Gossamer (noun) refers to light, thin, delicate web-like connections of all things.
The thin gauzy sheer, usually imperceptible veil between the worlds
linking ordinary human existence with the infinite network of all life.
The Butterfly Effect and On Gossamer Wings.
That tiny changes in input can quickly create an overwhelmingly different outputs; tipping points.
“All of creation is sacred and alive, each part connected to each other part, each communicating in a creative cooperative commerce in which the smallest and the largest are equally involved.”
— Codicils by Jane Roberts
“Every time you wink the stars move.” — Emerson
The mission of Gossamer Foundation is to promote sustainability at all levels. Our planet Earth is comprised of living ecosystems that have specific criteria and interrelated life-systems that allow flora and fauna life to thrive...or collapse. Preservation is not enough; we must strive for restoration. Our mission is to support global sustainability and local foods. We can't have one without the other.
Our forward looking vision is to provide training, skills and information, primarily on sustainable local food systems, that will help achieve ecological balance and sustainable development for current, and succeeding generations such that individuals, communities, and institutions gain the capability to be ecologically and economically self-sustainable.
Gossamer Foundation supports projects and activities that currently and primarily focus on enabling local agriculture. This is our first priority. Such activities will promote local and regional sustainable food production systems grown by small-acreage family farms and gardeners. These projects are intended to help revitalize urban and rural agriculture as part of the solution to many of the problems our society faces today, including the health care crisis, nutritional poverty, top soil degradation, loss of biodiversity and other environmental problems.
Local foods can help decrease carbon footprints and the oil input requirements of large-scale, long-distance mono-culture commercial food systems. This will help decrease our reliance on fossil fuels, while at the same time improve the quality of our nutrition, health, environment, emergency preparedness and national security.
There is a back to the land movement happing all across American; and it's happening in backyards and small family farms. The call to Occupy Backyards fits in with reclaiming local sustainability and self-security for individuals, families, communities and our country.
The Pay it Forward practice is a strong component of Gossamer Foundation projects. This not only leverages the projects goals and resources, but expands and fosters the reality that by helping others, we also help ourselves.
1. The Chickens and You Training Series. There are currently 6 courses offered in live venues and via the Internet GoToTraining format. Completion of the Backyard Chicken Keeper Certification and 5 other courses awards the Master Backyard Chicken Keeper diploma.
The courses offered over 2016 are:
• The Backyard Chicken Keeper Certification (10 classes)
• The Art and Practice of Incubation using both Sitting Hens and Incubators (6 classes)
• Home Poultry Processing Using Tools You Already Have or Can Make (1 class and a hands-on practicum)
• Hot Weather Chicken Care and Coop Cooling 4 classes
• Cold Weather Chicken Care and Coop Winterization 4 classes
• Therapy Chickens: Training & Coaching of Handlers and Birds for Visitations to Schools, Rehab Centers, and other venues. 6 classes.
Courses under development are:
• Garden Chicks: Growing Food With and For Chickens
• Primary Poultry Health Care and the Poultry's Pharmacy
• Building or Remodeling Chicken Coops from the Chickens' Point of View
• Way of the Hen: Incubating Eggs and Raising Chicks Naturally
This multi-level training provides intensive hands-on experience and information about not only how to raise and keep chickens, but more importantly, how to employ them in diversified small-scale food production. These food production systems can be used to employ poultry power in kitchen gardens, community gardens, congregational flocks, group homes, family farms, schools, correctional facilities, rehabilitation centers and other service oriented organizations.
2. The Coop Corps. The Coop Corps (CC) is a local network of volunteers who help organize, select and build appropriate chicken housing for qualified families or groups. The CC facilitates providing birds and local support for those who might not otherwise be able to have chickens. It's objective is to get folks involved and educated about keeping a family flock and starting growing some of their food. Coop Corps recipients are required to complete the Backyard Chicken Keeper Certification Course.
Coop Corps Volunteers help coordinate the Chicken Stimulus Package and,
Coop Corps members help establish and run local Poultry and Garden Clubs for ongoing educational and networking meetings.
3. Bio-Recycle Chickens: Employing Local Flocks as Solid Waste Management Workers to Divert "Organic Waste" from the Trash Collection Stream to Save Taxpayer Dollars and Create Garden Soil.
We anticipate that at least 2 bio-recycle chicks research projects will take happen in 2016. These studies investigate how to implement a low-tech, high-output methodology to divert food and yard “waste” from entering solid waste management streams system by enlisting family flocks to help transform food, yard and garden waste into chicken feed, fertilizer, compost and topsoil.
The first research project is with the city of Austin, Texas. Austin is has a the goal of achieving zero waste by 2040. If this pilot study is successful, it will be the basis and template for launching similar studies of towns and cities to document their experience of food waste diversion from landfills by employing chickens as civic bio-recyclers. Chicken as civic bio-recyclers has been proposed at various times for over 7 years. We are hopeful and excited that the Austin research will generate the data needed to project taxpayer savings and simultaneously stimulate kitchen gardens.
4. Chicken Stimulus Packages (CSP) help establish and provide networks to help get folks started and knowledgeable about family flocks. Approximately 1,500 chicks have been given (with instructions, feed and a question hot-line) to first time flock owners. Emphasis is on heritage birds for urban and rural flocks. These birds are slower growing to mature and, because of this, they have a highly nutritional meat and egg quality, along with outstanding taste. The CSP networks help create access, awareness and markets for poultry. Participants include major hatcheries as well as breed-specific poultry clubs and individual breeders. These individuals and companies make available:
• Fertile eggs for incubation—including for school projects
• Baby chicks
• Pullets (young female chickens)
• Non-commercial breed meat birds
Another goal of the Chicken Stimulus Package is to assist first-time chicken owners with their family flock. The goal is to help jump-start first-time chicken keepers with knowledge and experience about chickens, and have support group to give advice on how to humanely and properly keep and employ their flock. CSP recipients are expected to then "Pay it Forward" by help others get started with a family flock and perhaps help with gardening. Many CSP recipients join, or help start, local Poultry and Garden Clubs.
5. Poultry and Garden Clubs. Combining poultry clubs with garden groups is a marriage made for food production. Gardening and employing chickens in gardens goes naturally hand in hand. Put poultry people with gardeners and something special happens. Club members feel a synergy; they experience the cutting-edge of discovery how to integrate chickens with food production. Every meeting has something educational about poultry and/or gardening.
Before long, the poultry people are putting in gardens, small orchards. They help get the garden group their first coops and chickens. Simultaneously, the garden group is sharing their experiences, seed-swapping and plant cuttings with the poultry people. , who are experiencing growing edibles for themselves and their flock. Green thumbs, eggs and meat abound for all.
First described in the book: City Chicks by Patricia Foreman, the P&G club concept is gaining ground. The Gossamer Foundation provides a support package for the establishment P&G clubs and gives suggestions for subject matter in meetings.
P&G clubs offers a pathway to expanding local foods, and solutions to diminishing food deserts and addressing nutritional poverty and hidden hunger that are epidemic in America.
We also offer consulting & custom programs in the areas of:
• Chickens Toward Zero Waste
• Chickens in School Programs
• Chickens in Community Gardens
• Getting Chickens Legal in Your City, Town, County or Home Owner's Association
• Chicken Handling Workshop for Animal Control and Police
• Chickens and YOU Trainer Training