PUBLIC PROFILE: Peace Production- EverLand project
Normally, this space, our Public Profile column, is reserved for profiles of civic leaders. But for our Give Guide, we are excited to examine an ambitious idea by a local organization, Peace Production, to open a bustling center for education and support. Mayana Kingery talks about the plans for EverLand.
Rogue Valley Messenger: The proposal is for the former Steak House off exit 43 (Gold Hill). What is attractive and/or unique about the site?
MK: The freeway exit is of prime interest. EverLand serves travelers with food and lodging, bringing tourists dollars. The commercial kitchen is crucial to the plan. Nutrition education for students benefit the public with healthy meals. Event space, proximity to the Rogue River, open land for festivals/educational demonstrations, and the Historic Bed and Breakfast to house travelling Elders are all important elements of EverLand. Zoning is friendly to our project and the location outside any municipality is helpful. Being located on the north side of Jackson County, we will more easily serve Josephine County. The freeway is a benefit for advertising and easy access.
RVM: It sounds like a lot going on at the proposed EverLand. Let’s just focus on the housing a bit. There look to be yurts, tepees and tiny houses. Would these be available for rent?
MK: The Alternative Housing Demonstration Site at EverLand offers a variety of dwelling models for emergency housing needs, and as event or festival housing space. Rent and work/trade options will be available. The Youth Hostel will provide a peaceful stop for travelers as an alternative to a motel. There would also be domes to house the Youth Hostel and the Nonprofit Development Center.
RVM: You point to the low graduation rates in southern Oregon as one need to serve. Can you explain the programs EverLand will offer—and how these can address needs for teens that more traditional programs currently are not?
Mayana Kingery: Trish McCarty founded StarShine Academy, a system of K-12 Charter and Private Schools recognized as transformational innovators in education. StarShine’s curriculum combines the best in learning discoveries and Systems Thinking. StarShine’s Sprial Curriculum interweaves Montessori practices for body, mind, spirit, health, wealth and happiness. Students at EverLand will be inspired to complete their education with a choice between a diploma process and GED path. Students then may enroll in apprentice programs for further education where their own gifts are discovered and honed.
RVM: There are also plans to develop the Big Red Barn into a media center and also performance space. Would these be productions for the public? Or, is it more about the process than the presentation?
MK: Productions and performances at EverLand will be open to the public. There will be free events for student practice and fee based events where students work. Memberships will be offered for Educational and Performance Series throughout the year. By running EverLand as a business, students learn real life skills and will offer services to the community as well. The process of producing events open to the public provides enrolled students with experience they keep. Continual events will be booked at EverLand as soon as we close on the property.
RVM: You are currently running a crowd-source funding for the project. How much do you need to raise—and how will those funds be spent?
MK: We set our goal at $250,000 for this campaign to secure down payment and closing costs for the properties, and to get the kitchen up and running. Any additional funds will be spent on renovations and domes/housing. We are not paying salaries out of this campaign and are fully volunteer.
RVM: This is an ambitious proposal. Does Peace Production plan to roll it out in one big swoop? Or phases?
MK: We have three phases planned to become fully functional. The first phase will secure the property, renovate the Big Red Barn, and begin teaching and public events. The second phase will bring students, interns, and mentors together to build the infrastructure needed for the Youth Hostel, Alternative Housing Displays, Media Arts Center, and Nonprofit Development Center. The third phase will be our grand opening offering lodging and meals for the public with educational programs fully functional.
For more information about the EverLand fundraising campaign, check out Genorsity.com