Vermicomposting, worm bin, composting with worms community and forums

The Hitchcock Center for Women: A Stakeholder Driven Model for Transformational Outcomes


This short-form proposal details the basic pieces to help achieve great outcomes for Hitchcock Center and all its stakeholders. The pieces include facilitated forums to induce a culture shift toward loving, serving behavior, a state-of-the-art, therapeutic and productive Memorial garden system, a value-added products facility, and inclusion of ongoing support mechanisms for residents of the center long after the six month term currently used as the key metric for success of the Center.

I’ve recently had the distinct pleasure of meeting Sherry Lawson through my colleague and associate Vernon Sweatte. Her story, having been one of those residing within your halls and since completing your hallmark program and achieving remarkable things - now as Special Assistant to the Mayor, and now a member of the Center’s Board of Directors, is inspiring and uplifting. As with correctional facilities, there is no match for having been one of those residing within the facility itself and experiencing all the programs afforded them have to offer. Not only is her insight and experience invaluable in helping bring strategic success and new opportunity to the Center, but as part of this Systems Theory Framework, she could play a tremendous role as a leader and mentor to the women going through their own personal transformations at the Center.

Step One: Culture Shift

So imagine the center as one system. The goal would be to energize and engage all the members of the center to connect and bond with one another and create a more loving and serving culture in the process. There may already be a good foundation for this at the center, but to move the center more in this direction, I recommend a facilitated forum – a workshop where ALL stakeholders of this system:

Staff, Security, Patients, Family of Patients, Alumni, Volunteers, and Sponsors, for example would all be the stakeholders involved at Hitchcock – we want to create new opportunities and a better quality of life for all the Center’s stakeholders. All would be included in the forum, which would employ the very best of cutting edge, positive change methodologies: Gestalt, Appreciative Inquiry, Open Space, and World Café. This forum would be a chance for all the stakeholders listed above to air their authentic feelings about life in the Center, stories of success from those who have graduated out of the Center, and building on this positive core to reach new co-created opportunities that might not have been thought possible before. The end outcomes are actually derived by the process itself – but a physical outcome of action plans and commitments will ensure accountability on the part of all participant stakeholders. Ultimately we want to create a shared vision and stewardship of this collaborative culture created so everyone is informed about what is happening and why.

Step Two: Productive and Therapeutic Garden and Building Design and Implementation

There are several cutting edge Therapeutic Gardens in existence in the world, and we’ve been researching some of the best of these. Interestingly enough – two of the world’s leading centers for therapeutic garden design and design implementation are here in Ohio – in Columbus and Cincinnati.

Another excellent resource we have tapped into is the ASLA – American Association of Landscape Architects. This thought center is on the cutting edge of therapeutic garden designs for Veterans with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, the Disabled, the mentally ill (i.e. dementia), and more specific to Hitchcock – the Chemically Dependent. But in the spirit of employing and engaging local leaders in the field we have recruited local foods guru Maurice Small as a key advisor and consultant to support our cause. Maurice helps to grow and distribute organic quality foods to our local businesses and through City Fresh – to the disadvantaged and poor in the form of affordable food packages (shares). For actual details of implementation and budget construction we need the following key pieces of information

Exact acreage available for growing and cultivating

Access to these locations for surveying and documentation purposes (photos, video):

Locations for value-added product creation

Locations for green design consulting on the facility

Locations for diverse growth styles – vertical farming , spin farming, aquaculture, vermicompsting

Time and Access for soil and water quality testing – and alternatives (i.e. raised beds)

Assessment of the Water use plan currently used by Hitchcock – implementing Rain Water Barrels to reduce water bills

Assessment of the detailed schedule of and for the Center – determining how rotations will be filled to match optimal planting, tending, and cultivating times with Stakeholder availability.

Qualitative interviews of the key stakeholders involved.

The current Cost Structure for the Center – financials related to supply acquisition for all foods currently, and shifts to local production and vocational / therapeutic training to mitigate costs.

Roof and Building Structural details to determine if Green Roof and Energy Efficient Design are a good fit.

Exact list of key strategic partners of the Center – to determine new value partners and map the existing ones of the Center - these relationships should be cultivated for fundraising and event planning opportunities.

Organizational Chart of the Center, including Board, Trustees, etc – to understand infrastructure

Identification of the lowest cost providers and suppliers locally for

Fruit Trees

Mushrooms (Outdoor or Indoor Options)

Aquaculture (If Pond available – or Indoor)

Herbals - for both added value foods and medicinal / therapeutic use

Fermented forms of value added vegetation
- mead, tempeh, Kombucha, sauerkraut

Other high value produce, and produce most needed by Center


After this information is collected a full proposal will be drawn up, including sources and uses of funds, exact budget, and detailed action steps for each of the above. There is a unique opportunity to generate wealth to all parties involved, in the form of a win to the nth power. The wins include : workforce development opportunity, environmental benefit, stakeholder connectedness, value-added vegetation entrepreneurship, intergenerational and diversity outcomes, educational outcomes, and of course, nutritional and therapeutic benefit to the residents of these facilities that serve the underprivileged. Keep in mind that stimulus and/or grantmade dollars should flow to such a program from multiple spheres.

Those spheres fit the holistic quality of life enhancement framework that KSV employs as its core methodological approach: iteratively addressing issues of Arts, Education, Environment, Economy, Health, and Technology, around a collaborative framework that builds synergy within and between these spheres. Stakeholders and Funders alike can be drawn to any of these spheres, or combinations of these, from all sectors of the civic space. This magnifies the funding streams by a factor of Six.

Here we present a unique vision to transform correctional facilities of all types, VA hospitals, Centers for the disabled, the elderly, and so forth so new vocational opportunities are created to replace the level of crime and delinquency prevailing in this community. For this project , we would tailor our approach and design to best treat all these various illnesses at the source of many addictions.

Views: 11

Comment by Sue on July 25, 2009 at 8:14pm
I think you are on the wrong web-site.
Comment by Sudhir Kade Raghupathy on July 27, 2009 at 2:00pm
And I will be VERMICOMPOSTING as part of the above model. So there is every right and need to share this to best see how this is done. Thanks for your input !
Comment by Sudhir Kade Raghupathy on July 27, 2009 at 4:48pm
Point well taken. Feel free to ask any questions related to the piece you'd like, I think its very self explanatory. The whole point is to share an exciting opportunity to transform any center that serves the poor and suffering by integrating smart facilitated forums and urban gardening with vermitech and aquaculture. Do you understand that much? If you do, you'll realize why so many people are excited by this opportunity to heal the sick of mental and physical ailments while healing our soil, air and water, making money for the center serving the underserved, and training a new workforce in value added vegetation, vermicomposting, beekeeping, honey combing, and many other urban agriculture skills. All the benefits are detailed in the last paragraph. If this simplified summary is still too complicated for you let me know. Many do get the value and really like it. What do you all think?
Comment by Eve on July 27, 2009 at 6:41pm
Clear as mud. But it does give me the overwhelming desire to take a firm grip on my purse.
Comment by Lisa Cota on July 27, 2009 at 7:32pm
I am somewhat familiar with what you're talking about, actually, but only just barely. I did a college paper on applied anthropology in India where villages were set up to do large scale vermicomposting, among other things. The vermicompost was used locally to fertilize crops and also sold back to the state as a source of revenue. The vermicomposting was one component of plans to increase the self-sufficiency of local populations, similar I think to what you have proposed above. Where exactly is the Hitchcock Center?
Comment by Sudhir Kade Raghupathy on July 28, 2009 at 12:20am
On Ansel Road (Cleveland) Just off of University Circle, where I live. We have other sites and types of sites that fit the bill as well. Its just a model that satisfies the mantra of doing good while doing well. Multiple revenue streams, multiple benefits gained as a community and society.
Comment by Josh on August 3, 2009 at 8:03pm
I'm with Eve. "Vermicomposting": cool. "Creepy abstractly-religious value-added products facility": not cool. Plus, as a professional counselor, this is the first time I've seen Gestalt therapy paired with the World Cafe as a "positive change methodology". I mean, a cup of coffee soothes me as much as it does the next guy but come on already...
Comment by Sudhir Kade Raghupathy on August 16, 2009 at 11:36am
Lol - don't think you get the whole system or deeper understanding of methodology Josh - Gestalt OSD is a system enrichment framework and philosophy used very effectively to strengthen connectedness and enrich systems at all levels of system. I earned this certification years ago. World Cafe is just another postive change engagement format. Each system and system level dealt with - whether you are speaking about helping those at a Chemical Dependency center or a Prison - can benefit from these approaches, in isolation or in conjunction with one another as has been proven in many cases.

And where is religion even mentioned here, my man? Its just positive culture shift - applied with meaningful local foods models that create workforce development, benefit the environment, heal the unhealthy of body and mind, and most importantly and relevant to this site - integrates vermicomposting as one of many sub-strategies to add value and create numerous revenue streams, so doing good and doing well are not mutually exclusive. Creepy? lol - its spot on.
Comment by Josh on August 25, 2009 at 8:28am
I was being somewhat tongue-in-cheek. I am familiar with the nonsense that calls itself the World Cafe. Postmoderns have this remarkable ability to convince themselves that they invited the idea of a "conversation". And although I've used Gestalt therapy many times, I must confess I've never heard such an esoteric description of that system. Regardless, I hope you learn a lot about vermicomposting at this site---or share what you learn about it.
Comment by HH on August 25, 2009 at 8:41am
I, for one, think this is an invaluable proposal. The synergies that will emanate from this holistic approach will undoubtedly provide a paradigm shift to the members of your Center, and have a legacy effect for the wider community (well beyond the walls of the correctional facilities) as well. I like your proactive thinking and integration approach to the discrete variables for value added worth. Kudos.


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