Help Plant One Million Chestnuts for the Climate

Please join Build Soil, a new nonprofit organization, in rising to the occasion to build a just world that works for all, repair landscapes, and restore ecosystems and soil.

We invite your community participation and we need to raise $50,000 to carry the work through the year.

We formed our nonprofit to educate, demonstrate, and organize ways that people, from small groups to large communities, can redesign their world for regeneration.

We will plant a Million Chestnut Trees & help communities respond to climate change.

If you want to give monthly, we have a Patreon:

We face urgent challenges with climate change, disasters, and ecological breakdown. But in the middle of so much grief about the state of the world, there is hope. We have a chance to rebuild the ways we inhabit Earth’s ecosystems; humans are capable of being agents of ecological repair and rebuilding.

CO2 is not just pollution with nowhere to go. It is a fundamental part of soil, the main storage of carbon on land. Soil currently holds about 5 times the carbon present in the air and 6.5 times what's in living things. (Lal 2014 We have also lost half the world’s top soil over the past 150 years. (World Wildlife Fund)

The ongoing loss of soil has led to erosion, flooding, food shortages, ocean dead zones, and the release of its carbon into the air. Dirt takes aeons to form out of rock but, luckily, we have a lot of ways of increasing the formation of carbon rich topsoils through changing the way we grow food, design our landscapes, and feed ourselves.

Earthworks: ponds, swales, drains, and well-designed roads collect, hold, and infiltrate water, improving the capacity of the soil to support life. These can be aspects of both rural and urban developments.

Vegetation: food forests, perennial grasses, and oases collect CO2 and make sugars and proteins that are pumped into the soil. These systems can grow food and materials, and create products for the market.

Microorganisms: Fungi, bacteria, nematodes, protozoa, and earthworms can be analyzed and then enhanced through good compost practices. They convert these carbohydrates and proteins into complex long-storage soil organic matter and enhance the growth of the plants.
Climate change is happening fast and society has been slow to respond, so we formed our nonprofit to educate, demonstrate, and organize ways that people, from small groups to large communities, can regeneratively redesign landscapes, agriculture, and the places we live.

It's important for all of us to be deliberate and make the biggest, most effective impacts we can when it comes to repairing the climate. We decided to focus our first efforts on the One Million Chestnuts project, to plant one million staple-producing trees where they can sequester carbon, provide habitat, and feed people in communities throughout the world with grain-quality food.

Chestnuts have nutritional qualities similar to grain, but unlike grains, they grow above our heads in the canopy, so they can grow right where we live. This allows us to shift our burden on the larger landscape and vastly reduce food transport. Cultures all over the world grow, enjoy, and live off of chestnuts, both today and throughout human history.

Grain agriculture, tillage, and other high-impact farming methods drive major soil loss every year, and much of it occupies landscapes that were historically some of the fastest and greatest areas of carbon storage on land: grasslands. By changing and expanding the ways and places that we grow food, we can bring food resilience, carbon sequestration, and ecological services into each and every one of our communities.

Our core activities are: education, inspiration, and action!

       * In 2020, we planted and distributed 10,000 chestnut trees to neighbors, nonprofits, churches; we donated trees to People of the Confluence which serves Native communities connected to the Skykomish and Snohomish River watersheds in Western Washington we made 2000 chestnuts available to neighbors in Olympia, WA and are working on plans to provide 2000 trees to a public effort there. The whole time, supporting groups as they work together to get these dynamic food trees into their communities.

      * We’ve grafted and planted a nursery of Kazakhstani apples; the endangered but delicious and genetically diverse ancestor of modern apples.

      * We've also inspired hundreds of people to form groups and plant thousands of trees independently in their own regions, and we are only starting!

      * We envision a world ten years from now with local food supplies that help to provide diverse, resilient food systems that restore the climate during the challenges ahead.


Some of the ways that we reach people, sites, and communities include:

       * Our twitter account, where we share information, project updates, and build community around ways people can engage together on soil building, chestnut planting, and environmental repair. We want to expand into online education, and hope to hold in-person events and workshops as it becomes safe. In the meantime, we need equipment to set up instructional videos, online classes, live seminars and lectures, and to hold meetings with people all over to plan large coordinated efforts.

       * We support groups all over the world in their efforts to grow chestnuts. We maintain demonstration sites, consult and help with planning, and provide educational resources, and help connect the volunteers who contact us with others in their location.

       * Our website, which is an expanding resource for people to learn as we learn. We dedicate a portion of our operations to the process of researching, developing, and troubleshooting resources that provide the best practices for chestnut planting, harvest, processing, storage, and cooking for people and communities, at many scales and regions.

       * We started to be a space where people interested in planting chestnuts and other edible trees like mesquite can find their neighbors, share experience and information, and begin organizing.

We are grateful that our work has drawn the attention of funders and we are grateful that we've been able to secure 40% of our 2021 Operating Overhead Budget thanks to a donation of $40,000. In order to keep the lights on, maintain our tree nursery, support project sites, and sustain all the other costs of day-to-day operations, we need to raise an additional $60,000 for 2021. We have already successfully raised $10,000 in this fundraiser.  So we need $50,000 for our overhead. 


       * After we've secured the level of funding which lets us maintain our current projects, we can reach for larger plans that we are excited to begin. Once we reach a level of donations that cover our overhead costs, Build Soil has plans for the future.

Our flex goals beyond $50k start with something specific: this year, we donated trees to a sister nonprofit that serves Native communities in Western Washington, and some of those trees need protection from deer. We'd like to see these trees thrive for a long time to come so we'd like to raise funds for deer guards for those chestnuts. We estimate that will be around $1000 to ensure those trees live to feed this community.

       * We will continue working to get One Million Chestnut Trees planted by mobilizing people everywhere to form groups, learn by doing together, plant chestnuts, organize locally, build capacity and confidence. We will also be planting directly in Oregon and Washington.

       * We are interested in working with diverse groups including churches, local governments, food banks, community gardens.

       * As we grow, we have plans to add an additional dimension idea to our work: our landscapes can be redesigned with water and soil in mind and residential areas and towns can start effectively building soil & sequestering carbon.We will begin to offer consultation & design services to communities & projects that share our ethics.

       * We will expand our work to look at other solutions that, if applied by communities, have the potential to help meet community needs while providing ecological and climate resilience -- such as better design of residential areas to speed soil remediation and production.

       * We dream of growing an experimental orchard with diverse varieties, species, approaches to developing climate resilient chestnut trees and planting techniques.

       * Work with local agencies & municipalities in researching and supporting climate change-resilient design, including assisted climate migration for plants that have moving growing zones.

       * Apply combined solutions for increasing topsoil production and carbon sequestration.

       * Developing comprehensive, in-depth educational materials, including a book that serves as a guide on design for carbon sequestration for interested people and communities.


There are many ways to help in our work:
Start a group working on planting chestnuts in your community.
Spread the word about our work, as well as the many other solutions that people around the world are developing for climate and ecosystem regeneration.
Pledge your financial support so we can continue this work.

If you want to give monthly, we have a Patreon:


Build Soil is currently an Oregon Not for Profit organization. We are in the process of applying with the IRS to be a (c)3 tax-exempt nonprofit. We will let any donors know when that change happens, as any donation since December 2020 will be retroactively eligible to be claimed on taxes.

Our Tiers:

Soil Nutrition: $3
Thank you for supporting The project!

Topsoil Tier: $15
Thank you for your help!
As our project grows in capacity we will be putting out weekly videos/conference calls/seminars but once a month will host a donor-only Q&A event.
Donors will have access to a blog with updates, photos, progress reports.

Seedlings: $50
All of the above, Plus a small build soil sticker/thank you note. Design TBD.

Deep Roots: $100
These donors will receive all the previous benefits plus these donors can submit a question a week to a queue to be answered in our public blog or videos.
They will also receive an annual large sticker related to our work. This year it's a chestnut-and-scroll Build Soil sticker (based on our logo above) that is currently being designed.
They will also receive a pdf of an edited essay version of the @buildsoil tweet threads when it's finished.

Solid Ground: $200
All of the above
Up to $100 off the cost of any future paid classes (in development)
They will be seasonally invited to participate in planning our projects through surveys, question prompts, brainstorms.

Bedrock Supporter: $1000
Three, 1-hour consultations on the phone/video on ecological design/ landscape planning/organizing spread out over the year to help your project/community/site. A verbal consultation with a page write-up if appropriate.
Name listed (if you want) on a "Founder" page
Free attendance of all paid workshops all online workshops available, in person workshops with limited seating will still need to be registered for.

 GoFundMe Giving Guarantee

This fundraiser mentions donating through another platform, but please know that only donations made on GoFundMe are protected by the GoFundMe Giving Guarantee.

  • Christine Ghent 
    • $10 
    • 3 d
  • Claire Edwards 
    • $25 
    • 1 mo
  • Natalie Hursky 
    • $25 
    • 6 mos
  • Evan Mulholland 
    • $10 
    • 7 mos
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    • $100 
    • 7 mos
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Jordan Fink 
Portland, OR