Vision: Greetings and welcome to the SUN☼Project
Sustaining Universal Needs (SUN☼) is a USA based, 501(c)(3) Non-Profit, dedicated to the implementation of regenerative agricultural practices and critical infrastructure for long-term local sustainability. SUN☼ non-profit operates as an educational outreach organization. SUN☼ supports and helps to facilitate the community that surrounds it. It ‘gives back’ to the community through teaching others about the importance of farming, gardening and by offering desirable and necessary goods.
SUN☼ is a project that has grown from many years of discussions by our team on problems faced by industrial society. These problems have become increasingly evident with each passing day’s headlines in economics, geopolitics, environment and social issues. What we have come to realize is we need to re-imagine the communities we already have to make them more sustainable in a world with lower available energy per capita.
The best place to begin such a re-imagination is in the smaller towns of America, like Inman, South Carolina. How do we create SUN☼Spot eco-villages and make them economically viable? That is the question we seek to answer in creating sustainable communities which will match the actual amount of per capita energy we will have available in the future.
Resilience, Preparedness and Sustainability for any individual or community does not occur at just one level. There are short term, medium term and long term considerations, of which the first is to prepare for short term disruptions to the supply lines which enable our industrial society and culture to function.
The recent gasoline pipeline rupture in Alabama disrupted the supply of gasoline to the southeast, resulting in shortages right here in Inman, as well as many other towns. Fortunately the delivery disruption was fairly short lived and alternative means of delivering gasoline to the Inman community were implemented quickly. However, what if such a disruption lasted longer? What if alternative delivery methods could not quickly substitute for the primary method? What if the shortages are not localized, but more widespread? For how long can normal life continue to function in the event of a serious disruption in the flow of energy?
More common disruptions are weather events like tornadoes, hurricanes and floods. Every year all of these disasters hit some community, and one never knows when such a calamity will strike home. Without a plan to survive short term disruption, medium and longer term plans cannot be implemented until immediate needs are met.
Do you have a plan for electricity outages of a week or more? Do you have a plan for housing people whose homes have been washed away in a flood? Do you have a building or structure suitable for a storm shelter for your population during the worst periods of a violent storm such as Katrina or Sandy? Does your community have a building that can withstand an F5 Tornado like the one that hit the community of Joplin, Missouri?
Constructing such a building is not beyond the means of a small town.
AT SUN☼, we seek to offer structures that meet these requirements of great strength and durability at an affordable economical cost. They are Monolithic Domes and Ferro-cement domes insulated with polyurethane, which can be constructed to virtually any size, from small individual shelters the size of a garden tool shed to full churches, basketball arenas, or even warehouse sizes.
As just a storm shelter, such a large structure would not be an economical thing to build, even though the price comes in low compared to similarly sized metal buildings or brick and mortar buildings. However, this type of large building has multiple uses beyond just a storm shelter. It can function as a community center, conference room, lecture hall, community theater and Youth center. Because of the open planning possible in a self-supporting dome, domes can support multiple uses.
In beginning SUN☼Spot in Inman, developing such a Storm and Disaster Preparedness shelter is a first step in the process of developing Sustainability and Resilience at the Community level, for the Short Term issues we face due to infrastructure failures and extreme weather events.
Beyond providing shelter for disaster preparedness, SUN☼ hopes to be a beacon for those who are interested in natural living and sustainable agriculture. This is an investment designed to foster stability in an increasingly volatile and unpredictable world. SUN☼ will contain a real, live, working farm, with an estimated 250 people who help the farm to thrive. Real-life occupants (those who live on and help maintain the grounds of SUN☼), volunteers or SUN☼ employees will volunteer to give visitors a tour of one of our many gardens and demonstration sites during scheduled events throughout the year, as well as offer the opportunity to participate in many of our community outreach educational programs.
Classes on topics such as composting, raising livestock, raising poultry, fermentation, permaculture, aquaponics, medicinal herb identification and implementation will be offered. “How To” classes and demonstrations on DIY/ (how to create) skincare items such as salves, lotions & soaps will attract those interested in personal health, style and personal care items. Experts will offer advice and instruction about bamboo, plant care, hugelkultur and more, welcoming locals and visitors. Schools will be encouraged to bring students to visit SUN☼ on field-trips. SUN☼ will offer summer camps and will be a magnet for art festivals featuring painters, potters, jewelry makers, photographers, knitters, weavers and more.
SUN☼ will offer tours of large modern community buildings (such as monolithic domes, and other natural buildings), permaculture gardens, rotationally-grazed animals (cattle/cows, pigs, chickens, etc.), and community gardens. SUN☼ will guide visitors through orchards, fruit and nut trees, fruit shrubs and perennials. Visitors may stay overnight in campers, yurts, tents and campgrounds. Examples of greenhouses, wind/solar (etc.) technology, ponds and tanks stocked with fish will be available to visit. The tranquil, peaceful setting will flow naturally with running waters and springs, and the land will smile with myriads of flowering and medicinal plants.
SUN☼ will provide workshops, open-air markets, overnight accommodations, bamboo forests, open woods (for hiking, walking and meditation), concerts, performances, song/dancing/festivals and an overall interesting and lively community attraction. SUN☼ will help to boost the surrounding area’s local economy, and provide a model or resilient living based on local resources. Drawing visitors and tourists from across the region will greatly enhance the vitality of the surrounding town. SUN☼ will offer a mobile food truck, providing healthy food choices to the local festivals and county fairs. SUN☼ is an investment in people, empowering them to face and solve the problems posed by a post fossil fuel, environmentally degraded world. SUN☼ is an investment in the land. SUN☼ is an investment in community.
Residents of the community surrounding the boundaries of SUN☼ will be encouraged and invited to become a part of a cooperative along the lines of a CSA, or community supported agriculture. Food, herbal medicines, ferments, soaps and beauty products, and other items encouraging health and well-being will be delivered weekly or monthly to those who buy into the cooperative program. Local businesses, especially restaurants, are highly encouraged to become members of the cooperative and will also be offered the opportunity to rent a parcel of land from SUN☼ for their own garden space. Individuals interested in the rental of land for their own gardening needs are welcome as well.
Potentially viable LLP ventures could include dairy production, tree crops, bamboo crops, natural buildings and shelters, school/church/community gardens, hydroponics, aquaponics, ferments, bee keeping, natural medicinals and more. Community members will have the option to rent or purchase a parcel of land which they may use to place seasonal or year-round temporary housing for use while working alongside SUN☼.
Stacking multiple businesses, families, partnerships, upon one credit base alleviates enormous financial and economic pressures. This is achieved as a number of people of various expertise with mutual support of one another (both financially and materially) work together on land capable of abundance. Necessary for success as well is a concern and love for the Earth, a thriving community and ecosystems amidst a people capable of changing the terms of the American Dream in a coming century of change.
We welcome you to discuss the original concepts with us along with the current direction we are taking and use this discussion to continue evolving and improving the project. SUN☼ is not static, it evolves and it will continue to evolve over time, and adapt to the situations we face as they occur. That above all is the goal of SUN☼, to develop resilience and adaptability in the face of changes which are already upon us, like it or not.
Chief Executive Officer
The Sustaining Universal Needs Foundation