fine-tuned enough to replicate in many locations.

Ethan with compost piles

Almost half way through the crowdfunding campaign, the experiment is just over 50% funded. If you have the means, would you contribute? Visit this experiment’s proposal page to learn more about his qualifications, research idea, its significance and its goals. In any case, this may be something worth considering and sharing to help cities achieve increased resilience, less environmental footprint and degradation, and greater community empowerment and connectivity. Continue reading →

Annual Winter Potluck image

Annual Winter Potluck – 2016

Join us on Sunday January 29th from 6 pm – 8 pm
for our Annual Potluck and Angel Card Ceremony
at the Bitternut Homestead, 717 Otisco St Syracuse, NY 13204.

We’ll share food, enjoy a burning fire, pull Angel Cards, create art, and catch up. Vegan food is preferable for sharing. BYOB.

Share and RSVP on the Facebook page for this event if you can, and in any case, feel free to come and bring good company!

SALT-CNY listserv kick-off approaching

With the beginning of 2017, we are launching the SALT-CNY e-mailing list to serve and connect people in and around Syracuse and Central New York who are interested in and working on the topics of Sustainability, Agriculture, Landscaping, and/or Transition.

SALT-CNY listserv sign-up

To sign on as part of the initial cohort please send an email with your full name (First and Last) and email address to info@alchemicalnursery.org, along with the name of an organization you represent if applicable. Continue reading →

THANK YOU for Supporting Alchemical Nursery in the SeedMoney Crowdfunding Challenge

We have met our goal in the matched grant crowdfunding challenge through SeedMoney! You helped us raise $600 in donations within a month and we’re now eligible for an additional $400. Thank you! We hope you can come to the Gifford St. Community Garden to enjoy its fruits and help put these funds to use!

Take a look at our SeedMoney page to see how we intend to use it at the 610 Gifford St Community Garden and make a contribution.


Rahma Stewardship Team Scheduling

Getting a permaculture forest garden through the first stage of succession takes work. Trees take time for their canopies to emerge, and there is rigorous competition as intended cover crops try to spread and establish themselves. All that means Rahma Forest Garden needs extra care and maintenance as it perseveres toward a more stable state: freeing up trees, pulling out obvious overgrowth of weeds, pruning and clearing trails and growing space to help people and plants thrive there.

We’re growing a Stewardship Team to look after Rahma Forest Garden. The team schedule is on Google Drive and can be accessed at the following link. Please feel free to sign up for a participation or leadership slot, or make note of a time you’ll be going to steward the garden!

Rahma Stewardship Team Schedule ( https://goo.gl/xOAWv3 )

Right now, the Rahma Stewardship Team is mostly Alchemical Nursery board members and regular volunteers, and we’d like to expand the team and involve more local community members. Being an Alchemical Nursery, part of our long-term goal is to pass on mature and fruitful projects to local communities once we’ve nursed the seeds into sprouts and cared for sprouts so they grow up as hearty creatures! Right now, Rahma is a little bit beyond the sprout stage and needs attention and support, as well as a shift in stewardship toward long-term, local care and enjoyment. As Alchemical Nursery we strive to facilitate that through plant propagation for the public, training volunteers, raising community awareness about permaculture lifestyles & landscapes in Syracuse, and hosting educational workshops for a diversity of youth & adults. All that takes time, resources, and most importantly: volunteers! We invite anyone with interest in learning more or getting more involved to reach out to us and come to the forest garden!

Equality, liberty, and efficiency – finding a balance

Our society has skyrocketed in efficiency. I see this efficiency and how it’s been a long-time in the making. I also see in politics how the left-right arguments tend to highlight a supposed battle of equality vs liberty-and-efficiency. How, if at all, does liberty and efficiency go together nowadays, and how does our prioritization of efficiency impact equality?

I think our preference for efficiency has led us to an imbalanced state. In mainstream tendencies, I see that we prioritize efficiency highest of all. Because of this, equality has suffered, and even liberty is at loss; concentrating power in few makes it more difficult for the many individuals and common goods to reach real opportunities and to contribute to their personal and our collective potential. What kind of liberty do I have in a setting rigged[1] by powerful few, keeping their own high-and-mighty interests & direction in mind? What kind of liberty can both my neighbors and I enjoy, if we found our success in debt-based finances[2]? Though I hear folks claiming to fight for liberty by supporting high prioritization of efficiency, I see the preference for extreme efficiency breeds an authoritarian oligarchy, destroying liberty in the same breath as it blocks equality; destroying our common resources and environment in the same breath as it blocks the human spirit.

Liberty is something important in the middle I think. In libertarian philosophy there are subsets which sway to the left, favoring equality, and subsets which sway to the right, favoring efficiency. What is the middle ground? In the United States, we are familiar with the word as we pledge our allegiance “…with Liberty and Justice for All.” How can we move in this middle way?[3] The last word of that pledge is “All.” The core value of equality comes from that word “All” and its meaning, and it fits naturally in a saying calling for liberty and justice.

Statue of Liberty with Sunset (https://pbs.twimg.com/media/BAI_wySCcAEOgaK.jpg)

Continue reading →

Gardening Day at 610 Gifford St

Don’t miss our opening Gardening Day at the 610 Gifford St Community Garden on Saturday April 23rd from 1 pm – 3 pm.  It’s a good opportunity to come and meet one of Syracuse’s newest community gardens, in the heart of the Near West Side.  Plants and tools will be provided, you only have to show up.

April 23 2016 Gardening Day Capture

Starhawk Audio Archived from Syracuse 02.24.16

DSCN0042Select audio portions of Starhawk‘s visit to Syracuse on February 24th, 2016 courtesy of The Alchemical Nursery Project.  Both clips PART 1 and PART 2 are about 30 minutes in length each.

Don’t forget to sign up for our plant swap this spring, and/or plan to come for the sale.

And finally, if you appreciate the Permaculture work we are doing here in Syracuse as a 100% volunteer run and operated organization, please consider being a supporting member of our $1 for Permaculture Club ($1 per month for 12 months = $12 annual donation, please give more if you can, try $2 per month :>)

PART 1

PART 2

Perennial Plant Swap & Sale on May Day!

Natives and edible perennials, with Bread and Roses Collective
405 Westcott Street, Syracuse
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Sunday, May 1, 2016
Swap: 10am (pre-register)
Sale: 11:30am-2pm
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Berry bushes, shrubs, rain garden plants, ferns and perennial vegetables! All welcome at the sale, but you must have at least 10 appropriate plants and pre-register to participate in the swap. Proceeds benefit the urban planting work of the Alchemical Nursery Project and Bread & Roses Collective.
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Details & Registration: 315.422.4924
jessica@breadandrosescollective.org
www.facebook.com/breadandrosescollective
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www.alchemicalnursery.org
www.facebook.com/alchemicalnursery
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https://www.facebook.com/events/1055103591213510/
Swap Images CaptureSwap Info Capture

Bitternut Homestead News

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