Reforestation and Beautification

We are undergraduate students at the National University of Natural Medicine (NUNM), located in the heart of Portland, Oregon. NUNM is the oldest accredited naturopathic medical university in North America and a leader in natural medicine education and training.

My name is Amelia, I am working with four other students, Kjell Cravens, Emily Power, Austin Cory and Jennyfer Lara on our final culmination (Capstone) project for our Bachelor degree. We are raising money to benefit our capstone entitled, The Refroestation and Beautification at NUNM.  

 We have the permission of our institution's President and Advancements office to add permaculture installations on our campus in an effort to beautify and provide fresh produce to the students. We intend our project to be an example of how to grow food in an urban landscape as a low cost means to reduce food insecurity and mitigate poverty.

NUNM has two Nutrition programs on campus, a Bachelor's of Science, and a Master’s of Science. To truly be a holistic program, we believe in demonstrating farm to table nutrition. Because we are in an urban environment, soil and land are challenging to come by.

However, by using permaculture principles, we are taking the land available to us and creating examples of a high yield, organic, and low maintenance food systems. We are planning to partner with The City Repair Project ( to implement our ideas, receive planning support and publicity. We must raise $650 by February 1 to cover the fee to work with City Repair, a local PDX nonprofit.

For our capstone project, we are implementing vertical gardening, mushroom logs in our shady area, bee boxes, and 400 gallon mega pots using permaculture principles.

Permaculture is a high yield, low maintenance, form of organic agriculture that mimics nature to create a regenerative, natural system to grow food. 


The following is the proposal we created to ask our administration if this project would be permissible on campus.

Regenerative Agriculture: Using Permaculture to Restore the Urban Landscape and Cultivate Community Resilience

A Legacy Capstone at The National University of Natural Medicine

-To create a low maintenance, high yield food system on the campus of NUNM to beautify and serve fresh produce to students and faculty.
-To create a capstone project that maps out organic solutions in the form of scalable permaculture pots, food forest neighborhood re-engineering, and a business that addresses food insecurity and diseases facing Americans today.
-To cultivate stronger communities within NUNM, partner organizations, and the greater Portland area through growing, processing and consuming nutritious food.
-To partner with and learn from City Repair for the Village Building Convergence, and create a permaculture site on the campus of NUNM.
-To re-foresting the urban and suburban landscape.

Permaculture is a high yield, low maintenance, regenerative form of organic agriculture. It is one possible grass-roots solution to the challenge of food insecurity that will contribute to humanity for generations to come. According to the CDC, diet related diseases are 86% of the cost in the US health care system.1 Our design, the permaculture pot, is an example of multi-storied gardening, that mimics the natural ecosystem of a forest. It includes: ground covers, shrubs, vines, and a canopy producing tree. Each plant in the system works symbiotically with the other plants in what is known as a guild. Permaculture pots are useful in urban landscapes where soil is unavailable or of low quality.

We propose to use the design principles of permaculture on little used spaces on campus to beautify and produce food, including honey, collard greens, fruit trees, shade tolerant berries, Shitake mushrooms, kale, strawberries, lettuces, herbs and more.

City Repair requests a fee of $650 payable by February 1, 2018 to access expertise, network of donations, and fundraising platforms. Funding for the materials will come through donations and fundraising accomplished with the assistance of City Repair. The goal of the project is to accomplish building the pots and sourcing the materials as inexpensively as possible.

Material Costs are estimated as follows:

Soil mixture*: 7 cu yards $596, seeds $50, plants $400, Shitake plugs $58.95, wax $34, smart pots (400 gal x 2) 169.98, City Repair fee $650, TOTAL: $1362.93

Additional funds requested to cover fees requested by GoFundMe as well as miscellaneous costs that could pop up over the course of the project.

A concurrent capstone project is creating a recipe book from the plants we will be growing on campus. The pots can be teaching tool for the new permaculture class coming this spring to NUNM. Labor to implement the permaculture installations will come from the capstone group members in the form of our work study jobs. Ellen Donald, campus gardener and permaculture instructor as well as Dave in Facilities have already been consulted and approved this request.

We would like permission to move forward with the proposal to partner with City Repair to transform the under-utilized spaces on campus into low maintenance food systems as per our capstone proposal as well as the $650 fee they request for their services.

*The soil is a mixture of coconut coir, perlite and compost.
Labor will be provided by students creating the project.
Wax is to cover the mushroom plugs.
We will be seeking donations as well through City Repair including wood for pots, and logs for mushrooms.


About NUNM

Our exceptional programs in naturopathic medicine, classical Chinese medicine, integrative medicine research, integrative mental health, global health, massage therapy, ayurveda, and nutrition, blend ancient healing wisdom with modern science in challenging curricula.

NUNM’s natural medicine clinics and acclaimed Helfgott Research Institute are also central to the student experience.

Thank you so much for considering funding our project! We are delighted by the potential of this project to become greater than we could have ever imagined! We intend to keep the momentum of this project going because we truly see the solutions we are proposing to be effective across the board. We have widespread support for our project at NUNM both with students and adminstration. Your contribution will take us to the next level, and give us the resources to make our vision a reality! First step, reforest NUNM, then the city, and finally the world! Cheers my friends, with so much love and appreciation <3 <3 <3 

Amelia R Cohn, Kjell Cravens, Emily Power, Venessa Ordorica, Austin Cory, Jennyfer Lara
Student Bachelor's Integrative Health Science and Bachelors's Science of Nutrition
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Amelia Cohn 
Portland, OR
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