Improving Community

Two important ingredients for Big Bend to really thrive are a healthy and vibrant local economy and a healthy unified community. The BBCLT is determined to help increase and stabilize local economic resources, nutritional health, project funding, jobs, housing, skills training and learning opportunities in the valley by creating and maintaining on-going programs such as:

•Growing and Distributing Organic Food: The BBCLT farm is growing more healthy food every year and increasing the quality and productivity of the farm’s topsoil, while adding infrastructure, such as fencing to protect crops and rotate grazing. The food harvested is both sold to residents and visitors, and donated to those in need.

BBCLT Volunteers removing rocks as part of preparing the garden field for planting, June 2020

•Hosting Community Events: Work parties, Education, celebrations, mutual support in our remote community, fun-raisers and fundraisers, and other positive events have been an important part of BBCLT, since its inception.

Community Taco Feast Open House in June 2019
The annual Plant Swap is an example of BBCLT’s Community Events & Services

•Providing Community Services: Thanks to some dedicated volunteers, hard work, patience, and persistence, the Co-op project of the BBCLT has been creating and running a Community Thrift Store, A Public Library, Informational Meetings, Informal Gatherings, Open House Days, Annual Plant Swaps, a Food Bank (including donated non-perishable food and food fresh from the farm), and more!

Puck created the Community Thrift Store, and has helped countless people (while generating monthly income for the non-profit) as she promotes, staffs, and continually reorganizes and improves the growing Thrift Store!

•Fostering Community Spirit and Unity: The BBCLT belongs to all residents of the Madesi Valley. Organizers will continue to create inclusive events and efforts to encourage and help people come together and feel a renewed sense of community pride and unity. One example of an effective “team-spirit” project was the collaborative funding, creation, and placement of the “Welcome to Big Bend” sign as a friendly community “gateway” along the main road into town:

Talented locals (tree fellers, mill operators, designers, wood workers, and installers) placed the welcome sign prominently in the BBCLT south pasture on Big Bend Road, a powerful symbol of a friendly, cohesive, positive, and proud community.

•Grant Writing and Grant Management: The BBCLT has received one grant so far, which is providing $75,000 to help improve farming and gardening and related events and infrastructure on the farm. Efforts are underway to win ongoing grant funding from the State of California to reduce wildfire risk and preparedness. Because the BBCLT is a 501(c)(3) non-profit with a valuable farm and other resources, while having no loans or debt, and located in a remote rural low-income area, the organization is very well suited for winning many grants for helping people in need and general community improvement (two of the main purposes stated in the founding Articles of Incorporation. Ideally, the BBCLT will some day have a dedicated grant professional to research, write, and coordinate lucrative grant funding to further the goals of the organization’s guiding intentions.

•Hiring Local Trades Pros: Do you have experience in building and construction, permaculture, bio-diesel production, farming/gardening, painting, landscaping, fire prevention, irrigation, fence-building, logging, alternative energy or other BBCLT endeavors? When needed, we always try to hire local workers at reasonable rates.

•Creating Space for Community Business Uses: Farmer’s/Gardener’s Markets, a planned community commercial kitchen for cottage-industry products, and other community-useable spaces. This is a future initiative in the planning stages. Please click “Hub Project” (here or in the top menu on this website) for more information, and send us any ideas about this project that you would like to share.

•Offering Living Space for Residents: There is a housing shortage in Big Bend. The BBCLT farm has an affordable rental unit known as the Quonset Hut, which is a one-bedroom house rented to a local community member. In the future, the BBCLT hopes to add more community housing options on the farm, for both caretakers and local residents.

The Quonset Hut is an important and much-needed contribution to Big Bend’s scarce residential rental options!

•Patronizing Local Resources & Businesses: Do you have equipment or building materials you could rent or sell to the land trust? Heavy machinery, farming equipment, and more are sometimes needed.

•Education and Skill-Building: Do you want to learn new skills to add to your resume? The BBCLT is dedicated to offering folks of all ages to learn new skills.

•Creating More Local Jobs: The BBCLT is invested in using local labor to help build up the project. Sometimes we are looking for part-time workers to hire for specific projects that come up.

-About Occasional Job Opportunities:
-If interested, you can download and fill out our application form (it is a two page PDF, available by clicking here) that you will need to download, fill out, and either email the completed form to the BBCLT or print a paper copy and mail it to our P.O. Box, or give it to a Board of Directors member. Paper copies are also available in Big Bend. Contact us if you are local and can’t get a copy yourself.