project leader
Lee Eric S
Wells Ave
(New Chicago)
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the project

We want to revitalize so-called "blighted" neighborhoods and communities by meeting the most basic of human needs: food and shelter. Instead of waiting for Amazon or another major corporation to rescue us, we can literally take matters into our own hands -- by building affordable, eco-friendly and energy efficient homes combined with a community gardening initiative. Our thinking is this: If we can't put more money in people's pockets, how do we make the money that's there go further? And the answers, we believe, have been right under our feet all along.

Wells Avenue will be our first victory in the war on poverty. Phase One of our development plan is to build SIX new construction single family homes using compressed earth blocks (CEB). A modern version of an ancient building technique, CEBs are great for insulation, while being fire-resistant, earthquake resistant, pest and rodent resistant. And because they use an abundantly available resource -- earth (clay, lime, sand, etc) -- CEBs are also remarkably inexpensive and do not require skilled labor to erect the walls. So we believe we can build homes of OUTSTANDING quality, durability, efficiency and affordability. And we intend to sell these new homes similarly to Habitat for Humanity, whose work we admire tremendously.

But that's not all. Each newly configured lot will have space for a garden of some size. For health, nutrition, economic and so many other reasons, we will be integrating an agricultural component into our initiative. Teaching our new homeowners how to grow food -- for themselves, their neighbors, and even for profit. The benefits of this are exponential. We believe the simple act of growing food can bring families, neighborhoods and communities together. We believe people will take pride in producing abundant harvests. We believe that losing a job is a little bit easier when your utility bill is lower and you can pick some veggies out of your yard for dinner. And we believe that if you choose to, one can make a decent income as an urban farmer.

Perhaps most importantly, we want to demonstrate what's possible! We want to show Memphis that vacant lots in these "blighted" neighborhoods can be transformed fairly quickly into new, diverse, safe, friendly, productive neighborhoods again. We hope to spark a building boom!

Won't you join us?

the steps

Once we have the cash in hand, here's what happens next:

  • Close on properties (By April 7)
  • Begin land preparation for farming on future Phase II site (By March 30)
  • Launch of Abundant Earth CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) -- April 7
  • Purchase of CINVA-RAM earth machines (By April 15)
  • Test runs with CEB construction (April 22)
  • Settling on site plan and floor plan offerings
  • Applying for construction permits
  • Securing skilled labor/contractors for electrical, plumbing, etc.
  • Finalizing homeowner application process
  • Regular farming, fundraising and educational events at Phase II farm
  • Groundbreaking on model home by August 1

why we're doing it

We believe that if we truly want to defeat society's ills -- poverty, blight, a depressed tax base, joblessness, low-performing schools, and more -- it will require a different mindset, a different strategy, a different approach. That starts with this notion that poverty can't be defeated. Balderdash! If humans can figure out how to destroy all life on Earth many times over, we certainly can see to it that everyone is fed. It's not a question of resources; it's a question of WILL. Do we have the WILL to defeat poverty and blight? Do we have the WILL to embrace abundance?

But because poverty is a mindset, you can't just defeat it with resources. You have to defeat the MINDSET itself, and you can't do that while coming from a place of scarcity and limited resources. The way you defeat poverty is with ABUNDANCE.

Our vision for this particular project is to demonstrate how we can take so-called "blighted" and undervalued properties in "borderline" neighborhoods and make those lands not only viable, but energy-producing, food-producing, revenue producing engines. And by doing several homes in a fairly tight window of time, we believe we can create a new economy!

But even more fundamentally than all of that, we are seeking to build COMMUNITY. We sense that there's tremendous energy in Memphis around the idea of uplifting its citizens. We're out to build a broad and diverse network around the simple concepts of feeding and sheltering people. We will use the very principles of abundance that we grow food by to change the mindset of poverty to one of ABUNDANCE!


Land acquisition: $1,600

2 CINVA-Ram style Earthblock Machines: $3,000

Leaf shredders: $250

4 10 x 10 greenhouses: $800

Chipper/Shredder $750

Paper Pot Planter: $1,500

Loads of earthblock soil mix: $1,500

Seeds, seedlings and dwarf trees: $500

Food sanitzing equipment: $500

Garden supplies: $250

Abundant Earth CSA Marketing and supplies: $500

SUBTOTAL $11,150
ioby Platform Fee $35
ioby Donation Processing Fee (3%) $335
Total to Raise on ioby= $11,520


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