Home Columns Opinion OPINION: Introducing Hempfully Green Sanctuaries

OPINION: Introducing Hempfully Green Sanctuaries


by Emily Peyton, gubernatorial candidate 2014

There is a team of local and national professionals working on a vision that is very exciting for Vermont. Hempfully Green campus sanctuaries are places designed to attract new young adults to the state and to offer a means of land security and increased food independence for host communities. The sanctuaries are supportive communities for the new paradigm.

The new paradigm is the realization of a yearning for personal freedom, responsibility and connectivity with community. It’s a relationship to Earth as a living planet with life forms we have yet to understand and completely honor. It’s a recognition that laughter and amusement amongst a community is a wealth that we have within our grasp if we come together for it. It’s an understanding that living in fear, scarcity, and disease is not what we choose for ourselves nor for our children.

Initiating five or more sanctuaries concurrently would decrease risk and increase success. Perhaps it’s counter-intuitive, yet it shouldn’t be hard to understand how the lessons of and discoveries made at separate locations will serve the strength and success of all the sanctuaries. Without complementary locations, the chances are greater for site failure. It’s residential mobility between the sites along with a sharing of intellectual resources that help to bolster one another’s success.

How about having sanctuaries in Bennington, Rutland, Orleans, Washington and Windsor counties? Approximately 300 jobs would be created, with each supporting on average 20 perma-farm domains. A perma-farm domain is a parcel of two to three acres that is cultivated using techniques that maximize its output. One domain would host a single family, and that family will be connected to that domain in perpetuity, as long as the domain remains in cultivation. Perhaps the domains will be handed down through generations to come. The farms would grow produce that could be sold at the sanctuary store and online. An industrial kitchen for use by producers will be available at each site.

There would be students on site, young and older, there to learn how to create green products, how to farm, how to live holistically, to learn what to eat, how to live zero-waste, and how to have fun while doing it. Never underestimate the importance of fun. Students may float between campuses as each campus would naturally develop strengths in certain areas: one in animal/human relations and husbandry; another in fiber bio-composites, alternative fuels for farm and automotive machinery, and renewable technology; another in natural healing arts; yet another may feature the classic arts; and another perhaps a focus in natural sports. Teachers and professors will have the freedom to educate their passions, and they will select their administrators.

There will be onsite guest lodgings marketed to green tourists looking for a fun way to immerse themselves in the green paradigm. Each sanctuary would host a large salt-water pool situated in a thriving greenhouse with an accompanying exercise center for guests, residents, and the surrounding communities. An onsite local food café will serve them. Of course, a sizeable meeting/dance/conference space will also be onsite.

A word needs to be said regarding the capacity of the campus sanctuaries to serve sensitive populations. Roughly 7 percent of the residential population of each campus sanctuary would be composed of persons formerly marginalized, be they military veterans, formerly impoverished persons, persons in need of psychic stability, or persons formerly deemed marginal for various reasons. We are all in it together, the organization learns together, and its associated people learn together as well, each ascending to his or her ultimate purpose.

An initial unveiling will take place on Feb. 15. For further information visit www.emilypeyton.org.