Join our Nursery Cooperative

Marisha's Permaculture Plant Nursery has been growing over the years, providing diverse plants that offer yields and ecological functions to clientele throughout our bioregion. Marisha's career as a prominent permaculture teacher at Oregon State University and beyond has been growing as the nursery grows. While Marisha can no longer keep up with the demand in her nursery, this offers an opportunity to expand with collaboration through inviting other growers to participate in the nursery from her social networks in our bioregion.  

Grow with Us


Our vision is to create a producer cooperative of growers to collectively offer plants throughout the bioregion.  In Marisha's network, there are many skilled growers, like you, with unique niches of favorite plants and diverse microclimates that can contribute to a diverse plant list for our customers.  Many of you already propagate plants and could benefit from having more exposure to your work.  In addition, we could have the opportunity to have our plants available in multiple locations throughout the bioregion, based on our member producers.  

Most of Marisha's clientele have been in the greater Portland area.  Sometimes, people have come to purchase plants from as far as Eastern Oregon since her nursery list offers things that are not available elsewhere.  In 2021, Marisha expanded to provide plants in the Olympia area as well. This drew customers from an extended radius around Olympia, including Anderson Island, Centralia, and the coast.  

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Benefits for Members

  • Collaborative marketing and diverse plant list.

  • Greater flexibility in case of crop failure or unexpected circumstances.

  • Entry level opportunities with membership.

  • Ability to work at your own pace on your own time.

  • A Collaborative website.

  • Opportunity to have a nursery location (hub) at your own site.

  • Ability to grow the business together and gain equity.

  • Collaborative purchasing of supplies and liscensing. 

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Our Market

Our target market is for gardeners who are looking to cultivate hardy plants that provide diverse yields and ecological functions.

 

Our nursery appeals to the home gardener and the hobby gardener.  We attract people who want to grow useful plants in their home habitat. Some of our customers use these plants in their cottage industry. We have many repeat customers and throughout the growing season, spending between $5-$500 in a visit. Some customers say they use our nursery list as a “checklist” for plants in their garden.

Features of Our Nursery Cooperative

  • Our nursery focuses on edible, medicinal, and otherwise useful plants that are easy to grow in our region.  

  • We specialize in plants that have cultural significance and are known in permaculture circles.

  • We provide annual and perennial plants direct to customers.  

  • We grow our own nursery stock and save our own seed. If we choose to purchase seed, we only support companies who have signed the Safe Seed Pledge.  

  • Occasionally, we offer other garden related products including bamboo poles, mushroom spawn, and herbal products.

  • Our business strives to be waste free and remove materials from the waste stream that are still useful.

 

While there are many nurseries throughout our bioregion, few propagate the plants themselves.  Our team has an intimate knowledge of the species we offer, including their yields and the ecological functions that the plants can provide for a community. As interest in permaculture grows, the demand for a nursery like ours is increasing. People have travelled for a distance to get plants that may be difficult to find otherwise from our nursery.

Distribution

Our nursery will have members throughout the bioregion, giving the cooperative members access to varied markets with local representation by our member producers. 

 

We would  build a collective nursery list to represent the plants that each member has to offer. In case of redundancy, plants will be claimed by a grower based on precedence, location, and whoever is the first to set the intention. Quantities can be determined based on past nursery sales with a contingency for growth. 

Customers can place an order online through the website, with required minimums.  Each grower will set the terms that they need to participate, based on their location, their quantity of plants, and how much time they may need to get their plants to the desired location. This information will be considered in advance, when a member joins the cooperative. Customers will be advised on the timing for receiving their order at the time of order confirmation. Growers will be responsible for delivering their plants to one of our bioregional hubs. Members who represent the hubs will be responsible for networking together to meet distribution needs and set minimums. 

In the past, Marisha's nursery season has gone from April - September, with a break in July. Together, our member producers can determine what they want the nursery season to be.  We have the opportunity to offer a number of events to encourage sales, including a spring bareroot plant sale and the annual spring garden sale at the Wild Thyme Farm.  

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I'm interested!  Let's do this!

If this sounds like something that would be an asset to your life, let us know. Our next stage in development is to start having meetings with prospective producer members in the beginning of March. We will be asking members to contribute $100 towards this endeavor and have a minimum participation of 10 species. Preferences in the future will be based on seniority.

 

We recognize that there are many questions that may come up as you consider this proposal. It is intentionally flexible as we hope to develop this business model based on producer members needs and preferences. So far, this proposal highlights the work that Marisha has done to get the nursery established to this point. She intends to pass off the nursery into collective ownership once we are able to form our cooperative.  We will likely change the name and create our own structures and policies together.

 

We invite you to join at this exciting time to guide this endeavor and build equity for yourself. Please let Marisha know if you have any questions. 

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