Sustainable Living Center of North Florida

A project of the Florida Coalition for Peace & Justice, Inc.

Newsletter Archives

                                          January. 2014 E-Newsletter
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       Simple Lifestyles-->Sustainable Living-->Livable Earth-->Just Society-->World Peace
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You can now donate to the
FCPJ Sustainable Living Center using your credit card through Paypal. Simply click the "DONATE" button above and follow the prompts. You will also have the option to sign up to make a regular monthly contribution. If you make a one-time donation, it is not necessary to set up a PayPal Account. Once you click the DONATE button above, enter the amount you wish to contribute and look in the lower left and click "continue" to enter credit card info.  If you opt to be a monthly donor (Sustainable Partner), follow the prompts  on lower right to set up a PayPal Account. You can discontinue your monthly contribution at any time.   

If you would rather wish to arrange for automatic monthly transfers from your bank account, please provide your financial institution the following information:  


Capital City Bank 
Starke, Florida, 32091
Routing # 063100688 
Account #2318488001 


Alternately, you can make a donation by check, payable to Florida Coalition for Peace & Justice,  and mail it directly to:  


FCPJ, 10665 SW 89th Ave, Hampton, FL 32044


For assistance, call:  


Or Email us: 


FCPJ is tax exempt under Section 501(c)(3)  


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FCPJ/SLC Board of Trustees:

John Frank, Jacksonville
Teddy Gonzales, Hampton 
Gloria Lelaidier, St. Aug 

Carol Lewis, Boynton Beach

David O'Byrne St. Aug Beach  
Fran Palmeri, Nokomis 
Debra Stucki, Gainesville

Here we are again on the first page of our beautiful calendars that are provided by the environmental organizations. As we enjoy and are inspired by the visuals for each month, we are always surprised how fast we arrive at the last page in December. 
Some folks track their year by the seasons. Winters may be long for some but spring, summer and fall usually past by too quickly. 
Some of us relate to a "year" as the Earth's journey around the Sun. Spacey as this may appear, it does provide an interesting metaphor: Earth as a space vehicle and humans as the crew. Hmm... that brings up some interesting thoughts.
We are planning to make the most of 2014 here at the the Sustainable Living Center no matter how fast it will unfold. Our programs and efforts are set by our efforts to live and teach sustainable living. Limiting as this might seem to be, it is an indispensble link in the bigger picture -- a livable, just and peaceful world.
Check out the elements of this process as designated in FCPJ's moniker which is always printed in the header to this monthly e-newsletter. It's a long and complicated journey but one worth taking. Hope that you can join us as this year unfolds. It will take more than one year to get there.
Sustainably yours, 
Kathy & Paul Still and Martina and John X Linnehan
Sustainable Living Center Team
Please remember our need  to up-grade the 15 year old  Peace Education Center with the replacement of a non-working air/heating unit, insultation of the un-insultated attic and replacement of worn and un-safe carpeting and flooring.
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The proposed budget is $10,000. We are presently at approximately $4,500. Many thanks to those of you who have contributed. We respectfully ask others to consider making a donation for this overdue need. 
You can make your donation via credit card, using the
PAYPAL Donation Button on left.  Alternately, you can send a check payable to Florida Coalition for Peace & Justice, and mail it directly to:  FCPJ Sustainable Living Center10665 SW 89th Ave, Hampton, FL 32044. 


John X's  Thoughts from the Road   
Since November I have been walking the roads of Bradford County in preparation of being part of the 'Great March for Climate Action'  -- a walk from Los Angeles, starting March 1st --  and 246 days later  --   concluding. in DC on Nov. 1st.
The goal of the Great March for Climate Action "is to change the heart and mind of the American people, our elected leaders and people across the world to act now to address the climate crisis."
I feel pulled to be part of this citizen's initiative which has, in my opinion,  unlimited possibilities.  As many of you know Martina and I were co-founders of the Metanoia Community. In the 1980's we were focused on the dangers of nuclear weapons. Since the turn of the 
century, we have become even more concerned with human behaviors and actions that endanger the viability of Planet Earth. New thinking and a change of direction  -- metanoia  -- is needed now more than ever, it seems to us. 
Yes, I  will have to deal with the physical challenges of a cross-country trek. But, I consider it to be worth the effort in that my experiences over the years as an educator, organizer and activist may be of assistance to achieving the mission of the March.  
If you wish more information go to  or contact me at or 904-504-1004In the February newsletter, I will provide an up-date on my status which, hopefully, will be "off to LA".
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John X walking the roads  (F. Palmeri)


Paul's Use It Up. Make It Do!

This months article combines yard waste management, biochar, and entertainment.


 I use the legal term yard waste but we really should refer to the Spanish moss and small limbs we had collected over several months as yard resources. 


We collected all the limbs and Spanish moss into a big pile of about 8' in diameter and 5' tall near the PEC. 


The goal was to burn the pile and make biocharsoil and also sequesters carbon.


 Sequestering Carbon helps reduce carbon dioxide emissions because all the carbon that the plants took out of the air when they produced the wood is not returned to the air but is locked into the charcoal which remains in the soil.


To make the biochar we burned the pile and when most of the wood had been reduced to a bed of coals we put it out with collected rainwater. This process left us with the nutrients in the wood ash and the biochar.


The entertainment part of the process resulted from doing this burn on New Year's Eve. Five guests and two SLC residents enjoyed an evening of conversation and food around the fire.  (charcoal) to put in the garden. Biochar improves the




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 Paul planting 1 of 450 seedlings


We received a donation of long leaf seedlings that were left over from a large long leaf pine planting project.  The seedlings were containerized plants which are faster and easier to plant than bare root seedlings.  The result is we have now replanted the area where we harvested the slash pine.  We have had some good rains so hopefully we will have good survival and  be on our way to having a small long leaf pine restoration demonstration area.   Long leaf pines were likely the predominant tree in our area prior to European settlement.


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 No problem when your landscape and table gardens are just outside your door. Martina tucks in her vegetable friends  for a cold night's hard freeze of 28 degrees. Note:  Landscape garden in front and three table gardens between Eco House I & 2. Also note the blue rain-catchment barrel at roof's corner which is used to water these gardens.
In conclusion, thank you for reading to the end. Have a great month and continue your efforts to live and promote sustainable living. If you have something to share with others about sustainability, we would like to hear about it and use it in a subsequent e-newsletter. We will be back to you  around the middle of February.
FCPJ Board of Trustees & Sustainable Living Center Team


Mobile Home Rehab

Weston Reagan, a nearby resident, volunteered to work on the mobile renovations.

As we approach the summer solstice on June 21, the change of season on the Teaching Farm is finding expression beyond changes in the weather; we are also seeing significant changes in our Sun Harvest EcoVillage Community and in the physical assets on our Teaching Farm.  Efforts to increase the yield of the farm and to grow our community have resulted in a harvest of visitors - youth campers from Apopka's  Office of Farmworker Ministry Program and three abandoned animals who found their way to our sanctuary, generous support for our Market Day Program from our local Bradford County community, delicious food from our gardens, and renewed community resources and processes at Sun Harvest EcoVillage


        Our Sun Harvest EcoVillage Community continues to be a dynamic unit even as Vinnie and Vin Burns venture north for the summer.  During their absence, we welcome Wanda Reagan to our group as a Summer resident and a valuable addition to our team.  When he dragged himself out of the surrounding woods one morning, a puppy we have since named "Chipper" was starving.  He was soon followed by two tiny kittens, tracked down by following their mournful meowing and set up in the mobile home.  Nancy and David O'Byrne came to the Farm to share their skills with us by facilitating a communication workshop for community members in May.  Whether two-legged or four, we are all in search of the same thing here at our Sun Harvest EcoVillage: a peaceful home where we can pursue our life's work of modeling  a high quality, low-impact lifestyle based on a respectful and harmonious relationship with the Earth and the entire web of life our Earth supports.


     We are also working to increase the yield of the physical assets of the Teaching Farm including the 35-year-old mobile home that serves as the FCPJ office and caretaker quarters, the several gardens we have been developing at the Farm, our Peace Education Center, and various necessary outbuildings.  To fully realize the income potential of this important housing resource, we are renovating the interior of the mobile home to make it more inviting for a potential renter .  We have taken down walls in preparation for putting new walls up in locations designed to expand the FCPJ office space and provide additional private space for the renter.  As with our eco-homes, we will be applying sustainable practices during these renovations as examples for other people currently living in energy inefficient or unhealthy mobile homes in need of repair.  Stay tuned for more updates on our progress as we complete future phases of this green building project.


     Our Market Days have continued to be supported with sufficient donations to our inventory to allow us to hold more frequent Market Day weekends at the Farm.  The additional funds from this increased activity have supported costs associated with the mobile home improvements as well as the budgeted operating expenses of the Coalition.  Thanks to everyone who shared their surplus with FCPJ to make this program possible.     


     Going beyond our own property lines, John X represented the FCPJ at the "Stop the Pipeline Rally" at the FL DEP Northeast District Offices in Jacksonville during an event organized by the St Johns River Riverkeepers to voice our concern over a pending permit action to allow the construction of a pipeline to deliver pollution directly into the St. Johns River in Palatka. Sign their petition by going to the campaign website


     As you can see from this abbreviated list of projects and activities, we have had a busy and productive month at the Teaching Farm and Sun Harvest EcoVillage.  With respect to both the physical and community resources within the scope of our responsibility, the increased yield has been satisfying.  But the work goes on.  We hope you will enjoy your summer season, work to increase your yield, stay cool when you can, and think of us working here at the Teaching Farm.  And remember we always are open to visits and new ideas from our friends.  We encourage you to come and see first-hand what we are developing at the Farm and to add your own special contribution to advancing a more sustainable future wherever you are.

Bob Tancig 

X's Thoughts From The Clothesline - May 2011

Vinnie and Martina Harvesting Rainwater from Eco1 System

The other day while hanging out laundry, I noticed how dry the undergrowth in the woods looked and how hard and dusty the ground under foot had become.

Since our last E-Newsletter in mid April, we've had less than one inch of rain here at the Teaching Farm in Hampton. A day without rain makes for carefree drying especially for folks like me with a touch of absent-mindedness. Forget to take in the laundry, no problem. No rain! But, no rain brings other problems!!

This past month, we've seen a number of very powerful weather events - an earthquake and Tsunami in Japan; powerful tornadoes in Alabama and adjoining states; extensive flooding in the mid west along the Mississippi; a lengthy drought in Texas; and now wildfires in southern Georgia and coming our way.

Unfortunate and destructive as these weather events are, it's nature doing its thing. There is not much that we humans can do about it. But, there is something that we can do about another event of nature - the earth's fresh water and its alarming decreasing supply to meet the needs of the world's population. One hundred years back there were 1 billion humans drawing from this supply. Today, there are 7 billion. Thus, the problem and thus the urgency to address it.

Here at the Teaching Farm we try to use as little water as possible from the deep aquifer. This gift from nature, known as the Floridan, has been a reliable source of quality water to the residents of Florida for many years. But, now there is more water being drawn from this once bountiful source than nature can replace. That's a problem that Floridians can do something about.

The old 120' well that's been on the land here for many years continues to supply the five residents and four buildings -- Peace Ed Center, mobile home, Eco House 1 & 2. - with high quality water. But we are looking for alternative sources. We have added an elevated 300 gallon plastic tote to the rear of Eco House 1. This acts as a cistern for the rain coming off the metal roof and is able to gravity feed the rain water 250' to a holding pool for use in the garden.

Recently, we dug a 12' surficial well (see Paul Still's adjoining article) as a backup for our rain-catchment system. It's worth noting that most anyone can dig a surficial well in their own yard. This can provide the industrious person with cost free and electric free water for outside needs and, perhaps, after testing, portable water for the inside. Not to be discounted in this endeavor is the exercise performed in digging the well and the on-going "fun" of pumping the water as a substitute to your local Y or fitness club. It saves gas and fees.

During construction of Eco House 1, we were unable to get a permit for a composting toilet. We do have the new low flush model and we try to flush with gray water from the kitchen or shower, or rain water from the cistern. We wish that we had thought to have this plumbed in during the construction but we didn't. So, it's a bit inconvenient but we believe worth the effort. Our utility provider, Clay Electric, obtains most of its power from coal. So, in manual flushing, we don't use the electric water pump and thus save some CO2 from going into the atmosphere and eliminate fresh water going into our septic tank.

We know that many of you have been water conservers for years. We want to encourage the rest of us to get with it ASAP. As mentioned above, we can't do much about controlling the major weather events but we can to something to save our fresh water supply. It's precious and necessary for all life and will become even more so in the days and years ahead. We owe it to those who come after us to do something now. No one can live without drinkable water.

There is a abundance of water conservation resources available on the internet - e.g.,  Check other links for suggestions.

Thanks for reading Thoughts from the Clothesline. We'll be here next month. Hope some rain pelts down on our metal roof in the meantime. If so, we'll catch it and use it.

John X

Use It Up Make It Do - May 2011

Vinnie Burns Pumping Water from Hand-Dug Well

The metal scrap pile is an important part of many Use It Up Make It Do projects.  Ideally, when you assemble your metal scrap pile you have two piles; one in which the metals are likely to have no further use and are ready for the junk yard and one for those items which could be used.  In reality, my piles are a mixed lot and the decision to send items to the metal recycling yard is based on getting a full load of 700 to 800 pounds of ferrous metal on the truck.  At the current price for tin and unsorted ferrous scrap at $.10 a pound ($70 to $80 a truck load), it is worth the effort to load it and haul it to the scrap yard.  I sold my first scrap iron at the age of 6 for a penny a pound.


Back to the Use It Up Make It Do element of the scrap metal pile.  When I heard about X's piece on the pump for this issue I decided that our new hand pump would be a good Use It Up Make It Do subject.  The tool we used to dig the well is a hand post hole auger I bought at a farm auction in Illinois.  The pipe used to extend the auger until we hit water at about 12 feet came out of the scrap pile.  A large plastic pipe that started life as a water main became a piece of scrap pipe used as a deer/turkey feeder now is keeping the surface soils from falling into our well hole.  The cover for the well hole was an old traffic cone.  The pump itself which is down in the well was salvaged from an old abandoned farm well.  The plastic pipe used to carry the water up from the bottom of the well was actually bought new 30 years ago for a garden irrigation system.  The well platform was made from wood sawn on my band saw.  The posts for the well platform are a salvaged power pole cut into fourths.  The tripod that supports the pump handle came from the side supports for an oval above ground swimming pool that collapsed about 20 years ago.  The handle of the pump came from a piece of playground equipment that had little seats and peddles on a wheel that went round and round.  The half of a blue plastic barrel was found along the side of the road.  If you have a large enough scrap pile and you keep your scrap long enough you can take on almost any project.


I hope this example will encourage you to start building you own scrap pile.  One bit of advice, however, is to build your scrap pile in a not so visible location.  I have not learned this lesson myself and often have to spend some time moving my newer scrap piles when we are expecting company.


Paul Still, Teaching Farm Manager

This Month At The FCPJ Teaching Farm May 2011

Martina Tending the Abundance of the Land

At the FCPJ Teaching Farm and Sun Harvest EcoVillage, we work to grow nutritious food to sustain healthy bodies and, at the same time, work to grow a movement to advocate for and support a sustainable environment and community.  During the past month, residents here at Sun Harvest and Teaching Farm have been very busy developing a fertile soil and planting a variety of seeds necessary to produce a bountiful harvest from both our garden and our activism.  After careful tending, and with the addition of certain basic nutrients and resources, we are hopeful that our efforts will be rewarded with all the components of a tasty salad and a sustainable world.

Projects we undertake on the land and in our community have, as their ultimate goal, the nurturing of a sustainable society whether the projects involve more eco-friendly building practices as modeled by our two Eco Homes at Sun Harvest EcoVillage; more sensitive use of limited resources as modeled by our rainwater catchment systems; more responsible consumption as modeled by our encouragement of resale and reuse of items exchanged at our monthly "Market Day" sales; or a more mature understanding of how current practices contribute to the decline of a healthy environment that we promote during our frequent workshops and presentations offered at the Peace Education Center and in the Community.

John X's commentary on water conservation and Paul's review of the process we used to dig and install a pump on our new well are but two examples of how we model and promote more sustainable practices here at the Teaching Farm.  In the past month, we have also hosted visitors from the Jacksonville NE Florida Sierra Club who toured the Eco Homes and participated in a lively discussion of practical steps we can all take to be more sustainable in our daily lives.  We also presented a Sunday afternoon gathering to hear Al Geiger, one of the original Seagoing Cowboys who delivered heifers to Europe after WWII, recount his experiences on board his ship and while on the ground in Poland.  The folks attending the event also contributed financially to meet our goal of $2,000 to support the ongoing programs of Heifer International and their WiLD Women Program.  Several days later, the women of Sun Harvest EcoVillage presented a very well received program of appreciation and gratitude at our local library that strengthened community relationships and, in many cases, initiated new connections.

Taking our message off-site, several members of our group participated in a highway cleanup in observance of Earth Day and traveled to St. Augustine to hear a program about the Eco Village at Ithaca presented at the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of St. Augustine on Easter Sunday.  In both cases, we "walked the talk" to promote a cleaner, more sensitive approach to our environment and supported others who have actually applied their principles in their daily lives and assumed the responsibility to model a better world.

Continuing projects include developing our garden, rehabing the old mobile home on the land (you will be hearing much more about this project in the near future), Sunday evening gatherings for discussion on current concerns followed by a shared meal in the Peace Education Center, and offering the Peace Education Center and land as a location for group meetings and special events - Youth campers from Apopka will be here again in June.

We would love to have you, your family, and your friends join us for any of these projects or to suggest others you would like to be involved in yourself.  Check our web site  often to see the latest details on our planned events.  Until then, the team at Sun Harvest EcoVillage and FCPJ Teaching Farm will continue to explore what it means to live more sustainably and share what we are learning with all our friends.


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