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About

The SILO Project (Sustainable Information and Learning Opportunities) is a nonprofit working towards human solutions that safeguard natural systems and their connections to people, pets, and professions.  A "re-wilded" 12-acre site houses the multi-faceted educational facility, which features applicable, sustainable living practices while simultaneously providing outdoor recreation for the community.  The 501(c)(3) organization showcases methods and benefits of sustainable living, which includes, but is not limited to, projects related to outdoor living, food production, recycling, and water and soil conservation.

"ReWilding isn't just about the work and methods of re-proliferating locally appropriate biodiversity.  It is also about rebuilding our relationship with the wild in order to receive the plethora of benefits that keep us well."

-Sierra Bainbridge, Architecture Magazine, August 8th 2023

 

The goal of The SILO Project is to help launch for-profit businesses with a sustainable element, provide healthy relationships between the outdoors and people, and to have fun in the process.  The finished product will include a garden center promoting drought tolerant plants and underground greenhouses, allowing farmer's markets to grow vegetables year round.  Entrepreneurs will run and manage unique businesses.  To name a few: tiny houses, a music venue, the garden center, an incubator for classes, recycling, the Java Shack, a resale space in a silo, and a dog park.  The SILO Project will be the cohesive and motivating force that brings this vision to fruition.  Currently, a short dog trail/footpath weaves through the property, bringing guests up close to highlighted, educational nature spots, out of doors seating, events, music, and food, an underground greenhouse, and wildlife corridors.  People need nature; our food, our water, our health, and our jobs all rely on the health of the planet's ecosystems.

The SILO Project was founded in 2011 by Deb Tolman, an educator and physical geographer who saw a need for rekindling human connections to natural systems.  After teaching across several disciplines in sustainable sciences and geography at Portland State University and Texas A&M, and with the help of J. and M.L. Starnater, a vision of creating a hands-on learning and resource center was imagined.  The facility is community driven, meaning that all projects are motivated and inspired by community members.  If you have a passion for an idea or business with a sustainable component, that idea can become the next developing project.  The SILO Project mediates by providing a place, resources, and labor to make that vision happen.

 

Dr. Deb holds a Ph.D. in Environmental Sciences/Geography from Portland State University.  With over thirty years of experience in academic research and landscape design, she has extensive training in plant nutrition, economics, and environmental education.  She is currently the owner of Avant Gardens, a multi-purpose business with the mission of developing sustainable approaches to landscaping, education, and building practices.  Based in Clifton, TX, Debbie started promoting keyhole gardens in 2011, growing vegetables on an active composting pile.  The gardens are built with nothing but recyclable materials and a whole lot of used cardboard.  She balances her time between research, education, writing, and community outreach.  In her spare time, you can find her in her keyhole gardens!

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