April – May, 2013 Riley volunteered as a permaculture consultant at SoFair Farms EcoVillage in Fairfield, IA. While there, she worked alongside friends and colleagues, and collaborated with with SoFair founder Tom Greene to bring his vision of an ecologically designed, sustainable community one step closer to reality.
Riley and other volunteers lived on-site while beginning to implement the first phases of a Permaculture Design created by local MUM Sustainability students.
Among other elements, the design included plans for market gardens, integrated animal systems, orchards, ponds, and an apiary.
Aspects of the design they were able to implement during their stay included: building a chicken coop, repurposing old wooden pallets by making them into compost bins and cold frames, creating a vermicompost station, building a solar oven out of found materials, and building and planting hugelkulture beds They also helped with some beginning stages of renovation on the property’s existing farm house.
Riley keeps tabs on SoFair’s progress and stays in contact with the Tom via Facebook. She looks forward to the next time she is able to visit and lend a hand.